Body-Love



        Body love has nothing to do with our size, shape, weight, facial features, hair color, or dimensions of our nose.
        Body love is about good self care practices, healthy boundaries, trusting our  bodies, honoring our feelings, being at ease with, feeling good, at home in our bodies.
        When we dwell in this consciousness we  know that all bodies deserve to be represented because humanity is a flower garden filled with thick and thin, voluptuous and plain, young and old, many colors, short and tall, a variety of waistlines and shoe sizes. If creation is anything, it is diverse!
        When we dwell in this consciousness, we treat all bodies with respect.
        We have many bodies, as a group of people, and as individuals. We have baby bodies, toddler bodies, child bodies, adolescent bodies, pre-marital bodies, menopausal bodies, aging bodes.
        Every body has a story, a story to be heard and understood.
        I invite you to take some time now, 5-7 minutes, to write a bit about your body’s story: it’s ups and downs, struggles and strengths, what has been its journey,  its experience.
       You won’t share this with anyone, unless you choose to, so write freely and openly, knowing there is nothing that needs to be done about what you write. This is to acknowledge and honor your body’s story.
       Now tuck your story into a book cover, (made from construction paper) and give it a title. You may add to this story as you like.

                   Do some Yoga!
Take a centering pose. (Crocodile)
Take deep breaths.
Center.
Let whatever/all that occupies you, settle, like sand in water. Clear your space so you can flow freely.

Open Leaf pose: Get present to what it feels like to be in your body right now, with no need to judge it, change it, doing anything about it, but be aware of what you notice.

Warm up joints

Cat/Cow poses: move between the two rhythmically and matching breath to movement, inhaling on cow, exhaling on cat.
Let the movements flow from one to the other, aware that the body is 55-65% water. Feel the water within (your contents) move your container, back and forth between the two poses.

Runner’s Lunge/straighten leg to hamstring stretch
Low lunge; revolve it; hip drop

Long leg bound ankle pose, creating a small lake with the souls of your feet together; bring the crown of your head to the lake, make the moon shine on the lake.

        Sensation Mediation

    Lie on back, knees bent. Place one hand on the belly, the other on the heart. Breathe and make the left hand move, breathe and make the right hand move. Now breath and make both hands move.

    Our emotions/feelings are bodily experiences, sensations. It is too common to not like our bodies, thinking it is because of the way they look, but it may be more about how they feel to us. We may not be liking stored emotions or  experiences rather than our body per se.

    We are going to take an opportunity to allow our body sensations to be noticed, with no judgment, or need to do anything about them, except be aware of them and honor what is there.

1. I invite you to scan your body noticing any uncomfortable feelings, or sensations. It may be tight jaw muscles, a feeling in your tummy, head pain, a vague sensation in your chest…allow yourself to answer the question, ‘where does it feel uncomfortable in my body

2. Now get curious about this sensation: how big of an area does this feeling cover, (the size of a golf ball, or more like a basketball?) Is it cool or warm? How does it feel different than the area around it, or the rest of your body? Is it a sharp pain, or dull ache? Does it feel solid, or mushy?  Explore it without fear, judgment, or need to change it.

3. If you would like, ask yourself, ‘what about this sensation do I resist, or find uncomfortable?

4. Next entertain the question: Could I let go of my resistance and allow the sensation to flow through?

        If the answer is yes, let it flow through, let it go, thus making more space for new opportunities and creativity in your life.

        If the answer is no: you can lean into the sensation more; move closer to it, sit with it a bit more, get more present to it. Or you may say to the feeling in your body, ‘what’s your name?’  Or let it become an, ‘I am’ statement. If you would like
         Stay aware of the truth of the deeper reality of your being;

        Then let it flow through,  if it seems right to do so, making more space for new opportunities and creativity in your life.

5. Now ponder: What is something you can be grateful for/ look forward to?


          More  Yoga

Cat/cow moving back and forth with breath, and flow
Open leave/extended leaf moving back and forth with breath and flow

Hug a Baby hip opener
Windshield wiper legs, into twist
Move to pigeon, twisted pigeon
Flow into shoe lace from pigeon with back leg coming up and under.

 (can move out of shoelace, into more comfortable position)

Breath 1-to-1 ratio, matching inhale to exhale.
Visualize yourself surrounded by a beautiful body of water: an ocean, pond, lake…anything that you are drawn to. Feel the water nourish you, cleanse you. Allow the breezes from the water to sweep across your mind and body refreshing and clearing.

Imagine a beautiful warm orange or amber light just below your navel. Allow this light to warm your belly from your belly button down to your public bone…warming, comforting, easing.

  Meditate on:
                ‘I feel, therefore I am’

                 Aware of the idea that we can allow our feelings to come up/float up to our heart center, rather than stuff them down.
               I like to think of it this way, “food goes down, feelings come up. Don’t confuse the two. Don’t stuff the feelings down with the food. There is a double highway, a place for feelings to travel up, and food down.

               In the warm orange light  remember that reason often in fact follows feelings. Feelings are there, even if we don’t want to feel them or like them. Give yourself permission to allow your body to feel so that you can feel not only the pains and hurts from the past or present, but so you can also feel the joys and compassion of today.

            Yoga Again

Cat/Cow with breath and flow
Squat
Standing forward bend

Deep breaths, scooping up/in air; then scoop love into your body.
Give yourself permission to love your body as you take deep breaths with the arms.

Warrior 1
Warrior II, reverse warrior.
     Focusing on being in your body, inhabiting it, dwelling there, being inside of it, feeling that it is where you live.

Seated one leg forward bend on both sides.
          While doing Contemplate: 80% of health is based on behavior (epigenetic research)
    A good relationship of trust, listening to, respecting the body is the basis of  good self care.
    It is time we stop exhausting our bodies/adrenal glands/digestion with junk food, stimulants, and stress. Our bodies can’t run on dirty oil at full speed. Our bodies needs rest, fresh air, good food, fun and relaxation.

Final relaxation:

Progressive relaxation followed by a mediation written by Rev Julia Corbett-Hemeyer, “Many Paths Interfaith Ministries”


  “A Guided Mediation for Healing Our Emotions” (adapted)
・    Aware of the feeling of shame in/ about my body , I breathe in.
・    Smiling to the feeling of shame in/about my body , I breathe out.
・    Aware of the sources of shame in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Releasing the feeling of shame in/about my body , I breathe out.
・    Aware of the feeling of regret in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Smiling to the feeling of regret in/about  my body, I breathe out.
・    Aware of the sources of regret in/about my body, I breathe in.
・    Releasing the feeling of regret in/about  my body, I breathe out.
・    Aware of the feeling of sadness in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Smiling to the feeling of sadness in/about my body , I breathe out.
・    Aware of the sources of sadness in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Releasing the feeling of sadness in/about my body , I breathe out. 
・    Aware of the feeling of anger in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Smiling to the feeling of anger in/about my body , I breathe out.
・    Aware of the sources of anger in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Releasing the feeling of anger in/about my body , I breathe out.
・    Aware of the feeling of joy in/about my body, I breathe in.
・    Smiling to the feeling of joy in/about my body , I breathe out.
・    Aware of the sources of joy in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Welcoming the feeling of joy in/ about my body, I breathe out.
・    Aware of the feeling of peace in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Smiling to the feeling of peace in/about my body , I breathe out.
・    Aware of the sources of peace in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Welcoming the feeling of peace in/about my body , I breathe out.
・    Aware of the feeling of contentment in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Smiling to the feeling of contentment in/about my body , I breathe out.
・    Aware of the sources of contentment in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Welcoming the feeling of contentment in/body my body , I breathe out.
・    Aware of the feeling of healing in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Smiling to the feeling of healing in/about my body , I breathe out.
・    Aware of the sources of healing in/about my body , I breathe in.
・    Welcoming the feeling of healing in/about my body , I breathe out.

      Feel your new found self!

Create a new personal mantra for your body, one you can own that will encourage you, remind you to be in positive relationship to it.

Come out of your relaxation at your time and pace.


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Embodiment

Embodying Confidence. The subtitle of a workshop I will be a part of, it has caused me to think a lot about embodiment and what exactly embodiment means.
Here are some of my thoughts:
Love the body. Accept and appreciate it for all that it does/is/provides for us. Treat it with kindness and tenderness. Don't take it for granted.
Respect the body. Do we believe the body is inferior to the brain, that it is a hindrance. The brain is the smart one, the body is the dumb one. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Research now suggests that the heart has a 'little brain' of its own, that the gut 'thinks', that the separation of the brain and body is an artificial disconnection. It is all one and the same.
Incarnate in the Body. The divine is having a human experience in and through us. Spirit within, as well as Spirit beyond, and Spirit in between. To give form, be concrete, tangible. We can be God's hands, God's face.
At home in the Body. Are we connected to the body, its needs, wants, rhythms? Do we attune to the body, and hear what it is telling us it requires or prefers.
Celebrate the body. Dance, sing, play, move, feel, relish good food, enjoy pretty, delight in a cool breeze, touch and be touched, relax in the sunshine, refresh in the water, melt in the massage, laugh a good hearty belly laugh! The lived body. We experience it!
Body-fulness.

Right now, as you are reading this: take a deep breath. Take another deep breath. Close your eyes, and take another deep breath. Be aware of your body. Feel it from the inside out, and all the way down to your toes. Check in with it. Connect.
Non-judgmentally notice and ask if there is anything your body is wanting you to know, or do...can be something simple such as drink more water, or take more stretch breaks, or listen to your favorite music more often. Be willing to hear your body. Honor what it has to tell you, which is the basis of a trusting relationship. Now take a moment to thank your body for all it does for you. It is your first home here on earth. Appreciate that!



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Don't Believe Everything Your Mind Thinks


   It has been a hard year. 
   My coaching perspective and skills have served me well, which made me ponder how beneficial it would be for all of us to know some coaching basics.
   Let me share one with you called, 'spreading of alternatives'
Stress easily creates a feeling of being stuck. It is as if overwhelm freezes us in an attempt to stop the feeling of being overloaded. Compounding this problem, the brain then tends to do what we tell it not to do when in a state of stress overwhelm. You know, you tell yourself, 'don't eat the bowl of ice cream', and then it is the very thing you end up doing because the brain isn't hearing don't.
   Spread the alternatives. Have a conversation with yourself. Lay out the alternatives, ideas, solutions, the things your could/want to do. Have a detailed conversation on paper, or as an active internal dialogue. Argue, make a case for, challenge all the thoughts, justifications, 'what ifs' that are keeping you stuck, worried, or uncertain. Do it with gracious truthfulness that acknowledges feelings, but confront resistant so as to discover/uncover why you can, and what is a better way.
   Do you believe everything someone else says or tells you? I hope not. So why would you believe everything your brain tells you? Everything needs clarification, discernment, a fact check.
   This is what good coaches do all the time. They remind their 'players' of what they want, what they can do, why they are doing it, and how to do it better. They move them beyond feelings of fear, and 'I can't'.
   For each and every obstacle that comes up have a 'spreading the alternatives' conversation, and win it!


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Think Out From

    Filled with colorful ‘to do’ sticky notes, the homemade black board’s silver lettered title read, “Iona’s stress board”. This fun adornment in her homey kitchen caught my attention the minute my eyes glanced at it.

    After a  cup of tea and catch up conversation about each others lives, I complemented Iona on her cute ‘stress board’, but then enthusiastically suggested she change the title.

    “What do you mean,” she inquired.
   
    “Think about it,” I replied. “How many times a day are you telling yourself that you are stressed? Do you really want to drill that perception of yourself so deeply into your mind?”

     I then suggested she call it something like: Iona’s got it board, or Iona’s on top of things board, or Iona’s handling it board.

    A flash of insightful recognition came to her face. She rushed over to a nearby drawer, drew out an eraser and silver marker, and quickly re-named it, “Iona’s got it board”.

    “Thank you,” she said. “I’ve got it!”


    It is so easy to think of ourselves and the stuff of our lives in negative terms because what we are dealing with often feels negative, stressful, difficult, and or frustrating.

    A corrective caution: don’t let problems slip into being the basis or definition of life.

    Life’s foundation is a spiritual reality of goodness. So let us remember to think out from that. Doing so can allow us to frame and re-frame to a positive, can-do perspective.
We can think of ourselves at ‘got it’ gals rather than ‘stressed out moms’.

    Good roots in good soil yield beautiful flowerings.




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“Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative”

  
    Whenever I engaged in one of those personal growth activities that entailed recalling early memories, negative experiences often first came to my mind. It always baffled me as I didn’t think of myself as having had a bad childhood.

    Why was it that times of disappointment, getting into trouble, or being frightened were at the front of the line? What is the reason for this easy focus on the negative, of being keenly aware of what we are not, for guilt or shame to be the loudest voice in our heads, for discouragement to take over?

    I don’t know.

    Regardless of the reason, one thing my study of life coaching and years of ministry have taught me is the vital importance of deliberate focus on the positive.

    Be it
        • Expectant prayer that Jesus taught. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  Mark11:24

        •  Afformations. Check out Noah St John’s book, “The Book Of Afformations: Discovering the Missing Piece to Abundant Health, Wealth, Love, and Happiness”

        • Crafting ‘Perfect Life Elements’ as designed by Thomas Leonard, the ‘father’ of life coaching in his perfect life program.

        • Writing down one’s Definite Major Purpose as taught by Napoleon Hill in his classic text, “Think and Grow Rich“.

              the principle is the same: clearly know, articulate, express, and focus on the good you are, and that you want for yourself and others.

    It is a discipline. It is to take control of one’s thoughts, rather than let them run in default mode of all the things wrong with you, your life, or the world.

    It has taken me years of practice with various techniques and strategies to make progress on this internal, often unconscious stuff. I would love to share my favorites with you in a coaching session to help you start the new year off right!



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Have a Hunch

My mother never taught me about intuition. She made a passing reference to it once when my best friend and I were pressing her and my friend’s mother to answer our burning question of how we were to know the right person to marry. “Oh you just know” was their answer.

    My daughter Claire has been exploring intuition lately. We have had several conversations, she has read many books, and I've  encourage her to practice her inner listening, trusting, and knowing. It is an education I had to come by slowly on my own, not easily.

    A technique I have been sharing with Claire is this: instead of focusing on fear/anxiety, let yourself be intuitive. When and if she feels fear, I encourage her to lean into it by trusting that she will know exactly what to do about the fear. It may mean to leave some place immediately, to study more for an exam, to go here, do this, not say that, etc.

    We tend to be paralyzed by fear, or to dismiss it thinking it is silly, that we shouldn’t be feeling it, often pushing it aside.

    If we learn that the sixth sense is a valuable legitimate way of know, we can utilize it in all situations: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Intuition is often the basis of  creative breakthroughs, discoveries, or transformations. Einstein put it this way, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

    Just like we don’t master math, writing, or tennis skills by wanting them, neither do we master intuitive skills by wanting them. They have to be studied, practiced, honed. There will be mistakes, wrong answers, a learning curve, just like in Algebra class. It is as Claire smilingly quotes her 9th grade horticulture teacher, “Kill a thousand plants and you become a good horticulturist, and I think I am almost there.”

    I invite you to delve into the world of knowing from the inside. Read about it (one of Claire’s favorite books: ‘The Gift of Fear’ by Gavin De Becker) practice it, and celebrate your wins when you follow your hunches, respond to your quick ready insights, inklings, and instincts!

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