Every day I see beautiful, talented, smart women who are stressed out of their minds. They are suffering from panic attacks because they feel they're not good enough. They are developing irritable bowel syndrome because their bodies don't feel safe enough to relax (and therefore, digest their food). They are having more and more fights with loved ones because they are constantly on edge. Let's face it, operating from a state of stress has kind of become the norm in our culture. It's become acceptable because we put all of our focus on the external world and what we want to achieve, rather than building a strong foundation in our inner world of how we want to feel.
We can't keep going this way and the world can't handle the stress we are putting on ourselves and each other. Our health, our happiness, our family dynamics, our concept of neighbourhood and humanity are circling the drain - all because we focus more on self and ego achievement than we do about learning to love ourselves or each other.
All stress comes from a place of fear - a fear that we aren't enough, that we won't have enough or that the world won't be enough for us. The only way to combat fear is to actively choose to exit the current reality that we've created where stress is the norm and decide to create our lives from a place of love. When we choose to love ourselves then our health, our happiness and the quality of our relationships will skyrocket. When we love each other, we will see that we're not so different.....and war, racism and terrorism will cease to exist.
It's not naive or idealistic to believe these things. Obviously, we've done a lot of damage to our bodies, our psyche and the world in term of the energy we choose to bring into the world every day and I'm not saying these problems will disappear overnight, but the first and biggest step is to just make that choice....do you want to keep living in this stressed out way that doesn't serve you or the world? Or do you want to be part of the revolution and experience life from a place of really high frequency love and connection?
Here are a few things you can do to start decreasing stress in your body, mind and spirit. Remember: it starts with you, then ripples to your friends, your community, then the world.
De-stressing the body
Your body is usually in one of two states: the sympathetic nervous system or the parasympathetic nervous system. The first is your 'fight or flight' system or your state of stress. This is where most of us are operating from. Whether it's fear of not living up to our boss' expectations, the fear of being single forever or just not feeling good enough in general, we are constantly prepared for an attack. This perception of fear leads to weight gain, stress, IBS, depression and a whole host of other things that destroy your health and happiness.
The way your body knows it is actually safe is all cued by your breath so the first thing you can do to help love your body is to take time out to do some deep breathing. Place your hand on your belly, right up under your ribs and make sure when you breathe in your hand rises and when you breathe out your stomach contracts. Focus on not moving your shoulders at all and instead imagine a balloon in your stomach being inflated and deflated. This will activate your parasympathetic nervous system and help you start to get back into a 'rest and digest' mode.
De-stressing the mind
As Eckhart Tolle said, "You have a mind but you are not your mind." This is the game-changer between people that are emotionally happy and people that aren't. We all have an inner critic that lives in our heads and feeds us thoughts about what's "true" or "real" or "how life is"...but this voice is just that - a voice. It's a voice that is based on fear and survival and trying to protect you which is great....but it's not concerned with how happy you feel or how much love you're experiencing. Whenever you think something that makes you feel like crap, ask yourself "What is the fear around this?" and "What would love do in this situation?" You'll be amazed by how empowering this is and how much happier you will feel.
De-stressing the spirit
Spirit, heart, soul...whatever you want to call it, it doesn't really matter. The point is, that this part of you that holds all your unique passions, desires, dreams, preferences and interests is a part of you. When was the last time you checked in with her? If you feel like life isn't working, that you're disconnected or out of alignment then I guarantee you, that's true. That is your spirit telling you that you aren't living from your values or in accordance with what's true and important to you, Chances are you are doing what you think you 'should' do.
Meditation is a powerful tool to access your inner truth, as well as coaching or counselling. So much of the pain we feel comes from a place that we don't even know exists because we've never given ourselves a moment to hear what's really going on in our heart and soul. Starting with a coach can be a great way to uncover these feelings in a supportive environment where they won't overwhelm you. If you feel strong enough, simply sitting in stillness and bringing your attention to your heart space can be another great way to de-stress your spirit. Once you feel connected to your heart space, ask yourself "What do I need to do right now to feel happy?" and just as importantly, "What do I need to let go of?"
These are not just nice ideas. Practicing de-stressing your body, mind and spirit will change the way you see everything in your life and in the world - I guarantee it. All you need to do is be willing to see the world a different way and to open to the tools that help you to shift your perception from stress to love.
I'm hosting a class in Christchurch on Wednesday 20 July in which we will cover all of these tools and many more. If you'd like to come along and learn how to "Relax and Re-Centre', check out the flyer on my Facebook page.
It happens to all of us at some time or another. Maybe it's that feeling of groundhog day at work, maybe you can't seem to move forward on anything or perhaps life just isn't turning out the way you thought it would. Most of us have asked ourselves, at some point in our lives, "What's the point?! What am I here for?" or even... "Why bother?"
When you feel stuck, there are a few crucial things you can do to shift your energy and get back into momentum of feeling focused, happy and in charge of your own destiny.
1. Make a decision
My friend and mentor, Bex, likes to say that "powerful people make decisions." This mantra has stuck with me whenever I feel like life isn't flowing and it snaps me back into taking personal responsibility for my feelings and my own happiness. When you feel like life is happening to you, it's often easy to get caught up in victim mode. "My car's always breaking down" or "that guy didn't call back" or "my career is going nowhere" - all of these might be accurate assessments of what you feel life is like, but now that you've registered that it's up to you to make a decision: is that what you want your life to be like?
When you take 100% responsibility for how you feel in every moment you take back your power and can begin to get unstuck. Firstly, ask yourself "How do I want to feel right now? Do I want to feel angry / pissed off / depressed.... or do I want to feel hopeful, happy or positive?" By the way, it's totally fine if you decide that "no, actually I'm pretty upset and I want to wallow right now", but even by making that decision, you'll notice that something really interesting will happen. For one thing, you'll start feeling a bit better because you realise that feeling that way is a choice that you've made, not something happening to you. Secondly, when you let yourself claim your feelings rather than be annoyed that they're happening they tend to move on much faster. You'll probably find that after an hour or two of said wallowing, you actually think "Ok, I'm a bit tired of this now. Where can I go to next?"
2. Create an inspiring vision
Once you've decided that you want to feel happy, it's time to create an inspiring vision for your life because it's hard to feel like you're growing or you have momentum if you're not sure what you're moving towards. Your vision for your life is what will pull everything together and make decision making that much easier. When you can ask yourself "Does this decision bring me closer to my vision or take me further away from it?" you can usually get a pretty clear answer straight away. Oh, and by the way, a big part of your vision is feeling happy and fulfilled, not just doing what looks good on paper.
As an employee at lululemon athletica, we are asked to create goals that spur us on and excite us. The way we do this is by creating a 10 year vision of what we want our life to be like and working back from there. The reason this is so powerful is that 10 years seems far enough away that it allows us to create some pretty powerful and audacious goals. Once you have this vision, it's then pretty easy to drill backwards and see what you'll need to be doing in 5 years time, 3 years time or 6 months time to bring this dream to life. (There is a free version of this worksheet as well as some inspiring videos over at the lululemon website - you can check it out under their Vision and Goals section here)
That's where the inner work like meditation, personal growth and vision and goals becomes so effective; its essentially uncovering the awesome blueprint you already have in place for how to feel happy, healthy and abundant. Without something compelling to pull us forward, most of us feel a sense of being left behind or missing out on something in life.
3. Take action
After choosing how you want to feel and creating a compelling vision for your life, take inspired action. Again, just make a decision and take action from that place. So many times we feel stuck because we are waiting for the "right" decision to come along before we get moving and guess what? There probably isn't one. I've learnt that any decision is better for your happiness and self esteem than sitting on the fence and letting months or even years pass by because you're too afraid to fail. Confidence is built not by knowing the right answer, but by taking action and trusting that no matter what happens, you'll survive. There is no right decision - there is the best decision you can make at the time which will always lead you to the next part of the journey. If you want to get unstuck, free yourself from the fear that you'll never get it 'right'. Make the best decision you can and get moving.
4. Pick what feels high and light
On that note, you want to be moving towards a life that feels vibrant and energising to you, so with every decision you make, lean into the question "Does this feel high and light? Or does it feel low and heavy?" Your intuition always has a better gauge on what will make you happy than anyone else does. Have fun with it, and see what it would feel like in 3 months time if you say 'yes' to this opportunity now. 6 months.... 5 years.... you get the idea.
When you feel like crap, it's tempting to look at these types of exercises and feel like they won't work for you but I guarantee that if you take action, you will always see results...and actually you are already seeing the results of the actions you have been taking! If you don't like the result then change the action. It's all in your hands :)
What do you think of when you hear the term 'Modern Goddess'? For me it's a woman who has tapped into her inner power. She is connected with the part of herself that knows exactly what she needs in order to experience happiness, love and health in her life and she has no qualms about asking for it.
She knows intuitively exactly what she wants to eat and how she wants to move. She knows her unique super powers and what she wants to spend her life's work on. She is focused and driven but would never let that get in the way of her down time, her pleasure or having an amazing sex life. But she's also, well, modern. Forget the goddesses in flowing togas that seem like a mythological figure from the past, this woman lives in today's world but holds the same power, stature and status as a Queen. She is the creator of her world; her body, her health, her fitness, her business, her family, and she takes responsibility for her part in creating a better world for us all to live in.
Sounds pretty grand, right? But this isn't just a 'nice idea' - it's a reality we need to embrace sooner rather than later if we are going to start healing our health, losing that weight, getting off antidepressants and learning how to love ourselves. A lot of women are suffering, feeling lost and undervalued, and we are suffering because we've given our power away.
"At every moment, a woman makes a choice: between the state of the queen and the state of the slavegirl. In our natural state, we are glorious beings... in the world of illusion we are lost and imprisoned, slaves to our appetites." - Marianne Williamson, from "A Woman's Worth"
Through my coaching sessions, I listen to a lot of fabulous women who are struggling. The struggle might come in the form of excess weight they can’t seem to lose. Or it could come from the stress of balancing work and a family. Maybe it’s the underlying feeling that “there must be more to life than this!” It really doesn’t matter what flavour the struggle is because the reason behind all of them are the same.
They are feeling disempowered because they’ve lost touch with their inner guidance, their intuition, their compass… or as I like to call her, their Modern Goddess.
Your Modern Goddess is you, in all your divine and perfect glory. It’s the you that you were born to be before you started trying to do what you ‘should’ do or fit the mould the world asked you to. Essentially, it’s you without your ego or your inner critic waiting to sabotage your health and wellbeing.
When you’re connected to your Modern Goddess, life flows more easily. Of course, life is still going to throw you learning curves: the world is our classroom and the point of life is not for everything to run perfectly; but in the energy of your Modern Goddess, you have peace of mind in knowing that you’ll be more than capable of dealing with them. Illness and weight gain no longer plague you, because you eat and live in a way that supports your health and healing and you learn from what your body is communicating to you. Stress and anxiety are drastically reduced because you have tools like meditation, breathing or journalling to help you process your feeling and bring them back to love and peace.
Let’s face it, if they sold this in a pill we’d all be popping them! But for $0 down and $0 a month for the rest of your life, you can get these benefits. All you have to do is be willing to tap into her and give her some time to communicate to you.
Finding your own Sasha Fierce
Have you heard of Sasha Fierce? She’s the alter ego that Beyonce created for herself so she could be a bold and powerful entertainer. Beyonce describes herself as usually pretty shy, so she tapped into the part of herself that could be a sexy, powerhouse, diva songstress. Your Modern Goddess is pretty much the same thing. She's all your best qualities that you long to embrace and show up with in the world. What would your life would look like if you made decisions from the point of view of your Modern Goddess? How would she dress? How does she deal with conflict? What does she do to unwind? What advice would she give you about any problems you are having? Remember, your Modern Goddess is you without any of your blocks or limitations.
This is a really fun energy to try on and I encourage you to give it a go this week. If you can, spend 10 minutes connecting with her in the morning. This could be while sitting quietly in a chair or while walking gently around the block. Imagine her, feel her presence and really take on her energy and power. Throughout the day, ask for her guidance when you make decisions. It could be as big as whether to take a new job or not, or as simple as whether to have sushi or subway for lunch.
The cool thing about this is that most of the time we are making decisions about our future based on who were were in the past and what we believe we are capable of based on limiting beliefs. Stepping into the energy of our Modern Goddess, we can start to create our lives from a place of infinite possibility and potential and learn to trust ourselves rather than other people for the answers to our own happiness.
Operating from the energy of your own modern goddess will radically change how you create your life. Have fun with it this week and please post below any a-has or transformations you've experienced from this!
A common complaint from many people today is that they have 'no energy'. Many of us (myself included) seem to be constantly looking for ways to increase our energy so we can finally feel healthy and vibrant. What I find fascinating about that statement though, is that it doesn't really make sense. We are all just energetic beings; by definition we are energy, so it's impossible for us to have 'no energy'.
What we really mean when we say we have no energy is that we have low energy - or in other words, we are running on low vibrations.
Now, growing up I remember the Beach Boys talking about Good Vibrations, but no one ever really taught me the difference between high vibrational energy and low vibrational energy until relatively recently, so I want to unpack that a bit for you now.
Low vibrational energy are feelings like anger, hatred, jealousy, despair, self criticism, shame. You'll notice that even when you say these out loud that you feel lower, murkier and less energised. On the other hand, high vibrational feelings are things like love, peace, joy, gratitude, acceptance. These feel lighter and brighter and more expansive.
If you want to feel more energised then you want to run on a higher vibrational energy and the great thing about this is that it's totally within your control. No need to down a can of Mother or grab a triple shot latte to make you feel more energised - grab a pen and paper and let's get your light shining NOW.
On this piece of paper, write down everything you did yesterday and then next to it, how you felt about doing it. Here's an example:
You get the drift. What you are essentially doing is becoming really aware of whether you are running on low vibrations or high vibrations throughout your day, and more importantly, what things make you feel high or low.
Now, let's change your energy!
Awareness is the first big step in any type of change we want to make in life and this exercise will be a massive leap in creating different energy in your life. You get to change your energy by changing your thoughts, your behaviours and your actions so by looking at your list you can start to choose a different option that will bring you higher energy. Looking at that same list, here are some options you could choose:
You can see that it's relatively simple to come up with things YOU have the power to do to change the level of your energy. Of course not all of these will be easy - perhaps you have to stay in a job you don't like right now, for example, but you can always change the thoughts you are thinking about it and the energy you bring to it.
I recommend doing this for a whole week - write down each day and how you felt and you'll really start to see common themes of things that aren't working for you or serving your highest and brightest energy.
Remember, you have the power to create your own energy. Try this out and let me know how it goes for you.