How to Find Relief in 3 Agonizing Steps

Relief.

You know the feeling, when that thing you were dreading ended, or got canceled, or turned out to be nothing serious.

I remember being all the way across the country and seeing a friend’s post on Facebook asking, “Does anyone know the name of the cyclist that was hit by a car on River Road this morning?”

Since my son frequently trains on that stretch of highway I was instantly overtaken with panic.

Within a few seconds, a million terrible, bloody thoughts raced through my mind. “No, No, No”, my mind was screaming.  I dialed his cellphone; no answer.  I dialed the house; no answer.  I dialed my other son, who answered to say that his brother had ridden that morning but was home, safe, and in the shower.

Relief! He was okay.

Then the panic was replaced by another uncomfortable emotion…anger.  Anger directed towards the hit-and-run driver that left a cyclist for dead on the side of the road.  Thankfully,  the injured cyclist was alive and taken to the hospital by some good Samaritans who saw him in time.  Relief.  He was going to be okay.

We all need to recognize the feeling of relief, and then learn how to produce it.  Here though, is the caveat – feeling relief from the pain or uncomfortable emotion is quicker and easier when we allow our self to feel the pain or uncomfortable emotion.

We rarely do this.  Instead we resist the pain or emotion by pushing it down (“I’m not going to cry”), distracting our self (Ice cream!! Pie!! Ice cream AND Pie!!), denying that it exists (“I’m fine”), numbing ourselves (“Make mine a double.”)

That painful feeling.  That uncomfortable emotion. We run from it.  We bolt.

Pema Chodron, author and Buddhist nun, once said, “Never underestimate the inclination to bolt.”

When I hear a client tell me they feel relief, I know that whatever action produced the relief was more than likely the perfect choice for them at that moment.

So I want to give you these 3 steps.  Yes, those 3 agonizing steps. (They’re agonizing because you really just want to bolt!)

  1. Recognize the feeling of relief – start becoming aware of that feeling when you experience it
  2. Recognize the feeling of resistance – again, awareness (without judgment)
  3. Choose to Feel that feeling you’ve been resisting ( or denying, numbing, pushing down, bolting from)

Remember  a time when you felt that amazing feeling of relief?  I want to ask you to relive it right now.

Just for a few seconds, remember first whatever it was you were resisting, and then, relief.

Can you feel that resistance and constriction being replaced by nonresistance and relaxation?

In some situations this progression happens naturally. Like in the situation above where I was concerned freaked out that my son might have been hit by a car, and then felt relief when I found out he was safe.

But what about emotions and feelings that are unrelenting and unable to be resolved by hearing a positive outcome?  The sadness of a broken heart, the grief of losing someone we love, the fear of what could happen next?

This is where we find a gift in being able to feel our feelings fully:  When we sit with them, when we are able to be curious and non-judgmental about them, when we let them expand, when we give them space to exist, and when we acknowledge them.

Do you know what happens then?

Most often, they dissipate rather quickly.  This is because what we resist persists.

And then we realize that that thing, that monstrous feeling we’ve worked so hard to resist, is really not as bad as we’ve imagined it would be.  It is often more of a shadow than a real monster.

Once we stop resisting we make space for metamorphosis.  That ugly caterpillar of sadness, or grief, or fear can be replaced with that beautiful butterfly of relief.

Love & Magic,

Cindie

 

 

photo credit

 

Posted in Coaching, Conscious Creation, Personal Growth | 2 Comments

What Women Want

In order to be a member of my email community, I request that you ask me a question, specifically “Your #1 burning question about loving happily ever after”  (and if you aren’t a member, why NOT?? Join NOW!!—-> )

I get A LOT of questions.

I get A LOT of the SAME questions.

A question that comes in often (or a variation of it) is “How can we keep our love alive?”

“How can I keep her interested?”

“How do I keep from getting bored?”  “How do we keep the fireworks going?”

You get the picture, and even though my email community is mostly women, the above questions were submitted by men.  So, Guys, this one is for you, and Ladies…please read and if this message resonates with you please leave a comment below!

My question to anyone that is asking this (and yes, my Dad told me it was sneaky and not very diplomatic to answer questions with questions but Hey, I’m a coach, I ask questions), is this:

What did you do to attract her in the first place?

Recently I heard someone say, “Back when I was wooing her…”  As if it was a phase that had ended.  I quickly interjected that when a man stops wooing a woman he will begin the process of losing her.

Harsh words.  I know.  But here is the thing, wooing a woman is like an internship.

My son’s first job began as a bar back in a sushi restaurant.  That’s really dirty work, first to get to work, last to leave, hauling heavy boxes of bottles and cleaning nasty floors.  He dreamed of being a sushi chef.

The managers laughed, until he offered to work for free.  Then the negotiations began.

My son offered to work for free until he learned how to make sushi that passed the owner’s inspection, however long that took.  He was wooing them.  He worked hard.  On his day off he would come home from the grocery with what seemed like a hundred cucumbers and he would practice peeling them paper thin over and over.  He worked nearly a year for free. He made sure his sushi was not only delicious but beautiful.   And now…

Now he makes some of the best sushi in the city and he gets paid to do it. He won them over.  He still works for them, he still works hard.  He still makes delicious and beautiful sushi.

But what do you think would have happened if he would have worked hard during that internship, impressed the owners, got the paid position, and then became a sub-par sushi chef, only showing up some of the time, or making sushi that was sloppy or unappetizing?

Do you see the parallel?  When a man is wooing a woman he shows up, he works hard, he treats her with respect and honor, he compliments her, he sends her sweet messages when they are apart, he buys her romantic gifts, he dresses nice, he smells nice, he sends her flowers, he makes her laugh, he opens doors for her, he really listens to her, he is polite and charming because he is making a serious effort to win her.

And it works.

Why does this work?

Because she is thinking OH MY GOD this is the kind of guy I want to be with forever!

She is then willing to do just about anything for him.  She wants to give him her heart, her body, her mind, her gifts, her love, her truth, her devotion, her whole self.

And she will, because she has been “sold” on him.  She is “buying” what he’s “selling”.

And when he stops delivering it is painful.

So, how do you keep her interested?  How do you rekindle the fire? How do you keep from getting bored?  Just do what you did in the first place.  She’ll thank you for it.

 

Love & Magic,

Cindie

Posted in Chemistry, Coaching, General, Personal Growth, relationships | Leave a comment

More Magic, Less Stress

Stress

Since the dawn of humanity, stress is something we have dealt with on a constant daily basis.

All of the things we want, like love, romance, success, abundance, money, health, friends, happiness, and peace all come to us more easily when our stress levels are managed.

Stress is the leading cause of disease and precursor to death. There are many books, programs, and websites dedicated to helping us all be “stress-free”.

Articles about ways to eliminate stress from your life come up readily in any Google search about stress.

I’m not completely convinced that I will ever get to the point where I can say my life is “stress-free”, but I do believe that there are many tools available to help us manage stress successfully if we will just use them.

Many of us, maybe most of us, live very high stress lives and often we expect to relieve ourselves from months or even years worth of stress in a weekend at the beach.

But our attempts to manage stress will be much more successful if they happen on a daily (or at least weekly) basis.

Because money, and time, (or the perceived lack of it) are two big stressors, these are the two biggest excuses people use for not doing something:

  • “I don’t have the money” and
  • “I don’t have time”

Choosing an inexpensive and relatively quick stress relieving activity is important here.

Likewise, doing something you enjoy will be much easier to habitualize than something you don’t. (Thank you, Captain Obvious).

Don’t we all want to push the easy button?

So, I’m going to suggest…(drumroll please)… drawing. For several reasons. Here are 5 of them:

1. It’s cheap. Cheap as in inexpensive. You can pick up a decent pen and a small sketchbook for less than $10. Even if you were to draw on a page or two every single day it should still last you for several weeks, possibly months. (So, no big money stress going on here.)

2. It’s quick, and portable. You can take your sketchbook with you and spend as much or as little time as you like. Sketch on the subway, in the waiting room, whenever, wherever.

3. Anyone can do it. Often when people find out that I am a visual artist the first thing they say is “I can’t draw.” Well, I want to let you know that anyone can draw. It is a learned skill, and once you fill up the first sketchbook you will realize that you too, can draw. And besides that, who cares!? This is one place where process trumps product. We are practicing relieving stress, not creating something to sell or show. There is no “right” way to do it here.

4. It could save your life. Danny Gregory attributes life saving properties to it. His book Everyday Matters is one of my all time favorites.

5. My personal endorsement! I have personal experience with sketching and can vouch for it’s stress reducing ability. (and if you are interested you can view my catalogued sketchbook in the Brooklyn Art Library here).

Less stress equals better health, and more magic in your life.

If you recognize that you want more magic, more love, more money, more abundance, more success, more peace, more happiness, more joy, and LESS STRESS in your life, show some love and comment below! Tell me how YOU reduce stress (or how you plan on reducing stress levels starting now!!)

And if you decide to take up sketching, I’d love to know..!

Love & Magic,

Cindie

 

 

 

photo credit

 

 

 

Posted in Coaching, Conscious Creation, General, Personal Growth | 2 Comments

Quiet, Please.

shhh

When was the last time you spent more than a minute or two in silence?

Have you ever actually planned a time to spend in silence?

I am talking about real, pure, silence – no music, no phones ringing, no talking to anyone, no reading (when we read we are actually conversing with the author!), no talking to your self, no watching TV with the sound off… just silence.

The revered ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu is quoted as saying that “Silence is a source of great strength.” 

Those of you follow the news regarding health have probably heard on a regular basis that the stress reducing effects of meditation provide health benefits. One of the simplest forms of meditation is just spending a few minutes in complete silence and stillness.

It seems easy—because it is a simple concept—and yet, slowing down, being still, and being quiet are very difficult things for most people to do in our busy, noisy world.

I remember a story a friend told me after he and his wife had returned from attending a weekend silent retreat.  By lunchtime on the first day his wife was attempting to spell words to him with the little carrot shreds from the salad that was served!

Mahatma Gandhi once said that in the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.

When we get very clear about our path we are able to move forward with great strength.  When we begin to move forward with absolute clarity, strength and commitment the Universe will begin to offer us much support.

As Goethe said, “At the moment I commit, the Universe conspires to assist me.”

Certainly spending time being quiet is not something that happens by accident, at least not often enough to be of benefit.  

I would like to encourage you to purposefully plan  to spend some time being silent, and being still. 

Not doing.  Just being. 

Maybe you can try it for just ten minutes at first.

Breathe deep, relax, and enjoy.  May you find the strength, and clarity, spoken of above.

I would love to hear about your experience.

Love & Magic,

Cindie

 





Posted in Conscious Creation, General, Life balance, Meditation | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Letting it Be Easy

Recently I had a conversation that included the words “hard work”.  My client related to me that a certain situation “was hard work, but worth it.”

Now, to be fair, I think we all can relate to that statement.  Certainly, we have all been involved in some kind of “hard work” at one time or another and then have been elated, or maybe relieved, to see the “pay off”.

Maybe it was an exercise program, or a big corporate project, or just cleaning out a closet.  It always feels great to accomplish a task, large or small, and then reap the rewards.

However, the whole conversation got me thinking about the limiting belief, or assumption, that hard work is necessary to enjoy a reward.

This belief system is very prevalent.  Many of us were brought up with a message that told us we had to “work hard” in school, so we could get into a good college, and of course once college came around we then had to “work hard” to get a good job. Once we landed that good job then we needed to “work hard” to get that big promotion.

Surely, you see where I am going with this.  There really never is an end to this cycle because it is the belief that perpetuates the cycle.

Is this a belief that you have been taught most of your life?  Is it a belief you buy into?

There is a concept in nature that is known as the path of least resistance.

In physics, the path of least resistance is always taken by objects moving through a system. Water flowing downhill follows the path of least resistance as it is pulled downward by gravity.

Electricity  flowing through a circuit behaves similarly. Storms and weather patterns flow toward zones of low barometric pressure, where lower air density offers less resistance to the storm system than higher pressure zones.

One of the most important steps we can take to create ease and flow in our lives is to be authentic.

When we allow ourselves to BE who we really are we embody much less resistance.

Look around at the rest of nature, observe a bird, or a tree, or your dog.  None of them are trying to be anything but what they are, they are authentic all the time, and they seem to breeze through life with purpose.

When we allow ourselves to be authentic, when we let go of the concept that things have to be “hard work” to be successful, we can begin to enter a place where things get easier, and everything begins to flow with ease.

After all, doing is work, being is effortless.

Love & Magic,

Cindie

Posted in Coaching, Conscious Creation, General, Personal Growth | 1 Comment

Setting Strong Boundaries

This week I’ve been aware of how often people have weak boundaries, or really no boundaries at all.

Do you say “yes” to requests others make of you when you would really rather decline? (Are you “shoulding” on yourself?)

Do you make decisions based on how others will feel, neglecting your own feelings?

Do you give the feelings/schedules/desires of others priority over your own?

Make the decision to take responsibility for your boundaries.

When our boundaries are weak, we often are tempted to blame others for the things we are tolerating. The things we tolerate drain our energy and create general unhappiness.

Here are 8 tips that will help you with setting strong boundaries.

1. No amount of saying “yes” will gain you more respect than saying “no”.

People pleasers often say “yes” because they want to be thought of as ‘nice’ and they do not want to experience conflict.

The truth is you can have strong boundaries, learn to say “no”, and still be a nice person!

The bonus is that in addition to being nice you will also be respected.

2. Start with just one thing.

I once had a client that was a youth counselor who absolutely loved his job and the kids he counseled. They loved him too, and proved it by calling him at all hours of the day and night. He always took their calls because he felt he should “be there” for them. He complained that this was destroying his relationship with his wife. He had not eaten dinner without at least two phone call interruptions for years.

I asked him if he would be willing to set “office hours” and record a voice-mail saying that he would be back in the office the following day, and then let all calls after 5pm go to voice-mail.

He reluctantly agreed to try it for one week.

This might sound a bit dramatic, but he exclaimed that his life had completely changed. He began having lovely dinners and meaningful conversation with his family.  He experienced more energy and less stress,  and none of his “kids” complained, they just called back during office hours.

3. Learn to buy yourself some time.

You don’t always have to be ready with a quick answer. “I’ll think about this and get back to you tomorrow afternoon.”, or “I’ll be able to give you an answer next Monday.”

4. Be specific.

“I don’t take business calls after 5:00 pm, would you be willing to call me back tomorrow morning at 10:00am?”

5. You don’t need to defend your position or come up with a “valid” excuse.

“No, I won’t be able to attend.”

“No, I can’t help with that this time.”

6. When you set a boundary, it will be tested.

If you build a fence around the playground many of the children will go play right next to it, some of them will jump over it. When your boundary is tested it is your opportunity to be sure it is strong. Don’t back down, weak boundaries are useless. This is all part of the process.

7. Know what you will do when the boundary is tested.

If you decide not to take business calls after 5pm,  how you will deal with it when that client calls after 5pm?

Will you just ignore the call? Let it go to voicemail? Answer the call and remind your client not to call you after 5pm? (Pro tip: You have technology on your side – Voicemail for the win here)

Decide on your response and then stick to it. You will also need to decide how to respond if the boundary gets tested repeatedly. (You may decide to not renew your contract with the client, etc.)

8. The world will not fall apart if you say “no”.

Seriously, whoever is requesting your help will more than likely just call the next person on their list. Life will go on.

People with strong boundaries have less stress and more space and emotional energy for the things that give them happiness.

Decide today that you will stop tolerating one thing that has been draining you of your energy.  Set a boundary and stick to it, you may be surprised at how easy it can be.

Love & Magic,

Cindie

 

 

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Posted in Coaching, Conscious Creation, General, Life balance, Personal Growth, relationships | 3 Comments

The Power of Imperfection

Yesterday someone told me that recently they were aware that they’ve been continually starting things (lots of “things”!) without finishing them.

Typically we catagorize this as “procrastination”.

What is that thing you are procrastinating about?

What is that thing you keep saying you really want, and yet you haven’t moved forward towards it.

What is that thing that you started, and haven’t yet finished?

What is it that you are wishing for?

Whatever “it’ is probably just came to mind when you read the previous questions.

I do not consider myself a procrastinator in general. I like to get things done.

I also like things to be done in the best way possible, and this is where I run into roadblocks sometimes—they look like research and preparation— too much time spent arranging an effort in order to give myself the best opportunity to start and complete a task in the best way possible.

Sometimes we blame these roadblocks on “perfectionism”.

But perfectionism is not about being perfect, it’s about feeling secure.

And so many times these roadblocks stop progress all together. (This is sometimes referred to as “paralysis by analysis.”)

One of my favorite ideas is this:
“Your success is determined by your willingness to take imperfect action.”

The most fundamental thing that has ever held me back in any area of my life was my unwillingness to take action unless my actions were “perfect”.

That is, until I realized that thinking about perfect action is not forward progress, and wishing it were so will not make it so.

I remember years ago a close friend told me that they wanted to start a meditation practice.

I told them, “Start slow, 5 minutes…”
“How about 5 breaths?” they replied.

I love that reply, and upon hearing it I realized I needed to bring myself back to this whole concept of imperfect action.

Start where you are…and move forward, and then move forward again.

What small thing can you do today that would be a step in the direction of where you want to be?

 

How willing are you to take imperfect action?

Your success depends on it.

When you stop worrying about perfection and start taking action (however imperfect), the magic will begin.

Love & Magic

Cindie

Posted in Coaching, Conscious Creation, General, Meditation, Personal Growth | 1 Comment

Getting Lucky

dice

There is a story told of an old farmer living in medieval China who only owned one ailing horse, and then one day his only horse ran away.  His neighbors said to him, “What bad luck!” And the farmer replied, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

Several days later his sickly horse returned, bringing a dozen strong, healthy, wild horses with him.  The farmer’s neighbors exclaimed, “What wonderful luck!” And again, the farmer answered, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

The following week the farmer’s only son was riding one of the wild horses and fell off the horse, and broke his leg.  The neighbors voiced their opinion of the terrible accident, “What awful luck!” And once again, the farmer replied, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

A few days later the province went to war, the King’s army coming into the village and conscripting every young able bodied male.  The farmer’s son of course was excused from duty due to his broken leg.  The neighbor’s sons all went to war.  The neighbors saw the farmer as having such good luck, but the farmer again answered, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

This has to be one of my favorite stories, especially in times when I am tempted to view a circumstance as “bad luck”.  Drawing a conclusion about any given thing only limits our perspective and shuts down our ability to see opportunity.

As for the concept of “luck”, many times a belief in luck belies a poverty mentality, a backwards excuse for not being successful and a way to easily dismiss the success of someone else.

The poet Jean Cocteau once said “I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you dislike?”

Economist Stephen Leacock also believed in luck, and expressed himself as a great believer in luck, and found that the  harder he worked the more luck he had.

Certainly we’ve all experienced “luck” a time or two in our lives.  A near miss, a lucky guess, a series of fortunate events that left us feeling thankful to a higher power, sensing that we really could not take credit for whatever it was that came about.   And often even this is our own perception of those events that “sees” the luck.

The truth is, luck happens when we take more risks, show up more often, play full out,  look at things from a different perspective, keep being curious, stop making conclusions, expect miracles, stay true to our authenticity, and take the initiative to be prepared when opportunity knocks.

Sometimes we just have to make our own luck.

Here’s to getting lucky 😉

Love & Magic,

Cindie

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Why Are You Tolerating This?

“Why have you been tolerating this for so long?”, I asked.  Not once, not twice, but three times this week I asked that question.

Three different conversations where I recognized that the issues my clients were dealing with were long term items that had somehow just become the “way things are.”

Maybe the question could have been “Have you suffered enough?”

That may sound harsh, but the truth is we get what we tolerate, and we tolerate it until we’ve suffered enough.

I remember several years ago my son asked me why people often stay in unsatisfying relationships for such a long time.

My answer was, “When the pain of the current situation becomes greater than the person’s perceived pain of making a change, they’ll make the change.”

Although this idea definitely applies to relationships,  these questions can be applied to absolutely any situation in your life that you are not happy with.

Something as trivial as a leaky faucet or a burned out porch-light, a cluttered closet…or as major as an abusive relationship or a difficult school/job/career situation.

Tolerations cause stress and resistance.  Stress and resistance lead to resentment, communication breakdowns, frustration, depression, and illness.  (Seriously, studies show that an overwhelming percentage of diseases are stress related.)

On the other hand, when we stop tolerating things we release tension and resistance and suddenly feel more energy, more flow, and more synchronicity.  We feel lighter, more free, and more open.

This is the place where suffering can end and magic and miracles can begin.

You get what you tolerate.  Have you suffered enough?

Love & Magic,

Cindie

 

 

Posted in General | 5 Comments

“I just want to feel safe…”

This past week I recognized a trending theme in some of my coaching sessions; the desire to feel safe.  The common denominators: Each client that communicated this desire was a woman, and all of them were referring to relationships with men.

I believe that one of the most important (if not THE most important) relationship ingredients for a woman is safety.  When I speak of safety I speak of physical safety, of course, and a woman also wants to feel emotionally safe, and sexually safe.

As a relationship coach I hear this often, and as a woman I can relate to and understand this need.

Yesterday I was out riding my bike (something my Sweetheart and I do almost every day), and reflecting on my day.

As I was riding and thinking about the common thread throughout these recent coaching sessions I noticed a beautiful college age woman riding her bicycle around the lakes… without a helmet.

Cyclists without helmets… something I see too often.  My thoughts then turned to the drivers I see that are texting while driving and talking on cell phones while driving, once I even saw someone working on a laptop while driving!  All unsafe activities that, unfortunately, people engage in all too frequently.

That is when these two trains of thought collided and merged into another thought: People often live out an identity that is not in alignment with their desire.

In this example, how can I expect to be in a “safe” relationship if I am consistently putting out a message to the Universe that safety isn’t really one of my primary concerns?

The world around us is often a mirror that reflects exactly what is going on inside of us.

When what we say we want isn’t showing up, the clue we’re looking for is often within.

Love & Magic,

Cindie

 

 

 

photo credit: Stuart Miles

Posted in Chemistry, Coaching, General, relationships | 4 Comments