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Empowered Recovery from Grief and Loss: Losing Someone Else and Finding Yourself ~ January 18, 2015

Nurture Yourself through Grief & LossNext course details: Sunday, January 18, 2015 ~ 2pm – 6pm
Call now (864) 270-9303 or register and pay online below.
Further information and location given upon registration.
Greenville, SC  

We began offering this course in 2011, and it’s consistently successful in helping participants recover from grief due to death of a loved one, divorce, and other huge losses that can leave us devastated.  Is it time to “rewrite your story” after losing someone through death or divorce? 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 four-hour intensive course is for you.  Learn how to re-connect with the world around you, use 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.

Many participants have had great success rebuilding themselves and their lives with this course as a catalyst.  We appreciate all of you who choose to courageously confront your grief and share your burden with others in order to grow and move forward into a positive future.

Here are some of the things you will learn & gain:
Understanding the Grieving Process | Beginning Yoga (with certified instructor) | Simple Meditation Techniques | Sadness, Anger, Forgiveness, and Letting Go  |  Healthy & Easy Recipes + Demonstrations | 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  |  Insight & Self-Compassion  |  Identifying Ongoing Support, Opportunities, & Resources



Email to register and arrange offline payment.

View event & register on Meetup.com

$195 per person, all materials + food included

“This class was extremely beneficial to me and I would highly recommend it to anyone that has faced a loss in their lives.”

Losing Someone Else and Finding Yourself was, for me, a life saver.”

“After 3 years of counseling and feeling stuck, with your help, I finally figured out why I have felt the way I have.  Thank you for giving me my life back!”

Comments or questions are welcome.

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STOP Your Runaway Thoughts & Take Control of Your Mind

Tame Your Mind, Improve Your Lifeby Vicy L. Wilkinson, MA Philosophy, BCC, Certified Transformational Coach

It’s nighttime, you’re trying to relax and go to sleep, and your brain suddenly bombards you with thoughts about what you woulda’ coulda’ shoulda’ said during that argument yesterday or great ideas that will turn your whole life around AND save the world or the twenty- seven tasks you didn’t complete because you were trying to help the kids with a school project… or a million other things that our minds can come up with when we’re lying in bed and trying to relax and fall asleep.

In the world of transformational coaching, we call all this thinking, which has a tendency to turn dark, negative, and brooding, rumination or having ruminating thoughts.  Another term for this thinking-excessively with little control is “monkey mind” or “monkey chatter.”  In the Shambhala Tibetan Buddhist tradition, this sort of mental chatter is compared to having an untamed horse for a mind.  No matter how you look at it, rumination can get out of control and cause a lot of difficulty in life such as insomnia, anxiety, short temper, forgetfulness.  If left to fester and expand, rumination can lead down a slippery slope of temporary negativity into low mood, poor resilience, chronic stress, and even depression.

Of course, rumination doesn’t just happen when you’re trying to relax and go to sleep; many of us are plagued with ruminating thoughts during our wide awake time as well.  For example, how long have you obsessed in your mind over a stressful conversation that happened hours ago?  Or what kinds of thoughts take up space in your mind when you’re getting dressed in the morning and a certain pair of pants don’t fit right?

No matter when rumination gets in your way, though, there are proven techniques to help you regain control over your mind and discover your calm, peaceful center so that you can quiet that monkey chatter and choose a better direction for your powerful thoughts!

One easy way to put the brakes on rumination is very simple:  stop “just thinking” by taking specific action.  That action can be as simple as sitting down for 5 minutes and writing down what your mind is saying.  Just dump it all right out on paper.  It’s amazing how this simple act diminishes the hold negative thoughts have over us.  If it’s at night and you’ve already gone to bed, do yourself a favor by sitting back up, turning that lamp on again, and taking up pen and paper. When we write down all the stuff our brain is screaming to us, it helps externalize our experience and in this simple act, many people find immediate peace.

Sometimes our brain is just trying to help us remember important things; when we write those things down, we can refer to them later when we CHOOSE to do so, and our brain can stop reminding us and let us focus on relaxing.  This is especially helpful when your brain gets stuck in a loop about the minutiae of daily life:  schedules, tasks, 17 things you must remember before walking out the door Monday morning…whatever it is, write it down – just “brain dump” it out there onto the paper.

Another great thing about writing it down is that for many of us, our mind likes to pour out creative ideas or solutions to problems we had a month ago at random times.  If we take a few minutes to capture some notes about those ideas and solutions on paper, our brain can relax and move on.  Writing things down gives us a logical sense of closure.   It’s essentially clearing the cache in your mind like you do in your web browser.

If you find that writing is extremely difficult for you for whatever reason, I recommend keeping a voice recorder or using an app on your phone to just talk it out: literally speak your list or rambling thoughts into the recorder.  (Sometimes this works especially well for extroverts who don’t enjoy writing, but do enjoy talking!)  The outcome is similar as with writing it down because you have externalized the thoughts.

After you’ve taken the time to empty out some of the chatter, your mind can begin to relax and you can further help slow down any future rumination by taking advantage of that moment of spaciousness in your mind.  After writing or voice recording, take 2-5 minutes to focus on your breathing and calm both your mind and your body all at once.  If you take a really deep breath in and count to four – 1, 2, 3, 4 – slowly in your mind, then hold your breath for an equal 4-count, and then slowly exhale to a count of eight – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 – you will notice instant feedback from your body.  Repeat this breath at least 5 times and you will help relax your entire nervous system, which naturally shuts down all that spinning monkey chatter.

If you find you still have some chatter after doing this breath work, you may want to take a step further in your writing or voice recording process by making notes about some potential solutions or ideas if your mind is still focused on some sort of dilemma.  Some of us need to not just write the thoughts down, but also to do some creative problem solving in order to gain that sense of closure that helps us rest.  You can alternate between breathing carefully as described above and writing to maximize your level of control.  With practice, it all gets a lot easier and you can begin to slow the rumination periods over time.   Bonus tip for problem solving in your sleep:  Ask yourself a specific question about the problem and then go to sleep.  Write for five to ten minutes first thing in the morning, before you even get out of bed, and see what kinds of answers your awesome self has come up with overnight, like magic.

Experiment with these tools and make them your own.  Once you find out what works best for you on those nights your brain tries to hijack your calm and your sleep, keep whatever you need beside the bed and keep those ruminating thoughts from robbing you of well-deserved, and much needed rest, relaxation, and precious sleep.

Take care of you.  If you need more help, give us a call.  We’re glad you’re here.  Namaste.

Let Go of Stress: Redirect Your Energy

12-14undereiffeltowerby Vicy Wilkinson, MA Philosophy, BCC

Once we hear the message stress is trying to give us and we address it, it will often go away on its own. However, that is not always the case, especially when the stress we’re feeling is being prompted by extreme emotions like anger, frustration, jealousy, or fear.  Many times, it’s necessary to give ourselves a longer break and permission to ask for help from others.  This can be the harder part of alleviating stress in our lives: recognizing that we need help to do so.

There is a deeply ingrained sense of autonomy in most of us, especially once we’re professionals in our fields or we have kids that depend on us or we feel like we “should be” able to handle whatever life brings us.  This sense of autonomy is wonderful, but it can also be our worst enemy when it keeps us from asking for help when we need it and instead keeps us struggling along with our game faces on.  I am reminded of John Donne’s famous poem that declares no man is an island.  We are hard wired in our brains and nervous systems to learn from others, empathize with others, and receive empathy from others.  Interestingly, though, when we are stressed, the circuitry that helps us connect with other people is less accessible to us and when we are extremely stressed, we are all but completely cut off from this circuitry known as “resonance circuitry.”  That is why strong negative emotions can leave us feeling “all alone” on a planet that contains over 6 billion people.

What I mean is that stress makes us feel entirely separate from others, and it is actually the stress response itself that hinders our ability to ask for help!  So, much like tense muscles may be outside indications that you need to stop and breathe and address the stress, having a sense of “I can do this all by myself,” is a good indicator that you may actually be better served by asking for help from a friend or family member or professional of some kind.

Taking good care of yourself

Other than stopping to address stress and reaching out to others during stressful times, we can all better handle stress when we’re consistently taking good care of our own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.  Therefore, the best stress reduction plan is having a daily self-care plan that includes eating well, exercise for your body, playtime for your mind and your spirit, connecting time with other people (family, co-workers, friends, pets), and creating some time and space to “just be” in your life and to connect to your own sense of the Divine, whatever that may be.  That “just being” time might be time for yoga or mediation, or it might be for gardening or playing music or taking a stroll somewhere you enjoy.  A lot of the things I’ve listed above are things that many of us feel are “nice to have” things, but what I want to emphasize is that they are truly “need to have” things if you really want to learn to live without a heavy burden of stress in your life.  As I often say to both my clients and students, the best time to learn to swim is not while you’re drowning. Therefore, the best time to get stress under control and to set an intention to let it go when it arises is when things are going great and you’re enjoying your life!

After all, we are human beings, not human doings.  So take time today to let something stressful go and reclaim some of your human-ness.  You’ll feel re-energized and revitalized!

STRESS: Learning to Let it Go

Vicy Wilkinson, MA Philosophy, Wellness Coachby Vicy Wilkinson,  MA Philosophy, BCC

Having spent the majority of my life until my thirties “stressed,” I feel like I have some expertise in the field beyond all the studying, training, and experience in helping the clients and students I serve.  Because of my expertise, I offer this simple advice:  let it go.  The advice is simple, but HOW to do so is elusive for most of us.

It’s easy to SAY, “I’m going to let this go,” but just because we say it, doesn’t mean our bodies and brains automatically respond and “just let go.”  Nope.  Not at all.  Instead, our bodies have a tendency to tense up tighter – I always feel it in my shoulders and in my jaws – and our brains tend to keep on going over and over whatever it is that has us all stressed out in the first place.   If we do immediately let it go, it’s often by distracting ourselves temporarily with something – a task, a cookie or twelve, a conversation, television, music, or a stiff drink.  Unfortunately, the stress remains in spite of our distractions and eventually creeps back into our immediate consciousness and there we are again:  stressed.

So, what CAN we do to let it go?

Let Stress GoTo really let stress go, we have to become consciously aware of it so that we can specifically address it in some way and then replace it with something that’s simply not compatible with stress, like relaxation, happiness, gratitude, joy, or love.  The key in real stress reduction, then, is consciousness and a willingness to stay present with the stress.  Many times, the stress we feel has a very specific message and no matter what we do to relieve the stress, it will come back (again and again!) until we hear, acknowledge, and act on the message it’s trying to give us.  Once we’ve heard, acknowledged, and acted on the message from stress, it’s a lot easier to make a choice about how to replace it with an incompatible state of being… and keep ourselves relatively stress-free.

Find out more about acknowledging stress messages here.

Listening to Stress: How Can We Hear the Message?

12-14_VicySmilesby Vicy Wilkinson, MA Philosophy, BCC
The Wizard

When we’re feeling very stressed, we tend to run in autopilot mode, moving rapidly from task to task with mindless drive towards some mysterious finish line when we can finally achieve the ability to relax.  This very behavior is a great place to begin with listening to stress.  When you find yourself in this “driven” state, it’s a really good time to just STOP for a minute.  Take some deep breaths.  You can even breathe in a special way to immediately create an internal relaxation response in your body:  inhale as you count to four and then exhale as you count to eight.  Do this 3-5 times (minimum), which will take you about a minute.  You may not suddenly feel like you’re on vacation, but you will have created a little “speed bump” in your stress pattern which will create a space for a deeper awareness about your state of being.

Rowing for joy healthAfter a few breaths, spark up some internal dialogue with the stress you’re feeling.  Literally ask yourself, “Why am I feeling so stressed right now?  What do I need that I’m not getting?”  Keep breathing until you get a response that actually addresses your needs, and is not just a repetition of the voice you’ve been hearing in your head all day while you’ve been running from task to task, which usually sounds like a cross between a talking to-do list and a drill sergeant who found a tape of every bit of conflict in conversation you’ve had over the past year.

It is when we take the time to create a bit of space – empty space – that a new pattern or idea or possibility can emerge from the gloom of stress.  In doing this stress-disruption procedure one day last week, as soon as I stopped for a few breaths and asked why I felt so stressed right then, I got immediate feedback:  I needed to eat.  I was feeling stressed because I’d gotten up just a bit late that morning, which made me just a bit late for rowing class, which made me late for…,  you get the idea.  And in all that rushing and lateness, I’d not sat down and eaten a proper meal.  My body was physically stressed.  As soon as I addressed this need, I still felt motivated to keep working, but I no longer felt the urgency and “drive” that was tensing up my body and making me feel pushed and uncomfortable.  As a bonus, I got a lot more done during the next few hours, too, without feeling stressed at all.

Learn more about conquering stress in this article Let Go of Stress:  Redirect Your Energy.

The Joys of Minimalist Holidays

301Certified Integrated Transformational Life Coaches Vicy Wilkinson and Ingrid Sthare talk with listeners about Holiday Ups and Downs in this 6-episode series.  In this episode, we talk about minimalism during the holidays, and ways to capture “the Christmas spirit,” so to speak, all year ‘round.  We’ll share stories and laughs.  Ingrid shares her easy 3-question approach to minimalism, and Vicy tells you one way to approach letting go of your ego and thinking past instant gratification towards sustainability.  We’ll also share some tips about how you can be and share the light during the holidays!

Click here to download, stream, or subscribe to our podcast!

Happy Holidays to all!

DISCLAIMER:  Complete Life Coaching, Ingrid Sthare, and Vicy Wilkinson offer coaching services and help with long-term recovery, change, and goal setting.  No person affiliated with this organization is a physician or mental health provider, and should not be used, substituted, or consulted as such.

Gratitude: The Thanks in Thanksgiving

butterfliesbest2_550w-5463925a_site_icon-256x256Gratitude:  The Thanks in Thanksgiving 

Certified Integrated Transformational Life Coaches Vicy Wilkinson and Ingrid Sthare talk with listeners about Holiday Ups and Downs in this 6-episode series.  In this episode, we talk about gratitude and the feeling essence of Thanksgiving.  We’ll tell you some of the major benefits of cultivating gratitude, around the holidays and every day, including emotional help, social dividends, support for better marriages and relationships, boosts to your health, and help with your career or business.  We’ll also share some tips about how you can start practicing gratitude as a skill and highlighting it as character strength.

You can find more about Ingrid and Vicy, and Complete Life Coaching’s programs and services, including a group course for thriving relationships, GetReal Relationships.  Plan to join us for a retreat weekend to reset yourself and your relationships soon!  Learn more at our website:
www.CompleteLifeCoaching.com and join our community on Facebook. Thank you for being here.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

DISCLAIMER:  Complete Life Coaching, Ingrid Sthare, and Vicy Wilkinson offer coaching services and help with long-term recovery, change, and goal setting.  No person affiliated with this organization is a physician or mental health provider, and should not be used, substituted, or consulted as such.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/completelifecoaching/2014/11/20/gratitude-the-thanks-in-thanksgiving

Healthy Holiday Recipes ~ Paleo Sweet Potato Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Paleo Sweet Potato Chocolate BreadA friend of mine posted a recipe for sweet potato bread pudding, which sounded awesome because I do so love sweet potatoes, so I clicked on the link to take a peek… and concluded that although I’m sure it would be awesome, it was also a zillion tons of sugar per serving so it was basically diabetes in bread pudding form. However, it made me start reminiscing about my Daddy’s favorite cake which both my mom and my Grandmother would make for him during December, which began with his birthday and ended with Christmastime.  The cake is divine and it’s an old family recipe called Sweet Potato Chocolate cake.  Alas, it is diabetes in cake form, and diabetes is the reason I no longer get to spend time at the holidays or any other days with my Dad, who lost his life to it in 2002.  So, I wondered how I might achieve that delicious cake-y goodness that brings back so many happy memories in a less-likely-to-kill-me sort of way. (Note:  My sweet grandmother’s take on “diet” sweet potato chocolate cake was to make it in 2 layers instead of 3. Love her. ♥) This thought led me down the path of a little kitchen alchemy: combining my family’s sweet potato chocolate cake concept with a random ‪#‎paleo zucchini bread recipe. My experiment turned out so well that I had to make it an official recipe and share it with the world!  I’ve now made three loaves of this stuff and it’s swiftly becoming a new holiday favorite!  And the best part of this deliciousness:  it’s very low sugar and you get lots of whole food nutrients to boot!  Cake with vegetables that tastes amazing?!?  YES, PLEASE!

Here’s the recipe!  Please bake, share, embellish as you wish… and ENJOY!  ♥

  1. ½ cup coconut flour
  2. 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  3. ¼ tsp. baking powder (aluminum free)
  4. ½ tsp. salt
  5. 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  6. ½ tsp. nutmeg
  7. 2 tsp. dark cocoa powder
  8. ¼ tsp. allspice
  9. ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  10. 3 pasture-raised eggs
  11. 2-3 Tbsp. raw honey or maple syrup (I used 3 Tbsp. raw honey & 3 pitted prunes I just needed to use up! Note: It was plenty sweet for me, but you can add more sweet stuff if your taste buds really want sweet and are used to refined sugars.  I suggest 1 extra Tbsp. of coconut palm sugar.)
  12. 1 cup-ish (1 medium) zucchini, shredded finely (I just food processed it)
  13. ½ a large or 1 whole medium sized (already cooked) sweet potato, mashed
  14. 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, plus a bit extra if greasing the pan
  15. ½ cup walnuts or your other favorite nuts (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil or line with parchment paper; set aside.
  3. Shred your zucchini finely, and mash your sweet potato.
  4. Add in the eggs and other liquid or soft ingredients.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and spices, and stir until the batter is smooth. (You can use a mixer if you have one, but it is not required.  Very easy to mix up with just a bowl and a spoon!)
  6. Stir in the nuts, if using.
  7. Pour or spoon batter into your greased loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Batter will be thick and sticky.)
  8. Bring it out of the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
  9. Enjoy!

Serving suggestion:  Pair with your favorite hot tea or coffee at breakfast time.
It’s perfect!

Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine

Dr. Marina Ponton, DAOMAcupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine
with Dr. Marina Ponton, DAOM

Join us for the last episode of our new 4-week Health & Wellness podcast series! This episode features an interview with Dr. Marina Ponton, DAOM, from Greenville Natural Health Center.

Marina Ponton has been a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental medicine in private practice since 1998. Her practice focuses on helping others achieve and maintain their optimal health through acupuncture, herbs, diet, supplements and nutrition. Dr. Ponton’s belief in healing the body through natural methods has led her to practice and lecture in the United States, Sweden and Holland. She has studied at the American University of Paris, FAMU University in Prague, University of Miami, Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine and Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. Dr. Ponton has a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with a specialization in women’s health and longevity medicine.

Dr. Ponton is an exceptionally talented natural health practitioner and well recognized lecturer who is passionate about educating patients on the importance of incorporating natural health modalities into their every day life. Some of her specialties include pain management, women’s health and fertility, holistic dermatology, environmental diseases and mental and emotional disorders. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.

More about Marina and her practice: http://www.greenvillenaturalhealth.com/

Our Health & Wellness series is designed to give you a kickstart in motivation to explore some things that can help you build a better life and a better business… because when you feel great, everything is easier!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/completelifecoaching/2014/04/07/acupuncture-traditional-chinese-medicine-with-dr-marina-ponton-daom

What is “Row-Ga!”?

rowgalogosmallWhat is “Row-Ga!”?
Interview with Laura Caylor, certified yoga teacher & Concept2 certified indoor rowing instructor

Join us for the third episode of our new 4-week Health & Wellness podcast series! This episode features an interview with Laura Caylor, certified yoga teacher, Supreme Science Qi Gong Level III, Thai Yoga certified, Concept2 certified rowing instructor, and pretty much one of the most fabulous women we know. She and her husband Lowell Caylor own Greenville Indoor Rowing in Greenville, SC, and Laura offers special “Row-ga!” classes Tuesday – Thursday at 11am.  We’ll talk about Laura’s personal yoga journey and discuss how the combination of yoga and rowing creates an amazing and inspirational workout that helps you build lean muscle mass, tone up, shed extra pounds, and learn to LOVE TO HAVE FUN again with people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and ages.

Learn more about GIR and Laura’s classes: http://www.greenvilleindoorrowing.com/.

Our Health & Wellness series is designed to give you a kickstart in motivation to explore some things that can help you build a better life and a better business… because when you feel great, everything is easier!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/completelifecoaching/2014/03/31/what-is-row-ga-interview-with-laura-caylor-certified-yoga-teacher