“Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.” ~Unknown
Why do so many people fear change instead of welcoming it? We tend to get into a routine and become quite comfortable with things. After a while, it is easy to develop a false sense of security. It feels safe because we know we to expect. It’s easy to become comfortably numb. We resist change and close out creativity.
If we are not changing, we are not creating our lives. Imagine if nothing changed in your life from this day forward. Everything would remain the same. Creativity would seize. In a sense, we would be alive, but not living. Would you be satisfied? Would you have any regrets? What comes up for you?
Whether you realize it or not, you play a part in creating each day. It begins with creating an intention, attitude or outlook. Conscious or subconscious, it’s there. It could be based in fear or love. Be mindful of your thoughts.
What are you creating?
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ~Soren Kierkegaard
This is the perfect time to reflect upon this past year. Are you ready?
To prepare, take a deep breath, slow down, and grab a cup of coffee or tea along with a journal or notebook to write in. As you go through the reflection questions below, write down what comes to you after reading each one.
There is no right or wrong answer. Making judgments and having negative thoughts are not part of the plan. This is an exercise for you to use to make positive changes.
- What did you learn this year about yourself and in general?
- Pick 5 words to describe this year.
- What or who brought a smile to your face or warmed your heart this year?
- What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
- What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
- Who came into your life this year?
- What or who did you let go of this year?
- With whom were your most valuable relationships?
- What effect did this past year have on your emotionally, spiritually and physically?
- In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
- What was your single biggest time waster in this year?
- What was the best way you used your time this past year?
- What was your greatest accomplishment this past year?
- What do you want to continue into the New Year?
Did you find this exercise helpful? I’m always looking for feedback. Please feel free to add a comment below.
Wishing you an amazing 2017 full of endless possibilities!
- Smile and laugh as often as possible. They are the ultimate anti-depressants and don’t cost a thing.
- Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
- Focus on the positive. Invest your energy on good thoughts, positive people and what vibrates at a high level of energy. (Avoid energy vampires.)
- Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and less manufactured food.
- Make time to do the things that bring you joy and fulfillment. (Coloring, writing, singing, dancing, drawing, scrap booking, painting, playing an instrument, etc…)
- Disconnect from all electronics and connect with nature 15 minutes a day.
- Take responsibility for your own happiness. It is not up to anyone else.
- Spend time with people under the age of 5 and over the age of 65.
- Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated.
- Practice meditation and affirmations on a regular basis.
- Clear clutter from your home, your office and your car to make space for fresh new and flowing energy in your life.
- Let it go. Life is too short to hold onto resentments or waste time hating anyone. Forgive and release everything! You will feel lighter.
- Do at least one activity a day that gets your body moving. Take a walk. Go running. Hike. Hit the gym. Keep it moving.
- Be kind to yourself. (Would you treat others the same way you treat yourself?)
- Agree to disagree. You don’t have to win every argument.
- Stop comparing your life to other peoples’ lives. Comparison robs us of our joy.
- Prepare for your situation to change, good or bad. Change is constant.
- Stay in touch with your friends and family. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
- Do the right thing for the right reasons. (Check your motives before taking action.)
- Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed. Be grateful instead of hateful.
- Be of Service. Give back. Volunteer. Help someone. It is beyond fulfilling.
Do you find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed? Is your schedule overloaded? Do you wonder where the energy will come from to get it all done? You’re not alone. Taking time to slow down is a popular topic that comes up with some of my clients. After working together, many of them discover that we all need to internally slow down in our minds, slow down in our schedules and slow down in our activity.
It is usually our resistance to slowing down that causes the anxiety, fear and overwhelming feelings. When you think about slowing down, what comes up for you? Some people have a fear that they won’t get everything done. Others fear they will miss out on something. It is important to take a look at what slowing down really means to you. This might help to shift your perspective. (Even the Energizer Bunny needs to change batteries at some point!) By slowing down, most of us end up feeling more energized, less stressed and a little lighter. Doesn’t that sound nice? The good news is that it is totally possible. Here are 7 slow down strategies you might find helpful:
- Breath. By consciously taking loooong, slooow, deeeeep breaths we can begin to slow down the heart rate and our racing thoughts as well. Control over our breathing is something that is always available to us, no matter what the circumstances might be.
- Recognize limitations. Be gentle with yourself. Something has to give and sometimes it’s your very own expectations that apply the pressure to keep going and not slowing down.
- Schedule time to relax. Block time on your busy calendar for YOU. By planning a date and time on your calendar, you are making a commitment to take care of yourself. Be sure to keep the date! Do something relaxing during your time like taking a bubble bath, getting a massage, reading, meditating or listening to soothing music.
- Make a list. Do a brain dump and write down all of the things you have on your mind. There’s no need to worry about writing out sentences, correcting spelling or punctuation. Just write it out. This will release the mental clutter and your thoughts will slow down.
- Avoid too much caffeine. The extra energy you get from the morning cup of java can also increase anxiety. Try ordering a decaf coffee in the afternoon or evening. Cutting back on the energy drinks will help as well.
- Connect with Nature. Disconnect from the electronics and spend some time with nature. Take a walk in a park. Make time for a hike. Sit outside and observe Mother Nature. What kind of trees and flowers do you see. What the birds, squirrels and other creatures in their natural habitats. Connecting with nature will bring a calmness to you. In turn, it will allow you to let go of the stress and slow down.
- Remain grateful. We all have so many blessings to be grateful for in our lives. The universe is taking care of us all the time. Focusing on gratitude will help you to internally slow down and reconnect with your spirit.
It is important to give yourself permission to slow down. I challenge you to pick a few slow down strategies from the above list to practice on a regular basis. There are many other ways to slow down, so feel free to do whatever works best for you. The goal is to slow down. After you start slowing down, make sure you recognize the positive difference it makes in your life.
Which slow down strategies will you focus on today?
As hard as it is to admit it, I’ve been stuck. Several years ago, I lost my “virtual” voice. My writing, blog posts and social media pages came to a halt. I found myself in the middle of an unpredictable storm. At times it was hard to walk through it. Eventually the storm passed and the skies cleared. Emotionally, it felt like my foundation had been cracked. I needed to rebuild.
Since then, a part of me has been caught in a cycle of overwhelming fear when it comes to writing. I have allowed the fear to hold me back. The ideas and words have continued to come to me every day. This is nothing new. Some people feel an urge to exercise, shop, eat, paint, dance, etc… I feel the urge to write. Then morning turns to night and nothing is released. Oh how I’ve longed to pick up the pen or type on my keyboard once again.
As far back as I can remember, I have been creative. Writing has been my passion. When I was a teenager, writing was my form of therapy for quite some time. Before I was able to speak my truth, I wrote my truth. It felt so freeing. It filled my spirit and gave me purpose.
Through this experience, I’ve learned that my creativity and “inner-writer” never left me. Somehow, the fear crept in and kept us apart. It deflated my courage, sense of security and self-worth. My inner-writer has been patiently waiting to reunite. My creativity was not as patient and took another route.
When the words were unable to find a way out, my creativity connected me with Coloring. About a year ago, I bought a couple Meditation Coloring Books as a different way to get back into meditation. I loved it! I ordered dozens of coloring books, packs of markers, gel pens, and when the creativity was really flowing, Prismacolor pencils. Coloring gave me a chance to put the pen to the paper again and create. What a beautiful process it has been.
I have felt a shift from within. I started working with a Life & Business Coach a few weeks ago. It reinforced what a powerful process coaching can be when I’m ready to change. One of the “ah-ha” moments came when my Coach helped me see how much my creativity was connected to my authentic-self. By tapping back into my creativity through coloring, I reconnected to a place within where my inner-writer was waiting. It was time to reunite.
I took a deep breath and asked my Higher Power to take the fear away. I felt love in my heart. I let go of the false beliefs. I felt the courage and inspiration come back to me. I released the negative thoughts and doubts. I gave myself permission to live in my truth. I embraced my creativity. And I wrote this blog post!
This week has felt like a wild roller coaster ride. Emotions were running high with unforeseen twists and turns. It’s time to recenter. Let go of all negativity, dark energy, emotional walls and thoughts that do not serve the greater good.
Join in embracing our democracy. May we all come together and stand united to lift one another up. May our hearts remain open and filled with love, light, peace and hope. Let’s focus on what part each of us can play to make our home, community, state, country and world a better place.
The election is over, the reflection can begin. Give yourself permission to be right where you are. Connect with your feelings. What have you learned about yourself and others through this experience?
Thoughts become things. Focus on the positive ones. It takes practice. It’s a mindful choice. Each one of us can look within to determine if what we are putting out into the world is coming from a place of love or fear. Are your words helpful or hurtful?
Take heartfelt action. What can you do today to contribute towards the solution? It can be on a small scale. A random act of kindness goes a long way. Listen to a friend who needs to be heard. Smile at a stranger. Check on an elderly neighbor. Let a car in front of you during rush hour. Hold the door for someone. Let your loved ones know how much you love them. Give a compliment. Pay it forward.
Imagine being out in the wilderness on a beautiful spring day. There is a stream flowing downhill filled with colorful fish, rocks and leaves. The birds are singing and you can feel the sun shining on your face. Ahhhhh! You start to walk along the stream and follow a school of fish swimming by. Up ahead, you notice some bark from a tree is blocking part of the stream. Leaves and rocks are starting to form a barrier making it very difficult for the fish to pass through. It seems as though there is not enough room for the fish to move forward and break on through to the other side. Because of this “perceived” illusion, the fish start to give up. Now what? (Can you relate?)
As a life coach, one of the common topics clients want to focus on is moving forward in their lives when something is holding them back. Their goals, dreams and ideas are like the rocks and leaves in the stream. The stream represents the flow of life events and experiences. The tree bark and leaves are the fears, mental blocks and false beliefs that appear to hold them back from moving forward. With coaching, I help clients become aware of all the paths in the stream of their minds they might not have seen. We discover ways to put a plan of actions in place to take action, grow and change.
What’s holding you back from moving forward? Now is the perfect time to dive into the stream of change.