How Do I Want to Express Myself as a Woman?

How Do I Want to Express Myself as a Woman?

This is the question I have been pondering of late – “How Do I Want to Express Myself as a Woman?” It is very real and raw as I continue to meet deep beliefs within.

Last week the tennis season started. Yes, I have been watching it on TV and was lucky enough to watch two days live with friends at the QLD Tennis Centre. I grew up in the world of tennis and the sport helped to shape who I am today.

However, I have also noticed a limiting beliefs reappear when I was at the tennis about being a woman and continue to do the work to release it. Subsequently, today I wanted to explore that idea about beliefs, so you can then choose to make conscious choices about how you want to express yourself as a woman. Let’s get started…

 

What Are Beliefs?

Let’s start with having a look at some definitions on beliefs. Beliefs are –

  • “an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.” ~ Google
  • Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty.” ~ Wikipedia
  • “Assumptions and convictions that are held to be true, by an individual or a group, regarding concepts, events, people, and things.” ~ Business Dictionary

Now let’s have a look at limiting beliefs.

“If what you believe is actually true, you don’t need to believe it.” ~ Ron Smothermon

 

What Are Limiting Beliefs?

A limiting belief is something you believe to be true that limits you in some way. The limiting belief could be about you, other people or the world. These beliefs may –

  • hold you back from making different choices in your life,
  • keep you from seeing the different opportunities presented to you each day,
  • prevent you from seeing you own gifts or accepting the gifts offered to you, or
  • keep you stuck focusing on the negative aspect of your circumstances.

One of the challenges with limiting beliefs is most of us don’t think we have them and they can be hard to spot.

 

Where Do Limiting Beliefs Come From?

Limiting beliefs can come from many places, including – family members, teachers, coaches, media, society and culture. They are formed by repeated thoughts and are mostly created in childhood from interactions with the people around us (N.B. this is not about blaming anyone, particularly our parents).

As children’s brains are not fully developed, they can take on many limiting beliefs from their immediate environment as they do not know the difference between what is real and what is not. For example – a situation occurred in childhood, interpretation about the situation was made, which led to making meaning, that lead to a thought. That person then believed that thought (whether it was true or not), kept thinking it as other similar situations occurred over time, Subsequently, it became a belief.

“Nothing binds you except your thoughts; nothing limits you except your fear; and nothing controls you except your beliefs.” ~ Marianne Williamson

 

Some Limiting Beliefs About Being a Woman

There are many examples of limiting beliefs. They can be general or specific. Specific limiting beliefs relate to specific areas of life – including money, family, friends, work, health and fitness and general beliefs are more global and can relate to many different areas.

Following are a couple of limiting beliefs I have had as a woman –

  • “Feminine means weak”,
  • Asking for help is a sign of weakness“,
  • “It’s not safe to show my feminine essence”,
  • “Expressing emotions are a sign of weakness”, and
  • “The masculine is more productive and gets the job done more effectively.”

Maybe you can relate to some of these? For me, I continue to untangle from these beliefs as I do not see them as true. I imagine a different woman now and am very clear on how I want to express being her. It is similar to the woman in the following poem – ‘Imagine a Woman’. Maybe the following poem will inspire you to imagine a different type of woman, like it did for me.

 

‘Imagine a Woman’ by Patricia Lynn Reilly

“Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is a woman.
A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.
Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman who trusts and respects herself.
A woman who listens to her needs and desires.
Who meets them with tenderness and grace.

Imagine a woman who acknowledges the past’s influence on the present.
A woman who has walked through her past.
Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life.
A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.
Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and wisest voice.

Imagine a woman who names her own gods.
A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.
Who designs a personal spirituality to inform her daily life.

Imagine a woman in love with her own body.
A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.
Who celebrates its rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman who honors the body of the Goddess in her changing body.
A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.
Who refuses to use her life-energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in circles of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine yourself as this woman.”

 

Over to You…

How do you want to express yourself as a woman? I hope this post has helped you identify a few limiting beliefs that some of the woman I work with also have about being a woman. Do you have any questions or comments? If so, feel free to share them below!

Ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?

 

The Gift of Radical Acceptance

The Gift of Radical Acceptance

As identified yesterday, I have decided this year is the year of radical acceptance. After teaching mindfulness for a while and also self-compassion, I wanted to focus on and practise radical acceptance this year for a few reasons (maybe I will share that one day). However, today I wanted to share with you the gift a radical acceptance.

 

What is Radical Acceptance?

One of the clearest ways I have seen radical acceptance explained is by Tara Brach. She refers to the interconnectedness of mindfulness and compassion as radical acceptance. Brach uses the metaphor of a bird which has two wings – where one wing of the bird is clear seeing (i.e. mindfulness) and the other is our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive (i.e compassion).

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is often referred to as the opposite of resistance. Mindfulness in everyday life is the ultimate challenge and practice. It is a way of being, of seeing, of tapping into the full range of our humanity – often seen in playful children fully experiencing life in the here and now. There are a number of definitions of mindfulness, including one of the most famous ones by Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994) –

“as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally” (p.4).

Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein (2010) report “in Sanskrit, it’s known as smrti, from the root word smr, meaning “to remember” and in Pali, the language of the earliest Buddhist scriptures, it’s known as sati (mindfulness)” (p.15).

 

What is Compassion?

There are a number of definitions on compassion, including –

  • “We define compassion as the feeling that arises in witnessing another’s suffering and that motivates a subsequent desire to help.” ~ Goetz, Keltner & Simon-Thomas
  • “…the desire to remove suffering from the other person” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
  • the wish that all sentient beings be free from suffering.” ~ Dalai Lama

Now if we shift this focus to the self in relation to compassion, the definition of self-compassion follows.

 

What is Self-Compassion?

There are a number of well-known definitions on self-compassion. Christopher Germer in his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions refers to self-compassion as

“… simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.”

In Dr Kristin Neff’s book – Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, she talks about

Self-compassion entails three core components. First, it requires self-kindness, that we be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental. Second, it requires recognition of our common humanity, feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering. Third, it requires mindfulness – that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it. We must achieve and combine these three essential elements in order to be truly self-compassionate.”

 

Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Working Together…

We need mindfulness and compassion to work together – mindfulness helps to ensure that self-compassion isn’t used as a form of resistance and we need self-compassion to feel safe enough to open mindfully to difficult experiences. The following graphic shares some insights in to mindfulness and self-compassion –

Over to You…

Can you see the gift of radical acceptance? Do you have any questions? If so, please leave them below

What is your word for the year? If you don’t have one yet, you can see the process here. Ready to reconnect with your heart and start living a more connected and whole-hearted life? Then click here to receive the toolkit 🙂

 

References –

Brach, T. (2003). Radical Acceptance – Embracing Your Life with the Heart to the Buddha. New York, USA: Random House.

Germer, C. (2009). The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions. New York: Guilford Press.

Goetz, J. L., Keltner, D., & Simon-Thomas, E. (2010). Compassion: an evolutionary analysis and empirical review. Psychological bulletin, 136(3), 351–374. doi:10.1037/a0018807

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever You Go, There You Are – Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. New York, USA: Hyperion.

Neff, K. (2011). Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. New York, USA: HarperCollins Publishers.

Nhat Hanh, T. (2007). Teachings on Love. California, USA: Parallax Press.

Stahl, B., & Goldstein, E. (2010). A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook. Oakland, USA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Welcome 2020 – My Year of Radical Acceptance

Welcome 2020 – My Year of Radical Acceptance

Well it is 2020 and after doing my End-of-Year Ritual, I am ready to go. I feel clearer than I have been in a while about the coming year and know in my heart I am ready to be here more. Yes, like a number of people 2019 was challenging, however I got through it with my toolkit. So this year, I have decided 2020 is my year of radical acceptance.

 

I Am Ready to Accept…

For me, the following poem articulates acceptance so well.

Poem: The Guest House by Jellaludin Rumi

“This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.”

Shifting from Resistance to Acceptance

When I first heard the Guest House poem at the MBSR Course I did – I loved it! However, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do today. I can see when I first started mindfulness, how much resistance I had to facing my challenges and discomfort within my experiences (especially my emotions). I love how Christopher Germer shares this as his five stages of acceptance.

 

The 5 Stages of Acceptance

In his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions, Germer shares his 5 stages of acceptance. The stages are –

  1. Aversion – avoiding or resisting what is going on,
  2. Curiosity – starting to turn to the discomfort with interest and curiosity,
  3. Tolerance – safely enduring,
  4. Allowing – letting the discomfort (feelings) come and go,
  5. Friendship – seeing the value of all experiences and befriending your experiences of life (i.e. sitting down with the guest and listening to what the guest has to say).

It is important to note, that this is not a linear process – it is dynamic. The stages are about learning to have a new relationship with life and the feelings/emotions and thoughts associated with it – moving from resistance to acceptance. As resistance creates suffering and acceptance alleviates it. So that is why, I have named 2020 – my year of acceptance 🙂

 

Over to You…

Do you have any questions in relation to acceptance? Remember, acceptance is not about tolerating disrespectful or inappropriate behaviour, it is about accepting what is happening emotionally and mentally in this moment. If you have any questions/comments, feel free to share them below in the comments section. I will be sharing more about 2020 – My Year of Radical Acceptance throughout the year as well.

What is your word for the year? If you don’t have one yet, you can see the process here. Ready to reconnect with your heart and start living a more connected and whole-hearted life? Then click here to receive the toolkit 🙂

 

“Accept, then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

 

Reference –

Germer, C. (2009). The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions. New York: Guilford Press.

 

My Adventure to Becoming a Trained Professional in Intuitive Eating

My Adventure to Becoming a Trained Professional in Intuitive Eating

Yesterday, I became certified as an intuitive eating professional as you can see by the picture below. To say I am grateful for this certification, would be an understatement, so today I wanted to share some of my adventure and learnings about becoming trained in intuitive eating. As I share this, please know it is coming from a place of compassion, accountabilityand responsibility for my life (there is no blame).

 

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating is a non-diet approach to nutrition and wellness that helps people start to trust their body wisdom and its signals, break the cycle of dieting and change your relationship with food (and maybe their life). According to Tribole and Resch, the authors of Intuitive Eating, an intuitive eater is defined as a person who –

“makes food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma, honours hunger, respects fullness and enjoys the pleasure of eating.”

 

My Interest in Nutrition

My interest in nutrition started when I was a professional athlete. Then when I was doing my double undergraduate degree, we covered a subject of nutrition with the dietetic students. The subject didn’t resonate with me (and now I can see why as it was focused more on dieting).

Fast forward a few years and I started my own healing adventure and discovered many unconscious beliefs I had that needed healing. Some were about my weight, food / what I ate and and my body. From “you’re not the right shape to be an athlete”, “you need to lose weight as your skin folds are too high” and “you can’t eat that as it’s fattening”. Unbeknownst to me, this was having an impact on me and my life and I was ready to find support to change my relationship with food and my body.

Throughout my adventure (and after I was trained Health and Physical Education Teacher), I returned to study nutrition with Well College (it was called Cadence Health when I studied with them). Throughout that time, I came across the HAES approach and then the book intuitive eating (after I read HAES). Intuitive Eating resonated with me for many reasons. Firstly, it built upon what I had learnt in my other studies (see jigsaw below) and linked in with mindfulness (and my training in mindful eating), self-compassion and behavioural change. It also linked in with the philosophy of coaching. I then started my intuitive eating adventure to remember how to listen to my body signals and untangle from the food police. In some ways, it felt like intuitive eating was the last piece to my education puzzle, however I won’t know that for a while as I love learning 🙂

What Training Did I Have To Do to Be a Trained Professional in Intuitive Eating ?

There was a considerable amount of training to complete this certification. I started on June 1, 2018 when I purchased the Intuitive Eating textbook. Then I did the following –

  • Intuitive Eating Teleseminar – 6 hrs
  • ·Intuitive Eating Group Supervision – 4.5 hrs
  • ·Passed Intuitive Eating Workbook Quiz
  • ·Passed Helm Intuitive Eating Certification Exam.

 

What Have I Learnt So Far?

The biggest lessons for me have come in relation to my body. I have learnt that I can accept it the way it is. Growing up as an athlete, I heard many comments about my body and the way it “should be”. I ended up subconsciously taking on board many of those thoughts, which turned in to beliefs and was punishing my for not being the way other people wanted it to be. This punishment resulted in me not knowing how to listen to my inner body wisdom (which is what intuitive eating helps you to do) or trust it. I can now sense when I am hungry, full and have eaten to satisfaction and am continuing to be aware of my emotional triggers. Breaking my toe almost 5 weeks ago, has also brought this lesson home and how far I have travelled.

In relation to the food I eat, I have given myself permission to eat what I feel like for many years now (yep, I was a rebel after I finished playing sport and ate all of those foods I was told I couldn’t eat! 🙂 ). However, what I would say is that when I eat, I am more satisfied with what I choose to eat and I savour it more. I also have other ways to cope with challenging situations now. I know intuitive eating will continue to be a practise for me.

Until today (14/9/19), I haven’t taken on any clients with a focus on intuitive eating. I have been trained in Mindful Eating for a while now though and there are a few similarities, however there are also differences. Now I am grateful I will be able to bring the best of both worlds to the people I work with now in this space.

 

Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to my adventure of becoming a trained professional in intuitive eating. If you have any questions or comments, please write them below. There are many aspects to intuitive eating (more than the ones I have discussed above), so you can click here is you would like to read more.

Also – you are invited to download the free 10-minute mindful eating exercise here or if you would like to find out about the coaching program, click here.

 

Reference –

Tribole, E., & Resch, E. (2012). Intuitive Eating – A Revolutionary Program that Works. New York, USA: St. Martin’s Griffin.

Poem – She Let Go

Poem – She Let Go

During the past few years, I have been realising that life is a lot about (un)learning and giving up or untangling from what no longer serves us. Subsequently, today I wanted to share with you this poem. Hope you enjoy the “Poem – She Let Go” by Reverend Safire Rose.

 

She Let Go…

Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely,
without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a
book on how to let go… She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.
She didn’t analyse whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

~ Reverend Safire Rose

 

Over to You…

What did you enjoy about the Poem – She Let Go? Did it remind you about something in your life? What does it mean to you? Time to reconnect with your courage?

Becoming a Trained Teacher in Mindful Self-Compassion

Becoming a Trained Teacher in Mindful Self-Compassion

I am super excited to share wiht you, I am now a trained teacher in Mindful Self-Compassion. To say I am grateful for this certification, would be an understatement, so today I wanted to share some of my adventure and learnings about becoming trained in mindful self-compassion.

What is Self-Compassion?

Christopher Germer in his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions refers to self-compassion as

“… simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.”

In Dr Kristin Neff’s book – Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, she talks about –

Self-compassion entails three core components. First, it requires self-kindness, that we be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental. Second, it requires recognition of our common humanity, feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering. Third, it requires mindfulness – that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it. We must achieve and combine these three essential elements in order to be truly self-compassionate.”

 

What Training Did I Need To Do to Be a Trained Teacher in Mindful Self-Compassion ?

There was a considerable amount of training to complete this certification. The professional development workshops are outlined below –

  • 5-day Mindful Self-Compassion course – July 22-26, 2017,
  • Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training – September 22-28, 2017 in New Zealand,
  • 10  x 1-hour Supervision Sessions, and
  • Facilitating the Mindful Self-Compassion 8-Week Course.

 

What Have I Learnt So Far?

There are many things I have learnt in this training. In particular, the way mindfulness and compassion intertwine. Tara Brach refers to the interconnectedness of mindfulness and compassion as radical acceptance. Brach uses the metaphor of a bird which has two wings – where one wing of the bird is clear seeing (i.e. mindfulness) and the other is our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive (i.e compassion).

We need mindfulness and compassion to work together – mindfulness helps to ensure that self-compassion isn’t used as a form of resistance and we need self-compassion to feel safe enough to open mindfully to difficult experiences. The following graphic also shares some insights in to mindfulness and self-compassion –

 

Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to my adventure of becoming a trained teacher in mindful self-compassion. If you have any questions or comments, please write them below.

 

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

 

References –

Brach, T. (2003). Radical Acceptance – Embracing Your Life with the Heart to the Buddha. New York, USA: Random House.

Germer, C. (2009). The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions. New York: Guilford Press.

Neff, K. (2011). Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. New York, USA: HarperCollins Publishers.

 

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