intuition

Taming The Voice In Your Head

Click the image above to see my Facebook Live
Click the image above to see my Facebook Live

There is nothing wrong with you. Do you believe me? I bet the voice in your head is saying, maybe there’s nothing wrong with you, but there is definitely something that needs fixing in me!

Let’s talk about that voice in your head, it’s been called “ego” “inner critic” “shadow voice” “survival mechanism” even “obnoxious roommate living in your head.”

Whatever you choose to call it, it is a collection of thoughts, fears, negative beliefs and stories that you made up as a child. Yup, it’s like having a little kid living inside your head.

I keep a photo of myself as a little girl just to remind me that the voice in my head is just a scared little girl. In my case, a little kid with a potty mouth because it says things to me and about me that I would never say to another human being.

6 year old me

The inner critics job is to keep us safe and protected inside our comfort zone.

I remember, years ago, how scared I was when I was supposed to go to a party or gathering, it didn’t matter whether I knew the people there or not. Thinking about walking into a room full of people made me sweat, my heart would beat out of my chest and panic would set in, just by thinking about it.

This was definitely outside my comfort zone and something that was effecting my relationships and my career. I needed to do something about it because there were many times I could not bring myself to walk into a room full of people, without a glass of wine or two.

My shadow voice would shut me down and I would hide.

Even though we develop our ego or survival mechanism to help us cope and survive childhood, as adults we don’t really need it anymore.

And, just by thinking about what we want and the action we need to take to get there can be enough to trigger our ego or inner critic.

I knew that there was nothing to fear from going to that networking but that voice was running the show and shutting me down. Kinda hard to make progress with that going on.

And, that’s where we normally stop. We get stuck in the thoughts, the fear of stepping into the unknown.

The hard truth is, to keep growing and reach our goals, we must feel the fear and keep going.

So what do we do about that obnoxious roommate (or scared child) that lives in our head?

  1. Realize that that voice is not who you are. It’s just something you made up as a kid.
  2. Understand that the inner critic will likely speak first and speak loudest.
  3. When you notice your ego is triggered, do not react, as this will likely lead to all sorts of bad choices. Stop, take a breath and allow the thoughts to move through without sticking. Let them flow on down like a sparkling stream.
  4. Once you have space, you’re able to connect with your intuition (instinct, higher self) and then choose from there.
  5. Don’t try and push it down or get rid of it, it will only come back stronger. What we resist persists, as the late Debbie Ford said.
  6. Take away its power by NOT giving it what it wants, your attention. I recently had an email in my inbox with the subject, ‘Your ego is the enemy.’ Personally I don’t think we should give our ego that much power. What do we do with an enemy? We normally try and fight it. Stop fighting and go back to step 3.
  7. If you notice that you are stuck in a hole of negative thinking, check first on your well being. Are you tired, hungry, been working way too much? When our well being is off, we are ripe for being triggered.

The bad news is that your ego is not going away, it is yours to keep. The good news is that with practice you can learn to tame that obnoxious roommate living in your head.

With practice, and, there will always be ample opportunity to practice, you will begin to create a more joyful, calm and peaceful life. Life won’t be so heavy. It’s worked for me and for my clients so give it a try and let me know how it goes.

5 Simple Steps To Reduce Stress, Anxiety and Overwhelm

Are you stressed out, feeling swamped and anxious? These five simple steps will help bring more ease and calm into your life AND still get stuff done.

One of the things that my clients often struggle with is feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Either over the amount of things they have to get done or with all of the stress and anxiety in their life.

When you get stressed, anxious, overwhelmed or frustrated, what happens?
When your thoughts are running rampant, you’re confused and overwhelmed, how does it normally go for you, what’s your pattern?

For me, I’m going to shut down, burn out or go hide.

My best friend and I developed something that we have used for years and now I use it with my clients. (Pretend you see me touching the tip of my nose with my finger.) This means, do the next right thing in front of your nose.

I’ve boiled this down into 5 simple steps that you can use starting immediately, when you’re feeling stressed, frustrated, anxious or overwhelmed.

  1. The first is, STOP. When you notice that you’re feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated, overwhelmed, just stop.
  2. Next, take a breath. Give space to those thoughts that are running rampant in your head right now. Breathe. Our current culture and societal pressure is to get stuff done and succeed. Stopping and taking a breath releases pressure and brings us out of our heads and into the present moment. Which leads us to step 3.
  3. Give your thoughts some space. As we disconnect from our head, we can drop into our heart, intuition, instinct, higher self, whatever you call that part of you that connects with your inner wisdom and guidance.
  4. The next step is to ask, “What is the next right thing to do?” You’re not looking out over the week or even the day, you’re looking at just NOW, what is the next right thing to do?
  5. Finally, do it. We can’t get anywhere if we don’t get into action. After you do that thing, check in, how are you feeling? If you feel the anxiety coming back, follow the steps again. There are days, I follow this even when I’m not feeling stressed because it keeps me moving and helps me get out ahead of the stress and anxiety.

It works really well when you have a partner because we are not always reliable to notice when we are caught up in our emotions. There have been days I’m talking with my friend, spiraling into a story of overwhelm not sure what to do. She simply touches the end of her nose and I’m immediately brought out of my head and into the present.

I have been able to get things done when I didn’t think I could. It’s worked for me and for my clients.

I have a video on this that you can share. (https://www.facebook.com/linda.heeler/videos/10218420561973393) Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Dealing With My Inner Critic

Inner critic

Thanks to all those who have shared with me either through Facebook or in person, what has come up for you as a result of me sharing my weight loss journey.

I’m grateful for the honesty and for the opportunity to know that we are in this together.

 

Here’s my update:

  -I have been consistent with my exercise, running or walking 2.5 to 4 miles at least every other day. -I have drastically reduced my consumption of sugar, flour and meat. -I have increased the number of vegetables and fruit I eat. -I am down 9 lbs.  

I even went to NYC for a few days and was able to come home without having gained any weight.

 

I’m glad I’m writing all of this down because the voice in my head has been very active lately and this is how it has been going:

 

Me: “I lost 9 lbs!” Voice in my head: “You need to cut down even more so you will lose more, faster. Stop eating sweets and snacks all together, you shouldn’t be eating any of that stuff anyway if you’re really serious about losing weight.” Me: “But I’m ok with how it’s going…” VIMH: “You’re not doing good enough! Look at those people on Facebook who are posting pictures of all the weight they’ve lost. And you’ve only lost a measly 9 lbs.! You have at least another 15 lbs. to lose! You might as well give up now, you know you don’t have the willpower and besides wouldn’t some peanut M & M’s taste real good right now, but you can’t have them because you need to lose weight…”

 

And on and on and on!

Photo courtesy www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Photo courtesy www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

 

Needless to say these thoughts caused a downward spiral as I let them take control.

 

This felt so familiar.

 

I could feel that sense of wanting to give up, feeling helpless and hopeless, the feeling that I can never be happy eating food that was good for me and that I will never lose AND keep this weight off.

 

The next step of this pattern is letting myself have cake to celebrate a birthday, after all it was just one small piece. Then it’s having ice cream 3 nights in a row just because I wanted it.

 

Suddenly I felt terrible. And I don’t just mean psychologically, I mean physically. I wasn’t sleeping well. I felt bloated.

 

I felt old. I know I’m getting older but I have never felt old.

 

Suddenly I realized I had lost track of why I wanted to lose weight in the first place.

 

After reading Danielle LaPorte’s book, The Desire Map a couple of years ago, I started setting my goals with the idea that it is not the goal I’m actually after, it’s the feeling I will have once I reach that goal.

Posted on my office wall, my vision, how I will feel when I achieve this vision and what I can do to feel those feelings NOW!

Posted on my office wall: my vision, how I will feel when I achieve this vision and what I can do to feel those feelings NOW!

 

Since then, I have not only reached my goals but I have actually enjoyed getting there.

 

The reason I want to lose weight is because I want to FEEL better! I want to feel confident and empowered.

 

I noticed that when I eat good healthy foods that is exactly how I feel, confident and empowered both physically and psychologically.

 

When I binge on cookies, candy, chips and cake, I feel better, temporarily. Then comes a wave of regret and the after effects of all those carbs which includes mental fogginess, bloating and the path to diabetes.

 

I’m eating healthy whole foods again. I have more mental clarity and feel happier.

 

I also like going to bed just a little bit hungry. I sleep better and seem to dream more, which I love!

 

A lower number on the scale is just a result. The real reason I want to lose weight is to feel happier, more powerful and confident. And I can achieve that right now just by the food choices I make.

 

How will you feel when you reach your ideal weight? What can you do right now to connect to that feeling?

 

Breaking The (Food) Rules

Here's one of the few photos of me. Notice me trying to hide behind the kids.

Here’s one of the few photos of me. Notice me trying to hide behind the kids.

A few months ago, I decided it was time to take a hard look at my relationship with food. It was time to figure out how to eat without it turning into an internal emotional battle.

I stopped following my “food rules” and noticed the thoughts that ensued:

“What am I doing???”
“I am going to lose control and end up weighing 300lbs!”
“Everyone is going to see that I’ve gained weight and judge me for it.”
“People will think I’m lazy and a loser.”
“Ok, I can do this for the holidays but as soon as they’re over I’m going on a strict diet.”
“I can NOT permit myself to eat any cookies, meatballs, crab dip (insert any food that is not a raw vegetable here).”

After the holidays were over, it turned into:

“OMG! I gained 10 lbs! I’m fat!”
“I look terrible and I need to lose weight!”
“My family loves me no matter what size I am.  Who am I kidding, they’re probably as disgusted with me as I am!”
“I just want to hide out at home.”
“I can’t buy any new clothes until I lose weight.”

There they were. The thoughts that have come out of my longtime struggle with food, weight and body image. And I know exactly where these thoughts were created.

They came from people in my past who thought they were being cute by calling me pleasingly plump when I was in that awkward stage right before puberty hit. And the words of the boys on the school bus who knew exactly the right buttons to push by calling me fat and ugly.

As with the many attempts before, I knew if I put myself on a diet, eating or fitness plan it was doomed to fail because I was not doing it for the right reason. I would be losing weight because I was afraid of what others thought, not because it was something I wanted.

Then I thought, “What if these thoughts aren’t true?  What if I wasn’t a loser or lazy? What if I’m just me, not what I look like?”

So I asked myself the question, “Who do I know myself to be?” (A question I often ask my clients)

I know myself to be: kind, funny, smart, generous, loving, strong…

Does the size or shape of my body change any of that?

No! Hell NO!

If someone judges me or doesn’t like me for the size or shape of my body, it hurts. But quite honestly, they are not someone I would choose to be friends with anyway.

By replacing negative thoughts of my body with positive ones about the whole me, it not only made it easier to walk into a room full of people, I felt gratitude for the body that has brought me through 54 years and carried and birthed two healthy children.

I would love to say that the angels sang and my eating habits were suddenly transformed.

That didn’t happen. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I inherited my dad’s muscular build and not my mom’s thin beautiful legs. And, I’m likely addicted to carbs.

I have also learned to listen to the shouting in my head rather than pushing it down and hoping it goes away. Now I ask myself, “What am I really looking for these cookies or this bag of peanut M & M’s to do for me?”

I have learned I like the way I feel when I eat healthy, whole foods rather than processed, sugar laden food.

It would be easy but miserable to go back to my automatic routine of forcing myself through a diet, losing weight, keeping it off for a while, rebelling against the diet and then regaining the weight.

Right now, I’m in an unknown space and it’s really uncomfortable. I don’t know what’s around the corner but I do know I am committed to breaking up this pattern of self-abuse.

Are you struggling with the same thing? What are you doing to break through your old patterns? Let me know I’m not alone.

I’ll keep you posted…

Follow Your Bliss & Enjoy The Journey

Me following my bliss in Rome 2007

Following my bliss in Rome 2007

I recently received a Facebook friend request from a woman I had met through networking when I first became a coach. I hadn’t spoken to her in a couple of years and I was excited to connect.

The next thought that ran through my head was to invite her to like my business Facebook page. Suddenly I felt a wave of embarrassment mixed with shame and guilt. You see, I am not real consistent with posting on Facebook, particularly on my business page.

I go in waves of posting memes, quotes, thoughts etc.on Facebook and Twitter because the “experts” say that my business needs to have a social media presence.  I’m sure it’s true because people a lot smarter than me say it’s true.

I believe what I offer makes a difference in people’s lives and the reason I’m posting is because I want to help or inspire someone.

But frankly, I suck at it. And to be perfectly honest, there are times when I hate it. I feel disingenuous when I’m simply trying to find something to post just to say I posted.

This year my intention is to “follow my bliss and enjoy the journey.”

“Follow your bliss” is a shorter version of the quote by Joseph Campbell “follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

According to the Joseph Campbell Foundation website:

“Joseph Campbell was a life-long student and teacher of the human spirit and mythology… individuals who searched within themselves and their societies to identify the need about which they were passionate. He called this burning need that they sought to fulfill their bliss..”

Coaching is my bliss. I love being a space of trust, authenticity and acceptance not only with my clients but with my family, friends, even strangers.

I try to bring that to my relationship with myself although that has proven to be quite a challenge especially when it comes to my weight and food. (More on that on that at a later time)

The definition of bliss is perfect happiness; great joy: a state of spiritual blessedness, typically reached after death.

Bliss in Sardinia

Sardinia 2006

My intention for 2016 of “follow my bliss and enjoy the journey” was born from wanting to experience great joy now. Not when my business was successful, the kids were happy and my husband and I were retired and traveling the world or after I die.

I’ve spent too many years chasing my bliss and being miserable.

I’m tired of receiving emails touting the formula that will bring a million dollars.  I have spent way too much time and money on plans, strategies and coaches who promised me if I did what they said to do, I would make tons of money.

None of these fit with my values and integrity and all I ended up with was regret and an even emptier bank account.

Well, not true. I also got a valuable lesson:  Listen to and do what feels right for me. Do not rely on someone or something outside of me for answers.

Don’t be surprised if you see intermittent posts from me on Facebook, Twitter or even this blog. And know that when I do post it will be because I’m following my bliss and enjoying every step!

What is your bliss? Let me know, post a comment and let’s keep in touch!

Changing The World One Step At A Time

 

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This week I am inspired by women who are following their bliss and making a real difference in the world and am grateful to be a contributor to the Fall Issue of Get Real magazine​.

Changing The World One Step At A Time, tells my experience of the first time I went into the Monroe County Jail as a volunteer with the Step By Step program. It is not only a tribute to the organization but to the work of Sally Kohler, the workshop facilitator, who tirelessly works to lift up women who have fallen.

Click this link Get Real Magazine Fall 2015 and download to read my article and be inspired by all the amazing articles and photos.

Thank you to Brenda Steffon​, Melissa Pletscher-Nizinsky and Julia Kracke for creating such a beautiful, inspiring magazine. You and your staff have created excellence on these pages and I am honored to be a small part.

Who are the women that inspire you? Now go and let them know the difference they have made in your life. #liveinspired

 

Planting The Seed of Intention

 

By creating an intention, we plant a seed for how we want things to go whether it is a conversation, a relationship, a new year or a vacation. It helps point us in the direction of who we want or need to be in order to create that intention.

If we are going to be having a difficult conversation or event, creating an intention can help alleviate anxiety and set a positive tone for the interaction.

Here are a few easy steps to creating an intention:

1.   Begin by answering the question, “What am I looking to come away with at the end?”  Write your answers down and be specific.

For example: Janet has an important meeting coming up with her boss, who has not always been a fan of hers. What she wrote was, “I want to come out of the meeting having her understand my position and knowing that I want the best for her, the company and myself.”

2.  Now ask yourself, “If I was successful at that, what would that provide?”  Write down a list of words that come to mind.

Janet imagined being successful in her conversation with her boss and asked herself, “What would that provide?”  Her list looked like this: understanding, harmony, cooperation, partnership, unity, discovery, trust, abundance, peace.

3. Look at your list of words and see which one or two resonate with you. Don’t worry if you think no one else will understand. Choose the one that feels right to you. If none of them feels right, then go back and begin again, making sure you have answered each question honestly.

In this example, Janet chose “unity” and “abundance” for her intention in the conversation with her boss. Because she planted this seed of intention (unity and abundance), she was able to let go of the negative thoughts and anxiety and felt more confident as she walked into the meeting.

Now it’s your turn. Where would you like to create an intention? Don’t worry about getting it perfect or right. It is yours and it can’t be wrong. If you get stuck, put it down and pick it up again later.

Once you have your intention, write it down and post it somewhere you can see it or carry it in your pocket. If you are creating the intention for an event, remind yourself of your intention before you go in. Then when you come out, check in, did you create the intention?

If you did, great! If you didn’t, ask yourself, what had it go the way that it did? Learn from it and try again.

Before you know it, you will be planting seeds of intention all the time and everywhere. Chances are you will sprout more purposeful actions and a life of possibilities.

Women Inspiring Change Retreat

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*THIS RETREAT IS SOLD OUT! IF YOU DIDN’T MAKE IT TO THIS ONE, CHECK BACK FOR WHEN THE NEXT REGISTRATION OPENS UP.*

Join us on August 23rd, for this full-day retreat designed to help you learn how to live your best life! We will explore ways to shift our common belief that taking care of ourselves is selfish. We will uncover what is truly in the way of you making positive changes in your life.
Come and learn how to take good care of your greatest asset, you.

Located on 135-acres, the beautiful and serene Chapin Mill Retreat Center will thrill your senses and ignite your imagination.

During this day long retreat, you will:

  • be led through exercises designed to uncover what’s keeping you from making lasting positive change
  • discover who you really are and how to use this to create transformative change
  • learn and practice yoga asana (movement) appropriate for everybody, and pranayama (intentional breath work) in order to manage stress and harness optimal energy
  • explore stillness and deep relaxation to refresh and revitalize yourself
  • uncover what foods are keeping you addicted and hijacking your weight loss efforts
  • get tips on how improving your digestion can lead to weight loss and increased energy
  • learn how to make smoothies and juices that taste great, are easy to make and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine

Imagine a safe and welcoming place where you can get your questions answered and learn simple, effective ways to create a body and life you will love! You will also be served a delicious and nutritious breakfast, lunch and filling snacks throughout the day. Enjoy superfood smoothies (demos and recipes just for you), delightful salads, yummy detox juices, homemade almond cherry bliss protein bars and other great snacks to keep you fueled all day.
Our Retreat facilitators are:
Linda Heeler, Professional Certified Coach, Meet Linda
Christine Porter, Certified Health + Wellness Coach, Meet Christine
Mary Aman, Master Yoga Instructor, Meet Mary
These women will bring their talents and expertise to guide you as you begin your journey toward positive change in your life.
Cost for this day long retreat is $247
Registration closes on August 18th.
To register, go to PeaceAndPear.com

The Secret To Happiness? Be Sad

Inside-Out-Q&A-Joy-Sadness

I hear  people saying that in order to be happy, we just need to do positive affirmations and let go of negativity. I say the exact opposite.

In order to be happy, be sad. Let me explain.

The new movie Inside Out is geared towards children but I think it’s a movie everyone should see, adults included.

Without giving too much away, the movie focuses on a little girl named Reilly and how she deals with her emotions. There are characters that represent the emotions of joy, sadness, disgust, anger and fear.

In the beginning of the movie, each time Sadness tries to take over, Joy is there to push her away.

I did this for years.

I tried everything to make sadness go away because I thought something was wrong with me if I wasn’t happy all the time. I tried pushing it down, denying it, resisting it. I tried talking myself out of it by doing positive affirmations.

You’ve heard the saying “What we resist, persists?”  That is exactly what happened.

Before I knew it, I wasn’t just sad, I was depressed.

There were times when I felt like a deep dark hole was opening up and swallowing me. All I wanted to do was check out of life and sleep.

Then, after a while, I would begin to feel better and come out of it. (Those who have that hole swallow them up and don’t come out,  need to seek professional help)

When we resist feeling any emotion, it causes a reaction.

Shame and vulnerability researcher, Brené Brown, compiled data that showed we cannot numb one emotion without numbing all of our emotions.

Basically, by not allowing ourselves to feel and process our sadness, we are not able to experience true joy.

In our society, it often seems unacceptable to express sadness. We can feel we need to put on a happy face and act like we’ve got it all together.

When we do that, our sadness festers and ends up coming out in other ways. It can manifest itself as depression, illness or destructive behavior such as addiction.

Or we could have an outburst and explode when we have reached our limit.

However, by acknowledging and experiencing our emotions and talking to an empathetic person, we will find that sadness or any emotion leaves as fast as it came.

This is what happened to little Reilly. Once she allowed herself to talk to her parents about her sadness, it opened the door to true connection as well as letting Joy once again be a part of her life.

The real lesson here is that emotions are not right or wrong, good or bad. They just are. We all have them and all they simply want is to be expressed.

What about those positive affirmations? It is unhealthy and unrealistic to expect ourselves to be happy all the time. If we allow ourselves to feel our emotions, then we can use positive affirmations or gratitude to reconnect with hope and faith.  That way we won’t end up wallowing in negativity.

What emotion are you currently not allowing yourself to experience? Who is your go-to person when you need empathy?

If you are open to it, practice allowing difficult feelings, share with an empathy buddy and see what happens. I bet you’ll be amazed at how much happier you will be when you allow your emotions to just be.

Stop The Drama

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How many times have you let yourself be taken advantage of or sucked into someone else’s drama just because you didn’t want to come off as cold or worse, the “b” word?

This was the case with a client who was wondering how to deal with someone in their life who was being self-destructive. She stated that her friend was not only hurting themselves but those around them.  Many of their family and friends had gotten so irritated or resentful with how her friend was behaving they stopped having contact with them.

My client didn’t want that to happen to her but she could feel the irritation and resentment beginning to creep in. She did not want to lose the friendship they had built over the years but she also knew she needed to honor herself.

There are two things we can do so that we don’t feel taken advantage of and get sucked into other people’s drama.

  1. Put a “hedge of protection” around you. In order to not take on the other person’s emotions or negativity, putting up this barrier protects us. But we also have to make it so that our love and compassion can pass through the hedge to them. This is not a physical barrier of any kind it is simply a mental awareness that if we are down in the muck and mire with them then we are no good to anyone.
  2.  Surrender. This does not mean to give up. It means hand them over to their higher power. They are on their path and we are not responsible for the choices they make. Don’t try to change them. If someone is a danger to themselves or others, then by all means, contact the authorities, get them professional help.  However, it is not your job to “fix” someone else’s life. You are there to love and support them if they want it but be sure they are driving their life, not you.

A few years ago, I had a friend who often wouldn’t show up when we had made plans. I loved her and I knew this was not her but this was  her pattern. Connection was something she struggled with.

This pattern led other people in her life to get angry and stop contacting her. I could feel that beginning with me as well. I realized I could not change her so I knew I had to be the one to change.

I told her that I was not going to show up for any meeting with her unless she confirmed with me the day before. A few times we had a date planned and when I didn’t hear from her, I simply sent her a text telling her that I would not be there and that when she wanted to try again, just let me know.

Because of this, I was able to let go of my resentment and not feel taken advantage of. I chose to honor myself as well as my friend. We now have a great relationship and she lets me know when she can’t make our coffee dates.

What relationships have left you feeling resentful, taken advantage of or gotten sucked into the drama?  Right now, how can you practice surrendering and putting up your hedge of protection with those people?