Filtering by Tag: breathe

“Your life is a story of transitions. You are always leaving one chapter behind while moving onto the next.”

Your life is a story of transitions. You are always leaving one chapter behind while moving onto the next.
— Unknown

If you asked any of the performers I have worked with what my major pet peeve is when it comes to a show or a dance piece, they would tell you, transitions. Transitions are an integral part of the flow of a show. In fact, the transitions can make or break a show. For example, in the Broadway production, “An American in Paris,” there was a great amount of detail given to the transitions. The set changes were choreographed into the dance phrases so that the performers were moving the audience from one scene to the next. As an observer, I was never taken out of the world that was created, and it was beautiful to see how the performers not only interacted with each other but also the environment around them.

Here is another example how art imitates life. Transitions, and our approach to transitions, can make or break our happiness in our lives. I, like many, do not always enjoy transitions because it means that some sort of change probably took place. Change is hard; it is usually accompanied with turmoil, unknowns, and angst. We are so worried and focused on getting to the next place, event, or milestone that we forget about how we are getting there.

If we shifted our view on transitions and decided to allow ourselves to really engage in the transitions, we would realize that they are actually pretty magical. It is during these times that we learn and grow the most as people. We are usually challenged to step out of our comfort zone. Every time we do that we are adding/reinforcing our foundation and becoming stronger individuals. Ideally, we would approach transitions the same way we approach getting to the next place, event, or milestone so that the Flow and engagement in our lives is not disrupted. This is the true manifestation of being present.   

So what are some ways we can shift our mindset on transitions?

Remain Open.

Many times, when we are faced with change and new challenges our “fight or flight” instinct kicks in and we shut down. If we remain open, then we are allowing ourselves to approach the transition with a positive outlook. Helping us to maintain an upward spiral and not downward spiral.

Be Curious.

If we approach transitions with curiosity, then we are continuously asking questions and engaging with the environment around us. We never know what new idea or path may present itself. By saying “Yes,” this new opportunity could lead you to a place that gives you more than you could have ever imagined.     

Find Your Breath.

Your breath is your foundation; it is your life force and energy. Connecting to your breath in times of anxiety, frustration, and confusion will help you to continue to stay open and be curious. A strong breath practice is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

 

I am always reminded that in order to become a beautiful butterfly, the caterpillar has to engage in the transition. If we want to be seen as we are truly intended to be, then we, too, need to engage in all the transitions or our journey.  

 

Do you need help working through and approaching transitions with a new mindset? I would love to guide and support you through your process! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.

 

“Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to take care of others.”

Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to take care of others.
— Bryant McGill

Last weekend and this weekend, I have had the great opportunity to lead workshops as part of a Ladies Getaway Retreat in VT. This is my second year being part of the retreat. There are many things I love about these weekends. First, it is all women. With the occasional male workshop leader or resort worker, everyone there is female. That may not seem like a huge deal, but it does give a different energy. Second, there are women of varying ages. I love being able to sit back and observe how different generations interact with each other. Many of the participants are family members, whether they are mother/daughter, sisters, or cousins. Third, some of these women have been coming back for 15 years. You can tell they prepare for the weekend with their elaborate snack set up and matching group shirts. Last and most importantly, each woman is there to take time for themselves, whether that means engaging in goal setting workshops or taking a yoga class or learning more about wine through a tasting session. As the participants are leaving, they are always talking about how refreshed they feel, how they have learned at least one thing they can implement into their lives, and how much fun they had relaxing and enjoying their friends.

In general as a society, but even more specifically for women, we forget how important it is to take time for ourselves. If we don’t fill our own “tank” up, we won’t have enough of the proper energy to be there for the other people in our lives. So many times, we give all our energy out to others and then we are left with nothing for ourselves. Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling drained the littlest things can set you off? That is because you have let your own energy tank get too low. One of the themes I talked about in all my workshops this past weekend was that life isn’t about eliminating annoyances, it is about maintaining your inner peace and not allowing the annoyances to get the best of you. This philosophy can be used in all aspects of your life. In your relationship with a significant other when your tank gets too low, you may become more needy or get irritated more easily. While at work, relationships with colleagues can become tenser when your own inner peace is comprised.

So the question is how do we keep our tank full? Giving yourself the gift of going away on a retreat is a perfect way, but we don’t always have that opportunity. Each of us will have a different way to fill our tank, but some common ways are meditating, exercising regularly, reading, being creative, allowing yourself to veg out and watch your favorite show, etc. If we don’t take the time and energy we deserve to help ourselves, we won’t be able to effectively be there for the people that are so important in our lives.

 

Aside: The story of how I got connected with this retreat is an interesting one. I had decided about 2 years ago that I wanted to lead more group workshops at retreats, but didn’t know how to actually go about doing that. About a year and a half ago, I was attending The Big E (the New England version of a state fair) with my family as I have for many years of my life. We were walking through the VT building and I happened to pick up a paper for “Ladies Weekend Getaway.” When I asked the woman behind the counter for more information, I learned that she was the event programmer for the weekend. We got to talking and a month later I was booked to teach 10 workshops over 2 weekends. This just proves that when you get clear about your goals and intentions, the Universe will answer. It may not be quite on your timetable, but if you stay open and say YES (even with the doubts and fears in the background) you will always be provided for.

 

Do you need help maintaining your inner peace and keeping a full tank? I would love to guide you and support you in your journey! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.

“10 things to help you enjoy the holidays”

10 things to help you enjoy the holidays

1. Take time for yourself. This could be through guided meditation, visualization, journaling, or just sitting still. Taking 10 min a day for yourself can change your mindset and keep you balanced. 

2. Practice mindful listening. Being present in your conversations will make your time spent with family and friends more meaningful. 

3. Connect to your breath. Your breath is your life force. Breath exercises can help to relax, energize, and balance you. 

4. Redirect your negative thoughts. The holidays can be stressful at times and your negative self talk can start to take over causing a downward spiral. You can choose to stop the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.  

5. Be thankful. Gratitude is the greatest gift you can give yourself and those around you. There is always something to be thankful for. 

6. Stay hydrated. Drink a glass of water when you first wake up. Try to get to 8 glasses a day. You can always add lemon or cucumber to make it more exciting. 

7. Be active. During the holidays our routines are altered and we tend to be less physically active and more indulgent of the goodies around us. Take the time everyday to stretch or do 20 min of cardio or yoga. Moving your body helps to clear the stale energy out. 

8. Rediscover your inner child. The holidays are a perfect time to connect with your inner child and remember that life is truly magical. Play a new game, laugh with friends and family, make something, etc. 

9. Be kind. Do something everyday that gives back to the community. Maybe it's small like helping someone with their bags or maybe you volunteer at a local shelter. 

10. Smile. Smiling will not only make you feel better but you never know when it will brighten up the day of someone around you as well. 

 

I’m currently having a special on Intro Packages. Treat yourself and start 2016 on a positive note! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call and to hear more about the package.

“Relax the mind; Renew the body; Revive the soul.”

Relax the mind; Renew the body; Revive the soul.

Happy Thanksgiving! The holiday season is officially underway. The next few weeks will be filled with decorations, Christmas songs, holiday parties, family and friends, shopping, acts of kindness, and love. Though it is a wonderful season, it can also be overwhelming and stressful at times. It is important to take care of ourselves first so that we can then take care of those around us. Using our visualization practice for relaxation can help to calm the mind and release the tension our body is holding. 

To begin this type of visualization, I like to start with the breath followed by a body scan. My favorite breath technique for relaxation is Yogi Breath, also known as 3 Part Breath. Laying on your back or sitting in a chair with a long spine, close your eyes and begin to observe your natural breath. Once you have settled, start to lengthen your inhales and exhales. Begin by inhaling through your nose and filling up your belly, then, ribs, then chest. Pause for a moment and then exhale through your nose chest, ribs, and belly. Continue this for at least five cycles. With every inhale you breathe in health, happiness, and harmony; with every exhale you breathe out tension, toxins, and troubles.

A body scan allows us to go even deeper in relaxation. I like to start at the crown of the head, the 7th chakra, and imagine a white light radiating above me. Invite this white light into your body and visualize it flowing, swirling, and filling up every nook and cranny. As this peaceful white light travels through your body, it gently massages and releases the tension and any negative emotions that do not serve you anymore. Once the white light has reached your toes, do one more quick scan and send your breath to the parts of your body needing a little extra attention.

For some people, this may be enough to relax your mind, body, and rejuvenate yourself. For others, you may want to go even further and begin to visualize a place that brings you peace and comfort. For example, walking on a beach at sunset, feeling the sand in between your toes, hearing the soothing sounds of the waves, smelling the cooling salt water, and seeing the beautiful colors of the sky as the sun goes to sleep. Continue to be vivid with your images and control outside and negative thoughts. Experiment with the perspective you are using and continue to use your breath as your foundation. The more you engage in this practice the stronger the impact the images will have on your mind and body. You can begin to use the words like beach, sand, or waves as trigger words for those times when life gets overbearing. A reminder that trigger words can be a single word or phrase that initiate a process or course of action. In this situation, the word “beach” initiates the feelings of relaxation, peace, and balance because of your visualization practice.

This week continue to keep your visualization log, but this time focus on relaxation. Begin with your breath and body scan. Then experiment with imagery. Try to maintain the 3 min a day or challenge yourself with longer sessions. This will increase your ability to focus and concentrate. At the end of the week, observe how you feel. Do you feel more grounded? Maybe more able to manage the stresses in your life? Maybe you can make it a habit to take at least 5-10 min a day to step away from the chaos and connect back to yourself.

 

Are you ready to manifest the changes you want in your life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call!

"Learn to let go of the things you can’t control"

Learn to let go of the things you can’t control.

I just spent a wonderful weekend filled with master classes, mock auditions, and pre-screens with my My College Audition family in Boston, MA. Upon returning to NYC, many of my private students were clicking submit on their early action college applications. A common theme emerged as I coached these students to take the next step, “control what you can control and let go of what you cannot.” Even as I write these words, I am reminded of how important this is in my own life.

We spend so much of our energy worrying about “what if’s” and the unknown, all things that are out of our control. Instead, we should focus our energy more on the preparation of the things we can control. For example, my students preparing for college auditions can control what they choose to wear in the audition to present themselves in a professional manner. They can choose to smile and make eye contact when slating their name and audition material. All of these things do not take a lot of energy or time to prepare, but they do create an impression and set the stage for a positive experience. They can’t control whether the pianist will know how to play their song perfectly or if the adjudicators are running behind and therefore cutting everyone off half way through their songs or how many performers of their exact type are auditioning that day. By worrying and stressing over unknown elements, they are allowing negative energy to fill their mind and body, which can turn into anxiety, low self-confidence, debilitating self talk, and possibly low motivation. All of which are distractions and common obstacles for optimal performance.

Worrying about things outside our control means we are not fully present in the moment. By not being present, we are not engaged preventing us from reaching a Flow state. As talked about last week, being in a Flow state allows us to find fulfillment in our lives, which leads to happiness.

So how does this all pertain to everyday life and what tools are there to help us? We all can reflect on times when we were trying to control things outside of our capacity; maybe it’s a relationship with a colleague, or waiting to hear back from a new job, or starting a business and trying to build your client list, or planning an event for your community. My two favorite tools to use for the things we can control are “walk the walk” and “talk the talk.”

Simply put these are about preparation of the mind and body. Even if you don’t feel completely confident in what you are doing, walking and holding yourself up like you are will go a long way. It’s amazing the effect our body has on our mind and energy. Walking into an interview with your head held high, chest open, and a smile shows the other person you are ready, prepared, and confident even if on the inside your stomach is in knots. What you say about yourself and the language you use, whether out loud or in your head, is important. We know this already from the several posts on self-talk. We want to be mindful that we are supporting our positive self-talk allowing for us to create an upward spiral and not giving energy to our negative self-talk which creates a downward spiral. By always “walking the walk” and “talking the talk,” we can be confident that we are putting our best self forward and that is all we can ever ask of ourselves.

Now, for the letting go part. As much as we may want to we cannot control other people. Letting go is about being present. For the next week, if you find you are trying to control something out of your control, check in with your breath. Take a “time out,” focus on your breath for 5 min, and then come back. Use your thought-stopping and positive replacement techniques to change any negative self-talk that may be creeping in. Go back to your litany and repeat the mantras you created for yourself. This is where your practice comes in to help you and be there for you. Lastly, there has to be an element of trust that everything will unfold in the perfect time/space sequence.  

 

 

Do you need more guidance in letting go and creating a more present and fulfilled life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min complimentary coaching call!

 

TOMORROW, Oct 24th - Manifesting Your Dreams: pushing beyond your fears and obstacles. Email me to reserve your spot!

 

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