Blog Posts

Awakening, Health & Fitness, Yoga

On Letting Things be Easy

Do you have anything in your life that you make harder than it has to be?

  • Do you hold your breath while responding to emails?
  • Do you walk super fast from your computer to the bathroom, pee really fast while thinking about the meeting you have coming up, and then speed walk back to your computer to check on the IMs and the emails you missed while you rushed to the bathroom?
  • When it’s cold outside, and you have a jacket and gloves and hat on, do you still hunch your shoulders and clench in an effort to ward of the briskness?
  • When you watch TV, do you also look at your phone, while you are also eating?
  • Do you often lament about how busy life is, and then make more plans, sign up for more classes, buy more books to read some day?

Hopefully this description of my neuroticism doesn’t scare you away.  I share this because I think it may resonate.  I’m not the only Rusher who likes to add some layers of unnecessary tension, must-get-it-done-as-quickly-as-possible-ness, and fabricated urgency to my day.

You know, when you hear the same message from multiple different sources, all within a short time frame, it’s usually a pretty good idea to listen.  The Universe REALLY wants you to take note.

A message that keeps bubbling up from the ether loud and clear is:

Let

It

Be

Easy

This first came up during my Somatic Experiencing training in early February, when our instructor said, “Trauma physiology means people are working really hard.  How do we take off some of that demand?  Consider the possibility of doing less.  Instead of working hard, trust that the information you need will find its way to you.  Let the sights, sounds, smells COME to you.  Allow yourself to receive.  You don’t have to work so hard to learn.”

What??  It doesn’t HAVE to be hard??

And then my coach, week after week, points out how, while I complain about things being hard, I actually set up situations to BE hard.  Being tense, working hard, and striving is my comfort discomfort zone.  She invites me to consider, “How can this be easy?”

  • Can I remember to sit back in my chair and breathe while I respond to emails?
  • Can I take 10 minutes out of my day to just sit and eat, without doing anything else?
  • Can I enjoy the walk from the office to the bathroom, enjoy the sensations of moving my body, enjoy the comfort of being in my home?
  • Can I do LESS instead of more and enjoy the LESS more?

This recommendation to find Ease was also mentioned by the Keynote speaker at the QC YogaCon on Friday night.  During the panel discussion he was asked if had a recommendation for the students for the weekend.  He summed it up in one word, “Ease.”  How can you invite ease into your learning, your practice, your presence with others?

How could you Make It Easier?  How would your life change if you invited in more ease, allowed yourself to receive, and unclenched just a little bit?

Space to be Human Updates

  • NEW LOCATION: I am still at Davenport Acupuncture for now, but starting 3/21/22 (HAPPY SPRING!!), I will be located at 2805 Eastern Avenue, Davenport IA, Office 232!  The building is located at the corner of Eastern & 29th, to the east of the Annie Wittenmeyer pool. 

Now it’s time for some ease (I’m reading Pride & Prejudice for about the 80th time) and sleep.  Hope you have a beautiful day!

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Awakening, Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Yoga

On Bliss and Ecstasy

Have you ever seen the TV show Firefly?  I may have mentioned this in other posts, but it’s my most favoritist TV show.  The writing is gorgeous, the characters are nuanced, faulty, and real.  The setting (a space western J) lends itself well to investigating lots of salient topics.   It’s a story about a rag tag bunch of humans who, via a beautiful concerto of the Universe, end up together on Serenity, a smuggling ship, flying around the galaxy, doing odd jobs in order to survive and live how they want to live – free.  I say all this to introduce you to the episode “Our Mrs. Reynolds” from which this snippet of dialogue was taken:

Saffron: Do you know the myth of Earth-That-Was?
Wash
: Not so much.
Saffron
: That when she was born, she had no sky, and was open, inviting. And the stars would rush into her, through the skin of her…
Wash
: Huh.
Saffron
: …making the oceans boil with sensation. And when she could endure no more ecstasy, she puffed up her cheeks and blew out the sky.
Wash
: Whoa. Good myth.

Can you imagine “boiling” with sensation?  What is your relationship with sensation?  When I first watched this episode, this interchange made me feel the sensation of uncomfortable.  Experiencing sensation – hmm – who has time or capacity for that??  Who KNOWS how to do that?  And SHOULD we do that?  Or should we just rely on our juicy brains, plugged into computers and the internet and our phones to live our digital, non-sensual lives?

Well, it turns out that feeling sensation, feeling feelings, is actually a pretty crucial part of being human.  Feelings/emotions are what motivate us to take action, and our actions are what lead to the results we have in life.  I think I was first introduced to this concept with clarity when I started listening to The Life Coach School podcast.  The creator of that podcast, Brooke Castillo, teaches “The Self Coaching Model” which basically states that everything in life can be broken down into 5 categories:

Circumstances – the neutral fact

Thoughts – what we think about that fact (what we make it mean)

Feelings – how those thoughts make us feel

Actions – what we do when we feel that way

Results – what happens due to the actions we take

Well, come to find out, Brooke did not invent this (not that she claims that she invented it).  In fact, the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Hindu text written between 5th – 2nd century BCE, talks about how thoughts, when fed and repeated and nurtured, become desires, then habits, then ways of living.  In order to reach enlightenment, humans need to train their minds to be alike in pleasure and pain, which to me means we need to be able to process emotion – not resist it, not get consumed by it, just experience it all.

When we resist feeling something because it’s uncomfortable to feel it, it constrains our behavior.  We avoid taking action in order to avoid feeling some sort of way.  And while we may think we are just resisting feeling the ugly negative stuff, what seems to happen is that when we can’t feel the tough emotions – the shame and grief, we lose capacity to experience emotions on the other end of the spectrum – the bliss and ecstasy.  It leaves us feeling a bit dull and monochromatic.

I’ve heard from a few different teachers that emotions only last 90 seconds if we ALLOW them to be there.  If we take a moment, pause, and sit down and watch our inner state with an intention of curiosity, acceptance, allowance, then instead of being tamped down and ignored, the emotion and the energy associated with it can pass on through. 

This is a practice I have been working with, because avoiding feeling things is preventing me from doing what I want to do with this life – which is to live it fully and not be so fearful and overly worried all the time!

I offer to a you a few ideas for processing your emotions, in case you too struggle with this.

  1. When I reach for my phone instinctively, I try to pause and notice what I am feeling, or more pointedly, what I am trying NOT to feel by looking at my phone?  For you this could be: reaching for a cookie, or checking email, or even going for a run – there are lots of ways we choose to numb out and not feel.
  2. If I am in a time and place where I can do it, I will set the timer on my phone and take a breather, and just sit and watch what is going on inside.  Where do I feel the sensation?  Does it move anywhere as I look at it?  Does it have a shape?  Does it want to be touched?
  3. I work on this stuff with professionals.  Sometimes I just find it too hard to slow MYSELF down and notice what I’m feeling.  But if I have another human being with me, reminding me to slow down, to take the time to notice, to be there for me if I need help, then I’m more apt to wander into that territory.  I’ve done this work with my business coach (because – oh man – being scared of feeling failure, embarrassment, and rejection is a GREAT way to never get your business off the ground), my therapist, and a few Somatic Experiencing Practitioners.

If you want to explore what it’s like to have someone hold space for you while you notice what is going on in your nervous system, I am offering embodiment coaching sessions.  I offer 30 minute Zoom sessions which consist mostly of guided meditation and conversation where I help you stay present with your sensations.  We start by exploring what feels pleasant in your body, and then we can (depending on your comfort level), start to explore something that feels a bit more challenging just a LITTLE bit.  Then we go back to the pleasant sensation.  I also offer 60-minute in-person sessions which would be customized to you. They could include meditation, self-massage, movement – all practices designed to help you learn the language of sensation in your body and to help you slow down and notice what’s going on in there.  I’ve found that being able to tune in to the subtle messages from my body helps me take better care of myself – I can tell when I need a break, when I need some water, when I need to pee!  I can tell when a decision FEELS right or wrong.  I can tell when I’m starting to get amped up.  It’s a practice, and it takes time and patience, but being able to tune in to the wisdom of the body is critically important to living a life aligned with who you really are!  Here is a link to book with me if this idea floats your boat.

If you are interested in diving in to this topic a bit more, here are some resources for you:

  • The Life Coach School Podcast – Success and Your Feelings – I’ve listened to this one 3 times because it reminds me that while this is hard work, it’s worth it. 
  • I find it SUPER hard to cry, which is a way our body processes emotions.  I watched “The Notebook” but to no avail.  I listened to this guided meditation, and it brought up so many memories of our pooch, Lucent, who passed away several years ago.  It helped me let go of some stuff I’m been holding in for 6-7 years.
  • Expanding your sensation vocabulary can be difficult – you are literally learning a new language!!  Here are some words that might open up new awareness for you:  moving up, constricted, buzzing, opening, warmth, tension, lightness, relaxing, tingling, itching, burning, tightness, achy, frozen, rolling, airy, full, furry, sharp, shimmering, blocked, gurgling, hard, heavy, silky, icy, spacious, clammy, sticky, congested, loose, cool, tender, throbbing, energized, expanding, radiating, light.  Did you know your body could feel al that?

I know I’ve talked about Feeling Feelings before, but I think it’s super important and super difficult to do, so I wanted to share a bit more about it.

Space to be Human Updates

  • LOCATION: I am still at Davenport Acupuncture for now, but keep your eyes peeled for a NEW LOCATION announcement coming soon. 
  • Did you know you can find me on Instagram @space2bhuman?  I’m going to be posting some “tiny little action steps” in March – little things you can do to improve your wellbeing.

Well, I better sign off.  We need to go spend a small fortune at Theisens in order to get ready for Huehue’s imminent arrival!  Hope you have a sensational Sunday!

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Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Paleo, Yoga

So, How Did You End Up in This Line of Work, Anyway?

This is a question I get a lot.  How did a woman who spent 25 years in banking, doing a series of analyst and management roles (cash management analyst, treasury analyst, business analyst, Dev Team manager, project manager), end up as a neurosomatic therapist/yoga teacher/meditation teacher?

Well.  Pull up a chair, get comfy, and let me tell you a tale.

It all started on 11/19/2011. Well, technically it started a couple of weeks before that.  I read an article on Lifehacker about “The Primal Diet.”  It immediately caught my interest for a couple of reasons:

  1. I had just come off spending the weekend with my brothers (who lived in NYC at the time), and when they would visit, our intake of booze and fried food would skyrocket.  As a result, I was feeling very bloaty and gross (to put it scientifically :P).  I was pushing 150, which was not a weight that accommodated my clothes comfortably.  I was scouting the internet looking for something to help me.
  2. I loved what I read in that article.  The primal “diet” was really more of a lifestyle versus a diet.  The article advocated eating whole foods (meat and veggies), avoiding processed food (including gluten, sugar, flour, dyes, rancid seed oils, etc.), getting outside as much as possible, prioritizing sleep quality, incorporating “primal movements” (push-ups, planks, pull-ups, squats, etc.), spending time with loved ones, PLAYING, etc.  It all made so much intuitive sense to me.

So I bought The 21-Day Total Body Transformation on 11/19/11.  I read it, followed the instructions to purge the spaghetti, Pepperidge Farm frozen garlic bread (which I used to eat because I assumed that bread was “healthy”), and the beer from my kitchen and stocked up on meat, veggies, nuts, healthy fats (olive oil and avocado oil), dark chocolate, etc..

In January of 2012, I started the 21-day challenge.  Within a week, my nose was no longer shooting fountains of mucus in the middle of the night.  My anxiety levels had calmed WAY down (at the time the anxiety was so bad that I felt as if I would pass out at stop lights, in line at the grocery store, and in any warm area with bad air flow), I was losing weight, and my energy stayed steady all day.

I ended up following the 21-day plan for a few months, and by the 2nd or 3rd month, my health had totally changed.  I had lost about 18 lbs. I went from a size 12 to a size 4.  I participated in a sprint triathlon. I started running regularly in my barefoot running shoes.  I felt so energized. 

My mind was BLOWN by how big of an effect food and movement had on my physical and mental health.  And I wanted EVERYONE to realize how much capacity we have to influence our health.  I started researching classes, degrees, certifications, etc. to see what would help qualify me to be able to help people feel better in their bodies.

Eventually I settled on doing a 200-hour yoga teacher training.  It was a 6-month program, I enjoyed yoga, and the price was accessible.  While in that program, I was introduced to biomechanist and author Katy Bowman, via a collaboration project she did with Mark Sisson (the author of the Primal Blueprint).  From following her, I found out about Yoga Tune Up® and the power of self-massage to change our state (both physically and mentally).  I took the YTU Certification class and was introduced to OH MY GOD SO MUCH NEW INFORMATION!!  That was the hardest cert I have ever done, but it sparked an interest in whole-being health, anatomy, and the nervous system. 

I wanted to dive deeper, but I was loathe to go back to school. I actually LOVE school, but I finished my bachelors and masters while working full-time, and I was TIRED of spending every evening in class and/or doing homework.  I felt really driven to DO something in the wellness sphere, but I was overwhelmed by options and indecision.

I enlisted professional help. I started working with Dr. Betsy Rippentrop out of Iowa City.  She is a psychologist with a heavy yoga background, and I really resonated with her style of therapy.  Via sessions that included talk therapy, embodiment work, and analysis of one super-detailed, vivid dream, my path forward started to become more clear.  In one session I very clearly stated my goal of finding the next best step for me.

That weekend, on the YTU Teachers Facebook page, someone mentioned how she had taken her autistic son to a neurosomatic therapist, and she was blown away by the treatment.  I instantly googled “neurosomatic therapy,” and found the Center for Neurosomatic Studies in Clearwater, Florida.    I devoured the website, excitement building in me as I read about how students learn anatomy and physiology, movement, visceral massage, cranial mobilizations, etc. 

The next day I called the school to get more information.  The son of the founder of neurosomatic therapy answered the school’s phone.  He was in his late 30s/early 40s and was making a career switch to become a therapist.  We talked for 90 minutes. 

I loved almost everything I heard about the school.  But.  Oh man.  It was in Florida.  The program was held during the day (when I would be at work).  My Dad had just had some severe health issues.  So many reasons to just stay put.

But, ugh.  Gross.  That didn’t feel good either.

So I agonized about the decisions for MONTHS.  I want to do it, but…. It’s so hard, and so inconvenient, and what if, and the money, and, blah blah blah.

Finally I got tired of listening to myself waffle.  The internal discord with how I was spending my days was outweighing my fear of change.  I decided to go for it.  I told my boss that I was quitting to move to Florida to go to school.  But, I offered, if the bank was willing to keep me on part-time and let me work remotely, I would be down for that.  To my shock, they said Yes!  And with that “yes,” many of my fears about money and stability proved out to be unfounded.

We moved to Florida (3 days before Clearwater/Tampa got hit by Hurricane Irma).  FUN TIMES!  I went to school for 18 months, worked for the St. John-Clark Pain Treatment Clinic for a year, and then moved back to Iowa in April 2020, in the beginnings of the COVID pandemic.  FUN TIMES AGAIN!

I opened my practice in June of 2020, and it has been steadily growing ever since.  My interest in diet and movement has subtly shifted to a fascination with whole person flourishing, as I see in myself what a powerful influence my thoughts, energy, and spiritual practices have over my physical body.  I love learning about the layers that make up a human (the physical body, energetic body, mental body, wisdom body, and bliss body (from the Yogic Kosha model)) and what we can do to promote health in each of those layers.

That’s my Origin Story in a nutshell.  Well, actually in a tortoise shell because that is a pretty long story.  And technically it’s just my THERAPIST origin story.  The full origin story is a story for another time.

And with that, thanks for reading and for being part of this adventure of figuring out what makes a good life and how I can help contribute to helping others make a good life!!!

Happy Sunday!

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Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Yoga

On “Life Is Pain”

“Life IS pain, Highness.  Anyone who tells you differently is selling you something.” The Dread Pirate Roberts.

Do you think that’s true?  Do you think life IS pain?  Is life SUPPOSED to be painful?  What would life be like if we never experienced pain?  What if we could change our experience of pain by changing our thoughts about the pain? 

What if instead of resisting the pain, and being angry at the pain, and feeling betrayed by our bodies, what if we paused, gave the sensation some space, and allowed our attention to rest there with curiosity, compassion, and without judgment?  What would happen? How could your relationship to the pain shift?

By changing our mindset around pain, we can help ourselves stop layering suffering on top of the pain.

If we can start to see pain as a teacher – a messenger who is showing us that something is out of balance in our body, our mind, and/or our spirit, then we can start to change how we relate to it.  We may still have the pain, but when we remove the resistance (when we stop fighting what IS), we remove that layer of mental suffering.

The mind is so powerful!  Our thoughts and beliefs form the matrix of our world.  Our thoughts about pain, stress, and food can effect physical changes in our body.  If we see stress as a good thing (e.g. while stress may be difficult in the moment, it’s going to help us get stronger), then stress is less damaging to us.  If we see a food as indulgent (even if we consider it a “healthy” food), our hormones will shift and help us feel more full after eating it.

If you dig this topic and want to dive in a little deeper, here is a fascinating podcast from Dr. Andrew Huberman and Dr. Alia Crum where they discuss mindset and how our thoughts and beliefs can change our hormones, our cardiovascular health, and our immune system.

Somatic Experiencing Update

Next week I start the first class of the 3-year Somatic Experiencing Program training.  Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a body-oriented therapy that helps heal trauma and dysregulation of the nervous system.  I’m drawn to this work because after living mostly in my head for 40 years, I’ve realized that I’m missing out on a lot of the color and vibrancy of life because I feel it’s much safer to live in my head than in my body.  And I see this echoed in many of my friends, family, and clients.  I’m doing this program so I can continue to build on the tools of bodywork and yoga to help my clients and myself figure out how to live a life in full color, and where it’s safe to experience the full range of human emotion.  =

Teaching Update

  • If you are interested in learning how to dial down tension in your body with the use of self-massage, movement, breath, and meditation, join me at QC YogaCon on March 5th at 4PM.  The convention has an impressive line-up of teachers from all over the country, and the entire focus of the convention is on mental health.  The convention runs from March 4 – 6, and the cost is $250.  This is a fundraising event for the QC Yoga Foundation, whose mission it is to bring the transformative teachings of yoga to as many Quad Citians as possible.  Here is my affiliate link if you would like to register:   

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Health & Fitness, Yoga

On Meeting Your Future Self

Who are you?  What’s your motivation??

Well, I just spent 25% of the time I had allocated for writing this post on searching for a segment from Community where they are trying to capitalize off of Ben Chang’s momentary stardom by creating an absolutely terrible sci-fi movie wherein they use previously filmed clips of Chang, and in those clips, he keeps repeating, “Who am I?  What’s my motivation??” 

Wow.  That was a really impressive run-on sentence.

What’s the point, you’re wondering??

Two points.

  1. If you are hankering for some brilliant TV, and you haven’t watched Community.  Stop reading this right now and go watch Community.  SO GOOD.
  2. That question of “Who Am I?” is kind of an important one.

As I mentioned in a previous email, I recently finished the book Healing Ourselves. This week I also finished Healers On Healing and started on Helping People Change.  Guess what common theme is present in all 3 of these books, written by a whole slew of PhDs and doctors and scientists?

We have tremendous power to heal ourselves.

But, just because we have the power doesn’t mean we know how to use it.  We are not conditioned to look inside ourselves for answers. We’re taught that answers are to be found in Parents, in Teachers, in Books, in The Science, in The Government, in People Smarter Than Us.

But what spiritual teachers and philosophers have taught for decades (and what current research on consciousness and meditation is proving out) is that the answers we seek are found by turning inwards and realizing that we are whole, and while we are One, we are also connected to Many, and that connection to Many (call it God, Oneness, the Universe, Zero Point Field, Universal Consciousness, Spirit, etc.), gives us access to all the answers, support, and guidance that we need – ALL INSIDE OF US.

But HOW?  How do we start to find answers within ourselves??

All of these books, in addition to more secular books like Atomic Habits, and Working With Emotional Intelligence, emphasize the importance of tuning in to the Higher Self/Future Self/Best Self as a way of getting guidance and motivation for lasting behavior change.

But, again. HOW! 

This is where I struggle.  I understand the theory behind “the answers are within” but sometimes The Within is deathly silent and uncommunicative!

This is where I think “different strokes for different folks” can be very helpful.

When I’ve been guided by therapists to “ask your heart” when faced with a question, I’m often met with anxiety.  “Shit.  My heart’s not saying anything.  I must be doing this wrong.  How long will she wait before she gets impatient for an answer??  Why am I paying someone to make me do this?  Ooh!  There’s a thought.  But is it coming from my mind or from my heart?  Am I just projecting what I want my heart to say, or is it really saying it??” 

And sometimes I do get an answer that way, even despite the Ego going into panicked overthinking.

But what I have found more helpful are writing exercises and guided meditations.

Several years ago I took a workshop from Ariel Kiley called Business of Yoga Success.  One of the exercises she did was “Dream Lifestyle – Describe what your most fantastical ideal lifestyle would look like.  What is your schedule?  What’s your home like?  Travel?  Trainings?  Family and friends?  Have fun creating a fantastically comfortable and vibrant life that reflects your highest values.”

And I DID have fun with that.  And the Future Heather I created in that writing exercise has come back to visit me often. 

She came back to me when I did this Future Self meditation, where you meet 5 different versions of yourself and spend time connecting to the one who resonates most thoroughly.  Path 4 Heather is, Man!  SO COOL.

Meeting and tuning it to the energy of your Future Self can provide inspiration, motivation, and guidance.  WWMFSD?? What Would My Future Self Do!  James Clear recommends asking this question when you are trying to shift your behavior.  How can I make a 1% better choice in this situation, aligned with my Future Self?

Your Future Self is a pretty handy mentor, guide, and healer.  If you are interested in seeing what help you can give yourself, you could try out the Dream Lifestyle writing exercise or listen to the Future Self meditation (10 mins), or if you have a chatty heart, you could sit down, spend a few moments watching your breath, put your hand on your heart and ask for help.  We are all unique snowflakes, so try out a few things and see what works for the N=1 experiment that is you!

Space to be Human Updates

  • I’m hosting an Introduction to Mindset class on 1/24/22 from 1PM-2PM Central.  If you feel tortured by your monkey mind (any fellow High Functioning Anxiety peeps out there??), you will find some relief in this class.
    • Please register in advance for this meeting:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrd-ChpjMoEtYpcCkbuZuBn2JXR5S4dDE1
    • After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

That’s all for today, my friends!  Please respond to this email if you have any questions or comments.  I really do love to hear from you; otherwise, I’m all like.. “Bueller…..Bueller….?”

Happy Sunday, My Lovely Readers!!

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Health & Fitness

On Flow & Boogers

Are you the kind of person that sets goals or resolutions for the New Year?  What is your experience with that?  Do you enjoy the process?  Does it help you stay on track? 
 
My New Year’s resolutions were usually setted and forgetted by January 20th or so.  Then, two years ago, one of my friends gave me the book, “One Word That Will Change Your Life.”  Instead of setting multiple resolutions, the authors encourage you to essentially pick a theme word or short phrase, a guiding principle, for the year.  This word serves to give you clarity and focus, two experiences that are so hard to come by in our over-stimulated, over-busy lives.  One word is also easy to remember.  When my business coach asks me what my goals are for the year, I’m always like, “Erm.  Let me remember where I wrote them down, so I can re-read them, and then I’ll get back to you.”  Ask me what my Word is for 2022, and I can tell you in a flash.
 
FLOW
 
My word came to me clearly when I was sitting on the soft white sands of the Gulf, listening to the surf rhythmically pound the shoreline.  I was reading “Healing Ourselves” and was YET AGAIN reminded that in order to be healed and to help other people heal, you really just gotta feel those feelings.  Instead of laminating them over with a big suffocating brush of “I’ll get to you later when I have time,” you need to SLOW the f*#k down and notice those feelings and stay with them.  You have to let them flow instead of damming them up.
 
Flow also means letting go off resistance, letting go of clenching, letting go of not being at peace until everything is JUST the way I want it, releasing the need to be in control. You can’t ride the current of life if you have a death grip on the dock. 
 
Flow also means getting into that state where you lose track of time because you are SO engrossed in what you are doing.  It’s actually an altered state of consciousness!  It happens at this sweet spot where you are challenged *slightly* beyond your capabilities, but not so much so that you freeze.  This is where the magic happens. 
 
Flow also means opening up to your innate creative potential.  In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert describes how there is this undercurrent of creative ideas flowing through the ether.  An idea will jump out and grab you, and if you don’t bring it to life, it will abandon you and move on to a more willing subject.  I’m opening to that flow, letting go of the fear of “doing it wrong” and taking imperfect action on my ideas.
 
What word bring clarity and focus to your 2022?  Here are some questions that might help ignite your creative fire:

  1.  What do you need?
  2. What do you need to let go of?
  3. What do you want more of in your life?
  4. How do you want to feel?
  5. What makes you lose track of time?
  6. What gives you goosebumps (in a good way :P)?
  7. What do you secretly desire?

If you can manage it, I recommend finding a time and space where you can be alone.  Bring a pen and paper.  Get into a comfortable seat.  Watch your breath enter and leave your body for 5 breaths.  Notice the connection of your feet on the floor and your butt in your chair.  Settle your awareness in your chest (for me, if I think about moving my vision from my eyes to my area right behind my sternum, I can make that instruction to “settle awareness in your heart center” make sense.  :P).  Then ask yourselves these questions and be open to whatever comes up.  If you feel like sharing your word, I would love to hear it.  Text me at 319-360-9662, or email me at heather@spacetobehuman.life.
 
And here is a practice to help improve your PHYSICAL flow.  It’s that time of year where between colds, Omicron, allergies, excessive dryness, etc.  the nasal passages get all blocked, dry, and boogery.  But breathing through the nose is essential for our health (it improves immunity, promotes better blood flow, slows breathing, increases lung volume, improves the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide).*  So what to do??
 
BOOGER PRACTICE
This!  This is what to do:  Nose Unblocking Exercise.
 
*Source: Buteyko Instructor Training Manual.

That’s all for today, my friends!  Please respond to this email if you have any questions or comments, or book a session with me here if you would like some help to bring more balance and peace to your body, mind or spirit.
 
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Awakening, Health & Fitness, Yoga

On The Hardness of Going Soft

Tim and I took a perfectly timed trip to Florida over Christmas break. We left at 5AM on Christmas day and just positively SAILED down to Destin, FL.  We were there in 15 hours, even with pee and fuel breaks.  There was NO traffic, and the time passed swiftly due to some fascinating podcasts and the audio version of Wheel of Time: Eye of the World.  We returned home on Thursday, right before Davenport got buried in about 6 inches of fluffy white stuff that was most definitely not sand.  On our way back north, we saw so many instances of cars at a standstill going south.  Sometimes it really pays to go against the grain!  😛

We had 4 full days down in Florida.  Our hotel was right on the beach, so our days consisted of waking up (without an alarm), partaking of the free hotel breakfast (the Fairfield Inn hot breakfast is really not bad!  They actually had protein options instead of just bagels, oatmeal and sugary yogurts), grabbing our gear, and heading to the beach.  We sat on the beach, read, watched the waves, actually got into the water a VERY little bit, headed to town for lunch, came back to the beach for more reading, watching, wading, then walked or drove to supper, and then tried to watch TV in the hotel (SO MANY COMMERCIALS), and then went to sleep.

It was so eye-opening how HARD it was to actually let ourselves relax though. 

Should we “make the most” of being there and DO more stuff – go stand-up paddle boarding, go hiking, check out museums, visit Seaside (the town where Truman Show was filmed), find all the best restaurants?? 

We decided that outside the door of our hotel was a gorgeous ocean with soft white, squeaky sand dissolved from quartz ages ago.  That was enough to appreciate for 4 days.

Ft. Walton Beach, Florida

While at the beach I read a really amazing book, Healing Ourselves – Biofield Science and the Future of Health.  The whole book is about our ability to heal ourselves and others via energy practices.  At face value that may sound very woo woo, but there are dozens of studies that show the healing power of our thoughts, attention, and intention (what do you think causes the placebo effect!).  Two things are very clear from the research the author relays in the book:

  1. We are all interconnected.
  2. We have so much more power to heal ourselves that when have been taught. 

I plan to dive in to the practices outlined in the book and will share with you the ones that I love.  In the meantime, to explore the concept of self-healing for yourself, you could start simply by taking a moment to notice your feet on the ground, soften up those soles, think about plugging your feet into the earth like you would plug your charger into a wall socket.  Notice the energy in your feet, calves, and upper legs.  Take a moment and ask yourself, “Who do I want to be today?”  Set that intention for the day (I prefer to write it down to make it more concrete and visible), revisit it often, and see what changes in your experience of your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual self/layer/body.

Space to be Human Updates

  • If you were unable to make it to my Introduction to Meditation class, but you are interested in the topic, you’re in luck!  I recorded the class, and you can watch it here at your leisure.  Feedback and suggestions are much appreciated!  If this class piques your interest, and you would like help in developing a meditation practice, you can book a session with me here.
  • Did you know that the Quad Cities is hosting its very own yoga festival?? The QC YogaCon will be held March 4-6, and guess who is teaching!  Me!  I am teaching a Yoga Tune Up® class (Total Tension Tunedown) on 4/5 at 4PM.  You can find more details here.

That’s all for today, my friends!  Happy 2nd day of 2022!  Please reach out to me at heather@spaceotbehuman.life or book a session with me here if you would like to feel better in your body.

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Awakening, Health & Fitness, Yoga

On #Winning & Secret Desires

We are at the start of new year, which means it’s time to run a Lessons Learned to close out this project that is Life in 2021.  What went well?  What could we do better next time? 

What Went Well

Why should we review “What Went Well?” Oh for SO many reasons!

  • Our brains are wired for negativity, which is a helpful yet annoying survival mechanism.  We downplay our successes, and we latch on to our failures.  Does any of the following sound familiar?
    • We get our annual review.  The boss says, “You did an amazing job this year.  We love you.  You’re awesome.  Next year we would like you to show more leadership on your projects.”  What runs through your brain?  “Shit.  I’m a loser.  I should have been more assertive.  I should have worked more.  I better start looking for a different job…”  So much good feedback, yet we glom on to that little bit of feedback and use it as proof that we are a failure.
    • Here’s a personal example.  A few weeks ago, I co-presented on the topic of Emotional Intelligence for Lead(h)er.  Public speaking is a big trigger of panic for me, but by using some calming techniques and mindset work, I was able to keep my voice from shaking, I logically went through the material, and my face did not freeze into any weird contortions.  But.  Then came the Q&A.  A question popped up that did not compute in my brain.  I stumbled through some answer that I’m not sure made any sense or that even remotely addressed the question.  So – great little presentation where I actually exhibited some poise and overcame something very scary for me  – but the rest of the night I had a pit in my stomach, and my mind kept recycling the core belief, “I suck.”  Fun times!
  • We need about a 3:1 ratio of positivity to negativity to offset the negativity bias.
  • Life moves fast, and we are usually focused ever on the future.  “What do I have to do tomorrow, next week, next month to move towards my goals?”  But, Baby, look at how far you’ve come!!  You’ve grown SO much, accomplished so many of your goals, Past You would look at Current You and be like, “Daaaaammmnnn – that’s me?!”  Take some time to relish this.

What are your Wins, your Successes, your Peaks for 2021?  Don’t be shy!  Write them out.  Send them to me or share them with a friend.  Get them down on paper and DOCUMENT THEM.  Brag!  Don’t let self-judgement hold you back you in this exercise.  When it pops up, say, “Thank you, Sir, for trying to keep me safe and small, but I don’t need you right now.”  And Write.

Here are a few of the things I accomplished in 2021 that make me proud:

  • My therapy practice almost tripled.
  • I worked with a psychologist and a life coach and did a lot of work on learning how to feel what I am feeling (instead of stuffing it down to deal with “later”) and how to question the stories on constant, speedy, reflexive repeat in my head.
  • I asked and was granted a decrease in my hours at the bank, enabling me to put more time into my therapy practice.  And I was able to deal with the, “Oh God, Oh God, how am I going to have enough money?!?!” fairly well.
  • I co-presented 2 Emotional Intelligence presentations, which made me super duper DUPER nervous.  One of the worst case scenarios actually did happen during the first presentation – the network at the presentation location was down, so none of the A/V equipment worked.  We printed out the slides as a fail-safe, only to scramble madly when the network came up minutes before the presentation was scheduled to begin.  But, BIG BREATH, it all ended up totally fine.
  • I put my money where my mouth was and hired a personal trainer, and I’m getting stronger. I overcame one of my most favorite thoughts, “I’ll do it later, when I feel like it.”

What could we do better next year?

I propose a new take on this.  Instead of thinking about things that went sideways and how we could keep them on track next time.  Let’s think about what we want for next year.  What do you desire for next year?  Better yet (and thanks to my coach, Kate Reuter for this question), what do you SECRETLY desire? No one else has to know besides you and your pen and your paper.  If anything was possible, what would you desire?   

Don’t be alarmed if you try this exercise only to find out you don’t know what you want.  You might know what you DON’T want (that one is a lot easier).   Ask yourself, if you DID know what you want, what would that be?  If you are an intuitive, empathic person, chances are you are used to having your feelers attuned to what everyone around you wants.  So when you ask yourself this question, you may just get a blank stare.  But trust me.  You do know what you want.  You just need to practice asking and listening.  Again, bring self-compassion, non-judgement, and a sense of massive curiosity to this.  THERE ARE NO WRONG ANSWERS!  If you do it wrong, you’re doing it perfectly.  😛

To give credit where credit is due, I’m borrowing, mixing, and integrating the work of so many people in this post.  Here are links to my main teachers, should you care to dive into this stuff more:

The Life Coach School Podcast – How To Be Proud of Yourself

Kate Reuter Coaching

Dr. Yoga Momma – Yoga for the Mind program

Lashaun Dale

I hope you can find some time to reflect on the year and appreciate how far you’ve come!

And that is it for today.  As always, if anything I wrote piques your interest, and you want to know more, holler at me.  And if you need help with reducing pain, improving your performance, or with feeling more at home in your body, you can book with me here

Have a fabulous day!

Awakening

Pay Attention to what you Pay Attention to.

Have you ever noticed that you when you’re shopping for a new car, suddenly you see your object of interest everywhere?  Overnight, everyone started driving Hyundai Konas somehow (to use a personal example).  You know why that is?  You see what you look for.

And WOW is that powerful.

One of my favorite movies is The Matrix.  Just the original one.  The sequels are horrible.  HORRIBLE!  But the original Matrix is a piece of art.  It shows you how constrained we are by our thoughts.  They literally, every day, every minute, create the world around us.

  • Do you believe that people are always out to get what they can out of you?  That will be your experience in the world. 
  • Think you don’t have the skills necessary to excel in that job you really, really want?  That’s right you don’t.
  • Think you’ve had this pain for years, so no matter what,  you will always have it.  Yes, that will also come true.

Research actually supports the concept of the power of our thoughts – placebos work because we think they work.  Our body processes food differently, depending if we think it’s good for us or not.  A combination of intention and attention can heal.  More details on the the power of of our thoughts can be found in an article I wrote here and in a podcast about psychoneuroimmunology here.

We have more power than we realize over the results we get in life.  Our thoughts create our feelings, our feelings create our actions, and our actions create our results (and confirm our thoughts to be true).  And our thoughts ARE changeable.  Once we start to take the immense super power of Attention and focus it on the utter craziness our ego is spewing out non-stop, we can start to shift our Matrix.  Little by little, we can watch that voice, question its veracity, and try on some new thoughts that might create better feelings > actions > results.

Here are some fun questions to play with, when you encounter an exceptionally annoying thought such as, “I suck and will never be good at this.  Life is unfair.  This shouldn’t have happened.  He is so successful because he came from money.  I don’t have enough money/power/formal education to be “successful.”  She shouldn’t be so talkative/bold/lazy.” 

  • Is that true?  How do you know it’s true?  What if the opposite is true?
  • What are you making that mean?
  • Why?  Ask this one at least 5 times to get down through some layers.
  • Who would you be without that thought?
  • What feelings is that thought creating in your body?  Where do you feel those feelings?  What sensations are associated with that feeling.
  • How could I rewrite this story I am telling myself?

Once we start to glimpse a different reality, outside of the matrix we have created for ourselves, we start to realize how empowered we truly are to go after what is meaningful to us.

This is HARD and exhausting and uncomfortable work.  And it’s slow.  Decades of patterns of thought take time, loving and compassionate attention, and present moment awareness to start to unwind.  But, man, isn’t it worth it to be able to rewrite your story of what’s possible for you?

If this piques your interest, there are about a zillion resources I could share with you, but here are two that have really helped me on my journey:

The Life Coach School Podcast – search for podcasts on the Self Coaching Model

Loving What Is

As always, if anything I wrote piques your interest, and you want to know more, holler at me.  And if you need some help with reducing pain, improving your performance, or with feeling more at home in your body, you can book with me here

And that’s my quick note for today!  Hope you are having a fabulous day! 

Productivity, Uncategorized

On Liberating Constraints (aka Bossy Calendars)

What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “calendar worship”?  When I first heard it, my ego was like, “Nuh-uh. Nope.  That’s not healthy.  That’s too restrictive.”  But then when I was introduced to the concept of “liberating constraint” in conjunction with “calendar worship,” my perspective shifted.  By putting self-imposed restrictions on our time, it can actually free up more brain space and energy to actually DO the things we want to do.  It can be a boon to focus and flow.  Let me explain.

I’ve been working with a business coach, Kate Reuter, and in response to my frustrations about having too much to do and too little time in which to do it, she encouraged me to start following The Life Coach School – Monday Hour One protocol.  With this protocol, you take your whole To Do list, and you book EVERYTHING on your calendar.  And then you throw away your To Do list.  You don’t need it anymore, because everything you need to do is now on your calendar. 

Easy Peasy, right?

Ha!  Well, it’s not easy.  But it IS eye-opening.

First I pulled together all the random to-do lists I have.  Then I put them in a To Do app (Todoist), and then I integrated that with my Gmail calendar.  That didn’t work so well.

Next, I actually did what Kate told me to do (Funny how one resists taking advice from an expert that one is paying quite a bit of money for.  Human brains are funny). I took my bullet journal (which is where I keep some of my tasks/appointments), my Acuity calendar (which is where I keep my bodywork appointments), and then I pulled up my Gmail calendar (which is where birthdays, some reminders, and some appointments are tracked).  No wonder I consistently feel overwhelmed – so much data in so many places.  Not to mention my Outlook calendar (which is where my appointments/tasks/reminders for my job as a project & resource manager at the bank are kept), but I’m keeping that sequestered for now.

I took all of my non-bank stuff and put it ALL on my Gmail calendar.  I started by putting in my recurring stuff:  Morning coffee & reading & writing, meditation, work-outs, showers, meals, blocks for when I work at the bank, blocks for when I see clients, and blocks for sleeping (8 hours/night). 

O M G

Before this exercise, I experienced so much self-recrimination for not accomplishing more in my week.  Why don’t I actually DO the classes I have paid for?  Why don’t I read more?  Why don’t I write more?  Why has my car been perilously close to empty for a week? 

Because my week is already pretty damn full with Living Life stuff – eating, sleeping, working. 

This was so eye-opening.  Yes, I do have some blocks of open time in my week, but I don’t have enough blocks to do EVERYTHING at the same time.  Which means I have to look at my values, and schedule those open blocks in alignment with my values.  I have to CHOOSE what is most important, and then block out time on the calendar to accomplish that.

For the past 3 weeks I have been spending an hour on Sundays planning out the upcoming week.  I already have all those recurring appointments in my calendar, which takes care of a big chunk of my week. I then take my list of To Dos that have accumulated over the week and book time for them in my calendar, and I reserve time for the following:

  • Relaxation and NOT doing stuff (usually Saturday afternoon and evening and tidbits of time throughout the week)
  • Finishing the Buteyko Breathing Certification class I bought LAST YEAR
  • Connecting with friends and/or family
  • Creating the Bodymind Blindspot Assessment and Program
  • And the misc. appointments and meetings that need to occur that week

What have I learned whilst doing this process:

  • Scheduling “free time” is liberating.  I can NOT do anything and NOT feel guilty.  “I’m just following my schedule, Ego, you can just be quiet now.”
  • I can’t do everything.  I have more realistic expectations for myself now.
  • Putting stuff on the calendar gets it out of your head, reducing “cognitive load.”  What that means is that all that stuff floating around in your head that you know you have to do “some time” takes up working memory and makes you less focused and efficient.
  • It takes discipline to do what you have scheduled to do.  Sometimes I don’t “feel” like it.  And then sometimes I don’t follow my calendar.  But sometimes I do, and then I feel very proud of myself, which is a lovely feeling!!
  • While I love working with a paper calendar, working with an online calendar makes setting up recurring events and adjusting the calendar much easier.
  • I continue to refine my calendar, based on how things went the prior week.  Each week I have a better idea of how much time things should take and what kind of balance of doing vs. being I need in order to stay sane.

If this concepts piques your interest, here are some additional resources:

Flow Research Collective – Calendar Worship and Time Tracking

  • This introduces you to the theory of “liberating constraint” and the logistics of how to start creating a calendar that will help you get into Flow.  Plus the host of the class has a gorgeous accent.  <3.

The Life Coach School – Monday Hour One

  • Brooke Castillo walks you through her approach.  I personally use kind of a hybrid between the FRC and LCS approaches.

From a spiritual, whole-person wellbeing approach, here is time-tracking guidance from “Yoga Therapy as a Creative Response to Pain” by Dr.  Matthew Taylor:

“Abusing your time commitments is participating in violence against self.  This may be in the form of overscheduling to the point that you are never still.  Or it may be by allocating your time in a manner that doesn’t reflect your inner priorities.

Both create strain and turbulence.  We aren’t machines designed to run at maximum capacity.  Try making a list of your values and prioritize them, then compare those priorities with how you actually spend your time.  Keep this list and check it each week as you plan your time.  Schedule just “being” time and honor that as a high priority.  Set the intention, set the schedule for a human (I LOVE THIS), then review.  Every week.”

Let me know if you have any questions about how I am implementing this advice, or if you need some ideas about how to get started without overwhelming yourself.

And now on to some news to share with my clients:

I am likely going to be moving in to MY OWN SPACE within the next month or so!! The new space will enable me to offer additional appointment times, and I’ll be able to offer you more treatment options including restorative yoga, mindful movement coaching, and resources to help with shifting your mindset.  I will also have an electric table, which will make it easier for you to get on and off the table, as well as enable me to lower the table, so I can more effectively treat those hips!  I am finalizing the details, but I wanted to give you a heads up as early as possible.  When I move to the new space, I will send an update in the newsletter and within your reminders from Acuity. 

Due to a variety of factors, I will also need to increase my rates.  Starting 2/1/22 rates for follow-up appointments will increase by $10.  I have options that will help keep your cost per treatment down, so please reach out to me if interested.

As always, if anything I wrote piques your interest, and you want to know more, holler at me.  I want to know what YOU want to know!  And if you need some help with reducing pain, improving your performance, or with feeling more at home in your body, you can book with me here

Whew, I budgeted 90 minutes for this letter, so I better scoot so I can get it loaded and sent out within the remaining 20 minutes.  Hope you have a great Sunday and chat with you next week!