For so many people, Halloween is the designated day to day to dress up, overindulge in sugar, and get your fright on. It emphasizes the spooky parts of death and hones in on fears related to the afterlife. However, Halloween in other parts of the world, is actually viewed as a celebration. It is recognized as a traditional celebration with a deep connection to the supernatural and the dead.
This is referred to Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. A Mexican holiday with 3,000 years of incredible tradition. Over 2 days, families remember and honor the spirits of the unliving. There’s face painting, stories, food, and festivals greeting the spirits from the other side. Sure, the theme is death, but the tone is commemoration - undoubtedly different than the Halloween I grew up on.
So, this got me thinking...rather than fearing death, what if we used the thought of dying as a portal to
recognize the things that are still in us to create?
In addition it can be used as a tool to identify what has died within us and is ready to be released?
Death can provide us with valuable information for deeper insight due to the finality of it’s nature. Are there any limiting beliefs holding you back from realizing your dreams? What a perfect opportunity to go inward and figure out what we hope to get out of life and living.
So, if you died tomorrow, what unrealized dreams would you have?
Is it a relationship, traveling more, launching a business, or just more meaningful connections — that’s information on how you should move forward and what you should spend time cultivating.
By taking a moment to pause and step out of our regular routines, we can cut through the noise and realign to what matters most. And sure, it might be uncomfortable at first, but reflecting on death has a unique way of making what we want to do with the limited time we have left crystal clear.
Q4 is in full swing, and for me, that means taking a step back to see how I’m measuring up to reach my 2019 goals —and setting new ones for the quarter ahead, both personal and professional.
Maybe you had a vision for what you planned to achieve at this point in the year. Whether it was a promotion, a new relationship, launching a business, or better health—can you take a moment to check in and be honest with yourself with your progress? If you’re exactly where you planned to be, amazing! But if you’ve slipped behind, then this is the perfect time to reset. By asking yourself a few important questions, you can change the trajectory of the next 2.5 months and make 2019 your biggest, most successful year yet.
The truth is, if you’ve fallen behind, it’s really NO big deal. Instead of making yourself feel bad, what if you adopted a kinder mindset? This is not a failure, but an incredible opportunity to recommit to the goals you really want to hit to make true progress.
Here are 4 steps to help you reset, reconnect, and get on the path to crushing your goals for 2019.
1. Ask yourself the hard questions
Instead of being hard on yourself, sit down and reflect. Take some time to answer the following questions:
- Is this something I still want?
- Is this important and exciting to me?
- Does timing make sense?
2. Get tactical
After setting your goal(s), break them down into manageable bite-sized pieces. What three things can you do that’ll help you reach each of your goals? Get as specific as possible, and don’t forget to assign deadlines to them
3. Stay accountable
Whether it’s a manager, a best friend, or a coach, get someone to help keep you on track. Don’t be afraid to share your goals with others—having a support system is key to making the future you see for yourself.
Practicing surrender actually helps you meet your goals, because it makes you more relaxed and open. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to put in the work, but trusting the timing of your life and knowing that it’s not all up to you helps to take some of the pressure off and make this an enjoyable experience!
What goals are you setting this quarter? Do you need some guidance to get clear and back on track? I’d love to help you make real goals with real potential. Book your clarity call here to get started.
In our society, being busy, constantly on the go, and straight up burnt out is often seen as a badge of honor. We tend to think being “productive” is the only way to be and even feel guilty for declining invites or taking vacations. And while I’m all for juggling projects, making time for friends, and maximizing my output, deep down I know that sometimes I just need to chill.
With social media, it seems the pressure is even higher with a never ending competition of who can achieve more, share more, take better pictures, and hit up all the workout classes and brunches. If we really take a beat though, deep down we know that our bodies NEED rest to function at peak performance—and sometimes taking a break is the most productive thing we can do for ourselves.
But how exactly do you know if you’re just being lazy or if you really need to shut it down early and sleep in? To what kinds of feelings should you tune in to? Maybe physical like fatigue and sore muscles? Or emotional feelings like doubt and anxiety? The truth is, your body is constantly sending you important messages. You don’t need to understand them, you just need to tune in and act on them.
Here are 3 Ways to Learn to Listen to Your Body by Cultivating a
Stronger Mind-Body Connection
1. Slow down + Journal
How can you tune in to your body if you’re constantly distracted, on social media, and running from one appointment to the next? Intentionally remind yourself to slow down, even if it’s bookended at the beginning or end of your day. A great way to do this is to write out your daily intentions in the morning (for the day ahead) or before going to bed (for the next day). The simple act of writing these down will bring you clarity on what you (and your body) needs and unconsciously make what you desire more likely to happen.
2. Breathe Deep
Most of us are shallow breathers, meaning we don’t maximize the full benefit from taking regular breaths. If your breath is shallow, you can be left feeling anxious or in fight/flight mode. By taking deep belly breaths that reach all the way down to your diaphragm you will stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system - the system in your body that is responsible for rest and digest.
The empowering part is that deep breaths can be trained since breathing is one of the only systems in our bodies that is both automatic and can be controlled. For training your breath, I recommend the box breath. You inhale for one, hold for one, exhale for one, hold for one and continue doing this all the way up to 5 (for each count). Doing this daily will ensure that your unconscious breaths becoming longer throughout the day creating a more relaxed sensation in your body.
3. Take Action
Your body is sending you messages ALL the time and it is up to you to listen to it.
Does your neck hurt? That means you have probably been looking at a screen for too long.
Are your hamstrings tight? Stand up, go for a walk or run.
Is your belly upset? Place your hands on your belly as a self-soothing mechanism.
When certain feelings arise, allow the action to come from that place inside of you that intuitively knows what you need.
So while you may have planned to work out before work, or go for happy hour drinks, plans can always change. If your body is telling you it’s exhausted, listen to it. Take rest. Be honest with yourself and the benefits will flow out to every aspect of your life.
You made plans with a friend, got ready, and are closing the door to your apartment. You hear your phone vibrating and look over only to see a text from said friend with a lousy excuse and last minute cancellation. Your reaction? You’re pissed! You just hate it when people flake last minute.
Whether it’s the co-worker who you absolutely can’t stand, the ex boyfriend you still call toxic, or the sibling you don’t see eye-to-eye with, any situation or person that triggers you is ultimately an opportunity to transform.
What exactly do I mean by this?
Enter: mirroring. Mirroring is the concept that everything around you reflects back information about you. Anything (and everything) that triggers negative emotion is information and provides you with the opportunity to recognize a quality you lack or possess.
For example, you’re annoyed by your super competitive co-worker. Instead of pointing fingers and complaining, be objective and choose to look closely at what s/he is reflecting.
Are they bringing up your own competitive nature?
Or maybe they’re reminding you of your lack of motivation.
The reason this quality is annoying you is because on some level, it’s also yours. Mic drop moment, I know. If you continue to ignore it, it will continue to frustrate you because what you resist persists.
Owning up to it, which is usually the harder option, not only gives you the opportunity to process it but also gives you the chance to grow.
The truth is, if you don’t recognize it, it will continue to haunt you until you have faced it and it’s often that thing that triggers you the most in others, that you need to improve on.
Because that’s how issues work - the don’t go away until you deal with them! But subconsciously you know that already...
Think of the triggers you see in other people like looking in a mirror - every part of you will be illuminated and it is what you choose to do with the information that will allow you to see your beauty or your thorns.
So next time something happens and you’re tempted to get angry, offended, or hurt, — take a steback, take a deep breath and ask yourself: “What is being mirrored here? What is the lesson for me to learn?” — and I assure you, you will get an answer.
How to Continue to Work Through Your Triggers
1. Find your mirrors
Spend some time thinking about the emotions you feel on a regular basis. Answer the following questions:
- What person, place, or quality upsets me or stirs up negative emotions in me?
- What situations do I find most difficult to handle?
- What behavior do I judge?
Don't be afraid to ask yourself the hard questions and delve into the hard answers. This information will help you to begin to heal these patterns and create lasting change.
2. Be gentle with yourself
As you begin to notice these emotions, and recognize your mirrors, be kind to yourself. Don’t judge yourself for possessing a certain quality, but keep showing up and you will begin to see changes.
3. Make space for the positive
Begin to notice the people, activities, and environments that bring you feelings of joy, fulfillment, or passion. If you learn what makes you feel happy and fulfilled and take the actions to get you into that state, you will get closer to becoming your best self.
I just returned from a 5-day silent retreat and everyone keeps asking me - so, what was it like? And how did you not speak for 5 whole days?
To be honest - it wasn’t so much the not talking part that bothered me, I actually quite enjoyed that, it was harder to purposely not distract myself. I chose not to look at my phone, read or write in my journal. My days were spent in total silence, without any screens, books or technology to distract me. I meditated while walking, while sitting, and ate slow mindful meals. Most importantly, I got quiet and learned how enjoyable it is to eliminate the noise we are distracted with daily.
By slowing down and taking time, it allowed me to realize some things and put some change in my daily habits into effect. Here are 3 ways I’ve changed since the experience and lessons you can take away, even if you don’t have the opportunity to try a silent retreat yourself.
1. Be kind to yourself
I am totally guilty of always wanting things to be harmonious, balanced and a-ok. The reality of life, however, is that we are going to experience the good with the bad. What was illuminated for me on retreat was that ‘the bad things in life’ (or dukka as referred to in Pali, the 2500 Buddhist language) are inevitable and we need to welcome them in the same way we welcome ‘the good’. You know that little voice inside of you that criticizes you and over thinks when something doesn’t go your way? I now recognize it not as a voice of truth, but simply another distraction. When soothing myself internally I now include words like ‘it’s okay my love’ rather than ‘you are bad or wrong’. So I know bad things will come, but my relationship to it has changed, and I’m much more patient and kind with myself.
2. To reconnect with yourself, you’ve got to disconnect from the noise of the outside world
Making the space to sit in total silence is a powerful experience. Without my phone, mindless scrolling, Netflix shows to catch up on, a slew of emails to tackle, and an endless to-do list, I was truly free. I had the time and space to get close to my thoughts, recognize them, and process them. I had SO much more awareness of the small details around me: the smells, textures, tastes, and sounds I would have normally missed had I had other outside distractions.
3. Choose your words mindfully, not just to fill space
Without the ability to communicate with my words, I noticed how so often we talk just to fill space without considering the powerful residue our words create. These days I’ve been considering how I feel after certain remarks, how others react, and how I can speak in a way that inspires and comes from my highest self. Being quiet and only speaking when I feel I have something important to say is a new practice I am implementing.
Samara Zelniker is a yogi, wine drinker, pet lover and travel junkie.