• Read The Miracle of Space

    Productivity

    The Miracle of Space

    To say I’ve been busy lately is an understatement.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful for the meaningful work I’m doing currently, I’m more excited than ever about the future and the possibilities it may hold.  But my brain is full, and some days I feel like I pass from one zoom call to another zoom call and there is barely space to take a breath. In the last few weeks, I’ve noticed an alarming trend too – I often forgo the yoga or pilates class and just keep working instead.  Just get the proposal out.  Finish the blog post.  Hurry up, you can do it Shelley!  Make that hamster in the wheel of your mind spin.  Except it just won’t.  The hamster feels punch drunk and lethargic.  He’s had enough, packed his bags and moved to Puerto Vallarta.  Adios! Sound familiar?  Hence the topic of this blog, the miracle of space. Space is magical Space is magical.  It’s the place of inspiration, of creativity.  Have you ever been struggling with something, a concept, a problem, and you get up to go to the bathroom or grab a cup of coffee?  Then you walk back to your screen and boom – you have the answer!  It’s not a coincidence.  It’s not the fact that a magic genie lives in the bathroom.  It’s the magic of space.  Our brains need it to be creative, to innovate. I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve had such a hard time coming up this week with a topic for this blog.  When your head is full and tired, the ideas don’t really flow.  I was starting to think of previous blog posts I could recycle, but my pride intervened.  I can’t do that to you my dear readers… Creativity Craves Space I used to teach a course on creativity, which is slightly ironic considering I’ve never considered myself a particularly artistic or creative person.  I used to hold up a paper clip or a shoehorn or some sort of everyday object in front of my group of participants.  Then I’d ask folks to brainstorm as many uses for that item as they could in 5 minutes. 5 minutes may not sound like a long time, but sometimes it felt like forever when I was running this exercise.  And I never shortened the time.  The first minute or so, every obvious option for what to do with a paper clip got exhausted. Then we’d typically sit in awkward silence for a minute or two.  I never said much.  I didn’t try to prod the group on.  I didn’t tell them to hurry up.  And then the ideas would start to flow again.  But this time they were brilliant.  They were the ideas that were way beyond the obvious.  The real innovative ones.  I’ve heard potential uses for the paper clip the likes of the world have never seen. Where is the space in your day? I sometimes do mentor coaching as well, the […]

    July 29, 2022

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    4 min read

  • Read How free are you really?

    Mindfulness

    How free are you really?

    I spent the last few days up in Taos in the mountains on vacation, desperately trying to keep up with my energetic husband on the high mountain trails.  As I was huffing and puffing up the slopes of Wheeler Peak at 13,200 feet, one has some time to think deep thoughts, the alternative is to be consumed with fear about sliding off the mountain.  And as the 4th of July holiday passed, it inspired me to think about freedom, and what is means to be truly free. There are things like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the types of rights contained within our constitution.  And then there are the more subtle elements that lie within the recesses of our minds.  Because when you really start to think about what it means to be free, quite often, the inhibitor of our freedom lies within. Fixation on the Future To what extent do I really have control over my thoughts?  Or am I a slave to anxiety, negativity, burnout?  Often each day we’re locked in unconscious patterns of thought.  Our focus and attention are hijacked.  We forget our innate self-worth and often fixate on accomplishments and accolades as proof that we are worth something.  Am I good enough?  Am I smart enough?  Have I accomplished enough?  Will I ever have enough time to get everything done? We worry unnecessarily rather than focus on the moment we are in.  We float through our day, half present, consumed by the thoughts in our head, not really connecting with others, not really enjoying the moment, or appreciating where we are at, because we’re so consumed by where we need to be.  Once we get to where we think we need to be, we’re consumed by a new need, a new want.  A new client, a new project, a new job, a new career.  Because unfortunately when we’re fixated on the future, there’s no end in sight.  Our needs and wants are unlimited. No wonder we’re so exhausted. Fixation on the Past Or maybe we’re ruminating on the past.  Which can often be a recipe for depression.  I should have done that differently.  I shouldn’t have had that conversation that way.  I messed up.  I made a bad decision.  If I knew then what I knew now… But the point is you didn’t.  What are you holding onto from the past?  How is holding onto this limiting your capacity to feel fully free?  One of the principles of my coaching philosophy is “It’s impossible to make a mistake.”  This is often difficult for many folks to grasp.  We think about people we’ve wronged, bad decisions we’ve made, tests we’ve screwed up on.  The list is long.  But when you really get down to brass tacks and you think about those moments, you didn’t set out to “make” a mistake.  Typically, you did the best you could in that moment with the level of consciousness you had. Or maybe instead of shame it’s anger and resentment […]

    July 6, 2022

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    4.2 min read

  • Read It Really Is All About Your Intention

    Life Direction and Purpose

    It Really Is All About Your Intention

      At the end of yoga class yesterday, my teacher Erikka came up to me and said, “Your practice looks really nice.”  Quite a compliment, coming from her, a graceful swanlike woman, I’ve often watched her move seamlessly out of one posture to another, balancing on one foot in warrior three without a care in the world. Effort without Intention It reminds me of when I first started my yoga practice.  I was anything but.  There, in the sweaty confines of the hot room, I was swearing under my breath as I struggled to lift my crooked back up one inch off the floor in cobra.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  I came back to class, day after day because I knew I felt better, but I looked at the postures as difficult mountains to climb, never acknowledged any progress I made and certainly never thought my practice was “good enough.”  I muddled through year after year and somehow found the willpower to never give up. Lately I’ve been talking a lot in these blogs about the body, and particularly our connection to it.  I’ve been realizing how frequently we get triggered by something, have that feeling that we’re out of control or overwhelmed, and then move about our day, only half really being in this wonderful bag of skin and bones we call home.  We lose touch with the sensation of really “being” in our body, how miraculous that experience is.  We become, for lack of a better word, “ungrounded” and float our way through life living almost exclusively in our head, in the neurotic diatribe that is almost always occurring in our monkey-like mind. The Power of Intentions So yesterday, I did set an intention in class.  For many years I’d roll my eyes when teachers would say that.  When I taught yoga, I’d often tell students to do it as well, but I really didn’t grasp what the words meant.  I thought it sounded cool and zen like. My intention was to ground myself in my body during my practice.  I’d had a tough week, I’d been triggered many times teaching a new course to a group of participants.  My mind was on hyperdrive, “Was I good enough?  What kind of feedback am I going to get?  Was I too honest and harsh in the group coaching circles?  Do the participants think I’m some sort of hack?  I should have said this.  I should have said that.  I’m not sure they got all that much out of the experience.  Maybe I upset them.  I’m never going to be called back to do any work for this client again!”  But I digress… So my intention was to look at the yoga not just as an interesting challenge, but a tool for connecting my body to my mind and spirit.  I focused deeply on my breathing and recall hearing myself breathe in and out.  In mountain I reached my arms up to the sky, to salute the […]

    June 30, 2022

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    4.5 min read