Post ID 790

Posted by on May 14, 2020

“She decided to trust what she felt, to know what she knew, and to dare to imagine an unseen order where she might be free.” Glennon Doyle

Like so many others, I recently enjoyed Glennon Doyle’s latest book, “Untamed”. This was the first book of hers that I’ve read, and the promise of women’s empowerment drew me in. 

Part memoir and part personal growth book, she offers honest highlights from her recent life and helps readers share in her lessons learned. I was hooked from her prologue, ‘Cheetah’, which also cued her anecdotal and metaphorical writing style. This opening also introduced the powerful message of her book – the importance of accessing and trusting ourselves.

I cannot emulate her words, which I encourage you to read for yourself. Instead, I’ll share just a small part of her work to give you a sneak peek of her wisdom and inspire you to apply her advice to your own life, as I have done to mine with great success. 

4 Keys to Freedom

My favourite is ‘part 2’ of her book, where she shares her 4 keys to freedom. It especially rang true for me because it’s a similar approach to how I help women make, trust and follow through on decisions. 

Here’s a brief summary of how your emotions, intuition, imagination and courage – that you may have learned to hide to keep others comfortable – will help you return to who you are.

1) Feel It All – “Feelings are for Feeling”.

Feel everything, especially the painful emotions, rather than distracting or numbing from them. You can be free from the fear of feeling pain, if not from the pain itself. You can become the woman you’re meant to be next by venturing into the feelings you have now. 

2) Be Still and Know – “If you just stop doing, you’ll start knowing.”

Instead of looking to everyone and everything else for answers, look within yourself. Ask yourself the big questions in life, go within to where your Self, wisdom, intuition or God lives and await the subtle nudge toward your next right action. The more consistently, bravely and precisely you follow your ‘Knowing’, the more beautiful your life becomes. 

3) Dare to Imagine – “Perhaps imagination is not where we go to escape reality, but where we go to remember it.”

You must first imagine on the inside what you wish to create on the outside. If you feel discontent, it’s your imagination trying to get your attention by whispering ‘not this but that instead’. To honour your dreams, write them out for yourself answering: What is the truest, most beautiful story about my life that I could imagine?

4) Let It Burn – “We must be committed to holding on to nothing but the truth.”

If you want to create something new for yourself, you must be willing to release what is no longer true for you. It may feel ‘safer’ or ‘good enough’ to stay as you are, but you would lose everything that was meant to be and you are worth more than that. In doing so, you will be full of what is true for you in this moment – neither right nor wrong – and you can revise that with what’s more beautiful for you until infinity.

Which of these 4 keys will you practice to move closer to your most free and authentic life?

Freedom in Relationships

So what could this look like when practically applied? Yes, you can use these steps in all areas of your life. Let’s use the example of a challenging personal relationship that you’re not sure how to handle. 

  • Allow yourself to feel (express and release) your emotions about the relationship, whether you’re feeling sad, worried, guilty, angry or even loving.
  • Be still with yourself, go inward to that place within you where your true Self resides and await the nudge about your next step.
  • Imagine or write out your story about what the truest, most beautiful (not necessarily easiest or happiest) version of this relationship would be. Use this to inform your actions.
  • Begin to release what is no longer helpful to you in the relationship. Let go of the ‘could have beens’ to make space for the healthier version of the relationship. 

This works beyond relationships too. I’ve practiced all four keys to successfully navigate a stressful decision about where to live, and can assure you it works. It was a bonus to learn that I could follow this process myself, and my husband (the other person involved in the decision) could follow his own process, and together we came to a great resolution. 

So until you have a chance to read ‘Untamed’ if I’ve inspired you to do so, keep Glennon’s words at hand to help you be brave enough to set yourself free . . . 

“Breathe. Don’t panic and flee. Sink. Feel it all. Be still. Imagine. Let it Burn.”

Post ID 781

Posted by on May 8, 2020

“Honour the space between no longer and not yet.” Nancy Levin

Yes, we have all been through much change over the past two months. I wonder if any of your personal relationships have also changed?

And how are you handling the transition that goes along with the change? 

If you’re not sure what I mean, here’s a quick recap of William Bridges’ transition theory.

A change is the external event or situation – positive or negative – that is largely practical. For example, a change could include the tangibles of welcoming a new friend or baby to your life, or saying goodbye to someone who is no longer your friend or is moving away.

A transition is your internal experience of the change – emotional and mental – that is a gradual process of adjustment. So, the intangible transition of moving through the psychological part of handling the new arrival or the departure of someone from your life.

If you find yourself stuck in a relationship, it could be that you haven’t moved through one of the ‘3 Stages of Transition’ in their natural order:

  • The Ending – You enter a change here, and identify what you are losing and how to manage these losses. Think of it like a storm’s arrival.
  • The Neutral Zone – The bridging between old and new, you are in the confusing and murky middle of change. This is like the foggy calm after the storm.
  • The New Beginning – The final stage where you accept the new normal with renewed energy and start to experience wins in your new direction. Here the sun, or even a rainbow, are visible through the parting clouds. 

Considering a personal relationship of yours that is currently changing, what stage are you in? 

If you find you’re not steadily moving through that stage of transition, here are some suggestions to help you gain some momentum with your relationship transition: 

1. If you’re stuck in your relationship’s ending (or ending in the sense that it will be different going forward than what it was before), do your grief work. Both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ relationship changes involve some element of letting go: of who you were, of what was, or of what never will become. Allow yourself the space to feel and release your sorrow.

2. If you’re lost in your relationship’s neutral zone, address your fears, doubts and resistance. This period can feel very uncomfortable as you may sometimes want to go back to how things were, but you also know that you must move forward. Resist the urge to fill this emptiness to avoid the temporary discomfort. Learn new perspectives or resources, from trustworthy sources and people, to address your limits and worries.

3. If you’re caught in the new beginning, spark up your desires. You’re starting to become more clear on who you are and how you are in relationships. Bravely dream up the best possible outcomes for yourself and pursue what feels right for you. Take small steps, and try small things, as you increase your confidence in your new identity and reality.

From here, I’m confident you’ll notice some momentum through your changing relationship. Reach out to may any time for further clarification. Together we’ll catch a glimpse of your fair weather relationship forecast.

Post ID 730

Posted by on April 3, 2020

“Solitude is rather like a folded-up forest I carry with me everywhere and unfurl around myself when I have need.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I’m sure I don’t need to explain why retreats are so wonderful to ‘get away from it all’ and ‘fill yourself up’. What I am excited to share is something that I’ve only just realized, and that’s really boosted my ‘me time’. 

Maybe you’re like I was, and the word ‘retreat’ brings to mind a ‘spa day’ or a ‘women’s getaway’. Now I know that you can also retreat right in the middle of your everyday life and the results will do wonders for your heart, mind, body and soul.

I started reading Jennifer Louden’s classic work “The Woman’s Retreat Book” because I was planning a ski getaway with my husband. Little did I know that my favourite takeaway would be her basic outline of a retreat that has since allowed me to have mini-retreats anywhere at any time. 

Here’s my interpretation of her outline, along with 4 retreat ideas, that will have you retreating in the heart of the hustle in as few as two minutes. You’re welcome!

4 Steps to Retreat

What I didn’t know then that I know now: the success of a retreat is not about the location you’re in, the time you have nor the people you’re with – it’s about what you do and how you do it. 

1) Prepare to Retreat – 

Think about your basic plan, such as where and when you’ll go and if you’ll need any supplies. Remember it’s not about the amount of time away or the physical proximity to your regular life, but instead about how well you can create a temporary boundary from them.

You’ll also want to set an intention for your retreat reflecting what you need right now in this moment. This will give form to your retreat while also allowing the unknowable that will unfold. This starts the process of slowing down and turning inward. For best results, pose your retreat intention as a question that feels open ended, expansive and encouraging. “On this retreat, I intend to ask myself this question . . .?”

2) Withdraw from Ordinary Life –

Begin your retreat in a safe space where you feel sustained and comforted physically and emotionally. This could be your bedroom, your bathtub, the garden, on a walk or a sacred place in your imagination.

Perform an opening ceremony or symbolic action that signals to your psyche that you’re entering a sacred time (even if you’re not physically going anywhere special). Try one or more of tehse many options: restate your intention, read an opening poem or psalm, cross a threshold, put on special clothing or an accessory, light a candle, dance to a song or apply essential oils. 

3) Listen to Yourself – 

This is the body of the retreat where the ‘work’ is done. Choose activities that will help you answer your stated intention and listen to your inner knowing. There are endless options here: rest, move, sing, read, journal, reflect, paint, cook, daydream, build, breathe, play or sleep. Anything goes, as long as the result is that you’re coming back to your centre and working toward a truer and more authentic relationship with yourself. 

4) Return to Ordinary Life –

Wrap up your retreat by reflecting on your experience, including what you’ve done, how you’ve been, what answers you’ve discovered and how you might bring any of this into your everyday life. 

End with a closing ceremony or symbolic action, like the reverse of your opening ceremony, to consciously step back into life. You could try to: offer thanks, move energetically, journal on your experience, read a poem or psalm, pack up your space, take home a momento or mental snapshot. It could be as simple as stating “I am returning from my retreat. My intention was . . . and I discovered . . . I appreciate myself for taking this time to listen and learn.”

4 Quick Retreats to Try 

Here are just a few ideas about how you could easily create a retreat in your day, in under 30 minutes. For the greatest results, please adapt these ideas to specifically address your own intentions and interests. 

1) The ‘Step Away Retreat’ in 2 minutes 

  • Ask yourself “How can I allow myself to relax and be?”
  • Close the door or close your eyes and imagine yourself in a favourite place.
  • Ideas: deep breathing, do nothing, apply body lotion or essential oils, try legs-up-the-wall pose, stretch, do a body scan or notice your 5 senses.
  • Say “All is well in this present moment. Thank you for taking this time for yourself.”

2) The ‘Take a Break Retreat’ in 10 minutes

  • Ask yourself “What do I love and how can I celebrate that?”
  • Light a candle, put on a favourite accessory or read a favourite poem.
  • Ideas: Mindfully drink a cup of tea, shower or bathe, journal, rest on your bed, practice an instrument, meditate or have a dance break.
  • Reverse your opening practice and write down how you love and celebrate, so you can remember to do more of that in the future.

3) The ‘Nature Retreat’ in 20 minutes

  • Ask yourself “How am I feeling about . . . (a demanding situation)?”
  • Get dressed and step out the door.
  • Ideas: Walk, sit in the sun, forest bathe, work in the garden or play in the park.
  • Before stepping back inside, notice if any new insights or feelings have arisen.

4) The ‘Lunch Break’ Retreat in 30 minutes

  • Ask yourself “What do I need to do to refuel myself now?”
  • Leave your workplace, or wherever you were previously spending your time, and go somewhere safe and soothing. Make a ritual of some small special gesture on your way, like listening to music or making a special beverage. 
  • Ideas: Mindfully eat lunch, go outside, read, socialize (if this is refueling to you), stretch, move, breathe or create (draw, knit, write – whatever thrills you).
  • Before returning, notice how you are and say “I’m ready for the rest of my day!”

However you choose to retreat, I hope these ideas bring you one step closer to feeling the best that you can and hearing the wisdom and wonder of your own self. 

P.S. For more insights like this sent directly to your inbox, subscribe to my email community HERE.

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