Posts filed under Spirituality

3 Ways to Fall More in Love with Yourself on this Valentine's Day

So whatever your relationship status, I invite you to use this Valentine’s Day to prioritize the most important relationship of all, your relationship with yourself! After all, even if you are in a relationship or not yet in a relationship and looking for one, you will still always have your relationship to yourself that will serve the basis of how you connect to and relate with others. Make today a day to practice self-love.

So how do you do this? Here are 3 practical ideas on how you can show yourself love today:

Returning to Wholeness  – What your Out-of-Control Eating May Signal It’s Time to Heal

 Often times, the traits we accept and don’t accept are related to what our primary caregivers and society told us was acceptable and unacceptable. In fact, this is often what I see in my client work and with my own journey – that often times the difficulties we have in moving forward reflect some unhealed parts of us that are calling for our attention.

Perfectionism: Striving for excellence or an excuse to play small?

I remember being in a job interview when the interviewer asked me:

“What is your greatest weakness?”

I’d smile back, so pleased to answer the question I know how to answer so well:

“I’m a perfectionist….I set high standards for myself and others. I achieve a lot but then can often get frustrated if things aren’t going as planned.”

Well, the part I’d withhold is the depth of the frustration - how this inner perfectionist never ever is truly satisfied.  How even if I achieve one thing, the goal line keeps moving further and further. How sometimes this inner  perfectionist makes me take on more than I can chew or say that I don’t want to complete something or deliver because I’m/it’s “not ready yet.”  

While perfectionism can be great to help us to strive and achieve more, on the shadow side, perfectionism can be maddening.  It can cause us to hold impossible expectations for ourselves that are more about keeping us safe and protected vs. driving us to grow.  In this way, perfectionism in fact is an insidious coping mechanism that can stop us from realizing our goals and full potential.

If you relate to this at all, make this your new mantra:

“I give myself credit for my progress no matter how big or small. It’s my consistency and commitment that matters most in the long-run.”

You don’t have to be PERFECT to manifest your goals, you just have to make small incremental changes and stay committed to the process.  After all, gym-goers know that it’s showing up regularly and doing their workouts that give them the results they want - not doing each workout at 100% effort perfectly!

So what’s the first step to taming the voice of the perfectionist? Begin to recognize it when it shows up.  Perhaps you resonate with any of the following:

  • All or nothing thinking – You’re either going to stay committed to your plan and diet or NOT at all.

  • Eating ‘cuz you ate – You did well all day but then one slip up leads you to continue eating because you already messed up

  • Not starting something because your plan isn’t “perfect”

  • Not going after what you want (a career, relationship, goal, etc.) or delivering because you aren’t “ready yet”

  • Beating yourself up when you’ve slipped

It’s in these ways that “perfectionism” keeps us safe – because we don’t have to try and face the disappointments if we never get far enough to experience them.  But if you’ve read any of Brene Brown’s work, you would know that vulnerability and joy are on two sides of the same coin. You don’t have great growth, bravery, and joy without the risk of being vulnerable.

So what can you do to tame this inner perfectionist?

Recognize it’s only a part of you, not who you are

The English language sometimes does not do us great justice when we say something like, “I AM a perfectionist,” “I am lazy,”  or “I am disappointed.” Even if language set us to identify with a label or emotion, remember that you are NOT that label, it’s just an aspect of what you’re experience.  You are NOT perfectionism, it’s just an aspect of who you are. If you become aware of the voice when it comes up, you’ll be better equipped to deal with it and let it go if it’s not serving you.

Remember, you are in the driver’s seat.  Even if the inner perfectionist yells and screams from the back, it’s not the one driving the car!

Instead of “all or nothing. “  Be able to say “Good enough”

Often times people ultimately fail to change their habits because they set goals that are too overwhelming and unrealistic.  If cutting out all sugar for the week hasn’t worked in the past, why not start with replacing your after-lunch desserts with fruits?

If you like setting big goals, then go ahead and set a “CRAZY” goal.  I would also recommend setting a “lazy goal,” which is the minimum goal to get you moving forward regardless.  For example, let’s say you don’t exercise at all. If the “crazy goal” is to run every morning at 5 am, the “lazy goal” could be to do this at least 1x this week (After all, 1x per week is still > 0x per week).

Yes, you high achievers.  Consider this your permission slip to stop striving for A+’s all the time.  Do your best, even if that’s a C this week, then a B+ the next. But no matter what, stay committed to your goals.

Get back on track right away

On the shadow side of perfectionism is the act of  beating ourselves up when things are not going as planned.  I don’t know about you but I personally have never seen where using guilt and/or beating yourself up has yielded the long-term success or sustainable change.  If you slip up with your eating, acknowledge your mistake, learn from it, then use that energy to get back on track right away.

Ask yourself - “What is the most loving thing I can do for myself right now?”

Try asking yourself this question every day for a  year and see what it does for you. It can be incredibly healing.  You may be surprised how the response to this question can change moment to moment.

Embrace your Perfectionism.  Let go of the need to be “perfect” in taming it.

This tip is a funny one but I’ve seen myself and my clients feel ashamed and guilty when we recognize the voice of perfectionism and it’s hold on us.  It’s alright! Acknowledge it as a part of yourself (not your whole self) and say “Oh well! I’m not perfect at letting go out my perfectionism” and that’s okay.  Another good way to do this is to recognize that the perfectionist can be really helpful at times to get things done well. Perhaps it’s time to befriend it and use it as an ally.


So let me ask you….Where do you see the perfectionist show up in your life?  What is this listening to it costing you? What would life be life be like if you tamed that perfectionist and kept moving forward?

By the way, in case you didn’t know it already, you are perfect as you are.  You absolutely deserve to create the life you’ve always dreamed of. Don’t let the inner voice keep you down and small from realizing your full potential.

Stay well, eat well, and savor all that life has to offer

because Life is simply too short not to.

-Keia


Why I’m Thankful for my Cravings

It’s 5 pm Costa Rica time, and I have finally arrived back from work.  Right on queue, I sense a craving for sweets, specifically chocolate.  “Come on, one piece won’t hurt. …” the voice of craving says.  “It’s been a long day at work – I DESERVE a treat.”  In fact, I’ve noticed that the voice has been saying this same message all week.

I'll admit I’m not perfect – even as a coach, sometimes I give into my cravings while other times I walk away (which feels great when I do!).  When my emotional eating was at it’s worst, I found myself at the mercy of my cravings – unable to say no.  What I recognize now is that when I’m not physically hungry, cravings for food often represent another need – perhaps something that my body, mind, or soul is hungry for at the time.

I have learned to be thankful for my cravings.  They are clear messengers that something is off-balance in my body or in my life.

Perhaps it is a physical craving – such as the body’s call for water when it is thirsty or for a certain food if I’m lacking the vitamins/minerals.  Or perhaps, the craving is emotional and spiritual. “If I’m not physically hungry right now, what is it that I really am needing?”  For me,  the 5 pm call-for-chocolate represented a way to relax and turn off my mind.  I wanted a sure-fire way to feel good after a stressful day at work.  Frankly, if it weren’t for the side-effects of weight gain and bloating emotional eating caused, I would be all for using chocolate as a primary means of stress relief!

In that sense, it’s important to recognize what positive purpose food is really serving for us - after all, we as humans always act from a positive intention no matter how self-sabotaging the action may seem.  Would eating give us an energy boost, a way to zone out, or perhaps a sense of reward after a long day?  Once we recognize the need being met, we can then find a non-edible substitute to replace the act of eating.   After all, if food is the only thing we know to look forward to after a long day, no wonder it’s so hard to say no when the craving strikes!

So what might you make your non-edible replacements?  Here are some questions to ponder:

1.     What positive purpose is food serving in the moment?  [energy boost, reward, sense of adventure/fun after a long day, way to zone out, etc. are just a few common ones]

2.     What are the consequences of continuing to use food in this way?

3.     How else might I fulfill the positive purpose without turning to food?

So this week, I invite you to watch your cravings when they do arise and be grateful when they do.  You’ll often find they follow a predictable pattern each week and carry some valuable messages to bring your body and your life back to center.

7 Spiritual Lessons I Learned from Pole Dancing

 

Those who know me personally know that I am practically obsessed with pole dancing.  For me, pole dancing is the perfect blend of flexibility, strength, and grace.  When I dance, I am celebrating my body through movement.

Besides being a fantastic physical workout, I have learned many spiritual lessons from pole dancing that I have applied to other parts of my life.

 

Lesson 1.       Find your comfort zone and then stretch it.

In pole, we have the concept of “safety moves.”  For example, you shouldn’t advance to tricks at the top up the pole until you’ve mastered the pole sit - a reliable way to rest when you’re up in the air.

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with our comfort zone – after all, “You HAVE to get yourself out there.”

While it is true that “getting yourself out there” is key to your personal development, it can also be important to embrace and honor your comfort zone.  After you stretched yourself, you can have peace of mind that you can return to safety.

What does a “safety” zone look like in other parts of life?  It's about taking calculated risks and being smart about how to advance to the next level.  Perhaps it’s having a nest egg big enough before you decide to quit your job and start working for yourself.  For weight loss, perhaps it’s setting a minimum goal, so easy that you know you will meet it and it won’t trigger your brain’s deprivation mode (e.g. limit sweets to 1x a day instead of giving them up cold turkey).  If you’re uncomfortable with working out at the gym, perhaps you could find some at-home work outs until you build up your confidence.

The truth is once you’ve mastered the next level, it will become your new “comfort zone.”  For example, once regular exercise becomes a habit, if you skip a day, you may even find yourself feeling restless and uncomfortable!

 

 Lesson 2.       Love your body as it is today.

On some days, I feel incredibly strong and want to do inversions all day long.  On other days, I just want to lie in the Savasana pose (corpse pose).  Your body is changing everyday.  Show it love with what it needs today.

What I love about the pole is that it encourages you to love your body no matter what shape or size you are.  After all, no amount of hating yourself will get your butt up that pole - so you better work!  Don’t put off that dream just because your body isn’t where you want it be now.  Pretty soon, you gain strength and you’ll be amazed at what you can do.  (There is also often a mysterious thing that happens when you fill your life with what energizes you and brings you joy.  A lot of people find that they start to lose weight naturally).

 

Lesson 3.       Rest and self-care are just as important as exercise.

This has been a BIG lesson for me in 2016 when overworking and over-exercising led to my emotional burnout and injury.  For you type-A overachievers, who believe that they always need to be DOING something, listen up.  Part of truly loving your body and yourself is to LISTEN.  It’s equally important to schedule rest from exercise.  It’s also equally important to schedule some fun and relaxation from work to avoid burnout.

 

Lesson 4.       Find a great community.

The pole community is such an amazing group of women.  Besides being physically strong, these women are incredibly intelligent and diverse.  It’s part of the reason I come back to class every week.  I am fortunate to call Pole Fitness Seattle my pole family back home.

As humans we are social creatures – part of what makes us both fulfilled and productive is having a group of like-minded individuals.  So whatever your goal is, find a community to support you.  Get a coach, a mentor, join a weight loss group.  You may find that you’ll go further together than you ever did alone.

pole dance.jpg

 

Lesson 5.       Do what you love and forget those who judge and criticize.

Even though pole is becoming more popular, it still has a stigma.  We cannot deny much of its influence and origins from the strip clubs.  It was not until recently that I started to embrace the sexy side of pole.   “I do pole but the acrobatic type,” I would say to those who asked.  After speaking to other polers, I recognized I too was placing judgment on other women when speaking in this way.  I believe that we as individuals are free to express our creativity and femininity in any way they choose.  I now embrace pole for all its influences – Chinese pole, Indian pole, and Strip Club pole.  Without these influences, pole dancing would not be sport and art form it is today.

Polers still have to deal with the judgment and criticism from others, who say the art is demeaning to women. To this, I say that I dance because I love to dance.  No one is forcing me, nor do I feel I am lowering my standards in order to please anyone else.  Frankly, all the benefits (physical, social, mental) that I get from pole outweigh any negative opinions other people have.

In any endeavor, you will have the people who support you and others who judge you.  Frankly, they can judge your life by their own beliefs but at the end of the day, you get to own how you live it.  Do what brings you joy.  Life is too short not to!

 

Lesson 6.       Comparisons are great to show you what’s possible.  Compare yourself to yourself week by week so you can celebrate your progress.

It’s easy to beat yourself up by comparing your progress to others when doing pole.  “I should be further along by now!”  As mentioned above, this type of thinking led me to overexert and injure myself - leading to a 6-month hiatus due to injury!

It’s important to honor where you are on your own journey.  There will always be people “better” than you in something and likewise “worse” than you in something at work, in losing weight, etc.  It’s easy for this type of thinking to let you down.  I invite you to think of comparisons in a different way.  Competition is a way to show you what is possible and inspire you to bigger and greater things.  After all, it was once believed that a 4-minute mile was impossible; however, once the first man broke this record, hundreds of others followed.  Let your “competition” inspire you to reach higher – then compare yourself today to yourself last week to measure your progress.

After all, at the end of the day, what is it that you truly want?  Is it really to be the best for the sake of being the best?  Or is to obtain your end goal in a way that is sustainable and in alignment with yourself (weight loss, fulfillment, etc.)?

 

Lesson 7.       Pole is a practice.  Everything is a progression.  Trust the process and learn to enjoy each step.

I have been poling for almost 2 years now.  I remember when I first started that I would stand in awe of the girls doing tricks up in the air, thinking, “I could never do that!”  Week after week, I would practice and get stronger until one day I had mastered each move.  First it was the back hook spin, then a basic climb, an inversion, and now putting combinations together.

Everything in life is a progression from building a business to losing weight.  Many of us fall into the trap of wanting gratification too soon.  Yet if we can trust the process and do the work each week, one day, we will be able to look back and be amazed by how far we have come.

 

If you are a poler like me, what do you think about what I shared?  Are there any spiritual lessons that you relate?  Are there other spiritual lessons you have learned from pole that I did not include?  Or if you're not a poler, do you have an activity that you love that has also taught you lessons beyond the activity?  I would love to hear below.