Humans often feel overwhelmed because there is so MUCH we choose to do. We just can’t fit it all in our heads sometimes. So pick just ONE, and focus on that.
Yes, you want it all. You deserve it all, and you can have it all.
But you can’t have it all TODAY.
So what can you have today? We need to start somewhere, so sit with that list of desires and decide which one thing you want to focus on first. Maybe you want a new job, you want to reduce your weight, and you’ve been meaning to start writing that novel in your spare time. Pick just one to start, and focus on that one goal. Focusing on all of them splits our energy so there is less of it to spend on anything! Choose the one that is most calling to your soul at this moment.
Then break that goal into bite-sized chunks.
Let’s use weight reduction as our example because it’s a challenge that many of us relate to.
What is one small step that you can take today that moves you closer to that one goal? Maybe there are two small steps you can take. Maybe the first step is to make a list of the steps required to complete your goal. Make that list and then prioritize it.
Things to do on this list might include changing the foods we choose, adding more physical activity, journaling, hiring a coach, food & activity tracking, and many other tools that may appeal to you to provide results in the weight reduction/health improvement category.
If we try to add all of these, it quickly becomes cumbersome to try to juggle all of these new behaviors at the same time. So pick just one step and focus on that piece. Let one of those new behaviors be your starting point. If we have been completely or mostly sedentary, then the most obvious place to begin might be increasing physical activity. Increasing physical activity will look different for each individual, so do not compare your own starting place to anyone else’s! Just start moving.
Pick an activity you enjoy and put it in the schedule on a regular basis (at least 3 times a week). Then show up for yourself!
Pro tip: If you hate going to the gym, don’t try to make that your keystone habit! There are a million ways to get active, so choose something you enjoy. Create a dance party indoor living room, even if it’s just one song each morning, or find a dance class near you. Swimming can be fun year round if you live near an indoor pool or in a warm climate. Walking with friends gets the blood flowing and gives us a chance to connect with someone.
Don’t judge yourself! If you tell yourself you are too old, or out-of-shape to move your body, your body will believe you and just sit on the couch!
We’re not asking ourselves to do ALL the things society is ‘shoulding’ on us. We have chosen one piece of one goal that is important to us, and we have committed to do it consistently until it’s a habit.
Once we have created that habit, we can return to our list of goals and decide which piece to add next. We evaluate the list to see which piece will provide the biggest shift toward our goal, or which piece sounds fun and exciting to embark on next, and we challenge ourselves to add that step alongside our new habit. So besides being more active in some fun way we enjoy at least 3 times a week, we are now also avoiding dairy, or reducing fat intake, or taking a nutrition class, or whatever the next right piece for YOU seems to be that moves you one step closer to where you want to be.
We can’t do it all at once. Our brains get overwhelmed when we try. Then we beat ourselves up for not doing more, and as a consequence, we tend to do less! So instead of ALL of it, just take the next one step that seems reasonable and achievable today! And instead of beating up on yourself for not doing every damn thing TODAY, celebrate yourself for taking a step in the direction of you goal.
You took action, and that’s not nothing! Taking action toward your dreams is a very big something that many MANY other people did not do today, so GO YOU!! You are awesome and amazing for being brave enough to take action!
Think about how we CELEBRATE when our child takes those first tiny steps. Do we berate her for not standing up straight and walking all the way across the room? Hell no. We praise her, and rejoice because we know this is just the beginning. She will walk independently and learn to run. But not today! Her baby steps are all she needs to give her the confidence that will carry her to her next steps.
Celebrate your baby steps. If you stumble, just get up and try again.
Make a list of what you MOST want right now. Which of your dreams makes your heart sing more than the others? In what ways is one of them crucial to achieving the others? What steps will bring you to this goal? (If you don’t yet know all of them, list the parts you know so far.) Which of those steps seems like the next logical one? Which of these steps most inspires you to action? How will you implement one of these steps into your life this week? What might get in your way and how can you plan to overcome that?
If you are still feeling confused or overwhelmed, you’re not alone! This is the kind of thing that people hire coaches for every day!
If you like my style and are considering hiring a personal coach, please contact me here, or by calling 707-515-8324.
You know what I am talking about. MOST of us have said, “When it comes to XYZ, I have NO self control!” Or, “I can NOT resist XYZ!” (XYZ = your drug of choice)
XYZ is that THING that you won’t resist because it is simply too tempting, too delicious, too delightful to be missed! And with the holidays arriving, most of those temptations spawn myriad opportunities to succumb to our desires in the guise of celebrating the season, or reducing seasonal stress.
What is it for you? For many MANY people it is sugar. For some it’s alcohol, or pizza, gambling, or shopping.
But let’s be clear. What we are truly saying is that ‘something external has power over me.’ We are handing our power willingly to XYZ. WHY do we hand our power away willingly?
Because it’s an excuse to do what we want to do anyway!
Period. In any other situation we fight to keep our power and stay in control. We don’t like being told we ‘have-to’ do something, and we resist being forced into anything. Unless we want to do something and need an excuse to shift blame away from ourselves.
Giving away power is an energy drain by itself (power=energy). Compound that with the fact that giving in to XYZ often makes us feel guilty (another energy drain) for not sticking to our intentions, and that XYZ is often something that depletes energy all by itself (like sugar, dairy or booze), and you can see why believing that you have no control DEPLETES our energy exponentially.
So, if we want to stay energized, it’s KEY to understand that we ARE in control, always. The choice is always ours. (Unless we are truly powerless in which case it’s important to consider treatment for addiction or compulsion.) We are either choosing to align with our intentions and keep our energy intact, or we are choosing to abandon our intentions for XYZ, which leaves us exhausted and depleted.
The choice is always ours.
Strike a power pose and confidently align with your healthy intentions!
The word ‘resist’ is tricky, too.
We cannot resist anything because to resist it we must be focused on it. We want to distract or realign our focus rather than resist. When distracted from XYZ, we don’t have to ‘resist’ anything, because we have chosen to focus elsewhere.
Instead of saying, “I can’t resist free candy,” how possible is it to reframe that thought so it focuses your energy on something you do want?
“I choose to eat healthy snacks like apples and dates because they align with my powerful intention to regain my vibrant health!” That feels pretty powerful to me.
Maybe you prefer something simpler, “I eat only the foods on this list,” and then create a list of foods you LOVE that align with your health goals.
Self Nourishment through the Holiday Season
Whatever you celebrate, this time of year brings stress to millions, and millions of us turn to food for comfort in times of stress. My friend, Michelle Dwyer is hosting this fabulous event to help you nourish yourself this season instead of the old cycle of indulging and then beating ourselves up for it.
What is it that you have been telling yourself you cannot resist? What will change in your life when you choose a different thought? What new thought resonates for you? How will you choose to show up for yourself when you feel stressed this season? If you change a behavior you have been refusing to change, what other changes will you feel inspired to make? Who else will your new choices impact or inspire?
“Every time you come from a place of, “I need to get X” today, flip that impulse around and make it about giving.”
“For example, if you realize you’re out of toothpaste, instead of focusing on getting some, focus on giving the drugstore your business; on giving the employees a smile and a hearty “thank ye mucho!”; giving thanks that you have the money, bodily ability, and transportation to make the dental adventure happen; on giving your teeth the love and attention they deserve, etc.”
“Do this all day with everything and take note of how that flip shifts your energy, your focus, and your results.”
I super, uber-love that quote from Jen Sincero’s You are a Badass Every Day! Go back and read it again. Go on, I’ll wait here.
I read it often and love the way it feels when I let it seep into my bones!
When I was a kid and people told me it was better to give than receive, I thought they were NUTS! As far as I was concerned nothing beat tearing the wrapping paper off a gift!
And don’t get me wrong, to this day receiving a thoughtful gift that conveys the message that the giver knows you – REALLY knows what makes you smile and goes to the trouble to get that for you – is a great joy that uplifts my heart tremendously, splendiferously, fully and completely!
But that joy is tiny when compared to giving a gift that lets the recipient know that you see them, you know what makes them smile and went to the effort to make that smile happen. My kids are grown now, but when they were little, I remember the sheer bliss as I watched them open gifts on Christmas. I still try to get them each one thing that lights up they’re face because seeing them light up feeds my soul.
So when I read the Jen Sincero quote above, it really struck a nerve. What if I can bring that feeling of giving to every aspect of my life? How cool would that feel?! And my next thought was “I want my whole life to feel like giving!”
So now I try to embody this idea.
And I say “try,” Master Yoda, because sometimes I DO, and sometimes I just forget and fall back into the habit of going after and getting what I need. This is the familiar vibration most of us have known since growing to adulthood got us user-focused on the need to GET enough money to pay our bills. It’s a process.
Developing the vibration of a ‘getting’ mindset took decades. Allow yourself at least a month to practice the giving mindset described by Jen Sincero, and see what feels different for you. What BETTER time to practice than from Thanksgiving Day until the new calendar begins?
I want to get new clients, so I focus on giving people my attention and listening skills. I focus on what they are wanting or needing and which parts of that are within my power to give, or which parts I can at least give them resources for that can help them move in the direction they desire.
I give hints and tips about how I am navigating life’s waters in the hopes that people take comfort that they are not alone in their story, or that they find ways to overcome whatever may be weighing them down or holding them back.
When I want to get something, I give something first.
I need to get information? I give curiosity and kindness to those who may have it. I need to get groceries? I give a cheerful greeting to all that I meet and lend a hand to a vertically challenged person that wants to buy something on the top shelf. I need to get car repairs? I give my mechanic and his staff my friendly attitude, my money, and referrals!
What do you most need to get right now? How can you think about that from a perspective of giving? What will change for you when you shift from a mindset of getting to giving?
Today I bring you a DIFFERENT type of post. The purpose of my blog is to energize lives and empower readers to seek their own answers, access their true dreams, and overcome anything that gets in the way of making those dreams a reality. Well, if part of your dream is a gorgeous smile through state of the art dental work, the high cost of that dental work might be what’s standing in your way.
Enter Los Algodones, Mexico.
I’ve known about medical tourism for years. The first time I heard about dental tourism was from my massage therapist who went to Los Algodones and had a GREAT experience while saving thousands of dollars last year. I asked him all kinds of questions and he had nothing but praise for his dentists and the entire experience. After several months research, and coordinating air travel, drive time, and arrangements for a CT scan and two separate consultations at different offices, my friend and I headed to Mexico on a simple fact finding mission to see if traveling to Los Algodones could save him some money too.
Our trip fell on November 13 & 14. Coincidentally, on the 14th, this article appeared in the Huffington Post about the Dental Mecca that America’s health care costs built. The subtitle reads, “A tiny border town is home to hundreds of dentists and is a major destination for Americans seeking big savings on dental care.”
I am impressed!
From Oakland we flew to San Diego and got a rental car. Los Algodones is a very easy 2.5 hour drive east on Interstate 8.
We parked in the giant parking lot and made our way through the unmanned turnstile that let us into Mexico. No passport stamp, no guards, no border wall to cross, just a turnstile letting hundreds and thousands of Americans escape the high cost of dental care.
Walking into Los Algodones is akin to walking into Disneyland, but instead of souvenir shops lining Main Street, it’s dentists, opticians and pharmacies. Oh my!
Los Algodones is brightly colored with purple, yellow and green buildings. Color makes me happy and I was enchanted the moment we entered.
If we didn’t have an appointment to make our way toward, it would have been easy to get lost in the sights of Los Algodones, or diverted by the incessant barkers luring pedestrians with promises of low prices and high skill to whichever dentist or pharmacy they were hawking. All of them promise the lowest prices. All of them are quite insistent, and most of them are very convincing as I expect they are paid only if they draw in clientele.
You can walk into Los Algodones without an appointment and get one quite easily, but I have NO idea how you would choose a dentist once you arrive and I was delighted those decisions didn’t need to be made on the spot. We found our first appointment easily and arrived slightly ahead of schedule despite the near impossibility of walking down the street.
It was 87 degrees on the November day we visited Los Algodones, and to walk in the shade, you must pass through the territories of the souvenir traders who are fiercely competing for the attention of the passerby. I say territories because they are not indoor shops. They have racks for clothes right on the walkways in front of and between the medical offices, and hang tarps to minimize the sun. The makeshift shops are full of striking colors and the smell of leather and sweat. T-shirts, hats, belts, dresses, jackets, statuary, jewelry, blankets, pipes and purses all get loaded into a van at the end of the day and carted away. The streets of Molar City pretty much roll up at 5 pm when the dental offices close.
Cinthia greeted us at the reception desk of Reny Dental, and across the course of the next two hours I discovered that Cinthia is highly knowledgeable about dentistry, understands complex surgical practices, and converses flawlessly in her second language of English. The first thing she did was ask a lanky young man in the waiting room to “take us down,” referring to where we needed to go for my friend’s CT scan.
Frankie stood without looking at us, opened the door, and motioned us through without ever looking up from the screen in his palm. We followed lanky Frankie about a block and a half, and into Baja Medical Imaging where he spoke a few words of Spanish to the man at the desk. We sat for two minutes, they called my friend in. He returned two minutes later. Five minutes after that and about five more words of Spanish between the two men as the imaging guy handed Frankie a CT image on a CD, and we were back on the busy street following Frankie back to the dental office.
SIDE NOTE – In 2015 I had a CT scan at Kaiser. My portion with medical insurance cost $2,300. The one in Los Algodones cost $80.
Cinthia translated for the doctor and my friend. He had a very thorough exam and got a detailed plan for each tooth! They talked about options, explained how long the procedures would take and time needed for healing. They work with tourists all the time, so they were able to let us know how many days he would have to be in the area for each step of the process. They explained the types of materials he could choose, and called an oral surgeon to consult on the case.
My friend has been dealing with his dental issues for years now and was satisfied that the consult hit all of the markers he was looking for. There was zero charge for the time they spent with us. The office was clean. The staff was professional & friendly. The exam was thorough. The doctor did not speak English well, but communication was clear and concise. Cinthia is a consummate professional and a great asset to her office. We left with an estimate for his full mouth that was less than they want for his bottom teeth in California.
Getting back into the U.S. took a little over 5 minutes, though the guy who checked my passport looked at me sideways when I reported I had purchased nothing. “What was the purpose of your visit?” he asked rather suspiciously. Dentistry. He handed back my passport and waved me through. We walked back to the parking lot and made the super easy 15 minute drive across the Arizona line into Yuma. I highly recommend La Fuente Inn & Suites if you plan to be in the Yuma area!
Day Two in Mexico – Second Dentist and some Shopping
In the morning we had a 9am appointment at a second dental office for consultation. It was fun and a little confusing to leave Yuma at 9:30 and arrive in Mexico before 9am, but since they are in neighboring time zones, that’s just what happened. As you cross the Arizona line into California, an orderly row of billboards springs up and marches off to the horizon alerting you to the fact that if you need dental, optical, or pharmacy, Los Algodones awaits!
Arriving at the Los Algodones border crossing at 9am is similar to arriving for BART during the morning rush, but the waves of people moving through the turnstile mostly have gray hair. Dental office workers in scrubs arrive alongside flocks of snowbirds and tourists coming in for dental appointments and affordable prescription drugs.
As impressed as my friend and I were with the first office, we were doubly impressed with with the Marquez brothers at Grace Dental Studio & Co. Dr. Diego Marquez is a restorative dentist with a meticulous approach to aesthetics. His brother Dr. Nestor is an oral surgeon and implant dentist.
We found Grace Dental every bit as clean, professional, thorough and friendly as the first one we visited. Dr. Diego spent nearly an hour with us examining my friend’s teeth and discussing his case history. Dr. Nestor wanted some extra time to examine the CT scan we brought with us, so they recommended a place to get some food and asked us to return in an hour.
The few blocks we walked to find Birrieria El Paisa – not to be confused with Mariscos el Paisa, of course – were plastered with colorful offerings, leather goods, dental signs, and loud merchants barking prices at pedestrians. It was somewhat like a carnival atmosphere and I was indeed entertained.
We are huge fans and expert judges in the all manner of street tacos, so after being told they were out of pork, we each ordered one chicken and one beef taco. They were quite tasty and kept hunger at bay until we had reached San Diego again. Service was quick, so we still had time to kill before heading back. My friend needed a new belt, so we decided to procure a few local goods to declare at the passport check that afternoon.
If you enjoy bargaining, you will love shopping in Mexico. I don’t necessarily enjoy bargaining, but I am good at it because I decide in my head how much I am willing to pay before I ask for their price. Then when they give me the first number (and don’t ever pay the first number, unless you are just feeling generous and want to give a little bit back to the people of Los Algodones, because they expect you to haggle over the price) I offer them less than I am willing to pay.
I’m also willing to walk away which almost instantly triggers a price drop as they fear losing the sale to the next seller with the same merchandise. I usually get a pretty good deal when I actually want to make the purchase. We enjoyed the noisy, colorful “shops” and our interactions with the friendly people. Even the dental barkers, once they determined that you were in fact looking for something other than dental services were happy to help translate or give directions.
Once back at Grace dental, Dr. Nestor spent over 30 minutes with us explaining everything he saw in the CT scan, his thoughts on treatment options, pros and cons of those options, best and worst case scenarios, and information about follow-up treatment required to guarantee their work. My friend was more impressed with this consult than the first. He was especially keen that the oral surgeon is on site and that he got to discuss the case with him personally. We did not get the estimate while we were there, but were told they would email it in a day or two. Even without seeing the numbers, my friend is leaning toward having his work done at Grace Dental Studio & Co.
Getting back across the border took slightly longer the second day. As we approached the crossing, I saw a line of people waiting to get back into the U.S. We joined the queue and struck up a conversation with the nice people in front of us. They are from Yuma and come across to Los Algodones once a week to eat lunch.
The line of tourists was a rich target for the locals to hawk their wares one more time before we took our money back into the U.S. A man carrying a large brightly painted statue of a turtle walked the line trying to draw attention for a sale. There was a woman holding an arm of brightly colored carpet bags on her arm asking quietly for $20 each. Two small girls stood alongside with silk flowers, pushing them toward passerby, hoping to garner a sale to help their mother. I didn’t need any silk flowers. I didn’t need a carpet bag either, but there was one that caught my eye with it’s vivid colors and I could not resist one more purchase on my way out of Mexico!
When the passport agent asked me what I was bringing today, I delightedly reported two T-shirts, one dress, a jacket, one leather belt, and one carpet bag. The look on his face lead me to believe that he didn’t want quite that much detail. You just can’t please these guys.
Our return drive to San Diego was fast and easy. We got the best Mexican food of the trip at Oscar’s Mexican Seafood. We were lucky enough to arrive at happy hour and got some of the BEST fried fish tacos we have ever eaten for $1 each! This is an amazing restaurant about a block from Pacific Beach that even offers beach delivery!
We walked down to the water to enjoy an iconic San Diego sunset before gassing up the rental car at Costco, and catching our 90 minute flight back to the Oakland airport. BTW – the most difficult part of the entire travel process was winding our way back to the rental car return from Costco on the streets of San Diego.
So if you need dental work but have been putting it off due to the prohibitive cost, I highly recommend that you do some research on your own and consider the more affordable option on our southern doorstep, Los Algodones, Mexico – Molar City.
Most humans (and I would venture to guess ALL parents) feel overwhelmed at least some of the time, and especially during the holidays. But what is overwhelm? The dictionary defines it as “bury or drown beneath a huge mass.” When most of us talk about feeling overwhelmed, we are not literally being buried or drowned beneath a huge mass, but the thoughts we think about our to-do list make it feel like we are. So it’s our thoughts that make us feel overwhelmed.
The cool thing is that once we realize how we think about and prioritize our never-ending to-do lists, we can release MOST, if not all, of what people define as overwhelm.
Infinity and Beyond
Remember – We are eternal beings, so we can never get it “done.” You can stop stressing that you never get to the end of your to-do list. You never will. No one does. Don’t let them tell you they do.
It helps to remember your WHY.
Analyze each item on your list and ask, “Why do I choose to do this?”
You are at choice and you CHOSE to put those things on your to-do list. If an item feels like it’s being imposed on your list, ask yourself WHY you are allowing it to be imposed. Maybe you love someone that needs you to do it, or maybe it just has to get done. Why does it have to get done? So the bills get paid. So the kids get an education. So the relationship feels secure. There is a WHY for every item on the list.
If you can remember why you want to do it, it won’t drain your energy like it does when you think you have no choice. No one wants to feel they’re being forced to do anything, and that feeling of powerlessness drains our energy. Any time we feel we “have to” (should) do something, or “need to” do something, it drains our energy.
Change your thoughts.
If you resent or dread doing an item on your list, you have at least three choices. You can decide it does not really need doing and just ditch it. You can delegate it to someone else. Or you can change the way you think about it so it won’t drain your energy.
For example, if an item on your list is to dust and vacuum the house. Why are you doing that? Do you feel like you “should” because you have guests coming to dinner? Does it need doing because the house is dirty? Does someone else want it done? Do you choose to do it because having a tidy home lifts your energy?
When we feel we “should” do something it’s usually because we fear others will judge us if we don’t do it. We could choose this if we wanted to, but we do it because we will feel shame (around what others think) if we do not do it. THAT drains the energy right out of your toes! Doesn’t it?
Needing to do it is not as draining as having to do it, but it still drains us. There is a reason for it to get done (the house is dirty) but I still feel at the effect of circumstances, instead of in control of my choices.
Does that resonate for you? Don’t take my word for it, check in with your gut.
Have you ever done something you didn’t want to do because it needed to be done? Of course! We all have. We all know someone that works a job they don’t love because they need the paycheck. Talk about energy draining. If we are doing anything because we feel we have to, or need to, just adding it to our list drains our energy before we ever take action.
Don’t you feel most inclined to do it cheerfully when you are choosing to do it? It seems like a quick easy chore that lifts our energy for our effort! I like a tidy environment. I feel most clear, focused and creative in a tidy, organized space. It takes 10-15 minutes to do the dusting and run the vacuum, and then I FEEL BETTER!
Yes! And I have energy to spare on whatever I love to do!
Speaking of what you love to do…
Most importantly, how many items on your list answer the “why” question with “for the fun of it” or “because I enjoy it”?
If the answer to that is zero, don’t feel bad! You’re not alone on this point by any stretch of the imagination. Most of us tend to let go of what we want to do in favor of the ‘have-to-do’ and ‘need-to-do’ items.
Why? Because many of us were taught that doing what we WANT before what we SHOULD makes us selfish. It does not make us selfish! It makes us happy. It makes us resilient. It makes us creative and thoughtful, and it energizes our lives.
Add something to the to-do list right now simply for the pleasure it brings. Do something you love daily and just WATCH the difference it makes in your energy level! At least add something once a week that you do just for the joy of it.
It can be anything you love. Read a book. Soak in a long hot bath. Go to the movies and book dinner at a fine restaurant. Avoid movies and restaurants so you can afford to travel. Pick up that yoga practice you put down. Write that book you’ve always wanted to write. Go dancing once a week. Create a three-minute dance party in your living room every day.
Whatever it is that makes your heart sing, add it to your calendar now. Make time for it. Make time for you, and there will be more time and energy for the to-do list!
Look at your “to-do” list and ask yourself, “Why do I choose to do this?” Which items on your list can be ditched? Which items on your list can be delegated? Name one activity that you enjoy tremendously that you have not done in a long time? What is one activity that LIFTS your energy every time you do it? How can you fit those activities into your schedule? Why is it important for you to choose something just for the joy it brings?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I hope this post helps you shift your thoughts enough to relieve some of that stress. If not, consider hiring a coach to help you shift your energy from exhausted to energized!
I offer a FREE session to anyone considering hiring a coach, so we can discuss the ways that coaching can help, and see if partnering together would be of benefit for your situation. If I am not the right fit for your coaching needs, I have a list of AMAZING certified coaches at this link.
The reason I became a coach is to help people live the greatest version of themselves. To that end, I find it crucial to practice joy daily.
I also think it’s vital to keep a tool kit lying around that contains tools that lift my spirits. Whether I start with a low vibe or am already in high spirits, any of the items in my tool kit help to raise my vibe above wherever I started.
Create your own tool box full of quick pick-me-ups to lift your spirit and raise your energy quickly! Here are just a few suggestions from my own tool box that I love. Check them out!
If any of them raise your vibe, stick ’em in YOUR tool kit!
This is one of my favorite videos. It soothes my soul and I return to it over and over and over again! If you want to see the full screen version, follow this link to Facebook. It’s an amazing meditation, and it’s usually the first thing I reach for when I feel blue.
Of COURSE I feel blue sometimes – I am HUMAN! It’s important to understand that people who focus on positive, prosperous, good-feeling energy don’t walk around in a perpetual state of bliss or nirvana, never experiencing challenges. Humans have challenges because they are part of the growth process.
However, when challenges arise, those of us focussed on a positive mindset don’t feel like we’ve been kicked in the dirt and left without choice. We find our balance faster, and move quickly from focusing on the challenge to creating one or more solutions.
Feng Shui Your Mind Body Spiritis an online course with abundant content that uplifts my soul! I did this course last year, but I return to it over and over again to listen to the uplifting and inspiring recordings FULL of positive energy and fabulous tips to keep you balanced and growing toward your goals!
Her partner in the online course Feng Shui Your Mind Body Spirit is Michelle Dwyer MS, CNC, an AWESOME Health Coach & Nutrition Consultant with a Masters in Health and Nutrition.
Both practitioners bring vast wisdom to this course with an extremely approachable playbook full of fun, easy, practical ways to integrate the wisdom into your life! Together their energy blends into a kick-ass, high-vibe resource that I love having in my arsenal of joy!
Besides their beautiful course, I highly recommend working one on one with both of these extraordinary women.
Click their name above to follow the links for more info.
I adore Tosha Silver’s books!
I took this picture of her at the Book Passage when I heard her speak there last April when she released her newest book that I HIGHLY recommend to everyone, It’s Not Your Money.
It’s about releasing financial worry by surrendering finances to the Divine.
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It is my mission with this blog to help raise the consciousness of the planet one person at a time. I share stories from my own life, and answer questions I frequently get from my clients. I hope to help the reader realize they are not alone on this awesome journey. We are all on the same journey. We are all One.
From uncovering the life of your dreams by Bruce Schneider:
My purpose in life is not to teach, preach, or convince anyone of anything, but instead to empower others to seek their own answers, access their true dreams, and overcome anything that gets in the way of making those dreams a reality.
Awareness is a powerful weapon against the inner critic.
I hope that since my previous post you have had an opportunity to observe the critic, to become aware of when it’s speaking to you and what sorts of situations trigger it.
Did you observe how gremlin thoughts start to lose power the minute you shine your awareness on them? Awareness by itself is actually all you need to overcome some of the smallest gremlins. They scatter like cockroaches when the light of awareness touches them. However, for some gremlins that have been around a very long time with messages we have taken on as beliefs, we need awareness first along with some other tools to help free us from the stranglehold they place on our energy.
Get to know your personal gremlin.
Visualizing or creating a physical representation of the inner critic is a great tool to use to understand that the gremlin is separate from us, and that the messages of the gremlin are NOT our inner voice, but actually come from outside of ourselves.
I first visualized my gremlins as cockroaches because I enjoy thinking about them scattering when I shine my light of awareness on them. When I took a class aimed at overcoming the programming of the inner critic, we were assigned the task of creating a physical representation of the gremlin. My first idea was to photoshop the face of a person yelling at me onto a cockroach.
The idea made me smile, but I really wanted something I could punch if I wanted to, so I bought a puppet from Paisley’s Puppets in Oakland, and gave her a hat to wear.
This is my own personal gremlin, Kalista Kockroach Krabapple III.
I keep Kalista where I can see her daily to remind me that I am not the voices in my head.
Create your own gremlin if the idea resonates for you! I know for some clients, the idea of thinking about the inner critic as a “gremlin” does NOT resonate. If that’s the case for you, that’s cool. Try calling it inner critic or ego, or Ralph, or cluttered mind, or anything that helps you think of it as “not you” because those messages are NOT you, and we want to begin to set it apart from the self.
Once I realized that these messages were not my own, it dawned on me that the reason I felt so shitty when thinking inner critic thoughts is because they are NOT true. When things resonate, they feel good physically and lift our energy! Truth resonates.
Resonate means ‘to produce resonance.’ Resonance is defined as ‘the quality of being deep, full, and reverberating,’ or ‘the ability to evoke or suggest images, memories, and emotions.’ Truth does this. Capital T.
A thought that is not true, on the other hand, does the opposite of resonate. It makes us physically recoil. That little knot in the pit of your gut, or under your solar plexus is your physical being recoiling from something that your core essence KNOWS is not true. This physical recoil takes place for the same reason our hand would recoil from a flame: to avoid pain. That physical signal is a communication from the Highest Self to avoid that thought that feels so icky.
Let that soak in. The physical sensation you get when you think a thought that feels crappy is a signal to BACK THE FUCK AWAY from that thought. “That thought will cause you pain.” “Don’t go there.” That’s your gut instinct screaming to get your attention.
How does this resonate for you? Don’t take my word for this stuff, check in with your gut. When you read the information above, did it resonate? Make you recoil?
Tell your gremlin to fuck off!
Once I learned that the inner critic was NOT me, and I learned to identify that physical sensation that told me the gremlin was lying to me again, I wanted those cockroaches OUT of my head! When I would hear the nasty little bastards starting in, I visualized myself flicking them away like the tiny vermin they are.
Once when I turned to a friend with an issue I thought was a struggle, she gave me some really solid advice. Her email contained wisdom, reassurance, validation, and these beautiful seven words:
Flicking them away and telling them to fuck off allowed me to reclaim my own power. For me, as well as many other people, this is a vitally important step. When I was in coaching school, we talked a LOT about the inner critic because gremlin messages are one of the biggest issues people bring to coaching.
That’s where I learned that telling the inner critic to fuck off is a great first step, but is not usually enough to exterminate the cockroaches. For that, we need to understand the message and it’s original purpose, because their purpose was never to get us to live small and stay scared. That was the outcome of their message once it outlived it’s usefulness.
Understand it’s true purpose.
The true purpose of the cluttered thoughts, gremlin messages, inner critic voice is sometimes to protect us from perceived harm.
For instance: If your father backhanded you so hard you flew across the room when you voiced an opinion that didn’t agree with his, you may have developed a message that said, “Never speak your truth – it causes pain,” or, “Never disagree with those in authority,” or, “Your ideas are NOT valid,” or, “No one wants to hear your thoughts,” or any number of other ideas that may have kept you safe in that particular situation, but are now standing in the way of you experiencing your life to the fullest.
Some messages are meant to control us. For instance: Maybe an ex-spouse told you repeatedly that you are unloveable, and followed that up with actions that seemed to prove the point. That message actually says far more about the ex than about you, but if self-esteem is low enough, or if you have been practicing thoughts about being unworthy, you may buy this message wholesale. Then when the marriage ends, the gremlins tell us that no one will ever love us. And it’s possible, that the gremlins are trying to protect us again! They are trying to keep us out of situations that might hurt.
If any of this resonates for you, you are NOT alone!
Are you getting a slight knot in your solar plexus, or a slight feeling of nausea? Remember, that feeling of physical recoil means those thoughts are NOT true!
The important thing here is to understand that these messages came from outside of self. They were intended to keep you safe, or were the agenda of outside forces. WHERE they came from is NOT important! You may immediately recognize where some of your inner critic messages come from, but please don’t waste time trying to figure out where or when or why your messages came to you.
Simply recognize that where you are now, those messages no longer serve a purpose, so it’s safe to start leaving them behind and embrace Truth of your awesomeness. The faster you do, the better you feel!
Train the inner critic for a NEW job!
So, you have this really powerful voice inside your head that you’ve been listening to for a while now, and it seems like the voice is trying to help you on some level, even though it’s messages are constantly draining your energy. How do we stop the ebb of energy into negative thought patterns and redirect it into building new, more positive thought pathways?
You’re probably getting good at being aware of your personal inner critic messages by now. Maybe you’ve even visualized your gremlin and know it’s name. So now it’s time to begin retraining the gremlin. It wants to help, so let’s give it something helpful to do!
Retrain that inner critic to repeat messages that build your energy and give you motivation.
When I first went to coaching school, my gremlin ROARED that everyone in class was more educated than me, better coaches than me, and that I had nothing to offer. “Keep quiet so they won’t know how much you DON’T know!”
Like I said, we did a LOT of coaching on gremlins at iPEC, and I discovered that almost everyone in class had gremlins as loud and as mean as mine were! All of us had some version of the same message: “You are not enough.” It was a revelation to understand that I was not alone. We are all exactly the same in our own unique ways!
So I began to picture Kalista in a little cheerleading uniform. I mentally had her turn her dunce cap into a bull horn, and every time one of the old thoughts popped in to say, “you are not smart enough,” I pictured Kalista shouting it down with rallying cries of, “Cyndi is a ROCKSTAR coach and an awesome person with valuable insights to offer the other coaches in this class!” Complete with pompoms.
How would you like to reimagine your inner critic? What messages would you enjoy hearing? What messages are inspiring for you ? What messages will motivate you to move closer to your goal? What will change in your life once you change the voices in your head? What inner critic message seems LOUDEST in your head? How would you like to re-write that one?
What questions do you still have about taming that inner critic? Ask your questions in the comments below this post!
Read Rick Carson’s Book!
If you want to learn more about taming gremlins, follow this link to order Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson. It’s the preeminent work on gremlin taming and a very useful book full of inspired illustrations. He also has a Facebook page you can access here.
For over 400 positive affirmations and uplifting reminders on my landscape photography, follow this link.
In my last blog post, we discussed how to tell the difference between our Inner Voice and the inner critic. Today I want to discuss tools we have at our disposal when the inner critic shouts so loud we cannot hear our intuition, or doubt we can trust such a weak, distant voice.
The inner critic also goes by other names. Personal demons can keep us from reaching our goals. Gremlins undermine our best efforts at self improvement. The cluttered mind keeps us overwhelmed and unmotivated. Ego is a tremendous force with decades of momentum behind it. No wonder the inner critic is so vividly real and so pervasively persuasive!
It’s important to understand that the “voice” or the “gremlin messages” are thoughts. Your thoughts come from your mind, so it’s possible for you to change them! How cool is that?
“Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead!”
~ Pink, Fuckin’ Perfect
The power to choose our own thoughts is the greatest power we have, but most of us have no idea how to wield that power. Our beliefs shape our thoughts, so if we want to change our thoughts, let’s take a look at our beliefs.
Grow on! Are your beliefs ones that you chose for yourself? Were most of them chosen for you? Are they your culture’s beliefs or your parents? How willing are you to let go of the ones that no longer serve you? What new belief(s) would you like to begin practicing today?
Beliefs are something I explore with my clients all the time.
Around 90% of the clients I talk with eventually uncover an underlying belief that they are “not enough” in some way. Once we uncover that, it’s easy to see how a belief like that would spawn inner critic thoughts like: “Why even try?” “I’ll never get a better job.” “I’ll never find anyone who loves/understands me.” “Don’t get your hopes up!” “Forget what you WANT, get a practical job!” “Don’t let people get to know you, they won’t like you.” “I have no confidence.” “I don’t deserve this.”
With thoughts like these, who needs enemies, right? And EVERYONE has them! It’s important to know that if you are identifying with these thoughts, you are not alone. Some people have learned how to deal with them so they don’t cause stress and suffering, but the self doubts are a very human condition.
Our limiting thoughts construct an invisible prison that limit the options available to us.
In order to increase the options and opportunities available to us, and live our best lives, we must make an effort to change the thoughts. It’s not difficult, but it does take some effort and CONSTANT reminders. Constant reminders. Constantly constant reminders. The enemy is a tremendous force with decades of momentum, so it will take time to slow that locomotive down before it can change directions.
In the previous post, I talked about practicing affirmations as a way to strengthen the messages of the Inner Voice. Since writing that post, I have discovered an AMAZING app called Think Up. App info here.
The free version of Think Up allows you to record three affirmations in your own voice, then it plays them back to you over soothing music! I love it! It lifts me every time I hear my own voice reminding me I am worthy and abundant! It’s extremely powerful and uplifting. The app allows you to set reminders to practice throughout the day. This is a really cool reminder to realign your energy frequently. Practicing is KEY to shifting your thoughts.
Read something daily meant only to uplift and inspire!
Some GREAT ways to stay inspired are to read inspiring books, listen to inspiring speakers, and talk with people who are inspired! Subscribe to a podcast that is meant to uplift. Turn OFF the news and listen to a TED talk. We cannot immerse ourselves in the general, chaotic vibration of the world, and not counter it with inspiration, and then expect to feel inspired! How can we possibly feel inspired if we are digesting current events daily with no counterpoint?
Constant reminders are vital, but besides bolstering our Inner Voice, we want to begin quieting the screeching of any gremlin messages that are interfering with receiving intuitive messages from the Universe (inner voice).
How on earth do we slow the momentum of the inner critic?
When you become aware that your inner critic is active, just notice. That is the first step. Just let yourself be aware that the critic is vying for your attention. Don’t try to shift gears. Don’t get upset that “it’s happening” again. Don’t run away from the voice or the feelings it brings. Just shine awareness on it. Just be aware. Simply watch the actions of the gremlin with curiosity and non-judgement.
What were you engaged in when the inner critic spoke up? – Keeping a list of your triggers can be helpful. What is the inner critic trying to protect you from? If it’s an emotion that the critic is trying to avoid, sit with that emotion. Allow yourself to experience it. What does it feel like to allow the emotion?
Awareness is a powerful weapon against the inner critic. For now, let that be enough. Practice getting good at recognizing the inner critic’s voice, and simply observing it.
In the next post, we’ll explore ways to disarm our gremlins and begin redirecting the energy they drain from us into building new, more positive thought pathways!
Follow this link to order Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson. It’s the preeminent work on gremlin taming and a very useful book.
That’s how you know if it’s Inner Voice or inner critic talking. When your inner voice speaks, the message resonates and feels good. When the inner critic speaks, we feel icky, doubtful or anxious. Messages from the inner critic often manifest in the body as a knot in the solar plexus, or a twist in your tummy that can make you feel queasy or nauseous.
Messages from your inner voice never feel bad, and often leave us feeling buoyant or hopeful, because your inner voice comes from Source energy, your source, the source of ALL things (some people like the name God). Inner voice is connected to infinite wisdom and eternal Truth. Inner voice knows the longing in your heart and is always guiding you toward it. Inner voice is your authentic self, your true nature. Inner voice speaks in new ideas and intuitive insights.
By regularly practicing seeing things through the viewpoint of Source, we are better able to HEAR our authentic inner voice when the inner critic is trying to drown it out.
Inner voice says, “Take the risk! Get out there and live your dreams!” And inner critic is on the other shoulder saying, “Play it safe! Don’t get hurt! Remember that time we risked it all and how MUCH it hurt?”
Source knows you are capable and worthy in every situation.
When we think thoughts that oppose this viewpoint, it splits our energy and drains us.
On the other hand, reminding yourself on a daily basis that you are capable and worthy in every situation helps you hear the inner voice more clearly. When we practice thinking like Source thinks, we draw our own power around us like a cloak of invincibility. Practicing the point of view of Source helps us more clearly know our own true desires.
When chaos reigns around us, we will hear the messages that we have practiced most frequently. If we have practiced thinking like inner critic, then chaos means things have gone wrong, or the situation is bad, and we are probably powerless to change anything or help anyone.
If we practice thinking like Source, then when chaos reigns we keep our balance. We are not tossed about like a cork on a raging sea, because our inner voice reminds us that we are powerful beings who have weathered storms before, that we have resources at our disposal, and that we can find the answers even if we don’t have them right NOW. We understand that every situation has a purpose, and is an opportunity for self-growth.
If THAT is the voice you want to access under stress, that is the voice you must practice listening to every day!
HOW do I practice the vibration of my inner voice?
One of the best ways I know to practice thinking like the inner voice that comes from Source is to find affirmations that RESONATE for me. Now you can’t just swap a practiced thought like “I NEVER have enough money,” into “I am rich beyond my wildest dreams!” and have it resonate because the vibrations don’t match. Start where you are and build to where you want to be. Because you really WANT “I am rich beyond my wildest dreams,” to resonate for you, right? Of course! We all do. But start with small shifts, like this: I am open to receive floods of financial abundance with ease.
Or start simpler: The universe is abundant in nature. Find one that resonates (or two or three at most) and practice it every day. Allow that to become your vibrational set point. Then find new affirmations that resonate and shift your vibration further upward.
Sometimes affirmations need training wheels while we practice new thoughts!
If for the last few years your mantra has been, “I hate to go to the gym,” then switching to “I love going to the gym,” is going to be too big a leap for your mind to buy into all at once. In this case, apply some training wheels: Why is it so fun and easy to go to the gym? See what we did there? We didn’t say it was fun and easy, we asked, “why is it?”
The mind will accept the question, and if you practice that mantra – and you practice setting an intention to go work out and then follow through – eventually your vibration will shift and you will feel differently, and you can change the affirmation. Using the same example, the next step might be something like, “I enjoy feeling stronger and lighter when I go to the gym.”
Life is a process. So is changing your thought patterns. Shifting your vibration upwards is KEY to hearing your inner voice over your inner critic, because for MOST of us, the inner critic has had more practice!
What does your inner critic say? How does that make you feel? What thought resonates that helps you begin to tell a better story? What thoughts can you choose that allow you to feel better right now?
This type of thought work or vibrational shifting is vital for growing our awareness. In my next blog post, I’ll talk about what to do when the inner critic drowns out the inner voice.
You know all those messages that flash into your mind throughout the day? Where do those messages come from and what are they saying to you?
A lot of the “messages” we hear come from outside ourselves, even if it seems like they originated in our mind. If you were taught to never trust strangers when you were a child, then when you meet someone new, your ‘voices’ might tell you “be careful, be guarded, don’t let them know what you’re really thinking, they could use it against you.” If you’re only experiences meeting new people are positive and uplifting, the voices would say something different, right?
Most of the time the voices come from experience. If in our past we did or said something that got a negative response from someone, we might conclude that EVERYONE will give us the same response. In this case the voices in your head would advise you to AVOID doing this again to protect you from that negative response.
But this leaves us anxious and unsure because we try to base our behavior on what other people might do. Or they might not. It’s all very confusing.
Sometimes the voices repeat what others have told us. If your mother convinced you as a child that “ladies should be seen and not heard,” then you will probably keep your ideas and opinions to yourself. If you learned as a child that you should put others’ needs ahead of your own, then you are not likely to stand up for yourself even when your own health and well-being are at stake.
So if all these messages come from outside of us, even while we feel like they come from inside our brain, how do we decipher what is true? How do we find our own voice or identify our own desires?
When we get still, and quiet our minds, we shut out the other voices and can more clearly hear what our hearts are telling us. And our hearts always tell truth. When we follow our heart, we can’t go wrong!
Most of my clients tell me they have trouble hearing their heart’s desires for the voices in their heads, and want to know HOW to get still. GREAT question!
It takes PRACTICE. Daily practice is required for any skill that you really want to master, right? That includes changing thought patterns or behavior patterns.
Where do I start?
That’s usually the next question. There are myriad ways to “center” or to “meditate” and at least as many books, blogs, and recordings. The main idea is to get the mind chatter to slow down or stop. The easiest way I know is to focus on something repetitive like your breathing, ocean waves, the hum of an air conditioner, or the ticking of a clock. Guided meditations simply give your mind something else to focus on in a calming way. Try searching on YouTube and you’ll surely find something that appeals to you.
Click here for a recording of a basic guided meditation I made. Some of my clients find it useful at least as a starting point. Give yourself the gift of seven minutes to sit somewhere quiet – to just listen, and relax. Listen for your own voice in the spaces between breaths. Be still, and quiet, and listen.
How does your breathing change as your mind quiets? What messages came through for you if any? What does your inner voice sound like? What qualities do you hear in your inner voice? How do you FEEL when you hear your inner voice?
In my next blog post I’ll talk about hearing your inner voice more clearly!