Getting Clear about Transformation

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Most of us spend our time and energy trying to transform our experience of life. When things are difficult, we blame circumstances, someone else, or ourselves. We take on new things and make new goals. We may change jobs, move house, or get divorced, to move away from our circumstances.

We move away from the discomfort.

And we somehow find ourselves feeling the same way in the next job, the next house, the next marriage …

In this society we are constantly being pressured to focus on the external and to acquire things in order to be “successful” and to feel good about ourselves. The message is “you deserve better” or “this will make you happy”.

Instead of moving from job to job, wanting things to be different and wishing for events to change, pause and notice how you are resisting what you are experiencing right now. Are you telling yourself “I deserve better”? rather than trying to understand your experience.

It is the relationship with what is happening that is causing the pain rather than the situation itself. The relationship between you and the situation is one of resistance and frustration with what is.

But you are only changing the external situation, and the chances are you will start to feel the same again, unless you take time to look at what is going within you that is getting in the way of transformation.

What if our purpose in life is to understand our external experience and how we relate to it? or Seeing all of our experience as lessons in life?

When we start to look into our experience with curiosity and an accepting mind, we can bring about real change.

Its an inside out job.

Here are some powerful questions to ask yourself to bring about inner transformation:

  • How do I want to feel ….? at work/in my marriage/in my relations with my children etc. Imagine your future self and what it feels like.
  • How am I contributing to this situation? What attitude adjustment do I need to make?
  • What actions would support this? What do I need to do differently?
  • What support do I need to bring it about? What resources do I already have?

 

Clearing the Clutter

black and pink plastic clothes hangers

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Many of us are using this time to create space and de-clutter our work and home environments. Over the past few months I have been setting aside clothes that I no longer need. Yesterday, I went to Goodwill and let a lot of material things go. Not just the old, but also what might serve others better.

Letting go of what no longer serves us and creating space for something new is a powerful practice.

Its something that I am doing intentionally for a number of reasons.

It allows us to move forward and not be overly attached to the past. So we let go of the old that no longer supports who we are today.

It turns out that this is pretty hard for me … and I don’t think of myself as a hoarder!

For many years I was an Intercultural Trainer, supporting people from different cultures coming to the US and for Americans going overseas and working in Global teams. I loved this work as it let me expand my knowledge of different cultures – especially their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that may be unexpected and different.

When I become a life coach I moved away from training into the sphere of one to one coaching.

And now I am giving away my books and creating space for my yoga books on philosophy and spiritual inspiration. I feel drawn to bring more spiritual awareness and connection to our intuitive heart space, rather than our rational mind.

When we clear our environment it creates space for the new. Often it will create a new sense of spaciousness within us too … and sometimes not. Lets be realistic and human.

If you are in the process of de-cluttering, notice if this physical clearing is enough for you or if there are judgments and attachments that are also cluttering your mind. They may make you feel secure, but they may be getting in the way of what you really want.

person sitting on bench under tree

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EXPLORATION

Take a moment to sit comfortably.

Feel your body resting in this space. Hips. Thighs. Lower legs. Ankles. The soles of your feet.

Take some full deep breaths as if you want to be here in your body … and feel supported.

Notice the change in your breath when you land here fully.

Slow it down even more.

This is the place to ask yourself:

“What do I need to let go of?”

Keep breathing and see what arises from the depth or your being rather than your head

With awareness of clutter and consciously letting go, we move away from past conditioning and towards balance and freedom.

Can you let yourself be here, just the way it is?

Namaste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* A Balanced Approach to Spark Change

spark for change

At certain times in our lives, we may feel we are stuck or disappointed in where we find ourselves. There is a sense that something has to change, but we may not be sure about what it is. All we know is that where we are, isn’t where we want to be…

Rather than getting more and more frustrated and annoyed at the external environment and blaming other people, try bringing your attention to what is going on inside of you.  This is where the answer lies.

This is a time for inner reflection, increased self awareness and seeing things from new perspectives. In taking time to pause you will ignite an inner spark for lasting change.

Here are the four areas that I talk about with my clients. (Adapted from the work of master coach Marshall Goldsmith).

1. Creating:

What do you want to create? How do you want to be different? What is your vision for yourself?

2. Preserving:

What are you grateful for? What do you want to preserve?

3. Eliminating:

What negative elements need to be eliminated? What do you need to stop doing?

4. Accepting:

What are you ready to accept and make peace with? What do you need to let go of from the past?  Who do you need to forgive?

 

This is a holistic and mindful approach to maintain balance as you bring about the change you long for. The questions help you consider both the positive and negative elements that are a part of life.  The answers can only be found within yourself. Sometimes it is difficult to find the answers by yourself, and that is where I can support you as a coach and teacher.

In this place of inquiry and reflection, you are on the way to finding your middle ground and life in balance.

* Change What You Can …

 

woman alone

We all face difficult situations and emotions that make it hard to come to a decision about some of them. Our analytical brain goes into overdrive and we seem to go round in circles! I’ve written about finding our middle ground, calming our mind, letting go and dealing with incessant thinking.

I have taken inspiration from the Serenity Prayer  all the way to Stephen Covey’s first habit in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Recently I came across a great question from master coach Marshall Goldsmith. It stopped me in my tracks and I saw how valuable it was in moving through the highs and lows of life.

Before jumping to the question, take a moment to consider a situation that you are struggling with:

  • Perhaps you are complaining about your relationship with a family member
  • Perhaps you are struggling with an action of  a colleague
  • Perhaps you didn’t get much sleep last night and are at the end of your rope at work

Now ask yourself this question:

“Am I willing at this time

to make the investment required

to make a positive difference on this topic?”

With thoughtful consideration …

If your answer is Yes – Then it may be that you do have the time, energy, resources and ability to bring about positive change in this area.

If your answer is Not Now –  Then recognize that this is not the best time to deal with it. We often feel we should take action, but don’t have the resources or time. Or sometimes we are unsure if a positive difference is even possible. Put it on the back burner and re-visit it later.

If the answer is No – then let it go. Yes – let me repeat. Let it go!

Read this again and again and you’ll see how each of the 3 parts of this question can bring you to clarity and help you deal with some tough decisions.

Our Inner and Outer Purpose of Life

I am inspired this morning by a post from Ivon over at Teacher as Transformer. He talks about working in the world from inner inspiration. I love that!

In our explorations of our purpose in life, we often think we have to focus on what to do next.

We ask ” What should I do with my life?… What is the perfect career for me?… What am I on this earth to do?… What is my special gift to the world?”…

Eckhart Tolle has some clear insights on this in his book  “A New Earth”:

dawn of a new earth“Your life has an inner purpose and an outer purpose.

Inner purpose concerns Being and is primary.

Outer purpose concerns Doing and it is secondary.

Your inner purpose is to awaken. It is as simple as that.

You share that purpose with every other person on the planet – because it is the purpose of humanity.

Your inner purpose is an essential part of the purpose of the whole, the universe and its emerging intelligence.

Your outer purpose can change over time. It varies greatly from person to person.

Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling your outer purpose.

It is the basis for true success.”  

This is the new dawn of inner transformation that supports us in our own evolution and making a positive difference in the world.

Our purpose can’t be found by looking outside of ourselves. The answer comes from within us. When we start to explore who we are, and accept all aspects of our ego and evolving selves, we allow our inner Being to expand. It becomes our guiding light for all our Doing in the world.

We can live fully in the highs and lows of life when we connect with our  inner Being  and share it with the world.

How does this resonate with you?

* Living My Vision

When I was training to become a life coach we did a lot of self discovery and exploration, in preparation for working with our clients. Part of the program was to create a vision for ourselves. At that time I was an intercultural trainer – working with people from different cultures to help them adjust to living and working in a new country. I was drawn to coaching to work with individuals through their transition and help them understand and accept differences, and thrive in a new environment.

the pathThe road towards my vision has had some gentle bends and highs and lows, yet my vision remains true to who I am and whatever I do. It is my life’s calling.

“My vision is for a world where we understand one another, accept differences and are at peace. And it begins within ourselves.”

It was true 12 years ago and even more so today!

My journey has taken me from exploring the differences in countries and cultural groups around the world, to understanding how we communicate and empathize  in relationship with each other,  to learning about our inner thinking, filters and struggles within each of us …. and to a sense of coming home to the beautiful connectedness of us all.

My outer path is now one with the inner path. This is where I am meant to be.

Isn’t that what our life purpose is really about …. finding our path and coming home to ourselves.

We can only do this when we pause to connect with our inner being. When we find our Middle Ground.

This is what I want for you.

What is your vision for the world and your part in it?

Do you Want Things to Change? … Change How you See Things

different perspectives

“Sometimes you need to look at Life from a different perspective.”

To break free of old ways and habits, we need to see things differently. But what is real?…. Here I share a powerful insight into Three Realities. When we look at each one, our perspectives shift and we are in a better position to make choices that bring about real change.

The First Reality: Mine

How I feel, and what I see and evaluate around me is My Reality.  It is the one that we have always had and has changed over the years as we have grown from childhood and absorbed more input and knowledge from the world around us. That input is usually from our own experience and how we feel when we do something, or how someone responds. However, we take in most from the messages our parents tell us as we figure out the world around us. This builds our beliefs about the world and our place in it. Our beliefs create the first reality.

By the time we are adults we have a whole bunch of assumptions,beliefs and interpretations of what is going on in our world. A lot of them are hand me downs and habits. It is only when we come to question them that we find out they may not be the truth after all.

The Second Reality: Yours

As adults we begin to realize that other people have a different reality from our own. Other people see things differently, want different things and apply different judgments and assumptions about the world and life. Other people are different from us. Now we have a choice at this stage – to learn and explore the differences or to decide that our way is the right way and theirs is wrong.

Whenever we apply a judgment against someone else it is a way of protecting and preserving ourselves and how we want to still see the world.

Putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes and seeing things from their perspective is a valuable skill in any interaction between people. It also opens up our hearts to feel empathy towards an other.

It is a powerful skill to be able to recognize how we are personally feeling and step back from it, and to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and see things from their perspective.

The Third Reality: The Observer

The last reality or perspective is when we are able to step back further and observe the 2 realities that are taking place. It’s as if we become the audience watching the movie that is going on in front of us. We become detached observers.

As observers we are able to step back from any situation. We can see what beliefs may be coming into play here, which are not the truth. We can rise above our emotional reactions and make better decisions. We come into the present moment with clarity.

In my experience, this is one of the most important things that I do as a coach. I’m a Third Reality Guide! I help my clients make the first shift from their own reality to the other person’s, and then share the reality I see as the Observer.

With practice we can all become observers in our lives and how we interact with others.

The first step is awareness. Whether you come across it in a blog post, training session, coaching call, meditation retreat or in a yoga class, its one of life’s lessons that will take you far …. and be content on the journey!

* Want to Feel More Connected? Listen to this…

Thank you Amy for sharing this inspiring quote today from Rachel Naomi Remen. “The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention …. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.”listen with your heart Awesome!

While “active listening” is a skill that many of us have been trained on at work,  this quote reminded me of a different kind of listening I learned at Kripalu that is passive yet powerful.

In active listening, we engage the other person in conversation so they feel heard.  With our posture, prompts, nods and “uhuhs”, we support and encourage. We learn to reflect back what the other is saying in order to understand. We ask open questions to explore more. Its a great leadership skill that taps into our own intuition as well as empathy.

At Kripalu I experienced “Co-Listening”. It is simple yet profound.  Here, there are no words of encouragement or questions,  the listener is simply being with the other person in loving silence  as the speaker shares what they are aware of. It is a mindful listening practice.

Co-listeningIn co-listening one person listens while the other person speaks. They may be touching each other, but not directly looking at each other. Rather than the speaker telling their interpretation of events or their story, we were asked when being the speaker to begin each sentence with “I am aware of….”

During this process the listener practices listening without reply or response and being present with their attention fully on the speaker. The listener practices non-judgmental awareness, witness consciousness, for the speaker and self. There is no processing, interpreting, problem solving, analyzing, helping, or discussing during or after the co-listening process by either partner. The speaker notices what it is like to be listened to from someone listening from witness consciousness. When the designated time is up for the speaker, the partners reverse roles.

Its remarkably simple, yet profound. Being in empathy with an other person in that present moment touched me deeply, as the listener and the speaker.

It opened up a deeper connection with the other person …without any conversation at all. It is a real gift.

Please try it and see how heart opening  it can be.

Namaste.