Breathing is a Superpower

Breathing itself is a superpower, because that’s what inspires life.  Literally.  Without breathing, we cease to exist.  Powerful!

Yet many people pay little or no attention to what’s happening with their breath.  Our lungs function without any conscious attention or effort on our part, so most of us take our breathing for granted.

What if I told you that becoming aware of our current breath pattern, then consciously choosing to shift our breath allows us to harness that superpower?

Try it right now.  Stop reading and take a long slow deep breath.

What shifted for you?  Likely what shifted is that more of your energy is here, now, which means more of it is available to you.  Focusing on the breath brings us into the present moment.  

There is a Hindu belief that says the number of breaths allotted to us in a lifetime is predetermined, and that we can delay the time of death by regulated breathing.  Read more on that here and learn some breathing techniques to lengthen your life!

Shifting breath is a helpful first step in processing our emotions. 

It’s pretty well documented that we can change our breath pattern to disrupt negative emotions and change our mood.  Deep, slow breathing into the belly is strong medicine for anxiety, fear and anger.  Expectant mothers take classes in how to shift their breath so they are better prepared to face the pain and endurance required during childbirth.  Athletes focus on breathing practices to help reduce fatigue and promote stamina. I used to suffer from severe travel anxiety and changing my breath was the best tool I found to curtail it in the moment.

I encourage clients to take a deep grounding breath as soon as they realize they are experiencing any emotion they do not wish to feel.  It’s the pause that gives us just enough space to choose how we wish to process the emotion.  Focusing on our breath can be a powerful first step in shifting old behavior patterns, or trying to break a habit.

This article in Psych Central talks about a study that indicates that emotions may be caused, at least in part, by the way we breathe!

A shift in breathing is a shift in energy, and often allows a calmer perspective when we find ourselves in chaos.  We can use breathing to decrease stress, calm nerves, sharpen focus, minimize negative thoughts, and increase energy!  

Like I said, Superpower!

Grow on!

How much attention do you pay to your breath?

What is your normal breathing like?

How do you feel when you slow and deepen your breath?

Try inhaling deeply, then exhaling forcefully when you are experiencing an emotion you do not enjoy.  What shifts for you?

Explore different breathing techniques on YouTube.  Which ones appeal to you?

Give Yourself a Break!

I have been receiving massage on a regular basis for the last decade and a half.  Once a week I give my body a break from EVERYTHING. 
I put myself face down on some lucky therapist’s table and I just release every bit of tension I can release.  It’s like a rebirth for my energy.  Blood, oxygen, and chi all begin to flow where they may have been stuck.

I learned a long time ago that not only do I release the tension my muscles are holding during massage, but my muscles remember how to release, so they actually accumulate less stress between massages.  

But here in pandemic world, LOTS of perceived stress to go around
and NO massages!  So what can we do to release stress?

Give yourself a fucking break!

Often we are so busy that massage time is the ONLY time we allow ourselves to relax.  Maybe you look forward to some down time during your regular pedicure.  I remember being so busy when my kids were little, that I looked forward to doctors appointments because I usually got a solid 10 or 15 minutes in the wait room where I could just sit!

If you can’t schedule a massage, a pedi, or spend 15 minutes just waiting in a doctor’s office, when are you scheduling rest breaks? Most of us just aren’t!

It’s like we think we have to “do” something on order to relax.  What if we just relaxed?  What if when we’re tired, we just lay down and take a nap? 

Does going with the flow seem too radical?

Write a rest break right into your schedule. 

It’s as important if not MORE important than anything else on your schedule.

I KNOW!  You’re working from home, learning new tech, teaching your kids, walking the dog, and trying not to lose your mind.  But if we were NOT sheltering at home and socially distancing, you would schedule that massage or that pedi, or that yoga class, right? 

Set that hour aside for rest!  

Pencil it right in where the massage or the pedi would go.  Let anyone you live with know that you have an appointment to keep and then use that time to be quiet.  Close your eyes and just rest.  In bed is fine, or on a yoga mat.  Put a bolster or pillow under your knees, and a slightly rolled towel under head and neck to support your relaxation.

Savasana is the “corpse pose” done at the end of a yoga class. 

Make yourself as comfy as possible and just let it all go!  Let go of the “have too” and the “must-dos” and all the rest of it, and just relax for 30 minutes.

If it’s possible to fall asleep, and you need to be up and doing something in the next segment of your day, set an alarm on your phone.  Choose one that’s gentle, like birds chirping so it doesn’t jar you from the resting place, but rather invites you to open your eyes.

Humans rarely allow themselves time to become fully rested and most of us are often deprived of the right amount of sleep.  But rest is essential to body, mind and spirit!  

If you are hearing stories in your head that tell you that you don’t have time to rest, or you don’t deserve adequate relaxation, or self-care, coaching might be able to help!

In the most basic of terms, what I do as an energy coach is help clients remember how to release worry, anxiety, self-doubt, low energy and overwhelm. 

If you or anyone you know is interested in uncovering what’s holding you back, and moving beyond where you’ve been able to grow before, please contact me at cyndicombs@gmail.com to set up a free phone session to see if coaching is right for you.

Grow on!

Just relax!

The Importance of Feeling our Feelings

Why are emotions called feelings?

Because we feel emotions, physically, in our bodies.  Human beings experience emotions as a specific set of physical sensations. 
For example when I feel grief, my body feels deeply weighted and lethargic.  When I feel joy, my heart feels light, as if filled with helium, and I have a humming vibration along my skin.  Self-doubt feels like my body is contracting inward away from the world, and confidence feels expansive, light, and powerful.

Our emotions are simply vibrations that we feel in our body, and are part of our human experience.  In and of themselves, these vibrations cannot harm us!  

Emotions are vibrations that we experience as completely harmless physical sensations.  

So if the vibrations can’t harm us, why do so many people go to such extraordinary lengths to avoid what we perceive as negative emotions?

That’s what’s happening if my lover leaves me and I eat a gallon of ice cream.  I’m trying to avoid feeling the pain of my emotions.  Same thing with drugs and alcohol.  People are drawn to using these substances to numb our ‘hard’ emotions, the sadness, frustration, anger, disappointment, fear, or worry that crop up in our lives.

And who would blame us?  There are situations and circumstances in this lifetime where every one of us can relate to why THAT emotion might hurt too much to feel, and why someone might choose to numb the pain.  It’s sort of like if you break your leg, that HURTS.  No one is going to bat an eye if you take some pain killers for that.  So if someone is going through emotional pain, it’s understandable that we might want some pain killers for that, too.

The broken leg eventually heals, our pain subsides, and our use of pain killers ceases. Emotional pain eventually heals, too but not until we allow ourselves to transform the pain, and transforming the pain requires allowing ourselves to FEEL the emotion.

This is where it can get a bit tricky, because we feel the pain and want to numb it to avoid it, so we do (normal). 

But if we do not stop numbing the emotional pain and allow ourselves to feel it, to move through it, we can get stuck in the cycle of continuously numbing that pain to not feel it, then feeling it and numbing it, feel the pain then numb the pain.  Unlike the broken leg,
it’s not going to heal until you allow yourself to feel your feelings.  If we attempt to push our emotions away, they keep coming back.  We cannot resist our emotions. 

If we wish to get past our challenging emotions, we must allow the experience by being present with the emotion.

I remember the first time my coach suggested this to me I thought she was mad. I had been avoiding hard emotions for decades with booze and sugar, and she wanted me to sit with those feelings?! 

The idea positively made my skin crawl!

Then she taught me the most amazing technique. I learned to objectively describe the emotion as the physical sensations I experienced in my body – without attaching my story to it,
and without wallowing in the emotion.

When we experience the physical vibration of the emotion without attaching a story to it, we can simply observe the experience of emotion, rather than becoming the emotion.

“I am experiencing anger,” has a much different energy than,
“I am angry.”  Feel the difference?

Physical description: the anger feels physically like a kick in my gut.  My face is hot and red and my heart is beating faster than normal. 
I can feel my pulse through my whole body.

Description with our story attached might look like this:  I am so PISSED that person did XYZ to me!  What is wrong with them? 
Were they raised by wolves?  Who acts that way?  This will never work!  I won’t stand for it!  I have every right to be furious about this!

Which description drains more energy?

When we attach a story to the emotion, we attach ourselves to it.

Our emotions do not define us.  They are not who we are.  They are simply indicators of where we are at any given moment.

Reach for a better feeling thought.

As a core energy coach, I help clients shift perspective to find a vibration that allows greater success in their lives.  Sometimes people get the wrong idea and think that we are supposed to push away bad feeling emotions and strive to feel only positive ones, and that is NOT the case at all.

We absolutely want to trade up the emotional ladder, to feel better and better and better about ourselves and our lives, but we can’t do that by only experiencing our positive emotions and repressing those we don’t enjoy as much. 

Abraham-Hicks emotional scale

If we take a few moments to actually be present with our hard emotions (describe them physically), then we are able to move through the emotion and beyond it to a better feeling vibration and not just pushing it away hoping it won’t pop up again.

The human experience is a kaleidoscope of emotions, each color adding depth and meaning to the overall picture.  The more colors we integrate, the more rich and beautiful our lives become.

We gotta feel ALL our feels.

Grow on!

What physical sensations do you experience when you feel angry?
Sad?
Anxious?
Shame?
Guilt?
Peace?
Confidence?
Hopeful?
Inspired?
Joyous?

Which emotions do you try not to feel?
Which emotion is your least fave?
Describe that emotion physically and allow yourself to observe it.

Who the Fuck needs a Life Coach?

It has come to my attention that marketing professional coaching
is much, MUCH harder than marketing amazing massage therapy. 

If I ask you for referrals to my massage practice, you can probably think of at least a dozen people who want one or who can benefit from it.  If I ask you for referrals to my coaching practice, you probably know at least a half dozen, but how would you KNOW they need a coach? 

In thirteen years of practicing massage, I never had to pay for advertising and I certainly never had to educate people about what it is that I do.  People know what a massage is and many of us (me FIRST!) are addicted to the stress release, pleasure, comfort, relaxation and overall feeling of well-being that comes with massage.  Many people are realizing that massage is an essential part of their health care budget, and include it as a regular part of their self-care.

If you have an amazing massage therapist and you hear someone say that their back hurts, or that they started running and have tight hamstrings, or that they suffer from tension headaches, you know from personal experience that massage is helpful, and you feel confident saying so and recommending your therapist.  Massage therapy is pretty mainstream, so if you find yourself in need of massage, you feel comfortable asking friends for recommendations.  But, who the fuck needs a life coach? 

Maybe a better question to start with is, 

What the fuck does a life coach do?

When my therapist first suggested that I would make a great life coach, my response to her was, “Is that a thing?”  So I am never surprised when people haven’t a clue about what I do or who needs/wants professional coaching.

Coaches are NOT therapists, psychologists or counselors. If you are clinically depressed, please seek help from one of these professions. Coaches do not give advice or delve into the roots of your issues.

Coaches help you clearly see where you are,
then help you map a path to where you want to go.

Humans sometimes struggle with getting to where we want to be.  We might know what we want and just can’t quite figure out how to get there.  Or maybe we KNOW the steps required to get us there, but we can’t quite motivate ourselves to take those steps.  Sometimes we can’t even figure out WHAT the hell we want because we have so many thoughts cluttering our minds.

People may struggle with time scarcity and feel overwhelmed. 
We sometimes deal with financial scarcity that can create cycles of fear and worry.  During transitions in our lives, we can sometimes feel unanchored, and unsure what course to chart next.  If we have many paths before us, sometimes we can’t choose.  And if we have any difficult emotions attached to the situations we are going through, that’s when things can get challenging. 

It is immensely helpful in times like these to talk to someone who is not emotionally attached to your outcome, someone who can help clarify your thinking and help you find your way forward to where you want to be.

That’s what life coaches do. We help clients overcome obstacles to get from where they are to where they’d like to be.

How do we do that?  By having conversations about values, goals, and habitual thoughts and behavior patterns.  By looking at what influences their energy socially, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and environmentally. 
By discovering ways to increase energy in all those areas.  By replacing fear with faith, which has a very different vibration and attracts very different energy into one’s life.

So, who the fuck needs a life coach?

People going through one of the struggles mentioned above.  People who never have the energy to do what they love doing. People who want to reach their goals.  People who want to manifest their dreams.  People going through any kind of transition like changing careers or relationships, moving to a new city, or empty nesting.  People struggling to reach their health goals.  People who have lost their confidence or have low self-esteem.  People who know they want MORE from their lives, but aren’t quite sure more of what.

Me.  I need a life coach.  

One of the BEST parts about my coaching school was that we constantly had peers coaching us for practice.  I was practicing my coaching skills which was extremely valuable, but receiving coaching weekly had the added benefit of tremendous self-growth along with an increased understanding of what it feels like to receive the benefits of regular coaching.  My mother looked at me like I was crazy when I told her I was still being coached regularly.  “But you are a trained coach, why do you need one?”

GREAT question!  There are a lot of ways in which I can and do coach myself all the time to change habitual thoughts from my past that do not serve my goals.  But I also pay two professional coaches for regular sessions.  I have an In the Flow coach who helps keep my energy and enthusiasm high, and I have a life coach to help me plan my goals, improve my relationships, and be the best version of me that I can be!  I also follow a business coach on Facebook to pick up lots of hints and tips on how to grow my coaching practice.

So, who needs a life coach?  Everyone NEEDS a life coach!

But, who can coaching help?

Coaching can ONLY help those who are willing to show up for themselves, and take the actions required to get out of their own way and get to where they want to go.

Here is the most important question:

Who the fuck is READY for a life coach?

If you know a truly amazing life coach, who do you refer to her for coaching?  

Coaching is becoming more common, but when someone finds themselves needing a coach, they may not feel comfortable asking for recommendations.  They may not think any of their friends know a life coach.  It’s just not that main stream.  I mean, really, is life coaching a thing?

PLEASE keep your ears open for key phrases like these:

I always feel so overwhelmed!
I’m tired all the time. I have no energy. 
I want to change (something), but have no idea how! 
I have tried to change (something), but I always fail. 
My life doesn’t matter. 
I’ll never reach my goals. 
Is this all there is to life? 
I want more from my life, I just don’t know what. 
Why can’t I stick to my own healthy intentions?
I have to do everything myself. 
I’m in a rut and I can’t get out. 
I want to complete (some large goal) but I have no idea where to start!

Anyone saying these things will benefit from coaching.
If you regularly say these things, contact me for a chat!

When you hear phrases like these from friends, you will be helping us both by giving them my name and contact info. 

I will be delighted to schedule a 30 minute session to see if coaching is a good fit for the challenges they’re facing.  No obligation. No sales pitch.  If it seems like coaching can help, I’ll tell them what I offer my clients.  If I am not the right coach for them, I have an extensive network of other coaches with varying specialities that I am delighted to refer them to, and a LONG list of free resources that might be all they need to set them on the path to their dreams!

This is partially about building my practice, but it’s mostly about making sure people have the support they need to succeed in life! 

That’s what I am passionate about! 
I want everyone to live the best possible version of themselves!

Grow on!

What will happen if you share this blog post?
Who will you help? 
Who do you know who is currently facing life challenges? 
Who do you know who’s been struggling awhile to reach a goal? 
Who do you know who is in transition and could use some support? 
How many of the key phrases above have you used recently? 
What is your biggest goal? 
What steps are you currently taking to get there? 
What steps are you avoiding?  Why? 
What’s holding you back?

Yelp Reviews from Cyndi’s Coaching Clients:

DITCH the New Year’s Resolutions!

I am not suggesting that we give up our goals.  Goals are crucial to creating the life we dream of living.  They give destination to the intentions that drive us, and the values that guide us.

Goal = destination.
Intention = driver.
Values = navigation.

All three are crucial when it comes to guiding our lives, so when I suggest that we ditch the new year’s resolutions, it’s not because goals aren’t important, it’s because BIG goals often feel overwhelming or unobtainable.

Daily intentions on the other hand are amazing tools, and weekly and monthly resolutions can also be super helpful because human beings have amazingly short attention spans.

Daily Intentions vs. New Year’s Resolutions

Let’s use one of the most popular new year’s resolutions as an example.  A very large number of people will resolve to lose weight in 2020.  I like to reframe that goal as health improvement through weight reduction, so let’s look at weight reduction as our goal.  

Example Woman wants to reduce her body weight by 40 pounds. 
If she simply uses “I am going to lose 40 pounds” as the New Year’s resolution, statistics suggest that she has an 8% chance of success.  Anyone who has tried to reduce their body weight knows how much effort it can take to drop just 5 pounds.  The full goal can be too big and too non-specific to provide the motivation required over the long term.  If losing 40 pounds is the goal, then seeing that first two or three pounds fall away seems insignificant, when really it’s a HUGE big deal that can be celebrated as the first milestone, and used as a foundation upon which the rest of the goal can be built!

If, on the other hand, Example Woman sets a goal to lose two pounds this week, and supports that goal with daily intentions that align to that goal, her chances of success grow exponentially.  For example, her daily intention might be to avoid desserts and move her body for 20 minutes every day.  Or maybe she chooses to focus her intention on walking 12,000 steps each day, and eating a healthy green salad with dinner instead of buttery potatoes or french fries.  Maybe she’ll choose to simply stop snacking after dinner for 6 nights this week and give up sugary drinks.  Each of these small goals aligns with the bigger, overall goal, and each of them is easier to focus on, and easier to achieve.

Example Woman has three possible outcomes:
1) She reached her goal and has a foundation of success and confidence to motivate her forward. 
2) She achieved partial success and can make small adjustments to do more of what worked and resonated for her, while doing less of what she didn’t enjoy or didn’t seem as effective. 
3) She made no movement toward her goal in which case it is obvious that what she did this week didn’t create the results she wants, so she can adjust the plan to try something different next week.

This process allows more space to review what is being achieved, which pieces of the process are creating the results we crave, which pieces of the process we enjoy (and therefore will be more likely to continue), and which pieces we do not enjoy (and therefore may want to find a different perspective from which to view it, or a different way to approach it entirely.)

Every time we reach that small daily or weekly goal, we’re building confidence in ourselves and our ability to create what we want to create.  Every time we stick to our intentions, even when we don’t feel like it, we build confidence that we can depend on ourselves.  We create the evidence that we always follow through, that we will do something when we say we will.  Our self-esteem grows as we walk our talk and reach our goal.

You know that picture you have in your mind of you standing at whatever finish line you aspire to?  The picture you imagine of you living the results you want to live – whether it’s a novel you are writing and want to publish, or the optimally-functioning, healthy body you are creating & maintaining, or that new language in which you wish to be fluent. You CRUSHING it. You thriving and prospering and happy. Yes, THAT picture.  Take a minute and really SEE it in your mind.  Allow yourself to feel the emotions that will flood you in that moment of triumph. 

The difference between living that picture and having it remain an unfulfilled dream is in how we map our route to get there. For most of us, taking a million baby steps will get us to the BIG goal faster than trying to arrive in one or two giant leaps. 

When  Example Woman reaches her goal of eating a salad daily and increasing her activity level, she can count herself successful even if the number on the scale hasn’t changed yet!  There are myriad factors that contribute to health improvements and weight reduction and they are NOT the same for everyone, so if the goal is to change that number on the scale, and that’s the only marker being used, it can be REALLY frustrating for Example Woman “A” if Example Woman “B” is doing the same things but getting different results just because of her genetics, or the part of her cycle she’s in, or the amount of water she is drinking.

Let the weekly goals be specific and achievable.  We get bonus points if we can make them specific, achievable and FUN! Thinking that physical activity needs to be unenjoyable is a very limiting belief! Open your mind to the infinite possibilities available to us! Make a resolution to try one new activity this week that engages your body.

So ditch the year-long resolutions in favor of short-distance goals paired with daily intentions that support those. You’ve GOT this.  I believe in you.  If I can improve my life one step at a time, anyone can do it.  I believe in us!

Grow on!

What is ONE healthy new habit that you could start doing each day?
(twenty minute walk, more leafy greens, drink water every hour, floss twice, positive affirmations, meditation, the list is endless)
What will change for you when this new activity is a habit?   
What is one habit you could quit today that would have the biggest impact on your health and well-being?

(using tobacco, drinking soda, eating sugar, being sedentary, drinking alcohol, and nail biting are a few that yield quick benefits when released)
What will change for you without this habit?
How much money will you save?

Stand Up Straight!

Hello Dear Readers!

Just a quick post today inspired by a simple question:

Do bones hold up muscles or do muscles hold up bones?

I’ll give you a minute to consider the question.

I was walking up a hill one day when I realized how tired my back was.
I had that achy, mid back burning feeling, and it felt like my legs were carrying a LOT more than my own body weight up that hill. I was kinda struggling and it wasn’t even a very big hill!

I asked myself WHY it felt so hard, and my inner voice whispered, “poor posture.” My inner voice is never wrong, so I stopped to correct my posture. For some reason I suddenly envisioned myself as a puppet supported by strings, and allowed myself to be pulled upright into proper postural alignment.

As I continued uphill, my legs no longer felt like they were doing ALL the work! It actually felt as if my upper body was helping carry my lower body up the hill. I allowed myself to play with the idea through the rest of that hike. I felt the sensation of letting my bones carry me uphill, then aligned my posture and let the muscles carry my bones up the hill with much less effort!

I don’t know about you, but I usually ALWAYS enjoy easy over challenging, so now I take the time to align. You can too! Save your energy and reduce the fatigue you feel by day’s end. How? With one simple postural correction.

SIMPLE Posture Correction

Lift your sternum.

That’s it. That’s my big tip!

I’ll let the crazy lady in the three-minute video explain.
(Crazy AWESOME!)

What helped most for you: the visual or the sound effects? Let me know in the comments!

Proper posture allows us to feel more energized!

The answer to the question is our muscles hold our bones up. The skeleton falls to pieces on the ground without something to hang on. Proper muscular alignment is required to align the bones to get the most leverage from movement.

Stand up straight to reenergize!

No matter where we are – at the office, bent over a desk or a steering wheel, standing in line – we can lift the sternum to align the posture to reclaim our energy. Post sticky notes around to remind you until standing/sitting up straight becomes a healthy habit!

I’m Too Old!

Someone in her 50s recently told me she was too old to begin a fitness program. To which I replied:

Oh HELL no!

You are exactly the right age to accomplish any damn thing you put my mind and energy into!

Here is just a short list of people who prove that age is not a limiting factor, unless the mind chooses to be limited by the belief that age is a limiting factor.

100-Year-Old Woman Sets World Track Record

100-year-old and 102-year-old runners break world records

103-year-old Dancer Eileen Kramer cast as 17-year-old Princess

Success Can Come at Any Age.

96-Year-Old Athlete Smashes Sprinting Records

Superstar athletes over 60

If you don’t try, how will you know what you’re capable of?

Do anything you choose to do, and take it in small achievable steps, that result in sustainable changes.