Are you shuffling, dealing, playing, or tossing in?

shuffling, dealing

Happy Friday!

In life, we are always somewhere in the cycle of change. And we need to allow ourselves to be in whatever phase we are at any given moment, before we will be able to transition into the next one. This past weekend I attended the second live module of my life coaching course with iPEC. Again, a very powerful and positive three days. And at some point I was introduced to the metaphor of a card game to illustrate this cycle of life idea. It turns out we are always in one of four areas:

The shuffle:

  • Almost like a ‘time-out phase’ to reflect and research, or perhaps emotionally heal. It’s a period where we detach from what may not be working in life.
  • During this phase we work through the feelings involved in the ending of the last life cycle, which then allows for a new beginning and new possibilities.
  • It may include fear of the unknown, have ups and downs, but by the end of the cycle we are enthusiastic about a new game to play.

The deal:

  • A time of action – experimenting, training and networking – we are putting into play the ideas and plan we may have created in the shuffle.
  • During this phase we develop confidence, begin to look at life as an opportunity, and are ready to explore, stretch, and make things happen.
  • It may include fear of failure or success, the desire to take it one step at a time, but high energy and enthusiasm is likely.

 The playing of the game:

  • Now we’re really in it! This phase is mostly positive, as we are living our dreams and reach a state of well-being.
  • During this phase we begin to feel a sense of success, and it’s a time to really live in the moment.
  • It may include some self-doubt or self-sabotage, but also likely is a sense of fulfillment, peace, and purpose.

The Toss In:

  • Inevitably, everything in life at some point will come to an end. It may end with ‘success’ or ‘failure’, but something is going to change.
  • During this phase there may be some resistance or a possible lack of hope, or include a period of ‘hibernation’ of sorts.
  • It may include feelings of loss, fear of the unknown, isolation… but it is creating the space for a new adventure.

Depending on where we may be in this cycle of change, we are going to be thinking certain things, feeling certain things, and either getting ready to, resisting, or wanting to take action. And wherever we are, whatever we may be experiencing, is perfectly normal. As I’ve said before, wherever we are, we are exactly where we need to be.

I’ll admit I’m ready to make things happen in my life — to launch my business (more on that next week!), to get somewhere, to be someone — like NOW. And what’s ironic, is that my thinking is, the faster I’m there, the faster I will be able to really start living my life. When in fact, the opposite more often occurs. Trying to rush through the phase I am in now in order to get to the next one is exactly what is preventing me from living and enjoying the present moment.

And so it is, especially true when going through transition. I have just tossed in my life in Wales, and am trying to ‘shuffle’ on through the shuffle phase, instead of honouring the importance of really experiencing this phase. I hope to be in action soon enough… so now is a time to reflect, to perhaps experience the out with the old and make space for the new. It’s exciting! And although I am eager to start playing a new game, I can’t start dealing or playing before I have properly shuffled.

Let’s ensure we take whatever time we need to really be where we are, and live in the moment. Because that is where life takes place. Right here, wherever ‘here’ is, ready to play.

Have a FAB week everyone!

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What are your thoughts on the cycle of life? What are you experiencing right now? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

‘the race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself’

~ Mary Schmich

race is long #2

Happy Friday!

While I enjoy adventures and have been extremely fortunate to have lived and travelled abroad in various different continents and countries, there is something about coming home that just feels, well, good. I’m looking forward to re-connecting with family and friends, and engaging in the familiar and comfortable. But I’m also a tad apprehensive as I begin this next chapter of my life. I’ve had lots of fun and some amazing experiences these past few years, but I am ready to now start to lay a foundation and plant some roots. It’s time I start to build a ‘real life’ for myself. Not that everything up to now hasn’t been ‘real living’ – on the contrary I really have been living – but I am ready to commit to something more, something meaningful, something bigger. Scary? Absolutely. But before all of this fear and expectation kicks in, I am going to use the marathon I just ran as a metaphor for life, and apply lessons learned to how I want to approach my current situation.

One step at a time.

I am eager and ready to get things going – to find a place, to get into a routine, to build my career, to have my life sorted. But I can’t expect it all to happen overnight. Be in the moment, trust the process, and don’t rush.

I kept a good pace for the first 20 miles. In fact, I was keeping a faster pace than I ever had in training. But then all of a sudden something changed. At mile 20, I was slowing down. By mile 23, I was questioning whether I had what it took to make it through at all. I even had to walk for a minute or two… (and if anyone knows me as a I runner, I just don’t walk!) But instead of focusing on how I would ever make it across the finish line, I had to simply focus on one step at a time. The same is true for anything we want to create in life.

Sometimes we need our head; sometimes our heart.

Running club coach Mike Fanelli once said, ‘Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.” Sometimes we need to lead with logic, but other times listening to what logically is possible won’t get us where we want to go. Sometimes we may have to use a bit of who we really are and what we believe we are capable of to make things happen. And other times we need to rely on our heart. At one point in the race my body was in quite a lot of pain. My mind was telling me I had hit that infamous wall, and that I had nothing left to give. At that point, I had to look to my heart, and remind myself why I was running in the first place. And that was what kept me going. And so it is in life… sometimes we need to listen and look to our hearts before we can know what to do next.

We can’t do it alone.

I may have been running on my own (although knowing my 2 lovely cousins were amongst the crowd certainly helped!), but I was definitely not alone on that course. And I am pretty darn sure I wouldn’t have made it across the finish line had it not been for my loving spectator, my generous sponsors, or the incredible caring strangers and cheering bystanders all along the route. Breast Cancer Care had given all of its runners special pink tech tops which had a designated place for our name. Hearing people shouting ‘Go on, Carol!’ gave me that extra bit of crucial energy I didn’t know I had. On the course or in life, we’ll never get there alone.

 

They say running is more mental than physical. I certainly think there is some truth to that. The marathon of life may be a long race – but in the end, it’s only against ourselves.

(“…sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself” is a line from an incredible article by Chicago Tribune writer Mary Schmich, and later turned into an amazing song by Baz Luhrmann.)

Have a FAB week, everyone!

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Always give someone, or somewhere, a second chance to make a first impression

Happy Friday!

from where I sit, the last Friday I shall be here in my cozy little home on Colliery Road, in Wrexham, Wales. Funny to think my time here has come to an end… it’s all gone by so quickly, as it always does. And how differently I feel now about this place than I did when I first arrived…

I had a lovely last week – which is bittersweet in a way, as I was just beginning to feel connected, to feel at home. But isn’t that just the way. I suppose it’s a good thing to leave on a high. And believe it or not, there are some things I’m going to miss about this place.

Power Yoga Jam

The photo above highlights much of what my week was all about. Two power yoga jam sessions (which collectively and impressively raised £250 for Breast Cancer Care!), the straggler glow bracelets, a few leftover goodie bags, lovely cards from lovely students, unexpected gifts of flowers, Cuski bamboo shawl wraps, ‘Canadian’ club and Welsh cakes, a certain somebody’s study notes…

Reflecting on my time in the land of the sheep and the rolling hills, there are a few key lessons I will take away with me and would like to share.

When you find yourself in front of a big puddle, grab your galoshes and go through it anyway.

We often have a choice when it comes to a puddle, or an obstacle, blocking our way. Go the long way around, avoiding it completely, or take the plunge and get in there. Of course it may mean we get a little messy, but somehow we’ll get through it and figure it out. And chances are we’ll experience a lot more living while we’re at it.

I was desperately trying to find a yoga class when I first arrived, and it wasn’t before long I realized Power Yoga hadn’t really hit this nook of Wales yet. I contemplated starting my own classes, but was pretty darn fearful. Would they take off? Would anyone even show up? Who am I to teach here? Well, I felt the fear but I did it anyhow. And although I had only one show up (and accidentally, too!) to that first class, slowly they grew, and I was teaching five classes in three different locations at one point. I just counted… 95 yogis I had try out my classes… and excited to say they will be able to continue on their yoga journeys with various instructors that will be taking over these classes when I’m gone 🙂

Always give someone, or somewhere, a second chance to make a first impression.

I’ll admit I may not have been overly enamored with Wrexham when I first arrived. But it has grown on me. And I have begun to see it, to understand it, and to appreciate it for all that it is (and for all that it isn’t). Sometimes these things take time. But as long as we keep an open mind, and try not to give up, we may just see our situation or environment with a whole new set of eyes.

It’s not the buildings, nor the weather, but the people who make up a place.

Only a few short months ago I felt I had no ‘friends’ here. I wasn’t sure I belonged. I mean, there was no one I had met whom I could call up to go and meet for coffee. I tried attending Welsh classes, found and frequented our local, even invited the neighbours around for coffee and cake. Alas, nothing seemed to work. But when I stopped trying to force it, and just did what I enjoyed doing, in time I was able to really connect with people.

Only when you really share of yourself with those around you, and when they are able to see you for who you truly are, is real connection possible. This week I was so touched my so many, had surprise goodbye gatherings and social engagements every night… and I realized that it really is people who make up a place, and people who make the world go around.

Of course there are many more lessons I have learned and could share, but my eyes are getting sleepy and I have the marathon on Sunday after all! And apparently, the night before the night before matters even more! So, it’s off to dreamland I go.

See you on the other side of the pond!

Have a FAB week, everyone!

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there will always be another party…

there will always be another pary

Happy Friday!

Okay so here’s the thing. I like saying yes. I like operating from a place of yes, and I enjoy being a yes! However, I also need to realize, as I am sure many of us do, that we don’t always have to say yes all of the time.

Sometimes I say yes because I genuinely want to, sometimes I say yes because the want to please others far outweighs anything else, and sometimes I say yes because I am actually afraid of what I may miss out on by saying no.

I remember when I was living in hip downtown Toronto in my hip downtown condo, Friday meant getting geared up to go out to the newest happening place in town. The coolest new restaurant, the jazzy ‘in’ lounge, the big pumping club or that exclusive rooftop party. And while there were many evenings when I loved being in the throw of it all (and let’s be honest felt pretty darn cool, too!) some nights I found if I didn’t have something exciting on the agenda, I was missing out. Not only did I feel uncool, but I had a sense of what one of my bestest friends so eloquently coined as FOMO (fear of missing out). And even though I was often quite content staying in on my own – catching up on my fave TV episodes or enjoying dinner and a glass of wine in my own company – I was also afraid of the exciting life no doubt happening all around me which I was missing out on.

And that’s how I often feel when I say no to something. If I say no to that person’s invitation, I may miss an amazing new connection, conversation, bout of inspiration. If I say no to that event, I may miss an incredible new opportunity. And if I say no to that free webinar or teleclass, goodness only knows what potential transformational nugget of wisdom I could be passing up!

But see, here’s the reality. I am simply never going to be able to say yes to everything and everyone. I mean okay, technically “there are 24 usable hours in every day” (fave quote from Empire Records!), but even that is not enough time to do it all. Plus, we all have to cram some sleep time in there somewhere, right?!? But try as I might — at one point this week I was walked in on as I was listening to a live webinar going on, sitting in on a different teleclass, trying to check e-mails, and shoveling in some food at the same time! The look of ‘You are CRAZY!’ was enough for me to realize that although I may have felt I was saying yes to it all, really I wasn’t concentrating enough on any of these activities to reap the full benefits! — it’s never going to work.

One of my esteemed acting teachers once imparted some words of wisdom I will never forget. We had a big show at the time, and needed to be taking care of ourselves, but in the middle of the run there was also a fun celebration of some sort we wanted to attend. ‘There will always be another party,’ she said. And how right she was.

There will always be another party, another dinner invitation, another coffee date, another networking opportunity, another teleclass to attend, another free webinar being offered, another great article to read, another class to take, another you name it.

Saying yes is fun and may make us feel good, but saying no every once in a while – or as often as we need to – is equally as important. And it doesn’t have to have this negative connotation often affiliated with saying ‘no’, either. Recognizing the need to say no when we need to say no can also be looked at as a ‘yes’ in a way, a yes to listening to what it is we really need.

(Lots of ‘no’s and ‘yes’s in there ~ did that even make sense?!?)

So I challenge us all this week to say yes when we genuinely want to say yes, but to be okay with saying no, too. We need a bit of both in our lives. As my mother used to say, everything in moderation.

Have a FAB week, everyone!

p.s. Thank you to all of you who have generously donated either your pennies or your words of inspiration to help me in my quest to run the Edinburgh marathon and raise funds for Breast Cancer Care… it’s happening in 10 days! AHH!! I SO appreciate your support.
p.p.s. Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you! What are you going to say ‘no’ to this week?!?

Carol

 

do less, be more

Do Less Be MoreThis week I had two very special visitors come to my neck of the woods. On Monday, my father and I shared a lovely drive together from London to Wrexham ~ the day was beautiful and the time together meaningful. And on Tuesday we were joined by his best man and one of his oldest mates, someone who I am also happy to call my friend. We headed into the Llangollen Valley, walked through the lovely town and enjoyed the sights and some delicious homemade ice cream. And then, following a recommendation, drove along the top of the valley which eventually dropped us into the next one, Llanarmon. We were driving along this tiny, winding road, with lush green fields to our right and gently rolling Welsh hills to our left. It really was a beautiful drive, one of those scenes that may come to one’s mind when thinking of the picturesque Welsh countryside. And it eventually brought us to our destination, this gorgeous little country gastro pub, quite in the middle of nowhere, with a welcoming patio just perfect for the glorious day we were having. Beyond the marvelous sunshine, the food was delicious and the company divine.

The whole day was special, one my father said he would remember for a very long time. And it was, and I shall too. And yet, part of me feels as though I wasn’t really there in the moment. I mean I was, of course, but instead of truly living and ‘being’ in the moment, I was kind of more in the ‘doing’ mindset of the moment.

Let me explain. The whole time I was worried about whether this was the right thing for us to be doing, if we were seeing the right things, if they would even like the drive to this place, (as I had never done it previously I was a tad anxious!), if the food would be good enough, and if we even had enough on the agenda or perhaps should have squeezed in a bit more. And to top it all off, I spent part of the drive thinking what a perfect moment to catch up on e-mails to coordinate my upcoming teaching and coaching sessions! Talk about not ‘being’ in the moment at all! And yet, at the time, I thought ‘Great! I can get a few more things crossed off that darn list!’

I may preach really ‘being’ in the moment, but it is a lot harder to actually put into practice. I feel like the ‘doing’ is often what counts, as taking action is what is actually going to get us somewhere. And yet, if we are constantly doing things, are we really even being in the moment and experiencing the journey?

When coaching and being coached this week, this same idea of doing and being of action came up a few times. Because coaching is all about forwarding the action, creating and taking actual action steps comes with the territory. And yet if we are solely focused on the ‘doing’ – the checking off of lists and the achieving of goals and results – surely we are missing out something in the ‘being’.

It can be hard to feel as though we are doing something without physically and tangibly doing something. And yet, could it be possible we could be doing by just being?

Before getting too philosophical, let’s consider that sometimes we need to ‘do‘ less and simply ‘be’ more. And as I’ve spoken about previously, if we are not nowhere, we are nowhere (words of the wise, Baron Baptiste…). And when we are doing too much, just remember to inhale, exhale, and repeat.

Have a FAB week, everyone!

Carol

self talk… what’s yours sayin’?!?

how do you talk to yourself? (www.drjerm.com)I do believe anything is possible, but I can be pretty hard on myself if I have big ideas that aren’t accomplished. And I am also sometimes self-sabotaging with respect to the goals I set. I’m afraid of failing. I’ve gots heaps of self-doubt. I question and second guess almost every decision I make. I seek others approval, inadvertently undermining my own expertise and ability to make the rights decisions on my own. And I sometimes find myself saying I shouldn’t be doing something, can’t do this, or won’t be able to hack that.

And so, when I was asked yesterday at the start of the second live module of the executive coaching and mentoring course I am completing to reflect on my thoughts, I shared honestly.

Who am I to be seated here? Not only do I lack  ‘corporate’ or ‘executive’ experience, but I am not even currently working within an organization! I then admitted to the disappointment I felt having just cancelled my inaugural emspire workshop plan (venue was booked, promotional material ready to go!) following advice from a mentor. And in my not following through with my goal, I felt I had failed.

Who am I to be sitting amongst this ‘executive’, successful coaching group?

Well, who am I not to be?

How do you talk to yourself?

Our self-talk (and we all do it!) can play such a huge role in how we show up in the world and how we live our lives. We all have that inner voice – call it our self-critic, our gremlin, our saboteur – whatever you call it, we all have one. And that cheeky little bugger is sometimes the biggest thing that gets in our way.

We all have fears, we all have self-doubts. We’re more similar than we think sometimes. We all hear that little voice whispering to us we can’t do it, it’s not going to happen. It tells us we’re not good enough, not tall enough, not pretty enough – you name it. And unfortunately it ain’t going anywhere any time soon. And so, we have two choices:

  1. we can choose to listen to it
  2. we can choose to ignore it

Listening to that voice is what keeps us playing small. It thrives on fear, and we feel it.  And when we believe it, we lose momentum, motivation, confidence, faith…

When we choose instead to ignore it ~ to recognize it, but realize it is only a part of us ~ we are capable of achieving whatever it is we want to achieve. We become limitless possibility.

So, how do you talk to yourself? Do you ask yourself questions like ‘how could I ever make that happen? Or, do you instead ask yourself ‘how could I actually make that happen?!?

We talk about empowering questions in coaching. Open-ended questions that are thought-provoking, awakening, inspirational, exciting, challenging, full of possibility…

And so today, instead of ranting on any more about my thoughts, I am going to provide some space for you to hopefully think about your thoughts. Today I am going to offer some empowering questions to ponder over this early May bank holiday weekend. Read them, read them even out loud maybe, and take some time to actually think about the answers…

  • What excites me? What lights me up?
  • What will my legacy be?
  • How do I show up in the world? How do I want to show up in the world?
  • How do others see me?
  • What experiences do I want to create?
  • What do I want to accomplish with my time on this earth?
  • How do I want to feel? How do you want to feel when you wake up in the morning, and when you go to sleep at night?
  • If time nor money were no object, what would I be doing right now?
  • What do I truly love about myself?
  • What am I grateful for right here, right now?
  • How can I make a difference in this world?
  • How can I add value to someone’s life today, right now?
  • What do I stand for?
  • Am I giving my best where I can give my best?
  • Am I living my best life? What’s getting in my way?
  • What do I want to do more of each day?
  • What do I want to do less of?
  • What is good enough right now?
  • What is right with this picture?
  • How full is my glass today?
  • What shift could I make right now?
  • What does happiness look like – feel like – to me?
  • What does success look like to me? Where do I feel successful in my life?
  • What matters to me? I mean, what really matters to me?
  • How or where could I create some space for something new?
  • Where am I having fun in my life? Where could I have more fun?
  • If it is worth the effort, am I giving it all of my effort?
  • What is one step I could take, right now, that might bring me closer to something I’ve always wanted to do, or someone I’ve always wanted to be?
  • How big is the pie? How big is my slice?

Have a FAB week, everyone!

Carol

 

 

 

when was the last time you broke the rules?

breaking the rulesI have been in deep deliberation – as I often am  – as to what topic might be pertinent to discuss this week, inspired by the happenings in my life. If I were to reflect on my rather chaotic week (I seemed to have found myself running around like a bit of a crazy chicken much of the time, going from networking breakfasts to virtual English lessons to meetings with GPs to looking at venues to yoga classes to coaching calls to training runs to goodness knows what… now I do thrive on being busy, but there is a fine line between busy and manic!) it would perhaps make sense to speak about slowing down, remembering to breathe, or managing balance delicately… but we’ve somewhat discussed those themes previously.  Besides, my intention is not to use this platform as a way to disclose my own time management issues!

But all of a sudden, just as I was beginning to panic over the fact I still wasn’t sure as to what I would write about, it came to me. 5:00am, running on less than four hours sleep, in the womens’ toilets of the Manchester Airport of all places (you just never know when that pang of inspiration is going to hit!). I walk into the stall, and right as I was about to pull a 360° and march on out again – I know you know what I’m talking about – I realized low and behold those dark pieces of matter were actually nothing more than floating ashes! Nothing scary, nothing to fear, just the rebel before me who snuck into the toilets for one last fag before the flight! After my initial sigh of relief, I quickly let out a little chuckle. And in that moment I had a little aha… breaking the rules… yes! Let’s talk about that! Why? Because sometimes, breaking a rule or two is exactly what we need to do.

If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere. ~ Marilyn Monroe

Now I want to make one thing clear here. By no means am I condoning this woman’s act of smoking in the restroom – I’m a fan of the non-smoking rule not only in restrooms but in all public, indoor arenas – but I would like to use this story to illustrate an idea. Breaking the rules (although not necessarily the laws!), can also mean doing something a little out of the ordinary or against the grain, thinking outside of the box, acting out of the norm, or defying expectation. Sometimes ‘breaking the rules’, so to speak, may actually help us to discover that difficult solution or get us to where we want to go.

There are numerous examples of key players, events, or inventions where the breaking of conventional rules has actually led to making significant differences to our world:

  • Breaking the laws of science and gravity allowing for airplanes to fly and rockets to shoot up into outer space.
  • Challenging the ideas of the woman’s place in politics. Thanks to the pioneering work of some amazing suffragettes and women’s leaders we went from not being able to vote to successfully running countries.
  • Breaking the rules of fashion – we have now found out that polkadots and stripes can actually work together – as can red and pink – and I bet it won’t be long before velcro and bell bottoms are all the rage again.

In the words of Thomas A. Edison, “Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.”

This idea of breaking the rules doesn’t necessarily have to mean breaking the actual laws of society, the laws of science, or even the laws of conformity. Sometimes we have imposed rules on ourselves and in our lives that may be limiting us in ways we aren’t even aware of. And breaking these rules every once in a while may allow us to see the world in new ways we never thought possible. It may also help to break us of our habits. Maybe you sleep in one day until 7:04 instead of rising at 7am on the dot. Perhaps you try an Earl Grey instead of English Breakfast at tea time. Or maybe you order a big, fat piece of chocolate cake for dessert next time you’re out even if it isn’t indulgence day just because you can.

Sometimes we just need to be prepared to break the rules every once in a while. Not only can it help us discover a world we may never have known previously (have you ever had ice cream for breakfast?!? It’s kind of fun!) we may be able to find new ways to solve our problems or achieve our goals. It may also prevent stagnation, throwing in the towel, or better yet – introduce a little bit of an exciting thrill into our day to day happenings!

So, how are you going to break a little rule this week, perhaps go a little crazy? I’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!

Have a FAB week, everyone!

Carol

wherever you are, you are exactly where you need to be

 HAPPY FRIDAY!

wherever_you_are..._www.copyblogger.com_3c9f8aa17ae088210aI like being happy. I mean, who doesn’t, right? And although I do consider myself a happy person for the most part, there are also going to be some days where on the happiness spectrum I fall more to the left than I do to the right. I used to think this was a bad thing, that I needed to do something quick to get back to the bright side. But there are a range of emotions out there for a reason. And just like rain every once in a while helps us to appreciate the sun, perhaps sadness, frustration, uncertainty – whatever it is we may be feeling – can also help us to appreciate the happy.

This week my mood somewhat mirrored the weather today ~ mostly sunny, mixed with small dark pockets of cloud. There were some moments when I felt fully energized, enthusiastic, excited… and others when I felt tired, a bit down, or lacking motivation… And when I found myself wanting to press snooze one too many times, I immediately passed judgment on my state of being and behaviour; internally I labeled it as ‘wrong’, or ‘bad’. And then I quickly found I was wanting to pull myself out of there! I mean, we can choose to be happy, right?!?

Well, perhaps there is some element of choice involved, but trying to force myself into a place where I was not, and not allowing myself to be okay with where I actually was, also meant I wasn’t allowing for some self awareness. Why might I be feeling this way? What are the underlying triggers at play? Trying to get to somewhere new – and fast – is not really living and experiencing the present moment.

I used to think being happy was the goal. But perhaps it isn’t. Perhaps it is to be present and true to where we are, whatever we may be feeling, and to be okay with it.

Some of my yoga students this week were commenting (and being hard on themselves!) about how they just couldn’t get their balance on. I assured them that every time we come to our mats we are in a different place. It could depend on the thoughts running around rampant in our heads, the sleep we had the precious night, what we’ve eaten or had to drink… everything affects everything. Some days we may have great balance, others maybe only on the right leg, or sometimes it may appear as though we have none at all! But wherever we are at – on our mats or in our lives – is where we need to be.

When we are fully present – present to our feelings as well as to our surroundings – we are open to experience life and to be affected by all that life can offer us. When I finally surrendered to my mood, perhaps with a little less spunk than I would have liked, I was also open and vulnerable enough for change. Sometimes I walk into my yoga classes wondering how many, if any, will show up. A tad fearful, perhaps with a tang of self-doubt. I felt that this week ~ until I had 12 show up to my Tuesday night class ~ and left feeling totally energized by what my students gave me. I walked in one way, but by allowing myself to be present and be affected, I left on a high.

Where you are right now – with respect to your mood, geographical location, career, family, relationships, or balance in yoga – trust you are there for a reason. Life moves pretty fast, and you may not be there for long. So you may as well enjoy wherever it is you are at in this moment.

If we try too hard to get somewhere we’re not, how could we possibly be enjoying where we actually are? (Perhaps I should really take these words to heart every now and again!)

Have a FAB week, everyone!

Carol

Ode to Rain, a lesson in gratitude.

Ode to Rain

Earlier in the week I found myself in an even better mood than normal. I didn’t really think much of it – didn’t question it, didn’t necessarily take the time to analyze or ask why. But then when that extra ‘spring in my step’ began to dissipate, all I had to do was look outside, see the grey skies, and all too quickly blame it on the rain. It was easy to enjoy the good weather and the good mood I found myself in as a result while it lasted. And yet, as soon as it was gone, a slight slip of the mood and it’s all the rain’s fault.

Now I will be the first to admit the sun certainly has a positive affect on my temperament, while the gray and rain can also have the opposite affect on me. But perhaps it doesn’t have to be this way. I mean poor rain, always getting such a bad rap.

And if you think about it, the two are not mutually exclusive of one another. We cannot have one without the other. Moreover, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the sunny days if we also didn’t have the rainy ones highlighting the other side of the spectrum.

So perhaps instead of wishing for the sunshine on a day of rain, I should instead try to be grateful for the rain for what it is. As the line goes, sometimes it’s not about having what you want, but wanting what you already have.

Gratitude is not an attitude, but a practice. One we have to actively exercise. And so I am going to practice some right now ~ some gratitude for the rain.

Reasons to be grateful for the rain:

  • Those big inviting puddles to splash into. Or perhaps watching little ones, unphased by the thought of getting their feet soaked, jumping right into them and sloshing about.
  • That lovely, fresh smell that newly fallen rain leaves on the pavement, on the grass, and in the trees.
  • Rainy days when you are sitting nice and cozy inside, watching the drops falling outside of your widow. That feeling of comfort, of safety. Even better with a mug of hot cocoa or your favourite tea.
  • The excuse to wear colourful gum boots!
  • That moment of realization when you’ve been caught in a torrential downpour and you just know there’s nothing you can do, nowhere to hide. You are going to get wet, soaked even. And so all you can do is simply surrender.
  • Knowing that somewhere out there is a big beautiful rainbow just waiting to be discovered.
  • ‘My favourite things’. Without rain, Julie Andrews would never have sung about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… need I say more?!?
  • Simply knowing that a little fall of rain ‘will make the flowers grow’ (and that amazing scene in Les Miserables)
and this is only the beginning…

Research conducted by Brené Brown showed that everyone who experienced true joy in their lives, and I mean real, unbridled, fierce joy, had some sort of a gratitude practice going on. Kept a gratitude journal, recounted their daily feelings of gratefulness in bed at night, or started their day off thinking about all they were grateful for. It really can work wonders for your mood… maybe even on days when Mr. Sun doesn’t show his face!

What reasons might you have to be grateful for the rain? Or for anything else? I would love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or e-mail me, carol@happyfriday.ca.
Have a FAB week, everyone!

Are you playing in the arena or watching from the stands? Are you daring greatly?

Happy Friday!

playing in the arena (www.flickriver.com )

Daring Greatly is the title of Dr. Brene Browns latest book. She spent twelve years researching vulnerability she believes vulnerability is the birthplace for innovation, creation, and change. Besides doing a few TEDx talks, being featured on two Super Soul Sundays with Oprah, she offers amazing insights and really walks her talk.

So just what does daring greatly mean? Having the courage to be vulnerable. To be open, to show the world who we really are, and to stand in what we believe. And not letting the fear of not being enough, of not gaining approval from others, stand in our way of going after what we truly want. It’s about having the courage to play in the arena.

Courage. Dr. Brown shares this word originally comes from the Latin root, which means heart. Courage used to have a very different meaning than how we think of it today; it originally meant “to speak one’s mind with all one’s heart.

What does courage mean to you? Are you speaking your mind with all of your heart? Are you speaking your mind and sharing your whole heart at all?

If we have the courage to share who we are and what we are feeling, chances are there are hundreds or thousands of others out there that can relate — as they are feeling exactly the same way. And isn’t that what it is ultimately all about? Connecting with others, relating to others, recognizing and celebrating just how similar we all really are. But we can only do that if we are first brave enough to show up as we really are. And then to be brave enough to play.

It was the following quote that was the real game changer for Brene, and the inspiration behind Daring Greatly:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
We may not always win. In fact, there is a good chance we will lose on more than occasion. But we will never know if we are going to win or lose unless we actually get into the arena. We will never be completely certain. And not just about succeeding, but about anything in life. Certainly is overrated anyhow. How much fun is playing when we already know what the outcome will be? It’s about getting into the ring, ‘getting marred by blood and sweat and dust’, and yet still playing and striving valiantly.

And if we never even try, aren’t we already simply destined to lose anyhow?

It’s normal to want to do well, to want to win, to want to be sure we will come out on top. I will be the first to admit that I want to succeed at what I do. But how are we to know just how well we’ll do if we never even begin?

It is often our fear that keeps us comfortable, keeps us stagnant. But ironically, it is also this fear that is going to ultimately propel us forward. If we recognize that standing in our fear is what it means to be vulnerable, we will see that being vulnerable is also all about having the courage to work through our fear.

Today, I challenge us all to dig deep and find a little courage. Find a little courage to stand in who we are. Find a little courage to go after what we believe in, and to go after what we truly want. Find a little courage to really be seen.

Find a little courage to get into the arena, to get a little muddy, and to really play the game.

We will never be brave if we are never scared in the first place. 

Have a FAB week, everyone!