Prisoners of our Thoughts

I never run out of topic ideas for my blog; however, sitting to write about them is always an issue. I thought of presenting “prisoners of our thoughts” about one month ago! My personal “block” was – what will I write about? It seems to always be the same deal with me. However, the solution is also always the same, just write about your experience…

It had been exactly 3 months and 9 days since I had returned to society – full-time, after living on an ashram for 8 months. It was challenging and needless to say, I was not very kind or patient with myself in taking the time I needed to re-adapt; get used to the fast pace around me; the impatience experienced by others and staying in my new “zen mode” so I would not get carried away and let my mind and societal pressures take over. I started feeling the “cloud” of “despair” taking over and in these moments, I could not believe that I was going to let my mind take over! I had returned a different person, with tools and methods to keep my head above water, way above water; but, I was still drowning. In these instances, we always have a choice – mine was to allow myself to drown or to start kicking and paddling back up to the surface.

We often allow ourselves to get carried away by our thoughts. I recently read that the continuous repetition of our thoughts that are often oblivious to us are like a mantra: “I should”; “I can’t”; “I’m too fat”; “I’m too old”; “It’s too late”; “People will laugh at me”; “They will judge me”; “I don’t have enough money”; “It could never happen” … as you can see all negative thoughts that pull us down instead of empower and uplift us! When working with clients, I often remind them the importance of reframing; creating a new perspective; rephrasing. Open your mind up to the possibilities, use your imagination – nothing is impossible. Why am I sharing this information so confidently, because I have applied these techniques and been blessed with the positive outcomes! By repeating mentally supportive thoughts (affirmations) we start believing them. The same way when we often repeat negative thoughts our mind also believes them. If we think we are too old to do something, our body will present symptoms of old age. We believe we can’t, then how will we ever DO?

My best example of how we become prisoners of our thoughts is my experience getting into the sirsana (the headstand in yoga). In my yoga practice, we teach the headstand. When I was completing my 200 hours training, my goal was to get into the headstand because I wanted to be able to demonstrate the pose in my classes. The training is a one month intensive practice where we practice yoga 4 hours a day. Initially, I was very aware of the underlying fear of getting on my head. It was scary, it meant a certain loss of control of being used to standing on my two feet. For weeks, I kept on getting up and falling (the best way to fall is to allow yourself to roll into a somersault). After a while it just got frustrating, so I requested some spotting (support). However, just like everyday decisions in life, and in the coaching process, even with support and guidance, we are truly the only ones who can take the required steps, actions, thoughts to succeed. Therefore, as I still lacked the confidence to stay up with my feet reaching for the sky, I started paying attention to my thoughts. What was I thinking this whole time? “I AM GOING TO FALL” – and that is exactly what would happen every single time. I graduated without getting into the headstand alone, but I did promise myself that I would continue trying. The next step was embracing patience.

Our mind is often in a whirlwind of emotions and impatience. Even when I am at the check-out in a store, I notice how the cashier is RUSHING even though there is absolutely no one else in line behind me. We have become a society that believes that FAST means EFFECTIVE … actually – I’ll let you all think about that one for a minute… or longer.

I took a month vacation after that training and every morning when I had my practice, I tried the headstand. Our technique uses 8 steps to get into the pose, and I was able to find balance at step 6 (knees to chest) – so I would stay there for as long as I could; and then, I came up to step 7 (knees up to the sky) and again, I waited until I found my balance and courage to bring my feet towards the sky, confident that I would be able to keep myself up. Every time, I would repeat to myself – “I am there for you – I’ve got you.” It seems silly, but these supportive thoughts kept me up. Today, one year later, I am confidently reaching my toes to the sky; but, I still find myself allowing certain thoughts to come into my head that make it a little more difficult for me to stay for at least 2 – 3 minutes in the pose. My next goal is to stay up for 5 minutes and to get into the scorpion by the end of the year. I also know that since I am only starting to find the strength and courage to get into variations, I might only get into the scorpion sometime in 2016 (here I go again with my thoughts!) – but, as I work to build my positive, supportive thoughts and become aware of my self-talk – I will always be an advantage that will help me make positive changes in my life and free myself from my thoughts.

The New Year & FEAR …

Last May, I wrote about “Giving Myself Permission” – I wanted to let go of this feeling that I SHOULD be perfect in presenting myself online. I was also being hard on myself because I felt I often didn’t have the perfect topic to discuss on my blog. I decided that it was time to write again and found myself facing the same predicament. I had a topic but could not find the right way to present it etc. Then, I realized, I had to stop trying to present the information and just share what I was experiencing!

As we embark on the journey of a new year, the topic I would like to present is FEAR! For many of us, fear has become a normal aspect of our lives, so normal indeed that we barely notice how it has controlled our lives and limited our attainment of personal dreams. For others, fear has become a great excuse to avoid making changes, worthwhile changes in our lives. For a select few, fear has become a challenge that we encounter regularly and that forces us to confront ourselves and deal with being uncomfortable.

I fall into the category of fear being a challenge – a very uncomfortable challenge. I only realized how fear had controlled my life when in 2011, I took a graduate course on death and dying and realized that my fear of dying was paralyzing my secret desire to live! I was so afraid to die… that I was afraid to live! SIGH … I knew things had to change and I started forcing myself into uncomfortable situations. Situations where there was an undertone of fear, but no real cause for it.

I recently moved back to the city where I grew up – a city that brings up a lot of emotional memories (negative ones) and as a result a lot of fear. Now, I spent 8 months living on an ashram where controlling the mind/ thoughts was at the forefront of daily life, so you would think I would have a hold of this. I also made choices in the last year that are much scarier than the things that are currently causing fear for me. Unfortunately, fear never goes away. Fear is constantly there and it’s up to each one of us to overcome it because the consequence is life – living fully without any regrets. So why am I still so afraid?!

In my case … – first of all, let me take the time to mention that I decided that 2015 was my year of vulnerability (thank you Brené Brown!) – fear of others’ judgements is at the forefront. It’s not even death anymore, it’s the thought of making a fool out of myself, pursuing this life of love, happiness, peace and bliss … and falling flat on my face. The “it’s too amazingly good to be true phenomena”. But, I am starting to realize, and I know I also read this somewhere that we are so used to hearing the message that things are supposed to be difficult, not as planned etc. that when things go right instead of enjoying every moment we wonder when the bad will arise?!?! It was Susan Jeffers who said “Feel the fear… and do it anyway” – so daily, as I feel the fear arise, I have to remind myself that I have 2 choices. I can succumb to the fear and live a very sedentary life …and eventually die; or, I can face my fears and experience whatever happens! (this option has always been full of pleasant surprises:)

Whatever happens?!?! Another obstacle. We feel fear because we do not like not knowing what will happen next. We like stability, 9 – 5 is what it is, knowing that tomorrow, like the day before, our life has been prescripted. You might be thinking – prescripted?!? YES! Prescripted! You do not actually believe that waking up each day, dragging your feet to work like a drone is something you are consciously choosing to do!? It’s a societal rule – and you abide by it unless you are willing to face your fear and live the life you dream of.

As I work with clients and experience life myself, one of the basic obstacles to pursuing the dream job, personal goals, or making worthwhile changes in our lives, is fear. Join me as we make 2015 the year of vulnerability and face our fears to see what’s waiting for us on the other side of the unknown!

The Fly on my Window Pane …

I believe we have all experienced the fly who is buzzing at the window, some of us view this as a fly trying to find her way out and others will find it frustrating and quickly find the fly swatter to get rid of this insect quickly.

This summer, as I watched a fly that had come into my apartment struggle to comprehend why what seemed to be a clear path to the outside world was a serious obstacle (the window); I decided to help her out. As I cupped my hand around her, I opened the window and gently brought her closer to her freedom – the outdoors. As I watched the fly in the process, I noticed there was fear. She would initially trust my guiding hand and at the last minute when we were less than an inch away from the opening, she would start buzzing around frantically and fly out of my cupped hand and back to the window pane. This happened a couple of times until the last time when she flew so far away from the opened window that I gave up and left her to her predicament.

I thought about this though, and realized that this fly’s fear was very representative of our human fears when faced with changes in our lives. There is always a guiding force to help us move forward; however, often the unknown is too scary or overwhelming for us to give it a chance, to see what is truly on the other side. So we stay in our comfort zone. I wondered, what if, like the fly, we are less than an inch away from complete freedom – an amazing life experience?! What if, all we need to do is trust in the guiding force and take that extra step forward, as scary as it may be? Or, much like the fly, if we choose to stay in our comfort zone, our hopes and dreams, the possibility of endless freedom remains out of reach and unattainable.

Giving Myself Permission

Giving Myself Permission is a title that I thought of but that came to me quite quickly. Why did I choose this title? – because I haven’t written on my blog for – who knows how long, at least over a year – and I want to give myself permission to be less than perfect.

What is being less than perfect to me, not feeling guilty that I have not sustained this project that I created and that I have wanted  to work on for so long. Giving myself permission to start a project, disappear and come back to it when I feel ready to fully pursue it. Not allowing the little voice in my head to wave or point the finger at me and make me feel as though I should not have a WordPress page up and running unless I am able to write on it continuously … not letting the voice make me feel that I SHOULD only have a blog if I will write every day, every week, every month – put your timeline here.

Giving myself permission also means that I am allowed to make choices that fit my life and pace. Therefore, I haven’t had the time or energy to write my blog and I want to give myself the space to accept this fact without feeling guilty. I’m back – that’s basically what is mostly important because that is the only reality in the present moment. It also means giving myself permission to potentially disappear again … and understanding that this might happen because I am in a process. The same process that most of my clients are faced with and going through. The process is continuous and it is important to GIVE OURSELVES PERMISSION to be LESS THAN PERFECT. It’s ok.

I do hope however; that I will be able to sustain my writing on a semi-regular basis … we’ll see – it’s all in the process of self-development and personal discovery!

 

 

Living with Regrets …

I believe there are 2 types of regrets:

Regretting the things we wish we had done … and regretting the things we wish we had not done!

I chose to write about regrets today because I am knee-deep at this time in my life in a situation that has made me experience regret  – and – I also received a blog on the Top FIVE Career Regrets which I think is worth mentioning …

Living with regrets …

One thing we need to remember is that when we are faced with regret – we need to ACT/ DO SOMETHING by asking ourselves – NOW WHAT? So you messed up – you did something you wish you had not done/ or that you had done. Well, one thing is for sure you cannot undo the deed or go back and do it (oh the times when I wish I could have actually gone back in time) – you can only move forward. In moving forward, take the time to identify what you want to do in order to make a decision that fits your beliefs and what YOU actually want. Often, we are so worried about making a decision (the wonderful What if’s) not because we don’t know exactly what we want to do – but, unfortunately because we are SO WORRIED about others’ judgment of our decision that we do not actually take the time to listen to ourselves. More often than not, the times I have regretted are times when I either let someone else make a crucial decision for me – or I just didn’t listen to myself and relied on logic in making my decision. Then there’s a lot of wasted time thinking about the past and what I could have done differently, or the key moment/ turning point that would have made the whole difference. The reality of the fact is that no matter what you THINK … you can only move forward. So, embrace your feelings of regret, sadness, anger, frustration etc. that surround the situation and figure out what you will do NEXT … in THE PRESENT moment and your FUTURE that you will pave!

This same approach relates to the choices you make in regards to your career.

As I mentioned, I received a blog on the top 5 career regrets by Daniel Galuti that I wanted to share with you because, let’s face it, you are going to spend more than half of your time at work – you better be making it worth it!

His blog is based on research that asked 30 professionals between the ages of 28 to 58 “what they regret the most about their career to date”

“The group was diverse: I spoke with a 39-year-old managing director of a large investment bank, a failing self-employed photographer, a millionaire entrepreneur, and a Fortune 500 CEO.”

Here is the top 5!

1. I wish I hadn’t taken the job for the money – WOW, I was actually surprised to find this as number 1. I worked with students and this was the main reason they were deciding to work for a company… let’s face it people MONEY DOES NOT = HAPPINESS … and that is a fact. It might make your life easier so you can indulge yourself in consumerism but it won’t make you have a fulfilling and genuinely happy life.

2. I wish I had quit earlier – hmm … these regrets are filled with WHAT IFs – that are actually related to the first top regret. The fear of not being able to find another job or being tight financially is, as far as I am concerned, one of the main reasons why people don’t quit their jobs … stability versus happiness …

3. I wish I had the confidence to start my own business – I have to admit it is scary because the possibility of messing up is exactly that, a possibility. But you can never know your potential if you never try. Your business does not have to be the next Staple, it can be something very small – but take the time to write a mission for yourself so you know exactly what you want to offer and who you want to attract.

4. I wish I had used my time at school more productively – Too many of us are in a rush to start “LIFE” only to look back to realize that we didn’t live. Enjoy your time at school – have fun – party – make new friends – try new things – go on adventures and PLEASE TAKE THE SUMMER OFF AFTER YOU GRADUATE! 4 months of vacation should never be minimized for a lifetime of work!

5. I wish I had acted on my career hunches – Galuti identifies these as the “now or never moments” – TAKE THE LEAP!

Remember to take the path of RISK … trust me there will only be wonderful things and lessons to learn on the other side even if – in the beginning you are faced with challenges – it will only make your life more EXCITING and worth TALKING ABOUT!

“Never regret anything because at one time it is exactly what you wanted” … but what if it wasn’t … you better start making CONSCIOUS CHOICES that make you NEVER regret a single thing in your life!

New Year – New YOU – New Goals…

2013 …

We all have or at least think of having resolutions for a new year; but, more often than not, we rarely stick to these personal goals we set to achieve for ourselves. Why is it so hard to attain these goals?

1. They require change – and CHANGE is difficult to achieve

2. We will have to break behavioural habits – and it takes at least 21 days for a new habit to set-in to our routine …

3. What is the real motivation behind the decision to change? (i.e., is it ours, or someone else’s)

If the new goal is not really a conscious choice we have decided to make for ourselves; then, there are less chances that we will actually attain it. Also, we often identify a goal that is somewhat OVERWHELMING. Sometimes, it is best to identify an ULTIMATE GOAL that we will attain in a pre-determined amount of time and to set other smaller more manageable goals that will help us get to the bigger one. This approach allows us to have immediate achievements that will support us and motivate us to realize our ultimate goal.

Be realistic, believe in your goals and the rest will follow

WHAT WAS I BORN TO DO?

Do you believe that you were put on this earth for a purpose?
Do you often ask yourself – What am I going to do with my life?
Do you envy others who are happy at work and are living their dreams and passionate about the work that they do?

What were you expecting when you saw the title of this post?

Does everyone hope to be happy?
What kind of existential questions do you ask yourself?

Identifying what you were born to do requires an openness to self-reflect and to take the time to answer the questions that pop into your mind. In asking yourself what you were born to do – you basically have to break this question down. (Tackling such an enormous all-encompassing existential question would in any other case be overwhelming).

So – how do you determine what you were born to do?

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

What interests me (i.e., what can I do and time just flies by)
What did I dream of doing when I was a child? (be kind to your inner child – no dream is ridiculous or impossible)

What is it I am not choosing to do?

What makes me light up?

What is my inner voice telling me?

In taking the time to answer these questions it is important to remember that: – There is NO RIGHT or WRONG job when it comes to choosing what makes you get out of bed in the morning – YOU are UNIQUE; therefore, whatever it is you choose to do should reflect your INDIVIDUALITY –  Nobody actually cares what you end up doing with YOUR LIFE and  – NO ONE CAN DO IT FOR YOU! In addition to these UNIVERSAL TRUTHS do remember that just because you choose to follow YOUR PASSION it does not mean that the path will be smooth and easy. Chances are it will be quite ROCKY and you will be facing OPINIONS, JUDGEMENTS and JEALOUSY from your entourage. However, as you struggle you will have strength to go on because you will know that this was YOUR CHOICE! Let me add a GOOD ONE for that matter!

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Take the Risk …or Die without Trying?

 

Take every chance.
Drop every fear.

In life and the workplace, it’s easy to get carried away by opportunities and to forget our personal goals and ambitions.

It’s often easier to choose the simple, worry-free option than the one that triggers fear and invites us out of our comfort zone.

I was completing a 3 months contract and it was clear during the initial interview that the position was non-renewable, but, things change quickly so I had kept my hopes up.

I set into the workplace, built lasting relationships with my colleagues, and loved my job. Everything was running smoothly, so I started believing that an opportunity would arise.

They would find a way to keep me.

On my last day at work, although my position was not renewed, another opportunity did arise. However, it wasn’t in my field of interest or related to my personal career goals. But the question remained, should I take this job opportunity?

My logical thinking process kicked in telling me it was a great backup plan since I had no plan. In the next 7 hours, I would be unemployed even though, I must admit, I had a small contract that would give me some financial padding for a month. Three months was also not enough work hours for me to benefit from unemployment insurance.

I felt stuck.

I would eventually run out of money and there was a position at my work that was being offered to me.

What do I do?

Do I take this position that has nothing to do with me, my personal passion and path?

Do I suck it up for a couple of months until I find something that I love?

Do I take the risk of not knowing what tomorrow will bring, and accept that I might run out of finances?

My emotions and feelings had made it very clear that I did not want the position. So why was I even contemplating it?

The logical reasoning always makes more sense than the heart. How would I logically explain to anyone that I had turned down a job when I obviously had no other prospects to sustain myself financially. I had bills to pay!

The following question arose:
Was I willing to take that risk? To see what life had to offer?

I felt like a hypocrite.

At that time, I had recently developed and delivered a new workshop titled: What’s Next? Jump start your career search. The goal of this workshop was to support students and alumni in their self-exploration. The content and activities supported them in getting answers that would help them make the right career choices based on their unique dreams, needs, personalities, interests, and values. In the workshop, I discussed taking risks, listening to your gut, and doing what feels right for YOU.

So, why was I so afraid to take the risk? 

Because the fear of the unknown was greater than the desire to pursue my passion.

After some thought, I finally made my decision.
I chose to turn down the opportunity.

Life is unpredictable, control is just an illusion

 

That first step towards risk was necessary for me to experience what would happen if I dove into the unknown.

What keeps you from taking risks? Let me know by adding a comment or sending me a private message.

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Career Passion. Truth or Myth?

Do you believe in work as passionate play? Have you ever considered this to be possible? Where would you identify yourself on a career satisfaction scale?

Career passion is rare, not because it doesn’t exist, but because people do not believe in it. We have been raised in a society that believes work should be hard. Swallow the pill and deal with it because at the end of the day it’s putting food on the table.

Many people are of the opinion that it would be crazy and ridiculous to follow your dreams.

What if I told you that to not pursue your passion and dreams is crazy! Think about it, you spend approximately 8 – 9 hours a day doing something that you dislike, or leaves you bored or wishing for Friday, day in and day out (THAT’S CRAZY!). And, before you know it, the weekend is already over. Then you’re dragging your feet again to work on Monday. Brutal.

I recently read an article that had me thinking, why are people so afraid to acknowledge their passions? Why are others quick to tell you to forget about your dreams, that it’s ridiculous?

It’s their fear talking.

If you never pursue your dreams, it’s hard to see someone else succeed following their passion. It’s a stab in the heart or gut.  A reminder of what you gave up for a dud job that is probably representative of your less than fulfilling life.

You might have heard from others that following your passion is risky.

Yes, maybe it is.

But, probably not ask risky as the potential effects living a life that is unfulfilling might have on your mental health.

When I started standing for what I believed in and embracing my dreams and ambitions; I surprisingly enough started feeling much better about myself. Happier, healthier, ALIVE.

It wasn’t always easy. It still isn’t. It would be crazy to think that it’s easy to live against societal expectations.

It’s always more comfortable (for some time) to follow the crowd than to step into your purpose in this life. You feel alone because no one in your group of friends is seriously considering this type of career shift. But you have a choice.

Live a life where you make choices that make you feel alive or, choose to be a drone.

If you’re ready to make some changes book your complimentary session today.

 

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What is a dream job?

For many of us, the only careers considered professions growing up were in the fields of medicine, engineering, law, and public service. The belief was that these professions were the ones where jobs would be easy to find, there would be employment stability, a good pension, and a regular income.

Any other job was just another job, not a decent profession.

Today, although these myths still hold true, many more jobs are considered as acceptable and it is those creative professions that are looked down upon.

As a result, your professional development decisions were based in fear and career myths. 

As a teenager, you had a clear idea of the career you wanted to pursue; however, fear, confusion and complete trust in your teachers, counsellors, and legal guardians a.k.a. parents led to your current reality at work.

You fell into the trap.

The career trap. The one that leads you to believe that what you really want to do is not possible. The one that tells you it’s normal to be unhappy at work. That Monday blues and T.G.I.F.s are what life is all about.

The result? You’re now close to career hell.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

It is possible to change your career path and pursue what your heart truly desires.

Your role is to believe and dream that it’s possible to live a life that you love and to follow your passion.

My role is to guide and support you in the process.

Take the first step.
Sign-up for your complimentary session to discuss your challenges and find out if working together would be the right fit.

 

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Welcome to a new beginning…

Dear Dreamers and Soul Searchers,

I sit here with a fear, the fear of putting myself out there and living my dream! But I am taking the first step which is to write a blog and launch a website that will give you as much information as possible on facing your fears, gaining clarity, living your true passion, finding meaning and living a life you love.

It’s hard. It’s hard for me to sit here and write this message inviting you to trust me and the services that I will offer you. But it’s my start to living a life I love and having a career that is my passion.

Please be patient with me as I figure out how to best present the information that I want to share with you and slowly support you in also facing fears and living in your TRUTH, your PASSION and finding MEANING in your lives!

This is SO exciting it’s scary!
I hope you join me in our paths towards happiness and fulfillment.

Signed,
Priscilla a.k.a. Satya
My Map to Happiness