the power of silence

the power of silence

When you think of communicating with someone, connecting with someone, how often does your mind go straight to speaking? How often do you rely on your words to express how you’re thinking or feeling? To show support? To express your love (words of affirmation anyone?!? One of Gary Chapman’s 5 ‘love languages’… but that’s for another happy friday!)

Now I will be the first to admit I enjoy talking, I do! And I place a lot of energy and importance to the words I am using. And yet, speaking and communicating are not synonymous.

There is a well-known study that breaks down how we tend to communicate, and what it is we are really responding to when others communicate something to us. The results are pretty interesting: 55% of our communication is conducted through body language, 38% in our tone of voice, and only 7% of what people respond to are the actual words that are being said.

After one evening program at my yoga training a few short weeks back, we were told we were going to practice what is called Noble Silence. We weren’t able to speak or use technology to communicate to anyone, and were to stay in this silence until after meditation the following morning. At first I was almost distraught! We had just completed this intense exercise, and now I couldn’t even debrief with my roomie?!? Yet in the end, it was an enlightening experience. And although I found it difficult at first, I took away some valuable insights and ah-has:

  • Not only is communication possible without using words, but it can actually be quite powerful
  • You can really see others – let others in, when you are not hiding behind the words
  • Without words, I felt no pressure to say the right thing, to have all the answers, to come up with a solution to ‘fix’
  • Without words, I needn’t worry about how what is being said might land or be interpreted by the other party, nor about being judged or liked through my words
  • All of a sudden, a whole new possibility for real vulnerability opens up
  • You can express yourself quite powerfully through body language
  • Speaking and communicating are indeed not the same thing

When we’re going through good times or bad times with those around us, it’s natural to want to get excited with, empathize, express ourselves, and connect with – using words. And yet, consider that you don’t have to say anything at all to achieve these things. You also don’t have to have all of the answers. You don’t have to have the winning phrase. You don’t have to know how to alleviate fear or fix the situation.

You may not have all or even any of the answers; you may not have anything to say at all. And that’s okay! You can still be there for someone, connect with someone, hold space for someone, powerfully. Arguably connection on a deeper level is possible. Listen. And I mean really listen, to what it is they are saying. Listen beyond the words – listen to their soul. Listen and speak, even in the silence.

Because even in silence, powerful communication is possible.

Have a FAB week, everyone!

 

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

can we have more of more than enough?!?

 

cookies - more than enough (davidlavery.org)

Happy Friday!

This week I attended the first live training module of the executive coaching and mentoring course I am enrolled in at Bangor University. Now apart from hearing about the three 5,000 word papers I’ll have to write (those darn nerves I experienced all too often throughout high school and university flooded right back), it made me realize how much I enjoy learning. I really think I will forever be a student. Which is a good thing I suppose, as learning really is a life-long process.

On the second day, I had to give a presentation on one of the many leadership styles that were being assigned. I had Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which I had wanted, as I have read his book previously and think he’s great. Now I won’t be explaining the ‘theory’ in its entirety, don’t worry, but I am going to touch on just one of these habits. #4 is ‘think win-win’. It discusses the idea we should look for opportunities, and at opportunities, as being mutually beneficial for everyone. A ‘win’ for everyone is always better in the long-term, which comes from valuing and respecting others. He believes we should adopt an ‘abundance mindset’, an idea I have brushed upon previously. I take it to mean that if we allow others to be great, and actively find ways to actualize others’ successes, in return we, too, will be great and successful.

To use the pie metaphor, there is enough pie to go around for everyone. Just because your friend, colleague, or someone you look up to may have just scored an amazing gig, landed a deal, heard some great news – doesn’t mean there is now less chance of these things happening to us. Just because someone else wins, it doesn’t mean you lose.

On the contrary, my dear Watson. Good news spreads, positivity grows exponentially, success breeds success.

When we operate from a place of abundance, there is more than enough of anything we could ever dream of for everyone.

Stand for others’ successes, and celebrate their accomplishments. And in so doing, everybody wins.

It’s not always going to be easy, I get it. And in my humble opinion it is not something we can try on one day, and reap the benefit the next. It is a process, it takes time, and like anything, it will surely ebb and flow. But the more we practice and exercise the abundance muscle, the more limber it will become.

It’s also important to note that even if we feel abundance, so long as we are alive and kicking, we will always be looking for more. Creators will always be wanting to create more. Teachers will always be wanting to teach more. Lovers will always be wanting to love more. And that’s okay, it’s all good. Danielle LaPorte speaks of this idea as divine dissatisfaction. Whenever we land somewhere, achieve something, it won’t be long before we’ll be looking for the next thing. And it’s not about being needy, being greedy, or being selfish. It’s about being human, and knowing there is always more for us out there.

A bit paradoxical perhaps, if we want to believe that we already have more than enough, but at the same time there will always be room for more. But perhaps the universe is full of enough and full of more at the same time…

Lots of pie to go around, folks. So grab your slice today!

Have a FAB week everyone!

abundance (www.enlight8.com)

do what you’ve always done; get what you’ve always got

Happy Friday!

ecards if you always do... (www.someecards.com )

Happy Friday, Happy St. David’s Day (a Welsh Saint!), and Happy March 1st.

A new month, a new beginning. And the first day of the last month of the first quarter of the year! A perfect day to check in with how we are doing in terms of what we want to create for ourselves this year. How are those resolutions coming? Sticking to those plans and goals? Do you even remember what they are?!? It’s tough, I know. Life gets in the way. I get it. We slip off the bandwagon and it’s hard to jump back on. But we’re not going to achieve what we want to achieve if we’re not prepared to really do something about it.

There is a quote that says “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”.

I was reminded of this philosophy recently when reading Getting Passion Out of Your Profession, Canadian bestseller written by friend and mentor Nina Spencer. And it’s so true. Either something new has to come out of us, or something new has to come into us. We can’t just keep trucking away at things the same way we always have, expecting a different outcome. It just ain’t gonna work. Something has got to change.

Over the last little while, and on more than one occasion, I have caught myself feeling a tad frustrated with respect to my productivity (or lack thereof). Now I know ‘being productive’ is in itself subjective, and life really shouldn’t be comprised of nothing more than checking off those to-do-lists, but some days I feel I lack working towards a clear mission.

Without trying to draw blame here, when one doesn’t have that imposed 9-5 schedule, it’s hard to follow a routine. And it really is amazing just how quickly the days go by. So despite the fact I may appear to be keeping myself ‘busy’ – teaching, writing, working on my business or otherwise – by the end of the day I notice even some of the simplest of tasks haven’t yet been completed. And in these moments I feel I have no control over my time management.

In a similar fashion, I am still all too often in a rush, dashing from one place to another. Again, even though I don’t have a ‘regular’ full-time job. Earlier this week, I was to attend a networking event ‘Bring your Brain to Breakfast’ (sounds pretty neat, no?) beginning at 8am, but an hours drive away. Having stayed up into the wee hours of morning the night before, it’s no wonder I slept right through my alarm. I arose in sheer panic at 7:08, (8 minutes after I was scheduled to leave!), threw on some ‘business attire’, did my hair as best I could, threw some make-up in my bag to do in the car, and was off. I figured I could make some time up en route, plus, registration would take a little while, no?

Damn. Needed gas. While at the pump, I tried to type in the post code to my trusty navi, only to realize I had forgotten my day planner with the address at home amidst all the havoc. I got out my mobile (while still pumping as I couldn’t afford to waste any more time!) in a desperate plea to get the information I needed. All of a sudden the pump stopped working. I was at firstconfused, then annoyed. And then I hear some voice over the loud speaker shout: ‘Would the lady at pump #2 please get off her mobile immediately!’. I see. So that’s why it stopped. They were afraid the place would explode. Although I have read that before – and for all I know it may be true – in that moment I was so embarrassed, so angry, so late, so underslept – when I hung up the phone and the gas didn’t start to flow right away again, I threw my arms up and just may have yelled just a little. SOO not me! How utterly awful and embarrassing! Surely I will never be able to show my face there again…

Indeed, something about my time management and organization needed to change.

As much as I wanted to blame the gas station folk for that mortifying episode, it was all my creation. I should have gone to bed on time the night before. I should have been prepared for the event – business cards and such all ready to go – so that I could have gone to bed on time. I should have filled up with gas earlier as I knew it was a bit of a distance away. It all should have started with a plan.

I never made it to the breakfast event. Traffic was so bad I turned around twenty minutes in when the trusty sat nav told me I would be arriving almost an hour late. No, that wouldn’t work! And so, I decided I needed to do something different.

The next day, instead of waking up and chipping away at a half-inspiring to-do list – half on paper and half in my head – and too easily giving into distractions like e-mail and phone, I stuck to a plan. I had actually scheduled each block of my time, hour by hour, on a piece of paper the night before. And you know what? Not only did I get so much more done than I had the previous few days, but I felt great. Maybe I can create a routine for myself when I appear to lack one.

Other changes I’m making?

I’ve realized I need to actually commit to making things happen. If I want to grow my yoga classes to 20 students, I can’t just magically expect it to happen. I have to get out and actually promote. So I have since rented a bigger space in larger, nearby Chester, am going to be on a radio show in the next few weeks talking about the classes I offer, creating a referral program, and am sending out press releases to local newspapers over the next few days.

I’m also aiming to be in bed by midnight, so as to have as much energy as possible, and therefore be as productive as possible, the following day. Does this mean it’s going to happen every night? Highly unlikely, no. We are all going to falter every once in a while. It’s human nature. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t just jump back on the horse and try again.

What changes might you be ready to make in order to achieve different results in your life? Even the smallest of actions – if you are truly committed – have the potential to make all of the difference.

Please share your thoughts with me; I would love to hear from you. And if you think someone else may enjoy this post, please pass it along!

Have a FAB week!

 

Happy Birthday to me!

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

~ Abraham Lincoln

Carol birthday

Happy Friday!

Most years on my birthday, I allow myself to spend precious time and energy thinking about all that I have not yet accomplished. ‘I can’t believe I’m already x years old and I haven’t done this, or that, or _________ (fill in the blank)!’  Sound familiar? Why is it that we so often use our age — which is just a number in the end, anyhow, right? — as a measure against how we’re getting on in life, how much we’ve accomplished, how succesful we are, how many things we have already checked off the ol’ list, how ‘well’ we’re doing. I’ll admit, I’m pretty good at this. I’ve even ended up on more than one occasion in tears, upset with myself for not being ‘further ahead’ in my life.

Well, my friends, no more I say! Instead of looking back at my life and choosing to look at all that I have not yet accomplished, I am going to look back today at my 32 short years and choose to look (and celebrate) all that I have accomplished. And so, if you’ll all indulge me (it is my birthday after all!), I am going to share a few amazing moments (it was going to be 32, until I realized that is a pretty long list, and I’d probably lose most of you by the midway point anyhow!) of wonder, joy, excitement, fear, pride, and achievement that I have been lucky enough to experience thus far in my life.

Here they are (and in no particular order):

  • Crossing the finish line of the Indianapolis marathon.
  • Singing my first solo as Bunny Sue in my 1st grade production of Get Hoppin’.
  • Hearing my mother’s bracelet jingle in the audience at every Opening Night performance of any show I ever did.
  • Bungee jumping (in my birthday suit no less!) in Greece.
  • Sitting in the audience experiencing my first musical ever – Cats.
  • Having my head shaved in front and friends and family – and Oakville Mayor! – and raising $10,000 for breast cancer research.
  • Coffee dates with girlfriends – one in particular post bridesmaid shopping – feeling such connection, love, and sisterhood!
  • Getting the envelope that June day saying I made it into the Ryerson theatre program.
  • Seeing my brother-in-law walk down the hospital hallway announcing the birth of my beautiful niece Emery.
  • The nerves, curiosity, newness, and wanderlust of my first kiss (ah, the innocence and naïveté!)
  • Riding my moped along the chaotic streets of Chiang Mai,  dreadlocks waving behind me, enroute to explore Buddhas in underground caves.
  • Experiencing my first standing ovation.
  • Receiving the call from my agent saying I had landed the part (wow – lot of theatre and acting references in here!)
  • Waking up in an Ashram, bald-headed, in India, ready to take on the world as a spiritual yogi.
  • Getting up for the first time and riding a (small) wave on a surfboard.
  • Being woken up by my excited sister on Christmas morning, stocking trailing behind her, exclaiming “Santa has been!’
  • Standing in front on my first class to teach.
  • Running through live barbed wires before completing the Tough Mudder.
  • Watching the breath-taking view of the sunrise over the Himalayas.

I’ve had some fun times over the years… and I look forward to lots more fun times over the next 32 years and then some.

And so, let us all raise a glass to birthdays ~ for reminding us of not only how much we have already lived, but for getting us pumped for all that is still left to explore.

Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 12.37.09 AM

Have a FAB week everyone!

Be a YES!

Be A Yes!Greetings, my fine friends, and Happy Friday!

I remember one of my first Baptiste yoga classes (Dad don’t hit delete yet!), when the Instructor told us, as we grew taller and stretched deeper into our pose, to “Be a Yes.” At first, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by it. I think we may have been in tree pose at the time, or one in which hands could reach towards the sky, chest shining out, with spine and shoulders dropped into the back. I actually thought we were supposed to feel the sensation of making a “Y” with our bodies. A “Y” for yes. Makes sense, no? Ever-eager to please and play good student, I tried desperately to radiate the sensation of a ‘Y’, hoping I was doing the right thing and didn’t look silly. However, this meant only getting too caught up in my head – analyzing and over-thinking – that even if I was doing the ‘right’ thing, I wouldn’t have reaped the benefits anyhow.

After a few more classes, I eventually realized that being a yes did not mean physically with our bodies, it meant being a yes in life. Trying things. Going after things. Playing big. Saying yes to new things, before that voice within our comfort zone perks up and tells us to say no.

Over the weekend I was asked/strongly encouraged/lovingly harassed to sign up for what is called the Tough Mudder event. I had never heard of it before, and although I had no idea what it was all about, I’ll admit I was intrigued. Not wanting to disappoint, and wanting to exercise being a “yes’ (see the movie Yes Man… you’ll understand this concept a lot more! Plus, it’s pretty entertaining…), I took a brief look at the website as we chatted and signed up. Why not, right? Um, so yeah – I have since learned it may turn out to be a tad more intense than I initially realized (10-12 miles of military style obstacles, created by the British Special Forces, including running through live electric wires and swimming through dumsters of ice — take a peek for yourself at toughmudder.com — there is still room on our girls team for those who are interested?!?). However, it’ll be certainly be an experience. Worst case scenario, I can’t complete one or more of the obstacles, but I have a fab time trying, right? And I’m pretty sure everyone still gets their beer in the end!

So, this week I have a challenge for each of you. Say ‘yes’ to something you may not normally say yes to. Instead of over-analyzing or over-thinking what you could or should do, or giving in to the little voice inside your head that says you can’t, choose instead to listen to your own voice that says YES YOU CAN! Say yes. And it doesn’t necessarily have to mean saying yes to something big and scary or completely crazy. But dare to live on the edge a little. Say yes to staying up late to watch another episode of your favourite show. Say yes to eating ice cream before you’ve had dinner. Say yes to someone’s invitation to have coffee even if there are dishes to be cleaned. Say yes to the dress even if it’s a few dollars above the budget. Live a little! Who knows what may happen? You may just surprise yourself, learn something new – and have a little fun while you’re at it.

Have a FAB week everyone!