Posts Tagged ‘Focus’

Group Coaching

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Group Coaching

Have you ever heard the expression “There is great strength in numbers”? It’s true!

Here are a few benefits to group coaching:

  • As your coach, I will always help you to hold the focus on the goals which are important to you.
  • You will find support and motivation from others as you connect with others in your group.
  • You will learn, grow and be inspired as you share stories and wisdom with one another.
  • You will benefit from accountability and watch your ‘to-do’ items move to the ‘done’ column.
  • Group celebration! You celebrate your success with the people who truly care about you.
  • You grow and move forward with a professional coach at a very affordable fee.

Weekly, Thursday mornings, 7–9 am
$100 per month, that’s only $25 per coaching session!

The adventure begins Thursday, November 3rd  –  Register Now!

To register visit the website: http://www.sandywalden.com/coaching/business-coaching.php or call Sandy to reserve your spot 414-378-8764

This group is forming now, space will be limited so if you are ready to begin living the life you know you desire, register today.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

ADD, ADHD – Hypnosis can Help

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

When I talk with someone who has ADD or ADHD I am always astounded by the amazing energy, usually accompanied by incredible creativity. Sometimes these people are diagnosed as ADD or ADHD, other times they simply assume that is what they would be diagnosed with if they went to a doctor, perhaps they’ve read books and done the quizzes or have come to this conclusion in one way or another.

It seems that a common theme they share is the fear that medication which will help them to focus and concentrate could also take away or at least dull their creative talent, dull their appetite or even stifle or dull their personality. Let me tell you, that would get my attention too! These people want to retain all of the sparkle and fabulous-ness that makes them who they are, as an admirer, that’s what I want for them as well.

To my way of thinking, it seems completely unreasonable for people to have to choose between having that creative spark and being able to focus well enough on day to day tasks to move through their day with relative ease. They shouldn’t have to choose losing their appetite and enjoyment of delicious food in order to be able to function easily and effectively. In short, I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask people to give up valuable bits of what makes them magnificent in order to allow them to cope with ADD, ADHD or simply a lack of focus and concentration.

Hypnosis to the rescue! Hmmm…maybe that sounds a bit dramatic. Let me explain a bit here. Research shows that hypnosis is a very effective way to treat both ADD and ADHD. When you choose to deal with these issues via hypnosis you can release the fear that you will lose your appetite, or your special sparkle that makes your personality so unique and wonderful. Your hypnotist will work with you to address your specific needs and desires. When you work with a hypnotist it is her job to work with your unique circumstances, this really is a very personal service.

Going into hypnotic trance is something that you do easily and every day. It is a completely natural state. Your hypnotist will ask you questions to ascertain what sort of induction to use to ease you into hypnotic trance. While you are in trance, a state which is often referred to as hypnotic sleep, your subconscious mind is open to suggestions which will support you in making the changes that you desire.  Be assured that despite the message that is often given in television programs or movies, you will not do anything while you are in a hypnotic trance that is against your will or nature. In other words, you are not going to get up in front of strangers and perform Frank Sinatra songs…unless you want to. 😉

While in hypnotic trance you are in control. That bears repeating, you are in control at all times while in hypnosis. You, the hypnotic subject calls the shots, not the hypnotist.

Children and teens are incredibly good hypnotic subjects, and they are often the ones who struggle most with the issues of focus and concentration If your young child or teen is struggling with focus and concentration or has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, you may want to consider hypnosis as a very viable alternative for your loved one.

I’ve found that hypnosis is of course incredibly helpful for adults as well. One client who comes to mind initially sought me out because she found that it was difficult for her to stay on task effectively enough to follow up with clients. This was a problem. The results that she achieved were very good and she supports these results by listening to a hypnosis recording which I created just for her. As a result, her business is growing; her ability to discern what needs immediate attention and what can wait is growing. Her creativity has not been stifled one bit, in fact she has shared that the increased ability to focus and concentrate effectively has enhanced her creativity. She is now able to enjoy the creative outlets which nourish her soul in a way which had previously escaped her.

Is hypnosis for you? I don’t know, but you do. If you or someone you care about struggles with ADD, ADHD or has difficulty maintaining the focus and concentration then hypnosis may be just the ticket. Let’s talk.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

Better Study Habits – Hypnosis

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

How can hypnosis help you?

Recently I’ve had more and more people coming to me because they wanted to improve their concentration and focus. Of course these issues can be addressed with hypnosis! In fact hypnosis is very effective for children, adolescents and adults alike. The only thing that is required is a healthy mind and a willingness to make a change.

Who might benefit from this? Here are a few examples that I’ve worked with most recently.

A woman who wanted to grow her business. This particular woman works from home and tells me that in the past she was easily distracted from her business by all of the distractions that are part of being at home. Kids, husband, meal planning, etc.  As always, before I hypnotized her it was important for me to know what was happening for her and what goals she desired. Then came the hypnosis. This client reports that focus and concentration are coming easier and easier to her.

Another client contacted me for assistance with a professional exam. This exam was critical to her professional growth and she was extremely nervous that come the day of the exam she would freeze, being unable to focus or concentrate.  This nervousness was also causing her focus and concentration to be sporadic and lacking as she prepared for this exam. I spoke with this client after her exam. Her happy update is that she was calm throughout the two day exam, concentration came easily and she feels very positive about the outcome.

An enhanced ability to concentrate and focus can most certainly be achieved through hypnosis.

Be assured, when you are hypnotized you are not sleeping at all. Quite the reverse. Hypnosis is a heightened state of awareness and focus. Your hypnotist will guide or facilitate you into a trance state; however this can only happen if you are open to the experience. Because of this, all hypnosis is in fact self-hypnosis. This relaxed and focused state may not feel much different than the awareness you experience during other relaxed or very focused experiences. Perfect!

Hypnosis works because the hypnotist is speaking to your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is what is operating most of your experience at any time. After all, when was the last time you focused and deliberately reminded your liver to filter impurities from your system? My guess is that you leave that task to your subconscious, and for good reason. Your subconscious has the job well under control.

You have the ability to accept or reject suggestions that are given to you. Your hypnotist simply does not have the ability to make you do anything that is against your will. That only happens in the movies. In short, you are in control at all times.

You decide to make positive changes and to accept the suggestions that your hypnotist offers to you, your subconscious listens and acts on your preferences. This allows you to more easily release fears, phobias and unnecessary pain. It also allows you to shift to your preferred weight, stop smoking and as we discussed above, improve study habits through better concentration and clearer focus. All of these issues, and so many more can successfully be addressed with hypnosis.

It’s all up to you. When you change the way your mind thinks, you change the way your life unfolds. When you are ready to make a positive change, contact me.

Namaste,

Sandy

 

 

 

 

Reduce Stress With Hypnotism

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Are you stressed? Perhaps it would make more sense to ask, do you know anyone who isn’t stressed? Sadly, more and more people experience unhealthy stress.

There are excellent options for dealing with everyday stress.  Exercise immediately comes to mind. Meditation and Reiki of course are other powerful methods to calm the mind and allow the body to relax at the same time. Both are incredibly effective and as you well know, I’m a huge fan.

Reiki has changed my life and I’m incredibly grateful. Likewise regular meditation has made some changes that I did not expect, but which I’m very grateful to now be experiencing. However, there are of course other alternatives.

Almost everyone who comes to me to experience hypnosis brings up stress in their lives.  Work stress, stress from school and of course this time of year many people experience incredible stress from dealing with the holidays. Hypnosis can and does help.

While in the hypnotic trance, you sub-conscious and your hypnotist have a little chat. Your conscious mind may be fully aware of the conversation or it may be relaxing to the extent that it has simply handed things over to the sub-conscious for a while. Be assured, that everything your hypnotist says to you, you will be able to remember if that is what you choose. While experiencing hypnosis, you will not go to sleep. The hypnotic trance is instead a state of heightened focus. So, rather than sleeping you are more aware of what your hypnotist is saying to you than at any time. This intense focus on the hypnotist and the suggestions that you are being given is why hypnosis is so effective.

While experiencing hypnosis your hypnotist will give you suggestions. Rest assured these suggestions will work for you only if they resonate with you. For instance, I am absolutely not interested in becoming a lion-tamer. Nope, not me, not for any reason. In fact, I’m opposed to the entire practice for ethical reasons. Because I am so adamantly opposed, believing that the practice is cruel and unethical, my hypnotist would never be able to successfully give me a suggestion to be a lion-tamer.

However, I am not at all opposed to taking a nice walk with my canine companion, Indy. So, if my hypnotist were to give me a suggestion to take a 30 minute walk with my buddy every day, knowing that that activity is enhancing my physical health and allowing me to release stress at the same time, than by golly, that’s just what I would do.

The suggestions would be more detailed and full than that representation, but it’s important to note how very effective they are. If the person being hypnotized wants the suggestions to be effective. The power, the control is always, always, always with the person being hypnotized, never with the hypnotist.  

So, can you reduce your stress with hypnotism? Yes, you can and I highly recommend doing so if you are not having success managing stress on your own. Hypnotism can help you.

This week, I wish you a stress-free seven days of peace, calm and holiday joy. And if you’re feeling stressed, just give me a jingle and we can talk.

Namaste,

Sandy

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Hypnotism – It’s Not Like in the Movies

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

When I used to think about hypnosis or hypnotism, I had lots of ideas from old movies, many of them fun, most of them a bit scary. It turns out that none of them were accurate. That’s really good news!

The better news is how very useful hypnotism is for anyone who chooses to participate. And I do mean participate. I can’t hypnotize you if you choose not to be hypnotized. You can only imagine what a relief that is to my husband and grown sons. 🙂

Recently a man came into my office to relieve a bit of wound up nerves. In short, he wanted to become more calm and relaxed. His greatest fear was that he while he was under, he would tell me very personal, even embarrassing details about his life. Wasn’t going to happen. I began by assuring him that he would hear everything that I would say to him, and I mean everything. No secrets here.

Second of all, I assured him that because he was so concerned about answering questions with embarrassing details I simply would not ask him to speak at all while he was in the hypnotic trance. This is not always the case. Sometimes while a client is in the hypnotic trance I will ask a question or even several questions. That would have only escalated this gentleman’s fear and ramped up his nerves. So, I assured him that his hypnosis session would only consist of my talking to him, his only job while experiencing hypnosis was to focus on my words. Easy enough. He was also incredibly reassured to find that if I  had asked questions, he would not have answered them if he preferred not to. You do not lose control when you experience hypnosis. You still have choices and you will make the choices that are right for you.

It’s important to me for all of my clients to know what to expect when they experience hypnosis. We chat and I do my best to answer any questions that they can come up with and probably a few that they hadn’t thought of yet as well.

Be assured that you will not spill the beans to me while under hypnosis unless that is truly your preference. You are entirely and completely capable of lying if that’s what you want to do. You are in control. This is not the Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits.

Hypnosis is about allowing you to make the changes you choose to make in your life. Only you have that control, not me. As a recovering control freak, I find it very reassuring that I still retain control, even while under hypnosis. Whew, that’s huge relief!

Please rest assured that if you come to me to change your life, but you really don’t want to change. You will get the result you truly desire. Your brain is a wonderful and powerful tool. Your conscious mind may think one thing, but it’s your sub-conscious that calls most of the shots. That’s why we chat, and chat and chat some more. It’s important for me to understand what you really want to occur in your life. That way while you are under hypnosis or in the hypnotic trance I am able to offer you suggestions that will be effective.

It’s all up to you. You make the decisions. Your first really good decision is to investigate hypnosis. What can hypnotism offer you? Ask questions about a hypnotic sleep or hypnotic trance. Ask and ask and ask, until you are totally comfortable. After all, this isn’t a movie, it’s your life and you are writing the script.

Hypnotism, it’s not at all like I imagined when I watched the movies. Instead I find that hypnotism is much more exciting. Being hypnotized allows me to improve my life and that of my clients. That’s what hypnosis would look like in the movies if I were making the movies.

Namaste,

Sandy

We Live What We Believe

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Somewhere around the age of three or 4, people as a whole are pretty amazing. I am privileged to know a man who recognizes and appreciates just how amazing his 3 or 4 year old son is, day in and day out.

I see this gentleman every week and I’m always impressed with how his eyes literally light up when he speaks about his wife or his 2 children. His daughter is just a baby so she delights him just by cooing and breathing.  His son on the other hand is an entirely different kettle of fish. This man regularly shares the wisdom and the absolute joy that he receives from just playing with his little guy.

Apparently one of their favorite things to do is to play ball. Positioning themselves on their long drive, the little boy would hit the plastic ball, aiming at the tree waaaaaaaay down at the end of the drive. Dad would smile and cheer him on.

Recently all of this changed. A few weeks ago, we experienced some windy days. I don’t mean Dorothy and Toto flying off to Oz sort of windy, but pretty hefty winds just the same.  You guessed it; this man and his little boy were out playing ball. The wind was at the little boys back so when he hit the ball the first time and it whacked the tree at the end of the drive the man wasn’t the least bit surprised. Still he cheered his son, encouraging him to do it again and again. Which of course, the little boy accomplished easily.

Fast forward to their next play time. The man and the boy, outside playing ball, normal weather. Still, the little boy expects to hit the tree at the end of the drive just like he did last time. And he does. Again and again. Naturally the man continues to whoop it up, so excited for his son that he is continuously hitting his goal, the tree.

About a week or so later, it occurred to the man one day. That freaky wind that carried the ball so easily was no longer blowing. Still, his incredible little boy was regularly hitting the tree at the end of the drive. This is even more exciting! The man however is more clever than many might be in the situation, and he doesn’t tell his son that it was the wind that made that amazing hit possible in the first place, he simply keeps encouraging success and celebrating every hit.

No one told the little boy he could only hit the tree with the wind behind his back. So, for him it was simple truth that he could hit the tree. He proved it to himself and simply continued living that truth.

In 1954, Roger Bannister was the first man to prove an old truism wrong. It was believed that the human body could not run a mile in 4 minutes or less. That truism had been proven again and again since we began recording such events. But on that special day, Mr. Bannister broke the old record and made a new truism, of course the 4 minute mile could be run and several other men accomplished the same feat in that year.   

All of this matters because as human beings we are always programming ourselves. We read newspapers and yes, sometimes even books. We listen to television and radio; we speak with family, friends and co-workers. Learning what we can and cannot do.

This is one of the reasons why life coaching and hypnotism are so very powerful. We spend part of each and every session talking about the way you talk to yourself. What words are coming out of your mouth? What ‘truth’ are you telling? After all, we believe what we hear frequently, otherwise TV ads wouldn’t sell us on the belief that one toothpaste is vastly superior to the other brands on the shelf. How many of us have researched our toothpaste? Not me, still I believe that one is better for my little pearlies and so I buy it regularly, even keeping back up tubes available, because I have come to believe what I have heard.

We all do it, it is human nature. This is very cool because it means that we can teach or program ourselves any way that we choose. We’re doing it anyhow, so why not do it with deliberation?

I strongly encourage my life coaching clients to speak kindly to themselves, to be deliberate in framing their words and phrases. Because it matters what they say. Not only do others hear and come to believe what words they utter, but they hear and believe as well. Repetition does that for us.

Same goes when a client is experiencing hypnotism. We share a long, interesting conversation before the actual hypnotizing happens. At least I find it interesting. I want to learn as much about the clients’ true beliefs and desires as possible. Why? Because when they are experiencing a hypnotic trance, I’m going to offer suggestions to change the clients’ life in one manner or another. If these suggestions are accepted by the client, they will become their new truth. If you’ve ever listened to a hypnotist, you will have noticed that these new truths are repeated over and over in ways that the client prefers.

For example, if I were hypnotizing myself (and I do) to release unnecessary concerns about something I would tell myself something along these lines. ‘I release concerns regarding…as I trust that all is working out as it should.’ ‘I feel more calm, more at ease regarding…feeling better and better.’ In no way would I be lying to myself, that would be totally unacceptable, I would simply be introducing a new truth. Easing into feeling better, more calm, releasing concern that is not needed. That would form my new belief and I get to relax because after all, we do live what we believe.

One of my favorite people in the world frequently tells me that I frustrate her. She tells me that everything always works out for me and that my life is just silly easy, especially compared to hers. It makes me smile, which pushes her buttons, makes me smile more…you can see where this is going I’m sure. I’ve always shared my belief that life works out well if you expect it to do so. Just that simple. And it turns out that so far my life has worked out beautifully, and I expect that it will continue that way.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t had bruises and bumps, just like she has. The difference is that she believes the bruises and bumps will be hard, painful and difficult. Guess what? She finds the normal ups and downs of life to frequently be hard, painful and difficult.  I too have experienced pain and would not be surprised if life tosses a bit more my way from time to time. The man difference is that I absolutely, firmly believe that the pain will be lessened as time goes on and that I will learn from it, coming out a stronger and for me this is the key, a happier person. That’s my belief and for my life up to this point, it’s always worked out just that way.

What do you believe about your life? How can you change up your belief just a little bit to make today better? Are you willing to see yourself hitting the tree at the end of your drive? I bet you can.

 I encourage you to believe that you deserve success in whatever way you define success. This week I encourage you to believe that you deserve to be happy. This week I ask you to know that you live what you believe. Because my friend, you do.

Namaste,

Sandy

Meditation Musings – Changes

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

We Sit.
We Sit because it is what we do.
We Sit without thought of goal or gain.
We Sit.

This is the beginning of my morning meditation and has been for longer than I can remember.

This is the Way I was taught, many years ago. Meditation is something I do because I am a meditator. It requires no other justification. I am a meditator for reasons even I don’t understand. I know only that it is a part of me. It is what I do.

However, while this attitude is wonderful and embraces meditation as a pure practice, the fact of the matter is that my Way is not the only Way and many people would like to have a reason, a goal if you will, for doing something on a daily basis. Even if the reason for Sitting is simply to enrich the spiritual aspect of one’s life, many people feel that if they invest several hours a week in a practice they should get something more out of it.

And, yes, even as I speak the words, I understand that if I have no other purpose my meditation completes me and that is a goal and/or gain.

So, let us move from the ideal to the practical.

True meditation, on a regular basis, often brings insight, patience, and balance to one’s life. Just sitting quietly in the Now can cause one to see and feel things in ways that most non-introspective people don’t understand.

When we have made that connection between our conscious and sub-conscious mind by using meditation there are many places we can go and things we can do with this connection.

After the phrases mentioned above my meditation turns to my affirmations, those things I wish to emphasize in my daily life. Experience has taught me that affirmations should typically be short and positive in their wording:

“I live a life of kindness and compassion.”
“I recognize and accept that all creatures wish to experience happiness and avoid suffering.”
“I enjoy making healthy choices.”

Affirmations of this nature can remind you of what you want your life to look like and when you start or end your day with these positive statements they often stay with you as you move out of the zendo and into your world.

When someone cuts you off in traffic, instead of reacting with anger and outrage, your remembrance of the fact that you live a life of kindness and compassion is an antidote for the negative emotions you might otherwise feel.

When faced with the unexplained actions of someone close to you, remembering that all creatures wish to experience happiness and avoid suffering might help you in your search for the true context of the actions that puzzle you.

If, when ordering food in a restaurant, you are reminded that you enjoy making healthy choices, it becomes easy to order a salad rather than a burger. It’s been my experience that if I’m going to argue with myself about such a choice I might just as well make a good choice, and even if I choose the burger I’m doing it mindfully and the next time I will most likely make a good choice simply because I’m aware of what I’m doing and know that making healthy choices is better for me.

And so, after a while, the affirmations become a part of you.

You don’t have to try to live a life of kindness and compassion, it just happens. And when you engage in thoughts or activities that don’t reflect this pattern you recognize it and realize that you are acting in a manner that is not normal for you. This often leads one to contemplate, perhaps in the next meditation session, why you reacted in such a manner and, when coupled with the gentle persistence we use in meditation, could allow you to identify a larger issue or situation that might need to be dealt with.

There are many sources for meditations that use a variety of affirmations. The easiest is your own mind. Decide what your affirmations will be and recite them to yourself on a daily basis during your meditation. If your desired affirmations are common you might be able to find a generic meditation recording that will allow you to absorb them as you listen. If your affirmations are unique to you or your situation you might wish to find someone who can make a recording that is tailored to your specific needs.

When I craft a custom meditation for a client I always start with an interview, either in person, by phone, or via email. Questions are asked in order to understand what the client wishes to accomplish with their meditation. I am also searching for phrases, attitudes or experiences that will help me craft the message in a way that makes the most positive connection possible. I explore when and how the client meditates, including what they are usually doing both before and after Sitting.

Once this interview is completed I create a recording that is specific to the information gathered. A custom meditation typically has three components: the affirmations, background sounds, and brain entrainment beats.

Affirmations have been discussed and often the client provides some or all of the affirmations, they need only be tweaked to place them in a short, positive manner. While affirmations can be made sub-audible, or subliminal, recordings provided by my label, Indigo Sangha, usually have audible vocals

Background sounds, usually nature or environmental sounds, are crafted to help the listener relax and connect with themselves in a comfortable manner.

Brain entrainment beats are designed to help the meditator move into a receptive frame of mind, usually leading them to a mental state that helps make the connection between the conscious and sub-conscious mind. If one meditates in the morning, after hearing the affirmations, the mind might then be led to an active, engaged state. If meditation is done at night, before bedtime, the mind might be led, instead, to a sleep or pre-sleep state. Entrainment beats can be audible or sub-audible and their construction is determined by information gathered in the initial interview.

It should be noted that this process only suggests to the brain that it go into these states. It is still necessary that one be receptive to the entrainment and a proper time and place should be provided. Entrainment beat recordings should never be listened to while driving a car or operating machinery.

Whether one uses generic or custom meditation recordings the technology should always be seen as an aid to our Way and not a substitute for proper practice or contemplation. Even with the use of this remarkable technology one should still remember that the process of being mindfully in the Now is what separates meditation from all other activities.

Namaste,
Jim

Meditation Musing – When is Meditation?

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

The physical benefits we derive from meditating are very impressive but few of us can spend a significant amount of time at this practice and not have it touch our spiritual nature. Stilling our minds, feeling our heart beat and listening to our breathing directly connects us with that most wonderful and complex creation, the human creature that is us. Moving through our lives with a meditative attitude, developing the equanimity that allows us to observe without becoming attached to, or repelled by, our experiences, allows us to marvel at the complexity and depth of the world around us. For many of us the experience can be a connection to whatever we perceive as the Highest Power of our universe.

It is easiest to envision meditation as someone sitting with their legs crossed on a cushion with their hands arranged mystically saying special words. In actuality meditation is a state of mind and not a location or activity. When one understands that all meditation starts with being mindfully in the Now, then the obvious corollary is that any activity that involves being in the Now can be meditation.

The parishoner who kneels at the altar and prays the Rosary is meditating if they are mindfully considering their prayers and actions as they do so.

My friend the gardener, who finds her connection, peace, and tranquility in the soil is meditating when she kneels down, focuses her mind and begins to commune with nature as she plants, weeds, cultivates and encourages her flowers to grow.

The runner who submerges herself in the pace, rhythm, and breathing of her exertions, if she is being mindfully in the Now, is meditating.

The cook, who mindfully prepares food for his household is meditating if he is in the Now and paying attention to the moment as he handles his ingredients, considers the tastes and flavors he is combining and creates something more than nutrition by putting a significant portion of himself into his preparations.

By extension one could argue that the line worker in the factory would be meditating if he is in the Now and being mindful when he attaches the widget to the gizmo as it comes down the production line.

Watching a sunset with the right attitude is definitely meditation.

One of the most traditional Ways makes extensive use of walking meditation. The technique consists of being mindfully aware of yourself and your environment as you perform that most basic of activities, walking.

So, if meditating brings us closer to our Highest Power then it makes sense that carrying our meditative attitude outside the zendo helps us connect our daily world with that Highest Power.

On a recent beautiful fall day here in Wisconsin I chose to remove myself from the urban area I live in and spend the day in a not too distant forest. After a few hours of walking through the brilliantly colored trees and fields that are autumn here I felt drawn to sit for a few moments and experience the Now. As I listened to the sounds, smelled the aromas and felt the wind and sun on my face I composed myself, took three slow deep breaths and opened my eyes to look at the forest.

I felt a surge of energy and was filled with a wonderful sense of peace and serenity. I remember thinking to myself “This is my connection to my God and my Universe”. I was Meditating.

Namaste
Jim

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Crossing Guard, Life Coach

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

The other day I was on my way to work, a short jaunt from Milwaukee to New Berlin. For some reason I took a slightly different route than was typical for me.  I’m so glad that I did.

As I approached the middle school I noticed that the crossing guard that is usually there was in fact not there today. Instead there was a man I had never seen before. I swear this man simply exuded happiness and joy. It was in his entire being, his simple presence almost shouted in a most cheerful way ‘Happy, Joy, Fun’. Interesting. He wasn’t doing anything all that different than what many crossing guards do; it was the look on his face I think that made the difference.

This gentleman was using both arms to wave to folks driving by. Not in a frenzied, lunatic way that you might imagine as I say he was waving with both arms. Nope, he was simply sending a smile and a greeting to everyone. This man was offering his love to each and every person who happened to be lucky enough to pass him by.

As a life coach I encourage each person I work with to think thoughts that make them happy, to offer a smile even when they don’t quite feel like it. I ask my life coaching clients to make a deliberate effort to offer peace to the world through their body language, their words and their energy. This man had all of this down pat and it made my day better to simply see him.

Such a simple wonderful gift. You and I can offer this gift to others as we go through our day as well. It makes a powerful difference to the way I feel if I muster a small smile when I’m feeling glum. I feel just a tad bit better. Hmmm, that’s worth taking a step further. It turns out that offering a smile and a kind word feels even better to me and when I receive a kind word and smile from someone else I remember it for hours and hours. These are such simple, small steps. Practically no effort at all! But it feels so very good.

When I offer a smile and a kind word, I feel better and so does the person I shared with. The life coach in me says that it’s very important to keep this lovely energy going, keep spreading it around. I like to encourage my life coaching clients and even many of my Reiki clients to do a bit of homework. I ask them to make it a point to catch themselves when they want to offer a word that is less than kind, when they begin to think a negative thought or get irritated at something that is happening in their world. At that moment, I ask them to make a deliberate offering of peace and love to the situation or people involved. If they can’t quite muster love, I ask them to offer peace and calm. This homework is to continue for a full week.

When we chat about this deliberate offering of peace,  I hear how the clients became more and more aware of their thoughts. As the week went on they more easily noticed their tone of voice, how they held their body and they became very aware of the words they were speaking. This awareness led them to making deliberate choices. They began to ask themselves if offering the words they were going to say would help or hinder the situation and then spoke accordingly. My coaching clients tell me that they find themselves less stressed, feeling better and being more patient with others. Nice, very nice.

All of this is what this wonderful crossing guard does for me each time I see him. He puts me in mind of the cheerful flowers that bloom in my yard. I now find myself deliberately taking that route so that I have the opportunity to share a cheerful smile and a wave in the morning. It feels pretty darned good. This wonderful man is acting as a life coach and I very much appreciate the continuing lesson. Thank you sir.

Namaste,                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Sandy

Meditation Musing – Breathing

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Many Ways of meditation understand and stress the importance of proper breathing. In the Way of Yoga this process is called Pranayama and can be very complex. For most of the rest of us disciplined breathing can and should be an integral part of our practice for many reasons and these reasons bear discussion.

When talking about the disciplined breathing of meditation we are referring to slow, deep, abdominal breathing that uses the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. This is the breathing of relaxation and for many reasons it is difficult, if not impossible, to be tense while breathing in this manner.

Breathing is normally an automatic process and for most of us it fulfills the function of oxygenating our blood and organs. It is believed by many that controlled breathing bridges the gap between our voluntary and involuntary body systems allowing a stronger connection between our conscious and subconscious minds. Abdominal breathing uses our lungs in a more efficient manner and the resulting muscle movement helps massage and oxygenate our organs more than chest breathing alone. Slow, deep rhythmic breathing triggers our parasympathetic nervous system and automatically stimulates our relaxation response which lowers our heart rate and causes muscle relaxation. All of these physiological changes lead to a feeling of less tension, which most of us find to be beneficial.

Many who practice martial arts as their Way believe that breathing is the key to the focus of their minds, and hence the chi or ki which is essential to their Way. Meditators also use their breathing as a focus and, when coupled with that gentle, persistent return to the Now, breathing can be the anchor that helps extend our mindfulness and helps lead the way to that place we go when we Sit.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of our meditative breathing is that of focused awareness. By focusing on and becoming aware of our breathing we are taking the first step towards listening to ourselves and our world in real time. This is called being in the Now and is the place from which all meditation must start. Many would argue that this focus and the process of being in the Now is what separates meditation from sitting quietly and thinking. Both beneficial practices but not the same thing.

When we use breathing as a part of our meditation practice the transfer from the zendo to our daily lives becomes very valuable. With the automatic coupling of focused breathing and the calm, physical and mental state associated with meditation we can defuse our own tenseness, anxiety or fear simply by taking a few deep abdominal breaths, as we do when we start to Sit. When faced with a physically demanding situation both the meditator and the martial artist can take their deep abdominal breath and focus their energy. Children are often delighted to learn that the relaxation of their minds and bodies by the application of focused breathing can provide them with control of their minds and bodies in a time and place where they have very little control over anything else.

Namaste,
Jim