Reflections & Gratitude
On this day after my birthday and Christmas, I'm reflecting and noticing a peacefulness that isn't familiar. I noticed it all throughout the past two days as I engaged in the family traditions that have evolved over the years. I'm grateful for the serene feelings and I'm grateful that practicing mindfulness has now become a more natural way of being for me, for if I weren't, I might have trudged through the holiday with feelings of obligation and longing.
This picture was taken yesterday and I wonder how it is I've shrunk so much! I'm dumfounded by the size of my children! The start of 2015 marks ten years I've been a single mom and as I look at my boys, I'm not sure how we've all survived, much less thrived. Somehow, I accomplished sprouting these giants from watering and feeding small seedlings. This feat did not happen without enormous support and a large watering can! I wonder now what and where I would have pictured us had I created a vision ten years ago? There were many, many times I didn't know how I, much less we, would endure, yet here we stand, ten years later, with smiles and laughter. I am heartbreakingly grateful for my boys.
To end 2014 I'd like to share some of my most grateful moments of this holiday:
I'm grateful for seeing the excitement my boys have in choosing and giving gifts, the kind of excitement that you can't contain and so you beg the recipient to open their gift early. I'm grateful for the birthday banana cupcakes my mom made on Christmas Day, they were better than Sara Lee! I'm grateful for all the Buddhas I received this year; reinforcement and support of mindfulness. I'm grateful for the warm weather and long early morning runs! I'm grateful for having Christmas/birthday dinner with my best friend at a Chinese restaurant! I'm grateful for the courage to experiment with eating meat again after 13 years without (a whole world of choices opens up on every menu!) I'm grateful for the health and stamina of my parents and their spouses. I'm grateful my children have such wonderful grandparents. I'm grateful for serendipity, sometimes it's only a change of time. I'm grateful for the opportunity to do one small random act of kindness to a person in need on Christmas Day. I'm grateful for the people that trust me with their goals and aspirations, they continually teach and guide me as they allow me the honor of guiding them. I'm grateful for all of the amazing people that sent me birthday wishes via text, phone, Facebook, and email; I am truly honored to be remembered. And I am eternally grateful for finding peace within myself; not always easy but with practice, more accessible.
Lastly, here's the fortune from my Christmas dinner fortune cookie; food for thought:
"Human Evolution: Wider Freeways, But Narrower Viewpoints"
Aloha nui loa (much aloha!) to all of you! And Hau'oli La Hanau to Lori!
Do you know your attachments and habits?
Do you look forward to your daily Starbucks? Do you exercise every day? How about spending time on Facebook? A nightly glass of wine or beer? Or interrupting people as they speak? You get the idea, you have many habits and attachments to choose from, we all do.
Habits are things you do that you're attached to; something that's routine for you and something you enjoy. You also feel urges for this thing if you don't have or do it.
Would you like to find out how attached you are to your habits? Give one of them up for one week.
What was your reaction to that suggestion? What story did you tell yourself? What excuses did you make for yourself to continue on without even trying? Have you already thought "I get the point, I don't need to give it up to understand!" If you're really honest with yourself, you felt an uncomfortable clinging to your habit at the mere mention of giving it up.
The point of doing this is to learn how to have and make conscious choices in life rather than allowing and excusing your attachments to run the show. It's an opportunity to wake up and take ownership of your thoughts and actions. If you can harness the tug of Starbucks and Facebook, imagine the possibilities with your relationships! Imagine how much richer your inner dialogue will be! Imagine all the options that open up!
Are you up for the challenge? If you're brave enough, I'd love to hear about your experience!
Announcing My Newest Endeavor!
Since beginning my professional coach training, I have been developing an idea for group coaching. I'm excited and honored to announce its "Grand Opening!"
You'll notice an extra page nestled under the Health & Wellness tab called AlohaConnection (click here to be magically placed there) as well as a link on the home page.
As you'll see from the story on the AlohaConnection page, this comes from a desire to share the gift of peaceful self-contentment with women. I've long observed our struggle to live stories that have deceitfully told us we will feel happy and fulfilled if we are attractive and slim, have lots of money and a fancy car, have the perfect mate and perfect children, have an advanced degree and a prestigious career, are outgoing yet demure, caring yet independent, intelligent and unique, and are generally flawless. After twenty years of observing people in general and women specifically, it's safe to say this is hogwash. Duh.
To commence the rewriting of my story I have; poured over research and books aimed at emotional and cognitive awareness, taken (still taking) classes on the same topics along with learning how to share it with others, adhered to the lessons in the classes and books, started and maintained a meditation practice, joined a support group, worked with therapists and coaches, found the courage to grieve through watching a TV show, repaired a damaged friendship, leaned on my father, connected with my children, learned invaluable lessons about myself through people that have come and gone, and continue to learn even more, every day, from the people that are in my life right now. Along the way, I persevered because I trusted in the process of what I was learning and practicing and I had the unconditional support and compassion needed to try new things and be imperfect.
Now I want to share these strategies, and those still to come, with as many women as I can. By learning what it means to be present, taking responsibility for one's own destiny, and recognizing our shared human experience through a compassionate interest in others, we can traverse life in a more peaceful, fulfilling way.
Please share this opportunity with any women in your life who are ready to learn what it means to be present and wish to write their own story.
It is time we steered by the stars, not by the lights of each passing ship.
How's Your Self Awareness? How About Your Self Management?
Recently, I practiced newly taught coaching techniques with a classmate. We've been thrown together three times, which seems like high odds; I'm not sure if Wellcoaches or the Universe is responsible... Regardless, she's giving me opportunity to practice our new theory, emotional intelligence, or EQ.
The first time we worked together I was unprepared for the negativity that surrounded her description of everything in her life. I searched for and found one positive tidbit amongst an ocean of despair and clung to it like a life raft. I created metaphors and visualizations to help (force) her to see this positive thing; to no avail. She was not going to see anything but what she wanted to, I was the one committed to her seeing just one positive thing, not her.
I was ejected out of my bulldozer of positivity by an instructor who heard this interaction and quickly applied my emergency brakes. She said to meet the "client" where she was and if that's in negativity, ask her what that's like for her. But wait! Aren't we suppose to find the positive while coaching? Yes, she said, but some people are invested in feeling bad and I'm just to meet them there until they figure out it's not comfortable and they make the choice to get out.
Knowing I will continue to encounter people and situations like this one, those that push my buttons and trigger my alarms, I'm determined to learn my piece of this puzzle. This will take recognizing my assumptions, attachments, and aversions at all times; being present in each moment. And while this sounds like an exhausting endeavor, I'm gratefully embracing this as an exotic and sometimes messy exploration, not a destination. It'll also take recognizing everyone else is on their own exotic, messy exploration of their own choice and appreciating that they're exactly where they need to be at any given moment.
My take away from the above coaching practice example; recognizing my own discomfort with her languishing and my subsequent reaction to change it. Next time I want to recognize and name my discomfort in the moment so that I can choose my next steps rather than reacting in a way that's habitual and unhelpful for us both.
Emotional intelligence is a bit intangible yet is responsible for how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. Self awareness and self management provide personal competence in our ability to stay aware of our emotions and manage our behavior. Emotional intelligence also includes social awareness and relationship management which together provide social competence; the ability to understand other people's moods, behavior and motives in order to improve the quality of our relationships.
Only 36% of people are able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen and emotional identification is the key to emotional intelligence.
What steps will you take to raise your EQ?
For resources on Emotional Intelligence please see my Suggested Reading tab to your right.
Learner and sharer of all things healthy, active, esteem building, growth promoting, witty and Hawaiian