Sunday Letters

Awakening, Coaching, Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Meditation, Mindset, Pain, Productivity, Trauma

From Floundering to Flourishing: An exercise in patient exploration

“The spirit of the times is one of joyless urgency.”  Marilynne Robinson
 
Well, that’s a cheerful quote to open up my Sunday Letter, isn’t it?!  But I had to share it because it perfectly encapsulates how I was feeling for the past few months.  I think it’s how many of us feel quite often, actually – “I must get everything done as quickly as possible so that I can have time to vegetate in front of the TV whilst I contemplate all the things I need to get done tomorrow, but which I know I won’t have time to do!”
 
But lately I’ve been feeling different.
 
I’ve been feeling joy. 
 
I’ve been feeling presence.
 
I’ve been feeling appreciation and excitement about life.
 
And what shifted?
 
The damndest thing is, I don’t know for sure!
 
In an attempt to get out of this funk/depression I have been trying a lot of things – meditating more regularly, chiropractic care, functional medicine care, the physiological sigh for 5 minutes every night, more long walks outside in the morning, an Aztec healing session, shifting my center of perception from my head to my heart, spending more time with my brother and my niece while they stayed at my house for a couple of weeks, taking a break from alcohol for a few weeks, making a huge chart in my office that very clearly lays out my personal and professional goals for August (replete with checkboxes and spaces to fill in my success metrics), trying some NEW things (new restaurants, new activities), pushing myself to do stuff that’s uncomfortable, etc.  Since I was trying a bunch of things simultaneously, I don’t know what the catalyst was.  Or maybe all the things together formed the magic potion!
 
And I’m feeling better.  I really noticed this yesterday as Tim, Huehue, and I were canoeing down the Maquoketa River.  This is an almost annual tradition, so I’ve floated that river probably 20-30 times in my life.  But yesterday, I was THERE for it.  I noticed the serenity of the water, the wispy white clouds that looked like elegant apostrophes, the light glinting on the water, the dunes of sand cresting and falling under surface of the river, the pleasure of spending time with two of my favorite beings.




It was beautiful. I was content.  I was present and accounted for.  I felt happy. I felt like something had shifted.  And then I got anxious because I realized that if something shifted up, it means that it could shift back down again.  But then I realized that there is no point in worrying about the if/when, when I could just be present with the feeling of being content.  So I let that thought go.
 
In Somatic Experiencing, they teach that trauma needs to be processed in a titrated fashion.  You can’t dive right into the trauma vortex and try to “fix it.”  You explore the edges, monitor the state of your nervous system, and when you get too activated, you pendulate back to a safe and steady place, and when you’re ready, you go back in for a little more.  You erase the edges and eventually work towards the center, gently unwinding those layers slowly. It takes time.  A lot of time. Like 46 years of time.
 
And I think that’s what I’m doing.  In my process of healing, I’m disintegrating layers of numbness and constriction that have covered over my joy, and now it’s starting to shine through.  I am healing.
 
I’m writing all this because while I was in the middle of my funk, it felt like that was just me – just who I was.  But now that I am passing through, I see that it was a phase, a stage – not a destination.  So if you are feeling that “joyless sense of urgency,” there is hope!  Trying new things, allowing yourself to stretch outside of your comfort zone, and getting help from professionals (and maybe you have to try a few different ones to find one who resonates), can kick-start that upward spiral.
 
In that vein, I am offering a free 60-minute Zoom workshop on 8/23 at 5PM  Central Time entitled “Simple Tools to Change Your Life.”  We’ll play with a few practices that can have a big impact on how you feel in your body and mind, such a meditation, breathwork, and posture.  And more importantly, we’ll try to close that gap between “knowing” and “doing” by doing a brief overview of habit change science – so you will be able to take away one small action step that can help bring more health, joy, and presence back into your life.
 
I am teaching a version of this presentation to a live audience of about 100 people in October, so, if you do attend the presentation I would be extremely grateful if you would provide feedback in the form of a 5 question survey, which I will send out to all attendees after the presentation.  Please help me NAIL this presentation in October!
 
Here is the link to register for the workshop.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!  And if you register, THANK YOU so much!!

I hope you have a fabulous Sunday!
 
Space to be Human Lab
CranioSacral therapy provides a gentle touch that can feel like a balm to a burned-out nervous system.  Get some relief from that monkey mind!  You can book a CranioSacral session here (use code “CRANIO” for $20 off through 8/31/23).
 
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Awakening, Coaching, Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Mindset, Pain, Trauma

A Coach and a Shaman Walk Into a Bar…

Welp.  I am officially a Master Certified Coach with the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.  It took 8 months of work, 25 2-hr long classes (that kept me up past my 8PM bedtime!), 3 very gracious, patient volunteer coaching clients, one expert instructor, a couple of thousands of dollars, 4 books (one of which Huehue ate), 2 reams of paper, and lots of rejiggering of my mental construct.


 
And what’s the verdict, now that it’s all said it done?
 
The time, money, and effort was 1000 times worth it.  This process has changed how I think, how I listen, and how I show up for friends, family, clients, and myself.  Coaching is fascinating.  It’s all about APPRECIATING the mystery of the human being, noticing what is GOOD and building upon that, and guiding people into a deeper conversation with themselves.
 
And it’s hard.  It’s so hard. Both from the Coach’s perspective and from the Coachee’s perspective.  I’ve been on both sides of the Zoom camera now, and I don’t know which side is more difficult.
 
From the Coach’s perspective, you must be 100% present, listen deeply, and quiet that inner Fixer.   You must have a “heart as open as the sky” and be a “calm pool in which she may reflect.” (Motivational Interviewing, p. 24).  You must discern the feelings and needs behind the words and non-verbal communication being used.  You need to be Ok with silence. You need to be a discerning gardener, plucking out the gorgeous wildflowers of change talk that are sprinkled throughout a conversation.
 
From the Coachee’s perspective, you need to be willing to WORK.  This may mean doing actual WORK towards your goals, but I think the harder work is letting go of the expectation that an Other (not you) has the right answer for YOU.  You must be open to letting your brain noodle and falter around questions that don’t really 100% make sense.  You have to be willing to be open to new interpretations about yourself and your capabilities and capacities. You have to be willing to let that old version of yourself go.
 
But you know what is true about the coach/client relationship?
 
More than a just a vehicle for losing weight, developing a meditation habit, or figuring out how to become more organized, coaching can be a transformational process that amazingly enough shares many basic tenets with ancient forms of shamanic healing practices (which are 80,000 years old)!
 
According to “The Heart of Listening – A Visionary Approach to Craniosacral Work,” here are the main tenets of Shamanism:

  1.  “The basic premise of shamanism is that we have access to the solutions to our own problems, having within us everything needed for our own healing.”
  2. “It’s the shaman’s responsibility to reinterpret every single thing the clients says according to a deeper reality.”
  3. Shamans move from the “known but mundane to the alchemical and unknown.  This reminds me of the “Simultaneity Principle” in Appreciative Coaching:

“Asking the right question can lead to an “Aha” experience for the client; it can cause a sudden shift in perspective, like a twist of the kaleidoscope, so that a new view appears, freeing the client from the tyranny of his past or his fear of the future.”  (Appreciative Coaching, p. 65).

4. The Shaman renames the client by discerning the needs for balance, expression, and development, and the new name hinges on the initiate’s strengths and weaknesses. This marks a rebirth experience where the client leaves behind their former self to step into who they were meant to be.

5. A shaman deepens the client’s connectedness with his own source and universal sources.

Why this fascination with parallels between coaching and shamanism?  I like the idea that there is some magic and mystery in the world, for starters.  Also, if shamanism has survived for 80,000 years, it means it works.  And that means coaching works.  And it means there is hope for us to reach our potential and therefore to level up all of humanity, one person at a time.  In a nutshell, I just think it’s super cool.
 
What’s the point of me telling you all this?  Well, you might think it’s cool too.  You might be jazzed to know there is still magic in the world.  And you might be curious about tapping in to this current in the ether and seeing where you get swept away to!  If so, holler at me.  I am looking for 2 curious clients who want to do a free 6-week coaching gig with me.  I’m still puzzling out how to take the Dr. Sears approach and make it my own, so our work together might be a little bumpy, but we’ll both learn a lot in the process, and more importantly we will have fun!!  Or, if you  are excited about coaching, but you want to work with an experienced coach, I can give you a referral.  Please respond to this email if you would like to hear more.

And here are 2 questions that might shift the kaleidoscope for you today:
1.  What are you doing each day that’s living your dream?
2.  What’s a small step that could take you in the direction of doing more of what you want?
 
Thanks for taking the time to read these ramblings. I appreciate your attention, comments, and feedback.  I’m always amazed and humbled when you reach out and say these letters hit you at just the right time; to me it’s proof that we are all connected, all going through similar things, and we can all help each other through this journey called life.  
 
I hope you have a fabulous Sunday!
 
Space to be Human Lab
Craniosacral therapy provides a gentle, listening touch that can feel like a balm to a fried nervous system.  When your nervous system feels safe and supported, your body can tap into its “inner physician” and use that wisdom to heal pain and discomfort. You can book a craniosacral session here (use code “CRANIO” for $20 through 8/31/23).
 
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Awakening, Coaching, Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Meditation, Mindset, Pain, Trauma

A New Deal

What’s one of the best and most important ways of becoming a better helper/healer? Getting help and healing for yourself.

This message is permeating the ether lately. I just finished a book that blew my mind – The Heart of Listening – A Visionary Approach to Craniosacral Work by Hugh Milne. For so many reasons, it really spoke to a deep part of me, probably because the book is all about speaking to the deep parts of us! I could write a book on this book, but for now I will constrain myself to one of its main pieces of advice – if you want to become skilled in the healing arts, you absolutely must partake of the healing arts yourself. You must get treatment, get therapy, do the work to understand your shadow self, dig into those recesses where you have stuffed the parts of yourself that you just couldn’t deal with at the time.

I took this advice to heart, which was an easy thing to do as I have been feeling a bit “meh,” pointless, and disembodied lately. I felt the need for some existential guidance and for someone to just take care of me and focus on me for an hour or two, so I booked a session with Marisa at https://www.yellowleafmedicine.com/.

It was a one-of-kind- experience. I have a really hard time expressing emotions, which is troublesome, as expressing my emotions is what all my coaches and therapists have told me I need to do in order to become who I want to become. In this session with Marisa, I was in a space where my body felt safe enough to let its guard down and FEEL some stuff – to feel deep grief that I didn’t even know I was carrying, to feel fresh, deep breaths coming into my body, to feel sludgy, sticky, goopy energy leaving my body with strong exhalations. It was a very visceral experience, and I tried hard to stay in my body and really be present, instead of retreating up to my head and watching it – intellectualizing the experience. That was hard, but so worth it. The session helped me remember the pleasure of the smell of roses and smoky herbs, the cool sensation of mist on my bare skin, the sound and vibration of a strong human voice in my ribcage, the felt sense of connection with Self and Spirit.

And now the session is over. What next?

Do I choose to say, “Wow. That was cool. Glad I did that!” and just move on with life as usual – thinking the same things, stuffing down the same feelings, taking the same actions? That would be easy to do. And I have done that many, many times. I have spent hundreds of dollars on experiences, coaching, and therapy that I didn’t allow to transform me.

But this time, I am focused on integration – on using this as an opportunity to recreate myself by making different choices. Each decision is a fork in the road, and I am working on consciously choosing.

We all struggle with being human, with figuring out life, with figuring out what we want, who we are, why we are here. We are all in this together, figuring it out together, helping each other when we need it. When you feel “meh” and want to rekindle your spark, please remember that help is out there – help from people who have been in your shoes, and who are currently walking around in those shoes! I have a list of shiny people, living here in the trenches with you, who can help you, and I am always here for you as well.

Today I made a new choice. I choose to be forthcoming about explorations into a therapy that my religious upbringing would have frowned upon. But I am choosing to align my words with where my heart is right now. We’ll see where this goes!

I hope that today you have the opportunity to choose the real, authentic, messy You.

Space to be Human Lab

CranioSacral Therapy: Sometimes we don’t need to be fixed, we just need someone to listen to us while we fix ourselves. Craniosacral therapy provides that kind of deep listening. If you would like support to let your body be heard, please book a craniosacral session here. Use code “CRANIO” for $20 off. I recommend book a 90-minute session for craniosacral work. It takes time to slow down. 🙂

Coaching: CranioSacral is based on the foundation that we have an“inner physician” who knows what we need to heal. Likewise, health and wellness coaching is based on a similar truth – you are the expert on your own life, and you probably even know what you need to do to reach your wellbeing goals. However, you need a partner to walk the path with you and help you identify your strengths, motivations, and supports. You need someone who believes in your ability to change, while you work on building up evidence for yourself. If you are interested in how health coaching could help you reach your potential, please book a consultation here. I am now a Master Certified Coach with the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute!

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Uncategorized

On Doing IT Right and Shoulds

Well Hello My Friends!
 
Summer is about 1/3 over, and I’ve finally come up for air.  The past few weeks have been spent on preparing for and then executing on a day-long consulting gig, hiking and biking in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and then finishing up my health coaching certification.  Now that the skies are clearing, I’m reflecting back on the past few months and wondering, “Did I do that right?”
 
As I’ve written about many, many times, I have this tendency to take on way too much, and then get overwhelmed and cut way way back.  It’s this constant dance of too much, then too little.  Why oh why, can’t I just ride that middle line??  If I was doing things right, I should be able to know how much I can handle and take on just that much and not an iota more and then I would live happily ever after in the neutral zone.
 
But wait.
 
Living in the neutral zone sounds horrible. So boring.  There is no life, no color, no spirit there. 
 
I’m slowly coming to this realization that perhaps me “doing it right” is me doing a lot, and then doing a little, and just riding that rhythm and flow.
 
It reminds me of some photos that were part of the Upledger CranioSacral 1 class.  Our skull has joints (aka “sutures”) where the bones meet up and connect.  The sutures between the bones are composed of these beautiful curvy lines:


   
Our teacher then shared a photo that her friend had taken from an airplane that showed a meandering river in the plains below. It looked something like this:


 
It was so impactful to see those two pictures side-by-side.  Nature works in curves – crests and troughs and meaningful meanderings.  If you averaged them out, they would form a straight, neutral line.  But the swoops and dips are much more interesting to look at, and they have a story to tell – what caused that river to bump off to the left like that so suddenly, and then Whoa!  bump right back off to the right?  What causes all those little squiggles to form in our noggins?  We know there is a reason and purpose for it because Nature is nothing if not efficient.  If it’s there, it’s there for a good reason.
 
So I’ve decided to view my constant ups and downs and energetic ebbs and flows as Nature embodied in me.  This is the way I’m supposed to be doing it because I am Nature too.  I’m hoping that with each up and down, my average is slightly increasing (aka, I’m growing), so my iterations look something like this:


 
 
I just wanted to offer up that thought for those of you who also question, “Am I doing this right?  Shouldn’t I have this figured out by now?  Why do I keep repeating the same patterns?”  Maybe you are doing it exactly the way you are supposed to, and you are scribing an elegant swooping story on the world with the waves and troughs of your life.

With love,

Hlo

 
Space to be Human Lab
Sometimes we don’t need to be fixed, we just need someone to listen to us while we fix ourselves.  CranioSacral therapy (CST) provides that kind of deep listening.  If you would like some support to slow down and let your body be heard, please book a session here, and use code “CRANIO” for $20 off through the end of summer.
 
CranioSacral is based on the foundation that we have an “inner physician” who knows what we need to heal. Likewise, health and wellness coaching is based on a similar truth – you are the expert on your own life, and you probably even know what you need to do to reach your wellbeing goals.  However, you may need a partner to walk the path with you and help you identify your strengths, motivations, and supports – a partner who believes in your ability to change and achieve your big hairy a$$ goals.  If you are interested in finding out what you are capable of, please book a consultation here.

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Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Mindset, Pain

Existential Crisis and Notes from Your Back

Well, hello there!  It’s been a few weeks since I’ve checked in.  I’ve been occupied with finishing up my health coach certification, traveling, and having an existential crisis about buying a new car.
 
I’ll start with the last one first.
 
We bought a new car.  We were planning on getting a used car, but when we started doing research on the used-car market and interest rates, we soon determined that for about $5,000 more we could have a brand-new car with a full warranty and no sordid mysterious past.  So we chose that option.  That option, however, pushed me out of my very conservative financial comfort zone.  I was intellectually confident that we could afford a new car, but my visceral response to the purchase said otherwise.  I was ANXIOUS and racked with self-doubt.  Did we do the right thing?  Should we have negotiated better?  I’m almost 50 years old, why can’t I be more articulate and forceful with my needs and expectations?  What happens if one of us loses our job?  Will people think I’m getting too big for my britches by getting a new car?  Would Mr. Money Mustache be ashamed of me?  Why didn’t we do this better/righter/more perfectly??
 
In the middle of this whole car-buying saga, I did a session with one of my most favoritest doctors.  She is a chiropractor who does functional medicine and muscle testing/energy work where she communicates with my body on a subconscious level.  I don’t understand it; all I know is that her treatments always make me feel SO much better.  I was working with her on hormone/digestive issues and happened to mention that I am still struggling with low back pain as well.  She said, “Huh,” and then did her magic and asked my body why my back was hurting.  And here was the answer, “You need to believe in yourself and what you are doing.” 

LIGHT BULB MOMENT – I DON’T HAVE MY OWN BACK!!  I don’t support my own decisions.  I constantly doubt myself and the steps that I take.  No wonder my back hurts.  It’s like, “Hey – Heather.  USE ME!!  RELY on me.  Notice and appreciate me!!” 
 
What is the point of questioning a decision that is already made?  The papers are signed.  The car is ours.  I can choose to keep questioning the decision and being anxious about it. 
 
OR
 
I can choose to be excited about the opportunities for travel this car opens up. I can be proud of us for choosing a car that has excellent reliability and that could easily be with us until we are 70-YEARS-OLD.  I can be proud of myself for making sh!t happen and finding a great, beautiful vehicle for us just in time for us to take our Surlys to South Dakota for an epic ride through the Black Hills.  I can choose to be the friend to myself that I need – the friend who is like, “You are so smart, Heather!  You are wise and logical.  You made a great decision for your family.  You are going to make so many good memories in this sweet, handsome Rav4.  You are fearless to commit to a purchase that is aligned with your life goals, even though it’s scary and uncomfortable.  You are bold!”
 
In others words, I can choose to have my own back.  Low back pain is very mysterious.  I heard from one of my teachers that there are over 200 known causes of low back pain, and research has proven that our thoughts and feelings can dramatically impact chronic low back pain.  If this concepts resonates with you, here are some questions you could contemplate:  How could you shift your narrative about yourself and your choices in a way that enables you to support YOU?  How can you choose to believe in yourself and your capabilities?  How can you have your own back more fully?
 
And now I’ll circle back to the first two things on my list.  I’m in the last section of my Health Coaching Certification, and hopefully by the end of July I will be a Master Certified Health & Wellness Coach.  And what does that mean??  Here is an excellent description from the National Board of Health & Wellness Coaching:
 
Health & wellness coaches partner with clients looking to enhance their well-being through self-directed lasting changes, aligned with their values. In the course of their work, health & wellness coaches display unconditional positive regard for their clients and a belief in their ability to change, honoring the fact that each client is an expert on their own life while ensuring that all interactions are respectful and non-judgmental.
 
Isn’t that a beautiful approach to change?  Essentially I will get to partner with clients – I will have their backs, and I will help them have their own backs as well!  I’m planning on rolling out a 3-month program within the next couple of months.  If you would like to improve your wellbeing with a compassionate coach who is in the trenches with you, let me know. I’ll add you to my mailing list and send out more details when my program is finalized. 😊
 
And lastly, travel.  I was able to spend the first weekend in May with my brothers, my sister-in-law, and my mesmerizing niece, Keke.  And soon Tim and I are heading out to South Dakota for a week. We’re taking the Heuheunito with us, so please wish us luck.  His favorite thing to do is to plop down on his belly in cool grass, meld with the Earth, and people-watch.  So getting him UP and HIKING can be a challenge.  Good thing he is so cute.


 
Happy Sunday My Friends, and thank you for reading!!
 
Space to be Human Lab – Helping you heal so you can feel more alive
 
Do you crave deep relaxation?  Would you appreciate help in dissipating excess energy from your frayed nervous system?  If so, I invite you to book a CranioSacral session.  If you are a returning client, and you are curious about CranioSacral, you can book a 30 minute FREE session here – just use code “CURIOUS” at checkout.  You can book other session types here
 
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Awakening, Coaching, Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Mindset, Productivity

When Your To Do’s Have Babies

Ha!  I was reviewing my post from 2 weeks ago where I opened with a description of how gorgeous the weather is.  Today is absolutely non-gorgeous.  It’s blustery, cold, and it may actually freaking snow.  On a brighter note, that means I’m inside at my computer writing to you instead of outside on my deck finishing The Initiate Brother.
 
Now on to my point.
 
My point today, is that my point in these newsletters is often the same.  I am usually having some revelation or another, making adjustments, and then eventually getting myself back into the same situation I thought I had just got myself out of. 
 
How many times do I have to go through this cycle of epiphany and then confusion, ad nauseum?? And the answer is, as many times as it takes.
 
Because each cycle is different.
 
With each cycle, I’m in a different head space and heart space; I’m at a different level of consciousness.  I’ve learned something, even if it’s the littlest smidge of a thing. 
 
As we move up the spiral of consciousness, each time we revisit the SAME OL’ SH!T, it’s from a slightly shifted vantage point.  We can see things we didn’t see a year, month, even a week ago.  We have to be ready to see it; we can’t comprehend it a minute before we’re ready.
 
I’ve been thinking about this vis a vis To Do lists.  I have many of them.  For my personal life I have a Master To Do list, and a daily To Do list, and my office is papered in yellow post-its for the REALLY IMPORTANT, MUST NOT FORGET THIS THING items.  And then when it comes to work, I have lists in Microsoft To Do, lists in my calendar, lists in my notebook, and a lovely assortment of work-related post-its.  One could make a full-time job out of organizing To Do lists.
 
Every once in awhile I will have that epiphany – the To Do list will NEVER be done.  The To Dos you accomplish have a way of creating more To Dos, and then those To Do’s get it on and have even MORE To Dos.  And eventually you are swimming in generations of To Do’s. 
 
What to do about this To Do situation?  Here is what I think the answer is, from my current level of consciousness:
 
#1 – Figure out how to enjoy life while having an unfinished To Do list.  I often think, “When my list is done, THEN I can relax.”  But when I truly comprehend that it’s a river that never stops, then I can slow down, tell myself there is no need to rush through this To Do because there is just another one right behind it.  Might as well appreciate what you can appreciate about the process, and don’t forget to BREATHE while you’re getting sh!t done!   
 
#2 – Focus on Quality over Quantity.  When I rush through my To Dos, I often find that I cut corners.  In the speed of the moment, sympathetic drive takes over, my vision narrows, and I lose the peripheral perspective.  I make silly mistakes, causing myself more work down the line.  Measure twice, cut once!
 
#3 – Just do one thing.  This is something I tell myself over and over again.  My default mode is to do 3-4 things simultaneously – listen to a podcast while doing the dishes while cooking (aka burning) breakfast on the stove, while also randomly putting items back in the cupboard as I switch between the soapy dishes and the frying bacon.  Lately I’ve started writing MY ONE THING on a sticky note and putting it on my desk.  I set my Time Timer for 25 minutes and work on that one thing.  No responding to emails or IMs or Huehue’s insistent impatient huffing.  Whew – there is so much peace when I can do that!


 
Again, none of this information is new or earth-shattering.  It all, as always, boils down to a few well known axioms:  Be here now, stop and smell the roses, let go of what you can’t control, etc.  But I repeat it because when you last heard those axioms, you were a different person than who you are right now, so maybe, just maybe, the April 16, 2023 iteration of You needs to hear it again!
 
Space to be Human Lab – Helping you heal so you can get back to doing what you love
 
If you like the idea of getting some space from your thoughts, and deep relief and support for your frayed nervous system, I invite you to book a CranioSacral session.  April is CraniosSacral Therapy Awareness Month, so I am offering 75 minute sessions for $80 (a discount of $20).  Book a 75 minute session and use code “CRANIO.”  If you are a new client, you can book here.
 
Quad City Health & Wellness Professionals Mixer
If you are a health and wellness professional and you would like to connect with other like-minded peeps, please join us at the monthly QCHWP Mixer on April 24th from 5PM-7PM.  You can find more info here, and you can register here.
 
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Coaching, Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Mindset

The “What If??” Game

Honestly, I’m struggling a bit with what to write today.  So part of me was like, well, let’s just skip the post for today.  And then another part of me was like, Heather, you enjoy writing these, and people have told me they enjoy reading them, so just go ahead and do it!  And then another part of me was like, always doing the easy things does not a happy life make.  So I talked myself into writing.  (Side note: A client recently told me that her therapist said that not everyone has a constant stream of conversation going on their heads.  I was blown away.  This never-ending chatter and decision (or indecision) by internal committee isn’t a main feature in everyone’s brainpan??)
 
Anyway, I digress.
 
On to the subject of today’s email:  I’ve been working through the 4 Core Questions of Appreciative Coaching: 

  1. What gives life to you right now?
  2. Describe a high point or peak experience in your life or work up until now.
  3. What do you most value about yourself, your relationships, and the nature of your work?
  4. What 1 or 2 things do you want more of in your life? 

Writing out the answers to these questions was very eye-opening.  The first question led me down the What If path.  I was writing about how I absolutely LOVE my coaching class.  I love the philosophy and intent behind the methodologies they teach.  At the core of coaching is the belief that the client is the expert on herself, and my job as a coach is to support and partner with her to essentially help her realize how awesome and powerful she is.

But DAMN.  Coaching is HARD.  It involves asking a lot of questions, drawing out the client’s motivations and values, being FULLY PRESENT and listening with your whole being,  holding your tongue when you really just want to TELL them what to do (and you sense the client WANTS to be told what to do).  A coach needs to artfully help the client extract the answers for herself, while providing information in little tidbits, and then only after getting the client’s permission to do so (because the Client is in the driver’s seat).

So, coaching is hard.  And I know I’m not great at it yet.  And I know that the only way to get great at it is to practice.  But I hate doing something I’m not great at yet.  And then I’m caught in an infinite loop.

So I started playing the What If game:

  • What if I am this client’s best option to reach her goals?
  • What if it is up to ME (just like it was up to Bastian in The Never Ending Story) to do what needs to be done, no matter how unimportant or unqualified or inexperienced I think I am (or FEEL I am)?
  • What if I need to feel inadequate and do it anyway?
  • What if I saw my feelings and actually felt them instead of THINKING about them? 

This led to the I Choose game:

  • I choose strength
  • I choose clarity
  • I choose action
  • I choose energy
  • I choose joy
  • I choose challenge
  • I choose to live
  • I choose to find out what I’m made of
  • I choose long term success over short term pleasure

So much of what we think and do is a choice – whether we choose to see it that way or not is another story!
 
I choose to share that with you because our human nature is to focus on our faults instead of our strengths, and I know many of us struggle with confidence and the imposter syndrome and the belief that we are not good enough or smart enough to live as big as we would like to, or to take risks in the service of a dream.  But what if we choose to notice those thoughts and to really sense those feelings and then we decide to keep moving towards that goal anyway?  What if?  What do you Choose?

“Conscious living means becoming aware of all the choices we have and acting on them.”  (Michael Arlowski, PHd)

Space to be Human Lab – Helping you heal so you can get back to doing what you love
 
If you like the idea of getting some space from your thoughts and deep relief and support for your frayed nervous system, I invite you to book a CranioSacral session.  April is CraniosSacral Therapy Awareness Month, so I am offering 75 minute sessions for $80 (a discount of $20).  Book a 75 minute session and use code “CRANIO.”  If you are a new client, you can book here.
  
Quad City Health & Wellness Professionals Mixer
If you are a health and wellness professional, and you would like to connect with other like-minded, supportive souls, please join us at the monthly QCHWP Mixer, held the 4th Monday of every month at Crawford Brewery from 5-7.  You can find more info here, and you can register here.
 
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Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Meditation, Mindset, Yoga

QCHWP Is Back, Baby!!

Hello My Fellow Professionals in the Healing Arts,

Crawford Brewery has graciously agreed to let us use their Mezzanine space for a monthly Quad Cities Health & Wellness Professionals Mixer!

  • We will meet from 5PM-7PM the 4th Monday of every month through October (4/24, 5/22, 6/26, 7/24, 8/28, 9/25, 10/23).
  • You can sign up for whichever mixers you would like to attend by using this link. The fee for each mixer is $10.
  • Here is a high-level agenda for the meeting: Each person will do a brief 1-3 minute introduction, a courageous volunteer will do a ~15 minute presentation (on their practice, some juicy health & wellness topic, or some amazing business-building tips, etc.), we’ll open the floor to questions, and then spend the rest of the session mixing. 🙂
  • Crawford has Trivia Night on Monday nights starting at 7, so we will disband by then, but you are welcome to pop downstairs to join the fun.
  • I will have some light snacks available.
  • If you’ve already filled out the Info Share form, you don’t need to do it again; however, if you want to update any info, you should be able to do that. Here is the link.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS MIXER WITH ANYONE ELSE YOU THINK WOULD BE INTERESTED! I will quit yelling at you now. I am just excited about meeting and connecting with others in this sacred space that is SO needed in the world right now!!

If you have any questions, comments, feedback, suggestions for making these events more awesome (or if you’re interested in doing a presentation during one of our sessions), please reach out to me at heather@spacetobehuman.life.

Take care, My Friends!!


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Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Mindset, Yoga

Safety In Me

 When we got Huehue last March, one of the first things we did was install a chain link fence. We live on a court, so before the fence was put up, our backyard flowed into the neighbors’ yards in one, big park-like greenspace.  It was beautiful and open, and we felt kinda bad sectioning off our yard, but it was the right thing to do for our pup.  Once the fence was up, I was astonished by how different I felt in our back yard.
 
I was in MY space.
 
I knew precisely where MY space ended and Harold’s space and Brian’s space began.
 
I knew what was mine and I knew what was theirs, and it gave me such a sense of peace and safety.
 
And THAT, I’ve realized, is the power of boundaries.
 
A fence is a very clear, obvious, tactile boundary.  You can see and touch it.  Interpersonal boundaries are more ethereal, but not an iota less important.  As a long-time people-pleaser/fawner (a skill that served me well in my youth), establishing boundaries between ME and what I want and Others and what I perceive they want from me has been a challenge.  You know the saying – “you don’t know what you don’t know”?  Well, if you’ve never had boundaries, it’s hard to know that you don’t have boundaries!
 
During one of my sessions with my coach, Ariel, she did a Somatic Experiencing boundary exercise with me.  I may have written about this before, but it was such a powerful experience that it bears repeating.  In the exercise (done over Zoom), Ariel stood up and backed away from the camera.  She offered me the option of telling her to come closer or move farther away.  I assumed that I would want her closer, so I asked her to move closer to me, but I noticed a subtle internal shift.  So I asked her to back up and to move from side to side a bit.  When she reached a certain spot, my body was like, “Yessssss.”  I was sitting in my space, and Ariel was standing in her space, and there was safety and power in me with her being outside of my boundary.
 
Why do I choose to write about boundaries, a year after the fence construction?  Well, the Universe is making me do it.  😛  Ha! – saying that, playing the victim, is yet more evidence that I have (and will always have) more boundary work to do!  But, in all seriousness, the topic of boundaries has been percolating up in SO many different feeds that I figured I better transmute it into some writing.
 
I am no expert on boundaries, but I am an expert on collecting information and sharing it with others, so here some resources for you, should you desire to explore this topic further.

Tend HER Wild Podcast – Boundaries & Self-Sabotage This podcast with one of my teachers, Dr. Betsy Rippentrop, talks about boundaries and how we can be really good at setting them in some areas of our life (e.g. work), but horrible in setting them in other areas (e.g. we automatically say YES whenever a friend asks for help, even when we want to say no). Even psychologists with PhDs struggle with boundaries!

10 Tenets of Wellness We covered “Coaching Self-Care and Development” recently in my coaching class. To be WELL and to take care of our Selfs, we must make conscious choices to support our own health vs. subsuming it to the needs of others. We need time alone. We need time to play. We need to be careful who we surround ourselves with. Said another way, we need healthy boundaries.

We also discussed setting boundaries in our health coaching practice, and I share this information because I think these concepts to apply to ANY sort of work where you are in relationship with other(s). Boundaries are “expectations we hold others to. ”They help us guide decision making, support our desired best self, allow us to be more than our jobs, prevent burnout, and support healthy client relationships by setting clear expectations about the helper’s role. Here are a few sample boundaries to get your mind juices flowing:

  • I have a right to be treated with respect.
  • Leisure time is critical to my self-care; I do not work in the evenings.
  • I do not participate in gossip.

And then comes the really hard part – ENFORCING boundaries.  “What we allow we encourage,” so when someone crosses a boundary, we need to enforce it, or the behavior will continue and likely become even harder to address.  Here are a couple of ways to verbalize boundaries:

  • “That doesn’t work for me.”
  • “When you regularly show up for our lunch dates 15 minutes late, I feel worried about the impact on the rest of my day.  I need respect for my time.  Are you willing to meet on time going forward?”

How do those feel?   For me – UGH!  It feels SO uncomfortable and so full of potential conflict to say those things, but enforcing boundaries builds up that fence and with the fence comes safety and peace.  So what do I want?  Do I want to avoid discomfort, or do I want to have my own back and stay in my own power?
 
Damn it, Life!  Why is the hard stuff always so good for you??
           
Space to be Human Lab – Helping you heal so you can get back to doing what you love
 
One of my clients crystallized for me why I love CranioSacral Therapy.  She noted that at one point in the session, she experienced freedom from her thoughts.  The minute she said it, I was like YES!!!  That is why I love it!! I love having a few moments of relief from this damn monkey mind – a few moments of floating in some other level of consciousness, while my body, mind, and spirit are held by a compassionate witness.
 
If you like the idea of getting some space from your thoughts and deep relief and support for your frayed nervous system, I invite you to book a CranioSacral Therapy session.  April is CraniosSacral Therapy Awareness Month, so I am offering 75 minute sessions for $80 (a discount of $20).  Book a 75 minute session and use code “CRANIO.”  If you are a new client, you can book here.
 
The Itsy Bitsy (A catalytic question)
When you are faced with a challenging situation, what does taking decisive action look like?
 
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Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Meditation, Yoga

The Power of a Potent Pause

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’ve been MIA for the past 6 weeks or so…  Or perhaps you didn’t notice, which is OK too. 😛
 
As I’ve mentioned in previous letters, I’m constantly doing this waltz of being way too busy and taking on way too much, and then slamming on the brakes to get my breath. February was one of those months where everything caught up with me, and something had to give (beside my mental and physical health), so it I let go of the newsletters for a few weeks.
 
And you want to hear something SUPER ironic?  One of the things that made me “oh so busy!!” was a trip to the Dominican Republic wherein I laid on a lounge chair for 5 days straight and did the following:  Read 3 books, drank several fruity cocktails, ate lots of seafood, walked along the beach, went to bed at 8PM and slept until 6AM almost every day, and generally did not much of anything at all.

 
And boy was that weird.
 
We arrived in the DR on Monday night, and by Wednesday I was getting the itch.  Should I go on an excursion?  Should I go to the gym?  Shouldn’t I be doing SOMETHING??  Shouldn’t I be milking this experience for all it’s worth??
 
And then I gave myself permission to just sit on my butt, bask in the sun and warm weather, and just read, drink, eat, and swim to my heart’s content.  No judgment.  Just relax.  Oh.  And chat with the septuagenarian Canadians who were encamped in the neighboring cabanas. 
 
Not being “productive” for 5 days was challenging mentally (or maybe I mean culturally??), but oh so necessary.  Us human beings, much like machines, need periodic reboots to keep functioning well and to clear out all the random bits and bytes that are clogging up our junk.
 
I recently listened to Dr. Andrew Huberman’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) podcast episode, and he answered a question about how to increase motivation.  The number 1 thing we can do is to get quality sleep (if you need any tips on how to get QUALITY sleep, please reach out to me – we just covered this in my health coaching class).  The second thing he mentioned was Non Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR).  To the yogis in the audience, this is essentially yoga nidra!  NSDR or yoga nidra is a type of mediation where your attention is systematically led through your body, leading to a deep state of relaxation.
 
Dr. Huberman referenced two Danish studies that show that doing yoga nidra for as little as 10 minutes a day can dramatically increase your dopamine reservoirs (dopamine is closely tied to motivation).  There is also data showing NSDR can help recover lost sleep, as well as increase cognitive ability and performance in cognitive tasks!
 
And now, I’m circling back around to my point.  By RESTING, we can actually be MORE PRODUCTIVE with LESS EFFORT. Whoa.
 
If you’re curious about NSDR, here is a 10-minute practice from Dr. Huberman.  And here is a 10-minute recording of a yoga nidra from yours truly.
 
Happy Resting!
 
Space to be Human Lab
Feel Better, Reduce Pain, Pay Less
If you are experiencing headaches, neck or back pain, stress and tension-related disorders, TMJ syndrome, or general or specific pain, bodywork can help! I’ve added a tool to my tool box – CranioSacral Therapy (CST), which is a gentle full-body treatment that can improve the health of the nervous system.  I am offering CST sessions at a $15 discount for the next few months.  Please use code “CRANIO” when you book a session to receive the discount.

Book online here.
 
The Itsy Bitsy (A catalytic question)
Who are the key supportive people in your life, and what do they provide for you?
 
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