How to Begin Any Daunting Writing (or Speaking) Project

You’ve got a book to write, don’t you?

Or maybe you need to start spreading the word about your book by getting on some stages with your message.

Or maybe it’s time to build your coaching/wellness/counseling practice for real – create a high-impact website, get your message clear. Get a logo and some real business cards.

Here’s the thing about big projects… they’re Big.

They’re hard to wrap our heads around.

We don’t know where to start.

You could tackle them like I did my first book – by sitting down one day to write a 20 page eBook and finding yourself five months later with a stack of professionally designed 200+ page real books in your hand. I never had to “begin” that project because I hadn’t intended to write a real book. I sort of tricked myself into it (and it went great, by the way – but it was still Big.) The problem is, I am never able to intentionally trick myself, are you?

If you know you want to write a book (or craft a speech or build a fabulous website), you might as well just get it going.

Aside from that one surprise book-writing adventure, I’ve sat my fanny down to create some pretty daunting projects. I’ve written pretty long eBooks, created many websites (with the requisite complete rewrite of all web copy) and crafted countless speeches, workshops and trainings from scratch. I also get paid regularly to get my clients to sit their fannies down to do the same. Ultimately, these projects pretty much get done the same way.

So, here are six super S.I.M.P.L.E. ways you can guide your lovely self into that chair and get ‘er done, once and for all.

S = Space Freshen

Vision your fresh work space – then make it happen. I love to get into a completely new environment to get started on a big project. I get a lot done when I am not distracted by client files sitting on my desk or mired in old, frustrated beliefs that sometimes linger in my usual spaces. I often pick a cozy coffee shop one or two towns over from mine, so I’m really not tempted to hit my favorite browsing spots instead of sitting down and writing. If you can’t get away like that for some reason, then clear off your desk of all files and current projects. Bring in your favorite art from another room and hang it in plain sight. Light a differently scented candle in the room. Make the space new and fresh to you. And when you think of freshening your space, also think of creating a wide open space on your calendar as well. Block out the time and color in the block with a fresh green hi-lighter.

I = Imagine

Seriously, spend some time really calling to mind the beautiful finished project. See yourself on stage in that gorgeous outfit, beaming at the riveted audience. Feel that cool, slick book in your hand with your name in clean and vivid typography across the bottom of the cover. Feel those excited feelings in your body as though the end is here now – because it almost is. (By the way, you only get about 15 minutes here because this is NOT the doing. It’s useful and valuable – but you’ve got to do these next four things to get it done!) Enjoy this part! It’s the mindset part that fuels the next step.

M = Make a Mark

Open the word processing document or paper notebook and write something on it. Anything. Write a sentence. This sentence may end up somewhere in the middle of your book, it may be your closing line – or it might get completely rewritten. Just make a mark on the page. Then make another one. This is how creation begins. Let it keep flowing for a while. Worry about nothing else.

P = Pause and Pull Back

After you write for a while and you can feel the process of creation flowing, you will likely feel a natural pause. It’s time to look up from the page. Do that – look up. Pull back from what you’ve written. See it from the outside, as opposed to the gut-level, intestinal view that can happen when we are in the depths of creation. See if it is revealing a structure. Maybe an outline or some edges and headlines. If you see those, pull them out. Make them into their calling (as headlines or an outline.) Don’t make it perfect. Just let it show up and document, an innocent bystander you are.

L = Leave

Now, plant your feet firmly on the ground, engage the muscles in your legs and lift your bottom from the chair. Carry yourself out the door and, preferably, into the sunshine and fresh air (or whatever your air and sky bring you.) If that’s not feasible for any reason, go into a completely different room/environment. Go somewhere private because you are going to talk to yourself and that usually looks crazy to other people (though we all do it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Walk for a bit.

After 5 minutes or so, ask yourself this: “Hmmm… what did I write in there?” Then tell yourself what you wrote. Not verbatim – just tell yourself the story. When you get to the part where you stopped, ask yourself, “Then what?” and talk some more.

E = Engage Again the Same Day

Now this is really critical! Sometimes that walk outside can inspire us to…oh, say, begin gardening. Or, toss on our wetsuit and do a bit of body surfing. If you’re like me, it might just invite you to bake a giant batch of cookies and listen to some Janis Joplin. But that’s not going to get ‘er done, is it?

So, the last step is to smile at the lovely idea of planting those azaleas that have been waiting in their store-bought pots for a week and promise yourself that you’ll tuck those beauties into their rightful earth-home later today. But for right now, you must go back to the page and make some more marks. Any marks will do, though often richness comes from writing down some of those things you talked about with yourself on that walk you just took. So, do that first.

**Not to get ahead of ourselves here since our only goal in this lesson is to begin, but I’ll give you a hint as to how you finish the project, too… it looks really similar to beginning.**

Now, you dear soul – Well Done! You began. This - beginning at all – is a huge, beautiful thing. Give yourself one of those yummy, stretchy self-hugs and smile inside.

Then, carry on with beginning… over and over, until you are done. 

And remember what they say about eating an elephant…

though frankly, I find that disturbing to even consider.

You can do this! Let me know if I can help.

 

Thursday Thrill: Find a Stage

It’s Thursday, which means you might be beginning to think about how your week is wrapping up.

Thursdays are workhorse days. They are days to make up for all of the unexpected things that came up the first three days of the week.

That’s why I’m going to suggest a little thrill for you.

You don’t have to take me up on it today (after all, you’re cranking things out today, aren’t you?!)

But maybe you’ll want to do it on Friday, when we like to lighten things up. Or maybe you’ll mix it in with your weekend shenanigans.

In any case, here’s your invitation:

Go find a stage. Any stage.

Here are some places where you can find stages pretty easily:

  • high school auditoriums
  • local theatre houses
  • community center buildings
  • outdoor ampitheatres
  • movie theatres (they’re not elevated, but that area at the front is pretty much a stage)
  • churches

Then, at a time when the room is empty, walk up the stairs (or to the front, facing all those empty chairs) and face the audience. See their expectant faces.

Notice the full house.

Create the picture in your mind of you, there, sharing your life-changing message with power and authenticity.

Feel the yummy satisfaction of arriving there, showing up the way you know you can, and making that Impact.

Doesn’t that feel awesome?!

Now, resolve to yourself that you will arrive another time – possibly on another stage – with those seats full of people and your heart and mind full of your message.

And you will deliver that message, for them.

Because it matters that you do - so very much.

Oh, please do let me know how it goes! And if you have more ideas for where we can all find practice stages, please share them in the comments! You’ll be serving all of us.

Thank you, ParisLemon, for this exciting open stage image.

Make Every Audience Love You

The romance between you and your audience is the magic

behind powerful, high-impact speaking.

Yes, romance.

This is about love, connection, deep care and the highest regard and desire.

Think about the last time you fell in love. I mean, fell. Hard.

I bet somewhere early on, there was a longer gaze, some serious eye contact communication. That extra few seconds that makes the person on the other end think, “hmmm… what was that…mmm?”

I bet there were some long days… nights… of learning, discovery, digging deep – maybe staying up late into the night saturating yourself in stories and learning. A mesmerizing enmeshment of your desire with their needs, wants.

From this place of heart-driven inquiry and visceral attraction to their stories and dreams, your connection grows. You offer support, ideas – give them the very best you have in service of their even better life.

In turn, they adore you.

They appreciate your honest and powerful desire to serve them and their dreams. They soak up your contribution to their lives. They want more of you (of course, you can’t get enough of them either.)

Now, think of the last time you were absolutely mesmerized by a speaker.

Like, literally, you lost track of time and where you were.

Isn’t it like a small love affair? Right. I know.

Your audience knows when you really “get them.” The only way to “get them” in this way that makes them feel utterly adored, respected and loved – where in turn, they will give you their undivided, heart-in-the-eyes attention – is to…

Dig deep in their wants and needs.

To stay up late into the night trying to understand what keeps them up these late hours, too. Research, ask tons of questions. Dive into the waters of their life, understand their oxygen. Then, with absolute heart and soul, commit to serving them in the ways that will matter to them most. Give them everything you’ve got.

Make every singe thing you say, do and feel about them. Every minute of your talk.

They’ll love you. Every time.

(It’s safe love – because you love them that much, too.)

 

Why Your Soulful Business Needs Your Inner Peace

Bear with me while I share a little about myself and my business (it’s with you in mind, of course.)

I’ve been in business for myself for over four years. It has been one hell of a four years.

In that four years, I’ve:

  • Rebranded four times (yep, FOUR.)
  • Changed my focus at least four times
  • Revamped my website at least five times
  • Written and produced a content-rich, super useful multi-media program under a brand I changed almost immediately, rendering the lovely program unusable in its current form.
  • Produced a DVD home-study workshop based on a live workshop I facilitated again under a brand I no longer use. The whole thing, in its current form, is also unusable.
  • And, of course, plenty more… (but let’s not belabor this too much… hmph.)

Why am I telling you this? What does this have to do with you?

Well, I have a hunch you may have experienced (or be experiencing… or starting to experience) some of what I have experienced in my own journey as a soul-inspired business person.

It’s part of the plight of those of us doing the somewhat “squishy” work of changing lives with our message. There are so many ways we can approach our work in the world, so many different kinds of people we could help. And often, we want to help them all.

You start digging in and it can get really messy – very confusing. And really quite anxiety-provoking.

I spent so much of my time in my first few years searching for the “right” way to grow my business, my gut tied into a knot wondering if I was making the “right” decisions, choosing the “right” tagline, creating the “right” offer, producing the “right” program. I bought marketing programs, hired coaches with big promises and spent so many conflicted hours trying to be present with my daughters while I was totally obsessed with what “to do next” in my business.

As passion-driven business owners, we start to think that intense anxiety is “normal.”

Maybe you know what kind of anxiety I’m talking about…

This is the kind of anxiety that makes you feel stuck yet urgent, uncertain and antsy. The kind that makes you take action – any action – just to ease that inner edge, to release some of the tension.

The kind of anxiety that makes you listen too intently to what others think you should do, to forget that you are the expert on your life and your business.

The kind of anxiety that muffles your inner knowing.

And that Inner Knowing is your greatest business mentor.

You need your Inner Knowing clean, clear and carrying a megaphone.

But here’s what I’ve learned this year…

it doesn’t have to be so hard.

It’s true that it isn’t easy. There is a lot to “figure out” and trial and error are a normal part of that learning process.  But the angst – the anxiety and fear – that part doesn’t have to own the process. In fact, now I know that…

Anxiety absolutely must not drive.

What’s the antidote to this dangerous creature that may be wasting your time, money and precious life as you try to grow your soul-inspired business?

Inner Peace.

Inner Peace. Peace. Peace, inside. Ease, flow… knowing, trusting, centered faith.

When you really give yourself the grounding – the time and space – to calm your inner world, to listen deeply, and to remember that you have what you need right now to do the next thing (even if the next thing is to seek guidance or support from a great coach or program)… everything changes.

You take your power back.

You remember why you made this bold, beautiful move of stepping out on your own into your business.

You give yourself the precious thing that we are all looking for underneath all of the other things we do (business and personal)… Inner Peace.

When you let go of that unnecessary anxiety… When you let your heart, your clear mind, and your peaceful spirit guide your business, you’ll make decisions easier.

You’ll know what to do sooner (and when not to do anything yet.)

You will save time, money and precious energy.

You’ll preserve your spirit.

You’ll help more people, sooner and more powerfully.

I want so much to do what I can to help you get that inner peace you need to do your great work in the world. I created this Stuckness Cleanse program for just this purpose. It is full of my favorite, most effective de-stuckifying exercises, fed straight to your inbox every day for 10 days. It is a multi-media program, with emails, videos, mp3s and worksheets – all created to take very little time yet have profound effect on your sense of ease, peace and forward motion. (**note: The Stuckness Cleanse is at the rejuvination spa, getting nurtured, energized and fed with even more de-sticking greatness. The new version will be released in Summer of 2013)

To your deep Inner Peace, dear friend…

If you have already gone through the first version of the Stuckness Cleanse and are interested in the new version, please email me. I’d like to have a special conversation with you :).

 Much peace and thanks to Tamari 09 for this peaceful, spirit-bursting image.

 

 

 

 

Plant a Kiss

What if you could actually plant a kiss?

On our beach vacation a few weeks ago, we stopped at Barnes and Noble to pick up a few road trip books for the drive home. There, shimmering on the shelf of new picture books, sat this book, “Plant a Kiss” by one of my favorite children’s book authors, Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

In this book, a darling little gangly gardener girl named “Little Miss” decides to plant a kiss in her garden. She invites sunshine, she waters, she “greets” the place where the kiss is planted. She repeats the process.

She waits… she waits… she loses faith… she pouts… and then, as with things we cultivate with love, just as she’s about to give up… a sprout! A kiss sprout is born!

She rejoices! She gathers her friends to share! They contemplate how to handle this precious growing kiss crop.

Should she bottle it up and keep it safe? Will it disappear if they let it get out?

As you might guess, sweet Little Miss decides to share the kiss crop. She gives it away in every way, under every condition she can… snow, rain, with a bow!

And when she is all done, tired and ready to take a break, guess what happens…

Yep, that one little kiss that Little Miss cultivated and shared abundantly, turned into “endless bliss~~~~~~!”

To see a sweet little video of the book, go here.

I hope this Sweet Saturday story feeds your soul :)

I wonder if this story’s metaphor resonates for you in your business, speaking or personal life, as it did mine? Would love to hear in the comments.

 

Your Sanity Matters – Project: Inner Peace

I am one privileged woman.

I have a couple of degrees and do work that feeds my soul. I have a supportive husband, a cozy home, three healthy daughters who do well in school and make friends easily. I have smart and caring friends myself.

Who the hell am I to complain about anything?

Who am I to feel crazy and overwhelmed, confused and stuck?

Right?!

I have always known that I am way too lucky in my life to complain about the “inconveniences” I experience. My cross-country move and the unexpected struggles of house, kids and  missing support that came from that. A giant shift in our parenting structure… I could list it all out, but really, does it matter?

There are people out there who have no home, not enough food and kids who are sick.

These are real problems.

They experience violence and other horrors regularly. Even my childhood – while there were awful, scary and traumatizing periods – was mostly safe and comfortable.

When you live with the kind of gifts in your life that I do – shelter, food, love around me – and you are even remotely conscious, you learn how important it is to be grateful for what you have. There is even research to support that gratitude is the way to happiness. You learn that if you wallow in the “small difficulties”, you certainly won’t manifest the “good things” in life we seek.

Focus on the good. Be grateful for what you have.

Do not complain about your “white people problems” (just do a search of that phrase to see what I mean.)

One day, in the haze of immense overwhelm that I had no right to feel I turned left in my car in front of an unsuspecting woman going 40 mph down an edge-of-town road.

I never saw her.

I was so busy looking up at that green light, saying out loud to myself (because I couldn’t hear well enough in my foggy, overstuffed brain), “It’s green, it’s green, it’s green.”

I forgot to say that part about “turning left” out loud. So, I never  heard it. I turned right in front of her.

There were airbags, emergency vehicles and huge traffic backups. People came to my car to check on me, walk me to the side of the road.

I was petrified to look in the other car, to see what might have happened to the driver.

I am so lucky that she wasn’t badly hurt.

I am so lucky that I wasn’t badly hurt, either. I am lucky for a lot of things that I am too afraid to say out loud (like the imagination of a school bus coming down that same road that haunts me still today.)

I spent the next two months in absolute internal horror.

I couldn’t hate myself more for what I had done. I told myself all day long how terrible I was:

I knew I wasn’t safe on the road.

I knew I wasn’t thinking straight.

But I just didn’t know how to explain it. I thought I could strong-arm the overwhelmed, confused feeling – “grateful” my way out of it.

Evidently not.

One afternoon about eight weeks after my accident, I opened a copy of “O” magazine

It was laying on a side table in my living room. I was hoping to find some distraction from my internal angst. In it was an article by Martha Beck on burnout. Although “burnout” sounded like a lightweight problem to me at the time, I decided that reading some Martha Beck was better than listening to more of my internally violent self-talk. So, I turned to the article. As I read along, my mouth fell open so wide that midway through the article the whole inside of my cheeks and tongue were nearly cracking with dryness.

This article was about me.

I read the line: “By now you may have a serious illness (heart disease, an autoimmune disorder) or have been in a car accident.” and my head began to spin (just on the inside – I think.)

I was simultaneously comforted and confused. “THIS is burnout?,” I thought. I had been “burnt out” before but it was mostly on things like Thai food, or romantic comedies or any other preference I had previously overindulged in my life. This did NOT feel like that kind of “burnout.”

Burnout as a psychological and life issue is completely misunderstood and under-treated.

When I dug into burnout further, I saw so many indicators that I was experiencing in my life. I also saw pieces of my friends lives and my clients lives in the descriptions.

Here are some of the other burnout symptoms I experienced:

  • I gained 25 pounds. Anxiety-eating
  • I awoke tired (but antsy to get up)
  • I felt confused and had a very hard time making decisions
  • I had low self-trust
  • I had very little patience (this can get confused with professional “drive” but don’t let it fool you)
  • I fought with my husband way more than usual
  • I couldn’t hold onto a “happy” feeling for very long
  • I felt really, really, really stuck

I wonder if any of these are familiar to you or someone you know who is feeling really stuck in their life? (Please note: these symptoms can be signs of other psychological and physical issues as well, so if you have a bunch of them – do get them checked out with a professional. I am not an expert on this topic, to be sure.)

Given that these symptoms are so familiar to me – and I can think of at least three people that I know with whom that list would resonate immediately - Why don’t we talk about this phenomenon more?

Why aren’t we shouting from the rooftops the dangers of letting the stress pile up inside of us like this?!

I suspect it’s because – like me – so many “privileged” people don’t believe they have a right to see their stress and overwhelm as a real problem. They don’t have the right to “complain” or seek help when there are so many “worse” problems out there.

Let me be clear here: food, shelter and safety are bottom-line essentials for life. Every single human being deserves these. I do not mean to hold these problems up against each other in any way.

Everyone deserves peace, too.

In fact, without Inner Peace, we can be dangerous to others and ourselves. I learned that in a very scary, visceral way first-hand.

Inner peace deserves radical focus.

The good news is, in the six months since this difficult period of my life I have found some amazing strategies to re-embrace my sanity again (and again and again.) Many of them actually help me feel significantly better immediately.  I invite you to use as many of them as feel great to you.

  • Go for a walk outside. Walk fast, for as long as you can. Study the trees, flowers, cars… tell yourself all about what you are seeing. Stay focused on the world outside your head.
  • If you can’t go outside, close your eyes and picture going outside for a walk in a place you love. Do the same as above, including only focusing on telling yourself about what you see on your imaginary walk.
  • Put on uplifting music and sing along. (ONLY uplifting music is allowed. Sad music will make you feel worse.)
  • Paint, write, or otherwise engage in artistic expression. Do not write about the pain. Take yourself somewhere else.
  • Breathe deeply into your belly – such that your belly extends outward – then release all of the air completely. Do this slowly, three times at least. Feel your body relax.
  • Do some yoga or meditation, if those feel comfortable and supportive to you. (Now is not the time to beat yourself up for not being able to “let go of thoughts.” If you struggle with this part, then go do something that helps you let go of thoughts like the first or second activity in this list.)
  •  Check your self-talk. So many of us have gotten used to an internal voice that beats us up a lot. It’s this crazy ingrained thing for so many of us. Begin listening in – and rephrase those mean thoughts into ones that are more loving and supportive. Tell yourself the truth (you won’t believe or trust yourself if you try to do otherwise) – just look for the compassionate truth, like you would for a good friend who needs support. **This is a big one. Do it every day.

All of these immediately available strategies have helped me get unstuck from the worst of this “burnout.” While I still fall into the struggle at times, I can quickly get back to relative peace by picking something from the above list and doing it ASAP.

Today, I feel unstuck. I feel open and ready to flourish. I have let go of the burnout.

And it’s clearer to me than ever before that my greatest job in this life is to be peaceful, open and brilliant.

That to go to the next level in facilitating maximum self-expression in my clients and in my own life, it’s time to open up the inner flow bigger, broader and more expansive.

So from now until the end of summer, my world revolves around Inner Peace.

The Summer (and Spring) of Inner Peace.

~Project: Inner Peace~

I will read, write, sit, walk, dance, yoga, meditate (quite imperfectly, you should know), and commune with nature in whatever ways facilitate Inner Peace.

I will build sand castles in the backyard sandbox with my daughters as shrines of Inner Peace.

I will cook meals and walk my dogs in homage to Inner Peace.

I will swim with the dolphins (okay, my three squiggly girl-shaped dolphins) to promote Inner Peace.

I am doing this for me, yes. But I am doing it for you, too. I am doing it for the world.

~Peaceful me, peaceful you, peaceful everyone, everywhere.~

I’ll be sharing the journey here on my blog. I hope you’ll join me.

Thank you, Jurvetson, for this beautiful dolphin image.

 

 

 

Guest Post on Speaking Artistry at Stephanie Pollock Inc.

I wrote an article as a guest writer for business coach amazingness, Stephanie Pollock, which you can read on her blog today. If you’ve wondered about my eBook, Soul Power to Your Message, this article is a good taste of what you’ll find in that program. This post has a really good intro to my Expression Elan process (which my clients absolutely LOVE.) Also, it’s a good reminder to get your copy of Soul Power to Your Message now because it will go into (re)writing retreat in **10 Days** (April 15th), emerging as a fuller, my Why-full version – with a price tag.

Go here to read the Speaking Artistry post on Stephanie Pollock’s blog.

Enjoy the post. And please, share the results of your preliminary Expression Elan process (as described in the post) in the comments. I’d love to help you refine your three words, if it would serve you and your message!

Your Why Trumps Your How

The ocean is roaring outside the patio door as I write this post.

I can’t see it because it’s still too dark to see anything outside. My three daughters are breathing their little baby sleep breaths in the other bedroom.

We are on vacation.

A much needed vacation after a year of crazy upheaval – a move across the country, three subsequent moves to get into our final home plus a remodel, new schools, new friends and a lot of unexpected twists and turns. I can’t remember ever needing a vacation like I needed this one.

And yet I “work” during pockets of this vacation.

I write blog posts, reply to emails, plan speaking gigs, schedule videographers. I reflect on business plans while I toss jellyfish back to safety in the sea.

It’s not all I do. But I happily invite “work” into my vacation.

Why do I do this?

I do this because my “why” of my work is soul-inspired.

I do this work because I am absolutely certain that our world is a better place when each of us is authentically, powerfully expressed. And being a part of that “work” makes my heart sing (in the words of my lovely friend, Nancy Jane Smith.)

I consider it my responsibility to share my divinely given gifts in service of a mentally and emotionally peaceful world. Since I have been shown the way to getting unstuck, sharing my message with the world on stage, and taking my own beloved anxiety to tea all the while, I know for sure that others with a powerful, meaningful, life-changing message can do the same.

I know that you can do the same.

Now matter how nervous you are.

No matter how stuck you feel.

I want you to know that you can unstick yourself and get that message out, make the difference you so want to make.

As for me… In the center of my gut, I get it that this is the way I change the world – helping soul-inspired people get their message out, change real lives with their expertise.

Ultimately, it is this Why (plus an immense drive to create) that keeps every soul-inspired business owner that I know doing unexpected things like planning their next book while picking up seashells on the beach.

Now, the sun and the babes have risen and it is time to dig our toes into the sand.

The Wisdom of Your Throat

“Just listen to your body. It will tell you what is the right thing to do.”

I bet you’ve heard that before, right?

Frankly, I get a little annoyed by statements like that. First of all, my body may not intend to lie, but since I have had my share of trauma and other side effects of being alive, sometimes my body’s sirens go off at times when it wouldn’t serve my life overall to back away from the supposed “danger.” If I simply listen to my body without regard for other factors, because of various scary life experiences, I would actually no longer: drive a car, ride a bicycle, eat pickles (that was one loooong night), camp in the woods, or get on any stage again, ever.

Our bodies can be confusing guides for behavior. Mine sure can be, anyway.

In some ways, because I am trying to live out loud and take risks in service of sharing my message, I have had to ignore my body’s signals. There are just too many times that my body says, “Danger!” when the alternative is playing it so safe that I never get to really make a difference in the world.

Yet I’m attracted to Body Exercises

In spite of my subconscious somewhat dismissive stance on my body’s messages, I am attracted to exercises that help me tune into my body. I’m searching for ways I can use my body’s wisdom without having it’s wisdom take me down too much. When I was reading Martha Beck’s Finding Your Own North Star this weekend, I was pretty amazed to learn that my body has a much larger vocabulary than I was giving it credit for.

Making Myself Feel Horrible

With Martha’s guidance in her book, I got myself all riled up over a horrible situation that would totally suck to be in. Basically, she has you call to mind all of your worst skills  and the people it would be most awful for you to be aroun, then she hands you this scenario where you are stuck in a job doing that stuff you are terrible at being supervised by these people who make you feel terrible about yourself. Wow, did my body react when she slammed me into that scenario. My throat got tight, my chest squeezed, I felt nauseous and my brain was hazy. It was really uncomfortable. 

Making Myself Feel Awesome

Then, she takes you through a very similar process where you answer a bunch of questions about all your strengths and brilliance, people who light you up and make you feel amazing about yourself. She blossoms a scenario where you get to spend all day doing this work that feeds your soul and makes you feel brilliant and alive, surrounded by the people who bring out the best in you and you enjoy immensely. Ooh, did I love that exercise! I got so excited that my throat tingled, my heart danced in my chest and my tummy had a whole bouquet of butterflies fluttering in it. I felt awesome. 

Holy moly – did you notice that?!

I was astounded at the similarity in my body’s signals of “awesome” and “awful.”

I’ve been so confused by my body in large part because my body’s “excited” signals are so wildly similar to my “fear” signals. In both cases, my throat has a leading role – as does my tummy and my chest. Hello?! No wonder I am so annoyed by those “your body always knows” comments.

Turns out – my body does know

…but I didn’t know how to listen to my body.

I didn’t realize how intricate my body’s communication system really is. Even in the five days since I did that exercise I have become far more in tune with my body’s signals. As a result…

I made some really fabulous decisions this week, thanks to my body

  • Walking away from the computer and going for a walk when I was really stuck in my writing. It totally unstuck me! I would have “pushed through” before not realizing that my body was saying “no” to the computer right now. My fluttering heart on that sunny, tree-blossom-filled walk sure did reinforce the “yes”, too.
  • Declining a meeting request that was simply not part of my Beautiful Living agenda right now, even though I knew it would disappoint the meeting organizer. That was hard for me (tightened throat for a moment) but noticing how that tightened throat shifted to a tickly one was a great lesson in the wisdom of my brilliant throat.
  • Driving my daughter to school this morning with my husband, even though we were running late and Grammy was there to do it for us. You should have seen her 4-year-old giddy, happy face as she walked into school with Mama on one hand and Daddy on the other. I thought the butterflies in my tummy might escape through my mouth, they were so excited.

It’s going to take more practice, but I am totally hooked. My decision-time on stuff just substantially decreased. I can also report that I will be doing way more stuff that makes my throat flutter and way less stuff that makes it tight – now that I know the difference! I am absolutely certain that this new body listening thing is going to make sharing my message powerfully even easier, now that I know how to hear the nuances. I wonder if you’ve got a signaling system in your body that could use some fine-listening? Something to consider.

I’m so curious… what signals does your body give you for “yes” and “no”? Does it ever confuse you? I’d love to hear about your body signals in the comments.

Monkey Mind & the Will to Write

I hit the “Start” button on my iPhone to begin my 15 minutes, twist my legs into a pretzel and slowly close my eyes. Deep breath in… then out. Again. Ahhhh… I made it. I made it to the floor today. I made it to the nirvana of an empty mind.

Then…

I should write a blog post about meditating. I can write about how helpful it is to clear your mind as you tap into the essence of your message. Oh shoot. I’m thinking. Maybe I should write about monkey mind and how it’s such a frustrating experience. I think this would really help my community because they are such conscious people, many of them meditators themselves.

Ooh, I’ll write about monkey mind and the will to write! How my mind could not let go of this concept of writing a blog post about the experience of monkey mind. It’s kind of a funny irony that I will have written about something I was thinking while meditating since the idea behind meditation is not holding onto any thoughts.

Well, that’s not right! Then they’ll think I don’t know how to let go of my own thoughts. This will show what a lousy meditator I am. Okay, then. I will let this thought go and if I still have it when I am done meditating, then I’ll write about it. But it won’t be because I thought about it the whole time. Now, let it go…. let the thoughts float by… ahh, that feels good. Nice.

[peaceful, open, quiet...]

Actually, I’m just going to do one thing before I stop thinking. I’m going to use some of those imagery memory tricks I learned from Jim Kwik of Kwik Learning. I’m going to picture Simone in her monkey jammies. Wait, I need to add the writing part. Actually, I will picture a writer in Simone’s monkey jammies. Who should I picture? Hmmm…

Oh, come on! This is silly. Stop thinking and let this go! You’re going to miss your whole meditation and you won’t have time to do a whole new round. Now, breathe out… good. Nice…

[Quiet, peace, openness...]

Jeez, it seems like it’s been more than 15 minutes. I wonder if I somehow never actually hit start on the timer… oh, I know I did. This is just that part where I get antsy when I’ve been quiet for a bit.

Well, I’m just going to check real quick… just real quick.

Oh, okay – 46 seconds left.

[Quick settle back into position]

[quiet, peaceful, open...]

Ahh, this is nice...

Ding, ding, chime. Ding, ding, chime.

I fling up to standing and leap to my computer. I remembered what I wanted to post about today!

 

Thank you, Starmist1, for the lovely incense meditation timer image. Perhaps if I had begun with such a soulful system, things would have gone differently.