Archive for August, 2010

Life Coaching and Accountability

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Once again I have to say how incredibly grateful I am to my clients, they’re simply the best.

Temporary State Fair tattoo to show off my improving biceps.

A few months ago I realized that each and every one of my holistic life coaching clients was an athlete to one degree or another. Hmmm, the odds of that seemed a bit extreme but there you have it. At the same time I had been becoming more and more aware that I was not nearly as physically fit as I had been in the past. This my friends is called a clue!

One day I received an email from a friend of mine telling me about a great deal on a physical fitness boot camp being offered. Uh oh, another hint from the Universe. I decided that maybe I ought to pay attention so I signed up for the boot camp.

The truth is that I really do not like to exercise in a gym.  I walk a lot with my good boxer buddy Indy but I was not looking forward to this boot camp. Oh, did I mention that the starting time for boot camp is 5:30 am and that it is 30 miles away from my home. This means getting up at 4 am to go and do something that I have told myself for the longest time that I truly dislike.

Maybe this needed a bit more thought; after all I had only invested $40. so backing out wouldn’t crush me financially. However, I knew I would be deeply disappointed in myself if I did back out. So, once again thinking about the fact that all of my life coaching clients were athletes, I decided to share my trepidation with them. That’s just what I did. I contacted each and every one of those amazingly fit coaching clients and told them that they were part of the inspiration that drove me to this desperate act. I also asked each life coaching client if they would care to turn the tables, would they hold me accountable for my intentions as I held them accountable for the plans they made during their coaching sessions.

The response didn’t surprise me at all, but it did thoroughly warm my heart. Each and every one of my amazing coaching clients enthusiastically agreed to hold me feet to the fire. Okay, they were kinder than that, but I needed to know that I was going to be asked about this process and how I was handling it.

This accountability has been incredibly important to me. One particular morning I awoke earlier than normal, around 3 am. Polished off a pot of coffee, did a bit of work and got very comfy in my chair. It was rainy outside and generally yucky. It most definitely felt like a good morning to spend curled up in my chair, drink more coffee and read a book until it was time for my first client meeting. And then I thought about those holistic life coaching clients of mine, I knew they would ask about boot camp. I knew I would not be judged for deciding to stay at home, but I also know that I would be supported and cheered if I actually tied up my sneakers and did the work. Needless to say, that accountability did its job. I have great attendance and know I’ll finish the program. In fact, I’ve signed up for another boot camp when this one is completed. My clients are already helping me to set new goals.

That’s very much how the¬¨‚Ć holistic life coaching process works when clients come to me. Thoughts are expanded upon, fears are examined and aspirations are encouraged. Accountability is very important. I always encourage my clients to take steps that they plan and ask them about their results. There is no brow beating if they have not completed their intended course, instead we take a look at the decision making process and the client determines if it’s time for another attempt or if an alternate route is preferred. Knowing that I am going to ask, prompts many a coaching client to take a step outside of their comfort zone. That is how progress is made.

Thanking my Higher Power for the clues and my clients for holding me accountable, I will keep at this process to regain strength and flexibility. For the record, the Divine clearly has a sense of humor. In the time since I made the commitment to this boot camp, not one of my new holistic life coaching clients is an athlete. I guess the message has been received and it’s okay to move on. Makes me smile.

I encourage you to share your intentions, goals and aspirations with someone you trust. If you give them permission to support and encourage you, you will likely find progress much easier. Accountability is a wonderful thing.

Namaste,
Sandy

Relax and Recharge Retreat

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

It’s all about you!

Join us for a weekend dedicated to giving you time to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with your soul.

Your hosts Sandy Walden, Holistic Life Coach and Reiki Master, Teacher along with Melissa Heisler Personal and Business Coach are dedicated to providing you with group activities as well as one on one time.

This retreat is intended to encourage you to put yourself first as you rest, relax and rejuvenate. You may participate in meditation or yoga, create your personal vision board, enjoy a stress-relieving Reiki session, and release old patterns with PSYCH-K, journal, read, take walks or simply nap. All while sharing the company of other strong, nurturing women.

While there are many activities offered there is no fixed schedule as flexibility and serving your needs is top priority. No rules, simply opportunities.

Healthy meals and snacks will be provided.

Gathering time – Friday, October 15 @ 12 noon
Departure time – Sunday, October 17 @ 3pm

Location – Galena, IL
Cost – $300.00

For more information regarding the retreat, please contact Sandy at (414) 378.8764 or Serenity@SandyWalden.com.

Meditation Musings – Mindfulness

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Mindfulness has been defined by the psychologist and meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmental.  Mindfulness is also a meditation technique in which one allows thoughts, images, feelings, and body sensations to pass through the mind without reacting to or becoming involved with, those things.

If, while meditating, one notices an itch on the end of the nose or in the middle of the back the meditator recognizes the sensation and allows it to pass. Simply, ‚I have an itch‚  No attachment, no internal discussion, just ‚ I have an itch. Most of the time, after acknowledgment, the itch fades away and your mind has already moved on. We use the gentle, persistent returning to the Now to dismiss these sensations from our mind.

If you are a regular meditator and particular thoughts or sensations keep arising during your sitting you will take note of them, return to the moment and ponder them at a later time. Quite often simply becoming aware of the recurring thoughts or images can provide a very clear picture of what’s causing us to lose our center and/or grounding.

Please note the particulars of the definition cited above: on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment.

We practice mindfulness on purpose. We decide it is a useful aspect of meditation, we become sensitive to it and it becomes part of our life. When we practice mindfulness in the zendo and with our sangha it’s very hard not to take it out into our daily lives.

We practice mindfulness in the present moment, in the Now. The Now is the place most meditation starts but when moved into our daily world mindfulness in the Now provides us with the real context of the events and emotions we experience, not the context we impose upon them.

We practice mindfulness without judgment. We accept what is, simply because it is. As the author R.A. Heinlein once wrote, ‚the observed phenomena requires no explanation, it simply exists‚. Observing without judgment keeps us from jumping to conclusions. How many times have we made hasty assumptions about a situation or person and later discovered that if we had just kept ourselves open and nonjudgmental we would been saved a great deal of embarrassment? This same concept dispels the ‚why me?‚ and it’s not fair‚ kind of thinking. Whatever it is, it just is.

Mindfulness can be used to help us relieve stress and anxiety simply by allowing it to pull us back into the Now. Stopping the whirling thoughts helps us move to a more stable mental place. When our technological world starts to overwhelm us a return to the Now of nature can reset our physical and mental clocks from the frantic pace of today’s techno-environment to the unique tempo nature imposes upon herself. We must never forget that it’s also our natural tempo and anything else is artificial.

Personally, I think I’ll go outside and mindfully feel the breeze on my face, smell the flowers in the garden and enjoy the Now.

Namaste
Jim

Reiki Healing Circles in New Berlin, WI

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Recently we all have spent quite a lot of time hearing about and watching events unfold regarding the oil spill in the gulf.¬¨‚Ć It’s always gets our attention when something of that sort happens. While it was gut wrenching to watch the news about it every day, I believe these things always happen for a reason.

About this time I started to hear people ask for Reiki to be sent to heal the planet, others asked to pray for animals, still others offered this intention during meditation.  It quickly became clear to me that the reason I was hearing this again and again within a very short time frame was so that I would be prompted to do my part.

What does that look like? Well, I’m very excited to share with you that I have begun Reiki Healing Circles at Serenity, located in New Berlin, WI. Twice a month from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. On the second Monday of the month, this gathering is held for the intention of healing the planet and all non-human life. Of course this includes our oceans, mountains, trees, birds, animals, etc.

On the fourth Monday of the month we meet at the same time for the intention of healing all human life.  Those who gather are welcome to offer specific intentions for those they love, whether or not those loved ones are in attendance.

These gatherings are called Reiki Healing Circles, because I am a Reiki Master, Teacher and during these gatherings I offer Reiki as do some of the other participants. However, I would like to welcome anyone of good intentions to join us, offering Reiki, prayer, loving thoughts, whatever feels right to them. While I am happy to welcome anyone who is able to join us in person, please know that you are welcome to participate from where ever you are. Your loving intentions are all that is necessary.

I encourage you to spread the word, begin your own Reiki Healing Circles, prayer groups or spend time in gathering to simply share your intentions in any way that feels right to you. Together I absolutely believe we will make a difference to the health of the amazing planet we live on and those we are honored to live alongside.

Namaste,
Sandy

Serenity Life Coach
13825 W National Av Suite 100
New Berlin, WI 53151
www.SandyWalden.com
(414) 378-8764

Meditation Musings – Equanimity

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

A natural process in meditation for many people is the development of equanimity- the ability to ‚Äö√Ñ√∫let go‚Äö√Ñ√π. Equanimity allows us to detach ourselves from thoughts and images that attempt to distract us from the Now. As we sit and meditate our minds may become distracted by things like ‚Äö√Ñ√∫What will I have for lunch?‚Äö√Ñ√π or ‚Äö√Ñ√∫I should be doing……‚Äö√Ñ√π or ‚Äö√Ñ√∫Why did I ‚Äö√Ѭ∂..‚Äö√Ñ√π Equanimity allows us to gently and persistently bring ourselves back to the moment. No guilt, no sense of failure, no idea of ‚Äö√Ñ√∫I must try harder‚Äö√Ñ√π. Just a gentle and persistent return to the Now.

When this feeling carries over into the rest of our world we begin applying equanimity to our daily life. We typically lose much of the ‚Äö√Ñ√∫why me?‚Äö√Ñ√π and ‚Äö√Ñ√∫it isn’t fair‚Äö√Ñ√π kind of thinking. We might spend more time in the Now, truly interacting with the people around us and seeing our environment in a mindful and sensitive way.

Equanimity and the return to the Now can help when our minds start to work in circles, become unduly anxious about something in the future or past, or obsess on a given thought or phrase. It also allows us to release negative thoughts and emotions about our daily aggravations and irritations. That petty squabble with a spouse or coworker never gets a chance to be over-thought or blown out of proportion if our equanimity allows us to release the conflict and return to a more centered and grounded mental state. The same process allows many people to release the persistent thoughts that keep them awake at night, as their minds refuse to let go of their waking activities.

Other people sometimes misinterpret our equanimity as a ‚Äö√Ñ√∫don’t care‚Äö√Ñ√π attitude. Actually, we wouldn’t have to apply our ability to release things if we didn’t care. A better interpretation would be ‚Äö√Ñ√∫I care but it wouldn’t be productive for me to hang on to this thought, feeling, image, or emotion‚Äö√Ñ√π.

For me, equanimity is the source of that small smile I often wear. It’s not amusement at the foibles and foolishness of the people around me, it’s the result of recognizing my own silliness at becoming entangled in the snares my mind creates out of unnecessary attachments to things that won’t do me any good. I release them and smile at the human nature that causes even those of us who know better to be caught up in such futile exercises.

Meditation has many benefits for the practitioner and the development of equanimity is only one of them. The ability to release nonproductive or unnecessary attachments in our mind helps bring out that sense of peace and serenity that should be a mainstay of our daily lives.

Namaste,
Jim