3 Steps from Anxiety to Freedom & Peace

This blog series by Vicy L. Wilkinson, MA, CTLC, BCC and Ingrid Sthare, CTLC, ACC, BCC is called “Little Changes, Big Results” and introduces common problems and simple starting points for people, including those of you who are new to transformational life coaching. Welcome to Complete Life Coaching, where we connect, collaborate, and create. 

Part 1:  Mental Chatter & Anxiety


Web of Anxious ThoughtsI wake up in the morning and it starts immediately… My own voice, yelling at me. “What the hell am I doing with my life? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just get up, feel good, and GO? What possessed me to say THAT to him? Of course no one can love me for long, I make it too hard. Just stop trying.  Or, good gawd, just stop EATING.  Look at yourself – UGH. Get off your fat ass and go to the gym.  How did I get SO FAR BEHIND?”

Maybe some of that sounds familiar to you.  I know with certainty I have said all of it and, honestly, way worse to myself, inside my own head over the years, especially the “bad ones,” before I knew I could change that self-talk.  I also know I would NEVER say such unkind, unhelpful, and let’s face it, just plain MEAN stuff to another human being.

So why do we say stuff inside our own heads to ourselves, about ourselves, that we wouldn’t dream of saying to a friend or family member? The short answer is that our minds, left to run wild, are full of fear, anxiety, loathing, and shame. And we are the constant recipient of our own projections of perceived faults and failures.

In my professional coaching practice, I am often the first person to hear someone’s “monkey mind” unleashed for an outside observer to see, and I view my position with humility and respect.  I am honored to be able to just listen to my clients, many of whom feel they’ve never been heard or understood. When a person decides to pour out what’s really going on inside her mind, it’s an act of BRAVERY and takes vast COURAGE. (Aside on courage:  from the Latin, then Old French, and finally handed down to us through Middle English, the word courage means heart. The heart as the seat of feeling, thought, etc.; spirit, mind, disposition, nature. As far back in English speaking history as 1300s, courage, when applied to a person, means “a quality of mind which shows itself in facing danger without fear or shrinking; braveness, boldness, valor” and it’s also “spirit, vital force or energy.” Speaking our minds, giving voice to the feelings and thoughts from our hearts, clearly takes a lot of this courage, this quality of mind.[1]) I appreciate that magnitude of pure heart it takes to pour out the sludge and really take a clear look at it. It is terrifying to trust enough to be so completely vulnerable, so it certainly takes courage to tell our dark sides and share our stories of shame and pain. [Trust in the ability of the other person both to listen without judgment AND keep our confidence is key… Here’ s a great video about discerning when it’s okay to be vulnerable.]

Speaking the negative self-talk, the monkey chatter of a fearful, shameful, antagonistic voice of our own dark self to another and trusting them to be open to receive – to listen intently – to remain solidly in non-judgment and compassion bolstered with empathy – takes heart.  To speak out the chatter requires a connection deep down, literally, in the nervous system to the heart and the gut, making the speaker vulnerable.  As one chooses to speak the darkness, the self opens from the core & exposes the chatter, shining light into the darkness.  And when we turn on this “heart light,” of courage to be open and vulnerable with a trusted other, we taste freedom.  It is then that we start to observe ourselves more keenly and make choices about how much freedom we will allow ourselves.

When we choose to make this one little change: to trust SOMEONE and to say out loud all the darkest chatter of the monkey mind, giving true voice vis a vis acknowledgment to the shame and rumination and spinning out of control narrative and allow another person to hear us, to understand us, we get BIG RESULTS for ourselves.

So, how can one begin to make this one change?

Step one:  Begin by becoming more conscious and aware of that inner dialogue. Just notice.  Just observe your mental chatter. If it feel and sounds more negative and painful than positive and motivational, begin to simply watch your own thoughts whenever you notice.  Back off yourself, and just watch.  This might be in a minute of silence after an argument with a parent, partner, child, co-worker.  It might be in bed at night, trying to fall asleep after a long day. It might be as the alarm goes off in the morning.  Just start with a minute.  Just watch, like your head is a spectator sport.  For a just a minute, don’t play, don’t engage, just observe.  As you practice, this minute could turn into 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes… It becomes a silent, observing meditation practice.  You realize there’s more to “you” than all that self-talk.

Step two:  Decide you will make one change on your own behalf to begin the process of shifting your mind and asserting control over it. “In short, the mind is an embodied and relational process that regulates the flow of energy and information.” – Dr. Dan Siegel (from this article on his website) After you’ve made this decision, you can continuously reinforce your choice to change each time your mind wanders down its usual path of negative talk.  The great news, is that your mind is expert in that wandering!  So it gives a LOT of opportunities to notice, to pause, to consciously shift.  First watch, then you decide.  Repeat.  Constantly.  It’s a process, it’s ongoing, and the timeline is your lifetime.  Start slowly, but start consistently.  Notice each time that you notice.  Your ability to stop and observe without judgment will expand over time.

Share Your Darkness to Spread the LightStep three: Choose someone to talk to and be willing to trust and share openly, with the spoken expectation (and AGREEMENT FROM THE OTHER PERSON) of receiving empathy and non-judgment, just listening.  This person might be a professional like a trained life coach, or counselor, but she could be your best friend or brother or someone else that you truly trust and can feel safe with as you reveal some parts of yourself that you may have actively hidden.

Let’s think about empathy for a minute. Empathy is not sympathy, and the difference between them is very important.  Empathy creates direct connection because empathy is “the power of projecting one’s personality [personal experience] into (and so fully comprehending) the object of contemplation.[2]” Early uses of the word in the English language talk of such things as “my mind’s muscles” and “feelings of… motor empathy.”[3]  Now we know that empathy is built into our brains and nervous systems with specialized neurons called “mirror neurons” and that we truly can feel connected to other human beings vis a vis our own experiences of feelings and emotions. Researchers and practitioners such as Brene Brown & Marshall Rosenberg cite empathy as critical to healing self and others, though their research and practices are ostensibly very different.   “We’re wired to tell our stories, not keep our secrets,” says Dr. Brene Brown.  It’s true.  And it’s what creates connection in that “embodied and relational” mind of ours.

These three simple steps result over time in huge changes in your mind, your body, and your relationships. More empathic connection means more time feeling truly connected to other human beings, and therefore encouraged and “plugged in” to community.  We are hard wired to connect deeply to others, and openness and trust feed those connections.  With time and practice, the chatterbox that opened this article becomes adept and skillful at refuting, dismissing, or reframing the negative blah blah blah into something much kinder, warmer, and more realistic such as….

“I’m alive. That’s good. I’ll feel better once I’m up and moving and showered and fed some good food.  Last night’s conversation was a doozie, huh?  It’s okay.  Today, I will try hard to stay focused and remember I love me. That’ll help solve the problem that started the argument to begin with.  I’m learning not to engage when I’m exhausted. I’m okay.  Everyone has bad days and makes mistakes.  Just take a breather and keep going.   Just do your best.  Going to the gym could help, even if it’s just 20 minutes it’s good for me.  I’m doing just fine where I am, just remember to breathe.”

This kind of radical shift takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight.  However, this 3-step practice, done consistently and repeatedly, over the course of 6-months to a year, yields massive results that can help calm anxiety; decrease mental, emotional, and physical stress; strengthen relationships, both with self and others; and mend the mind so that thinking and performance improve in all areas of life experiences. You’re worth it.  May you experience this empathic magic beginning immediately. Namaste.

[1] Etymology & information on “courage” abstracted from The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), second edition, Volume V. Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK. ©1933, 1989.

[2] OED, Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK.

[3] OED, Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK.


Navigating Relationships! Just in time for the holidays…

Navigating RelationshipsThursday, November 12, 2015
to Migun of Greenville/Green Gate Office Plaza  |  
25 Woods Lake Rd., Bldg. 3, Greenville, SC 
Price: $10.00 /per person
Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

So, the holidays are upon us. And that means you will be getting together with family (or not) or perhaps you are feeling a bit lonely (still single) and are looking to rev up your chances of meeting new people at this Meetup. (We encourage that especially if you are recently divorced or widowed and this is your first Thanksgiving without your significant other.) In this Meetup, we will be discussing what love is. And since experts do not offer up a definitive definition, we will be offering various expert opinions. And asking you to weigh in, as well. We hope you will leave with your own HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP checklist at the end of this Meetup.

We know that holidays can be difficult. There is a lot of expectation and pressure. From questions from parents about your relationship status to that brother-in-law that you never really got along with trying to push his newest multi-level marketing product on you. Or how about the expectations you put on yourself? We are going to give you some tools to utilize so that you can get the most out of your relationships now. Our GetReal Relationships seminar is scheduled for 2016, and we thought you nay need some help navigating during the holiday season. All materials provided for you for $10.00 fee–so bring a friend or two! We need an accurate head count on this Meetup, so please R.S.V.P.

Curious About Creativity?

Curious About Creativity?

Creating Ourselves

Unleash Your Creative Powers
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
6pm – 7:30pm
25 Woods Lake Rd., Bldg 3
Greenville, SC

Please RSVP to attend!

Would you like to use more of your brain? Would you like to have less stress? Would you like to have a new way to work out your problems? If so, this creativity Meetup is for you! We are excited to introduce you to the science behind creativity’s awesomeness! What it does for you and how you can use the power of your own creativity to get out of your own way?!

For a $10.00 fee, for your materials, we invite you to join us for a dynamic Meetup to unleash your own POWER! Even if you haven’t picked up a crayon since you were seven-years-old or acted in a play since high school.

We’re all born to create. So, let’s get started!


One Big Thing: Make it Happen!

Set a Goal, and GO!

Dreaming of Europe?

Here we are on the “downhill” side of 2015… The holidays will be here before we know it! The question is, what is ONE BIG GOAL you want to complete for yourself before this year ends?

You can join us in person in Greenville, SC, for our August 12, 2015, Meetup and learn a simple process of laser-focus towards moving a desired outcome from idea to making-it-happen. We’ll talk about the vision process, setting a specific approach goal, and then working towards it with concrete actions and pure intent, along with the golden brain-priming secret of illustrating your vision.

Why wait til next week, though, when you can start today?  Here are two things you can do NOW:

#1 Start writing down your ideas so that you can get crystal clear on what THE most important thing is to YOU for manifesting by the end of this calendar year.

#2 Start a Pinterest board full of images that illustrate the 3 most important things to you right now.

You can link to our Meetup site and RSVP on line.  This event is FREE!  Make plans to come join us at our host location next Wednesday evening at 6:15pm:
Migun of Greenville 
25 Woods Lake Rd., Suite 304
Greenville, SC  29607


Shamanic Sound Healing + Tonglen Meditation

shamanskyShamanic Sound Healing Journey with Guided Meditation + Potluck & Fireside Dancing

Please join us for a afternoon and evening of healing, sharing, and learning at our Magical Mountain Retreat Center with special guest Sonic Yogi, professional musician and sound healer.

We’ll be experiencing the deep healing offered through time in nature while Sonic Yogi shares the sounds of Tibetan singing bowls, Native American flutes, and other sacred instruments. We’ll have time for discussion and sharing, as well as guided meditation practice for increasing loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves and our world through the ancient Tibetan practice of tonglen (giving and receiving).

After the sun goes down, we will celebrate our journeys fireside with dancing and hula hooping…or just sitting and enjoying, if that is your preference.

This event is free, but donations will be accepted to cover costs and to thank Sonic Yogi for traveling from Lawrenceville, GA, to share and be with us! $10-20 per person is suggested.

We will provide garden fresh greens for salads and plenty of iced tea and deep well water. Please bring a favorite dish to share for the pot luck dinner. We will be outside most of the time, so please be prepared with yoga mats, cushions, insect spray, and sunscreen. Restroom facilities are available.

Empowered Recovery from Grief & Loss: Losing Someone Else and Finding YourSELF

Self-Discovery & Powerful Transformation

Self-Discovery & Powerful Transformation

Is it time to “rewrite your story” after losing someone through death, divorce, or a big change of another kind? Do you find yourself going through the motions of life without really living? Whether it’s been six months or six years, you can still find yourself and your place.  If you feel stuck, then this intensive course is for you.

Learn how to re-connect with the world around you, tools to help break patterns, how to process and move past negative emotions, and how to nurture and care for yourself, inside and out. This class is about discovering your best self and taking good care of you.

Here are some of the things you will learn:

Understanding the Grieving Process | Beginning Yoga & Simple Meditation Techniques | Healthy & Easy Recipes + Demos | Easy Image Consulting for (Re)Discovering Your Style | Techniques to put the past in the past (and keep it there) | Tools to Create a Happy Future

You can RSVP online now or call us at (864) 270-9303.  Healthy & comforting snacks are included during our intensive work together.  (Next class is Sunday, 11/15/15, in Greenville, SC.  You can also pre-register for other times or private sessions.)

“Thank you for giving me my life back!” – Empowered Recovery participant

You can read more testimonials from this course and our programs, by following this link.



Movement, Mindfulness, & Creating Positive Experiences

Rowing for joy health

Taking up a new sport is excellent mindfulness & movement practice!

In this podcast, Integrative Transformational Life Coaches Ingrid Sthare, ACC, BCC, CTLC and Vicy Wilkinson, MA, BCC, CTLC discuss the importance of mindfulness, movement, and creating positive new experiences.  These practices can be used to relieve the effects of anxiety, depression, anger issues, and trauma & PTSD.  Learning to incorporate easy practices into your daily routine is one way to get started in a more grounded and solid-feeling life.

We discuss easy mindfulness practices that get your 5 senses involved and make it easier for your nervous system to calm down and focus on the present moment. We share stories about how movement helps with shifting moods and attitudes.

For more information on getting help, contact us for one on one help, resources, or join us for a retreat or workshop.   You are also invited to join our online communities and get involved!  Let us help you THRIVE.

Listen here now. (Available to stream or download.)


The Evolution of Purpose

What is YOUR Life Purpose?

What is YOUR Life Purpose?

In this podcast, certified transformational life coaches Ingrid Sthare and Vicy Wilkinson from Complete Life Coaching discuss an increasingly important topic in the realm of coaching, Life Purpose and Meaning.  Many people begin the coaching process to resolve an acutely painful problem (grief from the loss of a loved one or because of a divorce or unexpected job change) or because they “feel stuck and have tried everything – including counseling”, or because they’ve lost the ability to trust in themselves and their own judgment… Whatever the beginning of the process, we’ve found that our sessions usually lead into a deeper exploration into the distinctly human questions: WHY am I here?  And WHAT is the purpose in my life?  Let us help you feel better, and start to answer life’s BIG questions for YOURSELF.

Listen here now!

We are here to help!  Have questions?  Want a free trial coaching session?  Call us at (864) 270-9303 or email us at info@completelifecoaching.com.

Thank you for being here!

Villain vs. Hero: What’s YOUR Role in YOUR Story?

Change Your Story, Change Your Life

Rewrite Your Story

Join Integrative Transformational Life Coaches Ingrid Sthare, ACC, BCC, CTLC and Vicy Wilkinson, MA, BCC, CTLC in this episode about stories, fairytales, heroes, and villains… and how we can all cast ourselves as heroes in our own lives.

Learning to take responsibility for our own behaviors, thoughts, emotions, needs, and well-being…
Standing up for what we know to be right even if it sets up a conflict because we choose not to “go along to get along”…

This episode is about being your own hero.

That’s a huge part of what we do:  We help people find their hidden (or lost or forgotten or rusty and dusty) superpowers so that they can be assertive AND kind, which goes a long way in creating healthy relationships, livelihoods, lifestyles, and communities.

You are always invited to join our online communities and get involved!  Let us help you THRIVE.  Call (864) 270-9303 to set up a consultation.  We work with clients in-person (Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC areas) and over the phone or via Skype.

Download or Stream the Podcast Here!

Upcoming Events ~ Private Retreats and Workshops to Help You (re)Discover Your SELF

Complete Life Coaching: Connect, Collaborate, Create

Greenville, SC
282 Awesome People

This is a group for people who are beyond just surviving and are interested in THRIVING in their lives, relationships, and community. We are here to catalyze personal growth a…

Next Meetup

Sunset Hula Hoop FUN ~ Basic Skills & “Tricks” for ALL AGES

Thursday, Apr 16, 2015, 6:00 PM
4 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →



A Day at the Mountain: 1/2 Day Private Retreat

A Misty Callahan Mountain Summer's Day

A Misty Callahan Mountain Summer’s Day

Relax.  Restore.  Renew.  Re-YOU. 

Spend a day connecting with nature and your wisest self by coming out to our “Magic Mountain.”  We offer these 1/2 day retreats to everyone, but we’ve found the people who need a day away the most are WOMEN.

Stay at home moms.  Working-outside-the-home moms.  Working single women.  Working married women.  Professional jet-setting women. Women who volunteer all the time.  Divorced women.  Retired women.

Spring Retreat ~ TulipsIf you’ve got questions, please call us!  (864) 270-9303

RSVP on Meetup or on Eventbrite!

No matter what you spend your time doing most of the time, spending a day at the mountain gives you a chance to JUST BE. Sometimes, we all need to stop DOING and practice BEING.

1/2 day retreats include:

  • a healthy meal (and lessons on EASY healthy food prep, if desired)
  • walking or hiking time with Mother Nature
  • yoga (bring your own mat or use one of ours)
  • 1/2-hour Migun heated thermal massage/acupressure
  • small group and/or one-on-one “tune up” coaching (based on numbers attending)
  • guided meditation
  • writing and/or reading time
  • laughter and play time (really!)

Details: 12pm – 5pm.  $100, all inclusive. ($20 non-refundable deposit required at least 48 hours in advance & will be applied to fee total.  Thank you for helping us be well prepared to take good care of you!)  Space is limited to (8) attendees and pre-registration is required.  You can pay by cash, check, or debit/credit.  Upon registration, you will receive detailed directions and online payment information.

If you need more time away, you are always welcome to schedule a private retreat.  We accommodate private solo retreats or small groups if you’d like to plan a private retreat with a group of friends.