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Restoring Joy

There is no feeling I relate to more or actively seek in my life than joy.

Joy reminds me of sunshine and smiling.
Watching children giggle and play.

So how do we restore joy in our lives?

How do we find the good and all the beauty that goes with it?

Especially after we have sustained hardship for long periods of time?

When I am dealing with a particularly difficult time in my life, and it feels unbearable, we can find joy in simple things:

  • Beautiful place setting
  • Cooking a healthy meal
  • Tea
  • Walks in the woods

Taking time out to be present with beauty, simplicity, nourishment and a reminder that we are separate from our circumstances and we can honor our bodies and ourselves in this place.

Another option is to seek out long term joy.
Goal setting and showing up daily or several times a week to grow and change.

This could be a physical change or an online course for business.
It could be the creation of an art project.

Whatever this looks like to you, the daily effort to create will often cause strife and frustration as we grow through it.

But on the other side of this effort lies joy, confidence, capability and personal evolution.

Watching a funny movie, going through old photos, anything that can bring joy back to your heart.

We can always create an intention for more joy in our lives.

When we seek an emotional experience, it makes it easier to recognize what aligns with that feeling and what does not. This is a different approach to change in our life. Whereas some may seek to achieve or create goals and accomplish them, we can always seek something a little more pervasive, our desired emotional state.

When I was a new Mom with 3 boys very close in age (one year apart) I was a WRECK. I was tired, I was exhausted. My husband worked constantly and I was at home with my three little boys alone. I was suffering, I was angry, tired, lost, resentful, I didn’t know who I was and I definitely didn’t know where to start. So one day I decided I wanted a feeling, and that feeling was sweetness.

I began to notice their little smiles as I changed their diapers. I began to see the beauty and innocence in their behavior and I began to shift out of the victimhood, pressure, and insanity that I had been living with. I took them to parks and we packed little lunches. I took them on drives out to the county where they would just sleep and I would watch cows and sheep walk on green grassy fields and listen to their sweet deep breathing in the back seat.

I was taking back my life and it looked like sweetness.

Things weren’t perfect but they were headed in the right direction.

You can apply joy in your life in the same way. If you seek joy you will find it. When we seek what we want we will find yourself noticing things that bring us joy.

You can replace joy with whatever feeling you have in your heart but I ask you to seek the feeling you desire most and see what happens in your life.

*Danielle LaPorte’s Book the Desire Map is an excellent resource and workbook for seeking the emotional state we desire. You can find it on Amazon here: https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00H7MKSRY&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_PxOFCbQBJV6EZ

Fear

What is fear?

Fear is an EMOTION.

Now if you have been hanging out with me for a while you know that I believe that emotions are caused by thoughts. Your feeling of fear is a response to a thought that you believe to be true.

Whether it is a judgment of stimuli in your environment, thoughts of impending doom, a belief system that has been ingrained in your thinking patterns. This emotion is triggered by a thought.

Now there are variations of feeling fearful. I love this emotional vocabulary chart developed by Dr. Gloria Wilcox.

So many different variations of this feeling right? There are so many ways to feel fear and to feel scared.

FEAR is normal. Our brains were built that way! But they evolved during a time when we had more legitimate shit to be scared of. Like being prey, starvation, hunting etc. But the same mechanisms we used to survive in the early days of man still function in our now relatively cushy day to day existence and it can wreak havoc on our lives.

So how does the brain respond to fear?

Fear:

Amygdala: scans for threats and signals body to respond

Brain Stem: triggers the freeze response

Hippocampus: turns on the fight-or-flight response

Hypothalamus: signals the adrenal glands to pump hormones

Pre-Frontal Cortex: interprets the event and compares it to past experiences

Thalamus: receives input from the senses and “decides” to send information to either the sensory cortex (conscious fear) or the amygdala (defense mechanism)

NOW NOTE THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX!

This is the part of our brains that makes us evolved human beings. This is where we get to go into our “higher” mind and decide our response. Rather than flipping out in our “lizard brain” or traditional fight or flight (or freeze). What this really breaks down to is a separation of the subconscious and conscious mind.

This is important to know because I’m sure, like me you have overreacted at least once or twice in your life. Our lizard brain takes our thoughts and triggers flight or fight. It is our job to rewire our brains to respond appropriately to what’s happening around us. That is why it is so important to WATCH what is happening in our brain.

Sometimes you need to get real about your thinking and how it is keeping you stuck. Often, for people who are feeling stuck, there is an underlying sense of fear. Fear of rejection, fear of making a mistake, fear of failing. It’s not that the feeling of fear needs to be ignored or discarded. It’s there for a reason. But your brain is wired to basically tell you that if you do this, there is a chance you could die. That is how we are originally designed. To avoid death and procreate, etc etc. So when our brain is freezing on us, or when we find ourselves in fight or flight because we want to do something new, that is just our brain trying to keep us safe. It’s out of our norm! It’s not the everyday experience we are used to.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that it is normal to feel fear and a sense of dread when we are doing something new. That we will survive, and it’s ok to fail, and it’s ok to learn. In fact, it’s the only way to grow.

Have a great week,

Alissa

Mental Barriers

Today I’d like to talk about breaking through barriers.

Mental ones. One that we place around ourselves.

We can also call this “shattering beliefs” or “overcoming adversity”.

It has a lot of names. Because it’s imperative to growth.

This is why mindset is important and why it matters.

Because if you want to SEE IT you have to BELIEVE IT.

A little narrative for ya:

This weekend I broke a big barrier for myself. I’ve always been athletic, but running was never my gig. I have been working on keeping my brain in balance and what has really helped me in the past is running.

But I only ever ran around 1 or 2 miles. That was a big deal for me. That meant I was getting it done. That was enough.

But it was also all I thought I could do.

So about a week or so ago, I broke 3 miles. That was a game changer. It meant that “THE LIMIT DID NOT EXIST!” the limit was, in fact, in my mind.

So last weekend. Last Saturday to be exact, I set out to do the impossible, I wanted to run 5 miles.

I put on my headphones, I have been using the Nike Run Club app. (highly suggest it) so that I had coaching in my ears and something to track my time. I procrastinated for 2 hours and I finally got to the bike path. And I started.

At the end of that hour, I had run 5.43 miles.

I had changed my beliefs by proving to myself I could do it.

Next weekend, I’m running 7 miles and then 10. All the way to half marathon distance.

Why? Because I want to know that I can. That I can manage my brain around an impossible goal and break through that barrier. This isn’t so much about running as it is knowing what is POSSIBLE.

I literally believed that I would never tackle that distance. And here I am, on the other side.

So how can you apply this to your life?

Do you have beliefs that you “can never weigh” a healthy weight?

Do you have beliefs that you “can never make” that amount of money?

Do you have beliefs that you “can never _____” fill in the blank?

Because I want you to challenge that mentality. Because human potential is limitless, we create, build and solve problems all day long. To quote Marie Forleo “Everything is figureoutable”

Recently master coach Brooke Castillo did a podcast about “Impossible Goals” and my biggest takeaway from that episode is this:

The answer to achieving the impossible is in our daily tasks.

By doing what’s possible every single day, whether that’s sticking to our diet, sticking to our plan, showing up for work, learning the lessons, even FAILING, that is the path to the other side.

So be patient, be clear, strive forward and CHECK YOUR BRAIN. Because that idiot will tell you all the false beliefs you’ve ever believed to be true about yourself. Whether they still apply or not. We will talk more about that later.

Have a good week everyone. Til next time,

Alissa

Shedding My Old Self

When I decided to become a coach and still, to this day, I have a conversation in my head.

I have been wanting to write about this for a long time.

“Remember what you used to be like?”

“Why would anyone listen to you?”

Now I know you’ve probably seen 10,000 blogs, podcasts etc about imposter syndrome but this is about something else. This is about forgiveness, change and becoming a better version of who we are.

This is also about letting go of the person you used to be and stepping into the now. I am going to warn you, I’m going to share some things about myself that I’m not proud of. Some of these things can be triggering. However, I’m also going to talk about how I changed my mind, changed my behavior and changed myself. Because come on, isn’t that the point of coaching? To change into a better grander version of who we are?

Bad Mom:

So for those who don’t know, I am a proud Mama of 3 beautiful boys. They are now 5 and 6, and besides from the normal behavioral issues of preschool and school-aged children we are doing pretty well. I don’t know if you noticed, but I said 3 boys one year apart. I HAD THREE DAMN KIDS IN 1 YEAR to the DAY. Needless to say, I was completely overwhelmed, over my head and could barely afford anything. I also had zero coping mechanisms. And I drank in the evenings, regularly. More than I should. I lost friends because of it and a lot of respect of the people I love. I was drowning in every way. I was staying at home with my kids and losing it.

What I did to change:

  1. I looked at my kitchen one day and it was in shambles and I said, “a functional adult is not in charge here” and I cut way back.
  2. I put my kids in preschool and got some help! Realizing you need help and asking for it is CRITICAL.
  3. I started exercising to reduce stress and increase my energy level. It also gave me a sense of control when I felt so freaking buried all the time.
  4. I started focusing on coaching to change who I wanted to be, I worked on my mindset and my belief systems and I began my journey to healing parts of myself that were hurting and were AMPLIFIED by reliving the childhood experience.

Ignorant Teenager:

This one is kind of the worst because I can’t believe some of the things I thought it was ok to think and do. I was hurtful to people I didn’t even know because I was angry. I also grew up during the South Park and Eminem TRL era, and being ignorant and saying shocking, hateful shit was the norm. I embraced shock humor, generalities, and hateful humor. Being a mean girl didn’t serve me and I often was more mean to myself than anyone else.

One day I was in a severe car accident. I had to recover, helplessly in a nursing home for a month. Now if that won’t humble you and give you reverence for other people and suffering I don’t know what will.

What I did about it:

  1. A little teacher name Dr. Wayne Dyer popped up on my PBS channel one day and spoke the deepest truth I had ever heard. I realized I’m in charge of my life, I have been given a second chance and it was time to become the wholehearted loving person I am.
  2. I read books that changed my life and I learned about the world. This process didn’t only start with a car accident. I studied cultural anthropology in college. Understanding how the world works and how people live has changed me for the better.
  3. I reconnected with my integrity and what I believe in. The golden rule, humanity, decency, and reverence for the human experience and all the suffering that comes with it.

Sloppy Party Girl

This one I’m still shedding. When I was in my early teens I started using drugs and drinking. Because to be honest, I thought that shit was fun. What I didn’t realize is that it was stunting my ability to cope with life and problems because I was drinking or smoking instead of honoring my feelings and communicating my needs. So I was going to hard and too far.

What I am doing about it:

  1. Cutting way back on drinking. The social norms for alcohol in this country are absurd. Also, it messes with my depression big time!
  2. Running. Running is my new drug. The longer I go, the higher I get.
  3. Running a coaching business: It is important to me that I represent what I study so hard and what I work on regularly. That means showing up as my best, most refreshed and most disciplined self.

How can you apply this in your life?

What parts of your past do you feel shame around? Write it down, talk to a close friend about how you’re feeling. Shame is deadly, and when we share our suffering it gives it space to breathe and we can feel how universal our shame and mistakes are. When we are able to create space for the things we aren’t proud of and look them in the eye, we can give ourselves grace. Remember what you were going through when that happened. Remember the foundation that built that behavior and what was hurting. Remember the pain you felt and honor it! If we can conceptualize our pain and our experiences in totality it’s hard to forgive ourselves. Start there.

One more thing to remember: healing is a journey and it is absolutely not a straight line. We will move forward, back and forward again as we sort through trauma, stress, hardship whether it is from the past or the present circumstances at hand. If you look for healing it will find you. Your teachers will appear. I know that sounds very woo woo, but there is actually science behind it. Our brains are programmed to look for answers. Ask your brain a question and it will begin seeking and you might begin to notice things that you maybe didn’t before. Also, don’t forget that google search bar, friends and really building a support team. Coaching helps us move past hardships and become more future focused. Reiki can help us move energy out of our body, and therapy can help us face and deal with past trauma once and for all.

Thanks for reading/listening. Happy healing, transforming and becoming. ❤

Alissa

The Path of Least Resistance

Winter can be difficult, am I right?

It’s cold or raining. There is stress, there is change, but that change doesn’t seem to come quickly enough.

But the seasons are changing my friend. And with them, we must go along too.

As the northern hemisphere begins to defrost and warm itself we begin to reawaken our senses. Inevitably there will be shifts, in relationships, jobs, health, family. Whether or not these changes come by our own making or as an external force we are responsible to react in a way that honors who we are and what we choose to create in our own lives.

When we resist change or push back in fear we can create so much pressure and pain within ourselves. Our brains can quickly descend into the worst case scenario and overwhelm.

Enter the art of allowing.

For those who are familiar with Abraham Hicks teachings, this will sound familiar. But like trying to swim upstream or against the tide, we create hardship instead of acceptance and flow.

It isn’t so much the circumstance of change that we need to allow, but more of the emotional experience.

If someone leaves and it makes you sad, allow yourself to be sad and flow with that emotion. If you have to go to work, go to work, but don’t force yourself to be at the top of your game, don’t numb out. Be.

Healthy allowing of feelings is crucial for our understanding of ourselves. It’s also crucial for our health. Acceptance and allowing of what is, may not be what we wish it, but it empowers us to respond in healthy ways, honoring our humanness, our beliefs, and how we wish to show up in the world. Authenticity at it’s clearest.

 

 

Are you your own worst boss?

I was listening to the Tim Ferris Podcast this morning with Seth Godin.

They were talking about lots and lots of things but this stuck out to me.

From an excerpt from Seth Godin’s Blog back in December of this past year:

The World’s Worst Boss:

That would be you.

Even if you’re not self-employed, your boss is you. You manage your career, your day, your responses. You manage how you sell your services and your education and the way you talk to yourself.

Odds are, you’re doing it poorly.

If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you’d quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much of your time as you do, they’d fire her. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under. I’m amazed at how often people choose to fail when they go out on their own or when they end up in one of those rare jobs that encourages one to set an agenda and manage themselves. Faced with the freedom to excel, they falter and hesitate and stall and ultimately punt.

We are surprised when someone self-directed arrives on the scene. Someone who figures out a way to work from home and then turns that into a two-year journey, laptop in hand, as they explore the world while doing their job. We are shocked that someone uses evenings and weekends to get a second education or start a useful new side business. And we’re envious when we encounter someone who has managed to bootstrap themselves into happiness, as if that’s rare or even uncalled for.

This is important. Especially for me as a coach.

Because THIS IS THE SHIT WE WORK ON.

Self-management

Time Management

Making Good Decisions

Creating sustainable habits

Dialing in our everyday

Minimalizing distractions

Being the best damn boss of ourselves we can be.

Coaches exist to take our own life into our own hands and set it off in the direction of our dreams. We help people get out of their own way, work on their personal beliefs systems about how they feel about themselves. We work with clients to help them overcome negative self-talk and remove habits that hurt us, our goals, and our relationships?

Are you the world’s worst boss of yourself? Do the words in Seth Godin’s essay resonate with you? Considering hiring a coach, sitting down and talking one-on-one with what kind of person you want to be and how to get there.

Interested in coaching? Schedule an appointment with me here: https://calendly.com/vivant-coaching/mini-session

 

 

Let the dead things die!

It’s Halloween!

What a wondrous season. I love the fall, it’s my birthday, sweaters and layering and boots season. What’s not to love?

But what I love so much about fall is that it is a reminder of the great cycle of life, things and seasons. Death and rebirth. For those of us who are into astrology, it is also the scorpio season. This is a time of year for alchemical change. Total transformation.

When I read Clarissa Pinkola-Estes book Women Who Run with the Wolves (you can buy the book at the link fall is a great time to read these classic stories of the Wild Woman Archetype) this became a central theme and daily reminder to myself.

As we move into the darker part of the year, and the weather changes around us it is a good reminder to let go and let all that doesn’t serve us fall away.

So what does this look like in my life?

Dropping bad diet habits.

I was on a very strict diet for a long time and I was uncomfortable and miserable and wasn’t getting any results. I am letting that go.

I am ushering in health, plant-based meals twice a day, and cutting way back on drinking.

Getting real in my relationships.

Being honest about my feelings and being clear when things don’t go well. Also, if necessary saying goodbye.

Practicing Non-Attachment

Being clear that nothing is permanent, and everything is always changing and giving myself permission to be in the moment. Showing up to do my work but letting it go if it’s not the right path. Not feeling attached to outcomes or possibilities but practicing allowing.

My suggestion to you this season:

What do you want to leave behind?

Who do you want to forgive?

What do you want to stop punishing yourself for?

What isn’t making you feel bright and alive?

Make a list of all that is no longer bringing you joy, peace or happiness that isn’t worth the effort to fix.

Make a little alter of beautiful things that bring joy to you.

For example, I have a statue of the Green Tara that my best friend gave me with handwritten prayers from India inside that I like to place with crystals and stones and candles. But a little bowl of water in the middle.

Light that paper on fire.

Say a prayer to whomever you connect with, source, God, universal energy, Gaia, or yourself and release it.

freestocks-org-155624-unsplash

It’s time to prepare ourselves for winter, for what we want to bring in to the world and create, it’s time for planning and contemplation, don’t muddle your vision with things that no longer serve you.

Best to all, and all the love in the world,

Alissa