Learning to Let Go

Learning to let go of something that is keeping you stuck is sometimes really hard to do. This is because so often our subconscious minds are holding on to something and keeping us stuck. Even when we consciously realize, what we are doing is a pattern that is keeping us stuck. So often the subconscious pattern will override especially in times of stress. 

For example, we all know that in order to eat healthy we should have a variety of foods and focus on eating non-processed foods. Yet so often we find ourselves reaching for something quick when we are in a rush or going to the nearest fast food restaurant to curb our hunger. When asked consciously what you should eat to lead a healthy lifestyle almost everyone can tell you exactly what they need to do. Yet so few do on a regular basis. 

What needs to happen is a shift in your subconscious that will allow your brain to redirect you every time you fall back into that pattern. When my daughter was little I was very aware of this and my motto for her was always, ‘you can eat what you want as long as you have the healthy option first.’ Later, I had a friend tell me that because they had heard me with my daughter they had also shifted their pattern. So whenever they reached for their subconscious eating patterns they could hear my voice in their head saying, ‘healthy first.’ That tiny shift in their subconsciousness allowed them to make healthier choices on a regular basis. 

One reason we struggle with ridding ourselves of our subconscious patterns is because we need to replace the subconscious pattern with a new subconscious pattern. The pattern can be a subtle shift like the little voice saying, “healthy first.” When we begin to make small changes and stick with them we are able to maintain them and they become our new subconscious pattern. 

When I stopped drinking alcohol I did exactly this. I was never a big drinker and I honestly think I am allergic to alcohol. Even one glass of organic wine would make me feel like crap the next day, I would still go out with my friends and go for ‘drinks,’ only instead of having a glass of wine I would just order a cran soda instead. When I went to parties I would bring fun bubbly water drinks that were my special occasion drinks that even looked like wine coolers. Unless someone asked what I was drinking or knew prior that I didn’t drink, no one would have known the difference. My fun with my friends didn’t change, all I did was remove one tiny thing that was not serving me and replaced it with something that was. I am not in any way saying people need to stop drinking alcohol. What I am saying is that with anything that you want to shift in your life you need to find a replacement otherwise the subconscious will take over and you will be back doing the same thing you always have in the same way. 

When we start to become conscious of the things that are no longer serving us we can learn to let them go by retraining our subconscious minds. If you need to let go of a past relationship what is one tiny shift that you could do? When you normally would call or text them, you could shift it to texting or calling a trusted friend instead. If you need to let go of stressors on the job. What could you shift your focus to so that those stressors do not affect you as much? As a teacher I focus on the joy of the students and do my best to ignore all of the other stressors and make work projects that come with my career. When I can shift my thinking to the fun with the kids I can completely shift my perspective and let go of many of my frustrations with the system. 

So often people want someone or something to change in order for them to find what they are searching for. This is one of the biggest illusions that we need to let go of. Everything that you need comes from within yourself. If you are unhappy with your current situation, you are the only one who can change it. This involves letting go of blame and shaming of others.  

This realization comes with a lot of healing and a lot of self awareness. Learning to let go of things that you cannot control is literally a life long journey. The good thing is that once we learn strategies to help us let go, each time we are faced with another stressor we have the tools within ourselves to help us grow and heal faster and with more ease. 

What are some of the things that you need to let go of? Are you still holding anger and resentment towards a past relationship? Can you let go and forgive them to free yourself from the stress it is causing you? Forgiveness is not about making what the other did right or okay. It is about freeing yourself of the toxicity that holding on to that anger and resentment is causing you. When you hold on to anger it is like the saying where you drink the poison yet expect the other to die from it. Holding on to it does not help anyone. You can let go of anger towards someone and never have to interact with them. The letting go involves only you shifting your awareness from anger to ease. 

Whenever I come across things I am holding on to I try to shift my thinking to a place of gratitude and ask myself, “What can I learn from this situation and how has it helped me grow?” Each day we have the opportunity to let go of things that are no longer serving us, that is the beauty of life. Those struggles and frustrations may emerge again, yet once you have the ability to be consciously aware you will reset so much faster and be able to heal on a deeper level. 

I challenge you to think of what is no longer serving you and find one tiny switch that you can make to shift your subconscious pattern.  You will be amazed at how your life will change when you begin to let go of what is no longer serving you by replacing it with things that do. 

Are you feeling stuck and want to let go of the things that do not serve you? Stay tuned for more information on my, “Empower your Life Course.” Which will be launched this fall. 

Rewriting Your Life Story: How Changing Your Perspective Changes Your Life

I want you to take a moment and think about your life. Visualize your earliest memories. What your childhood was like. Who your friends were and are. How your family interacted with each other. What your schooling experience was like and the direction you took after leaving High School. What were your first jobs, how has your career shaped you? How do you view your life now? Take a few moments to just let yourself be absorbed in these memories. 

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Now reflect on the memories that you pulled into your consciousness. Were the majority of them negative or positive? Did the most traumatizing events come to mind first or the most uplifting? When you envision your life do you view it as laced with hardship or perseverance? 

So much of what we experience in life is a product of our perspective. You can shift your life story completely just by consciously shifting your perspective. The first step is to become conscious of your version of your life story. Once you have become aware of it you are able to shift your perception of it and begin to heal and grow from your life experiences. 

We all experience trauma in different ways and we hold on to that trauma differently. The beautiful thing about life is that no matter what you have been through, you can begin to heal from it the moment you consciously decide that holding on to that trauma is no longer serving you. Our subconscious mind controls the way we think, look and act. Once you begin to understand how your subconscious mind works you can begin to shift your patterns and break free of the trauma you are holding on to that is keeping you stuck. 

All of us have experienced trauma. On a global scale, there have been many traumatic events throughout history. Some caused by other human beings and some by the forces of nature. No matter what the trauma that you have experienced, the beautiful thing about life is that as long as you are living and breathing you have the opportunity to experience the beauty and joy of this amazing world if you choose to. 

There are miracles all around us that we don’t even notice as we go about our daily lives on autopilot.  Whenever I am struggling to see the beauty in life, I recall a meditation I used to listen to daily by Louise Hay.  In meditation, she guides you to be grateful for your bathroom. I know it’s weird, but it makes sense when she states, “even kings and queens did not have the luxury of modern plumbing.”  This always makes me think about how lucky I am to have running water and plumbing in my home.  This little glimpse of gratitude can be enough to shift my mood and perspective on whatever it is that I am struggling with. You have this power within yourself too. 

One of my favorite books that I go back and read over and over again when life brings me challenges is, “You Can Heal Your Life,” by Louise Hay. This book was the jumping point to rewriting my life and getting on to a healthier and more positive path. The only one who has the power to empower your life is you. This happens by making the conscious choice to rewire your subconscious mind and as a result your autopilot will shift and your life will shift. 

Now that you have become aware of this, I want you to take a moment to reflect on your life story again. This time I want you to visualize your earliest memories from the perspective of gratitude and perseverance. What your childhood was like. Who your friends were and are. How your family interacted with each other. What your schooling experience was like and the direction you took after leaving High School. What were your first jobs, how has your career shaped you? How do you view your life now? Take a few moments to just let yourself be absorbed in these memories from the perspective of gratitude and perseverance.

After recalling the same life story from the perspective of perseverance and gratitude, how does your body feel? What is going on in your mind? How do you now feel about your life story? Has it shifted? 

Rewriting your life does not mean you go back and change what happened to you. It is about shifting from: this happened to me and has traumatized me, to: this happened to me and I learned so much from that situation. You can be grateful for your strength, ability to persevere and grow from each and every experience in life. 

The first time I ever experienced work around shifting my life story, was when I attended a retreat, run by the Hoffman Institute. It was a week-long retreat designed to help people transform their lives by changing old behavior patterns. The second time was when I was completing my kids yoga teacher training. This time I already knew that the instructor was expecting everyone to focus on the trauma they had lived through. That is exactly what happened.

Each and every person told of the hardships of their lives. I purposely told my story from the perspective of gratitude and growth.  Then after explaining that I already had experienced work designed to make us rethink our life story. Just like at Hoffman, the yoga instructor made everyone retell their story from this perspective. The energy in the room completely shifted from heaviness to a feeling of lightness and gratitude. All from the power of shifting perspective. 

So how do you rewrite your life story? You shift your perspective from hardship to gratitude and perseverance. Become conscious of the patterns you unconsciously do that are keeping you stuck. Then take that knowledge and begin to make tiny shifts in your daily activities. Your life becomes better when you find joy and gratitude in what you already have and the miracles that surround each and everyone of us. Being grateful for what you have will attract more things for you to be grateful for. This shift is unbelievably powerful and will help you to completely “Rewrite Your Life!” 

Are you feeling stuck and want to rewrite and empower your life? Stay tuned for more information on my, “Empower your Life Course.” Which will be launched this fall. 

Teaching Empathy is Essential

Classrooms today look very similar to what they did forty years ago or even a hundred years ago for that matter. Especially, last year when the students had to sit in rows away from each other an only facing the front of the room. When you think about schooling throughout history you will see that some skills were as essential then as they are now. Yet, there are many things that have become obsolete. Also, many of these essential skills are not clearly taught or nurtured.

Teachers are teaching students for a world that we know nothing about. We do not even know the types of jobs or skills that will be needed in the next few years as technology advances. What we do know is that having skills to collaborate with others, think critically and be able to “read the room,” are all skills that in many ways are timeless. That is why I wrote “I am Empathetic,” to help kids enhance essential skills that are timeless.

So you may ask yourself “am I empathetic.” Almost everyone has some empathy skills, they are built into our very nature as humans to show caring and kindness to another. Empathy expands beyond that by trying to understand the feelings of another even when you have not experienced the situation. You can show empathy by holding space for another to grieve a loss or to be understanding of fears when they are trying something new. Empathy helps make the world a better place.

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In classrooms, we need to develop skills for children to understand that not everyone thinks and acts they way they do. Some kids struggle with writing while others write pages and pages. Some draw amazing sketches while others struggle to draw a stick figure. We all have our own gifts, talents, interests and things we find difficult. Some are natural athletes, some have two left feet. What kids need is to understand that we all have gifts and we all have challenges they just look different for each person.

Skills to help build children’s confidence and self esteem really are rooted in empathy for understanding the strength it takes to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Some kids jump at the challenge to try new things while other are terrified. We all approach the unknown differently.

Some people are very empathetic and can essentially walk into a room and feel the energy of it. They may ask themselves, “Why am I so Empathetic?” In this case, they may be an empath. Empaths literally feel others energy and can take it on as their own if they do not understand how to protect their own energy. People who are very empathetic tend to take on a lot and will deplete their own energy to help others. The problem is that you cannot serve from an empty glass so empaths need to ensure that their “cup” is full so that they can truly show empathy for themselves and others.

You may also be thinking, “How Empathetic am I?” Well we all have various degrees of empathy for different people and situations. Sometimes when an event or action directly relates to a friend or family member people will have more empathy then they do for someone that they do not know. Some people also question their actions when they ask themselves, “Why am i not empathetic?”

People who lack empathy generally have more problems in their relationships because they struggle to understand another person’s perspective or what they are going through. Lacking empathy can look like: blaming behaviours, being very critical of others, not forgiving people for honest mistakes, no patience for someone’s emotional reaction, reacting with extreme impatience and anger, not understanding how their behaviour affects other people, etc. We all exhibit these behaviours to some degree as well, especially when our energy is depleted. Everyone benefits from self-reflection, when these behaviours escalate in themselves. Self-regulation is a skill that goes hand in hand with building empathy skills.

Empathy plays a huge role in building social connections and will directly affect a child’s ability to create prosocial behaviours. Which is why it will always be a timeless skill that needs to be fostered as early as preschool and into adulthood.