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For Jim’s birthday I planned to take him sailing. The day came and the weather was rough, so rough there was only one guy that would rent us boat in Southwest Florida. We drove down and set sail in a 16’ Hobie Cat. Thankfully Jim is a very experienced sailor; still, there were several times I was quite impressed he kept the bottom side down! On our past sails the conditions have mostly been just breezy (on the verge of boring). That day was different- The wind was strong and gusty and the water was rough. I learned more in two hours than I had in all of our previous sails. We were flying. I was hanging off the side of the boat and using my weight to keep us from capsizing. Jim was “spilling wind” because our little boat had limits and at times the wind was too much. It was exhilarating.

Isn’t life just the same? Sometimes winds are strong and sometimes there is no breeze at all. At times during calm conditions we think we have to create our own wind. If you were in a sailboat in the middle of the ocean on a breezeless day, would you huff and puff and spend all your energy blowing into the sails with your own breath? What might you do instead? Why do we think our businesses, careers, or lives should be treated any different? How much effort do you put into blowing into your own sails? Conversely how much energy do you exhaust trying to push against the wind when the breeze is blowing?

Looking back at the birthday sail I notice so many more similarities that relate to ordinary occurrences. For instance: When it was time to tack (change directions), sometimes it didn’t go so smooth. Jim and I bumped into each other, emotions got edgy, and a couple times we lost all of our momentum.  On the other hand when we were moving swiftly forward with our sails full there were occasional adjustments to be made, but in the big picture, we were just enjoying the ride.

One factor to realize is: if we didn’t tack and kept that course, we would have sailed our boat into deep waters far away from land… and we were on a tiny boat only prepared for a couple of hours of adventuring. For our own well-being, we had to change directions. The changing of directions sometimes wasn’t a smooth transition. Even though I’m not an experienced sailor, I had complete faith in Jim and wasn’t worried at all. After a few times of turning around and heading back toward shore I also realized this: Even if we came to what seemed like a complete standstill miles off shore- we were still moving and those strong winds eventually filled the sails and we’d be flying again. We continually used the wind to our advantage- that’s what sailing is all about!

How might this relate to you?

Are you in the midst of a change in direction? If your current situation seems muddled or confusing, might the good news be that you are still moving (even if it doesn’t seem so). If there isn’t wind now, there soon will be and it will fill your sails. Let it. Worry and apprehension might give you something to do in the moment, but neither will get you anywhere.  Trust the gale of inspiration will come.

Are you flying and moving swiftly forward with full sails? Receive and enjoy the gale, realize you are the wind, take the voyage and do it with ease.  When we let our ship sail under the wind and give it everything we’ve got, every day is a blast- it becomes seemingly effortless and fun.

My big takeaway from the birthday sail was: I love sailing in a strong wind and in what many would consider intimidating conditions. Sure, when winds are calm it’s relaxing and that can be nice for a bit. BUT, WOW! Was that sail fun!! It’s was a lot more work, Jim and I were both sore, and there were a few times I thought we were going to capsize…. But that is where the living is done! I feel like I am in those same winds in life right now. The wind is a blowing and I love it! I really don’t know where I am going to end up, but that is all a part of the adventure.

What is your take? How might this discussion apply to how you feel and where you are today?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, stories, and comparisons. Feel free to comment below or contact me directly.

Catch Some Wind, Be the Wind, Enjoy the RideSt. François de Sales’ quote (below) was the fuel for this article. I first came across it while reading The Inside-out Revolution last year. In June it popped up again and spurred on a fascinating class discussion (on the same day as the birthday sail!). Then, out of the blue last week, one of my clients mentioned how drawn he is to the quote and the ideas it has stirred in him. Read it, let it sit and read it again:

“Our free will can hinder the course of inspiration, and when the favourable gale of God’s grace swells the sails of our soul, it is in our power to refuse consent and thereby hinder the effect of the wind’s favour; but when our spirit sails along and makes its voyage prosperously, it is not we who make the gale of inspiration blow for us, nor we who make our sails swell with it, nor we who give motion to the ship of our heart; but we simply receive the gale, consent to its motion and let our ship sail under it, not hindering it by our resistance.”

St. François de Sales

One simple message that comes up for me is: propelling our tiny boat across the ocean isn’t our responsibility. The wind will take care of that. It is in our power to work against or do nothing with the gale. It is also in our power to set sail and take an active part in the grand adventure.

What comes up for you?

 

Catch some wind, be the wind, and enjoy the ride.

 

 

Until with next revolution….

 

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In Part 1 we explored ways to calm the feeling of overwhelm, making a master list is one tactic. There are many other tactics that may help us prioritize our lives around what we want to create in the world. Now, in Part 2, we will explore the effect that state of mind has on overwhelm and the connection between our thoughts and feelings.

From Overwhelm to Clarity, Calm, Creativity

It’s important to know that how we feel (happy, carefree, anxious, overwhelmed, etc.) comes directly from our thoughts. Whether or not we feel stressed depends on our thinking about our situation, rather than the situation itself. Having tools and tactics to help quiet the feeling of stress is great, but what if there was a better option? What if there was something more innate that could instantly and continuously change how you think, act, and react to your world?

There is!  Being in a high level state of mind changes everything. Operating from the mindset of well-being brings a level of clarity, creativity, and ingenuousness that opens doors of opportunity. Think of a time when you were in an extremely great mood. What was it like? What did you notice about your interactions with people and clarity of ideas?

If you were in a happy, free, fulfilled state of well-being: How might you respond to a loved one who is upset and having a tough day? Imagine floating through your day at this level of peace of mind as your loved one walks into the room.  He (or she) is short with you and upset. How do you react? You might love on them, try to help them, or let them be and shrug it off. His or her reaction probably wouldn’t affect your state of mind much at all. What if you were feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and in a low state of mind and your loved one was short with you and upset. How do you react? It will not go nearly as well for either of you as compared to the previous scenario.

The only difference in these two scenarios is your state of mind. State of mind changes everything. Can overwhelm exist in a very high state of mind? When appreciation, happiness, peacefulness and love are oozing from your pores, is it possible to simultaneously feel stressed? Pause and think about that for a moment.

When we are feeling overwhelmed, we lose perspective and see things as black and white. This narrowing of our thinking is what fuels the vicious cycle of stress. When we are living in that clarity of a higher state of mind, ideas come to us. Things that once seemed like problems suddenly clear via creative solutions. The monstrous list of things to do begins to organize itself. New ideas pop up that change everything. Without realizing it, we get things done with efficiency and simplicity. We may even do more than we ever have before, but now with an ease and flow we can’t explain. This is not possible when we’re dragging ourselves through the quicksand of worry, stress and overwhelm.

Now, are you wondering how to get to this high level state of mind? If you try to control your state of mind, you won’t. It’s counterproductive. You can’t will yourself into clarity, well-being, and creativity. That would be like throwing a saddle on a wild mustang and trying to get it to take you for a ride like a pony at a petting zoo… it ain’t going to happen.

Instead of trying to make it happen, be open to letting it happen. Trust that it is possible. Trust that our natural state is well-being and calm. Be willing to step outside of your current thinking and notice what comes with the stillness. Trust that when you take a deep breath, step back, and settle in, you will effortlessly begin to float back toward this natural state of broader bandwidth.  In that stillness, you may find that peace and ease are already there. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong or cleaning up your mess, you’ll have more time to do what you want. You’ll begin to move forward with ease and grace.

I have lived from both sides. Right now I have a few more “things to do” on my plate than I did last year, but a totally different perspective. Back then, I was in the quicksand of overwhelm. I wasn’t as productive, my temper was much shorter, and I was living from a space of scarcity (scarcity of time, energy, money, love, bandwidth, etc). Comparing then to now, my surroundings haven’t changed, but everything else has. How did it happen? It was a change in perspective that was born out of the support, encouragement, and deep conversations with my coach, Andrew. It’s been a life changing journey.

Sure, I experience low states of mind and can get stuck there for a bit-that is part of being human. Now, I notice my thinking and feeling more often. About a week ago I had a heated discussion with someone close to me and I wasn’t in the best state of mind. Normally, I would go do something physical outside to find clarity and clear my thoughts. This wasn’t an option, but knowing well-being was my natural state, I took a different approach. I laid down and quieted myself by focusing on my breathing and purposefully noticing physical sensations in my body. In less than three minutes I was feeling calm, peaceful, and had clarity. Experiences like this continue to confirm that well-being is much closer and more accessible than it previously seemed. Well-being is our natural state… give it a try.

Clarity will be abundant when you come from a state of well-being and use your tactics, like the master list. In that state of well-being you have more common sense and more creativity. You’ll be able to identify which tactics and tools work for you. You’ll be streamlined and innately know what is best. You’ll be able to clear any unrealistic expectations and also clear limits you have placed on yourself.  This is our natural state and it is much closer than you may think. If you’d like support in your journey, begin with experiencing the power of coaching for yourself by contacting me directly via the phone number or email address listed below or by applying for a complimentary strategy session.

Well-being, calm, and limitless creativity are available to you. Be open to noticing and allowing yourself to experience it!

 

Until the next revolution…

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On a whim, Jim and I went on an adventure.  It was unplanned, spur of the moment, and  life changing. Numerous events culminated perfectly to allow this adventure to be a possibility–some were awesome surprises and some initially appeared to be huge letdowns. We lived the definition of “coddiwomple” in our camper for 26 days.  Below is a collection of a few of the experiences, insights and life-changing thoughts that showed up along the journey. For each idea, there is an explanation, an invitation to apply the thought, and inquiries to bring about your own awareness. Enjoy!

Grab the chance!  Go!

Do it! Whatever “it” is, give it a shot.  This amazing adventure was an “it” for me. Sure, there were countless thoughts centered around why we shouldn’t go or why it would be better if we waited. The timing isn’t perfect. We’ve got other things we need to do. It’s going to cost too much. We don’t have a plan, etc. We went, the experience was more amazing than we could have imagined, and it all worked out better than we could have planned. In life, career, business, retirement, or anything else: Grab the chance and go.

Thought: Hopes and dreams are much easier to achieve than most think; it’s all the thinking that gets in the way. Grab the chance and go!

Experience: If you wait, chances are it may not get any easier, something else will get in the way, and you will wonder why you waited. Whatever “it” is, give it a shot. What is an “it” for you? What if you went for “it” by pointing yourself in a direction, taking the first step, and figuring it out from there?

Take in the beauty ALL around!

What would happen if you purposefully took the time to appreciate the beauty all around you? During the big adventure, I settled down, opened my awareness, and was able to take in splendor that I normally would have missed. For example: In the stillness of a canyon, just before sunset, I heard birds fly. It was amazing. Flocks of birds one after the other flew by; I heard the air rhythmically rush around their wings and their tiny bodies. It was so beautiful and piercing;  I wanted to stay and listen for hours in this “special spot,” where flight was music to my ears.  Ever since that experience, I notice that I can hear birds fly everywhere. I didn’t noticed it before but, now I am aware.

Thought: You can experience beauty and brilliance everywhere.

Experience: No matter where you may be, there is magnificence everywhere, all the time. The more you look for it, the more there will be. What are you noticing?

Be present, feel connected, and come alive.

Close up of the rock’s surface

One of my most profound moments came on a guided hike in Seminole Canyon State Park, in South Texas. We hiked up the canyon from the riverbed, into a huge cave in the canyon wall; it had been carved away by the rushing river over thousands of years. This cave had been the home to a tribe of Native Americans. There was ancient wall art, carvings, and artifacts (in addition to stunning views of the river below).

Inside the cave was a massive shiny rock that literally shook me. The rock was waist/chest high and so wide I could only reach halfway across it. The top surface was smooth like glass and had a slick, oily feel. It was smooth and oily because it had been doused with animal fat for hundreds of years. It was used as a cutting board and place of ceremony by Native Americans thousands of years ago. Since then, hikers have continued to touch the silky rock and the oils from our hands keeps it shiny.

I placed my hands on that rock and thought about all the people that stood right where I was. Standing and touching that rock, right where I was touching it; going back thousands of years, before there was electricity, buildings, or recorded history! While feeling the silky solidness of that rock and imagining all the people that had done the same, something inside lit up. It was energy of unity. I felt extraordinarily connected with all the people that were there before me. The feeling was amazing and something I will never forget.

Thought: Being present and connected is a gift you can give yourself anytime.

Seminole Canyon

In Seminole Canyon, the cave where Native Americans lived is just above my left shoulder

Experience: I am realizing more and more, no rock is needed to feel that alive and united… I just smiled typing that 🙂 How might you feel more connected?

No master plan- No problem!Adventure- Hiking to the Rio Grand

Just a month prior to our amazing expedition, the thought of taking the trip had not even surfaced yet. We decided to go the week before we left. When we pulled into a location to set up camp, we never knew where we would go next. Overall, we knew the general direction we wanted to head, but kept our options open. We usually planned our next location during down time of the day before.

Thought: Keeping things relaxed and flexible opens up opportunities.

Experience: Apply this idea to the adventure of life. How about pointing yourself in a direction and going with the flow? What if you grab the chance, make a move, have some fun and then say “What is next?” In what areas of your life might you benefit from applying a similar idea?

Listen to your heart and choose to lead.

We went for a hike at McKinny Falls State Park but couldn’t find the trail. We searched up and down the river before I realized the trail continued ACROSS the river. How the heck do we get over there? The river was wide and deep.  40-50 people were enjoying their day on our side of the river and not a soul could be seen on the other side. We checked the map- no roads drive to the other side and no walking bridge either. Heavy rainfall had engorged the river and covered the trail crossing. So, I decided we should ford the rushing water and regain our hike on the other side! The best place to do it was just upstream of the waterfall which was also where one slip would send us over the 20 foot drop. “Let’s do it!” I said. The water was freezing! We went for it and made it. Crossing the river was fun and allowed us to enjoy an entire network of trails on the other side. After we made it across, many others followed.

Thought: Sometimes hanging with the status quo might have you missing out on the best part of your hike. Take the chance and enjoy the experience!

Experience: When you choose the path less traveled, the possibilities are endless and others may be inspired to do the same! Where do you do this currently? How might you expand that?

You need much less than you think.

Camping on a deserted beach on Padre Island

Camping on a deserted beach on Padre Island

Most North Americans live in a perpetual state of too much stuff. I thought I packed very minimally, but I only wore about a third of the clothes I brought. We didn’t touch many of the tools, toys, and other extras either. Sure, there were times when we wish we would have brought a certain item, but we made do just fine without it.

Thought: Simplicity brings ease and breeds creativity.

Experience: Imagine the difference in your home, office, camper, etc., if you had all you needed and nothing more. Think of a simple way to start. What comes to mind?

 

Consider taking one (or more) of these ideas and putting it into practice this week. Notice your thoughts, how you feel, and any changes that transpire.

  • Grab the chance and go!
  • Take in the beauty ALL around!
  • Be present, feel connected, and come alive.
  • No master plan- No problem!
  • Listen to your heart and choose to lead!
  • You need much less than you think.

What are your thoughts and experiences? What was your last adventure and what made it special? Share in the comments below!

 

Until the next revolution….

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