Manifest the Way Forward—A step by step guide to deliberate creation:
Manifestation is just a word that means having a conscious and deliberate intention to actualizing a goal, vision, and life you desire.
In order to get to where you want to go you need to:
1. Know where you are
2. Know where you want to go
It sounds so simple but sometimes our lives get so busy that we don’t pause long enough to take inventory and assess:
· How are we feeling?
· How are we doing?
· Where are we right now?
Taking the time to pause, feel, assess and ground into where we are is necessary to take an intentional step forward.
Only once we get quiet enough to hear and feel can we heal and clear what may be holding us back. Take the time to pause in order to become aware of what’s in our way, and recognize the steps we need to take to move forward.
Wherever you are is your personal step to navigating the way forward, even if the path forward is uncertain with major circumstances outside your control.
Step one is take a time out and deliberately sit with yourself and the questions above.
It’s like a meditation—or a meeting with yourself. I recommend setting a timer for about 15 minutes and just letting yourself sit with these questions. You can just sit and be present with what comes up, and if that feels difficult you can journal out the thoughts and feelings as a way to clear the mental space.
Then, write out in a few sentences where you are at in the areas of your life that feel most significant to you right now. That might be your health, your finances, your relationships, your career direction, or something else. It may be one thing or a few things, give yourself time to assess and feel where you are and sit with it and be with your now reality.
Then you can pivot to your desired reality:
Take an area of your life and once again, you can set a timer for 15 minutes and reflect and journal or simply sit with what you would like to see happen in your life. For example, if you are unsatisfied in your current work situation, start to write out what would be an ideal work situation, perhaps even write out a dream job description. Start to create a clear vision of what your desire looks like.
Then, take a few breaths to help clear your mental space. Mark Divine—former Navy Seal, founder of Seal Fit, and all around inspiring human talks about “box breathing” as a way to strengthen the muscle of mental control.
Our minds are powerful and our minds are a pivotal step in the manifestation process.
The process is simple:
1. Take 4 counts to inhale
2. Hold your breath for 4
3. Exhale for 4
4. Hold for four
And Repeat. Take about 10 breaths this way and notice how you feel. Often this kind of breath work helps to stabilize the nervous system and in as little as 4 breaths your entire state can shift from scattered to calm.
Then from a calmer space you can either maintain this breath or simply shift to your natural breath and meditate. ‘Meditate’ simple means being present with your now experience and if your breath is your anchor of focus it simply means being with your breath and noticing where your mind jumps to.
Meditation is simply exercise for your mind. It’s not about “being successful by having an empty mind” Rather the success of meditation is simply in the act of choosing to immerse in it.
The mere fact that you set time aside to intentionally be with your breath as you notice the wanderings of your mind and emotions is the benefit and success of meditation. It is the way to help clear and settle the mind so that you can act from a clear and intentional place which is way more powerful than operating from a muddled busy state.
A friend recently shared with me the analogy that meditation is like allowing the mud to settle so that the water is clear and this is exactly what happens when we sit to meditate. At first there’s often a lot of mud shaking around. Yet as you sit and be still the mud can settle down to the roots and your mind clears as still water. It is in this state of stillness that we can see clearly and be inspired to our next move.
Then comes the next step: Visualization:
Take 5 or 10 minutes to visualize an aspect of your life that you were working on in one of the previous steps and visualize what you desire. This alone raises your vibration—it raises your energy and your joy. When this happens, there is a mix of life’s magic and our own inner inspiration to know the next step to take.
Once we take the time to visualize we can start to see the next steps forward and this is where mini goal come into play.
Some of our dreams are huge and require several major steps to set the foundation forward. Other goals are smaller but can still be broken down to small daily steps to turn our desire into reality.
Yes, there will always be uncertainty along the way—if 2020 has taught us something this is one major lesson for sure. And despite the truth of life’s uncertainty we are still powerful manifesters of our life.
A quick 4-step recap:
1. Breathe to settle the mind
2. Meditate to clear the mind
3. Visualize your desire
4. Take simple small daily steps to your desire—sometimes the first step is writing up the next four steps you think you need to take and start with the first one.
As we walk our way forward, remember to keep going for your dreams—life is full of uncertainty and often this includes the most incredible things too. There may be a lot we do not have control on, but our minds are powerful and strong manifesting tools. We can deliberately change our mind, which shifts our emotions, which strengthens our vitality, our energy and joy and gives us the power to take concrete steps forward to living a happier more vital life.
Want support to manifest your dreams? Contact me for personal life coaching
Jayne sat across from me telling me clearly her side of the story “I’m tired of working at the bank. It’s not just that my boss is aggressive and most of my coworkers pretty catty. Frankly, I could handle that if I loved the job, but I simply don’t.” She then trails off her sentence with “I don’t know….”
Can you relate? —Speaking so clearly, just to be followed by confusion and self-doubt...
You may have seen this in yourself, friends, family, colleagues or clients. Speaking with certainty, and then confusion comes in—solidified with the words “I don’t know”
As if maybe you have it all wrong. As if everything you think, know, and feel might be off. But deep down it’s not off.
You are certain yet fear plugs in with the words “I don’t know.”
If you’ve ever caught yourself doing this you’re likely taking a breath of acknowledgement. or wincing in the truth of what you may be scared to admit to yourself.
Because our certainty can scare us.
Our certainty demands for change.
I mean it would be ludicrous to go against certainty. Yet we do it all the time because at the core—we’re afraid to trust ourselves. As explained by Karla McLaren, Author of The Language of Emotions: Confusion acts as the mask of fear, where fear is our intuition speaking to us.
Trusting our intuition—our inner sense of certainty, is scary. Especially when other people, money, and sense of security are at stake. I mean we can’t take out a measuring stick and measure our inner certainty—it’s no wonder confusion is a frequent visitor.
When confusion comes to visit—it’s a sure sign your intuition is being masked. Essentially confusion asks that we shut out the noise and go deep inside – deep into stillness and hear our inner voice. It might scare you, but you’ll be clear.
It’s scary to do this because when we are honest with ourselves and if we don’t make the change being asked of ourselves—it means we are betraying ourselves.
It’s easier to stay in a defective situation and simply blame everyone else around us. Going back to Jayne’s story, she could have blamed her lack of happiness on her boss and colleagues, and it would have made perfect sense. But she knew deep down what the real issue was.
When you know the real issue then you’re faced with the hefty task of self-responsibility and conscious choice.
Self-responsibility is a choice, and, it’s the only empowering choice there is. The alternative is blame, and that’s a pretty toxic place to be.
So how do you get from self-doubt and confusion to owning your clarity and then taking responsibility to make a choice that will turn your life around?
Here’s a 5-step game plan to move through the process:
The action stage may take awhile, and may require going through the process again of acknowledging what you know and what steps you need to take to keep moving forward.
Awareness, self responsibility, daring to look at what needs to change and acknowledging what actions you can take is a huge step.
It is the most important process in living a more empowered life – where you operate from your power instead of feeling like a victim.
It’s true that life can be unfair. There are times when we are a victim to something horrendous, and there is a time to allow the victim to have its space to mourn the losses, the situation, and fully feel the pain of being a victim.
Then, there comes a point where you will recognize it’s time. It’s time to either make a change or stay a victim. It’s time to own your life and pick yourself up and make the changes you can make, or stay where you are.
My hope is we all come to that point and choose to make the empowered choice which is rooted in the concept of self-responsibility, owning our truth, and taking courageous action.
Sometimes we can do this on our own, and sometimes we need the support of a friend, family member, or professional Coach or Counsellor. Sometimes we need a team of people to support us in moving forward. Invest in yourself by giving yourself what you need to live the way you know you can be living.
For personal support from Tova – a Certified Life Skills Counsellor and Certified Life Coach--Click here to contact me
Have you ever felt ready for change but wasn’t sure exactly what change you needed to make? Chances are there was something you wanted to start letting go of.
In my last article on How to Manifest What You Want, I was ready for a change from the city to a quieter environment and I took the first step.
What unfolds after the first step is a mystery when you choose to flow with your joy, gut, and the opportunities that present themselves along the way.I continued my journey into a small island community. I was still looking for “the place” and started to look at rentals in various communities. One caught my eye and was an excuse to travel a few hours away to a more southern part of Vancouver Island.
I walked away unimpressed and asking myself What am I really looking for?
I reminded myself why I left the city in the first place and a part of it was to find a more nature-filled small community and another was to learn more about horses and the budding field of equine facilitated wellness and equine therapy.
So I kept knocking on doors to see what would happen.
I found a position that seemed like a dream. I spent hours completely remodeling my resume just to find out the job was just given away.
To say I was bummed was an understatement.
I said to one of my friends “Why couldn’t I have a lucky break just this once, why can’t things work out?
I was totally drowning in the victim mindset.Now let me say – there is a time to give the victim the space he/she needs to receive acknowledgement and compassion.
The victim is not a “bad” state it is simply a state. And it’s not a place you want to get stuck in if you want to move on with your life and keep walking to your dreams and highest joy.
So I went back to fixing up my resume and thinking about other jobs and within hours this ranch writes back that the person she just hired bailed on her and can I call her.
What? This was divine intervention at its finest. Was I finally going to get the job of my dreams?It was all looking pretty amazing. There were a few red flags I chose to brush aside thinking I can deal with that, but as I kept thinking about the magnitude of work I started to wonder if this was humanly possible for one person. My doubts were creeping in louder by the minute.
I kept delaying and not giving her an answer.
This gave her more time to think and look at other candidates.
When I went back to her with a host of detailed questions she started to say “You know I’ve had time to think about it and actually normally a couple comes because the work is quite physically demanding” After all there were 16 horses, ponies and cows to look after.
I felt my whole body sigh in relief. I didn’t try to fight her or even quip up “I can do that” Because deep down as much as the place looked like an ideal fit on many levels my body was telling me that the haste by which I was needed and the reality of the work was not in alignment with the calm pace of life I wanted.
Yet I was still intrigued by the place. A little more chatting and I found out there was an opportunity to volunteer. This now appeared like the dream scenario. An opportunity to be with horses, learn about horses, and see where this volunteer opportunity could go in the future. I’d be in an environment that was focused on spiritual healing with horses, it all seemed too good to be true and I was elated.
During all of this I was also working towards conquering a major fear: Finally learning to drive ! I invested time and money in lessons, reading and watching YouTube videos on every driving technique. I was studying as if I was in school. I passed the road test, searched for a vehicle found one that seemed perfect and I was off to the ranch.
The ranch had been the dream. I mean one of the major reasons I was finally motivated to get my license was so that I could get out to areas that you can’t get to by public transportation.
To keep a long story short, and to keep the message clear, my experience taught me two lessons:
1. What we think is a loss is not a loss.
Initially when I first saw the posting and that the position was already filled I was bummed. Although the turn of events shifted, I found myself filled with gratitude that I did not initially and hastily say yes to the job once it did become available to me. Always trust your soul and your instinct.
Sometimes doubt is your friend.
I witnessed two experienced people burning the candle at both ends and still in need of extra help. The job was not cut out for one.
I learned – what might feel like a “Why can’t I be lucky” is actually “I am so lucky”2. If you have to convince yourself about something – it’s a sign it’s not something you truly want.
I found myself searching for a reason to stay. My thinking mind would keep saying “one month is a short time” and my thinking mind would try to convince me why I should stay. My soul knowing knew that the energy of the place was not in alignment with me and I was not going to have the opportunity to learn any more than I had in the time I had already been there.
I could have stayed longer, I kept trying to find reasons to stay. And I knew if I stayed it would be fine, but my soul knew that leaving would bring me more joy.
It was one of those moments where there was no wrong choice. But there was a very clear soul choice.Was I going to go with my soul and honour my heart, gut and joy, or was I going to follow the conditioned part of the thinking mind that wants to caution about making the most of things.
My soul would always come back and whisper “You’ve already made the most of things”
I knew I would wake up the next day and leave. Despite the mixed feelings in my mind, my soul knew it was time to continue on my way.
I was embarking again upon what felt like a scary highway drive.
I was up in the mountains and making my way south on one of the highways often deemed “the most dangerous”
I was met with periods of heavy rain. I stayed focused and used my breathing to stay present even when visibility was really bad on a 120km/hour highway with high elevation and windy roads.
All of a sudden my car makes a really bad noise. I pray to god in impatience- Please make that go away!
The noise wasn’t going anywhere. It was getting worse. I was freaked out but I’m on the middle of a raging highway – what choice do I have? I hoped to make it to the next town and get it checked out.
The noise gets worse and the car starts to feel different. My body begins to freak out. Then a big Semi honks at me, and I knew this was his way of saying there was a Major Problem.
Somehow I get myself off to the side of this raging highway on a small stretch off the start of exit 231 between Merritt and Hope. I think in these moments our animal instinct or angels kick in, because I don’t remember how I managed to pull off at what was really a perfect spot. I see my car smoking. I get out of the car and call 911. I don’t know what to do and I am freaked out and in disbelief. Maybe this is what shock is.
The dispatcher is kind, does a wonderful job in deescalating my state of anxiety and informs me that firetrucks can’t get out there. Luckily the smoking was not getting worse and lucky there was no fire (though any longer and it could have been!)
As the dispatcher hears me tell her that it’s not getting worse and I ask her if I should call the Automobile Association for roadside assistance she said yes.
I find myself in total gratitude that last minute before I left I bought a membership. I’m told I’ve been bumped to priority due to the severity of where I am located but that it will still be about an hour.
So I’m stranded on the edge of this raging highway still feeling a bit freaked out if my car is going to blow. Within 15 minutes a tow truck comes – could it be that BCAA is early?
No. It’s not BCAA, it’s a guardian angel. An elder man full of tattoos, long hair, and a long beard stopped just to see if I was ok. When I told him BCAA was on the way he still offered to look at my car and checked the engine and said “This is not good, but it’s good you have help on the way”.
Then he started saying nothing short of the soul messages I needed to hear
“You know, you never know what you avoided by not being on that highway now. Everything is for a reason. This might seem bad but it could have been something worse up ahead”.
Then he says, “You know it might be frustrating to have this happen and all the money you’ll have to spend that wasn’t in your plans, but you have your health – that’s what’s important” He then asks me my name and tells me he’s Pat.
Pat was my first guardian angel that day.
When the tow truck guy came he was just as kind. He looked under the vehicle an said “This is bad. This is catastrophic engine failure” It was well over an hour in the tow truck making our way to Hope to the mechanic shop. James the tow truck driver acted as my therapist for the first part of the ride as I shared my frazzled state and asked a bunch of questions about cars and what happened. He told me what happened to my vehicle was inevitable and that this highway – the Coquihalla along with Crowsnest highway are the 2 highways where if there is anything wrong with your vehicle you’ll find out on these highways as they are really tough.
The rest of the ride was great entertainment as he told me about a documentary series he was part of called Highway Through Hell based on the highway I was on.
Despite the outward shock of it all and being in a situation that was something inconceivable to me, and led me to be stuck in a hotel in the town of Hope for a few days, I found myself simultaneously in a state of deep gratitude and acceptance that was surprising me.
In the past I would have gone down the victim rabbit hole of “Why me” and this time not a cell in my being wondered that. My soul had a knowing that this simply is.
Years ago Caroline Myss had an incredible Ted Talk where she talks about how people always want to know “Why me?” and she says what if an angel said “Just because” What if there is no reason, what if things just happen.
What if all the spiritual lessons are found within how we show up when life unfolds especially during the unexpected and challenging.The true spiritual experience is in how we take the experience in – do we take it as an opportunity to feel like life is shit or unfair or do we witness the miracles and grace?
Although hefty mechanic bills and hotel bills and being stranded wasn’t on my dream list of adventures, the truth is, the kindness from strangers and spiritual messengers who came to me through the people I met – from the tow truck driver to the woman at the grocery store to the woman at the health food store (all stories for future articles) filled me with more joy, alignment, and spirit than my time at the spirit retreat center.
This experience reminded me that illusion is real, and sometimes the most spiritual soulful heart fulfilling experiences happen in the places that would appear to be the least spiritual, and sometimes places that label themselves as spiritual are a total illusion doused in toxicity.
What I’ve learned on this segment of the journey is:
· Our spiritual teachers don’t always look and dress the way we may expect them to
· Our angels may not be who or where we’d expect to find them
· Sometimes where we think we’ll find healing we find pain, which ultimately will bring us back to healing, so all in all there are no wrong paths.
Life is always unfolding, the greatest things happen when we live in flow and follow our knowing and our soul
If you’re on your journey and struggling to find the meaning and insight of it all – personal coaching and Ecotherapy can help. Click here to find out more about working with me personally.
Is there a method to manifest what you want?
The word manifest sounds magical in its own right – as if there is an elusive nature to it. In a way the art of manifesting does include a little magic, but there are concrete things we can do. Here are three tips to help you manifest what you want:
It sounds so simple, and yet it can be so challenging. It’s common to want something and then feel uncertain about it. Doubt creeps in. Uncertainty. We waver. This push-pull dynamic is often what keeps us stuck.
Can you relate? I know I can. Most recently I had this push pull dynamic with living in a big city.
The city was familiar, and this time around I had returned for further training in coaching and counselling techniques to support my clients. I knew I was there for school but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay.
The whole time I was there I felt like I had one foot in and one foot out.
I tried to make a few things work but I wasn’t clear and committed to living there. Then I got an invitation to visit a friend on a remote BC island. For over 2 weeks I was in the forest. Literally. There were miles of forest trails, ocean, and animals.
My friend was out working most of the time so I had a lot of time to get clear and have nature as my therapist. I became clear that how I want to live is not in alignment with a city.
I started taking action on my clarity. Just like I had done in the past, I started packing. Taking action on our clarity is important in the manifestation process. Even a small thing tells the universe you’re serious and committed.
That small action gave me energy to take more small actions – such as making a list of everyone I knew on the island and sending out messages to people asking if they knew of anywhere to rent or housesit.
I also got clear in my mind that I wanted to have this all defined by May 15th.
By May 6th I had a solid lead and by the 11th I had a solid plan. I took a moment to think “Wow Universe – Clarity works!”
Manifesting with clarity works, and it needs to be followed by clear action.
2. Remove Resistance
Resistance is the push-pull dynamic. In the book Ask and It is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks they give a brilliant example that’s something like this: if you’re in San Diego and you want to get to Phoenix there is a clear path to get there. But if you drive from San Diego towards Phoenix and have some doubt and then turn around, and then you keep going back and forth – you’ll be nowhere. You’ll also likely get exhausted.
That’s what it’s like when we’re stuck. Our doubt and fear of commitment and fear of making a choice leaves us in between where we are and what we want.
It can feel painful and exhausting being in the push-pull dynamic.
Driving back and forth takes time and energy. It feels like we are going nowhere and yet we’re still using fuel and time. Whereas when we remove resistance and make a choice – there is a clear path to getting to where we want to go and we’ll get there. For me, the moment I made a choice and cleared resistance was the moment things shifted fast for me.
The art of manifesting is energizing and removing resistance is the key.
3. Practice being in a state of Acceptance
I know this can be a hard one. Sometimes when we want something so bad we find ourselves in desperate energy. Desperate energy is filled with fear and lack which is not in harmony with acceptance, faith and trust.
The practice is to have open energy – to expect to receive what you want.
Now, expectations can be a loaded word.
I know I’ve had an interesting relationship with expectations – to the point where I thought expectations were wrong, dangerous and only going to set me up for illusion and disappointment. So it was a refreshing breath of air when I read about the power of expectation in Ask and It is Given.
I was finally given the permission slip to have positive expectations. Sigh of relief. Just the medicine I needed.
Since we get to shift our thoughts and beliefs I decided to try on the belief that expectations are totally OK. I decided to believe “Of course I expect the perfect place to open up for me” I simply decided that The Universe is very powerful and things can change fast.
I did my part and I expected the Universe to do her part.
This positive expectation is like aligned expectation – I get my whole being to match what I want, and I accept my current circumstance because I know that what I’ve declared I desire is bound to happen, and I know I can be a bit patient.
In a relaxed state we are in an open energetic state so that when things come through – it may not be exactly what we expected but it will be the essence of what we desire and bring us further along the path of what we want to manifest. When we are in a relaxed state we will be able to receive, and this is part of manifesting.
So how do you relax? Well, one of the simplest ways to move into a more relaxed state is through meditation. Meditation can be seated, in nature, a walking meditation, and it doesn’t have to be that long. I’ve always talked about the power of the 5 minute meditation.
I’ve also experienced the power of extending that meditation to 15 minutes – it really helps with moving into an accepting relaxed and aligned state which is important in releasing resistance and maintain clarity and focus on your desire and what you want to manifest in your life.
So there you have it – 3 keys to manifesting what you want. I hope this helps support you manifesting what you want.
Do. Do. Do. Any major city is a mirror of the DO mentality – the constant DOING. But what happens when all that DOING doesn’t lead you to your goal? What happens when all you’re doing doesn’t lead to happiness?
Is there a balance between DOING and BEING to achieving your dreams?
Here’s two scenarios for you (you might relate)
“So, how did you get that dream job?” I asked my friend Tanya
“Well, I hit the pavement: I literally knocked on doors, asked to speak to mangers, hiring directors, frankly, anyone who would speak to me. I told all my friends, I applied to jobs online several times a week… I DID a lot!” She exclaimed
“So, how did you get that dream job?” I asked my friend Tina
“Well, I meditated every morning and my meditation led to visioning. Whenever I would get a vision or spontaneous thought to apply to a certain place or contact a specific person I did. …So I did do some action, but for the most part, I was practicing being. Being was what I’d consider the magic ingredient that led to this dream position. And frankly, it’s better than anything I could have thought of”
The art of Doing is clear. Set a goal. Prepare for roadblocks, have a timeline. Take consistent action.
I don’t know about you, but my recent experience is that DOING doesn’t always lead to the results I seek.
Sometimes it leads to frustration, resentment, and like I’m screaming to the Universe “Come on, can you just give me a break already?”
And that’s the voice of the Universe saying back:
EXACTLY. Take a break.
Stop doing. Start being.
If you find yourself in endless DOING and hitting a roadblock of anger, frustration, or sheer exhaustion, where you hit that place where you ask the Universe to cut you a break, my offering to you is:
Give this to yourself.
So how do you practice BEING when you’re so used to DOING?
The art of being begins with listening at the deepest level. At the deepest level the listening involves what Martha Beck calls “wordlessness”
It’s dipping deep into that space of being with the moment, with all your senses engaged. Where you hear the sounds without having to give word to them, where you see the sights without needing to label them, where you feel the emotions and physical sensations in your body as raw movements and sensations without attaching words or judgements to them. This is wordlessness, this is deep meditation: presence in the moment.
How to begin? Here’s a 5-step plan:
1. Take 5 minutes right now (or set an alarm at the end of reading this article or before you hit your bed tonight) and practice Being by sitting quietly.
Of course you might find yourself full of words and thoughts and judgments. The practice? Bring yourself back to your body – scan your body from your head to your toes and relax every muscle a little deeper.
Then shift to the feeling of your breath – focus on the rise and fall of your chest, abdomen, and anywhere else you feel your breath moving. Focus so fully that it occupies every inch of you. You’ll likely find, for a few moments anyways that you fall into that deep state of being.
2. Commit to this practice every day for the next 7 days. Set a clear time. I recommend morning. As the week moves on, see if you can add a second time-slot such as evenings too. If you continue practicing this for a second week, see if you can expand the 5 minutes into slightly longer periods of time.
3. For 1 week follow your inclinations. If you’re a DOER this might be really hard. You might feel guilty or like you’re wasting time if you’re not constantly doing and taking action. I once had a mentor teach me the importance of sharpening the axe. The message is: it’s not about the volume of work we do, it’s about the precision and potency that matters.
This is why BEING is so effective in attaining results.
Instead of chopping away at everything that dulls the axe in the long term, by taking time to sharpen the axe by simply being with it (let’s pretend the axe is a metaphor for your mind) then in the right moment, you will find that inspired idea where your whole body and spirit light up and you feel called to reach out to a specific person or go to a specific gathering, or send out a proposal, or set up a meeting. These inspired moments are potent.
4. Practice BEING with yourself moment to moment throughout the day. This is a daily habit, and a daily practice of reminding yourself to pause. In the middle of the day, especially in those moments when you feel frazzled, stuck, or lost–these are the moments to practice BEING – to stop whatever you’re doing, and to sit into your body (or stand in your body) and awaken all your senses.
If you’re at your desk, close your eyes, do a body scan and take 10 deep breaths. If you’re outside walking–pause, take a deep breath, and focus on listening and sensing the sounds and energy around you. For example – as humans we feel: we can feel when it’s busy and hectic outside and we can feel when it’s quiet or even that “quieter than normal” feeling. This act of pausing and sensing is the art of being.
5. Allow BEING to be the focus of your “work” for at least a week, especially if you’ve been DOING with no results. Let this be an experiment. You might just be surprised by what shows up, or what inspired action comes to you with your sharper axe.
If you’re looking for one on one support through a career transition, life transition, or simply want support with the art of being – I’m offering Life Coaching and Life Skills Counselling Sessions. Click here to learn more and book your session with me.
We’re about 3 weeks away to 2019. For many, now is a time of preparing for the holidays, or scrambling to close up goals for 2018.
But it’s also the perfect time to start incubating what you want moving forward.
You can start this plan today, or you can wait until January 1st. The truth is, simply reading this article already puts you on the path of the first step of the 6-stage plan that’s research acclaimed and proven to yield the results you seek.
In the book Changing for Good, Prochaska, Norcoss, and Diclemente share their research proven method of change which unfolds in 6 stages:
1.Pre-contemplation: We’re in denial or just on the edge of thinking we might want to shift this area of our life. Chances are other people in our life might be bothering us about this but we always have the perfect excuse of why we behave as we do. If you take a moment to reflect on where in your life you may be hiding, avoiding, or scared to look at–this might be an area where you’re in the first stage of pre-contemplation.
2. Contemplation: We finally can admit that this area of our life would be better if we made a change, but we’re not sure if we want to change it.
Often the pros outweigh the cons when we first hit this stage. For example, let’s say you overeat at night. You might realize it’s a problem but are not ready to take action because you like the comfort too much and just aren’t ready to change.
Or maybe you’ve finally admitted to yourself that you can’t stand your job, but aren’t ready to make a change because you have too many bills to pay and the thought of finding a new job or completely shifting work directions seems like too much work.
Maybe you’re in a relationship that you feel so-so about. Sometimes you’re happy and sometimes you’re not. You’ve thought about leaving it many times, but you’re just not sure if it’s time right now. At this stage you’re in thinking-mode.
Is It Worth It? is the question
And the only way to get out of this stage is for the pain to be stronger than the joy. For the cons to finally outweigh the pros of being in this situation
3. Preparation: You’re finally feeling clear that the change needs to happen. You recognize change rarely happens overnight. At this stage you’ll start to plan what steps you’d need to take to find a new job, or you might start researching alternative career possibilities. Or you might find yourself planning how you’ll unhook from a relationship where you feel like your lives are intertwined.
Planning is important.
If the idea of planning gives you anxiety – you’re not alone.
Sometimes we just want to rush into action, but if we rush without a clear plan we have higher chances of failure or giving up. By taking time to plan the steps, and even possibly the timeline of our change we set ourselves up for success.
A plan might be sitting down for an afternoon and writing out a step by step plan. Or a plan may take us weeks as we reflect upon how we got to our unhappy circumstance (the present) what factors or triggers got us here in the first place, and then creating a plan to make sure we don’t fall into the same traps again.
For example, if you know having ice cream in the house leads you to overeat, part of your plan will be to keep ice cream out of the house and that the only way to get ice cream is going to a specialty shop and buying a single scoop that you’ll enjoy mindfully.
If you reflect that your current relationship was a product of your loneliness and not a sincere mutuality, you’ll make a plan to work through your loneliness so that you won’t just break up with your current partner to fall into the same cycle again.
Once you have your plan (even if it’s not perfect) you’re ready to move on to the next stage:
4. Action: For some of us it will be obvious and easy to get into action. Other times we might want to stay in the comfort of planning forever. It’s important to take responsibility for our life, to make yourself priority, and to choose to take action. It might never seem like the right day, but if you’ve planned enough, it’s time to take a step forward.
Even a small step is a meaningful step.
The Action Stage is where we change our behaviour.
:We have the uncomfortable conversation
:We apply to jobs or call up a college or training institute to meet with admissions and decide if this is the right step forward.
:We make the appointment, clear out our pantry–any action that takes us closer to our goal.
We’re in active change mode. Depending on what we’re changing it can take daily work/feel like a life-long process of daily commitment, or it may be a specific series of changes for a certain period of time until we reach our “finish line.”
5. Maintenance: Once your change has hit a steady state it’s time to focus on maintaining the new positive shift you created. Let’s say you broke up from the unhealthy relationship, now you’re making sure that anyone you meet is for a healthy reason based on your values and continuing to take active positive steps to nurture your joy, wholeness, and soul.
Sometimes during our journey of change we have a relapse or a slip: this could be a night of overeating, or starting up a relationship with the wrong type of person and we quickly see red flag after red flag. THIS is the moment where we can make a QUICK shift back to action/our healthier way of life.
Sometimes we might find ourselves all the way back in pre contemplation, perhaps we’ll be blind to the red flags, or contemplate if the red flags are really red flags, or we’ll clearly see we fell into our old pattern and we’ll quickly make a shift back to our healthy choices of being in a healthy relationship, healthy job, healthy self-care regime, or whatever positive change you’re embarking upon.
6. The final stage is known as “termination” At this point our new way of being is so ingrained in us we couldn’t imagine even having the craving or inclination to go back to how we used to be.
This final stage of change doesn’t always happen – there are certain things in life – let’s say a tendency to worry that may always be with us, but we can keep it in-check/have healthy coping mechanisms for life.
Then there are other things like quitting fast food where once you’re given a chance to go back of it you find yourself sincerely not enjoying the taste or feeling and have no desire to ever eat fast food again.
The concept of “termination” means different things depending on the person and circumstance, but one thing’s for sure–once you hit this stage you’re new normal/new quality of life/new habit is so ingrained–you’d rather live your healthier lifestyle than go back to the old way.
As you can see there’s no need to wait for New Years. Just by reading this article you’ve already stirred your mind to awaken to possibilities – contemplating or becoming aware of what areas of your life may be asking you for a change.
The truth is if you start NOW, then by the time New Years rolls around you’ll truly be ready to take action in a way that’s guaranteed to lead to positive change in your life.
I wish you all the best as you embark on this journey.
Over ten years ago I was unanchored. I’d been living in Central America and with no job, home or family I had nothing, and as Bob Dylan says “When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose.”
I took that advice to heart. In that moment of “having nothing” I realized I actually had everything. That was one of those “big turning points” and I made my way to Vancouver. I didn’t know a soul, and I lived at a hostel before I found a place to live. I slowly started to anchor into my new habitat.
They say a cat has nine lives, I might be running out of mine. But maybe us humans get more than 9 lives.
If you’re like me you might find that you’ve anchored in and out of several lives and may be finding yourself at a turning point again.
It’s often at the crossroads where we get to choose again. And it’s the choices we make that have the power to recreate our lives.
I love talking to my elders. And when I say “elders” I normally mean people in their sixties, seventies and beyond. People who have wisdom to share from sheer time and experience. I’ve come to see that we definitely have more than 9 lives and life is filled with opportunities. Our job is to choose.
The “opportunities” we get may not always look like an “opportunity”
For example, a breakup or layoff may seem like a “bad thing” but it could be the opportunity of a lifetime.
And sometimes that “opportunity of a lifetime” ends up being your biggest challenge.
Our job, as we walk through this opportunity of life is to be awake enough to choose, As Mark Divine says your life is nothing more than your moment to moment choices. And as Caroline Myss says we have no idea what’s a Big Choice, and what’s a small choice.
We might think a Big Choice is deciding if we move towns, or get married. We might think a small choice is whether we go to the grocery store now or tomorrow.
But sometimes it’s those seemingly insignificant choices that truly change the trajectory of our lives.
So really, our power is only right here, right now, in this moment, as it shows up, to make the best choice we can right now. And our best choices come from anchoring into our center, our core and choosing from that space of “inner rightness.” This is the place of personal power: our only true power.
It’s common and easy to go through the motions of life staying in the “safe zone” because you crave certainty. The truth is – that’s a choice and sometimes there’s a segment of our life, or our entire life where we cling onto our anchors for safety, or at the very least perceived safety.
The other choice is surrender. This is letting all anchors go. It’s letting go of the crumbling relationship without trying to keep it together. It’s walking away from the job that’s causing you more angst than growth. It’s being OK with not knowing where you’ll live next month because everything is in flux and that’s OK.
Sometimes when we allow ourselves to be unanchored from our securities it allows ourselves to sail towards where we’re really meant to go.
We can cut off the flow of life by trying to fixate and control outcomes, or we can raise our hands up and say “Ok God. Im kinda’ done trying to control things right now. I surrender. I take all anchors off. May I flow.”
When we do that, there may be waves of fear and doubt that rattle us up, but as we take a deep breath we’ll have a deeper knowing that we’re sailing in the right direction.
You’ll know you’re sailing in the right direction because deep down you actually feel safe.
Safety doesn’t always look like the house, job, marriage, and pension. Sometimes safety is knowing you’re action is with heart, integrity, and an unshakeable inner anchor that nothing outside of yourself can disrupt as you return to your clear and calm centre.
This is the place of your personal power. It’s unshakeable and you’re the only one who owns it.
4-Step Method to Return to Your Centre:
1.Become aware when you feel off centre. Feeling off centre is anytime too many thoughts are rolling around in your head and feeling rattled about what to do.
2.Do what you need to release the tension: it might be a deep breath, it might be going out for a run or going out to nature.
3.Meditate. Even if you think you can’t: set your alarm anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. Sit on your bed, the ground, or even lay down. Whether you follow your breath or let your thoughts jumble around a little bit, remind yourself to be aware and to observe your thoughts, and remind yourself that your thoughts aren’t necessarily true. Being able to watch the rise and fall and fluctuation of your thoughts is the start to releasing the “noise” and quieting down to your still centre.
As you feel yourself shift into a clearer centre – this is the perfect time to sense what choice is the clearest, whole choice to make. Sometimes we know exactly what to do. Other times there is no clear direction. In this case, it usually means “do nothing” …..This is about surrender, and keep practicing steps 1-3…..Keep surrendering unless a very clear action step comes through from a calm and clear space.
Being in Choice: Choosing Your Priorities Everyday:
For the last while music’s been an ally to me. Sometimes, a song would enter my head–A song I barely knew. I’d go on YouTube to find it and within the song was located the message or insight I had been looking for.
I came to realize that these inclinations to listen to a song was my intuition’s way of getting in touch with me.
The other day the song “The Cats and The Cradle” came into my mind. I had known the song but never heard the lyrics before until the other day.
Not only is the song heartbreaking and all-too relatable to likely one too many of us, the depth of the song goes beyond a parent to a child.
As I listened and replayed the song, I came to see this is how we relate to so many people in our lives. Especially with Facebook, Instagram, and texting, it’s all too easy to be too busy to make time for people and to say “I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then. You know we’ll have a good time then” (From the song by Harry Chapin)……And then the time never comes, because we’ll always be too busy. The time will never be right. There is always 101 reasons…
Then, with social media, and text messages, we can lean on those as a crutch, thinking that will tie us over until we find the time to get together and be with the people who are important to us, and the people we want to get to know and have in our lives.
Now of course, texting and social media have their place and help us stay connected especially to those who are far away… But leaning on them, or using them to replace our real life interactions is missing out on one of life’s greatest gifts.
We only have one life, and it’s here, right now. In a way we always get second chances, and at the same time, there are no do-overs. This is one of the many paradoxes of life:
There is no other day like today. This is it. How do you choose to spend it? Who are you going to allow into your sphere? What will be your priorities today?
And, not everyday can it be other people. And some days it can’t even be the people you cherish most. That’s OK.
At the same time, it’s helpful to reflect, and make more conscious choices so that you don’t wake up in 2, 3, 5, 10, or 20 years and wonder what if? Or wonder why…
Today I can choose to be too busy with the “Planes to catch and bills to pay” (From the song by~Harry Chapin) or I can choose to meet up with a friend.
Sometimes we have to choose the planes and the bills, but I know for me, this song is a wonderful reminder to be more conscious in my choices.
Sometimes our priorities will be quiet time/time alone to recharge our batteries. Sometimes our priorities will be the bills and the chores. Sometimes our priorities will be going out and having fun. Sometimes our priorities will be being there for another: whether that’s a friend, family, or acquaintance who needs our support.
What’s important is taking the time to reflect and assess if your actions are truly a reflection of your priorities.
As long as we’re awake, aware, and reflecting on what’s important, is really all that matters…and a sacred takeaway from this song. Because it’s a pity if life passes us by and we neglect the things we say we cherish most.
Our greatest alignment happens when what we say matches what we do. When our heart, mind, and soul align with our actions.
And, as always, it’s important that even this–is a practice. This isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being aware so that we can make better choices one day at a time. All we have is today and the choices we make today.
Take Action: Quick 4-step plan to put your priorities into action:
Comparison: we do it in our attempt to measure “How am I doing?”
Comparison is potent since there’s pretty much no aspect of life it doesn’t have the power to touch.
Comparison is the fastest way to give your power away–yet you can choose to retain your inner power and choose to release comparison the same way you can choose to release thoughts via meditation.
Comparison shows up in a myriad of ways: from social media, your bank account, career/business, relationships, dietary choices, leisure time and more.
Comparison divides us and yet it unifies us:
We compare to show we’re different, but really we compare so we don’t feel so alone
“Well, if Jared took 6 years to get his promotion, I guess I’m doing alright, I mean it’s only been four years…” Thought Teddy in his angst of resolving his anxiety about being passed up for promotion again
“Well, I finished that marathon in 30 minutes” thought Mary. Comparison helped her feel like she was still fit enough in amongst competing with people half her age. “I must be alright then” was her inner dialogue.
When we throw away comparison, what do we have left?
We’re left with ourselves. We’re left with our inner barometer that tells us how we’re doing.
Yet it can be a scary place to access because in order to attune to our inner barometer, we need to traverse a few places most of run from:
Emptiness and loneliness–which can basically be summed up in this poem:
Emptiness – I’ve been running from you
But you are Essence – I see it through and through
Loneliness – I’ve misunderstood you
Scattering from thing to thing but no-thing’s true
It’s in the wild unknowing
It’s in the open field of flowing
Awakening to the heart of mystery
Recognizing I don’t know failure from victory
It’s resting in the sacredness of the moment
Even when I’m my greatest opponent
It’s daring to go inside
The only place where our truth can come alive
When we cease comparing we’re able to go inside.
Going inside isn’t easy–there are many hurdles to overcome, namely loneliness and emptiness. At first glance, these are emotions most of us run from. But if you can be with the initial discomfort long enough–you’ll penetrate to your inner barometer that gives you everything you need to know to navigate your way forward.
You wont have to compare or put yourself down or put another down to determine if you’re OK. You’ll walk through your own wild territory to determine if you’re OK.
On this same note–none of us are spiritual robots. Which means from time to time we’ll find ourselves comparing, assessing, and measuring ourselves against standards or other people.
That’s OK. Take that as a cue to remind yourself to go inside.
Just like in meditation: it’s OK if you find yourself thinking. Its ok if you find yourself down a thought-trail that’s derailing you in anger, sadness, boredom, dissociation, or any other emotional experience. The important thing is awareness: catching yourself, and then making a choice to return to the present moment.
The same is true with comparison:
Next time you catch yourself comparing yourself and your journey to anybody else: take that as your cue to pause, shift, and go inside.
Remember that the moment you catch yourself in comparison is the moment of reclaiming your power:
You can give your power away and compare yourself to determine if you’re OK, or you can let the moment of comparison remind you to go inside yourself, navigate your inner wild territory–through the mountains of loneliness and emptiness, where you will find your inner guidance:
You may call it grace, spirit, god, universal wisdom, connection or a deep knowing of how you’re doing.
As you go inside to attune to your inner barometer you’ll know how you measure up. You’ll know if you’re OK. You’ll know if you’re on track.
You’ll be measuring yourself against one question: does your heart, mind, body and soul feel in alignment with your current station in life? Are you where you are meant to be?
When you ask yourself that question, even if times are difficult, there is a silent whisper that will say “This is exactly where you’re meant to be–keep flowing” or you might sense “This current situation is complete, it’s time to move on to the next assignment/the next journey.”
As you maintain your inner stillness and connection you will find yourself knowing your way forward. That’s the power of going inside. It’s something that comparison will never give you.
Comparison may give you momentary relief or angst, but it will never give you true peace or power.
Go inside so that you can step outside with pure confidence–knowing that you’re on track even if you don’t compare to anyone around you.
I’ve been learning a lot of lessons lately, and since I’m turning 36 I thought writing a post called 36 life lessons would be fitting (and a snazzy title 😉
So in no particular order here are 36 life lessons – Maybe when I’m 72 I’ll write another article with 72 lessons 😉 For now, here goes: