<![CDATA[Life Coaching - Your life is waiting for you. - Blog and Articles]]>Mon, 04 Jan 2016 06:09:47 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Graceful Calamities]]>Wed, 29 Sep 2010 15:17:17 GMThttp://www.movebeyondit.com/blog-and-articles/graceful-calamitiesIn his book, “Beyond the Mountain”, renown alpinist Steve House wrote, “The depth of any story is proportionate to the protagonist’s commitment to their goal, the complexity of the problem, and the grace of the solution”. 

I like this sentiment because it points to something I’ve noticed about people.  Those who have risen to the challenges in their lives tend to have richer characters and personalities than those who have not been tested or who shy away from challenges. 

People whose characters I admire often embody a blend of complementary qualities - toughness and compassion, depth and levity, surrender and commitment, confidence and humility, and patience and action. And this blending and balancing is something most people are not born with.  It is forged through experience and through living through – and even thriving in the midst of – challenging experiences.

A number of my coaching clients are going through some fairly intense personal, professional and familial challenges right now.  It’s like the universe is stirring up the pot of life a little more vigorously than usual.  Some of my clients are in the midst of major changes that are flowing as easily or quickly as desired. For others, there are major relationship challenges or someone they dearly love is going through difficult times.  

As a coach, my clients come to me because they want to live fulfilling lives.  But what does it mean to be fulfilled when dealing with experiences that are leaden with loss or discomfort?  What is it to want to be happy in the midst of suffering? And what about dealing with circumstances that are seemingly completely beyond one’s control?

I suggest that these types of life challenges are not supposed to be facile.  Whether it’s leaving a marriage or moving to a new location (my own story of the summer), such challenges are complex and have weight.  And it’s supposed to be that way.  It’s not about getting on with life right away or about always being happy.  It’s about being present to the fullness of what each moment brings.  These challenges give meaning and depth to life.

My clients who are handling their current challenges most gracefully are those who give themselves the time and space to experience the “both and” of their situations.  What I mean by that is they are able to be with whatever it is in life that they are mourning and accept that as part of where they are. 

And at the same time, they are also open to what is possible as things evolve and change.

It’s about being where you are now, and also about being open to what is still possible.

No matter of the intensity of the situation, consider what is to be learned in this situation.  What is it about this challenge that offers the opportunity for you to reach within your self and flourish?  What have you been shying away from? What is being asked of you now? What are your core values - that which pulls you forward, that which is the highest and deepest and grandest expression of your true and unique self?   What are you here to do?

In theology, grace is often defined as being under divine influence, or allowing the divine to flow through one.  I agree with this whole-heartedly.  To be graceful in life is to allow what is most divine in you to shine forth.  Nowhere is this as important was when handling life’s challenges.

No one says it as well as Rilke: “What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it. In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us. Right in the difficult we must have our joys, our happiness, our dreams: there against the depth of this background, they stand out, there for the first time we see how beautiful they are.”
<![CDATA[You can't always get what you want]]>Mon, 16 Aug 2010 14:02:06 GMThttp://www.movebeyondit.com/blog-and-articles/post-title-click-and-type-to-edit  I’m reminded of the ever popular tune by the Rolling Stones every day as I play with my 14 month old. In between smiles and hugs and kisses and laughter and happiness, she, on occasion, kicks and strikes the floor in fits of temper because I won’t let her have my cell phone or throws food because she doesn’t prefer what I’ve made for breakfast.   I’ve been told that one of my jobs as a parent is to hold these boundaries with her so she doesn’t grow up spoiled - that she must learn self control and that she can’t always get what she wants.

It’s a reality in life.  While as adults we tell ourselves that not getting everything we want is character forming and that patience makes us better people, it’s tough for many of my clients, who are committed to living their best possible lives, to determine when they should adjust with life’s many compromises and when to hold fast to their desires. 

There’s a bridge that is built between what they want and what they can get. A 50-year old person is not going to be 24 again, no matter how much they may desire.  But the 50 year old can find a balance by working hard to stay fit, enjoying the current nature of their sexual desires, and celebrating each day with the vigor and freshness of youth.  Yet in so doing, they must embrace self sacrifice, make compromises and have patience, compassion for themselves and others.  It’s a lot of hard work.

And still, success isn’t guaranteed.

As I work with people who seek to live authentically, their comments often turn to the paradox of seeking to shape their lives and acting consciously.  The fiercest desires can be thwarted by the universe as it unfolds.  The stock market plummets, illnesses are diagnosed, and adult children get in to trouble. Some of my clients are tempted to surrender to the obstacles thrown in their pathways and abandon their goals for a fresh life.  Or, they feel like their life will begin when they eventually succeed - and don't experience every day joy until then.

The discussion often turns to where do you draw the line when something you’re struggling to create in your life does not come forward due to events seemingly beyond your control and when do you push forward regardless?  Where do you balance between having realistic expectations and striving for the life you dream about?

I believe our success has a lot to do with how highly connected we are with our spirits and how deeply we connect within our bodies and psyches.  From within us, we can unleash tremendous energy and allow our intentions and desires spring forth.  We have the greatest chance of bringing forth what we want to manifest when what we are in alignment with our deepest, purest and most true selves.

For the toddler, most of the need to hold the cell phone is from the surface (yes there is a deeper need to emulate Mom and for connection) but the phone itself is a pretty toy – not  a genuine need of her soul.  As a mom, I’m easily able to shift the desire for the phone by engaging in conversation with her and with lots of hugs.

When we sink in deeply to who are at our essence and create from that space - we come closer to aligning the flow of the universe with our own desires.  Our own energy and that of nature and spirit are not working with cross purposes.  Our efforts become part of the flow of the universe.

For the 50 year old, it comes down to recognizing what one really valued about youth, to wean out the ego’s desires from the soul’s desires.  It isn’t about looking attractive – it’s about the sense of having limitless time, the entire future of one’s life ahead of one and the innocence of thinking that life is going to be an endless adventure.  It’s about matching the purity of action of our youth with the purity of purpose of our age.  The middle aged person recognizes that this is all still true – it’s just different now.

Efforts to gain this alignment may not work all the time.  So, when that does not seem to happen and when there are road blocks interfering with progress or process, what shows up for you?  Is it a stuck feeling?  Perhaps impatience? 

If your answer to this situation is to try to push harder, what is your impression when the universe pushes back?  What if instead, you practiced trusting the universe as you reach deep within you and question how your intentions and that which is flowing through your life can coalesce?  Perhaps the reality will be that you get what you desire, but perhaps just not when you desire?  What other lessons might show up for you to learn?  To do so, what parts of your self do you need to draw forth?  What internal resistance haven’t you looked at?

For my 14 month old, I’m sure she’d feels like she’s singing another Stones classic:  “I can’t get no sat-is-faction.”  I look forward to the day with her, as with others around me, when she can reflect and meditate on drawing from within her essence and the goodness of her being and add that to the world around her.  At that time, we all will get  what we want.

<![CDATA[Packing]]>Thu, 05 Aug 2010 17:29:07 GMThttp://www.movebeyondit.com/blog-and-articles/packing
I am packing for our move at the end of the summer.  I love the process of cleaning out closets, inventorying what we need and choosing what I want to take with us and what to discard, and what items to give to friends.  As things clear out, the house begins to feel lighter.  There’s something about having our possessions compact enough to fit onto a truck that stirs my inner gypsy.  Yet, the most fun is envisioning how our belongings will land in our new house as we create a new space to call home.

The choice about what to pack runs deeper than just the objects we take with us.  This move is about creating the vision I want for my life – something I’ve dreamed of for years.  Central to my vision is embracing and living my values.  I have a tick list of ideals I’ve desired to express more fully in my life:  to be in a smaller town where I feel I can put down roots, to live closer to the earth, and with easy access to the sports I love.  And, now that I’m a parent, for my daughter to grow up in a place where the people are friendly and nature is accessible.  I long for a place where it feels easy to get out of the house and into the hills, where I can experience nature unfolding around me and expanding within me.

It’s so easy to imagine that all of these dimensions will magically appear after we move, and not to think about what I have to ask of myself to manifest these.  Much more than packing up my household, I have to reach down into myself to ask what I want to leave behind – what habits and beliefs I hold here in my home in DC will no longer serve me in my new environment?

And when I ask myself this question, ironically the answer I receive is that I need to give up believing that my values - the love, respect and access of the outdoors and of engaging with friendly people at the supermarket - are not accessible to me now, in my current city and in this present moment.

I must cultivate the experience of being with my values rather than being with my desires for the future.  My values must be alive within me and flow from me into the world.  In this manner, I can experience them now.    In the same way that my muscles don’t get stronger by scheduling exercise next week – they get stronger when I use them now. Even if the use is to simply to sit with better posture, I need to strengthen my core values today so that I can pack them with me when I move.

If I do not live these values now, when I move, how likely is it I can live them fully?  True, as I set up a new home in a new environment, my ability to live and experience these values may be greater, but they start within me. 

The capacity for me to live more ecocentrically is not something that happens at some future time when I grow my own food, or live off-of the grid (although these things are important).  It’s an awareness of being in the place I am right now, and allowing myself to be at home here. 

Right now it’s about embracing the muggy days of summer, of watching the slight breeze dance with the leaves on the lush trees in my yard, and feeling the soft fingers of that breeze on my face.  It’s about enjoying the walk I take through this hot summer day to as I run my errands – and to celebrate that I can go to the post office, drug store and grocery without having to get in to my car.  

As I pack up my home and prepare to move west, I must ground myself more deeply in my own center through being where I am now.  Otherwise I fall prey to the Inner Demon, Whendalee who is the demon of wishes.
This drives to the core of what I find most challenging and most beautiful about being human.  All of this is temporary.  Life is a continual process of experiencing and letting go.

So as I embark on my errands today with a spirit of loving the place I am in, I ask of you:   is there a value that you cherish that you think you can’t experience today?  How about rather than rent your life out to your future, you find a way to make it happen for yourself now. 
<![CDATA[The Alphabet of Inner Demons and How to Tame Them]]>Tue, 27 Jul 2010 21:37:57 GMThttp://www.movebeyondit.com/blog-and-articles/the-alphabet-of-inner-demons-and-how-to-tame-themI am thrilled to announce the release of my new book!  For my blog entry this week, I thought I'd share an excerpt with you.   Please visit the official Alphabet of Inner Demons website to learn more! 
Righteous Dude sees things in black and white.  From the lofty heights of his ideals he judges everything.  Whether it’s a religion, a political view, a trendy new diet, or how to hang the toilet paper, he is right and he has all of the answers.  And boy, does he love to opine. At heart Righteous Dude is uncomfortable with the vast, complicated world we live in.  Righteous Dude can be overwhelmed by all of this, so he can vastly oversimplifies things. His capacity to judge is a way of seeming to have control over life, as it is in many ways easier to be critical than to see all of the complex nuances present in the world and the reasons and values associated with these uniqueness.  It’s very convenient to make snap decisions, to assert yes or no, without looking at the details. He’s the Indecisomonster turned on his head.

Righteous Dude keeps you focused on the differences between you and others, rather than looking for the common ground and shared experiences.  Rather than reflecting upon the nuances of things, Righteous Dude causes you to see things in stark contrasts, and predetermined assumptions and beliefs that you express without even pausing to think.  He’s more focused on what you learned in the past rather than perceiving the present.  Energetically he makes you extremely unreceptive, putting out a lot more energy than you let in.  This leaves you feeling brittle.  Sadly, this is a vicious circle, because the response is to be ever more mentally controlling.

Righteous Dude also limits your vocabulary to words like “always”, “never” and the smallest of all….”should”. Righteous Dude is the King of Shoulds - and the Emperor of Being Right. The mental habits of Righteous Dude make the mind a little smaller each time so the world doesn’t seem so filled with possibilities or complexities.  If you don’t relish your capacity for being curious about the people, issues and the world around you, your creativity diminishes.  Being open to other’s points of view is a way to stay open through the uncomfortable places and to love the questions in life that present themselves to you.

When Righteous Dude is balanced you make an amazing teacher.  For this you must express yourself through your heart, rather than your head so there’s common ground and a mutual respect for those you’re teaching.  Be willing to learn from others as much as you’re willing to share with others.  Taming him is a balance of being grounded in your own values while being open to the perspectives of others. 

When he’s balanced you also make a great orator, able to inspire and rally people.  You can help others see a different perspective than their own.  When Righteous Dude is able to give up being right, you’re able to perceive the truth in any perspective.  This makes you a powerful mediator.

To tame him, start to notice your pet peeves as opportunities for connection rather than correction.   Before you growl at the person who just threw a lit cigarette but on the ground, how can you first appreciate that person and see him as a person?   How can you communicate?  How can you disagree without being disagreeable?  What are all of the options?  How can you create an energy that is inclusive and kind? 

This path may be longer, but is more enduring and reflects who you want to be.  When you notice you have your hackles up and you’re in the right about something, ask yourself, what’s more important to you - being right, or being happy?  Life is so short, why spend even one moment being emotionally and mentally rigid?  What would be available for you if you purposely and gently decided that being right doesn’t matter?  What would it be like if you just let yourself relish being wrong?

Affirmations for Righteous Dude:  I am willing to expand the horizons of my thinking.  I am open to the perspectives of others.  I allow other people to be themselves and appreciate others for what they share with me.

<![CDATA[The Magic of a Few Minutes]]>Tue, 13 Jul 2010 19:17:58 GMThttp://www.movebeyondit.com/blog-and-articles/the-magic-of-a-few-minutes How do we motivate ourselves to do the things we’re resistant to doing?  I imagine there are people out there who are happy all of the time to do what’s good for them, but for me and many of my clients motivation is a constant game.

Nowhere does this come out for me as much as it does when I run. I am not one of those people who is simply happy to be running.  After I overcome the resistance to lacing my shoes and finding my ipod, it takes a few miles for me to warm up and enjoy it.

This is why I think running really does make me a better person, because more than just being a way I use my body, it’s a way I learn to have more resilience, commitment, self-discipline and to reach down into my self and discover what I’m capable of.

Or maybe it’s a way to play head games with myself…

One of my favorite games is the game of 5 minutes, which when running translates into asking myself, can I continue to run for the duration of the song playing on my ipod?

Rather than looking at the goal of sooo many miles, I simply ask myself:  Can I run for the next few minutes?  I tell myself that after this song is done, if I don’t feel like running any more, I will give myself permission to stop.

Yet, to be honest, I know that the next song on my play list is one I like even better, and the next, and so on… until it’s finally Pearl Jam.  Who could quit running while Pearl Jam is playing?

This is not only a great running strategy, it’s a great tool for overcoming resistance and procrastination in general.  If you find that there are items on your to-do list that you don’t deal with, or if you are trying to exercise discipline in doing something every day, but find that you keep getting distracted by it, try this simple technique.

Do it for 5 minutes.  If at the end of 5 minutes you don’t feel like continuing, you don’t have to.  But most likely, after 5 minutes you’ll have caught the rhythm and will want to continue

<![CDATA[Balance and the Self-Regulator]]>Thu, 08 Jul 2010 12:54:12 GMThttp://www.movebeyondit.com/blog-and-articles/balance-and-the-self-regulatorPicture
We so often talk about having our lives in balance as if the day is an all-you-can-eat-buffet and we’re supposed to serve ourselves properly measured potions of work, meaningful time with family and friends, plus of course, sleep and exercise.  This way of relating to life often leaves my clients feeling bloated and tired after overindulging or constantly hungry for more because of a too-lean schedule.  Some people settle for quick sugar fixes because their true selves are constantly over piled with the bland starches of the work-a-day life. 

What if, rather than thinking of balance as a plate you’re filling with food, you instead thought of it as your ability to taste, savor and to digest your life?  What if you thought of balance as the energy and awareness you carry with you through the different activities in your day, whatever it is that is happening at the moment?

At the heart of balance is your capacity to be present with what is, while also maintaining perspective of the bigger picture of your life and your future.  In this sense, balance has several ingredients:  awareness of what you feel, what is happening in your present environment, what you are doing in this moment and how you are showing up – bringing as much of yourself to this moment as is available to you.   Yet balance also requires the part of you that is self-regulating to hold space for the larger flow of your day and structure of your time. 

When you try to attain balance, it’s frequently your self-regulator that is given too much emphasis.  Your regulator is the inner voice that wants to run your show.  It thinks abstractly in order to remind you that you must not forget such things as your need to go to the bank today.  A regulator pulls you out of the present moment.  An unbalanced regulator eats up your psychic energy and can make things feel overstuffed and a trifle neurotic.

Basically, your regulator wants to feel that nothing is going to slip through the cracks and that you are moving in a direction in alignment with your purpose.  This is a very valuable part of self.  Your regulator is responsible.  It’s important to give this part of self a way to work effectively that doesn’t over pile your psychic plate.  So let’s work with this abstract part of self in a way that is spacious. 

Here are four dimensions to help foster equilibrium with your regulator.  The first is to create simple structures so this voice doesn’t have to keep reminding you of things that are outside of the present moment.  People create plans in order to try to get more accomplished.  Here, it’s not so much about getting more accomplished as it is about getting what you want done with a sense of ease and flow.  Lists are wonderful for this.  As soon as something is written down, psychic space is freed up.  The idea is to create a schedule or task list that provides you with boundaries around your space and time so you can focus your attention more fully.

The second dimension is to create a deep sense of inner alignment.  This can be more creative - using such processes as value streams and dream boards.  Or, it can be more concrete such as writing a thorough business plan that includes a solid vision statement.  The emphasis here is on creating a sense of direction that your self-regulator can trust, but in a way that is spacious – not focused on the getting it done as much creating as a profound confidence in where you are going.

Another important dimension to being in balance is to engage your awareness more fully in this present moment.  You can enjoy greater balance by focusing your senses on straightforward and simple things.  What are some raw elements in your day that you can attend to more fully and enjoy?  How do you let your absorb what is around you at this moment?  

For example, what if give yourself a few minutes to truly savor your morning cup of coffee?  What if you purchase your vegetables from the local farmer’s market so you understand where your food is coming from?  What if, as you exercise or engage in your daily commute, you challenge yourself to find what is unique along this path rather than what is the same?

Likewise when you pause to take in a person by truly sharing a smile before you use words to greet them, or when you allow yourself to relish their energy for a moment, you not only connect more fully, you create balance in your energy field and are more aware in to the present moment.  Awareness of these simple elements of life enhance your balance when you’re striving hard on a project or are overly driven.

Finally, just be curious about the voice of your regulator.  Become aware of the influence it has on your capacity to be effective in your endeavors as well as its impact on your experience of life.  What kinds of questions would you like to ask of this important part of your self?  What tasks would you like to assign it?

Ultimately finding balance in your life isn’t an issue of time management as it is a concern engaging more richly with your inner dialogue.


<![CDATA[Teenagers - 10 activities to build trust]]>Thu, 01 Jul 2010 13:30:37 GMThttp://www.movebeyondit.com/blog-and-articles/teenagers-10-activities-to-build-trustPicture

<![CDATA[Willingness to Fall]]>Wed, 30 Jun 2010 13:54:02 GMThttp://www.movebeyondit.com/blog-and-articles/willingness-to-fallPicture
I love to watch my daughter learn to walk - her tentative steps grow more confident each day.   About half of the time she makes it across the room to whatever piece of furniture she can grab and about half of the time she falls on her bottom.

There are times when she cries out for me when she lands or gives up and crawls to her destination while other times when she looks slightly startled and then stands back up again and continues walking.  Each day she’s more likely to do the latter.

Cut to me trail running in the woods last week.  I happened across two men out running.  As I lifted my gaze to wave high, I caught a rock and rolled downward in a fall that was pure Hollywood.  It was an awesome spill.  My ITB struck a sharp rock and am still sporting the bruise.  But I brushed myself off and kept running down the trail.

There are many ways we fall in life.  There are the big falls from which we don’t pick ourselves back up and that lead to failure - projects that lie uncompleted, books that go unwritten, dreams that go unheeded and relationships that end in acrimony. 

And there are smaller falls, like when I expressed my frustration to my husband in that tone he doesn’t like, or scorched the garlic trying to make a new recipe for dinner.

What is apparent though is that when we fall, it’s generally because we’re stretching ourselves (or because we’re not paying attention).  It’s the falling associated with stretching that I’m interested in here.  Because like my daughter who is no longer content to crawl, when we’re stretching we’re saying yes to life.  We’re taking risks, willing ourselves to learn and grow.

One of my friends recently started learning to rock climb.  He’s in his late 40s and that’s generally well past the age when people start climbing.  He’s like the proverbial old dog learning new tricks.  What’s so cool is that this guy is an amazing athlete – someone who has excelled at many sports, and he’s doing okay learning to climb.   It would have been really easy for him to have just stuck with what he was already good at.  It took a lot of courage and openness to be the new guy at the gym, struggling on easy climbs, and yes, doing an awful lot of falling. …literally….

One of the reasons I think people age is that we become afraid of failure and afraid of falling.  When this happens the world gets smaller and smaller rather than continuing to expand for us.

I think fear of falling is also why so many relationships become stale.  People get complacent and don’t want to take risks.  On one hand, they hold too tightly to a relationship by not risking rocking the boat by being willing to be authentic even when that part of themselves isn’t what their partner wants to see. On the other hand, they get lazy and don’t try anything new.  Comfort replaces the courage that inspired excitement in the relationship.

How willing are you to take risks in order to grow in your life and relationships?  How often do you not speak up or try something new because you’re afraid of getting the wrong answer?  How willing are you to take falls in your life?

<![CDATA[Invoking Mars]]>Tue, 29 Jun 2010 13:49:28 GMThttp://www.movebeyondit.com/blog-and-articles/invoking-marsThis article is an excerpt from Simply Sacred posted on the hot astrology site: sasstrology.
<![CDATA[Teenagers - Take your teen's feelings seriously]]>Sat, 26 Jun 2010 14:39:14 GMThttp://www.movebeyondit.com/blog-and-articles/teenagers-take-your-teens-feelings-seriouslyPicture