A former mentor once shared the following: If she had a conversation with someone that left her feeling uncomfortable or "off" in any way, she would go talk with the other person if she still felt that way after five minutes. FIVE MINUTES! Since that day I have aspired to be an individual who has that much clarity and fluid communication skills. However, given that I have been a lifelong "wait-it-out-and-see"-er (hours, days, weeks - sometimes months!), this has not come naturally to me.
Of course I'm really good at preaching the concept! I can be heard every now and then telling my boyfriend "Better Out Than In!" (Which in this house of teenage boys can also refer to farting, but conveniently applies to talking about what's bugging you too!)
The truth is that just because someone has the skill and intuition to be able to know when they're hanging onto something for too long, not all of us have to meet that "five-minute" mark. Yes I think it's wildly helpful and stress-alleviating to talk things out sooner than later . . . but it's something that doesn't come easy to most of us. When I think about the "why" behind the history of my reluctance to talk about hard things, it mostly had to do with fear of being mis-understood, saying the wrong thing (& not being able to "un-say" it), and the potential for conflict. I used to love to write things out in letter form. That way I could tinker, tinker, and tinker some more until it was perfect (whatever that meant!) At the end of the day, when it came to talking about anything remotely confrontational, I honestly just didn't know HOW!
So . . . I am going to share with you one of my favorite communication tools - which completely changed my life. See Exhibit A: The Awareness Wheel!
Here's an example of how you might use it:
I noticed you weren't talking to me earlier
I think it's because you had a bad day.
I feel hurt and ignored.
I want to talk with you about it.
So I'm bringing it up and hoping we can do better in the future.
OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
A few things to note that might help you get the hang of it:
1. This diagram shows "I observe". I like "I notice" better. Up to you.
2. It's very common for people to use the phrase "I feel like . . ." instead of "I feel". The truth is that "I feel like . . ." really means "I think" - so watch out for that trap! Also, you can't feel like bodily functions, so stay away from saying "I feel sh*tty".
3. The Awareness Wheel can take some time to master . . . practice is the key to success!
Here's your prompt for today:
What is your feedback turnaround time? Is it always the same? Or does it depend on the person and situation? Do you have something you might be able to navigate using The Awareness Wheel?
I'm a big fan of the ease and relief that comes from talking things out, and not giving hard conversations too much mind-share. I hope The Awareness Wheel will help you do the same!
Love and Light,
Several years ago - out of the blue - I started experiencing random pains in my hands and arms. This was no standard ache or soreness, these were shooting pains that would make me jump out of my seat! What the HECK? Initially I thought it was related to being at the keyboard too much for work, or excessive driving. So I took a mini-vacation from both of those things and it seemed to get a little better? But not really. I went to a hand doctor who couldn't diagnose it. In the end I discovered it was a side-effect from a medication I had been on for YEARS . . . and apparently my body was telling me it was time to STOP. And guess what? The message was coming in loud and clear . . . so despite my resistance I had to listen. Oof.
More recently (and really periodically over the years), I have been suffering from low-back pain. As someone who likes to get things done and works from home - there are times when it feels virtually impossible to just stop DOING all the things! Laundry! Dishes! Clean the Bathroom! The list will never end unless I hire a housekeeper (it's getting closer!), and until then I know that I'll probably be battling some kind of back issue.
Here's the deal: Sometimes I push myself to the point where my low back hurts so much that I HAVE to stop, and lie down and ice it and REST. It's as if the Universe is telling me to slow down, and have faith that everything is going to unfold just as it should - regardless of whether or not my toilet is clean, and dishes are put away. Full Disclosure: I am a SLOW LEARNER! But I am learning (thank goodness) to listen to my body and pay attention to when it is time to let things go.
Louise Hay has a wonderful book called You Can Heal Your Life in which she lists some Causes of Symptoms to our societies most common ailments.
Bruises: The little bumps in life. Self-punishment.
Depression: Anger you feel you do not have a right to have. Hopelessness.
Lower Back Pain: Fear of money or lack of financial support.
Neck: Represents flexibility. The ability to see what’s back there. Refusing to see other sides of a question. Stubbornness, inflexibility. Unbending stubbornness.
While I know my back might be hurting because I don't have the right chair, or lumbar support, or strong enough butt muscles . . . the truth is I HAVE been feeling the lack of financial support for quite some time, and am ready to address that so I can be in my best physical shape! What I know for sure is that my body will never lie to me, and if it's telling me that something is "off", I need to pay attention!
My question for you today is . . . Are you Listening to Your Body? What messages is it giving you? (This article covers Hay's list if you're curious about a new way to look at what might be going on!) What are some things you can do this week to be more aware of the feedback you're getting, and answer that with kindness?
Feel free to leave a comment - I'm always curious to know your thoughts!
Love and Light,
Several years ago at a personal-growth seminar, I had my first glimpse into how our society uses language, and the power of WORDS. There were several examples given and the one I remember the most was our collective use of the word "DON'T". Wow . . . as a parent of grade-school boys at the time, that was such a huge lesson. You see - when you use the word "Don't" at the beginning of a sentence, it actually produces the exact opposite effect of what you are going for! Imagine that! I immediately started re-training myself to phrase things positively and the results were pretty radical.
Cat Thompson has spent years researching this topic, and I found this particular article so eye-opening! Here is an excerpt:
. . . THE POWER OF “I”
“I” is a super-charged word. When you say, “I am,” the words that follow speak volumes – to yourself and others – about how you define yourself.
“I have, I choose, I love, I enjoy, I can, I will” are also words of strong intent. When we feel powerful, we naturally employ these kinds of “I” statements. When we feel less powerful or fear that our power will create conflict, we tend to water down our words, either by avoiding “I,” by saying “I don’t know” or “I am not sure,” or by following “I” with other ambivalent, unclear statements.
“I think I can,” for example, doesn’t have much power compared with “I know I can” or “I can” or “I will.” Neither does “I guess so” – a red flag to your listener that even if you agree to something, your heart will not be in it. “I can’t” is a strong statement of victimization, implying that circumstances outside of your control are running things, and you have no power to change them.
Another common phrase – “I want” – tends to distance us from the things we yearn for rather than bringing them closer. “Want” means “to desire without having.” So, by establishing ourselves in a state of “want,” we set ourselves up to forever pine for something we accept as out of reach.
Substituting “I have” for “I want” is a good way of projecting ourselves mentally into the realm of having and can also make us aware of all the unconscious reasons why we do not yet have the thing we are wanting. Practice using “I have” or “I choose” instead of “I want” and see what kinds of reactions you observe in yourself.
WOW!! Like I said, powerful stuff!
In addition to having awareness around the words we are speaking, it's also important to have some sensitivity to what we are hearing.
This could mean having clear boundaries with family or friends who have dripped negativity to you throughout your life, (which = hearing negative things about YOU) or choosing to surround yourself with people who are upbeat and positive as opposed to those who think their lives are horrible and complain all the time (which = hearing negative things about THEM). Seriously - clear all the negativity!
Another place those negative messages can sneak in without us even noticing is in the music we listen to! For example I've recently noticed how much Country Music references ALCOHOL, and I find it so frustrating that those messages are being imparted to my teenage son - and that somehow it makes it OK. (Even though he's underage and it's really NOT OK.)
One of my favorite coaching homework assignments is to ask my clients to pick a Theme Song! Because as strong as those negative messages can be, the positive ones can be magical! So that's what we're going to do this week . . . pick a theme song!
To give you some ideas, here is a partial list of the songs I've adopted at different times over the last year or so:
Break Free - Ariana Grande
Fly - Maddie and Tae
Freedom - Allen Stone
Onto Something Good - Ashley Monroe
Something's Coming - Barbara Streisand
(yes, you can change your theme song as often as you'd like - there are no rules!)
I'd love to know what you come up with, if you want to leave a message in the comments.
In the meantime enjoy your music, and pay attention to the language you are using . . . it has a far greater impact than you can imagine!
Love and Light,
Here’s a little secret about me: I HATE discussing politics and I will avoid it at all costs. Does this mean I don’t have an opinion or don’t vote? HELL NO. But for whatever reason, over the years I have decided I’m not good at defending my position and beliefs – so instead of getting into heated discussions with people who have different views . . . I just don’t go there. Period.
Sometimes this mindset extends into the realm of social issues that are pushing our comfort zones. I just choose not to talk about it. (How convenient!) But let’s be honest . . . it’s been a rough few weeks in the world, and now is not the time to be quiet. And as your trusty guide this morning, I’m going to give you some suggestions about how you might do that!
Think there might be room for more laws around Gun Control? Let your elected officials know by writing them a letter.
Find your Senator
Find your Representative
Don’t feel like you’re good at writing or sharing your stance in a way that sounds educated and clear? Use this template. You’re welcome.
If you live in a community that is mostly white (that would be me!), and aren't sure how to make a difference, ASK. Ask your African American friends, keep your eyes peeled on social media for groups that are making change in your community. Go to a Rally. Volunteer in a classroom where children can use your help. The bottom line is that doing something, no matter how small, is better than doing nothing. Need some help exercising courage in the face of racism? Watch this video:
In an interview with NPR, Danny Givens (friend and pastor to Philando Castile) was asked, "As a spiritual leader, what insight and wisdom are you giving to your community in the wake of this weeks' events?" This was his reply:
“You know, what I’ve told people is that right now the most important thing for our people is for the people who are grieving and hurting and, you know upset and all of those things about this particular incident is that we have to take care of ourselves right now. Self-care is the most important thing, that we take care of ourselves, that we be mindful of how we’re vicariously traumatized again by seeing this stuff, by experiencing this stuff.”
Just in case you didn’t get that . . . it’s about Self CARE.
Which brings me to today's prompt: How are you taking care of yourself?
Not everyone is the same, so there is no one way to practice good self care. If you're struggling with this, let me give you some ideas:
* Get a massage.
* Are you an introvert? Make sure you are getting your quiet time.
* Treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure.
* Read a good book!
* Have a nice meal with friends.
* Exercise (No really - it makes your brain and body happy!)
* And one of my personal favorites . . . Go see Live Music!
Friday night I got to go see the Dixie Chicks with my best friend, which was SO AMAZING! (Also - Natalie Maines is my new girl-crush . . . I LOVE HER!) In all Seriousness though, music heals the heart and makes the world a better place. I highly, highly recommend it.
The last song they performed was Ben Harper's "A Better Way".
I believe there is a better way my friends, let's be a part of it.
Love and Light,
Further inspired by the 10-day "Be Seen Challenge" that just ended on Thursday, I am here to bring you the first edition of Sunday Meditations LIVE! I am so excited to be getting better at Video! Is this perfect? Pfffft NO. But I'm better than I was before, and that's all I'm aiming for . . . Progress not Perfection! And with that - here we GO!
And just in case you don't have time to watch the seven minute video now, here is the gist of what I say, and your prompt for this morning:
1. When you show up as 100% yourself (in life, work, relationships, etc.) . . . amazing things happen! For me, I am embracing video and learning how this new medium can help people see the real ME! So far - it's going GREAT.
2. Think about how you are showing up in your life. Are there any areas where you are "hiding"? How would you show up differently if you didn't care what anyone thought? Is there one thing you can do this week to be more true to you? Spend some time with your journal and favorite pen and see what bubbles up. And leave a comment if you want - I'm always eager to hear how things are going with my people!
Love and Light,
Meet me here on Saturdays for some weekly vibes - honoring the week that has past, and clearing the way for what's new. Gather your journal and favorite pen, along with a hot cup of coffee/tea/chai - and settle in for 30 minutes dedicated to YOU.
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