First Things First

10525916_781390441881524_13519433434744531_n[1]When life gets busy and crazy with a never-ending to-do list usually I tend to roll up my sleeves and get on the treadmill and keep going and going and going.  It takes a while for me to realize I have gone too far over the edge.   Yesterday, I thought about working out.  Hmmmm how long has it been?  Over a week…No wonder I am feeling lethargic and tense. Really, I know the fact is, the busier I am, the more I need to be aware of what it takes to keep me functioning – physically and emotionally.   Just like I need to set up routines in my life to make sure the dishes are done every day and people have food to eat, I must have some routines in place to keep me balanced and energized.   Everyone is different.  For me I need to do these things every day!! Continue reading “First Things First”


Living With Dementia

Titus and his Great Gram!
Titus and his Great Gram!

All things considered, it could of been a lot worse.  The transition of moving my MIL to my home went very smoothly.  I took her out shopping and eating while hubby and the kids worked hard and recreated her apartment in my former master suite.  On bringing her home we just showed her, her new home.   She keeps forgetting where she lives and we have to bring her into her room over and over again.  Repeatedly, it is like she is seeing it for the first time and is happy with it and very thankful. Continue reading “Living With Dementia”

Conquering the Fear of Decluttering!

My coaching philosophy is a systems approach where we make internal changes to produce outward results.  There are times when trying to change external habits or behavior can reveal inner blocks.  If we can address these blocks and transform them we can create lasting change and action is not painful or difficult.  Let me give a great example here from my life. In this series of blogs, I will walk you through the process. It was too long, so I am having to break it into several posts.  This process is helpful for removing blocks  in any area of life where you feel stuck. Continue reading “Conquering the Fear of Decluttering!”

Blog Post #100 – Yippeee!

395549_261699080561387_146189222112374_736403_1165990731_n[1]Knowing my hundredth post was coming up, I have been thinking of  what would be most important to write about.  Many ideas came to mind, but none that sounded really perfect for celebrating my 100 blog milestone.  That is when it hit me—  Of course– Celebrate the Milestone!!!!   Hooray   Hooray!  Time for the happy dance and confetti! Continue reading “Blog Post #100 – Yippeee!”

Good Grief (even when it doesn’t feel good)

Good GriefJanuary marks an anniversary of my father’s death.  It is not marked on my calender and has been over 25 years.  Sometimes I don’t remember or acknowledge it, but this year it came into my mind. I am writing a Middle School curriculum on The Vikings and a High School study on the book Kon Tiki by Thor Hyerdahl (one of his favorites).  It was one of those moments where I thought “OH wow, the movie Kon Tiki is on instant Netflix, I need to call my dad and tell him.”  Of course, the next moment realizing I cannot do that brings a wave and sadness and grief to my heart.  Thankfully, as I go ahead and say it to him aloud and enjoy the movie and my  heritage, the grief passes and I can rejoice in life as it is today.  This has not always been the case.  The very strong emotions I felt after his death were the most intense I had ever experienced.  Granted I was pregnant, had a preschooler to care for and was exhausted from his long illness.  At that time it  was all completely overwhelming, so I just responded by stuffing those painful emotions down as far as possible.  Of course the result  was a crazy horrible depression t hat lasted for too long of a time.  Digging out of that pit and learning to deal with all these uncomfortable emotions was a difficult journey and also a gift to myself and to everyone around me.  I am so thankful for those lessons learned.  When my mom passed, I was able to deal with the strong painful emotions and come out on the other side quicker.  While I still miss them, I honor the memory by living my life fully charged and with purpose.

This experience has led me to focus on helping grieving people in my coaching. Losing a loved one is hard and painful.

One exercise I have found very helpful is to write a letter to your loved one.   Explain to them what you are thankful for, then what you are angry about and finally how you wish things could be.  These items take you through most of the emotions of grief and sharing them with your loved one helps to acknowledge them and validate them.  After this tell them you will remember and hold on what is good and then say goodbye.  This is a hard step.  People often say, “But, it has only been one week, …or month …or year….!”  consciously saying goodbye is accepting reality.  It takes you out of denial and allows the grieving process to work within you.  This may need to be done more than once and even years later.

If you find yourself stuck in any of the stages or emotions of grief denial, anger , depression, bargaining-find someone to help you get out of it.  These stages are necessary and normal, but getting stuck in any one doesn’t help and the longer you stay , the harder it is to get out.  Working through grief is one of my specialties, primarily because I had quite a struggle with it when my Dad passed away and just couldn’t find the help I needed.

The process of grief is painful and challenging, however it can bring new strength and endurance to your life.

It’s Gone!!

English: Early morning in Urbana, Aug. 8, 2005...

I love my morning walks.  The peace and quiet and calmness in the air.  Getting out, moving, breathing in the cool of the night, before beginning the business of the day, is a special time.  There are other runners and walkers, and we greet each other with a nod or quiet, “Good Morning”.  We all accept each other in this unique camaraderie.   Two days of the week are different.   On these days everyone in the neighborhood sneaks out early in the morning, toting all the items in their home they consider unwanted at this time;  placing them on the curbside ritually, ensconced in tombs of white or black plastic wrappers.   Then as if by magic, these items are never seen again.   Those of us who inhabit the streets at this time know the secret.   We are aware of the large trucks and burly men who stealthily roam the roads, graciously gathering all the offerings and leaving nothing behind.    I have lived in places where trash disposal is not quite so seamless and automatic, so I do not take this service for granted and am in awe at how easy it is.


Wouldn’t it be great if we could dispose of all undesired emotions, thought  and hurts of the past just this easily.  Every week, just make a choice and decide, “This is not serving me, I am letting it go.”     Last week I cleaned my MIL’s apt, then we went out and did some running around in the car.  The whole time, I was wondering which one of us smelled bad.  This smell got worse and worse as the day went on.   Finally, on arriving home, I noticed I had not stopped at the dumpster and deposited the trash, but had been driving around all day with it in the back seat!!  This is what we to often do with our emotional junk.  Either we continually wallow in it, bringing it up in every conversation, using it for an excuse to not go forward with our lives or we stick it in the truck, pretend it is gone and yet it continues to drag us down, use up our energy and make us feel less then.


What would life be like if we noticed our junk and had a plan for getting rid of it on a regular basis??   For me, I think “FREEDOM!


What I like about Life Coaching is that it is present and forward thinking.  Where are you going and how can we get there?   There are times though, when you have to realize you are driving around with some crap in your brain or heart.   You know there is fear there.  You know you react to situations or people, based not on the present, but on the past.  We want to be forward thinking and living, but how do we get rid of old hurts and hangups?


While many of our past stuff shows up in emotions, the easiest way to change it is noticing the thoughts and beliefs we have picked up on our journey in life.   They often feel like such a part  of who we are, we don’t notice how incongruent they are with our present life.


Whenever I have an overreaction or feel a way I don’t want to, I ask, “What do I have to believe to feel this way?”  Then, is this empowering to me – pushing me forward toward my purpose or is it dis-empowering and limiting.   How can I change it so that it serves me and the world?


Example-I had some one in leadership, make a decision concerning me without consulting me or discussing the facts with me.  This felt like a violation, since I knew the correct facts and did not feel respected or part of the team.  I replayed it in my mind, getting angrier and angrier.  I knew it was an overreaction, but still was caught up in the drama of it.  (To be fair, I was on an anti-viral medication which made me agitated, but still I knew it was not consistent  with who I am).    When I asked myself, “What am I believing to feel this way?”, I was amazed to come up with, ” In order to be valuable in life, people need to listen to me.”    Hmmm, I usually have very good boundaries and know my value can not be based on what others do or think.  Somewhere though, this thought had snuggled inside my heart as an idea that made sense to this youngest of seven kids.   It came up in the present, in a situation where I was feeling pushed back into this role.    So, I told myself the truth, very strongly replacing this thought with one that is empowering.  ” I am acceptable and accountable to God.”  “No one can make me feel less than unless I allow it, and I don’t !!”     It helps to do something physical with the old one.  Write it down and – burn it, flush it down the toilet etc.  Then, write the new one and place it where you can see it and repeat it often during the day!   This changes my reaction.  I can deal with the decision from an adult place.   I may not agree with it or like it, but really it does not affect who I am.


This may sound like a lot of effort and it does require some thought and effort.  But really, how much effort and

English: A quiet Sunday morning in Trosnant Road

energy is it to carry around your junk all the time?  Get rid of it, let it go!!  Once it is gone, it is gone and you are released.  Yes, it is a continual process and it is always surprise when things come up now, but this means I am moving forward and encountering new situations that allow growth in new areas.


Sometimes, you can do this on your own or sometimes you might need a coach to walk you though this process, at least at the beginning and then it becomes a life long habit of freedom.  While I am not large and burly like my trash men, it is my passion to walk beside others, helping them  rid their lives of unwanted baggage.


What could you get rid of and how would that change your life?


Jane, Let me off this crazy thing!!

The other day, I was driving  on the new toll road.  Everything was great with little traffic and the pavement as smooth

English: Traffic congestion along Highway 401

as glass.  Then, I missed the exit, turned around and missed it again.   Made me 15 minutes late for my appointment.  Arrggg.  Then, coming home I missed my exit and got stuck in a horrible traffic jam, making my return trip 2 hours instead of 1.   Sometimes, life is like this.   We just keep going and going and going and wonder how can we stop and either make changes or just take a break.   Are you ever spinning so many plates, you are afraid to stop?   Everything would fall apart if you stopped and then what would happen?

Another question to ask could be, What will happen if I keep this up and never take a break?

This gives a total different perspective.  We forget that life is a marathon, not a sprint.  We have to learn how to pace ourselves and not burn out in the first 5 miles.  Having a chronic illness in my late thirties taught me this valuable lesson. Being a good mom and wife does not require me to totally give away everything of my self, leaving no reserves.  I had to learn to receive as much as I gave out.  The result was amazing.  When  I gave up trying to be the super hero, others stepped in and everything was much smoother!!  What a relief, for all of us!

We all have to learn to recognize  there are times to H.A.L.T.!   When you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired these are signs that you need to stop and take care of  this need.  When we ignore these messages over and over again, we get overwhelmed easily and life becomes unmanageable.  While it takes a little work to figure out what is going on, it is so very worth it.

Hungry–   Those awful blood- sugar dips make you crazy.   All my daughters are  hypoglycemic and it took me a long to to recognize when they were yelling and very grouchy they needed protein.   “Here drink the milk”, and all was good in the world.  Now, it is their job to be aware and carry protein bars at all times.  Noticing when you are hungry and taking care of yourself is part of being an adult.  We can push ourselves and push ourselves without taking time for proper nourishment, but the cost is great.   There are times when we are not hungry, but have another need.  If we eat and eat and are not satisfied, it means there is something else.

Angry– It took me a long time to recognize my anger.  In me it usually comes out in tears, if I am not quick to bury it.  Then, I had so much unresolved anger, I couldn’t even figure out what I was angry about.   My definition of emotional mastery now, is not being with out uncomfortable emotions, but to be current in all my emotions.  It is easier to resolve past emotions than we realize, and the result is very freeing and amazing.   Each day, I am faced with situations and it is great to stay in the moment with them.  Why am I angry about his?  Do I say something?  Am I angry with myself, the situation or are my expectations realistic??  To deal with it and resolve it at he moment leads me to get past it and on to other things.

Lonely– Again, I do need to see if it is a current loneliness of if it is an unresolved loneliness from the past.  Becoming your own best friend helps both of these.  Valuing yourself as a person allows you to always have someone in your corner, affirming you and encouraging you.  It also attracts others to want to be with you and support you.   Learning to give and receive in all your relationships can meet this need for loneliness.

Tired– In our fast paced world, we often think we can push ourselves and not need rest.  How often are we tired, and instead of shutting down and sleeping, search for something tasty in the pantry or waste time watching TV

English: Signpost at the top of the toll road

We worry about being lazy and do not see it as a real need.

How about you?   Can you notice signs showing you it is time to HALT!  Can you get off the treadmill and care for yourself, then refreshed and renewed jump back in to life with great joy and courage?

Refresh and Renew

Linda Path, Leura

We all to often keep ourselves at such a busy pace and expect a lot of ourselves.  Each day filled with responsibilities and never ending “to do” lists.   Usually, we don’t notice burn out until it hits us over the head.  What happens when we continually make withdrawals from our emotional bank account?   Just like our financial bank account, when we make more withdrawals then deposits we over draw.  The bank charges us more fees and it is harder and harder to recover.  We end up charging more and going further and further in to debt.   With our emotions we end up going down the slippery slope of Emotional Bankruptcy.  Then everything is so overwhelming we really do not know what to do.

Staying  balanced  is not a luxury we can decide to ignore or.  It is necessary for our emotional well being.  On days when we make deposits of good chemicals in our brains, we bless ourselves and others too.  On days when we are stressed out and just keep going, we end up grouchy and difficult.

How do you regroup and refresh in order to get out of this emotional debt?    It is far to easy to go to our addictions.  This might give us temporary relief and a momentary peace, it does not refill our account.

For me I look at engaging all my senses and adding movement.   Listening to your favorite uplifting music and dancing to it or taking a walk in the rain.  Feeling the water on my skin and smelling the scent of the earth.   Before I sat down to write this I went to the pool.  It was refreshing to glide through the cool water contrasting to the warm sun shining on me and listen to the fountain and the kids laughter nearby.  I so need these moments of engaging in life.   Remember, extroverts need to be with people to renew and introverts need time alone.  Whichever you are, try engaging your senses and enjoy the moment.


Sometimes we need a little more help outside of your self when you are severely, emotionally bankrupt.   Your doctor could have some medications that will help you get your feet back under you and get going.  There is nothing wrong or shameful in this.  If you have gotten so far under, you may need a little extra boost.      In addition, a Life Coach could be the ticket to point out areas where you tend to over withdraw and help figure out how best to regroup and make some healthy deposits.

As I have mentioned we moved my Mother in Law this summer and it really went much better than I would of ever imagined.  It did however, take a huge bite out of my emotional account.  It was taking more time to regroup and balance out than I thought it should.  ( I really do practice what I teach).   So very thankful I called my mentor who told me things I knew to do, but failed to recognize because I was so exhausted.  After that it didn’t take as much regrouping time to get on the right track and feel balanced and ready to tackle my corner of the world.

So, how healthy in your emotional bank account and what things do you do to keep it in