Thrive Relationship Coaching

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I was talking to a friend today about how she’s trying to teach her kids about their feelings. This body map exercise is a great tool to teach kids….they think its fun and get emotionally smart at the same time!

Thrive Relationship Coaching

How do you know what you are feeling when you are actually feeling it?  Wait, back up.  Do you ask yourself “hmmm, I wonder what I’m feeling right now”?  That would be the best way to start.  Take a breath and ask the question.  Then listen.  What do you hear?  What sensations do you notice in your body?  Keep breathing.

Right now I’m feeling my even, spacious breathing flowing through me with ease.  I feel a little smile on my lips and a little tickle in my lower belly.  My body feels solid and strong.

If I was sad (I try this on), I feel pressure in my chest, tears behind my eyes and pricklies on my face.

If I was angry (ouch!), my jaw is clenched, my neck is tight and sore and my teeth are ready to grind.

If I am afraid (I’ve been here before), my breathing…

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I have a withhold.  I have made the successful transition to being vegan for about 2 years now, but I have been holding back from saying much about it here.  After I read about the realities of food production in the world, I was passionately determined to not participate in factory farming.  It was Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer that initially motivated me to make the decision to stop supporting the meat and dairy industry. I was so appalled at what I learned!  I had never before been ready to face into the reality of where my food was coming from with my eyes wide open. Friends and family have asked if it was my bout with breast cancer that influenced my decision to be vegan.  I don’t have a conscious knowing that this was what ignited my interest, but I am aware that I had just completed my treatment around the same time that I chose to read Eating Animals.  What I know is that I felt an impulse and curiosity that I was very drawn to follow. What’s matters is that I listened to what I really wanted and followed my desire to learn about and ‘try on’ being vegan.  I’m so glad I followed my impulse.  I felt (and still feel!) such a delicious whole body yes decision to be vegan, for my health, the animals(WARNING: GRAPHIC AND DIFFICULT TO WATCH) and the environment.

I haven’t written much about this here because I thought you would judge me.  (Yeah, so?) Think of me as radical! (I am!) And then of course, I would cry.  Smile!  You wouldn’t trust me to be your coach if you knew.  After all, vegans are those weird, hippie people who just eat granola and sprouts, right?  Bigger Smile!   Being vegan has given me another opportunity to be a very tall and proud sunflower in beautiful bloom.  I delight in fully owning my authority, my authorship of my life, which now includes caring about animals such that I don’t want to contribute to their suffering or violent deaths.  I choose to eat consciously to support my best health and my best energy.  I choose to care about the my environmental footprint and do my part to make it smaller.

 Why does conscious living equal being vegan for me?   I am so clear I am living in integrity, doing the right thing, taking right action, for me.  I feel deeply aligned with my values of nonviolence, living in awareness and taking 100% responsibility for the life I am choosing to live.  I also feel loving, accepting and respectful of every person’s right to choose what they eat.  (Of course, I always wish they would eat less meat!) Most every vegan used to eat animal products at some point in his or her life.  Being vegan is about compassion and education and advocacy, not about making judgments.

Being vegan has also opened up a new avenue for me to express my creativity.  I savor the joy of  writing, coaching and vegan cooking.  I continue to educate myself about living and eating compassionately.  I feel so grateful for all the vegan bloggers and activists in the world who teach me so much everyday and motivate me to do more to make the world a kinder, smarter and more aware place.  If this leaves you with any desire to explore veganism and lean in that direction, check this out.

Ahhhh.  The joy of fully revealing!

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.”  Dr. Seuss

On Oprah’s last show, one of the most important lessons she wanted to leave with her audience was that each of us is 100% responsible for creating our own lives.  Not our parents, not our boss, not someone who did something or said something to us last year or last week.  And when we REALLY GET THIS, really, really GET THIS, then we will feel incredibly free. Free to respond how we choose in every moment and free to design our lives the way we really want them to be.

It’s my response-ability, my ability to respond to whatever the universe is blessing me with and/or challenging me with in any moment that shifts power in my direction. I am no longer at the effect of someone or something but am standing in my own creative space.

Try it out.  The next time you find yourself blaming someone or something for whatever your predicament, try this on:  “It’s true, this has happened.  I can’t control everything that happens to me or around me.  But, I do get to choose how I want to respond.  Do I want to live my life as a victim? What kind of person do I want to be?  What kind of life do I want to have?  My response is my power to create my life in my own way.  So, what do I want to do or say; how do I want to act?”

Can you feel the power in expanding your response-ability?

How do you know what you are feeling when you are actually feeling it?  Wait, back up.  Do you ask yourself “hmmm, I wonder what I’m feeling right now”?  That would be the best way to start.  Take a breath and ask the question.  Then listen.  What do you hear?  What sensations do you notice in your body?  Keep breathing.

Right now I’m feeling my even, spacious breathing flowing through me with ease.  I feel a little smile on my lips and a little tickle in my lower belly.  My body feels solid and strong.

If I was sad (I try this on), I feel pressure in my chest, tears behind my eyes and pricklies on my face.

If I was angry (ouch!), my jaw is clenched, my neck is tight and sore and my teeth are ready to grind.

If I am afraid (I’ve been here before), my breathing is shallow, my lower belly feels like it has elephants running around in it and I am holding myself more rigidly, more cautiously.  I am contracted.

If I was feeling amorous or simply turned on (I like this!), I feel a buzziness through my body especially in my erogenous zones.  I definitely have a smile on my face.

If I was feeling joy (yes, I try this on, too), my whole body feels filled with energy and love and about to explode with elation!

These are the five core feelings we ALL experience.  These are the feelings we need to get to know in our bodies to become emotionally literate and be able to recognize what we are feeling when we are feeling it.

This is the first step.  With practice noticing your body sensations, you’ll be able to discriminate between different feelings, for example, fear and hunger, both of which you may experience in your belly.  The next step will be to know the true source of your feelings…….have you not eaten? or are you facing a challenging situation?  or perhaps you are simply scaring yourself with stories about what might happen tomorrow.

There may be many explanations and guesses about why you are feeling what you are feeling.  Again, with practice, you will learn to feel resonance in your body when you have identified the true source of your feelings.  Your whole body and mind will simply be clear about knowing what’s true.

Be patient with yourself if you are a beginner in knowing what you are feeling when you are feeling it.  Life is crazy busy and we are often focused outside of ourselves with things that need to be done, others that need to be cared for.  Try and remember to include yourself in your life by taking some time each day to listen to your body.  It will let you know what you most need.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I’m excited to announce another “Conscious Mamas” coaching group is forming to begin this spring in Ann Arbor. This is an invitation for curious women who are also mothers who love their kids AND want to have more fun with mothering  and all that it involves.  Mothers interested in being real and taking personal responsibilty for designing their life,  in particular their mothering life and having a lot of fun while learning.

Being a mother is deeply heart and soul satisfying.  It’s also filled with competing demands, unending busyness and frequent feelings of stress.  We carry around many “stories”, beliefs about what it means to be a “good mother” that  impact our daily life and how we feel about how we’re doing our job.  We compare ourselves to other mothers, judge ourselves and worry about whether we are “doing it right”.  Learning to be a “Conscious Mama” is about lovingly growing your awareness about how you are currently “doing” your parenting and consciously choosing how you really want to be.  It’s about being a whole person, authentic and fully loving and accepting of all of you while also being a wife and mother.

Every woman deserves a group.  A group where she can totally be herself and be loved and supported when she’s “messy” with overwhelm or excited about her accomplishments.  A group where she can share authentically about how she feels, what she thinks and where she might be stuck.  A group where she can always leave with practical skills to use everyday to make her life less stressful and happier.  A group where commitment to personal growth and openness to learning is the foundation for transformation.

Don’t settle for just getting through life.  You have one life and this is it.  Why not learn how to do your life in a way that feels heart and soul satisfying and not just okay?

Accepting inquiries now for spring 2011 group:  dana@peaceofmindlifecoaching.com or 734-476-7411

My friend Diane invited me to go to a networking event.  I said yes right away, seeing it as another invitation from the universe to step out of my comfort zone and share my passion for my coaching work with the world.   As the time neared however, I felt that familiar sensation of unease in my belly and several times had the thought, “I don’t want to do this!” (yes, quick run the other way, fear is here!)  I’m happy to report that in spite of feeling afraid,  I attended my first ever women’s networking event the other night AND lived to write about it.  What, you mean feeling afraid won’t kill me?  I know this sounds silly because of course we all know this.  Yet, more often than not, we AVOID doing things that create feelings of fear in us (anything unfamiliar!) This tends to make whatever we are avoiding even more powerful and scary in our minds so that we continue to AVOID.  If we don’t face into our fear, breath and do it anyway, we never get to learn that actually that it wasn’t actually so scary after all.

I want to appreciate Tammy Burgess, owner of  Women Making Connections, who was the organizer of this event.  Tammy is very gifted at being warmly supportive while at the same time firmly AND gently nudging women business owners to make connections with other women to grow their businesses.  Not only did I get to meet other brave and passionate women, but I took one step further towards adding this type of milieu to my comfort zone.  Go, me!

Would we be so willing to believe our every thought was the absolute truth if we knew it was just our brain burping?  Try it on for a minute, whatever you are thinking right now, think of it as your brain burping.  Besides making you smile (I hope), does it also give you a feeling of lightness and detachment from that thought?  Now perhaps you aren’t seeking lightness or detachment when you have the thought, “It looks cold outside today”.  But what if you had the thought “If I don’t find a job this week I’m probably going to become homeless”.  Go ahead.  Think about that one and then realize your brain just released a big juicy burp.  Ughh.  Besides the fact that you can almost smell the grossness of it, it’s pretty hard to take yourself seriously while your brain is burping away.


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