Practice is an invitation to the future

The Creative Habit by Martha Graham, a book I devoured like a delicious meal.

“I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one’s being, a satisfaction of spirit.” – Martha Graham

It reminded me that life is simple, and we complicate it. A lot.

Because whether it’s becoming more creative, or doing the work to change something that’s not working in your life, the essential ingredient, practice, is simple.

And most of the time, it’s not that easy.

This is an invitation to practice. 

Not for perfection, or external validation, but for deep, inner transformation.

“Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.” – Martha Graham

Practice because that’s what it takes.

To keep your word, and honour your promises to yourself, others, and life – an invitation to the future.

What helps is to shift your perspective.

From boring and routine, to devotion and ritual, an acknowledgement of your soul’s desire.

Because that’s what it is when you make a promise to yourself.

Your soul is asking you to act on something bigger and more meaningful than what you’re currently experiencing.

The 100 Day Promise was how I responded to my soul, and in doing so I created a new future for myself.

That’s what I want for you.

Say yes now, and join me in the upcoming 100 day journey.

The theme for January 2016 is Living Abundance.

What could you create given 100 days and the right kind of support?

SAM.1705 module cover - square no white box

 

 

We Are All Connected

 

Cormorants on Point Grey Bell Boy, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Cormorants, black as ink,
their wings spread wide
drying in the brisk evening air.

Five of them, together,
watching out for each other.

Are they related?
Connected in some way?

Do they notice when one
goes missing?

Are they like us, connected
but pretending that they’re not?

Now, there are six.

The silhouette of their necks
like wrought iron,
black curves against the grey of
the water below.

 

A Year in Review (gems from 2013)

 

green path at Ruby Lake Resort, British Columbia

Each line taken from a blog post written in 2013.

 

You are beyond compare.

Make a list of everything you appreciate…keep going, continue, don’t stop!

Feel all your feelings, but only magnify the good ones.

Today is the day to make up something good.

Now is the perfect time to dream…

 

Play more. Sing more. Dance more. Love more.

Discover what works best for you, then work it.

Allow what is and accept what is not.

Is your soul calling out for a change?

Your mindset matters more than your circumstances.

If happiness is a choice, why don’t you choose it?

 

The light you long for is within.

Ordinary people do extraordinary things all the time.

Your values are there to guide you, your feelings fuel the journey.

Imagine a love affair with yourself.

What you can be, you must be.

 

Life is a creative adventure; do your part and create.

Say something new.

Commit with your whole heart, then do what it takes to follow through.

Start living your life the way you want.

What would you do with only one day?

 

Let your secrets come out to play!

When you notice what’s working, your experience of it expands.

It’s the little things and small moments that turn your dreams into reality.

Just because there is no map doesn’t mean we shouldn’t explore new territory.

Question the beliefs that keep you in the dark.

Lead your own rebellion.

 

What is your heart longing for?

You’ll figure it out. Trust yourself.

Your words matter.

Choose to open.

 

Give up apologizing. Own your bigness instead.

It’s time to celebrate the awesomeness of you.

A new beginning and all possibilities exist.

Anything that taps into a better feeling state is worth exploring.

 

Own your desires, and ask for what you want.

Speak up. Pay attention. Celebrate your you-ness.

Let go of what no longer holds value.

All is well. There is no other shoe to drop.

 

Rebel. Buck the trend. Try something different.

Choose love over fear every time.

Embrace change, but don’t rush it.

Own who you are without apology.

Who you are is an extraordinary being.

 

Get out of your head, and into your body.

You are the one you’ve been waiting for.

Your purpose is what you say it is.

Feed your soul in any way that feels good to you.

 

Set yourself in motion. Exchange your inertia for freedom.

Be in service to your desires.

Freedom has many flavours. What’s yours?

You are rooted, wild, and free; lean back and feel your strength.

You’re already connected to everyone and everything.

Tell the truth to get unstuck.

 

Life isn’t an all or nothing game.

What keeps you from feeling free? Look there.

Let go of what you know and make room for the now.

Where you are afraid, you are not free.

Coherence happens when you connect your heart and mind.

 

Celebrate what you love.

Honour what’s true for you, and to hell with the rest.

Wake up and notice the different.

Love creates the foundation of reality.

 

Writing this post was a reminder…

Even the most challenging times have gems, but you have to come through the darkness to see them. 

 

Let’s Talk About Love

 

Blinded, statue at Fraserview Cemetery, Vancouver, BC

It’s easy to love the sun.

It rises each day and generously shares its light and warmth. It literally brightens our days, wanting nothing in return.

So easy to love.

It’s less easy to love another.

For they are not nearly as reliable or generous as the sun. They come with feelings and expectations and needs. Often demanding, it’s a wonder we love them, but we do.

We do so love to love.

It’s not that easy to love yourself. 

This is the greatest of loves, for it informs the rest, and yet…it’s often the love we’re most challenged by.

Imagine this love.

This great love that has been with you since the beginning. Maybe it was suppressed long ago, tucked way back in the recesses of your heart.

“To say “I love you” one must know first how to say the “I”.” – Ayn Rand

But this love is still there, longing to be expressed.

I know this is true.

You are here longing to hear the whispers of your heart, yearning to feel the “I”.

So, let’s talk about love, and create the foundation of a new reality.

 

Day by Day Everything Changes

 

“Day by day, nothing seems to change, but pretty soon…everything’s different.” – Bill Watterson

Turning 50 is often seen as something to survive, a milestone to be ignored rather than acknowledged.

I didn’t feel that way at all.

For me it’s been a process of opening up and reclaiming what’s most important. This includes aspects of myself along with dreams that were set aside in the busyness of life.

And we do that don’t we?

We set things aside, compromise our values, accommodate the desires of others’, and slowly over time we forget about the dreams that set our souls on fire.

Until life rocks the boat with death, illness, blows to career and ego; so many crisis points doing a number on our spirit.

 

This year of living 50 began with a tangle of emotion:

love, anticipation, sadness, appreciation, excitement…swirling together to create a new state, one I didn’t quite have a name for.

It included the surprise and delight of celebrating with friends and family.

And beauty, always beauty.

I’m keenly aware and appreciative of the people, thoughts, and words that have shaped my life. What I’m not always aware of is how my life and words impact the lives of others, because like you, I have my blindspots.

The truth is, we all touch each others’ lives in some way.

Which is why the quote I started with makes so much sense to me.

Day by day, things are shifting and changing, and one day you wake up and everything’s different.

It can happen unconsciously or by choice.

You decide.

 

Embracing the Woo

 

In speaking with a client recently, I was reminded yet again how little we accept ourselves.

We reject and judge those parts of ourselves that fall short – of perfection, and comparison.

We blame and beat ourselves up – for being vulnerable and human.

And what does it get us?

Exhaustion, dissatisfaction, and a general malaise in life.

Your one precious life.

The more we tolerate the self-recrimination, the more we struggle. The more we struggle, the less we accept ourselves, and the vicious circle continues.

But what if…

  • you accepted (and even loved) the parts of yourself you judge
  • you viewed these parts of yourself from a place of compassion
  • and what if you held these parts close, allowing them to become integrated in a way that feels sacred?

This IS possible.

You have to be willing to break the cycle, and interrupt long-held patterns. You also have to decide that yes, change is possible.

It’s not only possible…it’s likely.

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LET FEAR STOP YOU?

Just like you, I have felt confronted in life.

I’ve faced some hard truths in my life and work the past year. I found myself spinning round and round, paralyzed by the fear of sharing the most important change I’ve experienced in my career.

Even though I knew firsthand how powerful this change was – I let fear stop me.

  • Fear of what you would think.
  • Fear of being perceived as a flake.
  • Fear of judgment, instilled in me by others, not even my own fear to begin with.

I felt vulnerable and afraid, and the fear slid in making itself at home.

But what happens when you suppress something that is truly important to you? What happens when you hold yourself back at the cost of making the difference you’re here to make?

Sooner or later, the pressure cooker will blow.

Sooner or later, you’ve got to say FUCK IT and honour what’s true for you.

Sooner or later you’ve got to embrace what you’re most afraid of.

And so I did.

What was my greatest fear?

What was that big scary thing that had been slowing me down?

This: That you’ll think I’ve lost my mind and embraced the woo.

Woo woo…you know what I mean, right?

 

EMBRACING THE WOO

woo-woo

adj: concerned with emotions, mysticism, or spiritulism; other than rational or scientific; mysterious; new agey.

Deepak Chopra says that woo woo is “…a derogatory reference to almost any form of unconventional thinking, aimed by professional skeptics who are self-appointed vigilantes dedicated to the suppression of curiosity.”

Suppression of curiousity?

That is like suppressing the essence of who I am, and suppression never feels good – ever.

While I was debating the dilemma of woo, I also realized the following:

  • Science has always played catch-up to the woo which typically begins with creativity, curiousity, and imagination
  • Embracing the woo doesn’t exclude the many years of experience and training I’ve accumulated
  • Trusting what works feels better than trusting the status quo

These past months I have trusted what works, and the process has been healing in a way I’d never imagined.

“Healing is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.” – W.H. Auden

Imagine wooing yourself to a place of self-acceptance.

Dare I say, even self-love?

divider

 

The process I went through also created space.

  • Space for healing in all areas of mind, body, and spirit.
  • Space for producing unprecedented results in life and business.
  • Space to discover what’s most important, and of highest value and meaning to me – and ultimately, to my clients.
  • Space to develop mastery with the Freedom Sessions.

This work is currently confronting many old paradigms in the personal development world because it’s producing results in fewer sessions, and with more long-term effectiveness.

Why do we think change has to take a long time?

If your body can store memories, emotions, and negative feelings in an instant, it can also release them in the same way. But somehow we’ve come to the collective conclusion that this can’t happen. That we have to spend hours and years, talking about our traumas in order to heal the wounds.

What if this doesn’t have to be true?

Let that sink in.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein

 

And consider this…

Suggesting such a fundamental shift in the coaching relationship at first glance means fewer sessions, less long-term commitment and consequently, less income.

If people reach permanent and positive change in fewer sessions, they will need far less of my time.

So why would I do this? Sounds a bit crazy, yeah?

But it also means more satisfied clients living more fulfilled lives, which leads to many more referrals – and an even more fulfilled coach.

And people are experiencing some pretty jaw-dropping results:

“I’ve always been an anxious person but since my son was born 2 years ago it has intensified, and I’ve become obsessed with getting sick. This anxiety has become a nauseous feeling that stays with me most of the day, from the first thought I have when I wake up to the constant body scans throughout the day. I started to worry that I would need to be put on anti-anxiety medication and I really didn’t want that! Sandi led me through the Freedom Sessions, and here’s the AMAZING part – the obsessive anxiety has dissipated, and I am not consumed by worry. This has had a huge impact on how I am living life, and I now have the freedom to enjoy my son and my family without the shadow of anxiety.” – M.T.

I want this kind of result for more people, and I’m not afraid to say:

These sessions work better than anything else I’ve used with clients in 13 years of professional coaching.

 

WHAT DOES IT TAKE FROM YOU?

You have to want a breakthrough. Badly.

It’s not enough to want to feel better or experience some relief (although you will.)

This work is most effective with people who are frustrated and fed up with where they’ve been stuck. People who REALLY want to make a change.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

 

You have to be willing to go deep.

Think of the difference between treading water on the surface of the ocean and diving deep.

Deep is where you’ll find the pearls. Deep is where you’ll experience sweet release from painful issues that have been part of your life for way too long.

But it can be difficult, and you have to be willing to go that far.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama

 

You have to trust the process.

You don’t have to understand how it works. You do have to show up, trust me to guide you through the process, and be willing to let go.

I had to do this too. I had to embrace the woo, and trust the results. Science can catch up with me later.

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” – Eckhart Tolle

When you trust, things like this happen:

“I am a skeptic who tries to suspend disbelief, but my experiences with Sandi have made me a believer even though I do not understand why it works. Quite frankly, I don’t care why or how it works because I feel exponentially better, and that’s all that matters.” – E.B.

 

You know how I used to go on and on about ‘someday’ thinking?

That hasn’t changed.

If you are ready for a change – I mean really, really ready – let’s talk.

 

99 Things I Love (because I love a good challenge)

 

I’m always up for a challenge, especially when I know it’s going to leave me feeling a rampage of appreciation.

Judy Dunn wrote in the post that inspired me, 99 Things I Love, that in doing this exercise,

“You get a sense of what’s important in life, where your priorities lie and what brings you joy.”

That is always a good thing.

So I set my timer for ten minutes as per Judy’s exercise, and began my own list.

99

1.  My first cup of coffee in the morning
2.  The books that surround me in my office
3.  My girl Tarty
4.  Connecting with friends
5.  Making my mom laugh
6.  Deep soul-shaking belly laughs
7.  Fresh homemade bread
8.  Watching whales in Maui
9.  Catching sight of an eagle high above me
10. Losing myself in music
11. Foreign films
12. Standing in front of paintings I studied at art school
13. The art I’ve collected over the years
14. Coffee dates
15. Salted dark chocolate
16. Homemade pizza (and leftovers in the morning)
17. Walking our dog Tarty at Kits Beach
18. Holding hands with Mark
19. Long, squishy bear hugs
20. Christmas gatherings with family Continue reading

What are we all so afraid of?

 

When you begin to walk the path from fear to freedom, you’ll notice a shift in energy.

It’s empowering to explore, like an archaeologist digging for answers from the past.

Because really..

What are we all so afraid of?

photo of figure against turbulent black and white sky by Hartwig HKD

Krishnamurti said, “Fear of any kind breeds illusion.” 

This illusion stops us in life, for where we are afraid we are not free.

This illusion keeps us from being with our fears in a way that contributes to our growth and development.

Instead, we try desperately to crush fear, escape it, and worst of all, suppress it – but none of these lead to freedom.

What can you do instead?

Continue reading

The Delicious Ambiguity of Endings (and how they lead to freedom)

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” – Gilda Radner

Kits Beach sunset, Vancouver, BC: photo credit - Mark Faviell

We want so much to know what’s going to happen, as if knowing will make the endings less difficult, less painful.

It doesn’t.

Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a business, or a relationship, knowing the end is near makes very little difference.

Emotions will come up (they are relentless, in case you hadn’t noticed), often slowing down the healing process if we don’t give ourselves permission to feel and integrate them fully.

Therein lies the greater challenge of endings.

It’s also where ambiguity lives.

am·bi·gu·i·ty

:: doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention

We wrongly believe that feeling emotions (especially ones perceived as negative) leads to deeper pain, and we’ll do anything to avoid them.

Move on. Be positive. Count your blessings.

The platitudes we speak to avoid feeling the depth of our emotional world.

We do anything to avoid going deep, blind to the fact that the opposite is the path to freedom.

It’s said resistance is futile, and when it comes to emotions that’s true.

What you resist will persist somewhere in your mind, body, spirit.

Problems and circumstances come and go in life, but your unexpressed feelings become trapped as emotional charge, or negative energy.

It’s not a conscious action, but rather a protective instinct that does more harm than good.

In avoiding what’s perceived as negative or ending, you keep yourself stuck there, paralyzed by the unknown.

The truth I’ve discovered as I do more and more work with people in the Freedom Sessions is that acknowledging and feeling your emotions fully is what gets you through the pain and struggle with greater ease.

It’s counter-intuitive, I know.

Here’s how it works:

That emotional charge is made up of four elements:

  • Images – pictures you see in your mind
  • Thoughts – internal dialogue, negative chatter, the broken record of self-recrimination
  • Feelings – emotions we try to suppress that return over and over
  • Body sensations – physical ailments or conditions that show up as a response to the suppression

What’s the impact of all that stuck energy?

What’s the cost to your vitality and well-being in life? 

For most of us it’s huge.

I recently shared my personal experience of this cost and how I found my way back to freedom.

So what to do with all these stuck and suppressed emotions?

Of course I invite you to work through the Freedom Sessions with me; until then, here are a few tips to help you begin the process on your own.

How to Clear Your Stuck Energy

1. Start with Your Body

Take a moment and notice where the stuckness shows up in your body. As soon as you tune out the external distractions and focus on your body, you will feel where it lives in most strongly within. Let yourself feel it.

2. Acknowledge Its Presence

The emotional charge you feel in your body is there for a reason. Put all your attention on it; be with it without judgement. It’s been suppressed and ignored for so long, take a moment to acknowledge its presence.

3. Magnify It

Sounds a bit crazy, but imagine feeling the pain of the emotion and then exaggerating it. Imagine you could zoom in to the very core of its existence, and then be with the initial discomfort.

THIS is the gateway to relief, and freedom.

This works so well because we go right to the root of the negative energy, that emotional charge that’s been stuck for so long, and you bypass the overactive mind that’s done its best to protect you. This results in dissolving the energetic residue in the body.

It’s not rocket science, and it’s not magic – there be no unicorns here.

It is however, simple and profound.

The good news is it’s by far the most effective work I’ve done with clients in over a decade, helping people move from stuck to free and empowered.

The bad news is you have to acknowledge you now have a choice, and you’re not a victim of circumstance. For some, that’s the biggest hurdle.

“I loved the session where I figured out why I’m here and all the false crap that triggers maladaptive or reactive behavior.  It’s probably the most important chunk of information I’ve ever learned about myself because I understand myself so much better instead of simply labeling myself as wrong or bad. So much support in an atmosphere of non-judgement.” – Ellen Berg

More good news – you don’t have to do this alone.

Contact me directly if you want to explore if this is right for you.

Over to You:

Over to You:

Which of the steps feels the most challenging to you?

On Plans, Winging It, and Flexibility

 

“Before you cross the street take my hand. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

It’s said John Lennon wrote these words about his experiences with his young son. At that point in his life, he was in his second marriage to Yoko Ono, fame had struck, and it would have been so very easy to get caught up in making plans.

It happens all the time.

Life gets busy, overwhelm and stress show up, and you bypass doing the right thing in favour of the fast or convenient thing.

You put off saying I love you, thinking you have all the time in the world.

Until you don’t.

Sometimes you’re given a moment of grace, and time slows down.

Sometimes, you embrace that moment and change all your plans.

For love,

family,

presence…

those parts of your life that make you whole.

You make room for flexibility.

You make requests.

You change your mind.

You choose what serves the moment, rather than the plans.

Just. Like. That.

Circumstances align, people show up, and your heart expands.

Life supports flexibility.

“No matter how many plans you make or how much in control you are, life is always winging it.” – Carroll Bryant

Life is always winging it.

Adapting, and evolving; that’s how we got here.

Which doesn’t mean never make plans.

Life isn’t an all or nothing game.

It means embrace what comes your way.

And trust you have everything you need.