When I am present, I miss nothing!

My previous blog post, Releasing Travel Anxiety ended like this: 

When I am present in the moment, I miss nothing!
I surrender the entire plan to the all-knowing Universe now.  My only plan is to enjoy the unfolding, to be present, and savor each moment.  Each and every moment is a gift to be opened in amazement!  Even in the airports.  Even on the airplane.  Waiting in line for the ferry.  All of it is a rich, delicious experience of which I intend to savor every beautiful, satisfying, vibe-raising moment.  I fucking LOVE travel!”

We cannot BE present in the moment on vacation, if we have not practiced being present before vacation.

So how do we “be” present?

My favorite exercise to bring myself into the present moment is super simple!

Name three or more things that you sense – right now – with each of your five physical senses.

Name three things I see right now.
Name three things I hear right now.
Name three things I smell right now.
Name three things I can taste right now.
Name three things I can touch right now.

Example from the moment I am writing this: I see books, my computer, my dog. I hear the clock tick, the wind chimes tinkle, the tippy tapping on my keyboard. I smell coffee, ham cooking, and the dog’s blanket. I taste coffee, hints of toothpaste, the memory of ham. 
I feel the floor beneath my feet, the couch supporting my back, Boscoe’s soft fur. 

Boom!  Here and now.  At least for this moment.

How does ‘being present’ release anxiety?

Anxiety is feeling worried about the future.  We cannot be in the present and the future at the same time, so when we bring ourselves into the present moment any time we feel anxious, the anxiety releases automatically.

Being present also releases us from guilt because guilt is a feeling of regret about the past.  We only feel guilt when reliving a past moment in our minds.  Again, by playing with the exercise above, we can come back to the present, and the guilt cannot exist in present moment.

Cool, huh?!

When we can be present with ourselves, we open to our intuition, to Universal guidance. How could we ever miss anything that is meant for us?  We can’t!
We will be guided to the right place and people, at the exact right time.

Grow on!

What’s happening in your present moment?
What happens if you try the exercise when you feel anxious about something?

Release Travel Anxiety

Travel anxiety is no longer a part of my story.

Travel anxiety was about being unsure, uncertain. There was an unheard voice telling me about ALL the things that could go wrong!
An unheard voice telling me that I will be alone and unable to handle whatever challenges come up.

But how fucking true is that?

Not at all! It’s not even a little bit true! Isn’t it interesting that I’ve always associated travel with anxiety? I love exploring new places and taking photos of coastlines, waterfalls and ancient cities that I have never seen before! But somehow I convinced myself that “getting there” (the ‘travel’ part of traveling) was fraught with danger, delays, mishaps and challenges.

Maybe it stems from the anxiety that my mother MUST have felt the first time I flew. I was six months old. My sister was two, and my mother traveled from Spain to Iowa with both of us, by herself, to attend her father’s funeral. Her stress level must have been palpable to an infant open to all the energies of the Universe, especially to her mother’s. 

Maybe it stems from the time I was stranded in Chicago when I was eighteen and felt so utterly alone and powerless to help myself. Perhaps it stems from anxiety that has nothing to do with travel at all.  Where it came from is not important. 

Releasing the old story full of anxiety is crucial. By writing a new tale of thrilling adventure and ecstatic joy, I avoid the anxiety I experienced around traveling in the past.

My New Story

I feel so COMFORTABLE on any airplane!  I am able to relax and sleep in any airline seat.  The Universe handles all the connections with ease, and my job is to relax and enjoy the FUN interactions with people along the way!  My experience includes friendly people, helpful airline staff, upgrades for no reason, fine food, and fluffy white pillows in a bright blue sky!

I look for reasons to smile, and find them everywhere.  I look for interesting photos and snap them up wherever our feet take us. 
We experience only high quality foods that amaze and delight us whenever we travel!  We even find amazing food in airports at whatever hour we are there. 

Money exchange is easy and becomes second nature, just like booking ferry and train tickets in Europe.  We explore everything we want to see and have energy to spare!  We find undreamed marvels, and peaceful scenery down roads taken on intuition alone.  We enjoy scheduled adventures, and also discover unexpected pleasures and treasured memories that elevate our vibration for decades!

I am married to amazement. 

I am present, and enjoy every single moment.  The rhythm of the airport thrills me.  I feel joy and easy excitement.  I know that I have all the skill and knowledge required to handle anything that comes our way.  I know that I don’t have to handle any of it alone, because the Universe loves and supports me always.  Whatever we need always flows to us.  I can relax into faith.  Faith in myself.  Faith that the Universe always has my back.  Faith that kind, helpful people will be sprinkled liberally (by my angels) throughout the travels we have planned.

Every face I see is the face of the Universe. 
The face of God/Mother Goddess.  Source.  Great Spirit. 

Each and every person we meet is a face of the ever-supportive,
fun & playful Universe – thrilled to have my back and flow to me any little thing I need.

If something does not go as planned, it’s not a mistake!  It simply means the Universe has a better plan!  I’ve made a LOT of plans for our travels because I adore planning.  I savor the planning as a really fun way to manifest travel adventures, and to milk the excitement for much longer than the trip actually lasts.  But I am not attached to my plans. 

I am open to the guidance from the Universe that flows through my intuition.  I won’t experience sadness if we don’t do something, or feel like we missed out.  I will relish the opportunity to do something different instead, or nothing at all. 

When I am present in the moment, I miss nothing!

I surrender the entire plan to the all-knowing Universe now.  My only plan is to enjoy the unfolding, to be present, and savor each moment.  Each and every moment is a gift to be opened in amazement!  Even in the airports.  Even on the airplane.  Waiting in line for the ferry.  All of it is a rich, delicious experience of which I intend to savor every beautiful, satisfying, vibe-raising moment.

I fucking LOVE travel.

Grow on!

What stories are you telling yourself that decrease your enjoyment?
How true is that story?
How would you LIKE to write the story?

Mind Shift Mondays

Why is it that sometimes we want to create changes,
but some behaviors seem beyond our ability to change? 

Change requires that we choose to do something in a different way than we have been doing it.  Making a choice to change requires first awareness, then acceptance.

Helping clients create desired changes through awareness, acceptance and choice is my passion!  Join me to explore the relationship between awareness, acceptance, choice, and the changes we desire.  

Four FREE 30-minute sessions on Zoom.  I will share some of my favorite tips and tools that help shift our thoughts in a way that allows us to choose change even where it has eluded us in the past.  I hope to have time in each session for questions, and possibly a short coaching demonstration if anyone is willing to be coached.

To create motivation to make changes where & when we want to!

Monday, July 19 @ 6pm
Monday, July 26 @ 6pm
Monday, August 9 @ 6pm
Monday, August 23 @ 6pm

Click this Zoom link.

Anyone who is interested in creating sustainable changes in their life.

What to expect:
Week 1 – Breathing & Awareness
Week 2 – Non-Judgement & Acceptance
Week 3 – Choosing Change/Accepting Choice
Week 4 – Raise the Vibe!
We will start promptly at 6pm and end promptly at 6:30.


Even though Mind Shift Mondays are already a gift, I’m going to ice the cake to make it even sweeter!

Every person who participates in all four sessions will be entered in a raffle and ONE lucky participant will WIN the Empowerment Starter Pack worth $349! 

Every person who participates in all four sessions will be eligible to purchase the Empowerment Starter Pack for just $149, OR save $300 on the 10-session Empowerment Package!

Grow on!

Join me at THIS LINK on Monday, July 19, 2021!
What do you have to lose? 
What do you want to change?

Raise the Fucking Vibe

When we struggle, we sometimes forget to reach for the tools that help us most. Example: We plan to go to yoga after work, but we have a challenging day and decide to sit on the couch and eat junk food instead of doing the yoga thing. Very NORMAL human behavior. But how helpful is it?

Yoga helps us relax and release stress. It raises our vibration. Eating on the couch actually depresses our energy (sugar and wheat do that, as do other types of junk foods). Our energy goes to an even lower vibration if we decide to beat ourselves up for eating the junk food instead of going to yoga.

All of my blog posts – EVERY tool that I offer, every growth-inducing question I pose – are designed to help YOU identify what raises your vibe.

Vibe-Raising Tools

FIND them. Make a list of ones that work for you. Use them every day, but especially when you don’t want to!

Spiritual Sandbox

I know I have recommended this one before, but it raised my vibration so HIGH this morning, I decided maybe someone needed the reminder that Jill Lebeau and Amit West have a podcast that will blow your mind and open your heart.

The Essentials of Trust was the episode that spoke to me today.

Grow on!

Click the link to my toolbox, check out the tools that interest you, and keep the ones that raise your fucking vibe!
Cyndi’s Toolbox

Recipe for Happiness

We don’t find happiness. We create it.

In order to create it, we gotta WANT it and we gotta PRACTICE it.

We gotta go after it like our happiness depends on it, cause guess what?

We practice fear a LOT!  Every day, if we pay attention to the news or social media in an unfiltered way, we are constantly bombarded with messages of what we should fear.  We should fear those at the border, those whose skin tone or faith is different, those who have a different political viewpoint.  We should fear the virus.  We should fear the vaccine.  We should fear black, blue, white, and brown.  

Murder bees. Global warming. Government. Lack of government. Scam artists. Certain neighborhoods or grocery stores.  Corporations. Small business. Drug addicts.  For-profit health care.  Insurance companies. IRS.  The list of what media tells us we should fear is very long and perpetually invasive.  So human beings are constantly practicing fear. 

Is it any wonder that so many of us experience anxiety?  We are looking for danger at every step, or planning how to avoid it, or keep our kids from harm.  We pass our fears to them in the hopes of keeping them vigilant and safe, but what they learn is not to trust themselves or their world.  Anxious, fear-filled adults raise anxious, fearful kids.

My point here is that many people practice fear daily.  Our fear and anxiety muscles are usually strong and over-developed.  We can build our happiness muscle in exactly the same way; by repetitively exposing ourselves to messages that allow us to experience a feeling of joy or hopefulness.

Happiness takes practice – every day!  

Different things make different people happy, so there is no cookie-cutter path to happiness.  No one can tell you to do XYZ, and you’ll find happiness. Each of us gets to curate our own set of tools that raises our vibration.  Having many tools at our disposal is helpful because we are such fluid creatures with constantly changing tastes and desires.

Access Cyndi’s Toolbox

Each of us creates our own unique path to happiness, but many of the tools that have worked for others before us, can also work for us. So I keep a long list of these tools at my fingertips, so I have options and don’t ever get bored using the same happiness tool every day.  Sometimes I like to listen to Abraham recordings on YouTube.  Other times, grabbing an inspirational book off my shelf is just right.  For many people staying active is essential to a happy vibration.  It’s totally cool to look at what lifts others and try it for ourselves, so I like to share the link to my toolbox.  If one of the tools works for you, save it in YOUR spiritual toolbox and savor it often.  If it doesn’t ring your bells, let it go.

The thing is – whatever it is – we gotta find the things that LIFT us, and we gotta use them daily to counteract the years and decades of practiced fear.  Limiting the input of fear by digesting less media is great, but nothing is going to build momentum for a happier life like practicing happiness daily, and each of us gets to choose our own recipe for happiness according to our own tastes.

A New Tool to Use or Not

One of the things I’ve enjoyed daily for several years now is repeating Tosha Silver’s Abundance Prayer.  It always lifts my vibe, and finances have become much more abundant since I began practicing it regularly!  Recently I recorded the Abundance Prayer so that I could listen to it frequently.  One of my readers asked me to share, and since I love to help you raise your vibe, here it is.

Abundance Prayer Link

Practicing happiness is FUN!

If you currently feel that you don’t have time for your own happiness, or that focussing on your own happiness makes you selfish, it’s possible that some coaching could help!  Contact me HERE to schedule a FREE coaching session and walk away with at least one actionable step to move you toward your goal.

If you don’t make time to create happiness in your life, who will?

Grow on!

Make a quick list of five to ten things that you love doing.
Check out my toolbox to see if any of my tools inspire you.
Get out your calendar and schedule time to focus on raising your vibration.

Freeing Ourselves from Fear

Fear is a learned behavior, and one that humans practice ceaselessly.  The more we practice fear, the more anxious, insecure, and fearful we feel.  The more anxious, insecure, and fearful we feel, the more willing we are to buy whatever makes us feel safer, or more secure. The more anxious, insecure, and fearful we feel, the more willing we are to give up pieces of our freedom to feel safer, or more secure.

Can we ever be truly free when living in fear? 
Feel free to disagree, but I don’t think so.

The good news is that fear is a learned behavior!  

If we learned it, we can unlearn it.  We learned fear through repetition of fear-filled, worrisome thoughts.  We can learn faith, and feel more calm, through repetition of calming thoughts that build faith – not religious faith, but faith in yourself.  Faith that no matter what else happens, at least you can control your own energy, your own response to circumstances.

Now, there is no blog post anywhere that will move you from fear to faith, because like fear, faith requires daily practice over time.  That practice will take many different forms for different people, but one of the best ways I have observed is practicing affirmations.

Create or adopt positive statements you believe and repeat them frequently when it feels good to do so.  If the affirmation does not feel good when you say it, it’s not the right affirmation for your situation.

Affirmations are a simple tool that help millions of people feel better.

Guidelines for selecting or creating affirmations that work:

It must feel true.
Keep it simple.
Repeat it frequently
– as often as you remember it and it feels good.
Write it down and read it frequently. You may notice that I like to put my on pretty photos because the photos also help raise my vibe, but sticky notes around the house can be equally effective!

When you become aware that you are experiencing doubt, or fearful thoughts, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that nothing has gone wrong, your mind has simply reverted to the old practice and that’s to be expected!  With more practice of positive-feeling affirmations, the fear and anxiety visit less and less frequently.

Freeing our minds from fear will take more than one tool, more than just affirmations. But affirmations feel good, they’re free, and it’s a really easy first step for lots of people.

Grow on!

What affirmation will help you move from where you are to where you would love to be?
Here is a short list of links to long lists of affirmations to get you started:

Prosperity & Abundance
Health & Wellness
Raise the Vibe
Inspired by Abraham
Inspired by Florence Scovel Shinn

Just Following My Bliss

The excitement I feel when I think about our trip to Croatia/Montenegro is so BIG.  Like being in love BIG, with similar energy that draws me eagerly back to thinking about it over and over again.  It’s like being pregnant with vacation.  My brain really has no space for other stuff!

I have been wrapped in the beautiful blanket of trip planning for the last 10 months at least.  Was I using it as a buffer to NOT think about my partner’s cancer diagnosis?  I sure was. 

And that’s just fine! 

Wrapped in my cocoon of travel bliss, my partner and I gave nearly zero attention to the tumor he was fighting with chemo and radiation.  We focussed on the day to day process of working around or through whatever side effects he was having, so that he was as comfortable as possible, without ever really giving attention to the tumor, or worrying that it might be an instrument of death.  I took over his day to day tasks of grocery shopping, cooking, and dog walks, along with running my coaching practice and bringing my massage practice back online after covid.  But in the free time I had left after all that, I found little motivation to blog, or promote my business, or do much of anything besides create a plan for our trip.

If it wasn’t fun, or didn’t feel urgent, I didn’t bother.  Blogging didn’t feel urgent, so I just let it go.  And I’m OK with that, which is a definite improvement for me!  In the past, I would probably have beaten myself up for not sticking with a professional commitment, or worried that I might be disappointing others (my beautiful readers).  

So it is a real miracle that I simply accepted all of it without judgement, and just let myself enjoy the distraction.  I did what was necessary and just let the rest go!  And that wasn’t the only miracle.  When the doctors ordered an MRI to assess the tumor before scheduling surgery, they could no longer FIND a tumor.

I sincerely believe that the positive energy we maintained was a major influence in his healing.  I also believe that focussing on Croatia and Montenegro was a major influence on our positive energy.  The trip has been more than a carrot, more like a light at the end of a dark period of quarantine.  Covid, wildfires in California, and constant chemo sessions have kept us confined for more than a year.  We are READY to travel, and have we got one hell of a trip planned for September!

What did I create?

My dream vacation!  Jeremy and I have been focussed on going back to Croatia since 2017.  I have had a ball deciding which cities to visit, choosing accommodations with water views, researching restaurants, museums, and historic sites to visit.  I have been enjoying virtual tours in Croatia to get a better idea of what we’d like to see, and places I want to shoot photos.  I created an itinerary that shows maps, accommodations, and all the fun stuff that we are looking forward to in September, so my mom can follow along and see what we are enjoying each day.  If you are interested in the details, click HERE.

What did I learn?  

I learned that being strong does NOT mean doing everything that needs doing.  Sometimes being strong requires letting go, or losing focus for awhile.  Energetically speaking, sometimes the most important thing we can do is let go, get lost in the flow of something that brings us joy, and TRUST that the Universe will handle the rest, and inspire us to new action when action is required.

Grow on!

What are you focussed on that might flow better with a little less attention?
How willing are you to let go and let God, or let go and trust the Universe?
When was the last time you got lost in the flow of something just for fun?
What was that, and how can you bring more of that into your life?

Positive takes Practice

Having a positive attitude does not mean never having a bad day.

I experience shitty feeling emotions like every other human being, despite the fact that my innate compass always points to the bright side.

I am allowed (like all humans) to experience and express anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment, and all the rest of the messy, uncomfortable emotions that are part of the human experience.

Having a positive attitude does NOT mean I never get down.
Having a positive attitude means I never have to STAY down.

Sometimes it takes longer than others to pick myself up after being down, but my positive attitude ALWAYS gets me back up again.

Maintaining my sunny outlook also does NOT mean pretending to be happy about anything.  It means looking for the opportunity in every situation.  

When I experience challenging emotions, I look for an opportunity to learn.  What’s causing that emotion?  What about that situation felt challenging, angering, or frustrating?  What about the situation worked well?  How can I use what worked well as a foundation to build something more satisfying?  

I’m looking for a path that leads my vibration upward.

That part takes intention.  If my intention is to find a path that raises my vibe, I make the effort and I find better-feeling thoughts.  Without the intention to move higher on the vibrational scale, it’s SUPER easy to spiral downward with thoughts like, “Why didn’t that turn out like I wanted?  These things never turn out for me.  What a disaster.  I should have known it would fail.  Why even bother?” Without a concrete intention to reach higher vibrations, the current (more challenging) vibration naturally attracts more thoughts of the same vibe.

Recently one of my clients was delighted to give herself permission
to create a story about everything working out for the best, to replace the worry-filled story she had been creating about everything that could possibly go wrong.  It takes the exact same amount of time and energy to imagine wonderful things as it does to worry, and the results are incredibly different!

The following week she reported back that her physical symptoms of anxiety had decreased just by focussing on the better feeling outcome – even though the actual “outcome” of her current situation had not yet been reached.

When I catch myself in the cycle of worry, I remind myself right away that since nothing has yet unfolded, anything is yet possible. I try to release the story of worry by reminding myself that anything can happen – including the best possible outcome. Sometimes I even journal about the best possible outcome in as much detail as I can imagine. It feels good when I write it out, and if I start to worry again, I use it to remind myself that anything is still possible!

Grow on!

What story are you currently telling yourself?
What do you worry about on the regular?
What will change for you when you change the story you are creating in your mind?
What story would you rather believe?
Try writing out the best case scenario and see how it feels when you read it back to yourself!

Another Fucking Golden Opportunity

2020 ~ What a shit show!

It’s time to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and put that beast in our rear view mirror.  But before we put this bitch to bed, let’s remember that each of the challenges presented to us is another fucking golden opportunity (AFGO*) to expand our awareness (LEARN something).  The more aware we become, the happier and more confident we feel, so we want to harvest these opportunities and not just run away as fast as the new calendar will carry us.

I challenge you to take stock of what happened for you this year.

Make a list of the golden fucking opportunities life handed you in 2020, and remind yourself what you have learned, what strengths you uncovered, and what energy you want to carry into 2021 with you.

2020 seemed like one long string of AFGOs. Am I right?

My partner got a cancer diagnosis.  It’s curable and not for one minute did I experience any fear of losing him because my intuition is powerful and told me I would not lose him.  However, I was unprepared for all the ways my life would change.  Had you asked me six months ago if my relationship were codependent I would have laughed at you.  I am FAR to independent for that shit.  Or so I thought.

As it turns out, I depend on him for FAR more than I realized or was willing to admit.  He does a million little things (that I appreciate IMMENSELY) that allow me my independence.  His innumerable contributions allow me the freedom to “single-handedly” run three businesses, stay active, eat healthy foods, get plenty of rest, live in a fairly neat home, and enjoy the companionship of the magnificent Captain Boscoe P. Jenkins who apparently does NOT walk, nor feed himself. Who knew?

AFGO for me in this was to move past some VERY limiting beliefs.

I had been telling myself, “Without him cooking for me, I don’t have time to eat healthy!”  That belief opens the door to fast food, allergy foods, and eating habits that deplete my energy. 

Due to the eating challenges presented by chemotherapy, we now have foods in the house that we do not normally buy.  The myth of “not enough time” allows me to choose fast & easy over lovingly-prepared & healthy.  If I am making a grilled cheese sammich because it sounds appetizing to him, why not save time and just eat one myself? (Because you are allergic to wheat and dairy, Cyndi!)  He needs more support right now and I am delighted to be able to support him!  So who has time to support me too?

But do I want my health to be dependent on him being here to cook nutritious meals for me?  Do I want my health to be dependent on what’s fast and easy?

Nope.  I sure don’t.  So even though the day is coming when he will be cooking healthy, nutritious, delicious, amazing meals again for us – right now, I need to have my own back.  So I have been spending less time blogging, and more time cooking for us.  I choose to make two different meals when needed, even if it means something else goes undone.

My new mantra for 2021?

I intend to align my energy with my own healthy intentions first and allow the rest to fall into place. I’m putting health first!

How about you?  If you feel like sharing the biggest challenge you transformed into opportunity, or your biggest gift from 2020, I would LOVE to hear about it! Leave it in the comments or email cyndicombs@gmail.com.

Grow on!

Make a list of all your fucking golden opportunities in 2020.
Then identify the gift in each AFGO!  
What did you learn about yourself?
How will you use those insights growing forward?

*My appreciation to my coach, Jill Lebeau for the acronym AFGO or Another Fucking Golden Opportunity.

Running the Gauntlet

Mindless Eating to Conscious Choice. ~ Part 1

I know a woman who faces a daily challenge in her workplace.  She works in a government building with lots of staff, multiple offices, and a reception area overflowing with free treats.  She says that it feels like she’s facing a gauntlet of candy every time she has to pass the reception desk on her way to her office.

Human beings evolved as hunter-gatherers. We evolved to eat food when it was readily available.  When our ancestors found sweet berries and fruits out in the wild, they understood that those things had a limited shelf life and would be gone soon.  They ate sweets when they were available. All of them.  This is normal human behavior because of the way we evolved.

Google image

The woman went on to tell me that it was possible for her to resist the sugary treats early in the day, however the later her work day wore on, the less in-control of her own decision-making she felt.  That makes total sense.  When we rely on willpower, it’s like a bank account we draw down throughout the day. By late afternoon we may have used up our entire supply of willpower. This is common for most of us when we try to resist something.

This resonates completely for me.  I can’t tell you how many times I started an eating plan with complete conviction, only to fall victim to old familiar patterns later in the day. It’s easy to do.  Familiar eating patterns often call us back because they ARE familiar. We can get there with our eyes closed.  Sometimes we’re in the middle of a behavior before we even realize we’re doing it!

This is even easier to do when we find ourselves in an environment with free-flowing food.

Easier still when we find ourselves in a series of environments with free-flowing sweets, high-fat foods, and alcoholic beverages, served up alongside heaping helpings of social pressures, anxiety, and stress. 

Like the modern holiday season!

Halloween to Super Bowl is one long gauntlet of goodies.

If tradition demands we eat particular treats on special holidays, who are we to argue?  It’s so EASY to find any reason to eat off plan!  It’s easy to get distracted, and head down that familiar path toward eating foods that soothe our emotions, but do not serve our health.

The gauntlet lies before us, and the challenges are familiar and inviting.

Family members want to love us with food.  Holiday buffets are loaded with sugary nostalgia, satisfying fats, and dopamine rewards.  The desire to release stress, feeds our desire to eat because eating releases dopamine in our brains which actually relieves stress and makes us feel good.  It makes total sense that if we are feeling stressed, we want to engage in familiar behaviors that we know will release stress.

Often our own beliefs challenge us and limit our choices: “I have to eat the pie on Thanksgiving!”  Or whatever it is for you – peanut butter cups at Halloween, cheese balls or fudge at Christmas – that “thing” you can’t resist.  We convince ourselves that we have no power over certain foods by reciting mantras like “I can’t say no to cheese” or
“I can never resist chocolate.”

Those beliefs limit us into thinking we MUST say yes to the holiday delight.  What if someone offers seconds?  Thirds?  How many times must we say yes to it?  Yes to them?  Until the treats are all gone?  Until we are no longer in the vicinity of the treat?  And what if we want to say no?  What if we’re really full?  Do we still have to eat the pie just because it’s that holiday?  

If we convince ourselves that we are powerless whenever our favorite temptation is about, then guess what?  Of COURSE we give in when it’s sitting there free for the taking (we’re powerless not too, right?).  We have trained our mind (brainwashed ourselves) to BELIEVE that there is no other option.  We believe the lie we have been telling ourselves – that we are powerless to resist.  It’s there in front of us, so we HAVE to eat it.  We convince ourselves internally that we have no choice.  It’s a slippery fucking slope.

Then when we overeat, we scold and shame ourselves for “doing it again” or for not sticking to our eating plan.  

I find the descriptor ‘gauntlet’ particularly apt since it has two definitions that fit this situation.

Gauntlet: 1) an intimidating or dangerous experience one must go through in order to reach a goal.  2) the punishment of receiving blows while running between two rows of men with sticks.

But the punishment of blows comes from the self-defeating thoughts inside our own head, not rows of men with sticks.  

How was your Halloween?   
How successfully did you align with your own intentions and goals?   
How does your energy feel when you read those questions? 

If the questions above leave you with a sinking feeling, you are judging yourself harshly. 

Our own harsh judgment is one of the BIGGEST things holding us in this pattern of wanting to change, trying to make changes, not feeling 100% successful with the new behaviors, beating ourselves up for ‘failure’, and then comforting with the old behaviors we are trying to avoid – which leads to further ‘failure’ and beating ourselves up.

This was my pattern for decades.  Coaching helped me disrupt that behavior pattern so I could finally grow forward!

So how do we disrupt familiar behavior patterns that are harming us?  How do we walk past the candy basket on the desk fifteen times a day when it has our favorite morsels?  How do we navigate the holidays without overeating?

HOW do we move from mindless eating to conscious choice?

As a core energy coach, I have a process to help my clients do JUST that.  Today I want to share just the first crucial piece.

I have discovered from my own experience and from talking with clients that retraining our self-critical messaging is of utmost importance when it comes to making conscious, intentional choices around food.

How to Retrain Your Inner Critic

The critic voice in your head is a part of you.  That critic arose with the most noble of intentions – to protect you from harm.  She cries in alarm whenever she senses danger.  When our critic voice tells us to keep small, play it safe, don’t make waves, don’t try anything new – she is sincerely trying to protect us from emotions that feel crappy.  When we experienced fear, embarrassment, guilt, shame, regret, rejection, anger, and so many other painful emotions, we did not like the way they felt.  Our critic voice arose to keep us from experiencing those emotions again.

image borrowed from the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine

If she perceives that we may experience uncomfortable emotions, she will say anything to protect us from that – even make us feel like shit so we don’t risk embarrassment or rejection.  Weird, right?  The human mind is fascinating.

We tend to be far more forgiving of others than we are of ourselves, so there are a couple of techniques that I find helpful to stop the exhaustion created by inner critic messaging.  In the moment we become aware that we are repeating an OLD behavior pattern, we can choose to beat ourselves up again, or we can choose one of these helpful alternatives:

Toddler Technique ~

If we had a toddler at home learning to walk, and she lost her balance and fell on her diapered butt, would we scold her? Of course not. We encourage her when she is doing well, and understand that it is completely normal when she loses her balance.

How different is this from how we treat ourselves when we fall short of your goals?  It’s very common when learning new behaviors to get frustrated or irritated with ourselves when we lose our balance, or don’t get it perfectly right on the first try.

When we’re learning new behaviors, we’re going to fall occasionally!

Can we give ourselves some grace around new behaviors, just as we would the toddler, while we find our balance?

How possible is it to treat yourself with as much love and gentle kindness as you would treat your toddler?

What emotions come up if you treat yourself that way?

Put another way; Will we beat up on our toddler-self, or lovingly encourage her to try again, and help her regain her balance?

Helpful Employee Technique ~

Pretend your inner critic voice is a valuable, loyal employee who wants nothing more than to protect you.  If you ignore or repress the critic voice, she generally screams loudly because she is afraid you will leave her behind, she will be lonely, and you will surely come to harm if she is not there to protect you from danger.

What if instead of ignoring or repressing her, we give her praise and appreciation for being SO good at her job?  

We can let this aspect of ourselves know that we value her service so much that we have a new and more important role for her.  We can offer this employee, who protects us so aggressively, the job of protecting us from all the harmful inner critic messages that we have internalized.

We can make a list for this employee of all the messages we WANT to internalize, and retrain her to read those messages when she catches the old messaging sneaking in.  This employee wants to help, and she is already really good at spotting harm!  We can retrain her from a critical voice to a healing, nourishing, supportive ally.

Sometimes our helpful employee will fall back into old patterns.  That’s perfectly normal after years or decades of being trained to be hyper critical. 

Gently remind her that we’re not doing things that way anymore, we’re going in a healthier direction.  Read over the list of new messages again to gently get your employee back on the right track.

We can retrain our inner critic to be a helpful employee. It’s a vital first step toward disrupting familiar patterns of behavior that we wish to change.

Grow on!

What sorts of messages has your critic has been using to beat up on you?
What kind of things trigger you beating up on yourself?
What kind of things trigger your need to protect yourself from negative emotions?
What messages would you like to internalize? Make a list of these messages for your helpful employee, and read it often!

If you want to learn more about the process to move from mindless eating to conscious choice, book a 20 minute conversation AT THIS LINK. I would love to chat with you to find out if partnering with me can help you overcome what’s holding you back, and start creating the changes you desire!