• Read Awareness is great, but don’t forget to act

    Well Being

    Awareness is great, but don’t forget to act

    For years, I chased the big insights.  I think many of us do.  Particularly if we fall into the category of someone who is super interested in personal development and mistakenly intent on “fixing” ourselves (I stubbornly argue there is nothing in you that ever needs to be fixed) the insights are like gold and can often feel addicting at times.  Perhaps we feel lighter for a while, our perspective has changed.  We can feel our growth.  We might start to recognize that we’re showing up differently as opposed to embracing that old bad habit.  And then we have a day where we are faced with all the old problems, and we fall into the trap yet again.  And we may start to wonder, how did I end up here?  Didn’t I already learn this lesson?  I thought I had figured this out, why am I back in the same place? Development can and will be messy This is why I often tell folks when they contact me for a consult that development is a messy business.  Some days it can feel like you’ve taken one step forward and then two steps back.  I use the word “feel” for a reason because in my experience the trajectory is typically up, even though it’s never a straight line. I say this because I’ve noticed a trend in myself and human beings in general, who can make great strides through new insight and shifting patterns of awareness, but often lack taking action that will help to reinforce that new insight. Here’s an example to illustrate what I mean.  I start to recognize how important it is to be grounded in my body daily.  I recognize the power of yoga in my life.  And then I get busy, and for a few weeks I fool myself into thinking it’s not as necessary as I thought, and I stop doing it.  And then I wonder why I’m feeling so restless all the time.  Why I’m feeling disconnected from my purpose as a coach and trainer, and everything starts to feel more like a daily grind.  I wonder why I’m snappier at people.  Why I’m confused about the things that really matter in life. Or perhaps I recognize that part of the “problem” with myself is the lack of compassion I have for myself.  Because of this I can’t hold appropriate boundaries with friends or family members, as I’m always needing and chasing for their approval.  Or I dimmish my accomplishments thinking they’re not good enough, which ultimately steals my joy or keeps me from trying something new.  I get the whopping insight, perhaps even heal some old childhood wounds with the help of coaching or therapy that caused the deficit in the first place.  And then a few months later, wham, bam, I find myself in the soup again.  The insight has flickered out because I’ve forgotten to make it a practice.  I mistakenly assumed that was just “fixed” now.  Don’t forget to act […]

    November 9, 2022

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    4.5 min read

  • Read Forget the mind for a second, it’s the body that really matters

    Well Being

    Forget the mind for a second, it’s the body that really matters

    I’m just going to be honest.  This week I’ve found myself in a real funk.  I haven’t been as motivated to do things, and I’ve found myself falling into the trap of thinking that the harder I am on myself, the more I will push myself, or rather shame myself, I will suddenly move into action.  And then I start noticing all the things I haven’t done, one of which being, I haven’t given much thought to writing this blog.  And because I’m then coming from a negative place to start with, I don’t want to do it, because whatever I produce won’t be good enough and will just be a real pile of crap.  Obviously, this is an excellent frame of mind to start any task from… Our bodies are speaking to us And then I realized something and decided to cut myself a little bit of slack.  I’ve got a physical issue that has flared up at the moment.  It’s called vestibular neuritis just in case you were wondering, and it’s a condition that affects my right inner ear.  When it flares up, I get really dizzy and the entire day feels like I’m riding on a boat on the high seas, and I can’t get off.  Needless to say, this kind of sucks, as it often affects my ability to concentrate, to feel focused, to feel like a normal human being.  It’s a boat ride without the beautiful view, and with a bit of constant low-level nausea.  Hooray. The realization I had is just how important the body is to our full sense of wellbeing.  I should know this right?  I am a yogini after all.  I even taught yoga for years.  But the reality is that most of us don’t.  We do yoga for exercise and to look good in our new Lululemon top.  We often talk about mind, body, spirit connection, but we tend to prioritize the mind, humans being the hyperactive creatures that we are, our noggins just never seem to turn off.  And we treat our bodies as a bag of bones that we drag behind us in the quest for enlightenment and fulfillment.  Sure I need to feed it well.  And drink plenty of water these days if you live in Texas like I do, it’s hot out there!  But what I’m talking about goes beyond the maintenance needs of day to day in terms of things like food and sleep. Tune into your body – what is it telling you? Our body is sending us messages all the time.  And we need to learn to tune into them and listen.  As opposed to ignore and push through the discomfort like is the normal tendency of many of us to do.  “Give me the drug.  Give me that pill that will make me forget about it.”  I’m realizing this is the way I used to handle this condition, which I’ve had since my early twenties.  The result was that during a flare […]

    June 23, 2022

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    4.2 min read

  • Read One Simple Phrase To Invite Calm In

    Well Being

    One Simple Phrase To Invite Calm In

    The other day I woke up with an ache in my neck.  It was a familiar pain, I’d experienced it in the past when I hadn’t been practicing proper ergonomics and I ended up having to do 4 months of physical therapy to get it to subside. And there it was again.  Despite the fact I know better, I’d been doing all the things I shouldn’t.  Sitting hunched over at my computer in bed or on the couch because I was too lazy to go to my office.  And forget the maintenance exercises I’m supposed to do each morning.  Who has time for that? Well, it came back this time with a vengeance.  Pain like I’d never felt before.  So painful I couldn’t sleep at night.  There I was, lying in bed on a girl’s weekend to Marfa, Texas with my best friend, awake in agony for the better part of 3 nights. The spiral loop of doom It was the last night of the trip that I really started to think myself into jail.  My friend had left me alone in the hotel room so I could go to bed early and get some rest.  Except rest was not to be had.  My mind was spinning. I knew I had to calm myself down, but I was off to the races… The day after we get back I start teaching a new leadership program for a client.   What if I’m running on no sleep to do that?  What if the pain doesn’t go away?  What if I’m not firing on all cylinders and have difficult participants?  What if they think I’m an idiot?  And then that will just set off a chain reaction to affect every other session I have with these people, who will now just view me as some kind of overpaid talentless hack who knows nothing about leadership?  Why does this kind of thing always happen to me?  I’m cursed!  It’s amazing where one’s mind will go when it has the opportunity to run free.  Mine is typically off the cliff in 10 seconds or less.  My mind was caught in what I call a spiral loop of doom – you keep replaying worst case scenario over and over again, and your anxiety rises and rises.  Eventually you end up in a state beyond fight or flight, where you literally freeze, start to dissociate and shut down. I started opening all the tools I have in my mindfulness toolkit.  I tried meditation.  No dice.  I tried breathing techniques, but again, nada.  The loop of doom had grown too strong.  And then I remembered a little phrase that my cousin Margaret had mentioned years ago when she was trying to quit smoking.  “This will pass.”  Her trick was to repeat it out loud to herself when she would get the compulsion to light up a cancer stick.  “This craving will pass.  This moment will pass.” The calming beauty of a simple phrase The beauty of that […]

    May 18, 2022

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    4.1 min read

  • Read Nothing Worth Splitting Hairs Over

    Authenticity, Well Being

    Nothing Worth Splitting Hairs Over

    I normally don’t share my creative writing that I do for fun, but this piece I want to share with you.  It’s a vulnerable one recently published in the spring 2022 issue of Please See Me, an online literary journal dedicated to health and wellness.  While the topic deals with an anxiety disorder related to hair pulling ( the technical name is Trichotrillomania) I’ve suffered with over the years, the deeper themes in the piece relate to things we all struggle with.  I hope you enjoy a humorous dive into an important topic, and how learning to laugh at ourselves and how ironically, sometimes surrendering and letting go can open the door to something very special indeed… Nothing Worth Splitting Hairs Over I remember the first time it happened. I was sixteen and it was advanced algebra class. It was our final exam, and I was struggling as usual. I’d never liked math. I looked down at the floor at the end of the period and there it was. A large pile of thick, curly, blond hair was lying innocently on the floor. I looked around the room, wondering whose it was—had some poor soul lost a wig? The confusion was quickly replaced with a sinking feeling in my stomach. It was my hair. But how? Why? I didn’t have time to make sense of it. My face flushed with shame, my eyes darted nervously around the room, looking for my nemesis, Shannon Clark. Had she seen? She’d be sure to tell everyone. I reached down to the floor with all the nonchalance I could muster, quickly grabbed the pile, and stuffed it into my backpack. I disposed of the blond wad later in the girls’ bathroom. I wondered later how many pieces of hair it was. One hundred, two hundred? It was a lot. I didn’t think to stop and count each strand in my mad dash to destroy the evidence. And then panic set in. Did I have a bald spot now? Frantic, I checked my hair in the bathroom mirror multiple times for signs, searching for little patches of scalp peeking out from underneath my frizzy mop. But there were none. My secret was at least safe for now. Up to that point I had craved the long, straight, luxuriously silky-smooth hair many of my classmates sported, like the girls in the Pantene commercials: “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” I hated them. But in that moment, I was secretly thankful for my big, blond mop, which Shannon often referred to as a blonde afro. I had more than enough hair to spare. I was in my early thirties when I finally went in for treatment. I kept pulling out my hair all through the remainder of high school, all through college and my first master’s degree, all through my first job and my second master’s degree. Never enough to be bald. I always conveniently pulled from the underneath on the left side of my head. The result was the […]

    April 26, 2022

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    12.8 min read

  • Read Too busy to meet a friend for coffee? Embrace your inner sloth…

    Well Being

    Too busy to meet a friend for coffee? Embrace your inner sloth…

    “So how are you doing?” I asked an old friend the other day. “Busy!  I’m just so busy at the moment.  It’s crazy trying to find enough time in the day to get everything done.  I don’t know where the time goes.  How about you?” “Oh, keeping busy too I guess.” I vaguely hear myself mouthing the boilerplate response. The land of the crazy busy people I often feel as if I went to bed one night and woke up foggy headed and disoriented in the land of the busy people.  You know the kind.  Outwardly they appear as if in a perpetual rush.  They’re surrounded by an aura of nervous, chaotic energy as they go about their daily business of running red lights, texting while driving, tapping their foot impatiently in the checkout line, intently replying to that next super urgent email on their smartphone, so focused they barely look up to mumble “Venti Iced Skinny Hazelnut Macchiato, Sugar-Free Syrup, Extra Shot, Light Ice, No Whip” to the bemused Starbucks barista. They tell you how much they meant to call you, but they’ve been running around like a chicken with their head cut off.  Work has been insane.  They promise to call soon, once their meditation class finally finishes.  They say that it’s such a shame they don’t see you more often.  Let’s make a date for coffee soon. I’m always left bewildered by these interactions.  Is this crazy busy routine is just a clever ploy to avoid me? The second thing that crosses my mind is, “Why is the simple business of going about your life so damn complicated?”  Because as far as I’m aware, none of these folks are busy solving the problems of the world or a front runner for the Nobel peace prize (present company included). Of course, there are things I could be doing but don’t (which I regularly beat myself up about) like working on yet another marketing campaign for my business or writing a new training course or perhaps even writing a fabulous new blog.  But despite these things, I sometimes find myself bored. But bored is taboo these days.  We’re not supposed to be bored.  If we’re bored, something’s obviously wrong, because our Facebook statuses and Instagram pictures would indicate we’re all leading highly exciting, fast paced, idyllic lives full of meaning and purpose and god only knows what else. I’ve often thought about answering the “How are you” question honestly when I’m having an off day.  I wonder what reaction I’ll get from the other party if I tell them I’m “bored and uninspired.”  It may be similar to the look I got the other day at the liquor store when I was restocking the bar and mentioned to the cashier I was just picking a few things up to get me through the weekend. I often wonder, “How did crazy busy become our new normal?”  As a child, I recall those moments of boredom that inspire you to light […]

    February 8, 2022

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    6.5 min read

  • Read Sorry Whitesnake, you WEREN’T born to walk alone – A quick tip for building a support network

    Well Being

    Sorry Whitesnake, you WEREN’T born to walk alone – A quick tip for building a support network

    A proud child of the eighties, I’m sometimes reminded of that Whitesnake song, “Here I go again on my own.  Going down the only road I’ve ever known.  Like a drifter I was born to walk alone!” Catchy huh?  Except for the fact that the songwriter was more concerned with finding the perfect rhyme than sharing an important truth about life.  Which brings me to the point of today’s blog:  how to develop a support network.  Cultivating a robust support network is an important ingredient in the multifaceted recipe of resilience. 

    February 3, 2022

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    3.3 min read