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Archive for the ‘practical exercises’ Category

When I feel grumpy, weighed down, and out of sorts, I know it’s time for my one failsafe means for cleansing out my energy: water. When possible, I go to hot springs, but this isn’t always feasible based on my schedule. So I take an Epsom salt bath, with my own particular ritual. Most importantly, it’s a hot bath (unless it’s late at night, when the heat can keep you up), with a ton of Epsom salt baths. Soaking for at least 30 minutes – maybe even an hour – does the trick. I also visualize, along with deep breathing, everything that is not mine (or even my own energy that no longer serves me) being released.

And afterward? A freezing, cold shower. No, I don’t like this part. Yelling helps. But it closes off my energy from outside sources. I learned this technique from an elder sage, and it’s served me well.

Note: If you try it, I recommend leaving some time to yourself afterward – preferably at least a couple of hours – to adjust to your new and lighter energy.

Next: Earth

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I have a weakness: I’m empathic. Yes, of course this is a strength, and I utilize it every day with my coaching clients. They love it, because I know what’s truly happening with them. Another “happy problem”: I’m also a healer. My coaching, even when focusing on speaking skills, is transformational, because my clients not only learn great technique, but also change longstanding patterns that get in their way. Often without even trying, I’m doing intensive energy work on them to help them truly release what’s old and embrace their authentic selves.

Yes, it’s powerful, and I love to do it. But at the end of the day, or after several days, I’m worn down. It’s as if my energy was clogged up with gunk that needs to be unstuck. Even though I utilize and teach visualization and other means for moving energy, it’s still a problem for me.

You may feel similarly. What to do? We’ll spend the next several days laying out practical techniques – with the elements as a framework ­– to release what’s unneeded, and to assist with moving back to your pure self.

First technique: Water

You know that you need to deal with the hard issues. But it’s not fun. Perhaps there’s an easy approach to it, eh? How about the idea that you actually don’t have to try? Here’s a little procedure:

  1. Think of something that really needs addressing. It could be an email or phone call that needs taking care of, or even a task you’ve been putting off.
  2. Picture it in front of you. Take long, deep breaths while visualizing it.
  3. Whatever image that comes up for you, imagine it getting smaller and smaller. As you breathe more deeply, let yourself get larger and more spacious.
  4. Know that whatever needs doing is already done. It’s in the past. All you have to do is step  over and do it, and it’ll nicely be behind you.
Really, it’s all about our frame of mind. Let it be simple – the work, much of the time, is in the avoidance. So try this technique out. Send me your results.

I had a dream  recently where I was watching a play – not terribly surprising, since I’m a theater creator, director and performer (my other hat aside from being a coach). In the dream, I had watched the play more than once, always from the same seat. However, for some reason I needed to watch it again – from a new angle. So went to a different seat in the theater – and it looked dramatically different! Some characters loomed larger than others, and it was a completely different experience.

When we change our perspective, we radically alter our experience. Sometimes this happens dramatically, through a life-altering event; other times, we have a gradual shift, for better or worse.

Action: Think of something in your life that isn’t ideal. Look at it differently – perhaps by literally going to a real location you don’t normally visit, and thinking about it there . Or, imagine how someone else might deal with it – perhaps someone richer or poorer, with different color skin, or from another country. Your ideas about the situation are solely that – ideas. A new perspective will give you some fresh ones.

Tonight is the second night of Passover. Growing up, I was Jewish, yes, but in a not-very-practicing household. I only knew that Shabbat was on Friday night, unaware that it actually lasted 25 hours (sunset Friday to just past sunset Saturday). Similarly, I assumed that Passover seders (the ceremony and traditional meal) were only the first night – with no idea that many Jewish households held them the second night as well! So the main question: if it’s the same thing… why do it again? Repetition is boring, right? Or, can it be… transformative?

Many households conduct the exact same seder both nights. But it’s an opportunity to deepen one’s relationship to it. Instead of glossing over it and wishing it away, you could choose to delve into the meaning and experience new things, because you’re able to now focus on different details than may have originally preoccupied you.

This is the same, of course, for anything. In my coaching work, I prescribe exercises that, for maximum transformation, must be done daily. Will you always be fascinated by them? Not necessarily. Yet – boredom is a surface reaction. It means that one is not truly being present, and understanding that the present moment, inherently different from every other moment in time, offers a unique opportunity.

Action: Make a list of what rituals you do often. Notice when your attention wanes and you “check out.” Choose to approach each new iteration as a mystery and an opportunity.

Nervousness, fear and discomfort typically arise because we’re afraid of being judged. Rejected. Turned away. Maybe even lynched. (Well, it’s unlikely, but it sometimes feels like it could happen, doesn’t it?)

In fact, this is a fundamental misunderstanding, which most of us have, about what people actually are seeking. Whether you’re talking with someone individually or speaking to an audience of 10,000, everyone wants to be inspired, energized, and moved. In other words, everyone wants you to be great!

And, in my experience, even those who are critical or jaded are actually hoping you’ll save the day. At a job interview where they’re asking hard questions? They want to hire someone. They’d love to save more of their time by that wonderful person being you!

Action: Instead of waiting for someone else to take the first step, wherever you are, go first and speak with positive, bright energy. They’ll be thankful, and look to you for inspiration. …What’s could be more powerful than that?

So, if you feel nervous, or even subtle discomfort, what is actually happening in your body? What’s the relationship between nervousness and… the nervous system?

Through my training in Body-Mind Centering(TM) and Experiential Anatomy, I learned that everyone has a dominant system they inhabit. Someone who “efforts” really hard through everything, for example, may be in the muscular system. A deeply thoughtful and process-oriented individual may reside more in the organs. And, someone who is nervous – possibly a bit skittish or reactive – may have a very active nervous system.

This can be mitigated, though, by consciously tapping into another system. For example, deep diaphragmatic breathing (which I teach in coaching and workshops), and feeling gravity and the weight of the body, can shift the nerves over to the organs (deep breathing actually massages the organs), which is much calmer.

Action: If you’re feeling nervous, try sitting or standing with barely enough effort to hold yourself upright, while staying loose – and also breathe deeply. If you’re in public, do a very small version of this – but  try it at home first, so you know what it feels like.

(And if this is too hard to grasp, just ask me – I can coach you with it in person or over Skype.)

In part 3: turning nervousness into positive energy


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