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Five-Minute Try-It: Chakra Breathing

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IN HONOR OF BREATH.

PURPOSE: We can live without food or water for a while, but breath is always with us.

PREPARATION: Journey with Gayle and breath, as we touch each of our energy centers.

Get Your Giddy On

There’s a razors edge of momentum that is both exciting and tilting known as giddy. It is an experience where the unknown, anticipation, trepidation and possibilities swirl together like a spiral of rainbows and snow flurries. Transitions, like the ones we experience at the ends and beginnings of years, or when we move to a new town, or change direction in our careers, or even the loss of a loved one are often saturated with giddy.

I’m suggesting that giddy – with muscle and intention – has great benefits and now, 2019, is a great time to start exercising that fresh muscle. The old adage, there is no time like the present, is the precursor to get your giddy on. Get your giddy on evaporates time and recognizes presence. Presence to the razor’s edge of life, and what brings you to the edge of your heart, your drive, and your purpose.

The last time I felt a surge of my giddy was driving and then walking to the entrance of the Concord public library. The public library is where I devote my energy to writing, more specifically, writing for the book about Somatic Finance®. Giddy feels electric, ecstatic, pure, fluid, a ginormous smile residing in my belly. Giddy is good for our soul, and it helps us gain perspective for how we center our plans, prioritize our actions, and optimize our energy.

When we get our giddy on, the potential to sustain giddy for ourselves and generate giddy for others expands. A few points to recognize about giddy…

  • Giddy is inside us
  • Giddy is linked to our unique way of being
  • Giddy often inspires generosity
  • Giddy may not make sense to others
  • Giddy can even scare others
  • Giddy is both personal and impersonal
  • Giddy is for us and yet gives beyond us

Are you familiar with giddy? If you read this message and shake your head, trying to figure “it” out, move to curiosity and practice. Practice getting your giddy on. First, ground and commit to giddy, and second, energize movement with your body to activate more awareness.

Commit to growing giddy. You may not know how, why, or what. In fact, committing to anything is necessary for the true how, why and what to reveal themselves. We really know very little when we commit!

Commit verbally and on paper. In simple form, “I commit to growing my giddy,” or more complex: “I commit to growing giddy to support my development and vibrant health.” Or, include a feeling state: “I feel uncertain and I commit to growing my giddy.” Trust the words and phrases that arise from your heart and mind. State them out loud. Write them down. Post your commitment in your environment.

Second, grow giddy with a daily practice a minimum of 2 times a day. In the morning, reflect for two minutes on your day ahead. Select two specific events of the day (e.g. a moment, project, meeting, conversation) to give unbridled attention to giddy – a state of newness, nowness, edginess, where you both know and do not know. You skate (perhaps very slowly) on the razor’s edge.

In these two moments, notice the interior of your body: 1) thoughts, 2) sensations in the form of pressure, temperature and movement, 3) body location and 4) emotional state. Rate on a scale of 1 to 10, your level of giddy.

At the end of the day, reflect back on your two moments, your experience, where your body is most and least alive when giddy, and your rating. Review and respond (in thought or writing) to the following wonder question:

I wonder what barriers to getting my giddy on want to be revealed and released?
I wonder how getting my giddy on serves my growth and how to magnetize giddy in my life?

At the end of the week, reflect on your practice experience and how your body plays a significant role (or not) in getting your giddy on.

Lastly, have some fun. There is much in the world to give our attention, that breaks our heart. And, the more we live fully in presence, the better equipped we are to meet each situation with our brilliant minds and open hearts.

Giddy up!

 

 

Five-Minute Try-It: Connecting with the Earth – Lying Down

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PURPOSE: Build a deeper relationship with the earth.

PREPARATION: Lie down on the ground on your back, with knees bent and feet flat. Get comfortable in the lying-down posture. Commit to relaxing and releasing, fully and completely.

Minute one: Feel the comfort of being held by the earth, allow tension to arise and release.

Minute two: Return to our mantra – releasing, receiving, connecting, co-creating – speaking the words in your mind. Emphasize releasing and receiving as your body relaxes even deeper.

Minute three: Allow the flow of releasing and receiving to open your body further to earth connection and co-creation.

Minute four: Add connecting and co-creating to your mind’s expression. Releasing, receiving, connecting, co-creating. Pause after each expression to fully digest the body experience.

Minute five: Let go of the mantra expression and simply feel the relaxed, open and full relationship with the earth.

Complete your practice slowly sitting up, staying present in the sitting posture, feeling and expressing gratitude for the connection, and slowly standing up. Notice the difference in connection in standing, seated and lying-down posture.

500-Year Plan

At a training fifteen years ago, Gay Hendricks asked all of us, “What is your 500-year plan?” The mind-blowing question woke me up. Longevity takes just a few lucky ones past 100 years — 500 years is clearly beyond our existence in this physical form! Five hundred years takes us beyond the age of the United States. Five hundred years is how we age trees, arctic ice melting, family generations, cultures. Five hundred years is a long time — particularly when our common view of planning is days, weeks, months and a few years.

As a seasoned financial planner, for me planning is like breathing. Astute financial planning consistently projects to timelines of now – next month – next year, and specific goals (retirement, move to a warmer climate, assisting grandchildren.) Planning with these types of goals and needs in mind is important. And, as human beings, once we fulfill our own life aspirations – feeling embodied sufficiency – we long for something more. This eventual openness and generosity is my direct experience working in this profession for over 30 years.

One path of life may lead us to have, experience, and fulfill our needs and our wants, while our heart aches to give back in gratitude for our good fortune. This way of going, on the Virtuous Flow of Somatic Finance, reflects tending to feelings of scarcity, which naturally give way to feelings of sufficiency.

One can also arrive at embodied sufficiency from the other end of the spectrum: generosity. This reflects those of us who hold a belief that giving is better than receiving. When we give out of balance, our own needs of sufficiency are not met. But through thoughtful examination, growth, and the honoring of our self-worth, we learn to meet our own needs as we give attention to others.

These urges to give are gentle invitations to gaze into the horizon of life toward the next 500 years. We recognize how our goals, actions and behavior today, directly affect the lives of humans of tomorrow. The weaving of now and next has vibrant potency. Power-punch: those who plan while holding a 500-year view of both/and (now/next), often wish they had held the vision earlier.

Pause for a moment to let the gravitas as well as joy of the above statements permeate your mind and heart. We won’t be here in 500 years, so how are we “doing” now?

Gay’s most recent book, The Joy of Genius, offers simple and powerful practices to ignite your journey on the “Genius Spiral.” Genius energy is the longing in our hearts, nudging our creative expression to awaken and brighten — the creative expressions becoming timeless gifts.

When we pause and reflect on 500 years, what experiences do you recognize in your own life?

We seek, find and engage work to survive, thrive and create in the world.
We spend, save and invest income generated from our work.
We train and continue our education for the benefit of growth, potential and enjoyment.
We pause formal education and seek meaning from other lines of development.
We might travel.
We might raise children.
We volunteer our time and talents.
We maintain our health.
We nurture relationships.
We buy or rent homes.
We create.

And then, what else happens?

We feel satiated with life. Our heart grows with an ache of love. This swelling in our chest is a call for more. We are seeing, feeling and recognizing the sufficiency of our lives and wondering, what else? What is my work in the world? What kind of legacy will I leave? What can I do to make the world a better place for all beings?

A 500-year plan makes much more sense to us. We open our eyes, long-closed, towards that horizon which beckons our attention.

Recently I had the good fortune to visit the Grand Canyon, in Arizona. Standing on the solid ground, gazing in the distance at clay and rock formed and shaped by the cosmos… millions and billions of years old. Sobering to say the least. We are living in an interconnected web of life. Humans are one teeny tiny piece of that existence. Our guide shared a fun fact. If humans became extinct, nature would erase our face on this planet within 400 years. How’s that for a 500-year plan?

Planning for 500 years,

 

 

 

Five-Minute Try-It: Connecting with the Earth – Sitting

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PURPOSE: Build a deeper relationship with the earth.

PREPARATION: Find a quiet place outside where you will not be disturbed. Build on the prior connection with the earth and the mantra: releasing, receiving, connecting, co-creating.

Minute one: In a comfortable seated position, feel your bottom connected to the earth and begin to access the tension and fatigue in your body.

Minute two: With each breath, root deeper by dropping, releasing tension and fatigue down, and receiving nourishment from the earth.

Minute three: Continue to release and receive energy, like an infinity loop between you and the earth. The earth matches your releasing and receiving, and this is how you connect and co-create.

Minute four: As your body relaxes, feel and start releasing, receiving, connecting, co-creating.

Minute five: Deepen releasing, receiving, connecting, co-creating. Notice the difference in your quality of sitting. What do you notice? Is energy moving in stillness?

Complete your practice taking three deep body breaths and committing to re-connecting with the earth while sitting regularly.

 

 

Cosmic Curse Jar: Compost for Gratitude!

I use curse words. My favorite is fuck and various versions of it… fucker, fucking, shitfuck and my utmost favorite – unfuckwithable. I am not proud of my “potty mouth,” nor am I ashamed of it. It happens. And I know I am not alone. I have tried to quit, and sometimes, only a curse will do.  When in the company of someone who would be offended by strong language, my words are chosen with care. As an adult, hopefully my intention and awareness supports this outcome. But as children in development, parents are the source for good manners and how we kindly relate to others.

When my son was around ten years old, he began to use poor words like the above and my spouse and I knew our parenting needed a boost. Our solution was instituting a curse jar. For every bad word spoken by anyone in the house, a dollar was placed in the jar. Money activities are meant to be motivators to change behavior. Let’s see how this experiment worked.

Our son was all in the game and willing to participate. His competitor persona, vibrant and alive, was ready to play. Our daughter refused unequivocally—and when I suggested that suck was a bad word she told me to “buzz” off. My spouse, ever the polite one, of course was in—but his version of a curse, darn, only highlighted the severity of my obscenities and my bad influence on my growing son’s vocabulary. What came next was not pretty or successful.

The jar was front and center in our family room—ready to receive the cursing cash. We all (except for our daughter who said suck) leaned into the competition and placed our dollars in the jar as the curse words slipped out. More often than not, my purse was not in the vicinity. I asked my spouse for a dollar. His one-dollar bills gone, he gave me a ten. A ten, perfect, I had credit for 9 more cusses. The situation continued for a month. While the money accumulated, cursing moderated, and our son asked incessantly, what’s going to happen with the jar of money?

We never clarified the prize money aspect of our exercise. I made some reference to a fun night out with the family (is that a prize?). Without the clarity of the connection between the financial reward and changed behavior, the activity was doomed to fail. And so, the experiment dwindled over the weeks following our initial gung-ho month. Eventually, the curse jar sat with cash for a few months, and as I cleared the clutter in the kitchen and family room, the cash went into my purse and bought groceries for the week. The outcome lacked impact, but at least the curses were composted for our nourishment.

Returning to the experience and sharing with you cultivates old wounds… a tender place of shame, frustration, and doubt, along with present clarity… and a good dose of humor, reality and acceptance.

In addition to how we are human and sometimes fail at our attempts to change, what is the jewel in this month’s news? It is, in fact, November, the month of giving thanks. Where is my gratitude? I am grateful—for failed attempts to change and the self-acceptance of at least trying. We don’t know what we don’t know until we try. When it comes to change and the lining of money, it gets tricky. So let’s go closer to the money.

First, when money is part of the behavior change, it needs to mean something and that something needs to be clarified. In our example, we needed clarity on our son’s question, what happens with the jar of money. How are we tracking our behavior in relation to the jar of money accumulating? In other words, what is the benefit of our individual and collective decreased cursing? … for me, set a better example for my son. For our son, receiving the jar of money for his own use? For my spouse, support family unity.

Second, metrics to track progress provide encouragement for behavior change. If there are no external markers of success, it requires extra internal mental energy to fuel the game. Are we tracking the money accumulating in the jar? In relation to who is cursing? How do our curses get measured? Who is on first? What is on second?

Third, what is the tension tug? By tension tug I mean where does awareness get activated with tension to shape new behavior. For me, putting a dollar in a jar meant little. And I did not go deeper – activating tension – doing this for the benefit of my son’s development. Not my best mothering moment.

There are many who have successfully changed potty mouth behavior with money. I just Googled swear jars and wasted 20 minutes reading stories. Jar motivation works best with one person, not collectively. But, if I had the chance for a do-over, here’s how I would set it up: a challenge with my son, just the two of us. Curses cost $1.00. For each curse we put a dollar in the jar and we track on a sheet – curses spoken, for a month. At the end of the month, person with the fewer curses wins the jar. Repeat another month. Only this time, we look for decrease in percentage of cursing from prior month for the winner. Repeat another month. At the end of the third month, pause and have a deeper conversation. Besides the reward of money, what else has happened?

The jewel of this month is this: money is a valuable start to behavior change. However, it is not lasting because a lasting change in behavior requires a connection to what deeply matters in the heart. Money did not matter enough to me. Curse words, even today, do not cause distress – in comparison to other life events. I trusted my son, and still do, to navigate his development despite my limitations and negative language influence. I mean he did have his father, who stills says darn.

Cosmically cursing,

 

 

 

Earth Connection – Walking

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PURPOSE: To build a relationship with the earth through the feet using intentions of releasing, receiving and connecting, co-creating.

PREPARATION: Get outside either barefoot or in flat shoes.

Minute one: Become familiar in your mind with the words releasing, receiving and connecting, co-creating, to support a walking rhythm.

Minute two: Slowly begin to walk and with each step speak out-loud or to yourself releasing, receiving; feel the energetic connection with the earth releasing and receiving.

Minute three: Continue walking saying the words with each step. Notice the sensations in your feet and legs as you walk.

Minute four: Continue walking and with each step say the words connecting, co-creating. Build your connection with the earth through walking.

Minute five: Continue walking saying the words with each step. Notice the sensations in your feet, legs and body as you walk.

Complete your practice standing still while saying a final intention of releasing, receiving and connecting, co-creating. Notice your state of being as compared to when you began this practice; what has shifted?