The Path of Least Resistance

IMG_1039Do you ever feel like you are not on a clear path in your life or with your creative projects? Maybe it feels like you are walking next to it or that you are going in the wrong direction. How do you stay the course if you are not sure of yourself?

There are so many self -help books and websites that can give you exercises to do. Writing down goals, visioning, working through your blocks (and I have found these tools extremely useful!) but what if none of these tools seem to help and they actually confuse you? It may be time to get back to some basics, step out of the details and focus on the big picture to gain some clarity.

When I am feeling this way, I find that it can be helpful to be alone and to be in a quiet environment. There is so much noise, things to do and demands to meet that having alone time and being quiet can feel like a real luxury. When I carve this time out for myself, I am able to tune in to what direction I want to take in my life. I find that meditating is one of the most helpful ways for me to re-connect to myself. Of course, finding some time and space can be as simple as being in another room and closing the door for fifteen minutes without any interruptions. If the bathroom is the only place you can find peace and quiet take advantage of it!

If you are able to give yourself the time and space to be quiet many times thoughts or feelings may come up that you didn’t even know were there! Unprocessed emotions, thoughts and feelings can come up when we aren’t distracted. Sometimes it can become very uncomfortable when you make time to do this and it may be unpleasant and painful.

It is helpful in these moments to bring attention and mindfulness and notice the thoughts without making up a story, judging your thoughts, emotions or yourself. When you can be mindful and pay attention to what your inner voice and your heart is trying to tell you, your path and what you want in your life may become much clearer and more focused.

I also find that being out in nature is another way for me to be alone and to be quiet so I can really listen to my hearts desire and hear myself. Getting away from the noise and distractions and being in a different environment can be very liberating! When I am in nature I feel connected to something larger than myself and this helps me clear out all the random thoughts I may be having. My problems, thoughts or concerns seem so much smaller when I connect to the world at large.

You may also find that going to an urban environment like a coffee shop, museum or the library is a way to be alone and to be in a different environment. There is something about getting out of the same old environment that can free up self imposed blocks and can help you look at your life through a different perspective or lens. Sometimes, this shift in perspective is exactly what you need to have in order to see your path clearly.

Writing or journaling can also be a method to let go of thoughts and emotions so that you can have more clarity about where you are in your life and where you are headed on your path. Sometimes just letting all the thoughts dump out onto the page can be a helpful way to sort, make sense of and connect the dots around different ideas or feelings. It can bring the confusion and chaos into a focused and calm state so that you can discern the best course of action in your life.

Being alone and getting quiet by meditating, being in a different environment or journaling may seem like they are simple solutions on the surface. However, why not try it out? Especially if you have tried other tools and feel like you are bogged down in the details. Get quiet, listen to your heart and gain a broader perspective. You may find that the simplicity may bring the clarity you need to re-connect you to the path of least resistance!

Working With Transitions

IMG_1106Transitions-We all have them. Every day in fact– from the moment we open our eyes. From sleeping to waking, from lying down to sitting to standing and on and on they continue throughout our day. They are so commonplace and habitual that we don’t even notice the minor ones. What we tend to notice more are the bigger transitions like birth, death, losing or leaving a job, a marriage or a relationship or the loss of our identity.

Our culture doesn’t celebrate or mark very many transitions. We power through them getting on to the next thing. How can we slow down to acknowledge the transition while we are actually going through the process? Yes, it is important to move on but is it really moving on if you haven’t really closed the door? Have you given yourself some space to understand what happened and bring your knowledge, wisdom, and awareness into the next phase of your life instead of “getting over or on with it”?

I have been experiencing a career transition in my own life, a happy one yet I find myself wanting to “speed it up”. How do I really acknowledge the ending of one chapter of my life and give myself enough time and space before jumping into my new situation?

First, I acknowledge that I am in a life transition and that the process will take some time. This is not to say that I will not get impatient or frustrated. However, knowing that I am in a process of transition that has it’s own timeline for unfolding has been helpful for me to remember to be patient (I cannot emphasize this enough—transitions have a different timeline than we do). Particularly when I want to “push it” or “move it along” and when I feel like I am not making any progress with either my professional goals or my creative projects. I try to relax into the moment and give myself some space. The work or creative impulse is then able to flow more easily—there is less resistance.

Second, I take time to reflect on the ending and what happened or occurred over the period of time that led up to the ending and then the transition. This has been helpful for me to become aware of any patterns I may be engaging in and don’t want to repeat in the future. It also gives me the opportunity to ask myself deeper questions about this period of time in my life. Questions like: what could have been different, more effective, how could I have structured my time so that it was more fulfilling, were my actions in line with my values, is this what I wanted to create and if not what do I want to create in the future? And so on. This helps me to move into the next phase of my life with intention and clarity about my life path and where I am headed.

Third, if I am caught up in my mind (feeling fearful of the change I am going through) I look to nature for inspiration and a reality check. The natural world is always in transition particularly this time of year as we move into winter. There are always cycles of birth, life and death being played out either quickly or over the seasons. Nature reminds me that transitions can be graceful when I let go of my resistance and fear of change and “go with the flow”. It also reminds me that something new will be created out of the old and more than likely something new and wonderful that I could have never planned for or expected in my life.

How do you relate to transitions in your life? Will you give yourself some space to process the transition or will you push through?

6 Month Check-Up!

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You are now six months into 2015!  Hard to believe isn’t it?

Since you are halfway through the year, it is a good time to review what you have created in and for your life, what you want to continue to create and work on and look at anything that you may want to let go of doing this year.

Priorities and goals change as you move through the year so this is a great time to really look at what makes sense to keep putting energy toward.

 

 

The following are some questions for you to consider as you embark on the second half of 2015:

1.  What do I want more than anything in 2015?

2.  What goals would really inspire me and put a smile on my face if I accomplished them by the end of the year?

3.  What goals do I want to accomplish in each of the following areas, why do I want them and how will it make me feel to achieve them:

  • Career
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Free Time
  • Family Time
  • Personal Growth
  • Spirituality
  • Creativity

4.  How can I bring more fun and play into 2015?

5.  Who will I have to become to have all that I want in 2015?

6.  What is my theme for the rest of 2015?

7.  If I did nothing else, what three things would make 2015 a success for me?

(This last question identifies the top 3 goals to focus on for the remainder of the year)

After you review what makes sense for you to keep working on for the remainder of 2015 be sure to update your plan of action to reflect your current and new aspirations. It is also helpful to re-commit to the goals you are currently working on especially if you are feeling challenged or struggling with resistance.

Speaking of resistance, the following website: www.positiveintelligence.com is a great resource for identifying your saboteurs and understanding the psychological strategies we created as children for survival and how they can be getting in our way or undermining us as adults. You may find it helpful and it is a good starting place if you are finding yourself repeating the same self-defeating patterns over and over again. The PQ (positive intelligence) exercises discussed on the website are basically mindfulness exercises to help you become aware and present in the moment so you can shift out of a saboteur mindset and into a sage mindset helping you to move forward in your life.

Taking the time to re-evaluate your dreams, goals and aspirations for 2015 is a crucial step to staying on track in meeting your aspirations for this year. It is all too easy to have a year go by and wonder what happened. With intention, focus, commitment, planning and action you CAN create the life you envisioned for 2015!

To Fear Or Not To Fear?

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What is fear for me? This is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately.

I have been contemplating different areas of my life and I am curious about how stuck I have become in some of these areas. NOOO movement–HOW AFRAID I FEEL and how this fear in different parts of my life has become a hindrance to moving forward.

I used to be more adventurous in my life. I took more chances. I was fearless! I keep asking myself what happened to that person, what changed? And it’s not just age.

Feel your fear…this tends to be the advice out there in the coaching and self- help world. Breakthrough obstacles, challenge your self, and push through. It’s useful language and it has worked for me at times and I know it’s worked for others because they keep writing books with that message.

I am now finding that I am able to move through my fear when I choose to feel fearlessness. This is also another strategy however, I am finding it really helpful to connect to the feeling of fearlessness because it feels more positive, more hopeful and frankly it feels much better than to keep feeling fear and trying to push through it.

I really don’t want to keep feeling fear if I can help it but when I do I have the tools to be aware of the feeling that comes up. I choose to be with that feeling and move through it rather than ignore, bury or pretend that it’s not happening. This is a result of my meditation and mindfulness practices that I practice on a daily basis.

I have also been practicing re-connecting to a time in my life when I felt fearless and I have been connecting to what THAT feels like. Free, unlimited, open, inspiring and joyful.

Some people have a near death experience or major awakening when they are older—I had one in my twenties and it really woke me up to be more fearless and to choose to live my life to the fullest.

It would have been soooo easy to choose to be a victim and live in fear  but I chose not to. As a result, I have had so many incredible life altering experiences, stretched and challenged myself in ways I would have never thought possible. I grew (and continue to) physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

I don’t want or need to go through another traumatic experience at this point in my life to make me feel alive and fearless (and hopefully you don’t either!) Instead I am choosing to draw on that experience in my life remember and connect to what it feels like to be fearless. By consciously choosing to feel fearless I am able to move forward and create the kind of life I want to live instead of letting the feeling of fear dictate my choices.

I am curious… What is fear for you? How are you consciously working with your fear to transform it into fearlessness? What inspires you to be fearless and move forward in your life and with your creativity?

Move Past What’s Holding You Back

IMG_0237Easier said than done. However, if you don’t move past or work through that challenge, obstacle, or self-destructive habit you are engaging in, you will find yourself in the same place a week, a month or a year from now or however long until you finally move past it and move forward.

Have you ever noticed how it can feel absolutely hellish and comfortable at the same time when you are in a rut or stuck? Usually a situation has to become completely unbearable before you can actually make a change. It’s almost as if you enjoy torturing yourself before you go for what you want.

You want to get in the studio and work on your craft but somehow you don’t get in there. You would like to update your resume and find a job that excites you but you opt to sit in front of the television again. Or maybe you want to go on that vacation but you blow your money on going out to dinner every night. There can be numerous reasons, excuses or maybe it’s just the feeling that you aren’t good enough or worthy. That alone can stop a person in their tracks.

SO how do you move past what is holding you back when you may be stuck or in a rut with your habitual patterns day after day?

  1. You must consciously decide that you are going to fully COMMIT to what you want to happen or have in your life. Without that commitment to yourself it is just words that can result in letting yourself off the hook yet again.
  1. Get SUPPORT. Write it down, tell your friends or family but mostly, tell and share what you want to do with the people you trust and who will support you. By support, I mean those people in your life who are checking in with you to see how it is going, cheering you on when you are struggling and there to talk and listen to you when you need to do that. You may want to consider finding an accountability partner or hiring a Life or Creativity Coach.
  1. Don’t overthink the what, where, when why and how you are going to do it. Just TAKE ACTION. This seems obvious and yet going from thinking to acting can be one of the most difficult steps to take. I also mean taking action in the direction of what you want, NOT distracting your self by doing laundry or some other task that isn’t related to what you want to create in your life. Start with just one step, even if it seems small because one step leads into another and so on.

It is up to you. No one else will do this thing that you want to do, create, be or have except you. That is why it is important to commit to yourself and your vision and follow through with action. Every time you complete a step towards what you want to create for yourself, you build confidence and you also build momentum. The confidence and the momentum will be invaluable when you come up against a challenge, obstacle or frustration as you are trying to move forward. That inertia and knowing that you are fully committed can get you through the rough patches and that makes all the difference. This is also the time to call in/on your support system to help you. They can remind you of your commitment, that you can keep going and that you have the momentum to move past from what has held you back in the past.

This time it can be different IF you really make that choice to COMMIT to yourself, have a SUPPORT system in place and TAKE ACTION toward what you want to create for yourself. What are you waiting for?