What Would You Do If Money Were No Object?

What Would You Do If Money Were No Object?

Alan Watts likes to ask his students, when doing career counseling, “What would you do if money were no object?” He hopes to get them thinking about what they really enjoy about life, what pursuits they truly want to devote energy toward, and how they want to spend their days.  Because after all, “what we do with our days is what we do with our lives.” (Annie Dillard)

On one hand, it is quite important to ask ourselves what we would do if we didn’t need to earn money.  When we do that, we tap into the things that drive us to align our actions with our values, we find meaning in the everyday, and we teach our children to do the same.  And a society full of people who are doing what they feel called to do is one that is setting itself up for a foundation of peace and vitality.  …

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It’s Only A Door

It’s Only A Door

“The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door”
~Adrienne Rich

Crossing that thresold into your uncharted future is an act of great courage and self compassion, and it changes your relationship to life in a fundamental way. It embodies your willingness to employ a new form of risk taking, to consciously choose growth-stimulating, soul-nourishing conflicts, to live through the accompanying anxiety, and to accept your life as open ended and unpredictable. Passing through the door commits you to living in the present in a way you never before have.  ~Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft

Have you seen that movie, Sliding Doors?  I have to admit that I don’t really remember the plot very well, other than in tandem story lines, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character misses her train by seconds as the doors slide shut in one and in the other she makes it and goes on with her day as planned.  Her choices as a result of missing the train and going through a different door alter the course of her life almost beyond recognition.  In the movie, at least as I remember it, she doesn’t consciously choose to miss the train of course.  But she does and goes through a different door that she normally would have chosen, and we see the chain reaction of events that emerge.  It can be a scary thing, a door.  An unwanted thing.  And it can be life changing. Continue reading “It’s Only A Door”

On Being

On Being

When I was trained as a coach 8.5 years ago, one of the things that stuck with me the most was the emphasis on helping a person see who they are “being” – that is to say, helping each individual look past the surface doings into how he/she is showing up and how that way of being is effecting their choices.

I read an article by coach and writer Danielle van de Kemenade this morning, and her words resonated with me a lot:

The biggest impact I’ve been able to make in my clients’ lives is on their states of being rather than changed acts of doing. The coaching paradigm itself is perhaps the best way of exemplifying the belief in doing as a primary method to achieving a better way of being. After each session, I’ll ask my clients to come up with five things they’ll do between our sessions to start to move towards greater personal well-being.

Fundamental to all of the above seems to be this thought: I’ll be a better, happier, more fulfilled person through more (focused) doing. I do (or have done), therefore I am. And yet, lately my views on this have started to shift, subtly.

Perhaps one of humanity’s challenges this century won’t necessarily be to do more better and faster, but to refine our ways of being and to let our actions flow from this.

On one hand you might think, “Wait, that doesn’t quite jive with what we are trying to do with small steps.  Isn’t the goal to help people make tiny changes that will eventually lead to lasting health improvements and better well being?” Continue reading “On Being”

Returning to our Roots: Healing Healthcare

Returning to our Roots: Healing Healthcare

Being a yoga teacher [or a wellness coach] is similar to being a physician [i.e. one that is invested in healing, not keeping business good]: my mission is to find the origination of my clients’ problems and help my clients heal themselves, so I can send them on their way, out in the world with the ability to maintain their health, on their own.

~Rebecca Lammersen

It’s not about business or client retention or making more money than we did last year.  Sure, on some level it is important to create business and have clients and keep them around long enough for everyone involved to benefit in the ways that matter.  But these days, it seems that the ever important dollar gets the final say more than anything else.  Pulling a profit that’s bigger than before takes priority, and we tell ourselves that if business is booming, well, we can help more people.  In some ways, it’s true.  We can try to keep clients coming back for as long as possible, plant the seeds of positive change, treat the disorder with a pill, and along the way help the bottom line.  Everybody wins, right?

In this world we live in, money is important.  You might know this already.  Depending on where we live and what sort of lifestyle we are aiming for or born into, we need a certain minimum of incoming cash flow to thrive.  Living on the planet comes with a price tag for most people in the modern world.  So, while money is obviously important, I might dare to say that authenticity is more so.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not super interested in working with someone who doesn’t really want to interact with me, or only does so out of fear or guilt or whatever other reasons people do things that they aren’t intrinsically motivated to do.  People can benefit from programs and classes and 1:1 appointments, absolutely.  That’s not my issue today.  My issue today is that yoga and wellness coaching and health care, at the core,  is about healing. It’s about honoring the process. It’s about authentic ways of being together and in the world that increase beauty and take energy away from destruction.  Too often our culture has lost sight of that.  Too often we hook people and try to convince them that they need us forever.  Too often we become part of the message of lack. Continue reading “Returning to our Roots: Healing Healthcare”

Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps

Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps

Stress.  It’s something that every living being experiences.  From animals to plants to humans, stress is a part of life on this planet.  A zebra experiences stress when a lion springs from the bushes: that rush of adrenaline and cortisol that fuel the instinct to flee keeps the zebra alive for another day.  A plant in the garden experiences stress when the weather is hot and windy or cold and too damp: the resiliency that is built due to these conditions helps the plant to thrive when conditions evolve.  Much like in the zebra’s story, a human can experience stress when life is physically threatened whether that threat comes via a gunman, a grizzly bear or an icy road.  The heart races, palms get sweaty and all we can think about is the crisis at hand.  We react. And that reaction to a life or death threat is necessary for survival in such cases.

However, in our modern societies today, we generally experience significantly less life or death stress than our hunter/gatherer ancestors did.  For most of us, stress arises when we perceive a situation to be stressful and when we let our perception hijack our response.  There are challenges galore in a human life – that goes without saying.  Schedules are tight, communications with loved ones or colleagues or neighbors are strained or non-existent, traffic is bad and there are too many bills to pay.  But are they life or death situations?  Usually not.  Yet they often trigger the same fear or stress response:  Our hearts race, palms get sweaty and all we can think about is the crisis at hand.  We react.  But in this case, our reaction is not helping us to survive: in fact, it might even be causing damage to our health in the form of elevated blood pressure, chronic tension headaches or inability to get quality sleep. In today’s modern culture, particularly in the corporate workforce, values of more, better, faster have invited everything from chronic stress to burnout to a general disliking of Mondays. When we view the world as an emergency room, our stress levels soar.  But when we can really see what’s going on, we regain a sense of control and peace. Continue reading “Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps”

The Need For Magic

The Need For Magic

In order to free our world from its present nightmare of materialism and exploitation, we need a new story—a story of oneness and interdependence, of cooperation rather than competition. But to make this transition we need a power, the magic that belongs to life itself. How can we find this magic to give birth to a new story of oneness, of the earth as a living, self-sustaining whole, full of beauty and wonder?  

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee goes on to say, “The next story is not going to be just a human story, and it’s not going to be on our terms.”  It’s going to be on the earth’s terms, and it’s going to validate that we humans are not separate from or above or more important than nature. The current story that we are embedded in heralds consumerism, wealth and getting ahead as the road to a successful and happy life.  This story has a powerful pull – it has demonstrated the power to change the physical world beyond recognition in too many cases, and it has demonstrated the power to entice the collective of humanity to turn a blind eye to the cry of the earth.   We have poured ourselves into this current story with abandon and it can be hard to feel the new one that wants to emerge. Continue reading “The Need For Magic”

The New World of Winter

The New World of Winter

This winter started early with a foot of unexpected snow mid November, and then 13 days later temperatures in the 40s and 50s invited the ground to turn dry and brown again.  Then a few weeks into December, the temperature dropped below freezing, and it snowed just enough inches to cover the ground in bright white.  We got a few weeks of ice skating on the rink that my husband likes to clear on the lake, skied some loops around the field in shallow tracks, and our two year old took her first runs down the sledding hill through the wisps of grass that poked through the snow cover.  Then it got bitterly cold, and we woke up to wind chills of twenty below zero for a week straight.  And now, at the end of January, the temperature is 36 degrees, the sun is out and the snow is succumbing to the heat once again.  We made a snowman, and he’s shrinking as I type this.  I’m not sure he’ll make it a full week.  My skis are languishing by the back door, despondent in their respite from use.  The snowshoes are sitting by the door, waiting to be needed. doclist Continue reading “The New World of Winter”