Filtering by Tag: self love

“You thrive in all ways when you come into Energy Balance with you.”

You thrive in all ways when you come into Energy Balance with you.
— Abraham Hicks

Daylight Saving means longer days and Spring is coming. Many people will begin “spring cleaning” by physically clearing out their living spaces, which is a great idea, but what about also clearing out the negative and stale energy in our body?

Everything in life is made up of energy. When people talk about “auras,” they are referring to the invisible etheric field our physical body is a part of. This field is made up of pathways called meridians or nadi lines, where energy flows in and out of. The points where these meridians intersect are called marma points. These energy lines and marma points are used in several holistic medicines including acupuncture and reiki. In the Tantric Yoga philosophy, the three most important of these lines are Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna. The points where these three lines intersect are the seven chakras.  

There are many ways we can balance our chakras: using intention with crystals, using essential oils and incense, holding specific yoga poses, vocalizing/singing, and meditation. Below is a basic breakdown of the seven chakras followed by a simple meditation you can practice to help balance them.

First Chakra: Root Chakra (Muladhara) is located at the base of the spine right below the pelvic floor. Red is the color associated with this chakra. When the chakra is balanced we feel self-motivated, abundant, connected to the earth, grounded/strong foundation, connected to our tribe/community. It is commonly blocked by fear.

Second Chakra: Naval Chakra (Svadisthana) is located below your belly button in your low belly area. Orange is the color associated with this chakra. When the chakra is balanced we feel creative, in touch with our feelings, connected to our identity, sensuality, and sexuality. It is commonly blocked by guilt.

Third Chakra: Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura) is located above your belly button below your ribs. Yellow is the color associated with this chakra. When the chakra is balanced we feel confident, have mental clarity, and feel strong in our personal power. It is commonly blocked by shame.

Fourth Chakra: Heart Chakra (Anahata) is located in the center of your chest. Green is the color associated with this chakra. When the chakra is balanced we have acceptance of oneself, the ability to forgive, and compassion/love for others and ourselves. It is commonly blocked by grief.

Fifth Chakra: Throat Chakra (Visuddha) is located around the neck, ears, and nose. Blue is the color associated with this chakra. When the chakra is balanced we truthfully express ourselves/our beliefs, we have loyalty and the ability to trust, we feel organized and heard. It is commonly blocked by lies.

Sixth Chakra: Third Eye Chakra (Ajna) is located on the forehead between the eyes. Indigo is the color associated with this chakra. When the chakra is balance we trust our intuition and insights, release hidden and repressed negative thoughts, and become more self-realized. It is commonly blocked by illusion.

Seventh Chakra: Crown Chakra (Sahasrara) is located right outside the body on the top of the head. Violet is the color associated with this chakra. When the chakra is balanced we have a strong spirituality, we trust and are connected to the universe or higher power, we are integrating our consciousness and subconsciousness into the superconcsciousness. It is commonly blocked by ego attachment.

 

To begin working with the chakras, try this simple mediation. Sitting in a comfortable position, close your eyes and observe your breath. Begin to lengthen your inhales and exhales. After a few cycles, visualize a flame on the screen of your mind. It is easier to visualize a bigger, moving flame than a smaller, stagnant flame. Once you have a clear visual of the flame, move the flame to the top of your head (seventh chakra) and surround the flame with the associated chakra color. Take several breath cycles for each chakra as you move the flame down until you finish at the root (first chakra). Some chakras may be easier to visualize than others. If this happens you can begin to explore light movement in that area of the body. Remember meditation and visualization is a practice; the more you engage in the practice, the more powerful the benefits.

 

Do you need help clearing the clutter both physically and energetically? 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.

“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.

“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.

"The day she stopped getting stuck in ‘why’ was the day she finally started getting the answers she was looking for."

The day she stopped getting stuck in ‘why’ was the day she finally started getting the answers she was looking for.

I just finished re-staging a dance I choreographed a few years ago when I was on faculty at a university in CT. The piece is called “Cemented” and was an exploration of feeling stuck. Why do we as people get stuck on the same thought or hold onto a certain memory? Why do we just feel stuck in certain aspects of our life but not others? What makes us unstuck? My creative process always begins with asking a question and then working with my dancers to talk through possible solutions or outcomes both with our bodies and minds. I vividly remember this creative process and how fixated or “stuck “ I was on trying to find an answer to getting unstuck.

I enjoy re-staging my previous work because it allows me to revisit an idea with a new lens. I have new bodies in front of me to work with and though we have a detailed outline already in place, there is still room to play and come up with new solutions. This time around, I realized that I was not so fixated on how to become unstuck, but was more intrigued by the idea of being OK with being stuck.  Why is it that when we are stuck we feel it is necessary to fix something in order to become unstuck? Maybe if we allowed ourselves to marinate in the “unstuckness” we would find something new about ourselves.

Through the creative process this time around, I formed two new perspectives. First, that being stuck means we aren’t being truly present in our lives because we are hoping or waiting for something else to happen (living in the future) or we aren’t allowing ourselves to let go of something (living in the past). Second, that being stuck is something we need to struggle with because it is in the act of struggling, maybe even making some mistakes, and engaging in the day to day stuff that we truly learn and grow as individuals. This is where the deep cognitive learning, the change, and the growth happens; not in the quick fixes. I fully acknowledge that these two perspectives can be somewhat contradictory, but for now I am allowing myself to sit with them.

There is such beauty in re-visiting something over time. We get to come back to it with more knowledge, wisdom, and experience, which allow us to see things in a new light and through a new lens. This is not exclusive to the creative process, but can also be applied to all aspects of our lives: people we have encountered, situations we have experienced, skills/activities we have attempted, beliefs we have held/still hold, limiting views of ourselves, etc.

What are some things you would like to revisit in your life through a new lens? Where are you feeling stuck and can you allow yourself to enjoy the “stuckness” and not judge it?

 

Need help navigating the "stucknesss?" 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.

 

“Incidental events do not directly cause natural evolution; they just remove the obstacles as a farmer [removes the obstacles in a water course running to his field].”

Incidental events do not directly cause natural evolution; they just remove the obstacles as a farmer [removes the obstacles in a water course running to his field].
— Sri Swami Satchidananda

This past weekend, I had the privilege of going deeper into my yoga practice by attending a Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra training. It was such a special weekend being able to immerse myself in the power of restoring our body not just physically, but energetically as well. When reflecting on the weekend, I was reminded of one of my favorite Sutras (the quote above).

I really love what Satchidananda had to say about the guru being an agriculturist and removing obstacles to reveal what has always been there. I visualize a current of energy that is forever present in our body and soul. Our body/soul is constantly striving towards perfect health and free flowing energy, but sometimes we get in the way and create barriers. When I first started going to my chiropractor, he told me that his job is not to “fix” the person but to remove the obstacles away from the nervous system so that the body can get back to its healthy state.

I believe gurus, or teachers, come to us in many different forms whether they are people, events, situations, physical practices, and even animals (my cat has been one of the best teachers I have had in the past few years). Everything we need to know we already do know deep down inside, but sometimes we need these teachers to help guide us.

Teachers come into our lives to provide us lessons in order to grow and continue on our journeys. They are not there to do the work for us, but to help us remove the blocks so we can live from a more authentic place. There are times when we are not ready yet to learn certain lessons, but the universe will continue to send people or situations until we are ready. It is best when we are open and willing to receive what these teachers have to show us. This is something I sometimes struggle with because of the fear of the unknown. I want to control what’s happening and feel anxious when that control is lost. However, when I look back on different points in my life I see that when I was open to receive and trusted in the process it has always proven to be fruitful, many times providing much more than I could have imagined.

The most important teacher you will have throughout your life is yourself. By using the many tools we have talked about and engaging in practices that resonant with your authentic self, your energy will continuously flow freely.

 

Do you need help clearing the obstacles from your life? 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.

“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.”

An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.

I first heard this quote a few years ago while taking a yoga class. The teacher was leading us through a beautiful vinyasa flow class and used this quote while we were in warrior II so we could visualize something we wanted to release or manifest in our lives as we pulled back our imaginary bow and launched it into the universe. I found this physical, visual, and meditative sequence to be so empowering. We came back to it a few times throughout the class and each time I loved it even more.

Many times throughout our journey, we feel we are taking steps backwards. No matter how hard we try, it just doesn’t seem like we are making any progress. Most of the time we are focusing on concrete changes or feedback to validate whether we are being successful in our goals: for example, being recognized for a job well done at work in the hopes of getting promoted or getting on the scale and seeing a lower number. When these things don’t happen we may begin to loose motivation.

However, change is a process and many times there are major shifts energetically and internally that need to happen before we see a physical manifestation. Just because a boss doesn’t verbally recognize you doesn’t mean she/he doesn’t appreciate your hard work and have more in store for you. Not losing pounds doesn’t mean that your body isn’t getting in better shape. Muscle weighs more than fat.

When working towards one of your goals, if you find you are losing motivation think of this quote. Use it as a mantra to help you stop the downward spiral and trigger you into thinking more positively. You can go even further by making the mantra physical. Warrior II is a pose that everyone can access (video tutorial). When you are in this pose, take your front hand and hold the imaginary bow in front of you. Visualize your goal or anything you feel is standing in your way. Then, take your back hand and pull the imaginary arrow back to your cheek and when you are ready, let it go. Do this sequence a few times on both sides. Remember to connect your breath to your movement.

The more we, “the arrow,” get pulled back the harder we fight against it. Persistence and hard work due pay off. Keep building your foundation, staying present in the work you are doing, fall back on your tools if necessary so that when that arrow finally launches you are fully ready to receive all that you deserve!

 

 

The New Year is a great time to get clear on our goals and make the changes we have always wanted to make. I would love to help and support you in your journey! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call.

 

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. “

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
— Bill Vaughn

I always find it interesting (especially now with social media) that in the matter of a few days people’s posts go from pictures of family and friends, holiday decorations, words of love and encouragement to posts of desperation for the current year to end and proclamations for what has to be a better year to come. Why does this shift happen? Are we programmed to look back at things and only see the negative when an “end” is coming?

A few years ago when I was reading a lot about energy frequencies and the Law of Attraction, I began to think about New Year’s differently. I used to be one of those people who couldn’t wait to get rid of one year and truly believed the New Year would provide all that was lacking. However, it became clear to me that even though the ball dropping is a magical moment that I love watching, that ball doesn’t have the power to help me release my negative feelings and help me focus on positive ones. Only I was capable of doing that. If I truly wanted to step into the New Year and attract new opportunities, happiness, health, etc., I needed to leave the previous year radiating on a high/positive energy frequency. This meant I needed to make a major change in the way I viewed my life on a daily basis.

The easiest way to start shifting our mindset is gratitude. There are several ways to start a gratitude practice, which I have already highlighted in a previous post. However, there is one practice I started specifically in relation to New Year’s. Each year, I start with an empty mason jar and throughout the year I write on little note cards and post-it notes enjoyable moments. They range from vacations I went on to professional achievements to impromptu game nights with friends. On New Year’s Eve before celebrating, I read each moment and spread them out on my bed. It’s amazing the amount of things we forget even over one year, but truly incredible to be reminded of them. You can’t help but feel happy, full, thankful, and excited to continue to live this journey you have been given. This practice is so simple and easy to do on a daily basis, yet its payback is so great.

A new practice I am starting this year is to write myself a letter with the intentions I would like to set forth for the New Year. I am not a big fan of “resolutions” as I believe many times resolutions are just statements and not actual goals. This letter will serve as the basis for the goals I would like to set, but more importantly will be a private letter to myself reflecting on this past year and giving encouragement for the intentions I set for the New Year. I will then seal this letter and open it at the end of the year. Reflection is a useful tool in our journey and this letter will be a fun new way for me to do that.

I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year! I leave you with this link, which I hope helps to inspire your positive energy frequencies as you approach 2016.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/2015-was-okay

 

And don’t’ forget, I’m currently having a special on Intro Packages. I would love to help you get clear on your goals for 2016 and support you in your journey! 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.

 

“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.

“The wind does not blow to make trees dance, but to test their roots.”

The wind does not blow to make trees dance, but to test their roots.

This past semester in both my dance and yoga classes, I have been emphasizing the important relationship between stability and flexibility. Some students have an amazing capacity when it comes to flexibility. They can fold themselves and lift their legs in ways I only dream about. However, it is important that they also build up the musculature needed to support them. Other students have such strength in their ability to hold a balance or yoga pose for a lengthy amount of time. However, it is important that they also take the time to stretch themselves so they can go deeper in their technique/practice.

The balance between stability and flexibility not only serves us in our physical practice, but also our mental and emotional practice. Having a strong foundation provides us stability so that we can become more flexible in other areas of our life. For example, a person with a daily meditation practice is creating a resilient internal foundation that will help them when dealing with adversity. Being able to adapt to change, or be flexible, allows us to approach new situations with an open mind. We can use what we learn from each situation as a way to continue shaping the person we want to be, a process that is never ending.

However, being too rigid or too flexible can be detrimental. It becomes debilitating when we are so stuck in our routine that the slightest change throws our day off. Likewise, it is unhealthy if we spread ourselves too thin or we are always accommodating to other people’s needs. Knowing when to stay grounded and say “no” allows us to be more resilient and durable. I like to visualize the image of tree blowing in the wind. Even when the wind is forceful, the tree does not crack and break. Instead, its roots provide stability so that the branches can move freely.

Through self reflection, we can determine whether we tend to be more of a rigid person or more of an accommodating person. If you find you are more rigid, maybe you change one little thing in your routine a day. Or maybe each month you set a goal to try something new and completely out of your comfort zone, challenging you to let go a little more. If you find you are too flexible, maybe you set up a daily mindfulness practice to help ground yourself. Or maybe you take the time to prioritize the things in your life and commit yourself to supporting these priorities. Finding and maintaining a balance of both qualities is ideal in a healthy and fulfilled life.

 

Need more guidance in finding your balance? Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call!

“Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.”

Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.
— Sadness, "Inside Out"

One of my favorite movies of 2015 was Pixar’s Inside Out. Though it may seem like Joy would have been my favorite character from reading my previous blogs and the importance I place on changing our mindset to think positively, Sadness was actually my favorite. Without Sadness, there would be no Joy.

If you aren’t familiar with the movie, Inside Out, here’s a quick summary. The five emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear) are humanized as characters and occupy mission control in young Riley’s head. They are in charge of holding onto her memories, which get turned into colored memory balls correlating with each emotion and stored in the memory bank. Pixar even goes so far as categorizing them into long term, short term, subconscious, etc. Without giving too much away, Joy and Sadness go on a journey to help save Riley’s core memories, which make up the essence of who she is.

There are so many things I loved about this movie, but the main thing was that it showed us the importance of all different types of memories. Each memory, whether it’s a happy one or a sad one, makes us who we are. We learn from them and hopefully grow from them using the reflection tools we’ve already discussed (journaling, affirmations, visualization, etc.).

One of the reasons I appreciated Sadness was that she reminded us that it’s ok to feel crappy. It’s ok to cry. It’s even ok to take a day and binge watch a show because you are feeling down on yourself. We need these moments in order to understand and really value the joyful moments.

We often hear people tell us when we are upset or depressed to take it one step at a time and climb back up that ladder or mountain. In that visual, we are assuming that the pinnacle of the journey is happiness. Therefore, it is also assumed that with one faulty step we will fall all the way back down. I like to visualize our journey as more of a circle or a cycle. The goal is to try and stay on the top half of the circle. It’s comforting to know that one wrong step or set back isn’t going to make us tumble all the way down, but instead maybe sway back and forth a little on the top curve. This allows us to be less hard on ourselves and instead gives ourselves the space and time to work on balancing back on top. Happiness isn’t one pinnacle point that we are trying to obtain, but rather the act of engaging in the circle of life. (And yes, that is a The Lion King reference. )

 

Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call!

“Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.”

Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.
— Bo Bennett

As a child, I used to pass the time during church or when I was bored in class mentally running through the various dances I was learning at my studio or rehearsing for a show. Sometimes, I would even fantasize what my life would look like living in NYC and being immersed in the hustle and bustle of the musical theatre world. In high school, when I was stressed or overwhelmed and had trouble falling asleep I would close my eyes and imagine each muscle of my body relax starting at my head and ending at my toes. Little did I know at the time, but what I was doing in each of these situations was building a foundation for a practice that continues to change my life on a daily basis.

Last week, I talked about making a plan using proper goal setting techniques in order to make the changes we want in our lives. This week I would like to offer a very powerful technique to help throughout the process, visualization. Visualization is a cognitive process where one uses mental imagery to simulate or recreate visual perception. Visualization can help improve self-confidence, manage pain and stress, acquire new skills, and manifest changes in our lives. Like everything else, visualization is a practice. It may come easier to some than others, but the good thing is that through repetition we can become more skilled in it.  

When teaching visualization, the first thing I talk about is being able to close your eyes and practice seeing vivid and clear images. Think of the five senses (see, hear, touch, taste, and smell) as a starting point. Be as detailed as you can when visualizing the images or the scenario. Next, implement your mental and emotional feelings into the visualization. This allows the visualization to penetrate and connect the body, mind, and spirit. Finally, make sure that you are controlling your mind by not allowing outside thoughts to distract you or negative thoughts to creep in.

For the next week, try to visualize once a day. Set a timer for 3 minutes and close your eyes. Start by noticing your breath and lengthening your inhales and exhales. Then, begin to imagine a place you know well, your bedroom, office, etc. See that place in as much detail as you can using the five senses as your guide. It may be difficult at first to complete the 3 minutes without outside thoughts coming in, but go until the timer goes off. If you find 3 minutes is becoming easy, extend the time and start to zoom into specific areas of the room so you can get even more detailed in the picture you are creating. Keeping a visualization log reflecting on each session will be helpful in observing your progress. In the log, write down if outside or negative thoughts crept into the mind, whether you were able to access all five senses, and how specific you could get when zooming in.

Once we have the foundational skills for a strong visualization practice, we can use it in all areas of our life. Next week, I will go into more specific ways to use visualization. For example: how to use visualization when preparing for an audition, interview, or big presentation; and how visualization can be combined with trigger words to help with stress and anxiety.

 

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!

 

“We are only as strong as the foundation we build.”

We are only as strong as the foundation we build.

I found myself saying this many times this week in a variety of situations. First, in a workshop proposal for a women’s leadership conference focusing on success, then when I was teaching yoga to my faculty class and was stressing the importance of proper alignment, and finally when mentoring some of my young adult clients on decision making. So what is our foundation, how do we build it, and how can it help us?

YOU are the foundation for the life you are building. The stronger your foundation, the better you are at making decisions, dealing with adversity, and living a fuller, more successful life. Through observing that which serves and does not serve us, we can lead a more authentic life. There are so many outside ideas and opinions of what we should be doing or thinking, but we need to take the time to figure out what of those things actually align with our authentic selves. It is ok to question and decide to make new rules for yourself. Figuring out what makes you feel alive and what you are passionate about makes you more confident and proud to be who you are. Knowing these things will help you to create a practice that maintains and supports your foundation through using your positive self talk techniques and engaging in activities that continue to fuel your energy not drain you.

After reading an article in Psychology Today about anxiety in college students and working with my private young adult clients, I realized the universal need to teach coping skills. Unfortunately, there is an epidemic in our society, which goes beyond just our youth, to turn to unhealthy vices as a quick fix to help us feel better, to deal with stress and anxiety, and sometimes to feel that we belong. Drugs and alcohol are the most common of these vices, but we cannot forget over eating, smoking, etc. These vices provide us a quick pleasurable experience, which we mistake as happiness. The more we pursue this “happiness” we begin to create bad habits that can stick with us for a while. Having a strong foundation helps us to turn away from these vices and instead find ways to release the stress that help us to create good habits that will continue to serve us throughout our life.

One of the techniques I have begun to use with my clients is having them list the things that give them a “natural high” and make them feel empowered. Acknowledging the places and things that feed our authentic selves can help us in the areas where we struggle. For example, I may not be an active musical theatre performer anymore but I still remember what it feels like to be on stage and the joy it gave me throughout my life. When I am feeling down, stressed, or overwhelmed, I turn to musical theatre to “cope.” I’ll put my headphones in and listen to “One Day More” from Les Miserables and let the chords vibrate through my entire body changing my energy frequency. Sometimes, I’ll go into my room and belt out “Someone Like You” from Jekyll & Hyde giving me that instant gratification and allowing me to “let off some steam.”

What in you life makes you feel empowered and gives you that natural high? Maybe it’s physical, like playing a sport or doing yoga or building something? Maybe it’s more mental, like doing a crossword puzzle? Or maybe it’s more creative, like writing a poem or painting? The next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed and want to reach for that chocolate bar or glass of wine try to do one of the things you just wrote down and see how you feel after that.

 

Are you ready to build your foundation and lead a more fulfilled life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call!

 

“Teach your mind to listen to what your body and spirit are saying.”

Teach your mind to listen to what your body and spirit are saying.

Well it happened again…I was feeling overwhelmed and a little anxious at the beginning of the week. When I walked into morning yoga on Tuesday, there it was playing again, Ingrid Michaelson’s “Keep Breathing.” I smiled, laughed to myself, unrolled my mat, and listened.  The teacher started class by telling a quick story about getting her hair done and talking to the hairdresser that was in-training. He had taken years to follow his passion of becoming a hairdresser because a voice in his head kept telling him, “the world doesn’t need another gay hairdresser.” Finally, he decided enough was enough. He silenced the voice and followed his dream.

Many of us can relate to this story, myself included. The message the Universe was sending me that Tuesday morning was clear…don’t let the negative self talk stop you because you don’t think what you offer is needed. There is always a need for you to pursue your passion and be true to yourself. We all have gifts and they should be honored and shared.

This week’s focus is on trigger words and it is clear that “keep breathing” is my newest trigger word. Trigger words can be a single word or phrase that initiates a process or course of action. I’d like to go even further and say they can also be an object like a bracelet or necklace. Trigger words (or objects) can be used for negative thought stopping, as reminders to step back and re-focus, and to provide quick information when executing a skill.

One of the most common trigger words for negative thought stopping is stop. However, when working with clients I like them to come up with words that hold more personal meaning. Maybe they have a practice to help with relaxation where they visualize themselves lying on the beach listening to the waves crash and then the words “beach” or “waves” become trigger words for them when they are anxious. When I am teaching movement classes, I use trigger words all the time to remind my students of proper technique. Some of my favorites are “headlights” when referring to correct hip alignment and “flip flop” when referring to weight placement in releve.

Try coming up with your own trigger words. Begin with just a couple and commit to using them for a week. You will find that using these words in addition to the other tools we have discussed will help shift your mindset quicker than you think!

Are you ready to say no to your inner critic and follow your dreams and passion? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min complimentary coaching call!

 

"Breathe, just breathe..."

Breathe, just breathe…

After a long day of meetings and feeling very overwhelmed, I put my iPod on shuffle (yes my iPod classic because I'm old school) and the first song that came up was T Swift's "Breathe" followed by Ingrid Michaelson’s "Keep Breathing" and then Journeys’ "Don't Stop Believin'.” Coincidence? I think not. It was the universe reminding me that everything is going to be OK. All you have to do is breathe, do the best you can, and trust in the process. We don't need to have or know all the answers (I know easier said than done). Our job is to keep breathing, be present, honor our true self, and enjoy the journey.

Last week, I introduced the concept of self talk and its importance in building our confidence through positive thoughts. I discussed how negative thoughts can lead to a downward spiral. For the next few weeks, I would like to offer you some specific tools so that you can build a strong practice and train your mind to work for you, not against you.

The first is to create a personal litany. A litany is a group of positive statements one can say to themselves silently or out loud. They help to increase our self-confidence by utilizing positive self talk. The litany can be for a specific aspect of your life: career, love, personal, etc. For example, if you are trying to change to a healthier lifestyle you may have ones like, “I am taking action to create healthy habits,” or “I know there will be days where I struggle, but it is ok because I am strong and I know I can do this.”  The litany can also be more generic and incorporate all aspects of your life. For example, “I choose love over fear,” or “I know I may feel overwhelmed at times, but it is ok because I have the tools to work through it.” (I said this one to myself several times during that long day of meetings.)

Once you have created your litany, hang it up where you can see it everyday or maybe laminate it so you can carry it around and pull it out when needed. In order for this tool to work, you need to say it everyday, maybe several times a day, and make it a practice. The more we say these affirmations or mantras, the more we believe them, embody them, and the more powerful they become when we need them the most.  

Take the next few minutes and create a litany for yourself. Commit to saying it everyday for a week. Then check in and see how you feel. Write your observations down in the journal you started last week. These are just observations used for self reflection, not judgments.

Next week, I will offer another mental training tool so stay tuned!

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