Cultivate Self-Compassion

Cultivate Compassion… Starting With YourSELF

Think Before You Speak, even to yourselfBy Vicy L. Wilkinson, MA, BCC

“I am so stupid.”
“I am so frustrate that I keep doing this even though I know it’s not good for me and I know it’s wrong. What is WRONG with me?”
“Why can’t I just let it GO?”
“When will I learn to stop letting people walk all over me?”

I hear a lot of comments like the ones above from my clients during our first few sessions. One aspects of my work as a transformational life coach is to help people hear their own language, especially with regards to how they talk to and treat themselves. I spend a lot of time carefully saying things like, “May I please repeat back to you what you just said to me?” I repeat what clients say with similar inflection and body language to their own. When I do so, I see the look of shock on their faces and I watch their bodies slump or tense or shudder or whatever the general modus operandi is for that particular person. People are initially scared of their own language, verbal and non-verbal.

Why is our inner dialogue and our outer talk about ourselves important?  Because we must first hear what and how we’re talking to ourselves in order to begin developing compassion.

Once a client has heard his or her language clearly, I ask a question like, “Would you say what you just said to [or about] yourself to a five-year old you were taking care of? Would you say it to your best friend?” The answer is always a resounding NO and a rather disturbed look. Usually that “no” is followed by some commentary on how much easier it is to be kind, objective, and compassionate towards others than it is to be kind, objective, and compassionate towards one’s self. I agree. It IS easier, but this is exactly why it is so important that we all learn to develop a deep compassion towards ourselves.

How do develop kindness & compassion towards ourselves?

It all starts with noticing. Noticing how we’re feeling during moments of frustration or anger or guilt or shame. Just like I ask my clients to pause and allow themselves the opportunity to “instant replay” what they just said by my repeating it to them, we must learn to do this for ourselves. When we are able to notice the shift in our language and behavior, whether we say it out loud or just say it in our own minds, it’s equally degrading and problematic. Once we are able to consistently notice our tendencies, we can begin to consciously change them through choice. If we never notice, we can never choose to change.

Following are three suggestions on how to start noticing:

1 – Allow yourself an extra two minutes in the morning and two minutes in the evening to sit still and quiet and just create some “breathing room” within yourself. You can sit and just breathe. You can sit and say kind things to yourself or affirmations of some kind. You can sit and just be quiet and allow your thoughts to float through you like fluffy clouds on a summer afternoon. You can sit and listen to calming music. What you do doesn’t matter as much as intentionally taking just a couple of minutes for “time in” with yourself to just BE for a moment. The purpose in doing it morning and evening is to start your day centered and end your day centered because doing so helps you develop your own inner observer. Your inner observer is the part of you that recognizes you are more than the sum of your parts. You aren’t just your thoughts or your job or your kids or your mom’s fears or whatever it is that you tend to over-identify with about yourself. When you stop over-identifying with one aspect of yourself, you instantly become more open and compassionate towards yourself and others.

2 – Take a moment to “check in” with yourself throughout your day, especially on busy days when you’ve scheduled yourself back to back to back and have that feeling that I call “the white rabbit” syndrome. (Do you remember the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland? “I’m late! I’m late! I’m late for an important date!”) It’s amazing what three long, slow, deep breaths can do, and you can do them in the car, or at your desk, or even in the middle of a meeting. It’s just breathing. I assure you everyone does it. Taking a moment to do it consciously can help clear your head, your heart, and give you a centering energy boost to help you feel more peaceful within. When you feel more peaceful within, your ability to be compassionate expands exponentially.

Kids being silly3 – Laugh. Need I really say more? LAUGH AT YOURSELF. Are you really taking it so bloody seriously that you ate two cookies instead of just one? Is it really a crisis that you’re running 3 minutes behind schedule? Will someone die if you don’t say yes to every volunteer opportunity presented to you? Laugh at your human-ness. I assure you, we are ALL in the same boat. And oftentimes, when we really look at it, that boat is very funny. Laughter helps you gain perspective and it also gives you a solid boost of feel-good hormones that will help you recognize life is hard enough without your needing to make it harder on yourself by saying unkind things. You don’t deserve that. You deserve kindness, peace, and compassion. Give yourself some.

Give and Get

What’s really interesting about the journey towards constant self-compassion is that as we begin to give ourselves daily doses of our own compassion and kindness, we begin to notice that others are giving us more of both as well. When we treat ourselves with loving-kindness and compassion, our bodies, minds, and spirits respond to our treatment and we (seriously) begin to resonate at higher frequencies. Our energy levels are higher and more sustained. We begin to sense that we can TRUST OURSELVES. We begin to sense that nothing is inherently wrong with us, and instead we are simply perfectly imperfect creatures, every single one of us. We begin to realize that others are struggling with the same sorts of things that we are struggling with, and we begin to realize that by recognizing these similarities we build bridges that help us connect to others. We can see ourselves in others, and our empathy grows. We can see ourselves in the mirror and realize we deserve goodness, from ourselves and from others. The bottom line is that when we start giving to ourselves, we can give more to others and we can actively receive more from others. We can hear compliments and just say, “Thank you,” and smile. We can hear praise and accept that we deserve it. We can feel appreciation and we can reciprocate that feeling. We can RELAX and allow others to help us see our own greatness while we help others do the same.

It’s not EASY because it takes conscious effort and conscious practice. But it is very simple. Cultivating compassion for yourself helps you and everyone around you. The only change you can ever really produce is self-change. So, stop waiting. Take a deep breath. And just do it!

There’s Never Enough Time

There’s Just Not Enough Time – Really? 

By Vicy Wilkinson, MA, BCC

We live in a world ruled by what philosophers call the hegemony of the clock, which is a fancypants way of saying that we are dominated by clock-time, schedules, appointments, and other agreements that fall in line with our collective sense of time. On one hand, this sort of domination is almost inescapable, whether you’re a philosopher or a business owner or a customer service rep or a stay-at-home mom. On the other, this domination is escapable in the sense that you can become aware of exactly what it means to have 24 hours each and every day.

Sunrise Over Kiawah IslandThe bottom line, to my way of thinking, is this: no matter how you think about it or slice it up or analyze what’s happening, the ONE way in which every single individual on this planet is the same is that during the course of any given day, we have the exact same amount of time. Since this is the case, why is there not enough time for most of us?
I’ve been asking myself this question for years, and I’ve discussed it with many people. Recently, I was texting with a new friend in my world and I found myself writing the following: “If I had more time to grow more veggies in the dirt and get more critters, my mountain would be like a farm…” After I sent the text, I asked myself, “what do I mean about having more time? I know I will not get days longer than my standard 24-hour days, even as days “get longer” with the spring and then summer approaching now. Then I realized: I often say “time” when what I really mean is “energy,” or “help,” or some other specific resource that may actually be available but about which I’ve not thought.

This seemed like an important realization to me because it was very freeing. I started thinking past my own “time trap,” and saw something about my situation with a lot keener sense of the truth. I DO want to grow more veggies in the dirt and get more critters because I have the space for such things. What is stopping me from having this is not the time it takes to invest in gardening, because when it comes right down to it, I could juggle some things and make that time. What is really missing is that I need (a) energy to put in that direction on a consistent basis (b) some help getting started and (c) a plan for maintaining what I start that’s viable in accordance with my traveling-often lifestyle.

As I began thinking about what I wanted in terms outside of the time trap, a few things became “do-able” that before that realization were purely theoretically. This is what thinking beyond “not enough time” can open up for you: possibilities that you had not considered before because you quickly (saving time) dismissed them due to the time trap.

I’m going to continue experimenting with pushing back on the standard “not enough time” dismissal of ideas, dreams, and desires and I encourage you to do the same. I’ll let you know over the next few months what happens as I beg in questioning this in my own life, and asking my clients to do the same.

What’s in your bag of dreams or on your bucket list or part of your life vision that seems unattainable due to the time it will take to attain it? What can you look at without the hegemony of the clock for long enough to see through the time trap and on to possibilities that use resources more in your direct control?

May your 24-hours-a-day yield the manifestation of your boldest dreams! Namaste, y’all.

 

 

DO SOMETHING: Manifesting Your Best Life

Join us for this kick off of our new #dosomething campaign. We’ve noticed a lot of us spend time thinking, hoping, planning, dreaming… and even complaining. But sometimes we just spin our wheels and don’t actually DO SOMETHING. We want to change this trend. What is it you’ve been putting off or making excuses about? What could you do for someone else in your life? What changes do YOU want to see in YOUR world? Let’s get together and GET STARTED!

This is a FREE event in Greenville, SC.  Here are the details and how to RSVP to reserve your spot!

WHEN:  Thursday, March 24, 2016 @ 6pm-7:30pm
WHERE:  Building 3 Conference Room at Greengate Office Plaza, 25 Woods Lake Rd., Greenville, SC 29607
WHO:  Anybody who is tired of doing NOTHING
RSVP on Meetup.com

copy-cropped-butterflies3_sm1.jpgTrue story…
Complete Life Coaching got a call from a man who told of a friend who was really having a tough time.  He felt like he should do something, but he didn’t know what to do.  Ingrid made some suggestions:  get a massage gift certificate for her, take her to lunch, set up a coaching session for her, send her some flowers and a note… Feeling a little overwhelmed with choice all of a sudden, his first response was, “I don’t know, maybe I’ll do nothing.”  Ingrid just took a breath and said, “Don’t do nothing.  Nothing is what it feels like everybody does.  You called me to ask for help and advice, and I gave it to you.  So trust me, just do something.  You can’t go wrong.  It’s hard out there, so whenever somebody actually DOES SOMETHING that to help and offer support, for anybody, it really does HELP.  So, just DO SOMETHING.”  He took Ingrid’s reply to heart, and he did something.  We know his concern and action helped.

It’s so inspiring to see someone choose to do something good for a friend who’s struggling.  To help another person, especially when we aren’t doing so to help ourselves, makes us all better. Do something good for the sake of goodness.  Every choice we make in that direction helps to grow the best the world has to offer: kindness, compassion, love, respect, and gratitude.

 

3 Steps from Anxiety to Freedom & Peace

This blog series by Vicy L. Wilkinson, MA, CTLC, 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.

Details:
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.

Movement, Mindfulness, & Creating Positive Experiences

Rowing for joy health

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

In this podcast, CLC discusses 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 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) 918-2914 or email us at info@completelifecoaching.com.

Thank you for being here!