Tending Your Energy in a Chaotic World

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“Before helping others, put on your oxygen mask.”

How often do we hear this common flight instruction tossed around as a metaphor? We nod and agree, and then often, go back to throwing ourselves under the bus, doing the same things over and over, wishing for a different result. So, let’s be honest: this instruction is hard in the day to day doing.

It’s no simple thing.

When I said goodbye to corporate accounting many years ago, I left behind 80-hour work weeks, crushing deadlines and painful posturing.

The last year I worked in a corporate setting full-time, I consciously decided to bring some balance back into my life. I stopped bringing my computer home on the weekends or weekday evenings. I took a lunch break away from my desk. I worked out in the company gym regularly (and it was nearly always deserted). Most important, I stopped reacting to the false sense of urgency that kept everyone amped up and on edge and started asking clarifying questions about priorities before automatically signing up for a project or a deadline.

It wasn’t a popular choice. Without buying into the crazed pace and the hyper-busy party line of my company, I ended up shut out of decision-making and I was treated differently. It was painful. I felt caught between a rock and a hard place: I knew that working at that pace was not sustainable (or healthy), nor did I believe people were actually doing their best work and yet, it was the norm and the culture. However, if I didn’t buy into it, I was no longer part of the winning team.

I had to choose, and, as hard as it was, I chose me.

Fast-forward through leaving corporate accounting, the joy (and stress) of getting married, becoming a yoga teacher, having a baby, then choosing to pursue a career as a coach. When I started my coaching business, I found myself creating the same kind of hectic pace for my own business that I had experienced during my corporate career. Granted, I was doing work I felt called to, but still, I created an untenable work environment for myself.

When I realized what I had done, I was puzzled. And curious.

I can point to any number of facets of our culture, my own traumatic imprints (and the ensuing anxiety), and unhelpful beliefs that led me to recreate this framework for my own business: an unconscious coupling of “busy” and “money”, a deep feeling of scarcity and a need to overwork to feel (barely) equal, a truly driven work ethic passed down by many generations, the culture that I was educated in, and work environments that push on people in such a way that we believe we must keep going no matter what the cost to us personally.

The fact is, I, like many others, unconsciously agree to these terms and conditions believing we have no choice. We blatantly disregard the consequences this type of behavior has not only on our lives, but on our relationships, and society at large. To do it differently requires courage to challenge the status quo and culturally swim upstream.

Different choices are the path to new outcomes.

Only you know what it would mean for you to shift the paradigm and tend your energy, first. But discovering your Truth (and the subsequent actions) begins with two questions:

Who do you want to be?

How do you want to move through your life? 

I, for one, am in it for the long-game. I want to move with deliberate presence through my days and my world. This means I prioritize tending my energy first every day. I sleep 7 - 8 hours per night. I exercise most days and I focus on quality food that makes my body feel clear and alive. I don’t drink alcohol or use other substances as substitutes for real rest. I spend time outdoors. I journal daily to gather my thoughts. I minimize social media time and I take time to do things that light me up: breath, meditation, dance, and communing with plants and animals. I take time away with my family regularly to recharge and reconnect. 

Not only do these elements of tending my energy bring me joy, but I am more efficient, engaged and inspired when I am in a groove with my nourishing practices. Honestly, I get more of the right things done and I’m better in every way. I am more discerning. I am more empathetic, more loving and more connected to my own wisdom. 

It used to bother me that I felt present and filled up while others were complaining/bragging (you know what I mean) about how busy and tired they were. It doesn’t bother me anymore. I don’t want to live my life in a constant state of being behind: being in that draggy state of tired and wired is the ultimate embodiment of scarcity mindset. 

Choose you, today and every day.

Make no mistake, sister. Tending your energy changes the game on every level. It is an affirmation of your commitment to receive nourishment and to move into the world from a place of overflow. It is the strong foundation for the woman you, are the woman you are becoming, and the work you are here to do.

Tending your energy first allows you to be at your best. To be a force of good in the world from a place of abundance. If you need it, you have my full permission to offer yourself the depth and breadth of support that will nourish you, and leave you full. 

You are Invited

If you are a woman beginning, or growing, a business who lives and works with anxiety, exhaustion and a feeling of perpetual scarcity or you have experienced trauma and you are ready to create a foundation of tending yourself, consider joining me. Create a solid foundation for you, and your work in 2020: I am welcoming 6 women to a bespoke experience of The Trauma-Sensitive Business via individual coaching. I’m taking applications through mid-December.

xo.nona

Honor the Longing

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Hey soul sister: listen to me read this post right here {6min, 2sec}:
 

My work is so much of who I am.

So much of who YOU are, too, I know. You are dedicated, committed and absolutely on fire to do meaningful work in the world. And you do -- in big and small ways, just by being you, you are changing the ecosystem of the world through your love, through your wisdom, through your magic. 

As joyful and fulfilling as work is, you need more.

You need time for deep sustenance. Time to rest. Time to think. Time for pleasure and play. Time to indulge your longings. I have learned, over lots of time, and many fumbles, that I am at my best when I weave deep and meaningful nourishment into my days. 

And I also need time to step away completely -- to honor my longings as fully as I can. I believe we all need that kind of spaciousness and I wonder... how many of us actually give ourselves that time? 

What I notice when I do give myself that time is that I return to work anew. I return to my pursuits with loads of energy and fresh ideas. As much as our culture pushes endless productivity, we simply don't work like that, do we?  

So, as I head out on a month long vacation home to the U.S., I fully intend to honor my longings. The longings I have (that you have) point to the ways that we are most deeply refilled, most fully nourished. The things that create the richest, lushest topsoil from which to create. 

The other day, I was writing with the prompt, "I long to be." and it made me think of you, and me, and meaningful work and how extremely important it is to honor the longings. As the northern hemisphere bakes in the heat of long days and short, summer nights and the southern hemisphere enjoys it's lovely and mild version of winter, may you know, and honor, your longings -- -- for me, it's undoubtedly the time I spend with earth, in wild spaces, as you'll see from my writing below. 

I long to be

I long to be wild,
to be bitten and scratched, hot and burnt, ravished in the space between earth and sun. 

I long to be dipped in the rushing river,
to be cleansed, letting the heat of my skin be swept away by the current. 

I long to be sun freckled by day,
and kissed by moonlight as I dream. 

I long to sling a hammock between two trees,
to be woken by lions on the prowl, holding my breath when the king's great mane brushes against my back as I hang in the balance. 

I long to be a kingfisher,
to hover -- like magic, really -- so gracefully before plunging into the water. 

I long to be a hippo,
fierce and mysterious in being made for both land and river.

I long to be a leopard,
pregnant, holding the future of my kind in my belly.

Oh let's face it, I long to be every animal at least once (some twice, please),
Even the warthog, who kneels in prayer and looks like she is kissing the earth when she eats. 

I long to live in a treehouse.
Hobbit-style or Robinson Carusoe -- it doesn't matter as long as the tree says yes and we can tell each other our secrets. 

I long to do more and be more and make more,
to make a deeper and wider contribution. A legacy. And then the pied crow catches my eye and I just want to go back home. 

I long to be home,
to go deep into the forest, to the ocean, to the wild places. 

I long for the places that I reMember,
I am simply one of many beings who share the ancient exhalation of our star, the sun. 

I long to be nothing more than the woman I am,
but let it be in a world that values life, and I don't mean just lip-service. 

I long for a time,
Maybe long ago or in a (not so) distant future when all beings, all life, will flourish and be celebrated for it.

I long (eventually) to be dirt,
to be rich topsoil that nourishes beauty and bellies alike, that connects the trees and cushions the fall of children who lose their footing. 

I long for the adventure,
To lean into life and to appreciate every inch, every mile traversed. To love it with all of my soul yesterday, today and tomorrow. 

May you honor the longing of your soul.

May this coming season offer you ample opportunities to hear, and follow, the longings. To feel deeply nourished. To fill your cup with pleasure so you can come back to what is important and meaningful in your work with fresh eyes and ample energy. 

xoxo.nona

 

The Art of Intentional Practice

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Practice gets a bad rap.

I've heard the gamut of responses to the idea of "practice"  -- from spiritual transcendence to athletic performance to dreadful, dull and boring repetitive action. 

In actuality, you are practicing every moment of every day. Consciously or unconsciously, you are practicing your responses, your actions and your reactions. You are practicing your best and your worst qualities by simply doing what you do, over and over. This ultimately defines the quality of your life.

However, done intentionally, practice can be a potent and reliable ally in real and reliable transformation. 

Intentional practice is the key.

Intentional practice is about making a different choice -- disruption of the status quo in your actions. Intentional practice has a vision. Intentional practice is also fluid and deeply connected to the present moment and what is working. 

Intentional practice means you are practicing something that is incredibly important to you be it abundance, peace, health, self-expression, connection, or success and, done right, you are practicing in ways that hold tremendous value for you and the woman you wish to be today and tomorrow. 

Who do you want to be? 

This is a valuable question, and, certainly you can be no one but yourself. There is nothing to fix or mend, intentional practice is about peeling back the layers of who you aren't to reveal and polish that diamond that you are. 

  • I want to be a woman who embodies generosity and abundance.
  • I want to be a woman who is strong physically, mentally and emotionally. 
  • I want to be a woman who speaks up and speaks the truth. 
  • I want to be a woman who uses and celebrates my innate gifts and talents.
  • I want to be a woman who loves deeply and lives close to my own knowing. 
  • I want to be a woman who makes a powerful contribution in the lives of others. 


These are examples of who I want to be each and every day and how I practice. And in showing up for this vision of myself and supporting other women over the years, here is the secret I've learned; if you want something (like YOU really want it, it isn't something you've been told you *should* want) it is already burning within you. It is already yours

All you have to do is practice. 

How to be intentional in practice. 

Value your practice -- elevate it's importance. The biggest objection I hear is that people don't have time. Yes, you do. I understand that this can feel like a monumental shift but it is critical -- you, and your intentional practice, is for you and you alone. It is time for you to affirm and embody your desires as a priority. This, right here, changes everything. Make the time. Put yourself first as a radical act of elevating the importance of who you most wish to be and how you most wish to feel as you move through the world. 

Be willing to fail. Let go of perfection. Failure is a part of any good process. To be great at anything means understanding and knowing the contrast intimately. Expect and welcome failure as the teacher that it is. We all know intellectually that failure is a powerful teacher. Welcome failure with grace, instead of beating yourself with the idea of perfection.  

You aren't there yet, so keep your attention where you are right now. Intentional practice is about having a powerful vision, but keeping your eyes and your attention fixed on getting to your vision of success is a recipe for misery. As badly as we might wish for an end-game and a final completion, it typically doesn't exist. We are constantly evolving and changing and until you die, I hope you will be engaged in your sacred practice. Yes, have a vision, but let your attention rest in the day to day doing. 

Appreciate how far you've come and how it feels in the doing. It is vital to take time to acknowledge how far you've come. Take time to take in how good it feels to take action that is aligned with the woman you know you are and that you are becoming. So yes, appreciate how it feels and acknowledge your progress. When I was learning to love strength training, I did not enjoy most of the sessions of strength training. But what I did enjoy was the feeling in my body afterwards. What I did enjoy was the growing sense of strength and the lessening of aches and pains. This kept my skin in the game while I was learning to enjoy strength training. 

Enjoy the process. If every fiber of your being hates what you are doing, evaluate your desires and intentions. It could be simple resistance or, it could be that you are under the spell of someone else's ideas and expectations and *shoulds*. To be honest, it could also be that you have ideas about how things should be -- sometimes, things are hard. That's okay. You are built for hard things. I trust you to know the difference between not wanting to do something hard and a true and deep NO from your soul. Trust yourself to know the difference and really, enjoy the fullness of your humanity as you choose to be more intentional in how you practice. 

I believe in you, and your practice. 

You are not here to elevate someone else's desires or ideas. You make your most powerful contribution to the world when you are committed to honoring your own desires and being the woman you are more fully until the day you die. 

May you practice with vigor being the woman you are and the woman you wish to be. May your practices be potent allies in real and reliable transformation. And, heart wide open, may you embrace the joys and the challenges of intentional practice and all that is has to offer you. 

xo.nona


The Deep Magic of Practice Awaits

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Photo by Monica Gozalo on Unsplash