Two doors

 Photo by  Landon Martin  on  Unsplash

Fearing vulnerability is a belief system we have adopted as truth. We think that vulnerability equals risking our survival. When we take a moment and reflect on this doesn't it seem a bit ridiculous? 

This is what I have discovered since exploring vulnerability this month. This belief doesn't fit or work for me anymore and I hope after you read this it doesn't fit for you either. 

This is how I look at it. When we are at the vulnerability crossroads what appears in front of us are two doors (figurately, of course). One door leads us to the land of EMBRACE and one door leads us to the land of RESIST.

There is of course choice at every crossroads and behind each door. The beauty of this is I am not going to tell you what door is which. You get to decide that too. Who am I to define that right is resist or left is embrace or vise-versa. I did the work to figure out my doors and I now invite you to do the same. 

What is true for me is that when I am completely open to vulnerability, I live fully.

Vulnerability is life and life is vulnerability.

I think it is worth the risk even if my brain and body believe I may risk dying. I have survived it all so far! I have created a new belief that vulnerability is not scary. Vulnerability is where beauty and connection live. This is a place I want to spend more time in.

Embrace or resist the choice is yours.

What door will you choose?

Bye for now, 

Kim

 

Vulnerability week 3...

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I have been exploring vulnerability this March and I have learned two important things;
 

1) Stepping into vulnerability is only something to fear if we think there is something to fear. I am not afraid anymore of being vulnerable because it actually feels really good. 

2) Everyone feels similar things especially around being vulnerable so I think it is time to just 'bungee jump' into it because the reality is we are all screaming with fear and excitement on this journey of life.

My kind of math ... vulnerability math!

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I like to keep things simple. Could I write paragraphs and paragraphs about how courage and vulnerability shows up in our lives? Of course, but why when 5 simple equations will make the point.

Equation #1

Courage + Vulnerability = Deep Connection with those that matter.

Equation #2

Courage + Vulnerability = passion for what matters

Equation #3

Courage + Vulnerability = Fully experiencing moments that matter

Equation #4

Courage + Vulnerability = Fully expressing who we are at our core

Equation #5

Courage + Vulnerability = Being true to who we are

Will there be risk? Yes, there will always be risk because:

Risk = Judgement from those who DON'T matter.

We need to ask ourselves... is having the courage to be vulnerable worth the risk?

Heck ya! The cost of not taking this risk is way too high.

With love, Kim

One more thing about Self Care

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In order to create a balance of self care in our life it is crucial we invest time exploring and getting clear on what self care looks like in our life and what result we are intending to create.

It is easier to go the grocery store with a plan and a list then just showing up at the doors and hoping you get everything you need. Self care is exactly the same.

Here is a simple template you can use to help with this clarity...

Enjoy!

Make self care a priority with 5 simple mindsets

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Self care is one of my favorite topics because in my experience working with women it feels hard for them to take this crucial time for themselves. It seems they are weighed down with guilt, unworthiness, to do lists and expectations from others.

Sometimes all it takes is a simple mindset to put the importance of self care into perspective.

Here are 5 mindsets to consider if you feel weighed down by taking time for yourself:

1) Self love and self care is not selfish

Let's cut the word selfish from the dictionary. It has infiltrated our culture as a description for taking time for ourselves. It just isn't true. We NEED this time just as much as we NEED food and water to survive.

2) Vehicles need fuel and maintenance

We spend much time and money taking care of our cars and trucks to ensure they run efficiently and last a long time. Our bodies are a vehicle so let's give them the same care and attention. Here is the thing - if we don't have fuel, we don't run.

3) You breathe, you deserve

I often wonder who made up the deserving score card for self care... some people feel like they have to do certain things in life to deserve time for themselves. Let's scrap that belief and replace it with this one - If you breathe in and out, you deserve time for yourself. PERIOD!

4) Know what you need

One of the most crucial parts of self care is understanding what you need for fuel. It took me some time but I finally figured out that I need alone time to recharge. Even 5-10 minutes helps me get centered. I invite every one to get clear on what you need and then tell people WHY you need it. This will help with any backlash or feelings of wonder from family and friends. We are all unique so it makes sense that our self care regime will be as well.

5) Guilt is not an option

Feeling guilty for taking time and caring for yourself was not something you came up with on your own. It came from somewhere so therefore you can say 'no thank you' to that belief. Imagine if a car felt guilty that it needed gas... seems a bit ridiculous. Imagine if we felt guilty for needing a glass of water, sleep or food. Imagine if our kids felt guilty for asking for a snack or needing a nap or a cuddle ... would we guilt them? NO!

Try on these mindsets and take time for yourself. If you don't take care you won't be here and I am sure you want to be here as long as you can.

Love is ...

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To love with a whole heart = being in each moment fully and feeling whatever is there whether it is immense joy or immense pain. To be with others fully and be with them while they are feeling immense joy or immense pain.

To love with a whole heart = being willing to be in all of it, all of the time.

To ride of ocean waves with grace and accept the ying and yang of life for all of its beauty, learning and storms.

This is my definition. What is yours?

All we need is LOVE... 5 mindsets to nurture family

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In February, we typically only focus on the 14th but I think we could take this whole month to nurture LOVE in all its forms.

Let's start with the LOVE of FAMILY. Nobody ever said family dynamics was easy, however I have heard over and over that the best things in life are the experiences that include ups and downs.

Here are 5 mindsets that keep the focus on what matters when it comes to family:

1) Keep Connected

Investing time and energy into the relationships that matter most to us will always pay us back. When our bonds are strong most often we can survive the storms that may come our way. Every family has its drama and what I have experienced and witnessed is we can come together as a powerful unified family if we are willing to see each other and connect eye to eye.

2) Support Each Other

There are times I haven't agreed with those in my family, however I always come to the same conclusion. I will support you no matter what and I know I will get the same back. When I come from a place of respect and acceptance it most certainty serves me better than trying to will a different outcome. We are all capable humans with the ability to make a choice. I support choices even if I don't necessarily understand them.

3) Set Boundaries

I have learned that it is ok to set boundaries and stick to them. Putting our well-being first is not selfish, it is a necessary part of honoring our unique needs. I think each person has a right to set boundaries even though sometimes it may be difficult. Boundaries is LOVE.

4) Come from Compassion

None of us is perfect. I believe that everyone is doing the best they can with what they know. I have learned that I have to decide who I want to be when interacting with all people including my family. Do I want to approach situations from a place of contempt or a place of compassion. Choosing compassion always ends up being the best choice because it aligns with who I am.

5) Give each other space to grow

Who am I to determine where you 'should' be on your journey. I have learned that if I believe that we are all here for a purpose, here to learn something then who am I to get in the way of that. I am learning to let people be where they are at, without judgement or scorn. To LOVE and ACCEPT and SUPPORT is what I strive for. 

4 simple ways to create a life of joy

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What is it about the word JOY that has captivated us?

I think it represents a state of being that although can feel fleeting is an experience we all want more of. A soothing, all encompassing fill up of what matters. A simple, yet powerful little word that tends to light up the dark.... Oh JOY!

Much like a garden, we do have the capability to grow more joy in our life. Here are 4 simple tips that with a little awareness and care joy can flourish.

1) Be Grateful

When we stop and take inventory of what we are grateful for we connect to what matters in our life which automatically triggers joy. Gratitude and joy go together just like peanut butter and chocolate... hmmm chocolate, another Joy! The more time you invest in gratitude, the more you will feel joy.

2) Be Aware

We are surrounded by wonder all we have to do is look up and notice. There is a reason why the statement 'stop and smell the roses' is a classic. Just stop, notice and experience the joy of all that life has to offer us.

3) Be in Laughter

Who doesn't love a good joke, an adorable animal video or goofy children to bring a smile to our face. Joy can come in so many forms but I think laughter is to be enjoyed more often, don't you agree.

4) Be Simple

Have you heard this before: the simple life, is a joyful life. The joy of simplicity is difficult to describe without actually experiencing it. All you have to do is clean out your junk drawer and then notice the joy spread. Clutter blocks joy.

A simple life is a life worth living...

 This kitty knows how to keep things simple. Ah the life.

This kitty knows how to keep things simple. Ah the life.

5 statements that remind me that simple is best.

1) Remove unnecessary things and thoughts opens up space for joy.

2) Ask yourself first for the answer. Opinions complicate things.

3) Having an abundant life is measured by experiences that activate our soul.

4) People are more important that stuff.

5) Come from LOVE. Always.

Let's keep things simple so we can access more presence, more joy and more of what matters.

Kim

We are happy because we laugh ...

 Photo by  MI PHAM  on  Unsplash

Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

I love this observation from a past study  – “We don’t laugh because we are happy, we’re happy because we laugh.” – W. James (1842-1910)

There has been much research around why we laugh and what the benefits are but what is really interesting is that researchers are having trouble proving it. Laughing is subjective and although areas of our brains light up there are still more questions than answers.

Maybe in this case we just need to trust that there is a deeper reason and enjoy the joy of laughing. The one thing researchers do know for sure is that laughing together helps us to bond and strengthens our relationships. I am sure we can all think of an example where laughter brought us together. I have many examples of work pressures lightening because of laughing with co-workers and even in the throws of grief laughter seemed to bring much needed moments of lightness in a dark time. All that matters to me is that it feels really good so why wouldn’t we focus on creating more moments of laughter in our life.

As I reflect on the importance of laughter it is quite clear that laughter lightens. The weight of stress, fear, doubt and worry seem to melt away in the throws of an uncontrollable, snorting laugh! Here are my 5 tips to creating more laughs in our life:

There is always a lighter side to every situation

Our universe is always in the pursuit of balance – for example light/dark, cold/hot, ying/yang There is always two sides and we can access the lighter side of things by asking ourselves a simple question – What is the lighter side of this? Perspective can snap us back into reality as most situations aren’t as serious as we make them out to be. I realize that some circumstances we are required to sit in the dark and that is ok but I do think the majority of situations can be lighter by giving ourselves permission to not take life so seriously.

Connect to our body, mind and spirit

My experience is that the more aware we are about what is happening in our body, mind and spirit the more we are able to access what really matters in life. Creating more awareness is training yourself to notice in the moment. A simple exercise you can practice is watch a funny video, one you know you will laugh at and then after take a moment to reflect on what you felt in your body, what was happening in your mind and how your spiritual self feels. When we take time to reflect on our experience, we tend to want to repeat it, especially if it feels good.

Laugh at ourselves

There is a running joke in our family that we don’t need an audience because our own jokes make us laugh. What a gift to be able to laugh at ourselves and our experiences. It is such an empowering feeling to know that we can find humor all by ourselves. I have a joke I can say anytime to myself and laugh. Take a moment and reflect on the moments when you laugh at you. What makes you funny?

Who makes you laugh and why?

If you want an easy tool to turn to when you need a boost of joy, then take a moment to get clarity on what makes you laugh and why? Who do you admire that is funny? Why? Understanding your humor blueprint will offer you go to resources when you need. I have no doubt this is why video, GIF’s and images on social media have exploded because we all desire a good laugh. For me, kids and animals always bring a smile to my face. What’s yours?

Tip: What we focus on grows:

Laughter --- Joy --- Presence --- Wholehearted Living

Like a flower in the garden, the more we water it, the more it will grow. Water the laughter.

Here are a couple articles to check out:

https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/laughter.htm

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201709/the-neuroscience-contagious-laughter

Join me on Facebook or my new group: Wholehearted Living

Stop living on autopilot - 5 ways to increase your awareness

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Want to have more JOY in your life? The solution to increasing your joy is to practice being more aware. Let’s be honest with ourselves, we can go through an entire day on autopilot and yes we may get things done but are we joyful? I would argue that when we are not aware we cannot access much joy.

Noticing the subtleties in life and having those ‘light-bulb moments' throughout our day where we expand our thinking is where joy lives. Maya Angelou was and still is a great teacher of awareness. One of my favorite quotes is “Do your best until you know better and then when you know better, do better.” The desire to do better keeps curiosity at the forefront and with curiosity has to come awareness. Being more aware is the key to a fulfilled and joyful life. Each and every time I get to witness the spark of a new thought with my clients, I can see and feel the joy of it. The widening of their eyes, the childlike curiosity, the wonder and excitement of discovering a new way of thinking. I can’t help but smile and either can they.

So the question becomes… HOW? How can we BE more aware in life? Well, it starts with a desire to want to do better and with a little curiosity and some effort awareness can become like riding a bike… automatic.

Here are 5 ways to increase your awareness:

Understand the difference between the unconscious and conscious mind

When we have an understanding about how our mind works it offers us an opportunity to notice what is happening and gives us the ability to make choices in the moment. A little bit of understanding can give us great power over our reality.

Recommendation: Here is a 4 part article series on the conscious and unconscious mind. A great way to increase your awareness of our amazing brains: http://www.mindset-habits.com/conscious-subconscious-unconscious-mind/

Learn something new

A learning brain is an aware brain. With each new thing we learn we create a new neuropathway. Learning keeps our brains awake and with each new discovery or 'light-bulb moment' the amount of time we are aware grows. We see the world differently because our brain is a physically different.

Recommendation: Read a book that inspires new ways of thinking.

My top pick – Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.

Train yourself

It is wonderful to learn something new but if you don’t use it, you lose it. It takes time and effort to change, so it is up to you to repeat the behaviors you want to grow. Think of growing awareness like growing a muscle in your body. You have to work it out.

Recommendation: Take time each day to consciously stop and notice your surroundings.

My top pick – The 5 senses activity which can help you relieve stress but it can also bring you quickly into the present.

Ask questions 

Each time we ask ourselves a question it sparks curiosity and exploration. This then leads into discussion and hopefully a new perspective, learning or even the joyful ‘light bulb moment.' I don’t believe we can be on autopilot when we are in the wonder of questions. Our brain wakes up…well mine does anyways!

Recommendation – Take time each day to ask yourself open ended questions (what, where, when, why, how).  

My top pick- The 3 Why exercise – notice something and ask yourself why 3 times. For example – I feel good today… WHY? I got up early and took some time to journal…. WHY? It is important to me to take time for myself… WHY? When I take time for myself it builds my resilience for the day.

Discover something new about yourself 

It is important to explore what it means to be you. This is the key to building lasting awareness because when you link it to what matters to you it tends to last. Typically, we invest in the things that matter to us most.

Recommendation – invest in assessments and programs that give you insight into what makes you uniquely you!

My top pick – This is the values assessment I use with my clients (It is called: VIA Survey of Character Strengths and it is under the questionnaires section).

If you are looking for a deeper connection with yourself learn more about my weekend retreat where you immerse yourself in discovering who you are. An entire awareness weekend! www.kimstandeven.com/workshops

If you are someone who loves to learn and grow join me in my new group: Wholehearted Living: Experience, Explore, Expand

If you would like to have a FREE discovery call with me about growing your awareness schedule some time with me.

Have an amazingly aware day!

Kim

xo

It’s time you got better acquainted with the most important person in your life…YOU

What will you gain from knowing yourself?

• Clarity about your values and goals so you’ll know when to say yes and when to say no.
• Improved relationships.
• Better leadership and coaching skills.
• Greater overall success in life.
• More peace of mind.
• More self-confidence and a great sense of self-worth.
• A life plan that’s in alignment with your true nature.

This is your invitation to the 20th Anniversary Retreat of Authentic to the Core (ATTC) where you can accomplish all the above in less than 26 hours.

Better relationships… more success…. more happiness…

Three things we all want in life.

But how do we get them?


It all starts with YOU. And having extreme clarity about who you are and what you want out of life.


“All wonders you seek are within yourself.” – Sir Thomas Browne


Getting to know oneself better is why Lori-Anne Demers (the creator and visionary behind this program) started Authentic to the Core twenty years ago.


Since then over 1,000 people have participated in the retreat. And as a result, many, many lives have been forever changed for the better and I am one of those lives. It impacted my life so profoundly I had to become a facilitator and keep sharing its beautiful processes for uncovering who we are at our core.


So, what does “getting to know yourself better” really mean?
It means going a little deeper than “What’s your favorite color?” and “What type of music do you enjoy?”


It means coming face to face with your deepest fears, your self-doubts, and your insecurities. It means living in accordance with your values and embracing your higher purpose in life.

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley


Yes, it means stepping out of your comfort zone but don’t worry, you’ll be doing so in a warm, safe environment…
And the rewards will be impactful and life-changing…
You’ll be happier, have more self-control, experience less inner conflict and have a clearer understanding of what motivates you. You’ll be grounded in your values. And the actions you take will be a result of what you truly desire (and not due to social pressure or influence.)
Plus, you’ll have more tolerance and empathy towards others and you’ll lead a much richer and rewarding life.


Are you ready to get to know yourself better?
To be more in tune with your strengths, your weakness, your likes and dislikes, your values and what you’ll no longer tolerate?Not only will you get to know yourself better, you’ll improve how you interact with the people in your life.


“There is no satisfaction that can compare with looking back across the years and finding you’ve grown in self-control, judgment, generosity, and unselfishness.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Here is what some of the Authentic to the Core participants are saying about it:
“There is value in it for anyone, especially in our society today. If anybody wants to really go on the journey of knowing oneself and finding some true self-fulfillment this is one of the most important jumping off points.” -Ryan Mullens, Senior Advisor, Talent and Development and Learning Services at Alberta Health Services


“I now have more clarity around my relationships with people. It’s improved my own coaching with clients. I’m able to be more present, more aware. It’s also helped me return to education which is essential to who I am. I’m starting my Ph.D. this fall. Plus, I’m back at teaching at the university.” -Leah Taylor, Faculty at Vancouver Island University.

“If someone is considering Authentic to the Core, I would tell them to gain the maximum value, go in with an openness and leave perceptions of what leadership development looks like. Be open to this because it’s strongly impactful.” -Cindy Trytten, Director, Research, and Capacity Building, Vancouver Island Health Authority


Are you ready to discover your deeper calling and wisdom within you?
If yes, I’d love for you to be a part of the 20th Anniversary Authentic to the Core Retreat.


“The only journey is the journey within.” – Rainer Maria Rilke


What to expect at an Authentic to the Core Retreat:


The Authentic to the Core program is divided into three parts. At the retreat, we focus on Part 1 and part 2 onsite and in person. Part 3 takes place later in three 1.5-hour sessions via Video Conferencing.


Onsite – Friday evening to Sunday afternoon:
Part 1: Be True to Yourself (Friday, Saturday)                                                                              Part 2: Discover What You Love (Sunday)

The journey begins in a peaceful setting where together we use a process of ritual and metaphor, innovative ideas, and spirited dialogue. In this atmosphere of trust, love, and humour, we will focus on letting go of your ego, your role and your responsibilities to help you uncover your core essence and purpose in life.


During these days, you will expand your relationship with yourself so that you can step into your own opportunities for greatness – opportunities that are aligned with your true nature. You’ll also discover how to align yourself with others and strengthen your relationship with people in your various communities.


By the end of the three days, you will truly be reacquainted with who you are and what motivates you (and what doesn’t). You’ll also discover your core essence. I’ve witnessed this many times and when it occurs it hits you viscerally and a light of discovery and knowing shows up on your face.

Video Conferencing
Part 3: Be True to Yourself (Three bi-weekly sessions)
Part 3 occurs later as to allow you time to integrate some of the concepts and skills you’ve developed into your life. Engaging through virtual community and using our CORE ALIGNMENT™ Process, you will be building your vision, creating your mission and defining your milestones.


“What we are seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” ~ Joseph Conrad


Authentic to the Core will help you discover your path in life. A path that will be broad enough so it can change and have different expressions and at the same time narrow enough that you’ll know where to go (and where not to go.) By the end of Authentic to the Core, you will have a clarity of purpose. You will be renewed, motivated and invigorated to live a life in line with your values, who you really are and what’s important to you in life.

The next Authentic to the Core is November 3-5, 2017 at the Elkhorn Resort and Spa, Manitoba, Canada.

To register click here: www.kimstandeven.com/registration

Guess what there are more retreat dates across Canada:

Click Here for British Columbia dates (Facilitated by Cathryn LeCorre )

Click Here for Alberta dates (Facilitated by Lori Anne Demers )

Twice, this put Ryan Mullens on a better path (and it could do the same for you).

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The year was 1999.
Ryan Mullens, 18 at the time, was trying to figure out who he was and what he wanted out of life.
The decision he made next changed his life.
Looking back, Ryan says…
“It had a very significant impact on me.  I don’t know if I’d be on the right path for myself.  I’m very happy with who I am.”
What did Ryan do that put him on a better path in life?
He attended the Authentic to the Core retreat.
Ryan says…
“There’s a freedom that comes with knowing myself.  It allows you to totally act in line with your values.  For someone to know that… to have that sense was extremely helpful… especially at a young age.”
Ryan went on to get his undergrad in criminology and began working with homeless youth.  He now has a Masters in leadership.  He works for Alberta Health Services as a Senior Advisor and Leadership consultant.
A couple of years ago he decided to, once again, attend the Authentic to the Core retreat.
Ryan says he was a little hesitant because he wasn’t sure what type of value he’d get from it the second time around.
Any concerns he had were quickly alienated.
“I got extreme value from it.  The first time I had a hard time articulating what my core essence really was.  I had a sense of it.  The second time solidified everything for me.  It reinvigorated me.”
He continues…
“It’s like the layers of an onion.  When I was 18 it was just the start.  It was incredibly helpful.  It started me on the path of self-discovery.  Coming back and doing it a few year ago was very helpful because I’m still into personal development and moving forward.”
Are you looking to know yourself better and journey down your own path of self-discovery?


Are you ready to discover who you really are?  Click here for details…


“Authentic to the Core has evolved so it was even more impactful.  What Lori-anne has created is a process that takes you through it in a meaningful – and I’m not trying to sell the speed of it—­but it’s fast,” Ryan says. 
Who should take Authentic to the Core?
“There is value in it for anyone, especially in our society today. If anybody wants to really go on the journey of knowing oneself and finding some true self-fulfillment this is one of the most important jumping off points.” Ryan says.
He adds…
“You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.  I always tell people if you can go into any course and take just one thing away that you can do differently or add to your life then that’s a win.  I’d be willing to guarantee you’re going to take at least one thing away from this retreat and that one thing is going to be quite significant… if you’re open to it.”
How will Authentic to the Core benefit you? 

Click here to find out…


Ryan points out that Authentic to the Core does require a level of willingness and self-awareness.
Are you ready and willing to become more self-aware and more in tune with who you are?

Click here for a fun and rewarding way to do just that.

We are very excited to announce Authentic to the Core in Western Canada:

Register for Victoria Here – Authentic to the Core – Victoria (Victoria, BC-1506 Burnside Rd W. – Victoria, British Columbia) Lead Facilitator: Cathryn LeCorre

Register for Alberta Here – Authentic to the Core – Bragg Creek (Bragg Creek, AB-36 White Avenue – Bragg Creek, Alberta) Lead Facilitator: Lori Anne Demers (Founder)

Register for Manitoba Here - Authentic to the Core - Clear Lake (Elkhorn Resort & Spa, Manitoba) Lead Facilitator: Kim Standeven

My meditation ...

Meditation is something I have always struggled with. My mind chatter is very strong and I often feel more frustrated with the act of sitting in a meditation focussed on my breath than refreshed and empowered.

So, I had to ask myself.

What is the purpose of meditation?

What is it that I am trying to achieve?

My answer was simple -  I am trying to achieve a space where my mind chatter is quiet and I can just be completely in the moment. A space where I am completely at peace and content.

I don't sit and mediate any longer because it doesn't work for me. I don't enjoy it. For years, I felt pressure to just keep trying because the chatter all around me and in my head was that it is good for me so I 'should' enjoy it, I 'should' do it. I have learned since being on this journey of self-development that all that really matters is what serves me. All that really matters is whether I am able to achieve my goal of a quiet mind and how I achieve it is irrelevant.

I discovered since moving to the farm that I LOVE cutting the grass. I didn't realize it until recently that when I am riding around our yard I am completely in the moment. I am not thinking or strategizing, my mind chatter is quiet and I am actually really happy. I got a flash of Forrest Gump and giggled a little because I got it! 

One of my meditation practices is cutting the lawn, in the moment and gloriously happy.

xo

 

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Celebrate

What if we celebrated instead of beating ourselves up?

There are many things I could beat myself up about.

I didn't eat healthy or exercise as much as I could have this week.

I haven't written my blog for a while!!

I didn't play enough with my kids, talk enough with my husband or call my mother. My house is a disaster, my laundry isn't done and, and, and ...

Yet, I am deciding to celebrate because I know my long to do list will always be long but with every moment I am being true to myself and I am happy.

I think that is worth celebrating.

xo

 

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Pain is real but so is Hope, Faith and Perserverance

I know this post is not like the majority of posts I have shared and that is why it is so important. In order for me to continue in an authentic way I need to not only share the light but also the dark because that is what is real.

This picture of me is very different than my profile picture. I post this because I don't want anyone to ever think that because I work as a coach and post inspirational stuff that I don't struggle.

One of the biggest reasons I am committed to being positive is because it helps me stay aligned and focused especially on my hardest days. What I share reminds me of what matters, keeps me motivated and helps me on the days I want to give up.

I suffer from chronic pain. It is my life. It is real and it is hard. I took this picture because this is what a 12+ hour debilitating migraine is, everything stops. The physical pain is only a small part because I shy away from talking about the depression, anxiety and fatigue that comes with dealing with pain most every day for the last 20+ years. I rarely talk about the daily impact years of pain has had on my body, my mind and my ability to participate fully in life. This part of my life is as real and as important as every other aspect of my life.

In the picture, I am holding my head because it helps me focus. I am telling myself over and over that I will be ok and it will ease up eventually. I am telling myself that I am grateful for being alive and that I am breathing. It isn't easy to be grateful in the woes of pain but I have learned that gratitude keeps me calm and stops me from going to darker places.

"I am still breathing, my heart is beating, take it one breath at a time. You will be ok." I whisper to myself through the agony and tears.

We all have something in this life we struggle with. I wanted to share this with you because I don't want you to think my life is somehow easier because of the work I do. I am committed to my passion of writing, coaching and teaching so that we can move through the highs and lows of life with love, grace, peace and presence, TOGETHER.  I share this because I know life can be tough as much as it is amazing. I share this because struggle with mental illness can be triggered by so many factors and there is no shame in asking for help. I did.

We can allow and appreciate the lows in the same way we welcome the highs.

I will never give up, EVER, and I hope you don't either. This image reminds me of how strong I really am. You are stronger than you think, don't ever forget that.

 

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