Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘conscious communication’

Compassion seems to be the theme running through my life and the lives of others these days. It could also be that I am noticing all the signs as I prepare for a retreat mid-October entitled ‘The Healing Power of Self-Compassion’.

So what have I been noticing?

First is Ed, a 65 + fellow who was participating in a program called Choices and where I was a guest facilitator. My topic was the importance of goals and intentions. While the class was diverse, participants of different age groups as well as reasons for being there, it was clear that Ed was struggling with his Third Act choices.

Although my interaction with him was as part of the group, what I saw was an amazing fellow who did not believe in himself, his worth or what he had to offer the world. At the end of the morning he expressed his desire to simply find his voice and identify opportunities for feeling some level of confidence in speaking.

What was really holding him back was his self-critic, literally roaring in his ear. As I have learned, this voice generally shouts: “You are not worth it” and/or “Who do you think you are”. And that is very damaging, especially when it isolates you and makes you feel like you are the only person who has this voice.

Next is Eileen who I met just last evening. A former nurse and nurse educator, you can see that this is a woman with great knowledge and a desire to share. Because she is also a survivor of coronary disease, she also has firsthand knowledge of  heart care for women. In other words, she is impressive.

In a conversation with her during a New Beginnings Workshop, she expressed her sense of being under-engaged, feeling a lack of purpose. The critical part of her was telling her that this was the time in her life for her to take care of her and that this was the most important focus. After all she had dedicated her life to caring for others. During our conversation I pointed out to her that this is not an either-or discussion. This is a trap I believe many of us fall into, that to focus on ‘ME FIRST” is a unilateral event however, by my definition ME FIRST is predicated on selfness – taking care of self so as to leverage one’s ability to care for others.

As our conversation continued, I suggested to Eileen that perhaps it was a ‘both-and’ conversation, that she could focus on self-care as well as continuing to offer her gifts to others. In doing so I encouraged her to dip into the past, her experiences and wisdom, harvest the gems and notice her passion, and attract opportunities for engaging these. As the discussion continued, I could see her simply ‘light-up’.

 

We Are Our Own Worst Enemy
For both Ed and Eileen, it was evident their self-critics were having a field day. This is the absence of self-compassion. The stories they were telling themselves, the criticism they were levying upon their shoulders, were undermining their enjoyment of life. They would never have dreamed of criticizing others in this way and this is what happens. You are much harder on yourself than you would ever be on others.

This needs to stop. All of us need to step into a role of being our own best friend and ally, that person who sits in our corner and lifts us up and stops putting us down. Trust me, self-criticism will never lead to happiness, only self-compassion can do that.

 

The Three Steps to Self-Compassion

Based on the research of psychologists Kristen Neff and Brene Brown, there are three essential components in cultivating self-compassion:

  1. Self-Kindness vs Self-Judgment
    Self-kindness is simply easing up, being gentler and kinder in your comments to yourself. You can start by considering what you might say to someone else in a similar circumstance. What words of caring or encouragement would you offer a child, a spouse, a friend or a colleague facing a specific situation. Now offer those words to yourself. You are just as deserving, just as important, just as gifted. There is absolutely no need for you to put yourself down.
    Secondly, when facing a situation where you are tempted to come down hard on yourself, think before you leap. Ask yourself what you really need at that moment. Do you really need more criticism making the situation worse, or do you need some loving kindness. Consider the difference this might make for you in moving forward.
  2. Common Humanity vs Isolation
    As someone who has great mastery in self-criticism, I can tell you that for many years I thought I was the only one who thought this way, who could be genuinely mean to myself. You see, this is something we just don’t talk about. Sometimes I wonder if we should have a party and all come as our respective self-critics!
    When I began to discuss this with other about 20 years ago, I discovered very quickly that I was not alone, that most of us had a ‘Negative Nellie’ sitting on our shoulder who was willing to jump in at any point and reek emotional havoc.
    The second aspect of self-compassion is to recognize that you are not alone, that being imperfect is part of the human experience. We all have an inner-critic – it is best to simply accept him/her, shake hands with that devil and move on. It is helpful to share his/her words and messages with others. You may be surprised at other people’s stories about themselves.
    Also recognize that making mistakes, which is the self-critic’s fuel, is normal. And, not only is it normal, it is important for mistakes are where we learn and grow.
  3. Mindfulness vs Over-Identification
    So how do you start. My experience has been that much of the critical noise in my head is like elevator music. It is playing constantly and I am not mindfully aware of it. The first step in taming the critic is to become aware of what you are actually telling yourself, to pay attention to the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are showing up.
    Then you can exercise compassion and come back to kindness and ask yourself, “what would I rather think or feel? What other behaviors would be better for me?”

In other words, you begin learning to re-program the critic. You make compassionate choices which lift you up, which celebrate who you are, and which acknowledge your gifts.

This may seem like a lot of work, and it is, and it is important work.

A little compassion goes a long way and can help you have the most amazing Third Act journey. It no longer serves you to put yourself down, and it no longer serves anyone else either. It is time for you to live up to all the potential stored inside of you. This will be fueled by every ounce of compassion you can give yourself.

Take a look at this short video as well:

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Ah yes! Time to breathe. Even in the Third Act, where apparently we should be smarter and wiser, the hours can fill up. Whether intentionally or not, the hours of this past week have been filled and fueled by much doing balanced with a smidgen of being.

The highlight of the week was the weekend retreat we facilitated with three couples; WE FIRST. It is easy to forget when we are tossed into the throes of retirement, that this act of retiring affects not only us, it affects those around us. Most of you have probably heard the stories and the comments:

  • My husband retired and now he is underfoot
  • I keep asking my husband, ‘don’t you have someplace to go?”
  • my wife thinks that my entire retirement should be dedicated to the ‘honey do’ list
  • I thought when we retired we would have some quality time together but she is gone all the time volunteering for everything that comes her way.
  • and more….

The couples who gathered here this past weekend have all been in long-term relationships ranging from 26 to 43 years married. Some of our participants were solidly in the Third Act, others not. What is interesting is the recognition that marriages, like our lives, enter transitional phases as well. This stage of marriage beckons the opportunity for new conversations, a new understanding of how each partner wants to play with the other. Clearly, with the many years already invested in a relationship, and a strong foundation upon which to build, it is a perfect time to challenge old habits and develop new ones and reflect on how to raise the bar for an even more amazing couples’ experience.

Through a journey that included mindful communication, love languages, strengths, values and legacy, we encouraged the couples to build the ‘Blueprint of WE”, a contract for moving forward, honoring the past and imagining the future.

Third Act divorces are on the rise, the result of years of failing to pay attention to one’s partner and the relationship. The Third Act opportunity is to recognize the freedom you and your partner have in re-defining what lays before you, communicating your desires, and carving a path for the future. You can leave to chance or you can decide to be intentional.

I will always opt for the intentional route as I do believe I can co-create my future together with the person who has been at my side for 43 years. I want to remain engaged. I want to have fun. I want to explore the possibilities relationships have to offer.

All of this lays before me just as it did when I was younger, except now I know better, I am a tad wiser and I have learned to ask for what I want.

Here’s to flourishing relationships in the Third Act!

Read Full Post »

Four weeks ago while browsing through Facebook I came upon a TEDx talk by fellow Canadian Drew Dudley entitled This Game has No Winners. The fifteen minute presentation not only had an impact on me, it validated my personal beliefs and the work we have been doing with organizations.

In his talk, which I invite you to watch (see link below), Drew talks about the education system we have been raised in and how we have been cultured to not challenge the ‘truths’ we are taught, nor the rules or perspectives that are downloaded to us. These so called truths and rules form what I refer to as the IBSC (better known as the Itty Bitty Sh—- Committee), that choir of critical voices that sings in our ear and tells us how we are expected to play in the world. We teach our children that life and work is a game, that there are winners and losers, the great competition and the fight for resources. It is a scarcity rather than an abundance model.

The symptoms of this game are all the things we complain about in today’s world: greed, jealousy, bullying, empire building, spiritual dis-ease, lack of meaning, and more.

Many of us believe that there is another way. The what if is, what if we chose not to play this game? What if collaboration, understanding, and yes, LOVE, were the more powerful and potent tools. What if rather than beating the other guy down we endeavored to simply Add Value! What if we lived our lives through our compelling ‘WHY’, our sense of purpose and how we chose to serve the world? Same or different?

As Drew stated in his talk, there really is only one goal to strive for in life:

I will add aim to add tremendous value in every single interpersonal interaction in which I am a part of.

I will strive to give someone something they didn’t even know they needed or wanted.

…this is a matter of no longer asking what we need to do, rather asking who we need to be

(and to choose) to be the type of person who allows the people around me to shine brighter.

Drew Dudley

 

(To view this TEDX Talk go to http://youtu.be/d02UlBC3knw )

In the last two years we have focused our work on Conscious Communication, developing your communication intelligence. This has two fronts, one internal and one external.

The internal front addresses those conversations you have with yourself and asks if these conversations are uplifting or diminishing. It requires listening in on the IBSC to assess the messages that are running in your head and what you are feeding yourself. Are you telling yourself the truth? Are your messages driven by ‘them’, all the voices which told you the rules and expectations? Is your internal conversation intelligent? If it does not lift you up, it isn’t!

The external front addresses your relationship with the world, friends and family and work colleagues. It begins with self-knowing and acceptance which then allows you to see others and how they are similar or different. Communication Intelligence or CQ teaches that life is about understanding and working with diversity, learning about, celebrating and embracing your personal strengths as well as the strengths of others. It teaches that the approaches others take in their communication to us are not about us, they are about the individual speaking. Hence it teaches how not to take things personally. Of course the ultimate vision is collaboration and adding value.

I invite you to examine both your CQ as well as the value you add to every conversation and interaction. This might just be the new start you need….

For more information regarding Conscious Communication go to www.roadsigns.ca.

 

Until next time,

 

Betty

Read Full Post »

In a coaching session recently with one of my clients, we discussed her future. After retiring three years ago and taking time to consider her options for the rest of her life, she was now prepared to look at what’s next. As with many of my clients, when the conversation begins, there is a lot of spinning, considering the endless possibilities. Clarity can be elusive. This is where coaching comes in, the opportunity to narrow the field and to identify what it is that really ‘lights’ you up.

Following our conversation, my client left for another meeting. I reminded her to watch for the SIGNS. Later that day I received an e-mail from her with the following, “I left your place remembering what you said. When I walked I to my next appointment, I saw this sign, “The Beginning is Near”. Now isn’t that a roadSIGN!”

The Begging is Near

I loved it. That is how it works. The Universe is always on your side, feeding you information constantly. The question is, are you paying attention.

My client that day was on high alert, swimming in the conversation of what she wants to attract and create in her life. The message The Beginning is Near seemed so appropriate.

SIGN Spotting
SIGNS for me have always represented those Significant Insightful Gold Nuggets informing my Spirit. SIGNS may not be actual signs as my client experienced; they show up in many forms from an interview on the radio, a morning horoscope, a message from a friend, a posting of Facebook, something or someone crossing your path. Life is full of meaning; we are unfortunately, for the most part, oblivious to what is there.

SIGN spotting requires living consciously, getting away from living life on autopilot which most of us do, and becoming more mindful and aware of what is going on around us. This is a challenge in the fast paced world we live is so yes, it does mean slowing down a bit, noticing more, asking more questions, reflection  and sometimes, simply breathing.

Look at it this way. Your life and manifesting what it is you want, is the most significant project you will ever take on. As with any project, it needs to be planned. You need to determine what it is that you desire as you look down the road. We call these intentions, naming what you want. Again, as with any project, you require data. This is where SIGNS come in – the angel whispers offered to you by Source, or the Universe, whatever you call you higher power, telling you whether or not you are on the right path, giving you support and encouragement, confirming the path you have chosen, and occasionally challenging you to change directions.

Heavenly Faxes
My friend Larry Snow in Colorado calls his SIGNS heavenly faxes and because Colorado has a lot of personalized license plates, cars are his typical SIGN spotting opportunity. After divorcing his wife of seventeen years, and then through therapy giving himself time to heal, Larry found himself attracted to another woman. He was however, reticent to get involved even though he knew that Margie was special and potentially the one.

As he considered the past, he found himself behind a green mustang with the license plate LET GO. As Larry said, this caused him to chuckle. A few days later as he was considering his next steps with Margie, he pulls up behind a Nebraska car with the plate 1 TO GO 4.

There was no turning back, the SIGNS in his life were definitely feeding him data. The final SIGN happened a few weeks later, when Larry again hesitated. In his words, “As I looked left before merging into the morning rush-hour traffic, I noticed a blue Volvo cresting the hill on South Wadsworth Boulevard — beneath the snowcapped mountain backdrop its green vanity plate stated simply and succinctly: MARGIE.

Final Word
Whether you call them SIGNS, angel whispers, or heavenly faxes, you have access to more information than you can possibly imagine.

It’s a simple choice: wake up to your life and become aware of what is going on around you. The beginning is near!

Betty Healey

Join us for our next Retreat May 22-23rdthME FIRST, a two day retreat that focuses on Clarity + Action.
You can sign up at http://www.roadsigns.ca/upcoming-retreats-events/me-first-retreat/.

Read Full Post »

In recent years much has been said about our ability to work under less than perfect conditions. There are a variety of things that happen within the modern day workplace which continually attract attention these days, issues such as the ‘toxic boss or colleague’, bullying (yes! It’s not just an issue for kids!), feeling underemployed or underappreciated, and simply spinning from the many demands placed upon you.

So how do you protect yourself? How do you remain resilient?

During the closing session of our most recent Coaching Circle in Cornwall, we all put our heads together and came up with the following strategies:

  • Practice Gratitude – In the day to day working of life and living, we humans have the habit of focusing on the negative events and happenings of life. When you switch gears and re-focus on those aspects for which you are grateful, it lifts your spirits. Having a gratitude practice where you do this on a daily basis, creates resilience.
  • Don’t Take It Personally – Create space between yourself and the negative nellies in your life. Their stuff is their stuff and always remember not to take what they have to say      personally. It has nothing to do with you.
  • Speak UP – Learn to speak up for yourself and to speak from your authentic self. You cannot expect others to know what you want or what you are thinking.
  • Stay Positive – Appreciate that everything that happens in life is perfect; it is there for a reason and a lesson. Learn from mistakes or hiccups, laugh at yourself, and move on with this new lesson tucked under your arm.
  • Flip-It! – whenever you find yourself focusing on what you don’t want; flip it to what you do want. Remember you attract what you focus on.

Attraction2

  • Go Downstream – If you find yourself in a battle with yourself, your work or someone else, change directions. Recognize that you are swimming upstream and ask yourself what it would take to change directions to downstream.
  • Be clear on your ‘I AM” – Your I AM statement represents who you are choosing to be in any situation. It is your source of inner power and clarity. It begins by saying to yourself I AM —-, breathing it in, feeling it and radiating it.
  • Attract your  Perfect Tribe – Be clear on who you want to surround yourself with. Make sure these are people who lift you up and love you unconditionally.
  • Have ME FIRST time – Commit to a minimum of 15 minutes/day of ME FIRST time. This is time just for you, not to be shared, for breathing, meditation, setting your ‘I  AM’ statements or for gratitude.
  • Space Management – It’s not really about time management, it’s about space management . Be  clear about your ‘have to’s’ versus your ‘can do’s’. You can all do lots  of things, the question is do you want to, is it necessary or does it  belong to you or someone else.
  • Develop your NO-How      – Be clear on your boundaries. Know what your priorities and t your responsibilities are. Develop your ability to say NO to what is not yours to own or take care of.
  • Single Task – Much attention has been given to our ability to multi-task. The thing is it doesn’t  really work. You find yourself with many balls in the air yet nothing ever  really gets completed. Learn to set your priorities and take on one task  at a time. When you bring tasks to completion, you will grow your  self-esteem and confidence.
  • Affirm Yourself –Check in and make sure you are not diminishing yourself with negative inner talk. You are in charge of this. Become consciously aware of what you are saying to yourself and change the message to something uplifting.
  • Self-Acknowledgement – When you receive complements form others, accept them graciously and simply say ‘Thank-You’.  Take it in like a sponge and acknowledge yourself for the complement you just received.
  • Choose Inspiring Messaging – Monitor what you choose to read or watch and choose that which inspires you. A highly recommend two sources of daily messages: www.tut.com and www.pattidigh.com.
  • Listen to Your Body – When you feel unwell or something hurts, turn inward and have a  conversation with your body. Ask “what are you trying to communicate to me?” then listen. It’s better than anything a doctor can give you.
  • Laugh a Lot – Find a friend to have fun with or watch some comedy, whatever it takes to bring laughter into your world. Laughter is a great healer.
  • Go with the Flow – Notice where the big rocks or obstacles in your life are and move around them versus pushing against them. As one member of our group shared, “It’s easier to ride the horse in the  direction the horse is going!”

You will recognize that these suggestions really are just common sense and yet, common sense is not common! I encourage you to take this list and pin it up in a place where it is fully  visible and then practice 1, 2 or more of these suggestions daily.

Until next time…

 

Betty

Read Full Post »

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common–this is my symphony.

William Henry Channing

This quote arrived the morning after a powerful Coaching Circle where participants were asked to present their dreams to one another and explore what it would mean to stretch their wings. The result was an interesting discussion on how we are so very capable of subtly yet insidiously capable of sabotaging ourselves.

FEAR
Without recognizing it consciously, most of us fear sharing our dreams. Sharing makes it real, gives the dream fuel and heightens the chance that the dream will come true. And this is the conflict, we have dreams yet we dare not dream.

As Marianne Williamson writes in her famous poem, “Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”. It is our power and the realization that we are powerful, that holds us back. We have been trained to live and be small. Sharing our dreams enlarges them, adds fuel to them, makes them real and occasionally, makes us shrink. Is it time to stop shrinking?

Conditions
Part of our shrinking is our belief that although we want the dream we may not be ready. Here is a little known law, The Law of Right Timing. Many of us have come to understand and practice the Law of Attraction. What we have forgotten is that the Universe always works on our behalf and has our highest good in mind, That means that what we are asking for, our dream, will arrive at the perfect time for us. That may be instantly, tomorrow or three years from now.

If we can move beyond our fears and into our dreams while releasing the how and the timing to the hands of the Universe, perhaps we will finally begin manifesting that which we truly desire.

It’s Rarely Material
Although much of the Law of Attractions early messaging, through vehicles such as The Secret (Movie and book) focused on manifesting financial abundance, my experience is that dreams are rarely attached to the material. Dreams are more about how we choose to live in the world, what we want to accomplish and how we chose to serve. This was best articulated by one of our circle participants who shared, “I don’t need a lot. It’s not material things I want to own. I want enough financial abundance to cover my costs, go shopping for a new dress occasionally and enjoy a dinner out from time to time. My dream is so much more than this.”

What is Your Symphony?
Have I convinced YOU – have I convinced myself?

Dare I dream?

Dare I share them?

Dare I allow them?

Dare I embrace them?

peace John Lennon

I dream of playing on the world stage as a speaker and facilitator,
reaching out to people around the world with what I know to be true –
that when each of us makes peace with ourselves and steps into our power and our dream,
we change the world.

I invite you to hold my dream, my symphony!

Will you share yours with me?

Until next time….

Betty

Read Full Post »

In the months since we began facilitating coaching circles, one of the unanticipated outcomes of the circles has been the building of community. I’m not sure why, but it had not occurred to me just how alone people have been feeling. Certainly I have noticed it myself. I just assumed that because I choose to live rurally now, that being alone was my new way of life.

With the start of each coaching circle, we ask participants to share with us their intentions for what they want to gain from the experience. Inevitably several of the participants mention that they are looking for community. Specifically they want to connect to like-minded individuals who, like themselves, are choosing to step on the path of self-discovery and shape their life differently.

As facilitators we have learned that the coaching circle is a transformative experience, partly due to the coaching and largely due to the sharing of experience of the individual participants. Participants relate to the feelings, thoughts and experiences of others. Suddenly they realize that they are not alone in those sometimes dark places and that their struggles to live their life differently are shared by others.

In a recent blog posting from colleague Lianne Bridges, www.shiftvillage.com, Lianne shared her experience of attending the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, “To be in the presence of conscious individuals is awe-inspiring….What was so amazing about this conference were the sixteen-hundred people from all walks of life and four corners of the world who shared one main perspective – the strong desire to use their expertise and gifts to better the world.

Lianne also refers to community as one’s tribe. By her definition, tribe does not necessarily refer only to people who are bound to you by familial, geographic, political, cultural or even racial ties, but also includes people who share your closely held beliefs or world views.

Finding our tribe, our community, may be one of the healthiest and most essential gifts we can give ourselves. People do feel alone. The isolation people are experiencing is a secondary effect of our technological prowess. We have grown attached to the I-phones, Blackberries and other gadgets that give us the illusion of being connected. It is however superficial – words with no depth, no real meaning, no eye to eye contact.

We have also lost many of the social structures that once connected us – the church communities, the service clubs, the back yard BBQ’s. Is it that life has simply become too busy?

Whatever the reason, the loss of these social systems has left people searching for ways to connect.

Developing community, or finding your tribe as Lianne has suggested, has become important. It is part of feeling whole and consciously connected to a shared meaning and an opportunity to learn more about you through the eyes of others.

So where do you start; how do you find your tribe?

  • It begins with reaching out to others whom you sense have a similar desire or who may want to rally around a shared cause.
  • It begins with your desire to understand yourself and to share the experience of personal discovery with others.
  • It begins by being clear about who you actually want to ‘BE’ with and taking the time to describe who would be perfect for you at this time in your life.
  • It begins by being open-hearted, generous and kind – first with yourself, then with others.  You can only attract these kinds of companions when you give it to self-first.
  • It begins by stepping out of your comfort zone and reaching out to others, or perhaps signing up for a program which you believe will attract others you want to be with.
  • It begins by trusting your  heart more than your head, listening to your intuition when you encounter  others and your deep sense of knowing they are a perfect companion.

friends

There is an opportunity to begin to notice the opportunities that may already exist in your community. Who around you shares common values, desires and perhaps stories. Take the first step – put out a call to your friends, colleagues and acquaintances and start a conversation. Create a gathering around a book, a question, a theme.

You may find your tribe!

Until next time…

Betty

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »