Monday, April 20, 2020

Need a COVID Antidote (who doesn't)? It's Vital.

Who's tired out there? Tired of ensuring that you're accomplishing what's necessary to keep a company afloat. Tired of trying to stay engaged at your home 'office,' read: kitchen table, bed, closet... Tired of being bombarded about this mysterious, deadly pandemic. Tired of being confined and not knowing when life is going to open up again. Of figuring out how to support your family, on so many levels. Tired of worrying about your TP supply.

That's a lot of tired. A lot of effort. A lot of giving. Without enough receiving, renewing, refreshing. 

I was inspired to ask myself how I could offer, especially in our super-stress inducing COVID-19 times, would provide some respite, some peace, perhaps some energizing inspiration. My caveat: whatever my offer, it had to be effort-free. I hope this offer will serve you in some way. And a caveat for you: as a coach, I don't provide answers; I focus on questions to elicit your self-revelation. 

So here's the question I have for you:

1. Simply ask yourself this question:

“What have I done today that made a positive difference for my organization, for someone or for myself?”

2. Then, for a moment, experience whatever arises. Receive it, take a warm bath soak in it Expend no effort trying to recall, just let your memory swim throughout your body. Let go to let in. Just receive for yourself, about yourself, by yourself.  

BTW, it’s not the number of things you've said or done today that matters. Instead, it's a matter of recognizing yourself, reminding yourself that who you are, what you do, matters. In essence: YOU MATTER. 

What arises may be that you listened to a colleague who desperately needed someone to vent her worries to. Maybe you smiled at a stranger (with your eyes - where sincere smiles emanate from anyway - because your mask was covering up your mouth). Perhaps you're the one who moved into the street to let someone on the sidewalk safely pass by. It may be that you applied for an SBA loan or unemployment, to offer some relief, or updated your LI profile (yes, some companies are hiring!). Even though you were frantically preparing for your next Zoom meeting, maybe you stopped to admire your child's painting of Spring's blossoming daffodils. 

Or maybe in this very moment, you've stopped to do absolutely nothing, nothing except the most mysterious, wondrous thing you could possibly do: breathe. In and out. Now that's something to recognize, to celebrate: the breathe that makes you YOU. Vital.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Separate to Connect, with Yourself and Others

Separate to connect. How can that be?

As a meditator, I’ve been taught by my extraordinary meditation teacher, Nestor Perez, and now, can practice the life-enhancing art of separating to connect. While separation may seem counterintuitive to being with the moment, to authentically connect with ourselves and others, in fact, it’s separation that allows us to do just that.

Here’s How and Why: Please try this:
What happens when you say to yourself: I am anxious. I am mad. I am scared.
In my experience, when I make such pronouncements, I fully identify with them. In fact, without consciously realizing it, I let these feelings have me, be me. I obsess over myself, my insufficiencies, my unworthiness. 

As a consequence, my self-confidence flags. I hide myself from others, fearing that I’m not good enough to be acceptable thus accepted. This false belief, that I am my feelings, separates me from myself, out of shame/blame, and from others. 

Now, say this to yourself: I feel anxious. I feel mad. I feel scared.

Take a moment and a few breaths as you toggle between these two sets of sentiments. I am scared...I feel scared...Do you experience them differently?

For me, simply adding feel to the second set of sentences, separates me from those feelings. They don’t have me; now I have them. I am separate from these sentiments. They no longer define me. I’m simply experiencing them.

Let’s go one step further. Say and let yourself feel: Feeling anxious. Feeling mad. Feeling scared. What happens when you remove I from your sentence? 

For me, the removal of I allows me to even more clearly delineate and acknowledge my felt experience, rather than identify with it. Separate but connected. Not captive, though potentially captivating.

Why is this practice of slowing down to consciously connect with your feelings while remaining separate from them so important?

First, as you separate your identity from your feelings, you create agency to ride the seas through and over those waves of feelings — gentle, or rough (particularly now, with COVID-19)— rather than be swallowed by them

Second, life is about connecting. Free of the false belief that you and your feelings are the same, imagine how vulnerable, how honest you can be to share and receive care around the feelings you’re experiencing! On what grounds can feelings, which we all experience, be judged?

Third, knowing that I am separate from my feelings is empowering. I have choice about how I want to respond to experiences and what feelings I want to bring into life. This takes practice beginning with one and then another and another intentional breath in and breath out. As Nestor teaches, prime my intentions, one breath at a time. Over time, and with practice, I’m more able to respond than react and as life-enriching, choose and share feelings such as calm, peacefulness and joy!

Separating in order to connect, with ourselves and others. Isn’t that what we all need and want? 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Marching Forward. Together. All of US.

 I marched on January 21st.

Photo by Dana Whitaker from
Exploring Morocco; Discovering  Ourselves
Because I'm choosing to look and act with forward conviction and constructive action. 
Because there is room for all of us. We are all in this. All of us. 
For my part, I'm committed to helping individuals become self-aware (as I try to be myself), conscious of what they value. 
Knowing oneself is centering and inspires self trust, two keys to moving forward. 
That's powerful. 
Imagine everyone believing in themselves. 
What positive energy and action we would create! 
From a self-trusting place, there is neither need nor room for fear. 
 Because we're living our truths. 
When people do that, we want for others what we have for ourselves. 
Safety. Respect. Connection. 

Ready to march?

What are your values?

My primary one is: Be open, no matter what! 

Friday, December 30, 2016

10 Gifted Learnings from 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, I offer you a gift. A gift not of physical substance, but of thoughts, feelings and actions over the past year of publishing a new book, moving out of my house, dropping my son off at NYU for his first year of college and taking a 3-month sola (but never really alone!) odyssey throughout Europe, that I have experienced, learned from and am so thankful for. Perhaps these will lend a spark to your inner or outer fire as they have for me. Blessed beyond words. 

1.   Take risks for things that matter to you. Even if they’re scary (like scaling a tower’s ladder or a towering peak!). Ask yourself: “Might I be sorry if I don’t do this? What might I gain if I do?” 

2.   Don’t wait for life to fulfill you; take 100% of yourself into whatever you do. That practice in itself is fulfilling. (Take yourself to your edge.)

3.   Smile at people. Sincerely. With your eyes as much as with your mouth. If they smile back, what an added joy; if not, no matter. Enjoy how your smile makes you feel. 

4.   Laugh everyday. It’s easy, particularly when you pay attention to life’s everyday happenings, and when you don’t take yourself too seriously. (Oh, that risqué country of Croatia and Kentuckian Austin and my Thanksgiving turkey offering in Barcelona, somehow stuffing ourselves and my suitcase and backpack into Rafaella’s tiny electric car, Miró chair)


5.   Treat yourself to something special everyday. It needn’t be costly or exotic. Or, it may be. Smell a flower. Eat an octopus,  Amada’s paella, Marc's and Sarah’s divine dinners, vino tinto, queso and jamon topped with foie gras with Ana and Davide, fellow CELTA certificate students.


6.   Stop. Throughout your day.  Notice. Your breath. Your surroundings. People around you. That will reconnect you with yourself and with all the marvel that is. (Like a sunset swim in Mallorca with my friend Elvira and experiencing Chagall’s multimedia exhibit in a 25meter high quarry carved out under the town of Les Baux, France.)

7.   Commit yourself to something, no matter what. For me, it's to be open, everyday. With great anticipation; but not expectation. (Like being encouraged by my Backroads pals, Tony, Karen, Jackie and Richard, to ride back up the long, steep hill we’ve recently descended, and making it to the top! Or, going on Meet-Ups where I met new, now life-long friends like Vandana, Greg and Hilda while foraging for mushrooms outside of Paris, and Karen (pictured with Hilda, left) who started a wine/food Meetup in St. Remy, Provence). 

8.   Be generous: listen to others, honor their thoughts and feelings as well as your own. Share your bounty. (Gaudi masterpieces)      

9.   Use your intuition coupled with evidence to guide you. (Jaume Plensa)(Ocean tornado) 

10. Say Thank You whenever you can. I thank YOU, Hvala, Gracias, Merci, Grazie, Shokran from the sands of Morocco's Sahara and CA (with my son, Jack)!