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Wednesday Words: Worry much?

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I don’t know about you, by my internal worry machine manufactures worries like a factory on a deadline. And yet, I’m posting Wednesday words today, Thursday, and not worrying about it. This departure is an intentional deviation from the usual second guessing and “what ifs” that can make up a significant portion of my inner chatter.

Unravelling the worry habit takes some doing – or some undoing, that is. I’ve been working with it for years. My clients struggle with it too.

The creative mind can be prone to worry.

Creative thinking always involves the question “What if?” What if I combine these ingredients in the sauce? What if  we make a phone that’s small enough to carry everywhere? What if people could fly? The “what if mind” is generative. It’s usually imaginative too,it gets busy picturing possibilities and conjuring scenarios.

Consider what happens when we combine that fertile imagination with fear, “What if I try and then fail?” “What if  I can’t manage all my To Dos?” “What if the interviewer asks me something I don’t know.” “What if I  miss the train? ” “What if what I want isn’t possible?”

What if you saw your ability to worry as creativity gone off track? Is there more space for you to deal with it? Is there an opening to approach the equation, imagination + fear,  differently?

Worrying is a poor substitute for action.

A client recently said, ” I fool myself into thinking that I’m doing something when I worry.” She’s right, worry has energy, it can make our heart race, thoughts travel through our minds sometimes far into the future, and then… and then…. This can feel like doing something. You’re not. This is a mind trap.

Human brains are wired for action. If you’ve been around children you know that asking them to “stop running” is much less effective than asking them to “walk.” Why? Because we respond much better to directives that require forward movement. Positives not negatives. Do this instead of Don’t do that.

Worry = Love. Not.

At every family gathering for what seemed like years, my stepmother pulled me aside to say,”Your dad loves you, he worries about you all the time.”  Have you been told that worry is proof of love, an act of love or care or concern. Is it? Really? Are you sure?

Many of us learned to worry instead of learning to do the things that actually are loving to others and to ourselves.

Habitual worrying has effects – worrying about them won’t change anything.

One consequence of persistent worrying is that It begets more worry.  Deeply unsatisfying, worry causes constricted muscles, headaches, unease and possibly dis-ease. Even more reasons to worry! Not only are we out of the present moment when we worry, but we’ve begun to,what the Buddha calls “bend the mind,” that is, we see more of what we think about and that becomes our reality. Yikes.

Worrying may be a habit (which provides some level of comfort) but it isn’t action, it isn’t proof of care, it alters your reality and it isn’t asking for what you want.

It isn’t even fun.

 

 

 

Wednesday Words

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Anupam Jolly

Created by Anupam Jolly

We must use what we have to invent what we desire.

                                                                            Adrienne Rich
Do you know what you really have? What “useless” parts of you are hidden treasures? What “weaknesses”  are waiting to be put into service toward a more joyful life?

Celebration-Chandelier-made-using-recycled-champagne-corks_1

If you like what you read here, please share with your friends. And, you can go to moveintochange.com to find out about coaching and coaching with me too!

Wednesday Words

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Art is a step from what is obvious toward what is concealed.
– Kahil Gibran
Last Wednesday I wrote about changing our relationship to a problem by investigating the metaphor hidden within it. Today, we look at finding out more about the problem we’re having and what it has to offer us (besides frustration), by making a collage (for me, a most accessible form of visual art).
Engaging in creativity is a soul satisfying way to bypass the endless loop of  thoughts that are not helping us with a particular problem (whatever that may be). See below for instructions on how to use a collage to give you insight into whatever is stuck.
             collage
Inner More Collage – adapted from Mona Costantini
You’ll need:
1 hour or more of uninterrupted time
A work space
Magazines of all types
Scraps, Doodads
Pens, Markers, Crayons
Large paper, poster stock – brown paper bag could do too.
Glue stick
Scissors
Wax paper (to use as a place to glue)
Cell phone or timer
Digital camera – optional
What to do:
  1. Get quiet and do some deep grounding breaths
  2. Identify an area, issue or problem in your life that could use some insight. Silently ask yourself to be playful and allow creativity to help you.
  3. Set your timer for 15 minutes.
  4. Go through the magazines and tear out anything that grabs your attention. Don’t plan what you pick and don’t question why you chose it, just keep moving.
  5. Stop when the timer goes off – really, do it.
  6. Set the timer again for 20 minutes.
  7. Ask yourself to hone the pile of images down to 12- 15 or less.
  8. When the timer goes off – stop.
  9. Arrange the images (without gluing) and add any other scraps, marks you’d like. Feel free to cut, reshape, tear, add onto images – anything that comes to you.
  10. OPTIONAL: If you have a digital camera, take a photo. Take photos as you take up each layer. I do this to help me remember which pieces were in which layer so I can glue in order.
  11. Glue.
  12. When complete, have a conversation with your collage by writing questions as if you weren’t the artist. E.G., Why did you put that red line there?
  13. Now for the cool part – answer each question by writing with your non-dominant hand.

I’d really love to know how this activity works for you. Were you amazed? Did something new appear? Nothing happen? I can’t wait to hear from you.

If you like what you read here, please share with your friends. And, you can go to moveintochange.com to find out about coaching and coaching with me too!

Wednesday Words

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 Sometimes

the problem is

more with our

Relationship to

 the problem

than

                            the problem itself.       –Judy G.

smackdown_tug_of_war-e1280514048904Have you noticed this too? I get to relearn it when I’m stuck-every time.  Luckily, I know fun and effective ways to investigate the relationship and shift it.

Sometimes that’s enough, the problem dissolves; and other times, the problem shrinks and becomes much less big, hairy, and scary.

If you like words, here’s one way to begin:

  1. Make a list of all the ways this situation (problem) makes you feel, all the negatives – any and all thoughts, feelings and images.
  2. Ask yourself what all this reminds you of.  Is there a metaphor for this situation? (The metaphor will describe your current relationship with this problem.)
  3. Now list all the ways you’d like it to be – use lots of adjectives. What do you want this to be like, feel like, instead? What do you want more of? Do this in positive language – steer clear of “I don’t want it to…”
  4. Now ask yourself what this reminds you of? Is there an image that comes to mind? (This metaphor will be a new approach to the situation or a new way of relating to it.)

Don’t be afraid to be playful, wacky or kooky.  Much like a  joke can break tension in a fraught situation,  “silliness”  loosens and lightens a heavy problem allowing fresh new ideas to come in.

If you like what you read here, please share with your friends. And, you can go to moveintochange.com to find out about coaching and coaching with me too!

Wednesday Words

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lettinggoIt takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
— Alan Cohen

If this idea excites you (and scares you a bit, too) you may be ready for change.
Check out moveintochange.com. That’s where there’s info about coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends.