Post ID 770

Posted by on May 1, 2020

We live near a river that empties into the great Lake Superior. At this time of year, the waterfowl all seem to gather here en route to their summer destinations. In the last 24 hours I’ve watched seagulls, Canada Geese, cormorants, an eagle, a blue heron, a loon and many types of ducks – all in our ‘front yard’. 

These birds reminded me of an effective practice to give ourselves a higher perspective of the relationshiops in our lives. I’ve expanded on an idea that I first learned from Beth Kempton in her book ‘Freedom Seeker’, and have used since.

You can use this exercise to see the full picture of a great relationship you have with someone, whether it’s a friend, loved one, client or colleague. For today, I’ll share how to use it to gain some understanding about a less than ideal relationship that you may be in.

“A Bird’s-Eye View”

When it comes to a challenging relationship that you want to improve, there are four factors influencing that relationship to consider:

  1. Your role in encouraging or boosting yourself upward in the relationship
  2. Your role in discouraging or sinking yourself downward in the relationship
  3. The other’s role in supporting or propelling you forward in the relationship
  4. The other’s role in slowing or pulling you backward in the relationship

So in bird terms: 

  1. You ‘fly’ in a relationship when your thoughts, feelings and behaviours are ‘positive’, helpful and compassionate.
  2. You ‘dive’ below (or sink) in a relationship when your thoughts, feelings and behaviours are ‘negative’, unhelpful and critical.
  3. You are ‘thrust’ forward in a relationship when the other person supports and celebrates you in ‘positive’, helpful and compassionate ways.
  4. You are ‘dragged’ backward in a relationship when the other person drains you or disapproves in ‘negative, unhelpful and critical ways. 

Would you rather fly ‘free and forward’ in your relationship or ‘sink below and drag behind’? 

Now here’s how to practically apply this idea. . . 

Step 1 – Draw an ‘X’ through a piece of paper, to divide it into four quadrants. Label the top quadrant “Your Name/ Fly”, the bottom “Your Name/ Dive”, the left “Other Person’s Name/ Drag” and the right “Other Person’s Name/ Thrust”. 

Step 2 – In each quadrant, list  examples of HOW you/the other person show up in your relationship together, in the ways listed above.

Step 3 – For each of the points you’ve listed, note WHY you believe you/the other person might be showing up in this way. What do you guess may be the real reason behind the loving or lacking behaviour? 

Step 4 – On the back of the page, note any overall discoveries you’ve made by having this higher perspective on all the dynamics of the relationship.

Have you discovered something new?

This awareness practice can be the catalyst that starts to shift your relationship dynamic, and here are a few more thoughts on where to go from here: 

  1. ‘Fly’ – Keep doing the things in this quadrant. Celebrate these wins and use these experiences as helpful examples to guide your actions in the other areas.
  2. ‘Dive’  Give less time and attention to the things in this quadrant, unless you are working to resolve them. Have compassion for yourself and the gifts in these experiences. 
  3. ‘Thrust’ – Let the person know how much you appreciate the types of support listed in this quadrant. Spend more time with this person and seek new connections with people like this.
  4. ‘Drag’ – Kindly let the person know how they can support you in a way that would be more helpful than the ways listed in this quadrant. Spend less time with this person or people like this.  

But there’s a fifth factor that I haven’t yet mentioned that you can use in your relationships!

When in doubt, overhwelmed, confused, unsure, stuck, exhausted, or simply because it’s good for you . . .

Just float. 

You ‘float’ in a relationship when you allow yourself to simply be – be still, be present and rest. You give yourself the peaceful pause you need before you proceed at all.

And I wonder how much the other person would appreciate the opportunity to float too?

 

 

Post ID 747

Posted by on April 22, 2020

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” Aristotle

I celebrate Earth Day today as I do every year – by going outside and being in nature. Pretty simple I know, but I also know the best way to appreciate this earth is to get out there and engage with it on a personal level. And of course this applies any day of the year.

Before I headed out this morning, I noted it’s also a new moon today, so I infused my new moon practice with my Earth Day clebration and voila! Enjoy this walking practice to discover something new about your current desires.

How to Walk with Desire

1) Before you set out, take note of how you’re feeling, in general and about the walk. Aside from being present and enjoying your time outside, you’ll be learning something about what you currently desire. Keep track in a journal if you’re into that sort of thing like I am.

2) During your walk, just get out there and have fun. Be as present as you can be to the sights and sounds of this beautiful earth. While you’re out, take note of something that catches your attention; that causes you to pause and take a second look; or that is cool or special to you. 

3) When you return, note again how you’re feeling, in general and about the walk. Has anything changed since the start of your walk? Also, what was the special thing you noticed? Describe what it was about the thing you noticed that captured your attention. Now how can you apply that understanding to the thing you desire?

For example, my son wanted to come on my walk with me which was a rare offer, so I gladly welcomed him. While I did notice some interesting sites en route, it turned out that the biggest thing I noticed was more about how the walk went down.  Whereas I wanted to go on a nice easy stroll along the trail, my son wanted us to blaze our own trail through the bush, over the rock and into the beaver pond. 

I admit it was a nice change that I wouldn’t have pursued if he wasn’t there. It got me out of my routine to do the unexpected, explore and discover new things. So I can now apply that to my current desires (or new moon intention if you prefer). As I pursue my current desire this month, I will keep in mind that ideally it will help me “get out of my routine, do the unexpected, explore and discover new things”. And that sounds just about right to me.

On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, whether or not you try this walk, may you notice nature’s beauty, magic and marvelousness – and how it reflects and nurtures the same in you!

Posted in: Adventure, Dreams, Nature

Post ID 703

Posted by on October 9, 2019

No doubt you’ve heard of Forest Therapy (Forest Bathing or Shinrin Yoku), the evidence-based therapeutic practice of connecting with the woods. But have you experienced it for yourself? 

On Friday I finally had the chance to enjoy a guided forest therapy walk, and it was even greater than I thought it would be, so I’m excited to tell you a bit about it. I hope to inspire you to get out there among the trees for your psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual health.

I also view forest therapy is a complimentary ‘sister’ practice to my ‘walk and talk’ coaching sessions (which are more outdoor movement oriented), so am excited for you to learn more!

Sue Hamel, the owner, lead seeker and soleful guide of Seek Adventure and Tours, was our warm and gifted host. As a bonus, Ben Porchuk of the Global Institute for Forest Therapy was in town and was a co-host for the morning.

Sue’s Re-Wilding for Wellness Forest Therapy Walk, is a 3-hr opportunity to “immerse yourself in the sentience of the living forest, during a guided walk with sensory-based invitations to deepen connections.” I knew this would be a relaxing and connective experience with the landscape on an easy walk, but beyond that I didn’t know what to expect.

Our hosts met us on the bridge crossing over the Current River, and we entered into the autumn-painted, sunny yet chilly Centennial Park that boasts 147 acres of rich boreal forest. We were a group of 9 and I was surprised to be acquainted with most of the participants. It felt great to be with these kindred spirits in a new context. 

I won’t share too many specific details about the experience, all of which would be hard to put to words anyway. Instead I encourage you to try it for yourself, either with Seek or from a provider in your own local area.

To generally overview, we were guided through a series of “invitations” to practice several new ways to interact with and receive from the natural world around us, sometimes in a circle, with a partner or on our own. Many of us have spent much of our lives enjoying this park, and we agreed that we had never fully enjoyed and engaged with the land in this way. After a heartfelt closing ceremony, we ambled back through the park and over the bridge to return to our everyday lives, more refreshed, grounded and alive than when we arrived. 

One of my favourite takeaways was a deeper appreciation for the value of connection.

Beyond the experience of re-connecting with myself, I also enjoyed greater: 

  • Connection with Nature – The most obvious one, I experienced a deeper connection with nature and learned new and profound ways to be present with and learn from the landscape. We all know that we’re born to connect with nature – we live in, rely on and are nature – yet we often forget about or avoid it.  Surprising research (learned from Ben) indicates that North Americans spend more than 95% of our time indoors, which prohibits us from accessing nature’s many benefits and also leaves us vulnerable to the many stressors of our manufactured society. Contrast that with the fact that just a few hours of forest therapy boosts your immune system for a week(!) and it will have you asking yourself: How will I spend some time being present with nature today?

 

  •  Connection with the Guides – To effectively guide another is truly an artform, so it was a special treat to witness our leaders in their element. Although I’ve practiced aspects of forest bathing on my own for years, doing so with skilled guides added a layer of magic to the process. As a coaching guide myself, I especially admired how they seamlessly offered their wisdom and experiences while, most importantly, creating the space and allowing for the process to unfold between each of us as individuals and the forest. They truly modeled how “the forest is the therapist, and the guide opens the gate.” Who can you join on an outdoor adventure to take your experience to the next level?

 

  • Connection with Others – Obviously I love this stuff, so the best part for me was connecting with other nature-inspired people to practice something I normally do on my own. Simply showing up was a great way to reconnect with some old friends and acquaintances and meet some new folks too. More profoundly, hearing others’ personal thoughts and reflections throughout the morning added to my own insights and even  resolved difficult thoughts that I couldn’t work out on my own. And of course being with others made it way more fun too! Who will you invite outside today?

 

I wholeheartedly recommend that you all try forest therapy, especially Seek’s Re-Wilding for Wellness if you’re in the area. I will continue to use the practices I learned on my own outdoor adventures, and will look forward to my next guided walk in the woods  – maybe when the snow flies. 

And if you’re intrigued about how my ‘walk and talk’ coaching similarly supports your well-being while being outside, simply reply email me so we can arrange a chat. I would love to connect with you to tell you more.

Now I’m off for a walk on this unseasonably warm day in October. How about you?

Yours Outdoors, 

     Nicole

P.S. If you’d love to receive more notes like this directly to your inbox, opt in to my email community by CLICKING HERE!

Posted in: Adventure, Body, Community, Nature
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