Filtering by Tag: journey

“Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better… I do believe I have been changed for the better. Because I knew you…I have been changed…For good.”

Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better… I do believe I have been changed for the better. Because I knew you…I have been changed…For good.
— Stephen Schwartz, Wicked

This past weekend, I traveled to Boston for my 10-year college reunion. 10 years?!?! Crazy! It was nostalgic to be back on campus, re-visit the studios I spent hours of my time working in, have a drink at the local watering hole, and see all the new facilities the school has to offer. Even though it has been 10 years and the school did look different, it also felt the same. There was an energy and comfort of being back at a place I considered “home” for a pivotal part of my journey.

In the evening, there was a performance (typical Emerson College) and a dance party (even more typical Emerson College). I spent the night dancing and singing with old friends and some new additions. It got me thinking of the song “For Good” from the show Wicked. I remember using many of the lyrics from this song as I signed people’s yearbooks during senior week (I know…crazy musical theater kid). As I listened to the song on my drive back, the lyrics hit me even stronger. There are people who aren’t as big a presence in my life now as they were in college, but they will always be a part of my story and who I am today. There are people in my life now that have a huge presence that weren’t even in my life 10 years ago, but I look forward to how they continue to help me write my story.

People come and go throughout our lives. Sometimes not always in a happy way, but it is important to remember that everyone we meet has a purpose in our lives. If we are open to receiving what they have to offer us, even if our time together is short, it will be meaningful. Relationships can also change over time, and that is OK. Just because your relationship with someone may not be as strong as it was in the past does not mean that it is not important. If we can approach these shifts with understanding, love, and openness we can then continue to find space for the relationship in our life, even if it takes on a different shape.   

The next few days as I continued processing what was an amazing weekend, I realized the expectations I had for myself by my 10-year reunion. Of course I would be married, have at least 1 child, be successful in my chosen career, and maybe finally be able to give back a donation to the school that actually had an impact. Though none of those expectations have been met to the extent I had hoped for, I wasn’t bothered by it. In that moment, I realized how much I have grown in the last 10 years. The younger Stephanie would have gotten depressed and felt like I had failed. I would have compared myself to all the friends I reconnected with who did have some of those things and wondered what was wrong with me. Instead, I stepped back and gave thanks for all the amazing adventures, opportunities, jobs, and people I have been blessed with since that graduation date. I realized that what I have now is actually much more than what I could have ever imagined 10 years ago. Maybe the path hasn’t always been completely straight or even a noticeable path at times, but it has been the perfect path for me.

I am so happy and proud of how much all my college friends and I have accomplished in just 10 years (now it doesn’t seem like that much time at all). We have all grown into wonderful, kind, impactful artists, parents, activists, and voices in the world. I can’t wait to see what another 10 years bring for each of us! Emerson College is more than just an institution. It is a place where I, among many other enthusiastic students, was challenged creatively, academically, and personally. “So much of me is made of what I learned from you.” There is not a day that goes by in my life that I am not utterly thankful for being part of such a beautiful community.

 

Do you need guidance and support navigating the shifts of your path? I would love to help 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.

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be what you were meant to be in the first place.”

Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be what you were meant to be in the first place.
— Unknown

This week the idea of “beliefs” has come up in a variety of situations and conversations with clients and friends. The word Belief can be defined as follows: “an opinion or conviction; confidence, faith and trust; and confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.” So where do we get our beliefs? Many of our beliefs are not actually our own. They are learned or passed down through our family, the schools we attend, and the communities we are a part of. In his book, "The Biology of Belief," Dr. Bruce Lipton talks about how the conscious and the subconscious play integral roles in our lives.

[The] conscious and subconscious are interdependent. The conscious mind – which represents the seat of our personal identity, source, or spirit – is the creative mind…[it] holds our wishes, desires, and aspirations for our lives…the subconscious mind is primarily a repository of stimulus-response tapes derived from instincts and learned experiences…[it] is fundamentally habitual.

Knowing this, we can begin to separate which beliefs come from us and which beliefs have been programed from others. Our subconscious is actually developed between the years of 0-7. If we remember back to that time period, we were all little sponges just soaking up everything around us. We didn’t have the autonomy to choose or the ability to really question the beliefs that were being instilled in us. Unfortunately, many of our fears or limiting beliefs are housed in our subconscious.     

The title quote of this blog popped up in my timehop the other day and further confirmed the importance of writing about this week’s topic. Our lives and finding our way is really about figuring out which beliefs we have that work for us and which beliefs work against us. Once we acknowledge the ones that don’t work for us, it is then our job to release them and replace them with ones that do serve us. We have so many tools for us to use in order to achieve this: thought stopping/positive replacement, journaling, and visualization are just a few. As previously discussed, these tools are not a one shot deal; they are to be used as a practice in the process of undoing in order to be fully realized as we were intended.  

As we go through this process, there will undoubtedly be times when we get frustrated by our limiting beliefs and where they came from, whether it be a parent, a teacher, or a mentor. It is important to remember that it is not helpful to our journey to hold anger or resentment toward that person. They were only doing what they knew to be true and what beliefs had been instilled in them. However, we can break the cycle. We have the power in ourselves to create the beliefs that support us, allow us to be our best self, and help us to manifest the life we want and deserve.

Take some time to think about which beliefs are working for you and which beliefs are not. Here are some categories and questions to get you started: your beliefs around money – How much do you believe you deserve? Is the energy you bring to money open or resistant? Your beliefs around work – What jobs do you value? What does it mean to be successful in your work? Can your passion be your work? Your beliefs around relationships – Do you believe in a partnership? Are you settling because you don’t believe you deserve more? Once you have written down the beliefs that don’t serve you, re-write them to be beliefs that will serve you. Then, take the old beliefs and burn them. They are no longer a part of you. These new beliefs are your mantras and affirmations.

Your beliefs and thoughts are what create your reality. YOU are in charge of your own beliefs so CHOOSE to believe only that which lifts you up.

 

 

Do you need help releasing the beliefs that are holding you back? 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.

“I’m not a river or a giant bird that soars to the sea. And if I’m never tied to anything, I’ll never be free.”

I’m not a river or a giant bird that soars to the sea. And if I’m never tied to anything, I’ll never be free.
— Stephen Schwartz

This past week, though I have gotten a lot of my time back, has been bittersweet. I have definitely been hit by the post show blues. Throughout the week, different students would come up to me expressing how much they miss the show and how lost they feel. It’s hard to let go of something that became such a huge part of your life; something that was truly magical. When talking to the students and telling them that this would be a hard one to let go of and its OK to feel what they were feeling, I realized that I don’t usually take that advice. I’ve worked on so many shows over the years that I’ve gotten good at compartmentalizing my emotions and usually just jump into the next thing. (I actually do this with other areas of my life as well.) That way I don’t have to feel the hurt and the loss, whether it was a good or a bad thing; for example, the end of a relationship, moving across the country, finishing a job, etc.

Compartmentalizing may seem like the easy solution, but it’s not. Our body holds onto the emotions we are having; they stay inside us until we decide to confront them. It’s OK to feel. In fact, we SHOULD feel. It doesn’t make us weak to acknowledge our emotions and mourn the loss. These are the moments that remind us that we are alive, we are human, that we value things in life and that we were truly present. So this time around, I allowed/made myself let go and feel the emotions.

It’s tough…really tough. I miss the family and world we created where we got to play and live freely. It became a safe place. But at some point we knew we would have to leave that place. We have to challenge ourselves to make a new safe place. We will always hold that family in our hearts. Because of them and our communal experience/process, we will be even better for the next adventure. As one of my students said when interviewed about learning aerial silks, “Learning is hard. The moment it becomes easy, it isn’t learning anymore.” If we stayed in the world we created, we wouldn’t continue to grow and learn.

One of the ways I allowed myself permission to feel was to listen to the soundtrack. Deciding to do this on a busy NYC subway was maybe not the best idea because immediately tears filled my eyes. But they were good tears. I could visualize everything so clearly still. I know the picture will get blurry with time, but I hope to preserve the details for as long as I can. When listening to the "Finale" again, I was struck in a new way by one of Pippin’s last lyrics (the title quote of the blog). Sometimes distance/space from a project gives us new clarity.

I’ll be honest I am very much like the character Pippin. I move around a lot in every sense of the word. I’ve lived in 5 cities in 10 years; as a freelancer, I jumped from project to project; I’m always trying new workouts and dance classes. And I love that lifestyle. I’m currently in my longest streak both job wise and location wise in my adult life. To be honest, this past year has been hard. I have wanted to run and move on to something new so many times. But there is so much truth in this lyric. Pippin finally realizes that moving from one thing to another was actually making him feel confined and stuck. By having something to be tied to, you do have more freedom. Of course, I am choosing to look at being “tied to something” in a non-negative way. It’s not about being weighed down, but instead grounded. This stability then allows you to be free, to explore, to take risks. The stability can come in different forms: staying in a job and viewing it in a new light, finally saying yes to a relationship and going all in, committing to a workout or new lifestyle program.

When reflecting on your life, what have you been shying away from because you think you don’t want to be “tied down?” Can you look at it in a different way? Maybe that very thing is the thing that will give you the freedom you’ve always been searching for.

 

Do you want to find more freedom? 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.

“Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious.”

Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious.

Last week I began to discuss creativity and the importance of “play.” Creativity is essential to everyone in order to live a fulfilling and engaged life. Play is the most basic form of improvisation, which is necessary during the creative process. The creative process is not exclusive to artists and the act of making art; each of our lives is its own creative process. For one to be successful in a creative process, it is crucial to have a safe environment where we feel we can experiment, take risks, fall and get back up, and be vulnerable. Without all of these elements, we can’t and won’t grow as an individual.

In Sport Psychology, we have two categories for environments: task oriented and win oriented. In a task oriented environment, a person engages in an activity or skill for the purpose of mastering the skill to build confidence and grow. They are intrinsically motivated. In a win oriented environment, a person engages in an activity or skill for the purpose of being better than others rather than for self improvement. They are extrinsically motivated. As we discussed previously, in order to reach a Flow state, or optimal performance, we need to be intrinsically motivated, comfortable enough to take risks, receive timely feedback, and proper support. A task oriented environment provides the appropriate structure, where a win environment feeds into negative competition, self doubt when “failing,” and can perpetuate the downward spiral.

Improvisation/play is a great example for an activity within a task oriented environment. There is no one correct answer, and participants continue to engage in the activity because of its enjoyment and the discoveries they make. Unfortunately, many of the environments we find ourselves in as we get older are more often win oriented environments. Schools like to say they are nurturing and more task oriented, but many times the learning that is happening is directed towards a specific outcome. The constant testing and the pressure of grades provide a win environment where students are constantly comparing themselves to classmates and even students outside their school.  This environment makes it much harder to achieve a flow state and enjoyment of the material, leaving many students worn out and skeptical about being a lifelong learner.

Reflect on your own life and the decisions you have made. Did you decide to get that certificate because you wanted to better yourself as a manager and a person or because you knew you would get a salary bump? Did you go into a field of study because you felt it would provide you a more “successful” job rather than studying something you loved and would make you happy? Knowing your motivation can help you to make decisions. Doing something that motivates you intrinsically, will help to fuel you and fulfill you. Doing something that motivates you extrinsically, will most likely drain you and lead to unhappiness. If you continue to make decisions based on what resonates with your authentic self you will create a life of fulfillment.

Now reflect on your environment, both personal and professional. Who are the people you surround yourself with? Do they lift you up, support your accomplishments, and energize you? Or are they competitive and drain you? What activities are you engaging in? Do these activities support a healthy lifestyle: mind body and spirit? Or are they distractions? We have the power to create a task oriented environment, where we are not only supported but also encouraged to be our best self!

This week, take the time to journal about the environment around you. Notice what is serving you and what is not anymore. Remember to observe without judgment. From there, brainstorm some changes you can make so that you can begin to create or strengthen the environment you want. Even the smallest changes will shift the energy around you.

 

Do you need help creating the environment you deserve? I would love to help 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.

“Creativity is a harmony of opposite tensions, as encapsulated in [the] idea of lila, or divine play.”

Creativity is a harmony of opposite tensions, as encapsulated in [the] idea of lila, or divine play.
— Stephen Nachmanovitch

I have rediscovered the awe-inspiring book, Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch. This will be my third time reading it and every time I find something new. The first two times I read the book were for assignments in my choreography and composition dance classes. However, the book proved to not only affect my artistic life, but also my personal life. When we think about it, life is one creative process and creativity isn’t just for the artistic elite, but necessary for everyone in order to live a fulfilling and enriched life. Creativity can manifest itself in many forms. We see it clearly through a painting or a dance, but it can also be designing an interactive spreadsheet or figuring out a new way to treat a patient.

A key element to the creative process is improvisation, and a key element to improvisation is play. “Play” plays such an important role in the process of creation, without it we would never access anything new. The rest of the quote above is as follows:

            If we let go of play, our work becomes ponderous and stiff. If we                let go of the sacred, our work loses its connection to the ground             on which we live (Nachmanovitch).

One of the best ways to reconnect with authentic play is to observe children. Children completely immerse themselves in whatever they are doing: an art project, building a fort, playing make believe, telling a story, etc. They aren’t worried about what others think or what’s considered right and wrong; they are just present. They are continuously problem solving, collaborating, and reacting authentically in the moment. Because of this, they are able to more easily enter a Flow state and for the most part are lively and happy.

So what happens as we get older that changes that? It becomes harder for us to “think outside the box,” more challenging to work in groups, and more difficult to think on our toes. We have lost our sense of “play.” As we get older, we are told what we should be like or what we should be doing. Many times, we are told there is only one right answer, and we begin to become more self-conscious. Our mind begins to get in the way of our instincts and our ability to just let loose. Because of this, we have a hard time being totally present in our lives.

Luckily, there are so many ways for us to get back in touch with our inner child and access our creative self! The first step is allowing yourself to take the time. Then, begin to try new things: take a cooking class, go rock climbing, write a short story, go on a nature walk, etc. There are so many new tools at our disposal. Adult coloring books have become a way to relax and get back to a “child like” activity. Groupon is a wonderful way to try a new activity at a lower cost. You can go to a paint night or take a pottery class.  All of these activities allow us to step out of our routine, our comfort zone, and just “play.” Remember to not judge yourself while trying these new things. Allow yourself to enjoy the process. Who knows, you may unleash a side of you you didn’t even know was in there. Not to mention your ability to think more creatively will grow, which can prove to be usual when you’re “adulting.”

 

Do you need help accessing your inner child and releasing your creativity self? I would love to help 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.

“May your Force awaken and may the Force be with you always.”

May your Force awaken and may the Force be with you always.

***WARNING**** There may be some spoiler alerts with this blog. Ok…so let me begin by saying up until around 3 weeks ago I had never seen a single Star Wars movie. It had become a point of pride, and I actually planned to never see any of them. But then the new one came out, and I was experiencing some FOMO. So over the holiday, I took the plunge and watched the original three films back to back and then this past weekend saw the new one.

After finishing Episode IV, I turned to my boyfriend and said, “this is basically a sci-fi version of the yogi philosophy and the Law of Attraction.” The Force is the Universe and an energy current that is in us and around us. It is always present; we just need to tap into it. The characters represent different aspects of the journey. Luke, being the protagonist, was called to this journey and at first he rejects it. He makes excuses and is driven by fear, but nevertheless he is thrown in.

At the beginning of his journey, he is naïve and untrained but he has the help of his guide, Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is also provided with several friends that accompany him. Han Solo, who also has some resistance at first (he actually says he will choose his own path and no one can force him), represents his mode of transportation. Princess Leia, who we later find out is Luke’s sister, represents that constant support that no matter how much you may doubt yourself or fail, always loves and believes in you. Yoda is literally a yogi guru (he even looks like one). Luke goes to him to learn, train, and master the harnessing of the Force. One of my favorite things that Yoda says to Luke is that Jedis don’t look for conflict. His eagerness to engage in conflict shows the he is not ready. He needs to be patient and trust the process. How many of us can relate that?!?

The dark side is primarily represented through the character Darth Vader. It is no surprise that Darth would be related to Luke. Where there is light there is always dark. We have the choice to follow one path or the other. Darth chose the path of the dark side. He tempts Luke to give into his anger and hatred and cross over to the dark side. This is a struggle that we all deal with on a continual basis. But we have the choice to not give in to our darkness, but rather uphold our light.

Many of the same themes are present in the newest Star Wars film, but one thing that struck me as new was the character of Fin. Fin was raised from birth to be a stormtrooper. Yet, in his first battle he chooses to escape the First Order knowing that what it represents isn’t right. Again after some wavering back and forth as to whether to stay and help Rey and the droid, he finally realizes his calling to be part of the Resistance. I find this new construct to be interesting because many times we feel we are trapped by our environment, whether that be where we grew up, financial limitations, etc, but we always have the ability to change our trajectory if it doesn’t resonate with us. It may be not be an easy task, but once we make this decision the Universe, or The Force, will always be with us and guide us. We also see in this film that the representation of the dark side, Ben, is having an eternal struggle and feeling a pull to the Light. Again, he is related to some of our main players yet still chose the dark side. Leia tells Han to bring back their son; that there is still light in him. This is true for all of us. No matter our decisions or current path, there is always Light in us. We just need to acknowledge it and choose to follow it. However, no one but ourselves can do that for us.

Rey is an interesting character in that she had been sticking to the task of waiting for her family to come back for most of her life. Little did she know the Force, aka the Universe, had more in store for her. By seeing someone/something in need and being an honest and helpful person she found herself down a path that actually led to what she wanted all along. She said Yes. And every time she continued to say Yes, the Force within her continued to grow stronger and support her. Even without any formal training, she was able to defeat Ben because at that point she fully surrendered to the Force. She didn’t even completely understand it. How often do we do that in our own lives?

I truly believe that this was the time in my life that I was supposed to watch these movies. Like Luke, and others on their journeys, we aren’t always ready. If I had seen the movies when I was younger or even 3 years ago, I would not have made the connections that I did now and enjoyed the movies on this deeper level. It really goes to show you that everything happens in the perfect time/space sequence. Are you ready to surrender, say Yes, harness the Force with the many tools you have been given, and embark on your journey? Once you are able to make this choice, the Universe will provide the guides you need, the support to help you through, and the teachers to show you the way. You just have to say Yes and trust. May the Force be with you!

 

I would love to be your Obi-Wan or Yoda and help 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.

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