Sunday, December 28, 2014

Are You At A Choice Point?

Wow.  The holiday events are over almost and the celebrations to mark the end of 2014 are only a few days away.  How are you doing?  How are you really doing?

I would imagine most of us are experiencing a deep level of exhaustion.  There is physical exhaustion, yet were talking about something much deeper than just the physical.  This kind of exhaustion is physical, mental, emotional, and maybe even spiritual.  This happens every year for most of us.  By the time we plan and plan, then host or attend gatherings, deal with people and expectations, we ‘re done.  Totally done.  We still go through all the plans and gatherings, yet we are burnt out.  Does this feel familiar to you?

Usually this week is when we hit a choice point.  This choice involves our opportunity to step back a bit and begin self-advocating or ignore the inner tapping and go further into “I don’t care” mode.   The choice is about you and what you are able or willing to do at this time, on this day.   With all the festivities continuing, there is food, alcohol, over activity or inactivity, and lack of sleep.

This is the key choice point that can turn us around, ground us into ourselves, and prepare us for the year to come.  Perhaps you need to stop with the sugar, immediately.  You may need to go for a walk or get some exercise.  Or you need to take a day off and rest.  Perhaps you can resist filling your wine glass again?  What is it that your inner knower is tapping you about and how can you take a moment and honor that tapping with listening?

This has been one of my biggest challenges during the holiday season.  I usually get ramped up with excitement starting mid December and slowly slip on what I know is good for me, and my body.  I start cheating a little here, and there…first with sweets, then with food choices, with wine, and I don’t get enough sleep.  By the time I get to the post Christmas week, when company usually likes to come to ski and be on vacation, I can feel my body’s struggle with the excesses and loss of routine.  I can also feel the disconnect to my soul and this ends up creating reactions to life that are fed by triggers, body aches, and a short fuse J

I am at my choice point.  It is now, today, that I know it is time to choose me again.  It is time to return to the support of my yoga and my routine.  It is time to get more sleep.  It is time.  Where are you in this choice point?  And what can you actually do about it this week?

First, do a mini check in.  Feel your body.  Feel your energy level.  Feel your connection to yourself.  Feel your connection to those around you.  Feel.

Next, choose one thing you can do for yourself today to step out of the chaos that may surround you.  This might be a choice to stay home, away from the stores and crowds and take a nap, or a long bath.  You might choose to move to a quieter room tonight and journal or read a book and go to bed early, and let the rest of the house continue on.  You might get up tomorrow morning early and do your exercise routine, or get outside for a walk and reconnect to yourself.    

Then, once you have made once choice for yourself, check in again and see how you feel.  Can you feel your body craving the self-attention?  Is there another choice you can make that will continue you to get you back on track?  Can you do this within the world of family and friends and still enjoy their exuberance and activities? 

Last, how can we be in the flurry of celebrations and activities that accompany the holidays and nurture ourselves?  When we are run down we are not fully present.  When our bodies are unhappy, we are not fully present.  This choice point always arrives when we know we are or have disconnected, and we get to decide if we take this deeper and just let it all fly, or if we catch ourselves and realize we can really have more fun when we are connected and fully present. 

This week, choose yourself.  Give it a try and see how different you may feel.  Remember, we choose to gather with those we love so we can feel the love.  If you are rested and balanced, the love flows easier.   Bringing yourself back to center is a fabulous way to give the gift of the true you to those you love.

As the end of this year draws to a close, and you have been reading these blogs and getting some ideas of how to navigate in a different way, what do you think about creating a new and different way of ushering in the New Year?  Whether you have plans or prefer to stay home, here is a little exercise to do on the Eve of the New Year, or on January 1st. 

Enjoy yourself.  Enjoy how wonderful you are this week and it is my hope that the anticipation of what is possible in this year ahead fills your heart with love.

Next week will be the 7th and final blog of this holiday series.  We will talk about how to create spaces in our lives for new energies to enter.




 Check out Denise's website

You can follow Denise on Facebook

Sunday, December 21, 2014

4 Steps Back Into Consciousness

This is the third week of December.  How are you doing?  I would imagine there are a plethora of emotions going on inside.  The sheer level of activities and expectations may have started to take their toll on our energy, our patience, and our presence. The many different forms of emotional experiences can change hour by hour as we jump around from emotion to emotion by this time in the season.  Perhaps we can focus this week on being kinder to ourselves and create a way to break from the jumping around and just trust ourselves to monitor and adjust smoothly as the month and excitement continues?

For me, I notice three different ways I jump around in December.  I am an ecstatic little child with a big smile, enjoying all the decorations and the excitement.  I live in a small little mountain town and love the swelling of people returning home or here on vacation.  The local coffee shop is packed with college kids telling each other stories, parents and children and new babies, and large tables of laughter.  The energy is intoxicating for me.

I can also notice the wise mature woman who is watching the ebb and flow of activities, enjoying the times and able to breathe deeply and see all the energy swirling around us.  It is such a gift to choose when and how to jump in and play with it, and when to watch it from a place of non-attachment.  That is when I am wise.

Then I have those not so wise times.  These are those times I notice I am smiling on the outside, while out in the store or in line at the post office, and yet, just under the surface, there is this electric tension in my body.  Have you ever felt that?  The “just below the surface” tension that will not cease without real conscious effort. 

This is what I call the half-present participation in what is in front of us.  We are there, participating in the activity and the conversation, yet not really there.  Part of us might be reviewing old memories of previous Decembers, another part is emotionally maintaining.  Or we catch ourselves in task master mode.  Or maybe part of us is just holding on while we managing grief.  All of this is going on just below the surface.

When we can actually identify this kind of inner chaos going on, we get an opportunity to do something about it.  It is in the recognition of what we see and feel, that the opportunity to shift appears.  What might this look like?

There is a tool I use in parent coaching.  It is a four-step process of creating a shift…anywhere, anytime.  First, it starts with identifying what we are doing.  Here’s an example.  You might be home, hanging out, believing you are relaxing and present with the people you love.  Yet there is this activity going on in your head and then you realize you not really all the way there.  Boom.  You are not really present!  You might be going through the motions of talking and connecting, and yet you are not really connecting…to yourself or to anyone else.   You have IDENTIFIED what is going on.

Once you catch this, and realize you have a slight disconnect, the next step is to STOP or freeze where you are and refuse to continue.  This is an active step, and the most crucial.  For it is when we choose to take action, to pull back and refuse to continue that we allow ourselves to shift direction.

Now that you have made the choice to stop, the next step is to APPLY a tool that you know will redirect you back in to being present.  One that works really well is the using breathing and doing a body check in.  Briefly close your eyes and take a deep breath and feel your toes, your knees, if your sitting down feel your bottom on the couch, loosen your shoulders, and bring yourself back into you body.  Do this as many times as you need to in order to feel completely present.

The last step is the most important and one we often skip over.  ACKNOWLEDGE to yourself that you were able to identify what you were doing, caught it and stopped it, and applied a short and simple tool to change the direction you were going.   It is in the acknowledging that we honor ourselves and provide gratitude for what we just did.   Also, if someone else is involved, take a moment to let that person know you have re-corrected and are now fully present!!  Yay!

So, with that said, I am sure you will have ample opportunities to practice this over the next few days and through the busyness as we go into the end of the month and all the swirling of activities that often accompanies the end of the year celebrations.

It occurs to me that the Winter Solstice is tonight and tomorrow.  If you have not participated in this celebration before, this might be a wonderful opportunity to gather some friends and family together and do something really cool and grounding.

Hope this blog provides a small moment of grace for you.



Check out Denise's website

You can follow Denise on LinkedIn

You can follow Denise on Facebook

You can follow Denise on Twitter

Sunday, December 14, 2014

How do you give and receive love?

We are almost to the midway mark into December.  How are you doing?  Are you relaxed?  Open to what comes your way?  Ready to be present with those you love and will spend time with during the upcoming celebrations?  Or are you stressing?  Most of us are in various stages of stress at this time and if you are like me, I am aware of the approaching deadlines for shipping my family something to let them know I am thinking of them. 

Seems the more we get busy and start stressing, the more we put aside our awareness of how we are feeling, how we feel love, and what is really important to us.  We table all our inner needs and drop into focusing on the mass of outer needs calling at us right now.   I am pretty sure that when we table our needs, they build up and begin to out weigh the happiness and joy surrounding us.  We get buried and become more out of touch with ourselves… we go into overwhelm.

Here is an unsettling concept… What if you are on track, managing your overwhelm and putting your head down and “making” the holidays happen, and it is making your relationships worse because those around you need a different form of love from you?  What if all your task mastering and acts of service miss the mark completely?

I want to share a very reliable tool for how to honor yourself, your loved ones, and pay attention to what we all truly need over this holiday, and everyday moving forward from this December.   There is a book by Gary Chapman called The 5 Love Languages.  This book has a simple, beautiful way to explore how you feel love and how you give love.    Although this book has been around for the last 10 years and some of us have opinions on whether it is hokey or not, or too simplistic, I am asking you to give it a try.  If you allow yourself time to explore and prioritize how you feel  and give love, I can promise you, it will awaken a beautiful way for you to connect to yourself and to those you love.

Per Chapman, there are 5 ways we know love.
  •  Words of Affirmation
  •  Quality Time Together
  •  Receiving Gifts
  •  Acts of Service
  •  Physical Touch

We all have one primary way of knowing we are loved, feeling love, and giving love. and we each prioritize the remaining four in different orders.  (See more on the printout card below)

A couple of years ago, my partner Ted and I took this list, read the descriptions, and wrote the five languages out in the order of importance for ourselves.  Then we shared our lists with each other.  We both had the same primary choice, our second and third were in different order, yet our fourth and fifth we exactly the same.  Made sense to both of us.  We understand how important our top two or three languages are to our relationship and we pay attention to how we cultivate love and help it continue to grow between us. 

Taking this a step further, when we can step outside our core relationships and move to explore these five forms of love with our children, our aging parents, our friends and extended family, we create a path to giving and receiving love beyond our partners.  It is a guide to how to create the vibration of love with anyone…once we know how love is perceived by another…you meet them in a way they can feel it.  Love is that easy.

What if you think you are being loving and you are off?  For example, what if your primary form of love is acts of service and you are running around doing–giving-expecting acts of service for everyone around you.  What if their primary form of feeling love is in quality time together and you are busy hustling around “making” the holidays wonderful?  Imagine how hurt both of you can feel when the rush of this holiday chaos takes over?  You are giving and giving, and your partner is waiting and waiting for some love.  These hurt feelings can start to take over until they are simmering just under the surface and the whole idea of a beautiful gathering becomes an event to endure, because we don’t feel the love.

We all need love.  We all want to know we are loved.  Knowing what is most important to you can provide a level of freedom to these next couple of weeks of holiday chaos.  How?  When you take the time to discover what means the most to you, you then have the ability to choose.  You can choose to tell the ones you love, and ask for what you truly need.  You can choose to become curious about what the ones you love need and how they prioritize how they feel loved.  And then you can choose to give them love in the form they can receive it.

This week, explore your own love language.  Get curious about the language of the
ones you love.  Maybe even sit down and craft a plan for how all of you can put
something on the schedule that let’s you know you are love. Giving and receiving love IS the gift . . . everything else will fall into place.

Next week we will explore ways to create peace within the chaos.



Check out Denise's website

You can follow Denise on LinkedIn

You can follow Denise on Facebook

You can follow Denise on Twitter

Sunday, December 7, 2014

There’s magic beyond our wants and needs this holiday!

We just completed the first week of December and as our holidays get closer, we can begin to feel the emotional pull of the traditions of gift giving affect us. We are asked to bring gifts to almost everything we do this month, our company parties, luncheons, evening meetings, and extended family events all the way through the month of December, ending with our own personal celebrations at home.

To me, this is all daunting.  The process of identifying if I am going to participate, and what I want to do, what I can afford, and the time it takes to get a gift, shipping gifts to distant family, all can be overwhelming, both emotionally and financially.

Basically, when it comes to the topic of gifts and gift giving, our ego engages and it is difficult to understand who is doing the managing.  Our ego remembers the old holidays, the ways we felt, the great experiences, and the difficult experiences, the fun, and the exhilarations.  When our ego and these memories are engaged and running the show, we find ourselves wanting to do the best we can to recreate that exhilaration and it often comes out in how we give to others.

Let’s look at a way to harness our run away emotions and triggers and take a grounded, soulful way to balance how we give and how we can provide service to address this holiday with the remaining time we have to prepare.   I used to teach a workshop on simplifying the holidays and created a little worksheet that is easy to print off and a wonderful tool to use with the ones you love and will celebrate with this holiday. 

First, lets take a look at the difference between wants and needs.  When we WANT something, we are excited and animated; often our desire is bigger than life.  We want things!  For me, it is all about wanting a new pair of cool boots, or a new iPhone, and even lusting for a new car... get the idea?  When I want, it is about what I see out there and what makes me feel good, what makes me feel excited, what makes me look good, what makes me feel loved and indulged.  Basically what my ego wants.

When I shift into what I NEED this winter, I know there are things that would really help me with the day to day of the Montana winter that I often overlook.   I know I need a good warm pair of snow boots so I can stay outside longer.  I know my big warm jacket has a broken zipper.  These are simple things that can enhance the way I take care of myself.  And, I know I don’t really need much.  

When we can shift the focus off of our exuberant wants and drop into what really matters, we ground in and really pay attention to who we are and what we feel inside.  Then, when we look at giving a gift from a centered and grounded place, we see who the other person is, what they do, what they need, and how to be of assistance in helping them.  We get out of impression gifting and into the intuitive gifting.  When this happens, our relationships shift.

Now I am going to ask to go one step further.  What if there is a way to feel all the excitement of ego and the warmth and loving of self-care at the same time?  I believe this is possible when we can step deeper into ourselves and provide service to others in our community… when we give of ourselves with love and all the magic of the holidays. 

Here is a fun, simple exercise for you to do with those you love.  Print off the card below and make copies for all who are involved in your circle of celebration this holiday.  Sit down together and have fun letting the wants run for a little while, and then shift down, into the needs.

Now here is the best part of the exercise.  How will you give of yourself and be of service?  Remember, this is the place where magic happens.  This is a great way to shift the holidays with children and extend the spirit of giving into the whole month.  When my kids were little, this is where they identified what they could do in our neighborhood to be of service.  They listed shoveling snow for an elderly couple every morning when there was new snow so they could walk out and get their morning paper.  They put a food box together and gave it to a family they knew needed help with the holidays.  They purchased toys or coats and donated them. 

If we can see this holiday as an opportunity to pay attention to ourselves and to others and take a look at who is struggling and what they truly need, we come from a place of love and compassion and our expectations fall into alignment.  Digging deeper, in caring for ourselves, we are able to give our service to another, and we get back something even bigger.  We get a sense of joy, we jump into the feelings of happiness and compassion.

So, this holiday, make your lists.  Get honest with your wants and needs, and consider giving service to those who truly need help from us.  Then see how this holiday feels. 

Enjoy this week of exploring giving and service.  Next week we're going to talk about Love Languages and renegotiations as the holidays draw closer. 

Be well,


Check out Denise's website

You can follow Denise on LinkedIn

You can follow Denise on Facebook