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Pair #40 Should-ing all over yourself
Self Care? Oh, I highly recommend it.

For me.

However, for about 20 years I tried (um, read “failed”) to establish a regular routine of either yoga or meditation or both. I had heard about and believed in both as good things I could do for myself.  My very earnest attempts at this however,  are best summed up not under the heading The Art and Science of Self Care but rather as Elese's Awesome Intentions and Marvelous Wishful Thinking.

My self-care rallying cry was, “I really should do this.”

I hear this a lot from clients who come for coaching.  We will delve into an area of their life that isn’t working, and it will become clear that the reason they are feeling increased stress, or are suddenly less able to maintain their cool with the kids, is because they are not taking good care of themselves.  When they realize they’ve not been going for walks, not reading, not singing or whatever it is that nourishes them, usually the first thing out of their mouths is, “ Yeah, I know, I really should do this.”

Now, that may be perfectly true.  Maybe they should. Whatever that means. I thought I should meditate but that never helped me to actually create a regular practice.  Here's the skinny as far as I'm concerned...
  • Everyone who has a gym membership and doesn’t go tells themselves they should. 
  • Everyone who wants to take vacation and doesn’t tells themselves they should.
  • Everyone who has an addiction at some point, tells themselves they shouldn’t.

“Should”  and “shouldn’t” sound accurate (especially when it come to over-eating and exercise) but they just don’t work to make us do it. They work really well to make us feel bad though!  And from what I see,  I can never feel bad enough about something to make myself do it.

Fast forward to today.

For the past 4 years I’ve had a daily meditation practice of 20 minutes (sometimes 10 and sometimes 5, I’ll admit) but I rarely miss a day.  How did I do that?  I started taking notice of what my life was like when I did it, and what it was like when I didn’t. No big deal really.  I noticed how much easier my day was when I did meditate.   I tuned into that, without really trying to make myself do it, and then apparently I just continued.  I continue to continue, I’ve noticed.

My recipe for doing something you are avoiding but that you think will nourish you, support you and make your life easier? Observe.  Notice your life with it.  Notice your life without it.  

Think of it as a Science Experiment.

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' each day on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.
 
 
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Pair #39  Put up and Shut Up
I keep a few sticky notes around my desk to remind me of what's important to me.  You see, sometimes my mind doesn't really remember the bigger picture, the higher purpose or the wider context of my life and so I've just installed instant recall of my own simple truths. 

Most of these notes are from my personal learnings, like 'everything is for good' others are nuggets of wisdom that I like such as 'communicate with a request or a promise.'  All of them are within quick glance so that if I am rushing or have a tough day, I have these sanity grabbers.

A few weeks ago I put a new one on the monitor right in front of where I set up my laptop.  It was the focus for that day and it said:

"FOCUS: Be Even More Helpful"

Today I walked into the office and before I picked up the phone for my first client call, I took a pen to that particular sticky note, added a colon, and just below  "Be Even More Helpful:"  I wrote:

"Shut Up."

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' each day on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.
 
 
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Pair #27 Renew Your Subscription To Yourself
Today is just a quick reminder to check in on self care.  For me, that is!

Self Care is a practice I have come to take seriously for one reason: Whenever something in my life is going wrong, or I'm not handling something well, or things just appear to be going generally nutso, my self care has almost always slipped. 

In my case it will be either that I'm not doing what I know nourishes me, or I'm doing it, but only half-heartedly. 

When I say 'self care' I mean more than physical exercise.  I mean my own daily commitment to sit quietly, to read, to get in touch with what I'm grateful for and at the moment, to also do one of the daily lessons from A Course in MIracles.

I do physical exercise too, and yes, if that slips my mind gets a bit duller, and I feel tired and lackluster. Exercise is great, all forms, strenuous and gentle... I've come to appreciate the need for excellent care and feeding of the body! 

At the same time, if physical exercise is my only form of self care, I find it's not enough. I need a spiritual nourishment and a mental resting place each day.

So as James Taylor sings:
"If you're down
and troubled
and you need some love and care
and nothing,
nothing is going right
close your eyes..."

...and think of your self care.

More on this with some exercises you might try the Tips and Ideas section  and in particular this article on Mindfully Living
© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' each day on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you
 
 
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Pair #25 If it's not art, what is it?
I spent a year as an apprentice with Michael Neill and I can tell you there is one thing Michael knows better than anyone and that's how to tip the balance of life toward inspiration.  When you consider that many of us struggle to get out of perspiration and into inspiration even for a short minute it’s a source of hope to watch Michael proving there's another way.

The quirky thing about Michael’s brand of inspired is that he works very hard at it. In an effortless kind of way. Now, I don’t propose that Michael’s or anyone’s life as the “THE formula” but it’s certainly worth thinking about this.

More often than not the idea of "Living an Inspired Life" sounds like a spiritual or artsy or deeply cool -but faraway thing.  But real inspiration, funnily enough, might just be mundane.  Rather than the big bang that will finally hit you and reveal your life purpose and the secrets of the universe... in practice it might be more like: "Yay! I woke up today! What Next?"

And here's the thing about people who are genuinely thrilled by waking up again  so they can do the things they enjoy... very often they are also successful.  Or maybe I should put it this way, successful people seem to also love what they do.

So which comes first?  How many of us are hoping the success is what will bring us the satisfaction?

I think living inspired is a minor art.  And ‘inspired’ is a terrible word for it really.   It’s just not the getting-psyched-up and be-a-go-getter thing, nor does it mean I put a flower behind my right ear and dedicate my life to verse - from what I can tell it is the simple art of genuinely falling in love with your life.  

Then, of course, it all goes slightly wonky.. because when you are in love with your life, hard work can be a big part of it.  Sometimes you toil hard and you sweat.  Other times you rest and float.  Maybe you don’t so much balance between % inspiration and %perspiration, as allowing inspiration to decide what’s worth sweating over while you've got that smile on your face.

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Hear Michael on the radio show this Friday, May 7th, live at 10 am Pacific as we talk about waving goodbye to money fear.
(if you miss it, go here for the archive after the show)

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' each day on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.
 
 
OK, it's time for a rant.

Anyone here not had enough of their suffering and worried thinking yet? Please stand up and go make a cup of tea.

Those still sitting...if you want to become clearer in thinking and expression (and you don't have an undiagnosed chemical imbalance) then the only remedy I know is a daily dose of quietness of the mind.

You really don't even know what the roots of problems are (or how to solve them) until you come into better control of the thought process.  Now by 'control' I really mean that you come to a place of ease and clarity in thinking.  Not that you become the thought patrol.

Paradoxically, though, the only way I know to create that 'ease and clarity' is to stop dabbling and get serious about some kind of daily practice.  I'm not saying you can't get a quiet mind another way. 

But for most of us, ease will take effort.

Sucks huh?

Look, if there is a good chance your issues are not chemical, dietary, or medical, then there is a high chance this just might work.  So what it really means if you don't do it is super simple.  You really have not had enough yet (see my previous posts on this one, just below!).

I bet you have already been exposed to enough great methods and enough superb advice and information by now to be able to choose something that you like and that works for you as a mind-calming practice.  Choose the thing that gives you the greatest sense of peace, ease and focus and then commit, absolutely, to make it happen daily - no matter what.  I mean that.  Like, Everyday.

That's my unsolicited (but sound) advice.

So how about it? Hearing the objections in your head?  Got a really good story about why that can't happen? Stop listening to it right now and pick up your phone.  Getting a routine going when you're not used to it can be hard for anyone, so get a daily check in buddy who you will report to.

Barring that, hire a coach. Pick someone you know is going take no excuses and is going to support you lovingly and tell you the truth.  I want you to pay for their great service.

Because if you do that, what you will be doing is telling you, finally, that you are serious.

You'll be glad you did.  But you won't know that for a while so just take my advice.  Feel free to curse as much as you want, but get started anyway.

Ready. Steady. Go.
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Pair #10  You want fries with that stress?

More on commitment and practice and just how good it feels (maybe)
Radio show
2/24/10  Get Creative, Get Unstuck 
2/05/10  Ultimate Psychological Freedom
1/22/10   Procrastinate No More
Other Commitment and Procrastination- busters

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' each day on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.
 
 
Discipline is the new dirty. We love it; we hate it and we don't need it. But let me come to that in a moment.

We associate discipline with the ways our parents forced us to do things because they “said so.”  Or we talk about it as if it were a missing gene: “I dunno what it is but I just can’t stop…” 

How many times have you argued that what you really, really need is more discipline in order to get things done?  Discipline is our special form of self-coercion exacted viciously in order that we might do, not just our chores, but the things that we say we want to do.

This is curious. 

And totally wrong.

Why would you need to force yourself to do something that you say you want to do?   (Or force yourself not to?)

Well, you don't.

Recently I heard someone say “I really want to exercise, but I just don’t have time,” so I asked them to take the word “exercise” and substitute it with “pick up the kids from school.”   (Then I practically had to duck and cover, but that’s another story).

The truth is, we will do what we care about and what we commit to, and we don’t need discipline to do it.  We will simply find the time.  Somehow.

How do we do that?

I notice that did not just pick up my daughter from school because I had previously given myself a very nasty dressing down and then swore I would not reward myself if I didn't do it.  I arranged life to get there.

I did it because it mattered to me.

If you are not doing something (especially when you say that you are committed to it) it is because somewhere inside you have not decided that it matters enough. Making something matter is a decision. I had to decide that it mattered to me to write these articles. On a Sunday night, ready for sleep, I may have to remind myself why it matters.

And I need a deeper reason than hating myself if I don’t.

Next time you want to do something, try NOT punishing yourself into it.  Try finding one positive thing about what you say you want to do that connects you deeply with why it matters to you.  (In other words, you do not get to use: “He won’t speak to me if I don’t,” or “I’ll hate my body forever”)

If you can’t find a positive why for you, then you will never be able to disapprove of yourself enough to force yourself to do it.  Not in the long run.
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Pair #7 Anti-disciplinarianism
p.s. 
On my radio show I've had great guests and explored what goes on in our brains when we say we want something but then notice that we just don’t do what is needed.  You'll find those and more ideas for what you can do...
© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use to others, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' each day on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.