The heart whispers

By using your heart as your compass, you can see more clearly which direction to go to stop self-defeating behavior. If you take just one mental or emotional habit that really bothers or drains you and apply heart intelligence to it, you’ll see a noticeable difference in your life.
Doc Childre and Howard Martin, The HeartMath Solution

February is my favorite month.. Why?
Because it is the month of the heart.. not just because of Valentine’s Day but because it is my birthday.
I always have loved my birthday.. One day per year, I can just have “my day”.. which means creating the day the way I want it.
I often end up giving things to people.. I like to share!!
5 years ago I began a process of self-inquiry regarding the heart. In 2010, when I got diagnosed with Epstein Barr and Lyme Disease, I wondered why despite my very healthy lifestyle, I was getting “hit” again with auto-immune diseases.
Last year, when diagnosed with breast cancer, I got to dig deeper.

If we buy into the theory that all diseases begin at the energetic level before they become physical, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to see the connection between thoughts, emotions and physical reality. Dr. Masaru Emoto made an incredible discovery years back examining the power of words and energy around water. In his ground breaking research he became curious about how frozen water crystals would configured and transformed when exposed to different words and/or music. The most beautiful crystals would form around words like love and gratitude and the most chaotic shapes would take place around words like anger and hate. In fact the water would turn black around such words.

What was amazing about this discovery is that only the words were printed on jars filled with water. Once the water would be placed into a freezer and examined under a powerful microscope, the most exquisite shapes could be seen while exposed to classical music and uplifting words.
Our body is made of 70% of water and it is not too farfetched to believe that the words that we speak outwardly and inwardly have an impact on the energy of our cells and cellular memory.

I began asking myself years back, what does it mean to have compassion for self and love. I relentlessly listened to Pema Chodron, an American born, twice married, Tibetan nun, who in my estimate specializes in teaching people how to be mindful around emotions and self-talk. I began applying the concepts of mindfulness to discover that the conversation that I had with myself at times was less than supportive. I began developing compassion after reading self-compassion from Kristen Neff, a psychologist who studied the effect of compassion on health, both physical and mental. I made it a daily practice to notice my thoughts and feelings and to the best of my ability apply a little dose of love. I am not always successful at it and I now recognize when I don’t.

Last year after my surgery something interesting happened. My heart chakra opened. I cried more tears than I ever thought I had in my body but the most interesting part of the deal began when I realized that I could not stay angry at people for too long. I would still have my bouts of exasperation but could no longer hold resentment in my body without creating a great deal of anxiety. Anxiety became my barometer for either negative self-talk or resentment towards others. It became clear to me that this mode of living was no longer viable if I wanted to stay healthy.

I began the practice of asking my heart for guidance whenever I felt anxious. I began asking the deeper wisdom of my heart to guide me in situations where fear would show up or guilt would speak too loudly. I began putting a hand on my heart when terror would keep me up at night which would calm me down.

To this day, I still make it a daily practice to “tune in” and listen to the whispers of my heart whenever I have conflict with someone, or try to make a “life affirming” decision. I make it a daily prayer to be guided through my heart’s consciousness to living my true purpose on this planet.

Tips to tuning into the wisdom of your own heart

  1. Slow down your breath- count 4-6 on the inhale and count 4-6 on the exhale. Repeat at least 6 rounds of this breath pattern and began relaxing your body. Your eyes can be either closed or open.
  2. Put a hand on your heart and feel the warmth of your own hand. Breathe into your hand and feel your heart beat. Allow your mind to calm down and focus on your connection hand to heart.
  3. Ask a question.. and wait to hear what your heart has to say while practicing deeper belly breaths.
  4. Take a piece of paper and record the words or do what is called “automatic writing”, letting your thoughts flow on paper in regards to the answer that you are looking for. Guidance from the heart is always calm, centered, kind and compassionate.
  5. Thank your heart for its guidance and transition to your next activity while remaining centered on your heart!
  6. At least once per day, acknowledge yourself for what you bring into this world, even tell yourself “I love you” the same way you would tell your partner, children, parents and family members that you love them.

Happy Valentines Day!!

Set Goals The Mindful Way

The Yoga Of Life

Mindful goals setting to overcome life’s challenges

It is part of the American culture to prize people who set goals and become successful at meeting and exceeding those same goals. We live in a culture that implies that people are “self-made” and that some people are “naturally” willful and determined and because of those personality traits, those same people succeed. Very rarely do we take into account that people who succeed didn’t succeed only by themselves, might have had a whole structure of support and accountability and probably a set of favorable circumstances that helped them overcome challenges and reach success.
For some people setting goals does not bring forth images of success but memories of past failures, hurts and disappointments. Because of their circumstances, those same people have learned that it feels better to set the bar lower or not at all, than to revisit those painful memories. Why setting goals then?

We are born to evolve no matter what. Nature always changes and transforms and so are our mind and consciousness. The “good we seek is seeking us”. There is inside of us a “guiding principle” that calls forth our actions and guides our decisions. Unfortunately as we live through our life experiences, the good and the bad, neuro-pathways get “carved” in our brain and nervous system and we remember the bad more than we remember the good.
An “old survival system” is in place to help us remember that we need to only once “see the tiger” to remember it while it gets ready to have us for dinner. In fact, the greater the emotional intensity of these experiences or the more repeated they are , the deeper the “grooves” will be in our body mind memory and the hardest it will be to change our responses to similar experiences. At the same time, our nervous system is pliable and the concept of neuro-plasticity plays a larger role in helping us create new neuro-pathways which by definition allows for change to happen.
We simply have to be willing to live through the discomfort of past feelings and memories while acknowledging that we would rather stay comfortable “within familiar zones” than attempt to branch out into unchartered territories, especially if those territories remind us of past painful experiences.

This is where the concept of mindfulness comes into play. Pema Chodron, one of my favorite teachers, has a special focus on how to live mindfully in difficult times, teaches people how to deal with challenging emotions and thoughts, giving people tools “to stay” with the sensations while dropping “the story line” as a bridge to move from the past to the present.
Having been a yoga practitioner for many years, I also heard the same notions in the yoga world. In fact, what drew me to yoga 25 years ago was the need to be more present to myself and my life while learning to deal more effectively with my emotions.
Mindfulness is the key that opens the door to re-creating new neuro-pathways. By learning to be present to challenging experiences, we stop avoiding them and get to learn the lesson taught by each of these experiences and can move forward more wisely.

Why setting goals?
When we set goals from a deeper place of wisdom, a place that “feels called” to move forward, we respond to the call of our heart and soul. The way I see goal setting is more like tuning in and giving structure to the “whisper” of your heart, allowing the desires and vision that are already there to emerge. By setting goals, you give form and create the structure that will support your actions moving forward while giving your mind the focus it needs to reach destination. Goal setting is like responding to something that you already know inside of you and choosing to create following to your inner passion, desires, call to action.
“The good you seek is seeking you” really means that if you want something that same thing wants you! Setting goals become a way to “formalize” that relationship, engage your mind in a direction that will steer your actions towards manifestation of those goals.
Mindfulness will help you stay present, one step at the time, and deal with challenges as they emerge and overcome them as you move forward on the path of self-realization.

As we come towards the holiday season and winter and before everything gets to feel “out of control”, ask yourself the following:
What direction do you want to give your life, health, relationships, as we end 2015”?

Are there places in your life where you can include more “life balance”, joy, love, stress release, fulfilling activities etc.?

If so… do not hesitate.. join me for a FREE MINDFUL GOAL SETTING BREAKTHROUGH session on where you will to spend 45 minutes with me and assess the places in your life that need attention. At the end you will come out with an implementable plan.
Until then…. Keep living your life one breath at the time..
Namaste!

The Surrender Experiment:
Getting Chased by a Mother Bear Protecting Her 4 Cubs.

A few days ago, in the early morning, I took my two dogs on the trail along the lake for a walk. I was having one of those great mornings. I had had an amazing morning meditation and felt truly uplifted by life. I decided to walk silently while taking in the beauty of one of my favorite places in the Berkshires, the Stockbridge Bowl, one of the biggest lakes around.

The trail starts in the woods, then goes through an amazing field of wild flowers to then follow a path along the lake where the dogs truly enjoy jumping in and out of the water. At some point, I veered off the lake side to take the connector trail, a little stretch of trail surrounded by thick bushes and branches. I was absolutely clueless that my beautiful morning was about to take a serious turn for the worse.

All of a sudden I heard Lola, my lab/Golden Retriever, growl with the kind of growl that lets me know that she is facing something serious and she is ready to go ‘for the kill’. Not just a chipmunk buried in a tree trunk, but something more serious. The last time I heard this growl was in the Fall, when she grabbed a porcupine and shook it to death, unaware of the terrible pain that would ensue because of the 150 quills left in her snout and mouth. When I heard that same growl again I knew she was in what is called the ‘red zone’.

The next two minutes happened really fast. A second after I heard her growl, she came running towards me with a bear chasing her, followed by Chloe, my 8 year old Golden Retriever. I then saw four cubs climbing up two trees as fast as they could, as the mother bear was trying to protect them.

Fortunately for me, Lola had made the right choice to save her life by running away from the bear instead of going for the kill. I immediately called her and as she proceeded to come towards me, my first thought was, “What will I do if the bear gets a hold of her?”. I was getting ready to defend her life. Continue reading

Using the Body to Speak Your Mind !

Do you find it easy to speak your mind? Do you find yourself censuring your words because you fear that they won’t come out the ‘right way’?

When I was fifteen years old, I made a vow of silence. Now, you would wonder, why would a fifteen year old make such a vow? I, like most teenagers, was mad a lot, and because of that I had decided that I would not communicate with the rest of the world (forever) as my protest. It didn’t really work that well! In fact, when I would open my mouth, I would be even angrier and could not find the right words to say what I had to say. They would come out all jumbled up with a big emotional charge. So I made it the work of a lifetime to find the right words. In fact, someone pointed out to me last week that I always seem to be very good with words, that I am often able to find the right words.

Since last September, I have been involved in a healing training program that includes learning about the power centers of the body, called ‘chakras’, with my friend Wendy DeRosa (www.schoolofintuitivestudies.com). Even though I am a lifelong yoga practitioner, I have never truly understood what the chakras were about until now.

My most recent discovery has been how the second chakra, or ‘seat of the self’, directly relates to the fifth chakra (throat), or ‘self-expression’, power center. The second chakra is called the ‘seat of the self’ because it gives us direct feedback on who we are and what we need through our emotions. It is also governs the relationships we have with others and how creative we allow ourselves to be. It has to do with our ability to ‘flow with life’.

When the second chakra is ‘off’, on a physical level, this power center will make your low-back hurt, give you hip and sacrum issues along with reproductive system challenges. On an emotional level you will find it difficult to connect with and express your emotions. Control issues might arise as an attempt to control ourselves and others because it is too scary to really trust ‘going with the flow’, which is what this power center calls for.

Now, what does that center have to do with expressing yourself, you might ask? Everything! We cannot express what we cannot feel, both in life and in business. To take it one step further, if we don’t know what truly matters in life, we won’t know what values we stand for in business and we won’t stand solid on what we have to offer.

For clear communication to occur, the formula is quite simple, yet challenging to implement. First, know what you feel. This applies to both physical and emotional needs. Most of us find it easier to follow and respond to the physical needs than we do to the emotional ones. For example, if you are hungry, eventually you know to eat. If you are tired, you know to rest (even though most of us have learned to push passed our limits).

When it comes down to emotional needs/wants the terrain gets a bit bumpier. Usually we don’t question our positive feelings. We are happy, in love, feel connected to nature or others, go with the flow on a good day.. it all feels good. Then we meet challenging people and situations and the water gets murkier. We feel sad, mad, confused, frustrated, overwhelmed and don’t know what to do with those feelings.

The first step in any clear communication is to actually be able to name what you feel. You may have to dig a little deeper under the story to identify the feelings but once you have that, half the battle is won! The second step is to identify what you need or want based on what you feel. The third step is to express what you need and want and find a way to get that communication across to get those needs/ wants met. Of course this is the stage of negotiating between two parties to make sure that both sides get what they want/need. Easier said than done right?

When I brought this up in my last yoga class, 3 women had a brief discussion with me about this. One woman said, “What if you are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings when you speak your mind”? Another said, “Half the time I am too busy to know what I feel let alone identify what I need. I am lucky if I get my basic needs met daily – eating, sleeping, etc.”

My response to that was, “Yes, yes and yes”. These are all legitimate concerns, yet the consensus was that when we don’t find a way to express what we need and want in life, the frustration builds up and sometimes what really comes is more intense or we make ourselves sick by ‘shutting down’ those feelings.

So, it dawned on me, having had to express what I have to say on a personal and professional level, that a workshop was needed on this topic. This is why I created “Speak Up Girlfriend”. I work with heart-centered entrepreneurs who give their heart through their services. They deal with people all day. Challenges in communication in their business relationships arise and/or they find it difficult to stand ‘loud and proud’ when they have to present what they do in a succinct yet powerful manner. Practice makes better!

I invite you to join me this coming Thursday, April 9, to practice both expressing yourself clearly in personal communication and in presenting yourself professionally. Because you read this newsletter I will give you 50% discount if you sign up by midnight on Wednesday, April 7. If you cannot make it for this one, the same workshop is scheduled to be delivered Monday, April 27, from 7-9 p.m. In the meantime the first 5 people to register will get a FREE one hour

“Communication Breakthrough” session with me in which you will get to focus either on a personal communication issue that you have, or learning to craft an authentic ‘elevator speech’. !

Click here to enroll or email me at Chantal.leven@gmail.com if you have any questions..

Until then keep “Speaking Up, Girlfriend”!


The Power of Purpose “on and off” the yoga mat

3 years ago I set the goal to do a “handstand”. At first, I could not even conceive of being able to hold my body weight with my arms. I didn’t have the strength and could not imagine lifting my legs up. So I made the decision to practice diligently and one day, after working at it particularly hard, I surrendered and stopped trying to “will” my way to it. I went into child pose, softened my heart and began breathing deeply remembering why I wanted to do this in the first place then tried again. My legs lifted effortlessly against the wall and there I was… upside down. I was so excited that I had to come down and try it again just to make sure that this was not a fluke. Then for the second time, I lifted myself up again! I knew from this point on, that I had created a new “pathway in my body-mind memory” and that no matter what “I would always “know” how to do this again”.

  For years, I wanted to know what my “purpose” was and felt like I was truly looking for the holy grail. I read books, listened to coaches, attended seminars etc. Finding my purpose felt very mysterious and unattainable. What I didn’t know when I started practicing yoga 27 years ago, was that I was already starting to live my purpose. Intuitively, I was looking for a way back home inside myself, a way to re-align with my own truth. The practice of yoga helped me “feel” and get in touch with who I truly was. I began knowing from experience that only when “the mind quiets down the heart can be heard”.

Aligning with our purpose truly means aligning with our heart. It means that what we do and who we are is aligned with a deep connection to what we love and brings us joy. When we tap into the heart’s wisdom, a deeper strength comes to us one that can literally help us move mountains. All it takes to begin the journey is the willingness to take the first step and continue moving forward – one step at the time!

So how do you know whether or not you are “aligned” with your purpose? There is a sense of “rightness” about what you do. It doesn’t mean that you don’t get tired but at the end of the day, you know that you have made your contribution to this world to the best of your ability. When I coach people who wonder how to figure this out, I offer a simple exercise, the “energy audit”.

Simply, put your awareness and keep track of where you gain energy and where you lose it. In other words, it’s about being aware of what makes your heart sink or sing. Start your Energy Audit today…

  • Start to notice when your heart sinks or sings. Pay attention and note down what you are doing, who you are with, the type of environment you are in and the other details that are making you feel happy or stuck.
  • For a week, keep your “energy audit” journal where you will record your findings and look for themes. Awareness is a powerful tool, in fact it is the first step in making any change happen.

I coach women how to link their purpose to their prosperity and to make money doing what they love. Time and again I have seen doors open for the women who work with me, opportunities that they could not believe would be there – simply because they said “yes” to their selves. If you also feel the inner drive to know what that is for you, than make a decision to take the first step and say YES to your prosperous life!

Please share with me what you have noticed for yourself in your Energy Audit. If you are ready to get clear about your purpose and how it will bring you prosperity, click here to schedule your complementary – Purpose to Prosperity Power Hour.

You can also join me at one of my next Women Transformational Leaders and Entrepreneurs On Fire- events by clicking here.

In the meantime… rock your world… your own way!

Chantal

Yes I did put up a good fight

This title may surprise you, but it was truly a good fight.

The opponent was myself and it lasted two years. What was this long lasting fight about, you may wonder? Well, a little over two and half years ago, I enrolled in a marketing mastermind group. A group like this is designed to offer both support and marketing content.

As part of the program, we were asked to spend some time digging into our life purpose, to ensure that our actions were truly lined up with our intentions.

The question that got me connected was: “If there was one thing, only one thing, that you would do all day, every day, what would that one thing be?

The 3 keys to overcoming the entrepreneurial or creative trap aka “resistance”

Resistance: The Entrepreneurial or Creative Trap
The 3 keys to help move forward no matter what!

How often do you “hit the wall”? (the wall of resistance that is)

I have been fascinated by reading the book from Steven Pressfield entitled The War of Art. Even though I have heard the concept of “resistance” more than once over the years (especially when I graduated from the Coaches Training Institute in 1998 as a Personal and Professional Coach), I have never found a book that calls it out so bluntly and clearly. Back then, we called those inner voices (or resistance) “Gremlins.” Gremlins are the voices that call you to go play outside when you are pushed for a work deadline or  “make you believe” that you don’t have what it takes to do _______ (fill in the gap). Over the past couple of years on the entrepreneurial path, I also heard it called “hitting the wall” (of resistance that is).

How often do you think you “hit the wall”?

Chances are, that if you are an artist or an entrepreneur, you “hit” the wall daily. Every time you begin a new project, are near completion to an existing one and can’t seem to finish, or decide to “step up” and expand your ambitions (your business, art project or health regiment), you will “hit the wall” sooner than later.

What does the “wall” look like?

Let’s say you have great ideas, but never seem to put them into action. Or you start too many things and never complete them because you get “distracted” by “more interesting” things. Or you are a perfectionist, and continue working on “it” until it “looks perfectly done,” but never take action until a long time (too long) has gone by. You may even get sick, get into small accidents, or find that “out of your control” events keep happening.

After a while, you begin questioning why you have started this business/project in the first place, because it is so challenging. You may start believing that It may not be “meant to be” and you are almost ready to give up.

Sounds familiar? Welcome to the world of long-term goals versus short-term rewards.

In his book entitled The War of Art, Steven Pressfield introduces the “art of resistance,” which pretty much applies to any action dedicated to expanding your life, health, career, business, relationship, or creativity. I was first introduced to this theory of “resistance” when I was first exposed to the practice of Kripalu yoga 25 years ago. This basic principle of overcoming resistance on the mat, was the theory underlying the “holding of postures,” which basically meant to watch the conversation in the mind as a variety of “sensations” emerged. You can only imagine what can show up in your mind if you hold any pose for more than 2 minutes.

“I don’t like this.”, “Why am I doing this?”, “This is crazy.”, “I am going to hurt myself.”, “Who came up with this anyway?”, “I need to be careful.”, etc…

All kinds of “good reasons” would emerge for getting away from this uncomfortable situation.

If you have committed yourself to do something meaningful to you, I am pretty sure that you know what I am talking about. When the time comes to practice yoga, write your book, go to a networking event, or do a speaking engagement, all of a sudden you don’t feel well. Or you are tired, confused, things are not organized “well enough”, and your partner, the kids, and the dog need you NOW! Then when you look at the clock, time has gone by, or the day is almost over. Tomorrow, you tell yourself,  tomorrow will be a better day. Start fresh and feel better. I have heard it all, because I have said almost all of these things too.

If you don’t know what resistance feels like, start or grow a business. It will challenge you in your bones. Everything from having to “believe in yourself,” to having to “sell” yourself, to managing time effectively, and having to learn new skills  (some that you could not care less about), will push the envelope much harder than anything you have ever done, I guarantee you.

So what is your next big project?

Have you decided to start or grow a business, or make money with your art? Are you in business for yourself and know that you “need” to take care of your health, because stress is taking the better of you?

If the answer is yes, here are the first 3 steps that I recommend to whoever is interested in “busting through” their wall of resistance.

1) Know what you want and especially “why” you want it.
The “why” is the fuel behind your action.  Once you know, write it somewhere visible, so you could read it over and over again, especially when the going gets tough. When you are clear-minded, and you know in your heart what matters to you and why, taking actions will become much easier.

2) Set up health and productivity strategies to help you overcome resistance.
One of my favorites is “time blocking.” Block out time in your calendar, let’s say one hour, and turn off both the email and the phone! Do not allow any distractions to deter you from your project. Give yourself a deadline: for example “write blog” within the time frame you allotted and get going without stopping until you are done!

3) Prioritize, focus, and commit until completion.
Once you decide on what you want, make it a priority in your life. Learn to say “NO” to whatever takes you away from your initial project. Focus and commit to getting it done until completion. For example, let’s say that one of your marketing strategy is to make sales calls, or engage people into “enrolling conversations.” Every Monday, review your list and set up times for you to get together with those people. If your project is to paint for an exhibit, determine how many paintings you want for the exhibit, and create a daily “block of time” where you paint until you have reached your goals. No excuses allowed.

If you are interested in joining me in implementing these steps, join me for a workshop “Woman Entrepeneurs on Fire”, March 24th at Healing Rhythms, or on the web/phone, Monday, March 17th

For more information, please visit:http://www.chantalleven.com/events/
 

 

 

What makes people succeed?

Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers” has in mind to “shake the myth” that successful people such as elite athletes or business millionaires are these rugged individuals who by the sheer power of their will, move relentlessly and with determination towards their goals and succeed.

Outliers is a scientific term used by scientists to explain that there are phenomenon that are outside the norm, phenomenon that don’t fit within the bell curve which demonstrate the law of average in statistics. There are people who fall outside our normal experiences, who are so special, exceptional and extraordinaire that they demand a more complete explanation.

The goal of the book” says the author  “was to take a look at the people who are “off the chart” successful and see if can we learn something that can help the rest of us be more successful , help society, organizations design something that bring the level of performance higher”.

Early in the book, the ironic element basically shows that people who seemed to have succeeded on their own and achieved extraordinary things are actually very ordinary people who met a whole series of circumstances, environments and cultural legacies that made achieve extraordinary results.

For example, Bill Gates in 1968, at age 13, was given unlimited access to a computer terminal when most college professors in computer science did not have access to a computer terminal at all because there were no computers around! They were very expensive and rare. Programming was something you mastered after decades and decades of practice and Bill Gates got unlimited access not only to a computer but to a computer that was specially outfitted and allowed him to program online when no one else in the world had that accessibility.By the time he was 18 years old he has had 10,000 hours of practice in programming while no one else in the world has had that chance. This incredible formative experience had to do with him being at the right place, at the right time, in the right community.

Continuing to debunk the myth that some people are more gifted than others, Gladwell proceeds to give multiple examples of people such as the Beatles, Steve Jobs and Gold start athletes and teams who before they became famous,put in at least 10,000 hours of practice and that mixed in with a series of fortunate circumstances is what led them to success. Bill Gates did have an “inner drive” and passion for studying computer programming which made him get up at 3 o’ clock in the morning to gain access to the computer while others were sleeping.Wouldn’t he have access to that computer he could have remained an ordinary man says the author.

Intrinsic motivation coupled with hard work and a good set of circumstances and sometimes luck is what leads to success. 

The author proceeds to demonstrate that endurance at problem solving- not quitting too early also determines success. He gives multiple examples of students in the US who are given a difficult math problem to solve and quit after trying for 30 seconds with an average of 2 minutes while studies demonstrate that to gain any momentum you have to put in at least 20 minutes to breakthrough as your understanding of the problem will shift after this period of time along with your approach which may then may lead you to a possible solution.

The morale of the story- we quit too early!

We are products of particular environments, including culture and we are made of the kind of things that got handed down to us. A student in America goes to school an average of 160 days per year while a student from an Asian country will attend 242 days of school per year.

No success happens by itself through individual efforts only and we have to take culture very seriously and widen our view to include more into the mix than personality. The author makes a point to say that “outliers”do work very hard as they are given those opportunities and circumstances.

They surround themselves with people who support them, given them continuous opportunities to grow which keeps their motivation high and help them overcome the obstacles they face at times while pursuing their goals.

Very frequently a Gold medalist will thank their coach first and their trainers as they give their acceptance speech after winning their gold medal because they recognize the value of training with people who have walked a similar path before them.
The morale of the story?

  • Pursue your passion and surround yourself with people who are better at it than you are!

The author did not specifically speak in those terms but every example he brought forward showed people driven by an intense desire to learn and the passion to pursue their goals. That in turn brought to them circumstances, events and chances that otherwise they may not have been exposed to.

So if you find yourself interested in learning something, no matter young or old you are (I hear this excuse a lot), I say go for it! Trust and follow that inner impulse. It is there for a reason!
If you want to become good at yoga, attend class regularly and stick with it for a period of time long enough to see results! Give yourself a chance to learn and get good at it. If you want to build a business, surround yourself with business people and with people who can teach you how to build a successful business.  You can’t learn from the side lines. J

  • Don’t give up! At least not too early…

Practice, practice, practice..if you have never been in business for yourself, don’t expect yourself to know how to. If you want to get in shape, start today and don’t expect yourself to be strong and limber the first week or even the first month..start and make a commitment to continue no matter what. Set a goal and stick to it and surround yourself with people who are doing the same!

Drop me a line and let me know what your passion calls you forward to do or join me in my next FREE Tele-class “Thrive No Matter What”, how to beat the odds!

Are you near your breaking point?

I am always amazed by how resilient human beings are, and at the risk of offending some people, I would say especially women. We seem to have a high pain threshold. When I think of mothers staying awake all night to care for their sick child then spending 8 hours at work and going back home to begin another “shift”, I am simply in awe. We live in a time where we have to do more with less and are expected to perform at higher speed and do it all without mistakes. The stakes are high in the work environment, at home and unfortunately on our health.

High speed life, less sleep, followed by long days filled with responsibilities and care for others, increase of caffeine to make up for the lack of energy, gradually decrease our overall health and our resiliency to stress.

Years back I had a “defining moment”. That moment qualifies as a defining moment because it stopped me “almost dead in my track”. It forced me to change the course of my life. It was like the universe took a giant straw and “sucked” all the life out of me. I was an “energetic rag”. I could barely get out of bed and function during the day. I still had to run our business 7 days per week in addition to teaching classes and taking care of foster children. It was my second round of having Lyme Disease and this time around I had contracted the Epstein Barr virus (chronic fatigue). I was shocked and very depleted when I finally decided to pay attention. I knew that I had to look deeper into the causes of illness especially of auto-immune diseases.

My whole life I would say that my tolerance to pain and stress was high and so were my expectations. I always had been a hard worker, a perfectionist and I prided myself for my ability to multi-task and accomplish a lot in a very short amount of time as long as I could spend 1 hour exercising daily, I had my life “under control”. I did not realize that I was “burning out”. I knew that I had lost my “joie de vivre” and fulfillment and was “plugging away at my life” but it had happened so gradually that like a frog that you put in a pot of cold water heating it up slowly I didn’t feel that I was getting depleted until it was too late!

4 years later I have learned to respect life balance, have learned to say no when needed and have looked deeply in what matters in my life and make sure that I bring more of this into it. Now I look around and see the same thing. A good friend of mine has just reached her breaking down point. I saw it coming for a year now and tried to warn her, she “knew” yet she wouldn’t do what needed to be done to stop the madness. I talked with other women who I also see on the verge of exhaustion, working full time jobs with lots of responsibilities, raising children, taking care of ill parents and slowly burning out. What surprises me is that they see that their stress level is high; they report having trouble sleeping, they know that they are compensating by not eating the right food or eating too much of it in an attempt to gain energy. They don’t make time for exercise, self-care, rest and rejuvenation yet despite seeing themselves slowly burning the candles by both ends they are “stuck” in believing that they still can/have to/should do it all. They are not making the changes necessary to change the course that is leading them to a definite crash and they know it.

Burnout is an insidious process because it happens slowly and gradually. I believe that for women who have a high pain threshold, women who have been known to accomplish a lot, “be all things to all people” it is even more insidious because these women are used to “pushing harder”, they believe they can or should do it all or both!

So I am in this quandary and I really want to know the answer. When is enough, enough?
“At what point do you decide that your stress level has become unmanageable and what are you willing to do about it?”
If you are almost at that point and are not making the changes necessary in your life to take of yourself- what keeps you from doing it?
if you have experienced a breakdown or a burnout I would love to hear from you…
Did you see yourself going down the burnout slope?
if you did, what made it impossible for you to stop?
If you could rewind, at what point did you realize that things had to change and what kept you from making those changes?
Here is what I am willing to do if you are willing to talk to me… I will give you 3 months for FREE on my upcoming 6 months program.
Now that offer only holds for the first 5 people who will be willing to spend 30-45 minutes with me on the phone and who are ready to create change in their lifestyle to change that pattern.
If you are willing to meet me ½ way, I am willing to give you every thing I can to help you get out of the hole..because I know..
I know what it’s like to be so drained that you can’t even think clearly nevertheless make clear decisions and take action.
I am there to help you do just that!!

Setting Goals Despite Life Challenges

The Yoga Of Life

Setting Goals Using Mindfulness to overcome life’s challenges

It is part of the American culture to prize people who set goals and become successful at meeting and exceeding those same goals. We live in a culture that implies that people are “self-made” and that some people are “naturally” willful and determined and because of those personality traits, those same people succeed. Very rarely do we take into account that people who succeed didn’t succeed only by themselves, might havehad a whole structure of support and accountability and probably a set of favorable circumstances that helped them overcome challenges and reach success.

For some people setting goals does not bring forth images of success butmemories of past failures, hurts and disappointments. Because of their circumstances, those same people have learned thatit feels better to set the bar lower or not at all, than to revisit those painful memories. Why setting goals then?

We are born to evolve no matter what. Nature always changes and transforms and so are our mind and consciousness. The “good we seek is seeking us”. There is inside of us a “guiding principle” that calls forth our actions and guides our decisions. Unfortunately as we live through our life experiences, the good and the bad, neuro-pathways get “carved” in our brain and nervous system and we remember the bad more than we remember the good.
An “old survival system” is in place to help usremember that we need to only once“see the tiger” to remember it while it gets ready to have us for dinner. In fact,the greater the emotional intensity of these experiences orthe more repeated they are , the deeper the “grooves” will be in our body mind memory and the hardest it will be to change our responses to similar experiences.At the same time, our nervous system is pliable and the concept ofneuro-plasticity plays a larger rolein helping us create new neuro-pathways which by definition allows for change to happen.

We simply have to bewilling to live through the discomfort of past feelings and memories while acknowledging that we would rather stay comfortable “within familiar zones” than attempt to branch out into unchartered territories, especially if those territories remind us of past painful experiences.

This is where the concept of mindfulness comes into play. PemaChodron, one of my favorite teachers, has a special focus on how to live mindfully in difficult times, teaches people how to deal with challenging emotions and thoughts, giving people tools“to stay” with the sensations while dropping “the story line” as a bridge to move from the past to the present.
Having been a yoga practitioner for many years, I also heard the same notions in the yoga world. In fact, what drew me to yoga 25 years ago was the need to be more present to myself and my life while learning to deal more effectively with my emotions.
Mindfulness is the key that opens the door to re-creating new neuro-pathways. By learning to be present to challenging experiences, we stop avoiding them and get to learn the lesson taught by each of these experiences and can move forward more wisely.

Why setting goals?

When we set goals from a deeper place of wisdom, a place that “feels called” to move forward, we respond to the call of our heart and soul. The way I see goal setting is more like tuning in and giving structure to the “whisper” of your heart, allowing the desires and vision that are already there to emerge. By setting goals, you give form and create the structure that will support your actions moving forward while giving your mind the focus it needs to reach destination. Goal setting is like responding to something that you already know inside of you and choosing to create following to your inner passion, desires, call to action.

“The good you seek is seeking you”really means that if you want something that same thing wants you! Setting goals become a way to “formalize” that relationship, engage your mind in a direction that will steer your actions towards manifestation of those goals.
Mindfulness will help you stay present, one step at the time, and deal with challenges as they emerge and overcome them as you move forward on the path of self-realization.