Awakening Our Intuition

Did you know that humans are the only mammals that don’t follow their guts? We often ignore that feeling deep in the pit of our stomach or the words choking us, paralyzed in the back of our throat. How many times have you reread a text or email message before hitting send? *Raises hand slowly.* Don’t worry, you’re not alone my friend.

Since March (and probably before then), I’ve been on a journey. I started what I call coach school at Coaches Training Institute (CTI) to become a co-active coach. This included five three day weekends where I learned and practiced techniques in a safe space. As I type this, I finished the final course and am heading towards certification.

A coaches most powerful tool is his/her intuition, that gut feeling that guides the coaching. I’ve always felt my intuition and knew from a young age that it held great power. Yet, early on in class, I let fear of being wrong or judged hold me back. As I practiced and grew, I saw that when I trusted myself and trusted my intuition, it was powerful beyond measure and resonated with others.

So what if you’re not in coach school? Why might your intuition be useful? Well, for starters, who knows you better than you?! No one is more equipped to understand you needs, wants, hopes and dreams better than your inner voice. You might call it something different – inner goodness or Winston Churchill. You name him/her/it and talk to them often. Listen to what he/she/it is saying and sense the response. At first, you might need a quieter place to do this. After some practice, it will become natural and you’ll have a track record of success.

And what if you don’t listen to your gut because sometimes you won’t. Each day is a new beginning, you still have a powerful intuitive sense that you can further cultivate. Find others who you trust and ask them to tell you a story. Listen with all of your intention, ask follow up questions and try to name emotions that might have come up for the storyteller. That’s one way to build your intuition muscle.

The more you use intuition to guide you and eventually others, the more you’ll seen it’s power. It is your North Star that shines its light so you can see the way. Intuition doesn’t create the journey but it does allow you to flow through energies and challenges with more confidence and ease

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Find Your Church

You know the phrase: Don’t talk about religion or politics are the dinner table. Well, I enjoy challenging rules and this technically isn’t 1) a dinner table or 2) a post solely about religion.

I’m sure most of us have experienced how the word religion and the word church can be triggers for people. I know when I say I’m Catholic and attend Mass regularly, I get a range of interesting reactions. Shock, amazement, admiration and disgust are a few I’ve seen on people’s faces recently. It’s a personal topic for sure, but if we don’t talk to each other about it, how will we really know what we each believe? I’d argue that organized religion is one form of church.

In the last three years or so, I’ve reconnected with my Catholic faith. The catalyst for this was my sister’s Confirmation as I was her sponsor. I’m grateful that opportunity arose so I could examine my belief system. Yes, I go to church most Sundays, I don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent and I get ashes on Ash Wednesday. Does it mean I believe everything the Catholic Church preaches? Nope, not one bit.

One size does not fit all when it comes to church. I got to Mass on Sundays as a form of meditation and to express gratitude for the beautiful life I’ve been given. It’s not the only form of church I participate in. Listening to Jen Hatmaker earlier in the Fall and similarly, listening to Michelle Obama last night, I felt connected to something bigger than myself. That, to me, is going to church. It’s about connecting to a higher power and having your faith restored in some capacity.

Becoming

Faith, hope, love and peace are somewhat abstract concepts. Yet, when I go to church, whichever kind it is, I can feel and even embody those words. I am repented, I am renewed and I am ready. It’s a part of my spiritual well-being that must be replenished so I can show up each day at 100%. It also helps to build my resilience muscle so when things do go wrong, I have a place where I can draw strength from. It’s powerful and necessary in my life.

No one should tell you what or who to believe in. AND there is something powerful and almost magically about faith. It gets you through the toughest situations and brings peace. Faith, much like church, can be found anywhere within anyone at anytime. You just need to be paying attention and open to receiving it as a gift.

Regardless of how you were raised, I encourage you to pause and reflect on your spiritual well-being. How do you renew in that space? What does going to church look like to you? It only matters what you think and where you find faith, hope, love and peace. Remember, there’s no right answer and it can be a combination of places, people or things.

Flowing with the Universe

The universe works in mysterious ways. If you show up for it, it will show up for you. Give a little, get a little, or least that’s the theory.

In recent weeks, the universe sent me several signs, some positive, some startling. I absorbed each with anticipation and resistance. That was my first mistake. When the universe gives you the preverbal lemons, you must make lemonade. I’m learning to flow with the universe, to receive each sign with excitement (instead of fear or resistance), to be an active participant in my life.

We all know the people who walk around letting life happen to them. I could easily be one of those people AND sometimes really horrible things do happen that we have no control over. Yet, the majority of the time, we do have a choice on how we respond to what the universe sends to us. I call this active participation in our reality, you might refer to it as going with the flow or rolling with the punches. We’re saying the same, my dear reader.

The SecretSo how? What does active participation looks like?  It can be hard to find time to reflect on signs from the universe. Your days, like mine, as likely jammed packed with varying priorities at work, at home or in your community. It’s key to carve out space to just be with the universe. Stillness and silence help me really process things that have happened, people who have been put in my path for no reason at all, the timing of such events and so on. I also use people I trust as sounding boards, to talk through my reactions to these signs. Another perspective can be a plus when you’re trying to make sense of something that appears to be nonsensical.

Why is it so damn hard sometimes? For starters, finding time is hard. I also feel like when I’m not “doing” something, I’m wasting time. This is a wrong assumption; reflection, quiet time and journaling are all necessary to help move through emotions, triggers and situations. It’s also a hell of a lot easier to play the victim card and ask the universe why the situation/relationship/enter your own word is terrible/painful/enter your own negative adjective. This is a normal human reaction that we must start to recognize in ourselves. Only with awareness can we call bullshit and react more positively to what’s happening.

So what does active participation in one’s life look like? Getting off the couch on a Saturday night to watch the game at a bar instead of staying home. It’s aligning what’s important to you, your why, with your actions. If you say your health is important, then you need to actively prioritize it in your own way. What that looks like for you might be different from me and that is exactly how it should be. It’s an iterative process for sure and your why can change, likely it will as you experience new gifts from the universe.

You Belong Here

Hello my friends! It’s been an inspiring, grueling, jam-packed two weeks. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around everything that’s happened, all of the amazing people I’ve met and the stories I’ve shared.

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I spoke on a panel at the Superwomen Summit almost two weeks ago. I can’t begin to describe how phenomenal the entire weekend was. Take a look at the lineup and Google all of the speakers. Each brought her unique perspective while still being herself. That was the best part of the entire event: These women were attainable, real and struggled. As much as I love Oprah and Brene, they are such lofty goals. I spent the weekend hearing from mothers, daughters, sisters and friends who are still figuring it out but decided to go for it while they were going through the process. Inspirational, for sure and oh so fun!

Summit1

One of my favorite quotes from the Superwoman Summit courtesy of Anna Kunnecke

I am so proud of the panel discussion that I was a part of. I’ll save that for a separate post because that topic deserves my full attention. I can’t begin to capture all I learned at the Summit. The resounding message was one of belonging. There were talks about owning your power, being brave, prioritizing and self-care. Each one was special in its own right and all carried a thread of belonging. We, as women, find it hard to fit in. We’ve been told from men we’re too bossy, assertive, aggressive, bitchy and then there are other women who push us to find our voice, be bold, stand strong. You get the picture. At the Superwoman Summit, everyone was just right, not too much of anything. We, as a collective female community, need to support one another just as we are. Sure, we can support our goals, areas of growth, etc. AND none of that should change who we are at our core. We are perfectly and intentionally created, just as we are.

Post one Summit, I jetted to Atlanta for another, this one specific to work. It was the culmination of months of hard work, with new team members, lots of moving parts and my first show as a manager. It was the most challenging conference I’ve run to date. There were lots of moments where I felt like I didn’t belong, that my big, bold personality was too much. Why? Well, for starters, I wasn’t taking care of myself: Lack of sleep, not eating right and not exercising all contribute to my already stressed out state. Add in all sorts of feedback, both positive and constructive, it was like sensory overall. Plus, as the manager, I was the role model for the team. Just typing that was a lot. Upon returning home, I took care of myself, mind/body/soul. This included lots of sleeping, meal prepping and journaling.

Almost a week later and I’m about back to myself. As an empath, I catch and receive emotions in such a heightened way. I’ve learned a lot about what I need to do to show up the way I want onsite. Much of it includes self-care and setting boundaries. The biggest lesson is that a sense of belonging only comes from within. I know, I know Brene Brown already told us this. Yet, I had to learn it for myself. I belonged at BOTH of my Summits, I earned the right to be there, no matter how bold or extroverted or honest I am. I’ve finally gotten back to that mindset thanks to my support squad and lots of working through what’s true and what I’m telling myself.

It’s really hard to put those negative self-talk stories aside especially when you’re receiving feedback. I’m learning to be kind to myself and remember why the universe put me here in the first place.

Summit2

My co-worker/friend and I celebrating a successful Summit

Hurt People Hurt People

Over the weekend, I got to see one of my favorite authors, Jen Hatmaker, live as part of her Moxie Matters tour. Bonus: I attended with two of my favorite humans. Such an incredible experience!

There were so many highlights, which means there will be many more blog posts. However, Jen spent a lot of her time Friday night talking about pain…how pain is a gift, an indicator that tells us that something is wrong. She also talked about emotional and spiritual pain that’s a lot less obvious to notice. She was so spot on!

Pain, like other emotions, is so unique to the individual. The same thing that gives me a headache might not give you one. How we react to emotional or spiritual trama is also different. My biggest takeaway from Jen’s talk is that we have to move through pain. We have to be aware of its indicators, feel allllll of the feels, lean on our tribe and decide how to proceed forward. It’s a process that takes time, is hard to articulate for sure and everyone moves through it at their own pace.

Think about the last time you felt severe pain, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. Could you see straight or think rationally? I know I couldn’t. People who are suffering or moving through pain do not know that collateral damage they might be doing. Hurt people hurt people because that’s the only way they know how to handle their pain.

While interacting with a hurt person who is continuing to hurt others is hard, we can’t force people through their own pain. Ever the empath, I want to comfort and help my loved ones who are suffering. Sometimes that means talking about it and sometimes it means leaving that person alone. I’ve learned to read the situation and respond accordingly, based on what that specific person needs at that time. All I can do is love them through it.

And still, it’s hard for me to watch people who aren’t dealing with their pain. Why? Because if you put in the work and move through pain, you do come out the other side stronger. I have and so have others I know and love. Why can’t everyone?! The world would be a better, kinder place. Let me go reread my own words about pain being individualized, that we can’t force anyone through pain, I know, I know.

I manage my own expectations and know that not all pain is visible. It helps me compartmentalize actions. I’ll continue to show up, hold space and love my people through it. I encourage you to do the same.

 

 

 

Sobriety: An act of radical self-care

I spent the first half of my summer celebrating: a promotion, new apartment, other good things, why not pop the champagne?! It was at some point in early July when I actually realized how much I was drinking. Multiple bottles of wine a week (or night) had a negative effect on me. So from July 23 through September 14, I didn’t consume a drop of alcohol.

From a physical health perspective, I certainly had more energy after nights out and didn’t eat later at night, something I would do if I drank. From a mental health perspective, being sober helped me to see what triggers my desire to drink. Not surprisingly, long days at work and stressful family situations were the main culprits. As I dug deeper, I found that I was mainly triggered when my values were challenged. Family, loyalty, accountability and communication are my top values so when they were jeopardized, I stressed out. Instead of pouring wine, I looked for alternative methods of self-care to calm me down including journaling, exercising or just putting myself to bed.

Giving up alcohol was an act of radical self-care. The last year taught me to put my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing first. That’s the only way to be at 100% and of service to others. This detox was an opportunity to prioritize my health and now, it’s much easier to cut the booze off.

This shouldn’t be a big deal, right?! But, it was! Alcohol is literally everywhere and having the willpower to forgo is hard, especially in social situations. It’s so ingrained in our society that people look at you like you’re crazy when you decline a drink. It got me thinking about those who choose not to drink. Regardless of why, I feel like we as a society need to be more accepting of that. For a recovering alcoholic, feeling judged or pressured isn’t going to help. Of course, you don’t necessarily know who these individuals are, which means maybe we walk around offering high fives versus clinking drinks.

Believe me, I still very much enjoy a cocktail and after nine weeks without one, I’ve learned that not all social outings have to revolve around alcohol. I also discovered other coping mechanisms that can be more productive. We all should continue celebrating however we like and perhaps have a little less judgement on how others celebrate too.

F.E.A.R

Face Everything And Run

OR

Face Everything And Rise

I let out a long exhale before I sat down to write this post. This topic is one I’ve been wanting to write about for some time and yet, I’ve been apprehensive, worried about people’s reactions. Well, I guess it’s time to face that fear 😉

Fear can be paralyzing, causing time to almost stand still as you watch your life pass before your eyes. It can also lead to unnecessary arguments, violence and acting without thinking. I’ve experienced how suffocating fear can be. For me, I’ve always been fearful of events I can’t control and situations I’ve seen other people in.

Money is a perpetual fear of mine – not having enough, losing my source of income, the list continues. Why? Because I’ve watched people lose it all and because it was so devastating, they can’t recover and are crippled by the aftershocks. On days when it becomes particularly difficult, I remember that I’m not those people. I’m an entirely different person, with different circumstances and different goals. It’s doesn’t mean I go charge up my credit cards but it does mean I can enjoy the benefits of working hard.

Fear of the unknown is also a challenge for me. Something as little as not knowing travel plans can cause an anxiety spike. Despite being an extrovert, social situations can cause tension. When I start a new relationship, whether it be at work or personally, I’m always fearful of not knowing how people will reaction or respond. It’s debilitating and I spend hours convincing myself of alternatives.

And yet, I forge on. Why? How? Well, for starters, being full of fear is no way to live. Unless you’re in inherit danger, there’s no need for it. It’s downright bad for your health. Life is so much more enjoyable when you let go and go for it versus standing on the sidelines. Sometimes, you will get feedback on how to change an approach or your tone. That’s okay! It’s the only way you’ll learn how to do it better next time.

fearSome of the most profound relationships in my life are with people who look, sound and think differently than I do. Yes, I was fearful when these relationships were starting out because I didn’t know. There are still days when I’ll rewrite a text message because I’m anxious about how it will land. Well guess what?! These people are now my friends, they’ll tell me if it doesn’t land and we’ll move on. We all assume positive intent and know it’s okay to disagree.

Could we all commit to operate with less fear and more understanding? Less judgement and more kindness? A lot of issues I see in the world today are because of fear. Fear of not knowing. I challenge you to override your fear of the unknown and be curious about that someone who operates differently. You won’t know unless you try.

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