Release, Renew, and Resolve

On January 1st I will teach a class entitled: “New Year's Day Yoga: Release, Renew, and Resolve” at the Aberdeen YMCA. It combines movement, breath, and self reflection to release what is no longer serving us as individuals, so we can create better living. It is a great alternative to new year resolutions which can be an exercise in self loathing wherein we inventory all the things wrong with us, and shame ourselves into trying to do better. Movement and ritual combine to help you embody change.
I invite you to share in the class with me. If you can't make the drive, no problem. Here is a basic outline of the class. Feel free to add your own personal style to it, and invite someone to join you.

Center. I like the crocodile pose. Breathe deeply, breathe three dimensionally. Breath into the mid back area of your kidneys and adrenals. Fill this space with new energy and breath. Be present to your body. Without judgment notice how it feels to be in your body today
Inhale and exhale Love. Like a fish that is surrounded in water, all that is around you is love. Inhale and exhale Love. Feel self compassion. Activate a feeling of kindness towards yourself, such as you would extend to a child, a bird with a hurt wing, or to a good friend.

On old newspapers, with a pen or magic marker, write events, words, ideas, and or actions from 2014 that did not go well, that you regret, that need apology, that you would label as failure, mistakes, or negative. Be honest, open, and vulnerable with yourself. No one will see this, so be free to let it out.

Now with gusto rip up what you wrote. Tear it into tiny pieces. Have fun with this ritual of release. As you throw away the shredded paper affirm: “May these negative events, feelings, ideas, and actions and any harm related to them be dissolved and released.”

Do forward bend releasing, letting go poses of your choice.

Lie on your back, left hand on your navel, right hand on your chest. Make your left hand move as you breathe deeply. Then make your right hand move. Now make both hands move.
Reflect on what you miss as a result of the fast paced, changing, stressed times we live in. What, do you long for, that will probably never be the same. For example, I miss the fun, easy, friendly attitude of air travel before 9/11, and the war on terror.

If you would like, speak these out loud.

Do your favorite yoga twist poses. While doing them, shift from a 'miss it' feeling to an attitude of gratefulness. Instead of lament, be thankful that you had what you had before it was gone. For example, I am grateful I had the opportunity to travel when it was easy, and my mom and dad could walk me up to my boarding gate to say goodbye, and security was just a quick walk through a metal detector. From a place of gratefulness, leave the past behind.

Now it is time for back bends, and chest opening poses. As you do them, call to mind all of the things you did right in 2015. What went well, what were you proud of? Remember the nice things you did, when your timing was just right, how you helped others. Surround yourself in a blizzard of appreciation. Well done good and faithful servant!

Move into standing poses of your choice, focusing on courage and standing firm for yourself, and what you believe in and value.

Time for a final relaxation. Lying on your back, breathe Love. After a few deep breathes, deliberately activate a feeling of appreciation and gratitude by calling to mind something that makes you feel grateful. It can be your beloved pet, a favorite place, a memory from childhood, remembering something someone did for you...anything that gets you present to feeling thankful.

From this elevated feeling of gratefulness, envision clear thoughts and images of :
How you want to be
What you want to do
What you want to 2015.

End your final relaxation affirming:
May I be safe,
May I be healthy,
May I be happy,
May I live with ease.

Then affirm it for your family and friends:
May my family and friends be safe,
May my family and friends be healthy,
May my family and friends be happy,
May my family and Friends live with ease.

Then affirm it for all people of the planet:
May people everywhere be safe,
May all people be healthy,
May inhabitant of this earth be happy,
May all creation live with ease.

Come out of your relaxation, and sprinkle yourself with a bit of essential oil in water (I recommend Young Living, 'Valor' ) blessing yourself, “May I live the life I envision and desire in 2015.”

Take a sticky note and fill it with word(s) and or image(s) that remind you of your new conscious creations for 2015. Post it so you can look at if often. Let it remind you of your new you.

New year coaching special: One life coach session with Colleen, $30.00. 


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!

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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    Colleen for $30.00 
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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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