How To Finally Step Up Your Journaling Game In The Most Soothing Way Ever

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Do you have a journaling practice? Or have you always wanted to have one but just aren’t quite sure where to begin?

Usually when I ask this question people have a surprisingly strong reaction.

They’ll say things like:

-I’ve been wanting to journal forever but…………….

-I love journaling but I never know what to write…………

-I used to journal and it was the best but I haven’t done it in so long.

-I do journal but feel like there's a way my journaling could be more powerful for me.

-I journal every now and again and love it but I don’t do it much.

I’ve noticed in myself after going through years of my own journals that year after year after year, I complained about the exact same things.  Reading back through them was actually depressing instead of insightful.  I noticed my same troubles kept cropping up in different circumstances.  I felt like I’d have big AHA’s in my journal but then I wouldn’t take any practical steps to make any changes in my day to day. It kind of seemed like I just sat there to write so I could complain.  Ughhhh.

Until now, now I’ve started taking an entirely new approach to journaling that soothes me like no practice I’ve ever tried before.  That meets me wherever I am at, comes off the page with me into my daily life and helps me feel more intuitive, grounded and connected to myself. Ahhhhhhh sweet relief!

Imagine having a being whose voice resides within you that loves you unconditionally, that makes you feel capable and enough and perfect just the way you are.  A benevolent voice that will gladly help you problem solve and give you strength when you feel stuck or low.

Sounds like a (maybe impossible) dream, right!?

Well, I’m here to tell you that voice exists within you and you can find her in your journal writing practice.  It can be as simple as meeting this part of yourself and allowing it the space to come into your life and take up residence.  Your journal is a perfect place to have this relationship bloom and blossom.

When we open to this part of ourselves, we begin to accept where we are at RIGHT now and feel present in our current lives instead of always trying to change things or want them to be different.  We often hope we can control something outside of ourselves for the answer or the change and that almost always comes up fruitless. A struggle I'm sure many of us are exhausted by.

When we open to this part of ourselves, we usher in love and compassion for ourselves in a new way.  And not just in the moment of writing in our journals but we’re able to maintain that attitude toward ourselves.

When we open to this part of ourselves, we feel lighter, more open hearted and more consistently kind to others.  We find more flow with ourselves so we can pay better attention to ourselves and stop neglecting our needs, wants, feelings and desires.

It can be scary to trust that this is possible.  It can be scary to tap into our highest selves and let them speak to and through us.  But our journals are the perfect safe and private place to allow this beautiful relationship to unfurl.

So we can either just put journaling off for another week or year.  We can keep telling ourselves we’re not good at it, keep complaining to ourselves in our journals for months on end allowing our inner critics to run our lives on and off the page.

Or and this is a big OR……………..

You can connect in with that all loving, benevolent part of yourself that wants to support you and love you and sees you in love at all times.  And you can call her onto your journaling pages.  We can try something new.  Something outside of complaining and fearing and wanting the world around us to be different.

Journaling with ourselves in a new way is a H U G E step to loving ourselves in a new way.

When we feel we have a fall back for when life gets hard, scary, overwhelming and/or we feel stuck, anxious and sad, we step into a new sense of confidence and new sense of possibility.


AND THE BEST NEWS OF ALL!!  This Thursday, June 29th my very own journaling course, Hearing From Your Heart begins!  I'll teach you how to connect with your inner best friend and start a practice that you can carry with you through your whole life. 

At this time only TWO SPOTS remain for the next round of Hearing From Your Heart a Journaling Journey!!  And it's literally only $137 to join!!

You will walk away from each call feeling connected to the other women in the group, inspired to care for yourself better, live in your integrity and be kinder to yourself.

And I'm SOOOO excited about this next upcoming session because now it's SUMMER and it's a time when Mama's and givers of every sort NEED and DESERVE that extra love and time set aside to care for themselves.

This journaling course is guaranteed to grant you that!

When you commit to yourself in this way you'll gift yourself with: 
~ Access to YOUR HIGHER SELF who will love you and bless you and teach long after this course is over. 
* FOUR LIVE coaching calls. 
* A group of inspiring women to share your journey with. 
* A private FB group to connect and ask questions in. 
* Journal prompts and thought/heart provoking questions to take you through your weeks. 
* Accountability to stick with your practices. 
~
And did I mention a NEW RELATIONSHIP with your inner best friend (AND I PROMISE SHE'S IN THERE JUST WAITING FOR YOUR ATTENTION!!)

I can't wait to start it all up THIS THURSDAY, June 29th from 9:30-11:30am PST on Zoom a free online video conferencing platform.

And then continue on, THURSDAYS July 6th, July 13th and July 27th from 9:30-11:30am PST.

Remember though there are ONLY TWO SPOTS left and they are sure to get snatched quickly so if you feel an inkling of desire pulling at your heart strings, say YES to yourself and just simply email me at lexikoch@icloud.com.

I promise this will be a decision YOU WILL NOT REGRET.

 

The Simplest Trick For Feeling Better NOW

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Frustrated.

Blaming myself. Beating myself up. Worried. Sabotaging. Regretting. All the things.

That's where I was at this morning. In the mix of it all. Coming down off of a weekend high. Landing in pessimism and the "what's wrong" with it all.

Yes, these mornings happen to me too. Yes, I fall victim to my inner critic and my grief. It's what makes me deep. It's what makes me "get it." The rawness and the vulnerability are my growing edge but this morning I was just in a bad mood and wanted someone to complain to.

That someone called me on the phone and I let it out. All the fears, all the blame, all the concerns, all the what if's................................

I mentioned that I knew what I was doing. Well aware of how easily I could have stopped beating myself up but I just wasn't ready yet. I just didn't want to!

In hearing me mention this, my dear sister instead said, "You're frustrated. You're allowed to be frustrated right now."

YES!!!!!

I AM FRUSTRATED. And naming it and allowing it made it allllllllllllllll ok. It made the incessant list making in my head slow down. I felt seen and heard and met. I repeated it silently to myself. I'm frustrated. I'm just frustrated right now. And I've watched myself shift into a new place over the last hour. I feel less upset, at fault, growly.

NAME IT.

It can seriously be that simple sometimes.

NAME IT.

Where are you at? You are 100%, whole heartedly, totally and completely allowed to be where you are at right now.

NAME IT AND ALLOW IT and watch it change.

Who's Hiding From You In Your Worst Moments?

What's the underlying, hidden thread that connects all of these scenarios?

GIVING AWAY YOUR POWER: Your friends or partner expect a lot of you. You're who they assume will take over when their kids are sick to step in, you're who they assume will drive when they have an appt and need a ride, you're who they assume will do the dishes after you have dinner at their house, you're who they assume will throw them a party for their bday, you're who they assume will soothe them through the constant drama in their lives. You can kind of get a sense of what's happening. They rely on you in ways that feel beyond mutual friendship and love. You might feel kind of used, or ignored, or stepped on. You might feel more like a servant than a friend. You notice you don't ask for much in return and what you would appreciate isn't really happening. 

It's not fun to be in these type of one way, sometimes toxic relationships. It can feel super disempowering and belittling. 

Often times, we wind up here because we believe this is all we deserve or that we "should" say yes all the time because it's how we stay safe or loved or protected.

LACKING CONFIDENCE: Scared of being wrong, afraid to say no, exhausted and overwhelmed with life in general. No confidence, no self esteem, no way of staying empowered but always looking around waiting for the reactions and responses of everyone else before responding. Waiting for life to happen instead of creating life to happen.

INDECISION: You need to go visit your family sometime soon but you're not sure when the right time is. You haven't taken any vacation days at work but you don't want anyone to get upset or feel slighted if you take time off. You don't want to put the burden on anyone else at your job either. And, you're waiting to see if your friend is really having that gathering she mentioned a while back and you're not sure which airline to take either. Your mom keeps asking when you'll be coming and you're just not sure what to even say. You kind of like going home but you also feel like all of your boundaries are invaded and you have no personal space when you're there. It's like you are suddenly 10 again even though you no longer live there. You don't want to stay in your old room but you feel awkward telling your parents your truth..........

So now..........what's the underlying thread that runs through every scenario here? I'll give you a clue, I'm the ultimate sleuth at finding this in people. And, most people don't even realize they've got one.

Yup, it's the inner critic! In each of these scenarios the struggle exists because the inner critic's voice is the loudest and strongest.

Lately, I've noticed I'm pretty much an inner critic whisperer. Most of us operate with this inner critic running the show but literally HAVE NO IDEA. Life can just feel draining and overwhelming and off. Let's sleuth yours out, shall we? Watch for times you're critiquing yourself or giving away your power and you'll meet your inner critic pretty immediately! Or, let's strike up a conversation with each other and I'll help you sleuth yours out in no time ;).

The Damage From Being Seen Not Heard

I'm curious, were you allowed to have your full range of emotions in your home growing up??

Usually when I ask this question a very visceral, very immediate response comes to people. What comes to you?

The vast majority of people that I've met, were NOT in fact allowed their full range emotions. What I hear most often is:

-My sensitivity and artistic flair was looked down on.

-Feelings of hurt and sadness were not allowed to be expressed.

-I wasn't allowed to disagree, argue or discuss, rant, cry, shout, express anything much if it didn't fit in with my parents views.

- I was too emotional.

-I wasn't allowed to cry. That's how I learned to keep everything inside.

-Mine weren't but my mother's were.

I've noticed in my own life that a huge step that has gotten me from ruled by my inner critic, clenched, afraid and so sensitive I can barely function at times is to ALLOW my full range of emotions.

Imagine all of the keys on a piano. Every last one from deep bass to high pitched and gentle. Within you is just as many subtle and loud and diverse and singing emotions. Just as many ways of expressing you and your moment by moment, unique self.

What if we took those piano keys and only allowed one or two to ever play? The music would change dramatically and the unplayed keys would rust and become stuck. But when we allow them all, beautiful music is made. Music of a million varieties and sounds. Music of life.

It's the same with your emotions, when we only allow a very few, say Happy or Sad, the rest are there waiting to be expressed but rusting in the mean time. Our inner lives begin to rust and become stuck. Our inner critics become extreme and overly active keeping those many keys stuck and only those few operating.

When we open to the full range though, we are suddenly allowed. We can make the sweet and unique music of our soul. We can feel whatever we feel and be however we are without a classification of right or wrong. We step into self acceptance and permission. Our inner critics become quieter and our higher selves bloom and sing.

It can be scary though, to imagine letting in all the confusion that's been stored there and all the disappointment and all the regret and all the hope and all the enthusiasm and all the comfort. We haven't been taught and we haven't been allowed and so what if when we open that valve everything comes pouring out in a way that floods us and we can't turn it off?

Or what if the world around us doesn't know how to handle us because they only have their happy and sad keys playing?

We can "what if" ourselves into continual and endless stuckness. We can listen to the threats of our inner critics for the rest of our lives if we so choose.

OR and this is a BIG OR...........

We can day by day, feeling by feeling, experience by experience find out what it's like to name what's really happening for us within and find the tools and the safety to truly allow what's happening within us.

So here's a dare to you this week:

Find a moment of quiet to experience a feeling that's been trying to get your attention this week. Set your timer for one, just one, minute and allow yourself to whole heartedly feel what's there to feel. When your timer goes off after one minute, close the practice and see how you feel. This way you can not and will not uncork something that can flood you and you will be in the solitude and safety of yourself.

If a lot of "Oh, shit, that's totally me!" is coming to you from reading the above, feel free to reach out. One of my favorite experiences in my life right now is holding a loving and unconditional space for women who desperately need to allow themselves to feel what they REALLY feel. I've seen radical shifts in my clients from the process of truly allowing themselves all the way. Sign up here to begin a conversation.

 

I'm Tired of Fear Telling Me I'm Not Lovable

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I generally start with fear.

Fear that I'm not good enough to succeed.
Fear that I'm fucking up my child.
Fear that I'm not lovable and beautiful enough to be worthy of the love I'm shown.
I get a compliment and on the outside I'm grateful and inside I either ignore or disagree......immediately.  It sucks.

Can you relate?!

But I'm done.  I'm catching it all.  I'm catching it in a new context.

I can see now how all of this self degradation separates me.  That I decide in me I'm separate, I'm different, I'm awkward, I'm less than every time I do this.  I've come to see how this separation is my EGO.  And I'm done.  I don't need to be separate, in fact let me take as many steps as I can every single day to stop separating but rather to connect.

For years now, I've intended to LIVE from LOVE.  I do in fact achieve that intent in lots of ways.  Two decades ago, I created a sticker that said LIVE LOVE and handed it out every chance I got.  Over the years, the meaning has become more and more clear to me.  Each time I learn a new aspect of myself it clicks and I get LIVE LOVE even more.

Today here's how I see it.  I can either LIVE SEPARATION (EGO) or LIVE LOVE (INTUITION/HIGHER SELF/HEART).  When I catch myself in the process of separating myself to prove to myself how not enough I am of this or that, I pause and connect with my higher self.  Always, always, always, always, there is a soft place there waiting to catch me with benevolence and.......l o v e.  It literally can take 20 seconds in the middle of a conversation with my husband (clearly we spend a lot of time together as I'm always referencing him these days) to catch how I'm internally putting myself down, separating myself from him or love or other and reshape the conversation.

When I allow my higher self, my kinder self to show me that I am in fact lovable somehow I believe it.  When I quiet the EGO that's been around and loud for so long and I don't try to believe what's true about me from others around me, I truly and wholly drink it in and start to believe.  It's soothing.  It's safe.  It's life changing.

If you don't have this direct line to love open yet inside of you I just created a new resource for you guys.  It's an audio recording and five daily journal prompts for you to meet your higher self and begin to connect with her.  Meet your higher self HERE. 

If you already know how to access that soft place within you, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!  Use that resource. The more you invite her in, the LOUDER she will get and the more space she will take up.  Practice is what strengthens EVERYTHING, right?!

Choose LOVE as many times as you can everyday!

If you have friends that you know can benefit from this resource please share this audio tool with them.  I want as many women as possible connecting with their higher selves and hearts as possible.  It's one of the main reasons I'm here.  Just copy this link:  www.lexikoch.com/meetyourhigherself and share it in an email with your peoples!

4 Hard Lessons I Learned Last Year

2016 was not easy for me. It pushed me and pulled me in every direction inside myself. It challenged me and made me continue to look with brutal honesty at myself.

So as we transition to 2017 I want to be candid and vulnerable and share with you some of the truths from my last year. I truly believe some of our darkest times can be the richest in learning opportunities. I'm always learning a lot and open to continuous growth. It's what keeps me thriving and keeps me showing up for my clients with depth and intuition.

So here goes.............(Confession: I just got a chocolate chip cookie for power to help me keep writing.)

Asking for help will make it better. 

We left our community of fifteen years this year. We left our 13 acres. The round house on the hill we had built with our own hands and visions. We left our dear, dear neighbor family members (that chokes me up just writing it). We left our fertile soil whose gifts we had been eating for over a decade. It's been B I G to say the least. 

Before we were leaving I needed to gather with my sisters. When our son was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at two weeks old, a life threatening genetic disease, I crumbled yet still had the veneer that I was OK. It took me over FOUR years to get help in my home even though I desperately needed it. I couldn't ask for help!! 

But then we were leaving and I needed my sisters. I needed to know they saw my struggle and my triumph, that they had my back no matter what side of the mountains I lived on. So I asked. I asked my dear sister if she would hold a circle for me. I had to ask because if I didn't a space would be empty that needed filling. Because if I didn't, I'd have not honored my truth. 

The circle was EPIC. I'm not sure I've ever felt more wealthy than the days after it. I carry it in my heart like the best investment I've ever made. I meet new friends here in this port side town and I carry the strength of my sisters and my asking with me in a kind of confidence I've never displayed before.

Lesson: Ask, ask, ask for what you need.

I have the tools it takes to calm my sensitive nerves: 

I am a sensitive one! Always have been but only allowed myself to own it in the recent past. What I mean by sensitive is that I can majorly feel the energy of those around me. I'm affected by the energy at times more than I want to be. Since my son was born, my nerves have been on OVERDRIVE. My sensitivity has become almost defining at times. But this year, 2016, this was the year that I allowed myself to embrace my sensitivity. To name it. To allow it. This was the year that when my sensitive self got triggered I would tell myself that I have every tool I need to calm my sensitive nerves. And that was truly soothing and helpful. And it was entirely true. I watched as my fear of my sensitivity faded and my seeing it as my gift expanded.

Lesson: Embrace your unique qualities that might seem negative but need your tender, loving care.

Setting boundaries is liberation.

I finally figured out how to set boundaries. How to even listen to myself clearly enough to know what boundaries need setting. My kind brother was coming for a visit to see us in this new town on the sound. It was kind and it was generous of him to take this time and spend his money and prioritize us in that way.

But......I knew my sensitive nerves would not bode well with a houseguest at that time. I wanted the visit to be fun and I wanted to be my best.

So I found him a place to stay and let him know that that's what could work for us. Up until then, it had been assumed that he'd be sleeping on the office floor. 

It was hard to make that phone call to him and state my true need. But I'll tell you it was MUCH easier than pretending I wasn't anxious about his coming and staying. And it was a GREAT visit. Because I had set that boundary and honored myself. 

I knew what to do but in the past I likely would have been too scared to enact it because of my fear of judgements and not being "nice." I was finally nice to myself and my inner voice and it was truly an example to be repeated again and again!

Lesson: Listen in and know whatever you hear is easier to listen to than ignore.

Wherever you go there you are. 

From farmer lady to town dweller, I've extended the labels I've known myself as pretty vastly this year. It's comfortable to live in our identities, wife, mama, friend, daughter, etc. but it's not who we truly are on the inside. 

I've had to let a lot of that go this year and find out what values carry for me and what fears carry for me wherever I live, whatever I see out my window and whoever I spend my days with. 

Shockingly, it's been easier than I thought. I feel comfortable in my own skin and received and seen. I feel powerful through my presence not my doing. 

I've felt enriched. 

But it remains true that I wasn't farming all those years for my ego. I was doing it from a core value place that fills a longing in my soul. I'm meant to tend and toil. I'm meant to grow beauty and health and share. And this year, I've barely gotten to and it's been hard. 

And it remains true that I'm sensitive and that being alone triggers me and freedom calls to me and I need to create as often as possible. And finding my way through all of that while trying to ground and find my feet and my son's flow and my hubby's flow has challenged me. 

But I've risen to the challenge. I've struggled but I'm proud of where and who I am.

Lesson: I bring me with me wherever I go. I trust my inner voice and the needs it states because it knows no matter where I am.

Thanks for reading and being on this journey with me. What challenged you but had you growing this last year?

Stepping Into Confidence and Knowing

So much to celebrate and ponder and give thanks for. So much to navigate, experience, question. Solstice energy, holiday energy, family of origin, chosen family. Isolation, connection. So much depth this time of year.

It is a ritual in our culture to ponder the year past and intend into the year future. But let's not do it unless we're going to do it all the way and take full responsibility for ourselves, claiming what we were and claiming where we're going. Because, I mean really, what's the point of making a "resolution" for a minute and then letting it drop the next?

So I'm here to provide you with some guidance to look inward to help you gain a vision of where you want to head.

My husband and I are in the process of manifesting our new homestead and we have fun hanging out pretending like it's already ours. We talk about how much we love all the details we're dreaming of and we give thanks and enjoy like we've already manifested it. It's powerful stuff and even if it never comes to fruition, we're enjoying the now by acting like we already have all we want.

As I walk into this next year, I know it continues to be my job to honor my core value of connection. To fill my own cup as I fill others. To speak from truth and meet others with empathy in all situations. I vote with my dollar without compromise. I respect my sensitive nerves and treat them as such.

This whole intending thing doesn't have to belittle us or show us what we're not enough of. It can celebrate us and be enjoyable too.

So here goes.......................... 

What are you celebrating?

What have you accomplished this year, both big and minute. Let's not replace our accomplishments with lists of what we have to do next but truly take the time to write down at least 10 things that we have already accomplished.

What do you have in your life already that you want more of?

What do you have already that you are truly grateful for? Truly proud of? Truly having a better life because of?

Take the time to celebrate, honor and recognize what's working already.

What are you willing to do feel the way you want to feel?

What and how do you want to feel? And from there, what will you do to honor that truth within yourself and follow it into creation?

What are you willing to give up? What are you willing to claim? What support will you need to acquire for yourself? What questions will you need to ask?

You are the tender steward of your life.

It is your job to notice where you are out of alignment and to make the necessary shifts to get yourself back on track. As you think about all of the beauty that you want to create in your life, ask yourself honestly about what you are willing to do to make those dreams and prayers a reality.

What are you ready to let go of that no longer serves you?

Release release release.

What's toxic in your life that you keep around entirely based on "should's?" What answer came to mind immediately that you then stuffed back down because it seemed too far fetched or selfish?

What might it look like if you did release what isn't working? Who could you be?

What will your happiest day look like?

Now play the game of acting like that day is happening today and start saying out loud about how amazing today already is. How great all your dreams coming to fruition feel. FEEL AS IF. ACT AS IF. It's a really fun game!

Here's What I Should Do.........

Here's what I should do:

I should be eating every two hours, be happy being a stay at home mama with time with my little, I should be happy for all the gifts I have and stop worrying so much about the future. I should be growing more food and driving less. I should be connecting with my friends and able to go out at night more easily. I should be hiking and out in the rain because the sun's shining above the clouds.

But what if all the should's reverberate in me in a resounding NO and I realize I've picked up all these ideas from everyone else and their values and their ideals and their SHOULD'S?

What if I realize that when I do my SHOULD list I feel like crap inside myself and I wind up anxious at night and triggered?

What if I need this time alone to be OK and to be in my own flow? What if being inside even on this Saturday is OK for me even when it hasn't been ever before?

What if the should's I've been basing my life on are lies for me?

What if I step into what I know to be true right now............

I know that my nerves are extra sensitive and it takes extra sensitive care to tend them. I know that the two hours our beloved babysitter comes on Thursday afternoons is reverence and space, is recharge and fuel. I know that I'm in transition and that I've done a lot and I'll do more to meet my values and it's OK to not meet every one right this moment.

I know that walking the length of the beach with my earbuds in is healing.

I know that evening practice helps me sleep better and that chai picks me up on the days I'm lagging both physically and emotionally.

I know what I've left and I know what I'm moving toward.

I know that I have to listen to ME, ME, ME to figure out my unique code and way of being on any given day even though I'll want to consult my sister-in-law, naturopath, coach, friends and maybe even the internet.

I know that I work best making decisions later so I know how I'm feeling THEN and can act accordingly.

Living my life according to the should's was clench, tighten, squeeze, restrict, mold, overachieve, overwork, outside myself.

Claiming my needs and my voice no matter who I'm with or what I'm up to (and YES this can look subtle, gentle and safe) is expand, take flight, become magnetic, create, unfold, spacious, breath, ME.

Your unique code is waiting inside of you. It's beyond the Stories you've picked up along the way. Beyond trying to fit in and be OK in others' eyes. It's not OUT there. I PROMISE YOU. It's IN there. It's in the things that bring you joy and safety and wellness. They are yours only and that is truly OK. To express your needs can and will be OK when YOU and only YOU give yourself permission for them to be OK. When you listen to the gut voice inside of you and give it space in your day to day to day. When you feel resonant instead of resistant, you'll know.

Your should's keep you uncomfortable in your comfort zone, your needs comfortable and growing. Your should's keep you saying yes to your boss, your dad, your brother, your husband, your coworker. Your needs let you have a voice in the decision.

It's your turn now. Open up your journal or a blank doc and list them out: 

1. YOUR SHOULD'S first.

2. YOUR TRUE, HEART RESOUNDING, INNER GUIDED NEEDS second.

It's your choice now to decide how to proceed.

How To Start Speaking Your Truth Today

I can't even tell you how many conversations I've had lately that end with the conclusion that either myself or who I'm talking to is afraid to be vulnerable.

What does the word vulnerable even mean to you? 

How do you feel inside when you consider acting vulnerably in your life?

Here's some ways that the fear of vulnerability might be showing up in your life: 

-Fear of failing so not even beginning. 

-Fear of feelings that are too big so stuffing down all the feelings. 

-Fear of being judged so making up hurtful stories in our own heads about how others are judging us. 

-Fear of being imperfect so painting a glossy picture on the outside while majorly struggling on the inside.

I LOVE what Brené Brown has to say about vulnerability, she says " it is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change."

and

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.”

She notes that when other people act vulnerably, we are drawn to them. Try to think of a time recently when someone let you in deeply and truthfully to a struggle they were having or an embarrassing moment they experienced. Did you feel more or less drawn to them? Generally, people answer that they feel more drawn in and more empathic.

Now imagine a time recently where you made a mistake or needed to say no but were afraid to. Were you able to share those experiences with others or did you stuff them down and deal with them yourself? If you stuffed them down, you might be struggling with a fear of vulnerability. If you shared, how did it feel? Was it scary but worth it? Did you feel better or worse afterwards.

Generally, we are so drawn to vulnerability in others (because it helps us know we're all human, right!?) and terrified of letting ourselves be seen as vulnerable.

But connecting in vulnerability is one of the fastest ways to: 

- allow our higher selves some space in the day to day of our lives. 

-speak our truths. 

-get our needs met. 

-honor our feelings. 

-move into a space of emotional health.

I want to offer you one tool to use to start practicing a bit more vulnerability today. The next time you have a truth that you want to express but feel scared to, (aka: are ready to practice courage) speak your truth by leading with a feeling.

Whenever we start a sentence with "I'm feeling (scared, tired, vulnerable, worried, excited, anxious, nervous, called, surprised, etc, etc., etc.)" it opens us to vulnerability is a very safe and effective way. We keep the focus on ourselves. We take 100% responsibility for ourselves. We share a feeling. We allow our feelings. It's one simple but H U G E step you can start practicing right away.

So the next time you open a conversation with yourself or another that feels a bit out of your comfort zone, take a breathe to find out what feeling you are bringing to the conversation and try leading with this, "I'm feeling (you fill in here)." And then from there go on to state what's going on with you. It's so simple and so radical. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

How To Find Your Inner Compass and Start Using It Today

"I don’t have my own inner compass. I'm not in touch enough to know when I feel most like myself. I feel like I always take on what I think other people think of me vs. what my heart of heart’s really wants to do, because of that, a lot of my decisions have been fear based throughout my life."

Does any of that resonate for you? Are you also searching for your own inner compass? Do you notice a lot of your decisions are based out of fear? Have you spent most of your life outside of yourself and trying to be in the head's of the people in your life so you can be liked and approved of?

Well, me too!! I have an intimate relationship to this dynamic. And I'm also deeply in the process of reclaiming my own inner truth and inner voice.

I'll tell you what it takes to make this shift. It's a process of: 

* Radical acceptance (of ourselves and others) 

* Time every day connecting to ourselves. So commitment, day after day after day. 

* Being willing to look at ourselves on every uncomfortable layer and use the information to learn more. 

* Failing at times in order to learn and keep moving toward trusting and listening to ourselves. 

* Experiencing the gut voice/intuition and establishing a relationship to it that gives us guidance and a sense of comfort.

When I list out the steps, the process of re-engaging our inner compass and ending a life of fear based decisions can feel big and overwhelming. But it truly just starts with one step and the commitment to that one step, day after day after day.

If you pause right now and ask yourself, what one small step might I take to start using my own inner compass, what is your answer?

REALLY PAUSE AND ALLOW YOUR ANSWER TO COME.

Allow the answer to arise.

It's fascinating in my work with amazing clients that literally every question that I ask, there is an answer. Even the toughest and deepest and most profound. I have never had a client say to me, "I just don't know." With enough time, something ALWAYS arises and this is true for YOU too. There is an answer to a step you can take today to reconnect with your own inner compass and the only answer you need comes from within you.

So you might decide to start journaling to your intuition or letting your higher self write a letter to you every day or sit for five minutes every morning and feel your sensations or walk for five minutes chanting your favorite mantra. You have the answer. You have the first step.

Are you willing to listen?

How to PLAY BIGGER In YOUR Own Life

Pause right now and check in with your body language. Is anything hunched, clenched, squeezed, constricted, furrowed? If so, can you take a breath into it and let it go for a moment?

It’s curious to wonder why so often we can tune in and find our shoulders squeezed in, our teeth clenched together or brow furrowed. I think of it as a way for us, as women, to take up less space in the world. To keep ourselves small so we fit in to the boxes that we have created for ourselves of what we think we “should” be.

Do you allow yourself to take up as much space as you are really allotted in life? Are your needs and values and ideas just as worthy as the other people in your life? Do you let your body be as it wants to be and not try to alter it to fit in and be small and scrunched and little and perfect? Can you dance and play and live largely and freely and make all the shapes your being wants to make without worrying about how you will be judged?

I know personally, I can let the box of my “should’s” and my guilt and my wanting to please everyone else close really tightly in around me so I end up feeling so small and so constricted. Letting my needs be just as important as anyone else’s opens the box and sets me free and yet still at times I hang out in that tiny box of my life, small and uptight because of it.

We constrict and play small because of so many reasons.

Do any of these resonate with you? 

-You want everyone else around you to be happy and “good” and so you believe in order to do that you have to tuck in and let your needs go for the benefit of their needs. 

-You’re worried about what’s going to happen later and what you said and what you did and what you’re going to say and what you’re going to do. 

-You don’t have the support system you so desperately need and you’re running on empty because of it. 

-You wonder if you’re doing the right thing, being the right way, doing enough for your family, for the world, for your bank account, for your long lost ancestors, your sister’s kids fundraiser, the planet.

If you said yes to any of the above, here are some ideas for you to unclench your jaw, break down the box, play big, live large.

1. The next time you notice that you have a need of your very own, something like not looking at Facebook past 9pm or choosing the dinner you’re going to have based on what you like, try actually listening to that need and that desire of yours. Every time we actually listen to ourselves, it lets us expand a bit more into ourselves.

2. Each morning before you get out of bed, imagine a big, soft, cushy cloud around your entire being. Imagine this cloud to be the space of your energy body. Feel how wide and vast it is. How much space it comfortably takes up. Feel into the expansiveness of your energy field around you and feel everything in your physical body take a deep breath in the spaciousness.

This expanded state is healing.

3. Have a conversation with yourself on paper. Start with a question to yourself. Something like, "Why am I clenching my teeth so much lately?" Whatever answer arises within you, allow that to be the answer. Work on not trying to change it, get away from it or want it to be different. Write down the answer that you got and then ask another clarifying question to help you get more and more and more information about your answer. Keep working on this like it’s an unfolding accordion of information within your soul. THEN, take one of the answers that really resonated with you and follow up on it. It might be that as you asked questions about your clenching, you got a feeling that you need to speak with your dad. Go ahead and call your dad.

Listening to the voice within helps us play bigger and take up more space every. single. time. Literally, every single time.

Try it out for yourself. When we start expanding, we unclench, we stand up straighter, we step into confidence. It’s a journey you can walk with yourself and you can start today.

What's Really Stopping You From Being With Yourself

So many of us struggle with BEING vs. DOING.

We want to spend more time just BEING but we find ourselves always drawn to doing, doing, doing.

We get busy with:

-work and overworking

-family demands

-saying yes when we mean no

-feeling more worthy when we’re doing something

-and putting the needs of others over our own.

Let’s start at the beginning. Let’s start basic.

What does DOING mean to you? I really do want you to pause here and think out your own personal definition of DOING. Write out or think up your own definition of DOING. Ok, next, what does BEING mean to you? Write out or think up your own definition of BEING.

I know for myself, DOING means keeping busy, staying involved, using my mind, being productive, being ON while BEING means listening to my heart (I might still be doing something but I’m in the flow of my heart), feeling joy in the moment of my experience, feeling connected and present.

So do your definitions of DOING and BEING match mine? If not, perfect! That’s exactly what I want to point out here. We all have our own personal standards, our own personal definitions of how we interact with the world. So you’re not doing/being anything right or wrong. By defining what these words mean for you, you can move forward.

Not all of us are going to have our lives fall into perfect place if we just start that dang meditation and yoga practice! I’ll be totally transparent here, when I used to practice yoga (I’m talking years ago at this point), I almost always left the practice feeling grumpy and off. In retrospect, I can see that even while I was supposed to just be “BEING” in myself during that time, I was having a conversation internally that was not relaxing or rejuvenating or full of presence.

So my goal through this exploration is to help you figure out what checks that box of actual BEING-ness for you.

If you know you are craving it but haven’t found it yet, here’s a thought for you to ponder. When you are trying to just BE with yourself, what is the conversation in your head? Is there a huge guilt trip going on for you about what you’re not doing at the moment? Is there fear rearing up about a possible future outcome or plan? Is there worry about all the things you didn’t do and who may or may not like you right now?

I really want you to pay attention to the thoughts that are happening in your mind the next time you have any window to just BE.

I’ve heard many clients want to just BE more and know that is one of the answers to their woes but they resist it, resist it, resist it. I’m throwing out the idea that the resistance comes from knowing that as soon as you step into that non-doing place, you start bullying yourself, judging yourself, capitalizing on your fears and worries and shaming yourself. So yeah, of course you’re going to resist going to that place.

Now, for the question of how to still integrate the very important act of BEING in this world even though you might blame, shame, judge or belittle yourself in the process leading up to it or while you're practicing it........

A couple of thoughts come to mind here:

-EMPATHY, when we practice empathy on ourselves, those scary and ugly thoughts still come but we welcome them in with loving arms and pull them toward us instead of trying to stay so busy that we never really have to face them. It’s OK to have fear and worry and pain and ugliness as long as you allow yourself to actually feel these things. It’s when we bully ourselves for what we feel, that things start to get really uncomfortable.

-FOLLOWING THE PATH OF YOUR HEART - So many of us hang out in our masculine selves a lot these days using our minds to navigate life day in and day out. Here is a call to let some of the amazingness and energy from your mind drain into your heart so that your heart can be the leader and the guide in your life at least some of the time.

What I’m suggesting here is that embracing what’s not working inside of you beyond just not making time to BE, is absolutely a huge step on the path to BEING more and more and more YOU.

It’s so important that we spend time in the white space of our lives so that we can integrate the fast paced, thinking, doing parts of us. Again, BEING can look like M A N Y different things. It’s not just sitting in meditation. It can be a walk on the beach, watching the sunset, savoring your tea in the morning. It might BE setting your timer through the day to take a breath and notice it or feeling your own heart beating when you lie in bed at night. BEING ness comes in so many forms and the one that is right for you is completely unique and completely ok.

You'll know when you've found it because you'll be in presence and in peace.

If you are looking for guidance and support to investigate further your inner mean girl that bullies you into overdoing all the time, please know that I'm here for that! Hit REPLY and let me know you're ready to search within or grab a spot on my calendar so we can chat about next steps.

Five Ways To Be Free From Judging Yourself and Others

Most everyone I know, myself included, spend a lot of time judging themselves and judging others.  On the one hand, this is a quality that keeps us safe, right?  As humans we are programmed to make judgements in order to survive and thrive.

On the other hand, we harm ourselves by assuming that others are judging us OR we judge ourselves first in an effort to keep ourselves small and protect ourselves from potential harms "out there."

I truly believe that some of our judging minds can be halted almost instantaneously and when we put this into practice the world will become a healthier and more tolerant place.  Right now on this planet there is so much separation and pain while simultaneously so much love beating in our hearts.  

Our quick judgements about others (especially those closest to us) and our bullying minds toward ourselves are not helping to end the perpetual cycle of separation, angst, pain, loneliness and fear.  We are taught these judgements from the fears of our parents and caregivers and our peer groups.  We want to fit in so we disown parts of ourselves in order to be safe and to be part of the tribe.  It all makes total sense, but is it really serving us?

So that leaves us with two options in how to proceed:

Option 1:  Keep on separating ourselves in an attempt to stay "safe" and judging ourselves and the world around us day after day after day whether those judgements have any basis in reality or not.

or 

Option 2: Learn how to catch ourselves in the midst of our judgements of ourselves or each other and take steps to look at those judgements from a new angle.

I know both options very well. I’ve tried them both. And still do to this day.  I just caught myself the other day worrying so much about being judged for something that was a total Story in my mind because I actually checked in with the person who had NO IDEA what I was talking about!

As an intuitive life coach to women from all over the world, I see how much our self judgement, our judging others and our worry about others judging us keeps us stuck.

Here are the four ways to turn the judgements that get you down into personal assets and aha moments:

1.  Notice when you are using sentences like, "She's so .............................................. You fill in the blank here.  Common ones might be bitchy, pessimistic, fake, dumb, awkward, insincere, crazy.  

2. When you catch yourself in these judgements, take that ONE word that you are labeling the other person and and turn it around.  Insert it into the courageous statement of "I am (fill in the word here).

3. See exactly what reaction comes up in you when you say this "I am" statement out loud.  Do you laugh hysterically?  Do you clench up?  Do you immediately scoff at the ridiculousness of it all?  Do you kind of see how it's maybe true?

4. Now, look for examples of when this "I am" statement is or was true.  It can be anytime in your life, ever.  So here's an example.  You're coworker has been having a rough time lately and she's seemed really tired and out of sorts.  At first you were compassionate but now it's getting to the point where you pretty much see her as whiny.  There it is!  Whiny.  Now, take that word and insert it into, "I am whiny."  Notice exactly what happens.  How do you feel when you say that to yourself?  Is it true?  Look for examples of when you are or have ever been whiny.  Mabye it was back when you were five and you remember that whiny feeling you would get every night around dinner time.  Maybe you can kind of see how you whine to your partner at times.  Play with it, sit with it, experiment.

5.  Own it!  When we can own these parts of ourselves that we tend to judge others for, the judgements begin to subside.  It is sweet relief.  What I'm saying is, we are judging others based on parts of ourselves that we don't accept.  When we begin to accept these parts of ourselves, we no longer feel so flustered by them in others.

Do you see what I mean about this being a step toward less drama and more peace in your life?

Some simple yet brave recognition of where our deep judgements stem from gives us a whole new vantage point from which to view life!

 

How To Hear Your Heart

Do you wonder how to actually hear, let alone trust, the messages of your heart?

In today's busy, hectic, overwhelming, stimulating world, how are we supposed to hear our heart's?!

I want you to know that the voice of your heart is not so far away. That is yearns to be heard by you and honored. That it's right there waiting to sing you sweet lullabies and guide you gently like the sweetest mama.

The thing is it might be timid at first. It might take some time for it to feel safe coming out to share it's messages with you.

Imagine a little girl who has tried her best to express her needs to the world. Without emotional maturity her needs don't always come out clearly and succinct and so the world doesn't always understand her. Slowly, over time, she retreats. She doesn't feel seen or heard. She's not sure if she fits or is even wanted.

Finally.......... someone gets her and has enough time and space to see her fully. They beckon her to join them in life and all it's many winding adventures. But, she's a bit wounded. She's a bit shy from her journey so far and so she doesn't just blindly trust and jump on board. She hesitates and waits and ponders and tests.

This little girl is your heart that's been ignored or belittled or shamed for some time now.

She's ready to come out and be your greatest gift, biggest teacher and trusted ally but she needs a whole bunch of reassurance that you'll hear her and trust her and listen. She needs a whole lot of patience that you want her voice around.

So give it time as you claim your feelings and your needs. Give yourself time as you invite your intuition to guide you. You may at first hear silence and that might lead to doubt. You may at first doubt and that might lead to shame.

But I beckon you to throw kindness at your heart's voice, to throw gentleness at her. I beckon you to be as patient as you would on your very best day with a baby in your care.

I see it in my client's all the time that the first step to uncovering their authentic selves and heart's voice is deep resistance and fear. It's uncomfortable but they hang out there and keep going. They allow the discomfort and confusion.

The layers that live beyond those places of fear and doubt and resistance and sabotage are the layers of peace and presence and play they have been seeking for a long, long time.

I beckon you to do the same.

Mindful HabitsTour Post:The Gift In Knowing Our Feelings

This post is part of the Mindful Habits Blog Tour, a virtual “tour” where 13 women post on 14 different days about the power of habit for running a business, being healthy, and getting creative. The Tour is run by Sarah Hawkins of True North Business Management. Check out the full lineup of women posting as part of the tour here.

You're at work, it's Wednesday and you're back aches.  Day after day you come to this desk and do what needs to be done.  Some days you feel pretty good about it and others not so much. There are people that you connect with that totally light you up and there are those that challenge you constantly.  Total triggers for you.  You read their words via email or overhear them and you can just feel yourself welling up with thoughts and feelings.  

You're in your head a lot.  You're busy but when you really focus in there's this undercurrent of commentary and drama and thoughts and feelings and they're all buzzing around.  The day in and day out of all the demands of life is exhausting but even more exhausting is the internal experience you are having.

It's easier to stay distracted and engaged sometimes than to probe into the deep well inside.

Well today, I invite you to probe inside just a bit and find out what is really happening in you. Beyond the distractions of what you should be doing and what everyone else is doing and the what if's, overwhelm and general busyness of life.

I invite you to experience this little probe in order to ease your way through this day and maybe some other days too.

So, what are you feeling RIGHT now?  What happens for you when you read that question?  Do you blow it off?  Do you feel annoyed?  Do you have absolutely no clue?

Generally one of two responses come up for people:

#1:  They have this automatic response that says, I always either feel happy, sad or pissed so I must feel one of those.  Why does this even matter anyways?

#2  There is no space for my feelings anyways.  I keep them locked up so that they don't come out too big or loud or needy or confusing or complicate things.  

I get it.  I'm constantly learning more about my feelings and working to allow each one of them as a visitor who is passing through.  Here to teach me, show me something, speak through me, speak for me at times but always passing through and changing.

When we don't know what we are feeling, it is easy to ignore ourselves. When we ignore ourselves it is so easy to get to the point of overwhelm where instead of being able to accomplish the little things right in front of us, we can't accomplish anything.  

I see this with my clients all the time. When they slow down and bring mindful attention and allowance into what is truly going on for them, into what they are truly feeling, they can suddenly take a new vantage point, have some extra empathy, find spaciousness, move forward where they were formerly stuck.

As I work with women who put their all into their work, their relationships, their families and everything and everyone but themselves, I've learned some ways that women neglect their own feelings.  Here are some ways to bring mindfulness into the situation in order to change it.

#1:   Set a timer on your phone to go off five times throughout the day.  8 am, 10:30 am, 1:30 pm, 4pm, 7:30pm.  At each one of these times, pause and ask yourself the simple question of "What am I feeling right now?"  By beginning the mindful process of knowing where you are at in any given moment, you become more intimate with yourself, more engaged.    You're working from a place of having a choice on how to move forward not being on automatic.

#2:  When you answer the above question avoid the words happy, sad or pissed.  By expanding your emotional vocabulary, you expand the range of emotions that are possible for you to have.  When we allow ourselves the full range of emotions that are possible we open ourselves up for more joy.  When we damp down on our pain and expect to only feel joy, joy gets damped down too.

#3:  When you find out what you are feeling when the timer goes off, practice allowing.  The more we allow each and every feeling that is vying for a voice in us, the faster each one passes making way for the next.  Greet it lightly like an old friend who's come to visit for the moment.  Say something like, "Hey annoyance, you're here for a couple of minutes.  I see you and feel you right now."

#4:  Ride the waves.  When you come into mindfulness of how you are feeling, you will see that each and every time you do your check-ins you will find varying degrees and tones of emotions.  Ride the wave of each one knowing that none stick around for long.  By feeling the natural ebb and flow of your emotional body, you allow the natural flow of your entire self which brings health, presence and spaciousness to your life.

So often we sweep our emotions under the rug in order to stay strong or stay focused or stay in control.  We stuff them down until they demand our attention.  When we're not comfortable with our own emotions, we are often not comfortable with the emotions of those around us.  By taking the time to do this practice, we become closer with ourselves and more able to connect honestly and safely with all those around us.

I truly hope you have gotten some useful ideas on today's stop of the tour.   If you’d like to continue the conversation on mindfulness of your feelings throughout the day, please join me and the other Tour Guides in the private Facebook community.  Learn more about the Tour, and meet the 12 other Mindful Habits Tour Guides here.

In case you missed it, you can check out yesterday’s post from Brenda Errichiello, creative collaborator, editor, and writing coach. In it, she explores how to use ritual as part of your writing process.

And you can come by tomorrow when the post from Moira Kowalczyk, Integrative Occupational Therapist goes live. She’ll expand the definition of mindfulness as outlined and explained over 2600 years ago by the Buddha. 

The Topic That Keeps Coming Up...........

I constantly find myself educating around allowing ourselves to actually feel the things that our body, mind and spirit are wanting us to feel.

Why is this so important? Why does this topic keep coming up in my life and my client's lives?

Because when we allow ourselves to feel what is really happening, things get easier. And when we allow ourselves to really feel what's happening we open up to more love and more grace and more compassion and more empathy. And who doesn't want that?

So how does this work again?

Let me give you an example from my own life...........

I've had a lot of really strong feelings come up this last week. I just moved from my heart's home across the mountains to the sea and I'm feeling all the feels about it! Today it's exciting and full of potential. Yesterday it was terrifying and lonely.

My old mode of operation would be to clamp down like crazy on the feelings of fear and loneliness and angst and longing. Kind of getting trapped in them.

When we clamp down on a feeling or can't stand a feeling, it actually shows up even STRONGER.

So my new mode is to RECOGNIZE and NAME what it is I'm feeling and literally invite it in. Invite it to be here 100% all the way, totally and completely even when it sucks.

Whenever I do this, the feelings pass quickly and I can watch myself move onto the next feeling.

While the "hard" feelings have been showing up in full force, as I've invited them in I've simultaneously been experiencing a deeper connection and magnetism to all things than I've ever felt before! And I'll tell you it's incredible to experience!

So how can you apply this to your own life?

1. Know that every feeling that comes through you is OK to feel. That each one will come and pass, even the "good" ones.

2. When you feel something you'd rather not, pause, notice and invite it in by saying something like "Hey fear, I'm feeling you and hearing you big time right now. I'm making dinner, you can come if you want." Watch especially for the ones you might ordinarily shrug off like disappointed, regretful, hurt.......

3. Watch and notice yourself experiencing feelings coming and going faster. When you allow yourself the full range of emotion that is YOU, your whole being is liberated. Not stuck behind ideas of what is Ok to feel and what isn't. When you notice others around you having feelings, you can allow them to be and feel whatever it is that is truly coming up for them without getting triggered, defensive, jealous, scared, worried, etc. You can allow them just like you allow you. 

I invite you into this practice so that you can experience a greater connection to all things. So that you can be healthy in your emotional body-the one that feels for you but is not seen. So that you can expand your range and with that feel more joy and spaciousness and presence and patience and creativity than you have in a while.

Please let me know how it goes in the comments.

Also, have you heard about my new FB group? I would LOVE to have you join us there.  It's an intimate space to share from your heart and deepen beyond overwhelm and being spread too thin. I'm there everyday to lend support and love and help members hear what their hearts have to say!