Resilience

You have no idea what you can endure. Some days I am grateful for the challenges that life brings because I know it is leading to growth. Sometimes I just want it easy. I heard that when we think we are at maximum capacity we are actually only at 20%. That helps when I am running up a mountain and imagine how good it would feel to just stop, but then I remember how good it feels on the other side. That saying “pain is necessary, suffering is optional” goes a long way.

Someone told me that I am in the tunnel right now. She said “it is not a nurturing place and you have to keep moving.” She affirmed that I was doing all the right things and to keep the faith that it will all make sense someday soon. She told me it was okay to be angry, sad, scared, and that it was safe to share these feelings out loud. Maybe this is what it feels like to be born, emerging from the womb and into this new life on earth.

Right before the snake sheds it’s skin, it is temporarily blind. This protects it but also creates for a very vulnerable existence. During this period the snake other senses are heightened and it may hide, until it emerges stronger, with a new skin and increased resilience for another season. resilience snake

Waking Up

Yes, coffee can help and you know I love it (private message me and I will hook you up)!

I heard yesterday that consciousness is the downside of sobriety. I think what he meant was that with increased consciousness we also get to feel the stuff that can be really painful and we are more likely to face fears and walk through the shadows of self. A primary reason for using drugs, alcohol and other addictive substances or behaviors, is to become unconscious and to numb the feelings, thoughts and emotions out. For anyone who has experienced addiction or substance abuse, you know that the problem isn’t really the beer or the crack. Put the drink down and what are you left with? All the $%@# that served as fuel for numbing out is still there and it might have even been doing push-ups in the other room while you were getting wasted.

We all have ‘stuff’, whether it is a result of our own choices or hand-me-downs from our ancestors (thanks Mom and Dad!). Good for you if you have been working through it in a healthy emotional state since your adolescence. For as much self-reflection and personal growth work I have done (with the support of many professionals and peers (gulp)), I continue to be amazed at how many opportunities show up every day for new ways of living. It is through becoming more aware and then choosing new responses that we can re-pattern and shift the consciousness.

There is a lot of buzz – even in the mainstream – about mass consciousness. The idea is that we are all part of one ‘energy’ and that when groups form around a common purpose something will inevitably shift. We each bring our own unique and individual consciousness to a situation, to a room, to a group, to a nation, and to the world. Studies have shown that even one person’s loving presence in a crowded room can transform the collective energy (Rollin McCraty, Ph.D., Clinical Applications of Bioelectromagnetic Medicine, 2004.) Meaning, other people in the room will actually start to feel differently just from the influence of that one loving person, even if they have not spoken a word.
This is no longer ‘woo-woo’ and is not religious. It is scientific.

Yesterday I woke up to a new level and March 6, 2016 will forever be noted on my personal timeline of life-changing events. The world became a notch more crisp and I was attune to every detail around me. Without feeling overwhelmed by the crowds or the emotions of people with whom I engaged, I simply saw / heard / felt / smelled / tasted / touched life in a new way and with so much awe and gratitude, that I want to offer that gift to you too. I guarantee you that something so beautiful is on the other side of that sleep-state, you will never want to go back.

Heartbreak

Behind many of the world’s greatest leaders is a major heartbreak.   At some point in their life they reached a turning point and perhaps were faced with death. Call it a ‘challenge’, a ‘bump in the road’ or ‘a growth opportunity’ but let’s face it, bad things happen. Sometimes the thing happened before we were even born and our cells carry the experience, even from generations ago. Are you responsible for this and how do you turn it around??

This world offers a lot of material to work with and there is no shortage of trauma. Last Gothic+Arch+-+Gargoyleweek my five year old son and I were admiring a building that had gargoyles on the top and when he asked what purpose they served, I answered quickly “to protect us from evil spirits”. 30 minutes later he was still processing and seeking more explanation. Without having guidance from a skilled professional I answered as best I could, knowing that my son has already faced his share of ‘evil spirits’ and what I want the most is for him to feel safe and secure in the world. I do not want him to grow up full of fear and I will be open with him about how I have overcome some heartbreaks, when the time is right. I will not shelter him and I will do my best to highlight the internal source of strength he can always tap into, so he does not feel powerless to life circumstance.

I do believe we are always at the moment of choice. If we are under attack we may automatically enter fight-flight-freeze mode but then when we survive we have options. Many of the most admired changemakers have a very personal story of post-traumatic growth; something that seemed to tear them open and pull out their insides. It required deep examination and self-reflection in taking steps toward a rewarding existence. In their personal journey of healing they have become motivated to leave the world a better place than when they found it. The heartbreak leads to purpose and meaning. For that reason, I am grateful for those experiences in my life that created wounds and left scars. I could not have imagined the ‘breaks’ leading to a sense of wholeness and it is my intention to support others as they walk through the valley of the darkness.

 How will you move on from your heartbreak; from that thing that was so painful it seemed like it might kill you? How do you describe that heartbreak today? Have you taken action? How do you present yourself to the world in reaction to this trauma and how does it manifest in your life today?

 

Inside Job

Today you must focus. We are going to take an inventory. You may find dusty shelves that you have been ignoring for years. You may come across cobwebs and perhaps even some bones, left behind by people you have never met but whom are somehow influencing your life. This is a big warehouse you have and some aisles are friendlier than others. There is no rush and you will not be alone, but it is time.

I know – you are very busy. Your life is very full and you have so many responsibilities today. You are already late for your first meeting and your child is crying. You have not even seen your best friend for a month and what you really want to do is take a trip; to get away; to sleep; to “catch up”. It seems like you are doing everything right and yet you still feel so much stress and some days it feels like you are treading water. Before you go to sleep at night – if you get to sleep – you go over all that you did, gauging your success on how many items you crossed off of your list, only to rewrite a new one for the next day.

It is time to let go of the distractions. It is time to rein in your energy which has become so depleted. You are doing everything right but you may be experiencing cognitive overwhelm. You are aware that something is not working and since you are reading this, you are ready to take time out to do that inventory. You do have time because we are going to make a list of all of the things that take your time each day but are not adding to your life. We will in fact lighten your load by transmuting those activities and thought patterns that are not contributing to your dream or your Passion Pursuit(tm).

Let us begin. Throw away your “To Do” list and start a new one. On a small piece of paper, write down the first three things that you feel you must accomplish today. Put it in your pocket. Drink a big glass of water. Now get quiet and listen. For today, just do the three things and listen.

Finding Tribe

The family we are born into may or may not be part of our tribe.  It is over the course of time that we have the opportunity to connect with those people who feel like family: kinsmen and kinswomen with whom we effortlessly connect.  Sometimes we can walk into a room and know instantly that we are with our tribe, or we might meet someone who feels so familiar and comfortable that there must be a deep-rooted connection.

I have often felt alone though thankfully it has been many years that I have truly felt lonely.  It can scary to get vulnerable, but I am learning that the reward is so great and well worth the risk.  The key is finding your tribesmen and women – those people who will love you unconditionally and who you feel a great loyalty toward.  I believe that our souls protect us and it is for each one of us to determine with whom we are meant to walk this path.  For me it has been a seemingly long journey although the healthier I become, the younger I feel.  In the process of experiencing trauma I unconsciously adopted coping skills to cover up the pain.  I am still recovering my senses and it is only through safe relationships with others that I am able to experience the full spectrum of emotions.

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My Love Partner

As you seek out your people, you might consider what identity have you taken on and how do you wish to change it?  Are you the lone warrior (I was and still can be!) or are you the eternal team player?  Do you shape the path or take the route that is so rutted out it seems like the only option?  Who do you surround yourself with and how do they inspire you and encourage you to experience life at its fullest?

I have come to know myself in a new way in the past ten years, since entering into a new way of life without drugs or alcohol.  The path of self-discovery and love has magnified since becoming a mother five years ago.  I am learning that it is okay to be sensitive and that I do not have to apologize for how I live my life or to whom I choose to give my time.  I do not live from a place of should and I no longer settle for what seems to be enough or okay.  I could not have done this without my tribe and I am so grateful that we are finding eachother (again) in this lifetime.

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Kinswomen in Rwanda

What Class Are You?

Have you ever felt like a second-class citizen? When was the last time and how did it affect you? More importantly what did you do about it?

I sure have and in looking back, almost every time it was a situation that I had chosen, consciously or not. It was (and is!) related to self-worth for me. For many people around the world it is not a self-selected place to be, especially for people who have been violated or groups of people who are regularly subjected to hate crimes such as racism, sexism, ageism, and other forms of bigotry.

It is fascinating to watch our own behavior and to notice how old belief patterning shapes our daily choices. As I was driving into the gym parking lot recently I noticed how so many people go directly to the far lot, like they just assume that all the good spots will be taken or they have already decided they have bad parking karma because not much goes their way (or maybe they want more exercise but I somehow doubt that!). I used to do that. I would actually drive by the empty parking spots in front of my destination because I assumed it was not for me – like it was reserved for VIP or maybe it wasn’t even legal. What?! Well, how about it was reserved for VIP and the VIP was me?!

Today I take that parking spot and moreover I assume there’s going to be a parking spot in front of my destination. I assume I will have the exact change or better yet, the meter will already be filled (pay it forward ya’ll)! Today I choose first-class living and that is because I am choosing to be better to myself – to honor and respect myself, and to be guided by faith rather than fear. I am re-patterning old belief systems that used to tell me I wasn’t good enough in certain (okay – all!) areas of life. There is a fine line between pushing oneself to achieve the unthinkable and pushing oneself past the last breath of life. It takes gentle discipline and persistence, and we certainly cannot master these humanisms alone. Let us each be sure we have a unique support network to make the big Shift. We are retraining ourselves to differentiate the voices that guide us to take action. Which one will you listen to and trust to guide you? Is it speaking to you from the head or the heart?

Today I am seated in one of those ‘best of second class seats’ (front of the pack, extra leg room…) on a flight across the U.S. first classI literally have my toe in the first-class section (small plane). I awoke from my nap with wafts of their warm, steaming lunch and the clanking of real silver on dish. I walk through their section to use their restroom (because I am good enough for that don’t you know?!) and see their discarded trinkets and snack packs, eyeing their lounge chairs with a tinge of envy. Here I am, edging in, almost there, wondering what it is that sets them apart. Oh yeah, they paid more, but is it really just money? I don’t think so. It’s never really about money. Money is a neutral tool that we all have access to and there is plenty of it in the world for every person to have $3 million. So what is it really? I believe it is all about shifting our mindset and making a conscious choice to take ownership over our futures; to claim what is ours and to take responsibility for reprogramming our lives. For those of you who have decided money is the source of evil or that you really don’t want to fly first-class:that’s cool and also your choice, but I ask you to consider the real reasons and try to imagine what it would be like to walk through your day with every single privilege opened up to you and your loved ones.

We are them. They are us. We are all part of the same. I see now that when I feel separate it is because I chose to be that.
See you in first class. pheonix airport

Startup Support

Serving the private and public sectors and supporting you to pursue your dream of starting or growing business enterprises and nonprofit organizations. You may be a good fit for services if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You have passion and enthusiasm for a particular cause / approach / idea but are uncertain how to integrate it into your professional life.
  • You are successful at what you do but it is no longer fulfilling and you are seeking new meaning and purpose.
  • You are conflicted about which direction to go in your business ventures and find it difficult to achieve work-life balance.
  • You have the Sunday Night Blues and are feeling stuck in your job.
  • You have had a business (or nonprofit) idea for awhile now and are not sure how to take first steps.
  • You love what you do and are generally very happy and want to take it to the next level, possibly building programs that could impact the world.

For a preliminary consultation, contact me to schedule a 1.5 hour session in Asheville, NC or remotely via Skype / phone. You will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire in advance so that I can best serve your unique needs. The cost of an introductory session is $100 and will include preparation and follow-up.
Please call 828-333-4960 to schedule.

The “Final” Five

People often ask me what I do. This is a normal everyday conversation starter. Sometimes the answer does not come quickly. I gauge how interested the other person really is before I answer and notice which hat I am wearing when we meet. Simply put, I am a business consultant. I specialize in organizational development and change management, with a niche in social enterprises (initiatives that impact global social well-being). In other words I want to change the world and work with other entrepreneurs who are inspired and hopeful that anything is possible. I am often approached by individual business owners who want to shift into a new realm or are feeling stuck with their work, and they are intrigued by the work I do in Africa and wonder how I have created a life that is so complex yet so manageable and accessible.

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What guides your belief system?

When I start to work with an executive or business owner who is feeling stuck, or like they don’t know how to earn a living doing what they love, we might first look at professional goals and review the basics. It quickly becomes apparent that what is causing the block is not related to industry trends or lack of marketing strategy, but rather an old belief patterning system that the leader and their organizational culture is supporting albeit unconsciously. Even the most self-aware and tuned in person is operating primarily from the subconscious and unconscious mind (85% according to some studies). Hey – it’s not your fault and there is a solution!

You may ask how to reprogram subconscious thoughts that are blocking or serving as ‘negative’ influences on your goals and dreams. There are some simple steps and the first is to notice and become more aware of what you are affirming and supporting throughout the day. In order to successfully move into a new place of abundance, be it personal / professional / relational / financial, we will be letting some things go and lightening our load to make room for new.

Before we can recognize our superhero within we must embrace our humanness.

The by-products of doing this work are incredible. People are approaching me to assist with a business plan or for simple guidance on starting a nonprofit foundation and in the process are getting so much more. You know that blog I wrote about brown fat? As it turns out the formula I am developing for my personal consulting business, Thrive Guidance, is leading to weight loss! Those stubborn five (or ten!) pounds are peeling off as we shed the old beliefs that have been holding our true selves back. What you will find under that layer of brown, protective fat is a strong, chiseled and defined temple to carry you forward with ease and clarity. No diet required although you will have to let go of artificial chemicals!

Affirmation of the day: “My subconscious mind is my partner in success.”

How to Talk to a Reptile

We all have that someone in our life who reminds of us what we still need to work on, meaning they trigger the hell out of us.  You know that person – when you try to interact with them you inevitably throw up your hands, just walk away, or find yourself beating your head against the wall out of frustration or disbelief. You might gossip or complain to others that this person is speaking another language or is so brain dead, seemingly from another planet, that you can’t even have a “normal” conversation with them because there is no reasoning.

Aldabra giant tortoise who nearly sliced my finger off, Prison Island, Zanzibar

100 year old Aldabra giant tortoise who nearly sliced my finger off, Prison Island, Zanzibar, 2009.

This describes my reptile well. He does his best with what he has in the moment and he does not seem to recognize his dysfunctional patterns that keep him stuck in a way of life that is not peaceful, joyous or free. Here’s the thing: he is in survival mode, operating in flight/flight/freeze and therefore truly is speaking another language. Then I realize, he is me! His reptilian behavior serves as a mirror for when I too can revert to that baseline survival mode thinking, often in times of extreme stress, generally caused by fear of some kind.

So how do we manage our reptile?
First, summon up as much compassion as possible when you see the behavior in others. Imagine your reptile as a child whose development was stunted due to trauma of some kind. When your reptile is acting out, remember it is because they are programmed that way and although you do not need to approve or accept it, you might respond with loving kindness, finding empathy for whatever unfortunate life circumstances made it impossible for them to move into a balanced existence, operating primary from “the new brain” (i.e. the neo-cortex).
brain-reptilian1
The same goes for when you recognize the behavior in yourself. Start by having gratitude that you are conscious enough to even have awareness of it (most people stuck in reptile mode don’t see it!) and without judgement you can begin to investigate the cause. Remember that fight/flight/freeze served a great purpose when our lives really were in danger on a regular basis. Sometimes adrenaline-producing fear can be helpful and might be a wake-up call that we are headed in the wrong direction. The key is discernment, to recognize your behavior in reaction to situations and then get to a point where you are consciously choosing to operate out of faith rather than fear.

We will always live amongst reptiles and it is up to you to choose to move out of survival mode and into thrive mode. If you feel like you are surrounded by people who are living in fear and use language of scarcity (they complain, spending time talking about what is missing or not working, feel like a victim of circumstance, often moving around or changing jobs, demonstrating behaviors to cover up or temporarily numb them to the pain or discomfort they are feeling, etc), ask yourself why? Find people who seem to be mostly content and have a quality of life that you would like to emulate. If you are ready to take your life to a new level, set the intention and seek out guides and resources that can help you find more internal peace and total satisfaction in life. I am so inspired by my Thrive Guidance clients who continue to astound me with their commitment to living the life of their dreams and who are taking such risk to get real.

profile pic at tea farm June 2015