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Archive for September, 2011

The Art of Allowing – Letting Go of Resistance

The Art of Allowing

In martial arts and self-defense training we learn that the best way to succeed against a powerful opponent is to use their energy to our advantage. While fighting a bigger or stronger opponent is futile, learning to redirect their energy and hostility to their own detriment is bound to be more successful.

So we practice. One person charges at another. Instead of standing and fighting, we do what the bullfighters do so well. Stay in place as if prepared to fight, and then step out of the way at the last possible moment. At that moment apply the self-defense technique you are supposed to be practicing to redirect your opponent’s fighting energy to assist them in falling and rendering them harmless to you.

What if your opponent is your own internal resistance and you could allow instead of resist with everything in your life whenever you feel resistance?

Letting Go of Resistance

Someone told me that in the journey to self-healing and growth there is little pain if there is no resistance. When there is no resistance, things that need to get done become easy and nearly effortless. Activities go from being a chore to something you just do without a second thought. Let’s take a look an example.

This is something that used to be hard for you that you probably now do effortlessly: driving your car. Do you remember the first time you got behind the steering wheel? Did you clutch the steering wheel? Did you feel fear? Did you over-steer when making a turn? How about stopping and starting on an incline? Making a left turn into heavy traffic without a stoplight? How about pushing the accelerator too fast or the breaks too hard and having a jerky ride? May be when you drive an unfamiliar car, you go back to that jerky ride until you become accustomed to how that car responds.

Over time and many miles of driving, any fear and resistance fades away. Driving becomes so natural that you may get in the car in the morning, drive to work, park your car, and wonder how you got there. May be you were absorbed in your thoughts, listened to the radio or a CD, or had your morning coffee and chatted on the phone. Driving was just something you did – naturally. You avoided other cars, followed the speed limit, stopped at red lights, obeyed traffic signs, and took all the correct turns to get to your destination – all without effort.

It is possible to take something you now consider a chore or challenge and make it effortless. Simple but may be not easy.

Creating Awareness and Why This Matters:

Are you even aware of when you are resisting? Do you notice when your face scrunches up, when your shoulders tense, or that you are holding your breath? Noticing when you tense up is your first step to letting go of resistance. Then take some deep breaths, relax your shoulders, and pretend that you have a cool iron that gently irons away the lines on your face until the skin on your face is smooth and relaxed.

The other way to notice that you are resisting, is when a task feels like a chore rather than effortless and without any resistance. If you think that something is a bother, or too much trouble, then you are resisting. Do you eat your leftovers cold because it’s too much of a bother to heat them up? Do you have slip-on shoes because it’s not worth the hassle to tie your shoes? Do you use paper plates or eat food straight out of the box because you just don’t want to bother with dirty dishes? Do you leave your bed unmade because you are just going to get back in it tonight? What are the tasks that are left undone because you just don’t want to bother with them? Those are the tasks you are resisting. Any place you have a messy pile, you have resistance. It even shows in your face.

As you get older, the lines on your face tell your story. Do you have lots of laugh lines or do you have a permanently furrowed brow? When relaxed, do the corners of your mouth point upward, straight across, or sag downward?

The lines on your face tell you, just like the rest of your body, which facial muscles are toned because they are used, which ones are tight and overused, and which ones are underused or even atrophied. Any place you have regular tension, you will develop creases on your face.

But more importantly than the lines of your face, the resistance you feel on a regular basis adds to your stress levels. And we all know that many diseases have stress as a contributing factor.

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life, figure out what you truly want in life, and help you let go of some stress, call me. For many people coaching can make the difference between what you have now and the life you could have. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

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Reduce Bad Stress to Make Room for Good Stress

Reduce Bad Stress to Make Room for Good Stress

Do you have too much stress? Do you have too much procrastination? Do you have too little of achieving your goals? You can change all that.

1. You can lead a driven life: If you are driven, you have taken on the role of your own parent and you push yourself to get things done. Your stress is internally created.

2. You can lead a controlled life: If you lead a controlled life, outside influences dictate your life. There is always someone to blame. Your stress seems to come from other people or circumstances.

3. Or you can learn to lead an inspired life! If you lead an inspired life, you live a life of choices and passion. The things that may stress other people out are more like little annoyances on your path of living a passionate and inspired life. This is the good life.

If you have a lot of stress you have probably looked for and found ways to control stress. Well, if you want to have stress, then you can certainly try the various methods for controlling it. But when you are all done, you still have the stress. Or – more and more – you may say, “Never Again” to more and more situations. Your life becomes more and more restricted.

How about letting go of your body’s stress response instead. In other words, what if something that currently stresses you out, in the future, has NO effect on you? What if that stressful occurrence vanishes from your life altogether? Would that improve your life? Have you noticed that when you try to avoid or evade a certain type of stressful situation in your life, it pops up somewhere else? It’s like the amusement park game Whack-A-Mole. You bop them on the head and more show up. That is how stress is until you learn how to let your stress response go.

Stress from “Goals”

You have stress because what you want to have is different from what you now have. Let’s say that you have a job and on that job there is someone you just don’t get along with. You wish they treated you well but you constantly feel ignored, diminished, avoided. So you have a “goal” of how you wish things were, but they are different. You have stress when you have to deal with that person. If you could control that person to behave towards you the way you want them to, that would be one way to solve your problem. But nothing you’ve tried seems to work. So you have stress. What if you could find a way to just let go of your desired outcome or goal?

First of all, notice that there are probably other people in your life that don’t act towards you the way you want them to. Now take it one step further. Do those same people act that way all the time or do they treat some people the way you wish they would treat you?

Since you have already tried to have them change, try changing yourself. If that person in the office is nice to some people, what is it about those people that might be contributing to a friendlier interaction?

In what way do you treat that person so they might feel ignored, diminished or avoided? Fear and hostility tend to go together. If you are avoiding each other until you absolutely have to deal with each other, you will both tend to come from a place of fear and feel you have to lead with hostility to let them know forcefully what you expect to happen. They may equally respond with hostility. If you can realize they are probably covering fear with hostility, you can see how the pattern perpetuates. Chances are that this pattern is something you learned in childhood. If you truly want things to be different, you have to change the pattern. This is not an easy thing to do and short of eliminating certain people from your life there is no quick fix. Relationships take effort.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

You only have room for so much stress in your life. If your life is full of daily stress, then you don’t have the energy to work on your dreams and goals. As you reduce the stressors in your life, you then have energy and vitality to enjoy life and go for your goals. So, to get the life you want, you first have to make room in your “stress bucket”. If stress is the difference between what have now and how you’d like things to be, then having goals is only possible when there is room in your “stress bucket”.

So the first step to getting your goals is to let go of some goals you may not even be aware of: think of something that annoys you, may be something as simple as a burned out light bulb or the mess in the back seat of your car. Decide when you are going to take care of it, get it done. Once it’s done it no longer occupies room in your “stress bucket”. Coach Jim Bunch talks about the “9 environments” and how, by keeping them clean, we free up energy to support getting our goals.

When we have too many goals we tend to go into procrastination. It’s like having a computer with too many programs running at the same time; eventually it slows down or even crashes. So —- if you are procrastinating —- you might have too many goals open at the same time. Defer some of them. Sales trainer Brian Tracy tells executives who want to be more productive, to prioritize their top 5 goals for each day, then work on their number one goal until it is done. Then move to their number 2 goal until they have worked through each one. Brian talks about how executives have reported amazing productivity gains with just this one tip.

Resources:

“Eat that Frog”, is one of many books by Brian Tracy.

Jim Bunch’s http://www.theultimategameoflife.com The Ultimate Game of Life coaching programs.

Dr. Michael Ryce’s http://www.whyagain.com/worksheets.php has a free download of a “Reality Management Blank Worksheet 7-step”. It is a helpful tool for creating awareness around your stressors and letting them go.

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life, figure out what you truly want in life, and help you remove some stress from your “stress bucket”, call me. For many people coaching can make the difference between what you have now and the life you could have. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

Repeating Patterns and How to Break Free

Repeating Patterns

How would you describe your family’s relationship with money?

At a workshop on “Creating Consciously” the speaker, Dr. Michael Ryce, offered this bit of wisdom. He said there are 4 steps to achieving an abundant life:

1. Never Enough
2. Day Late, $ Short
3. Just Enough
4. Abundance

Each one of these steps includes a cluster of behaviors and thought patterns which are often passed from one generation to the next.

Which one of these money relationships to you feel you are living now? Which one are your parents, grandparents and other family members living? This is not about how much someone has but how they feel about it. There are plenty of millionaires who don’t feel abundant but rather live in constant fear of losing their money and not having enough.

Story: Intergenerational Patterns, when someone takes what’s yours – against your will

They are widening the street in front of my house. They (the Department of Transportation) didn’t ask if I want to sell them a piece of my yard. They told me that they are going to take it. In all fairness, they have to pay for it, but other than that, I have very little say about what, when, and how it all happens.

During a recent conversation with my mother I mentioned what is happening with the road-widening project. Then my jaw dropped when she told me her story: Sometime after my birth and before age four, we lived next to a forest. During that time, and I was totally unaware of it until this recent conversation, the authorities decided that they needed to create a fire free zone between the forest and people’s houses. Instead of cutting down some trees on the edge of the forest, they took a piece of my parent’s land to create a strip of land with sand and gravel as a buffer strip. — What an incredible coincidence! I happen to live across the street from a Forest Preserve, and the road-widening project is happening on my side of the street.

Does that pattern go back further? I am not aware of any similar stories in my family going further back. But I do know that my grandparents and great-grandparents (living in Germany) lost their homes due to bombing during World War II. No one asked them if they wanted their homes turned into smoldering piles of rubble.

History repeats itself until the lessons are learned. I wonder if I had known about my parents’ experience, if I would have bought a different house eleven years ago. Awareness is certainly the first step. Apparently the locals all knew that this part of the road was eventually going to get widened. It never occurred to me to even ask questions about the road or to notice that it was already four lanes further north and further south of us.

Interestingly enough, that early childhood time in my life was associated with a whole lot of trauma: abuse, hunger and neglect. Just like the Pavlov’s dog experiment, I have unrelated emotions associated with someone taking a piece of land against my will. So now I get to go through that experience consciously and also heal the trauma that was unconsciously associated with that time and event.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

History repeats itself until the lessons are learned. Awareness is the first step to change.

People have repeating patterns in their families all the time. The most obvious are patterns like alcoholism, drugs, or abuse, even educational or financial achievement. Often the negative patterns are also associated with secrecy and cover up. It takes conscious effort and help from the outside to shift the patterns and break out of the repeating cycles.

Do you have repeating patterns you would like to shift? Are there things going on in your life that seem to keep repeating – over and over? May be you sometimes feel that “everyone is out to get you”? Are you in a repeating pattern with money that you’d like to shift?

Here are my suggestions for a different outcome to a repeating pattern:
1. Become aware of a repeating pattern that you don’t want in your life. Start small. Most new runners don’t choose a marathon for their first race. Start small.
2. Become very clear what is happening.
3. Figure out how you are contributing to the pattern. What’s the role you play to attract this to you?
4. Learn from the experts on how to do this differently.
5. Try something different.
6. If you feel resistant or defeated before even getting started, explore why you are stuck and how to get unstuck.
7. To overcome the WHY of being stuck, create a bigger WHY to change. Often an addict has to hit bottom before they can heal. The condition, in their mind, becomes worse than the required healing work and anticipated withdrawal symptoms.
8. Have a new way of dealing with the problem that was solved by your old pattern. For example, if you drank to relax after a stressful day, you will need another way of relaxing and reducing stress, which does not create a new undesirable pattern.

Resources:

The book, “Why is this happening to me … Again?” by Dr. Michael Ryce can be purchased or downloaded for free on his website http://www.WhyAgain.com
Dr. Ryce has also created a 20 minute guided meditation, “Wellness Through Stillness” which I have found very helpful.

Stress Release:
In the September 2011 teleconference call entitled “Uncovering hidden blocks” by Jack Canfield, he leads his audience through a couple of stress relief tools: EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, also called Tapping) and the Sedona Method. For more information go to http://www.askJackCanfield.com

The Sedona Method is a very effective way to permanently melt away your stress response to stressors in your life. For more information, go to http://www.sedona.com

N.E.T. Neuro Emotional Technique. A way to let go of and heal responses to emotional triggers and restore wellness. For more information and to find a practitioner in your area, go to http://www.netmindbody.com/for-patients/an-explanation-of-net

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life, figure out what you truly want in life, and help you clear the obstacles in your way, call me. For many people coaching can make the difference between what you have now and the life you could have. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900 now.

How Do You Want to be Loved?

How Do You Want to be Loved?

This article is NOT about what you might at first assume.

This article is about how you know when another person treats you in a way that you want to be treated. It’s about becoming clear about how you want to be treated and how others want to be treated.

Six Love Languages

In the book “The 5 Love Languages” Gary Chapman helps us understand what we most want from our important relationships and that we have definite preferences. He also shows how, when partners act from their own love language, they may be misunderstood and not feel appreciated. For a fuller understanding of the 5 Love Languages, I recommend the book. It’s an easy read. Here is a taste:

1. Quality Time:
If this is your Love Language, then you like to spend time with your partner and have his/her undivided attention.
2. Words of Affirmation:
If this is your Love Language, then you like to be complimented – not flattery, but sincere comments about your appearance, things you have done well, details you pay attention to. What’s important to you is verbal appreciation and gratitude.
3. Receiving Gifts:
If this is your Love Language, then what’s most important to you are gifts. You know that you are being remembered, thought about and loved when you receive frequent gifts. They can be small, they can be handmade, it’s the thought that counts for you.
4. Acts of Service:
If this is your Love Language, you know that you are loved when your partner does things for you: help with the household tasks, fix things, run errands. If you feel loved through acts of service, you would do well with someone who is happy to frequently get a “honey do” list and is happy to get things done for you or support you in things you need help with.
5. Physical Touch:
If this is your Love Language, then what’s most important to you is touch. This can be as simple as holding hands while watching TV, snuggling up, even a casual touch while walking by each other makes you feel appreciated and loved.

Gary Chapman says that while we probably want some of all of the above, we definitely have a primary and may be a secondary love language that we care about more than the others.

So what’s the 6th Love Language? I believe it’s commitment to each other, implemented through open communication and trust. You know that your relationship will weather any storm, that you can be yourself, can make mistakes, can disagree. In other words you know that you’ll work things out and you’ll stick with each other – “for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, …”.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

Relationships are a life-long project. We nurture them, we ignore them, we come together with people for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Those people who are in loving and satisfying relationships tend to be the happiest. So – to learn and tell others how we want to be treated, and to learn and apply how others want to be treated will take us far towards our happiness and the happiness of those we come in contact with.

The following website has a quick and easy test to help you identify your primary and secondary love languages from the book “The 5 Love Languages”.

http://www.afo.net/hftw-lovetest.asp 

I recently experienced a workshop on relationships by Michael Ryce. It touched me deeply. He has created a Commitment sheet for couples to say to each other. Repeating this for 40 days, he says, has changed many relationships for the better. A free copy can be downloaded from

http://www.whyagain.com/media/My_Commitment.pdf
It starts with, “My Commitment. I promise to TRUST you enough to tell you the Truth and be true to you. I commit to …”

Contact me:

If you would like help with your relationships, call me. The road to happiness and success is best traveled with others. For many people coaching can make the difference between what you have now and the life you could have. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith for a no cost, no obligation consultation at 847.913.3900. Now.

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