Total Balance Coaching Melbourne https://totalbalance.com.au Life Coach | Kate James Fri, 18 Dec 2020 06:26:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 12 ways to be your best possible self https://totalbalance.com.au/10-ways-to-be-your-best-possible-self/ Thu, 17 Dec 2020 01:44:09 +0000 http://totalbalance.com.au/?p=12682 There’s a Positive Psychology exercise I’ve written about on other occasions that’s called best possible self. It’s where you describe the person you would love to be and the life you’d ideally be living. While it’s hugely helpful to think about how you’d like to be in...

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There’s a Positive Psychology exercise I’ve written about on other occasions that’s called best possible self. It’s where you describe the person you would love to be and the life you’d ideally be living.

While it’s hugely helpful to think about how you’d like to be in the future, it’s also just as important to consider how you might live as the best version of yourself today.

Try the following tips to help you embrace your best possible self, right now.

1. Live in line with your values
Your values are your heart’s deepest desire about how you want to live. They describe the personal attributes you want to bring to life and the qualities you want to espouse as you live your life. If you’re unsure about your values, take this free online values testto help you define yours.

2. Make time for the things that you love
Sometimes we tell ourselves we don’t have time for the things that make life good. Even when time is tight or your energy levels are low, make a more concerted effort to do the things you love. This may mean giving up half an hour of sleep, spending less time on social media or walking away from a few unanswered emails, but the benefits will far outweigh the cost.

Be kind and compassionate in your relationships
Recent research about compassion reminds us that being kind is better for our wellbeing than being critical. Get into the habit of giving people the benefit of the doubt and do your best to practice the art of forgiveness when someone you care about has made a mistake. When we practise kindness, we’re happier, calmer, our blood pressure is lower and it can even boost our immune system.

4. Cultivate self-compassion too
As well as being compassionate with others, learn to be kind to yourself too. It’s imperative if you want to achieve emotional wellbeing and contentment in life.

5. Treat your body well
Taking care of your body is not just about pushing yourself harder at the gym or training to run a marathon. It is equally about tuning in and listening to your body to find out what you need most. When you learn to be mindful of your physical wellbeing, you’ll come to recognise the kind of movement your body needs, the foods that energise you most and when rest becomes a priority.

6. Create positive habits
Spend a couple of days tracking your daily habits and make a note of those that align with your idea of your ‘best self’ as well as those that move you away from this version of yourself. For example, the habit of checking your phone first thing in the morning might feel less favourable than practising gratitude or meditation. The habit of turning on the television as you eat may take you away from eating mindfully. Replace one habit that doesn’t serve you with something that feels more aligned with the person you’d ideally love to be.

7. Bring your awareness back to the present moment
As my favourite mindfulness teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh says, when you’re drinking tea, drink tea. If you’re walking, walk mindfully. Practise being fully present to whatever you’re doing and as best you can immerse yourself in that experience without judgement.

8. Embrace joy
Find an activity that brings you joy and make time for it every week. Dance, sing, laugh, find young children to play with or be creative. Embracing the habit of joy builds your natural capacity for joy as well as improving your immune function, reducing stress and flooding your body with positive hormones. As well as making you feel happier, this will have a positive impact on others too.

9. Practise letting go
While it’s tempting to impose our preferences and views on other people, the most powerful example of mindful living is learning to ‘live and let live’. When we can genuinely let go of the idea that we are able to control life or the people we interact with, we discover a greater capacity for acceptance, which is a key foundation to inner peace.

10. Do something that scares you
We often wait until we have the confidence to create change in our lives before taking on any kind of personal challenge. Instead of telling yourself that you’ll wait until you feel confident, remind yourself that confidence is very often the by-product of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

11. Live your life purpose today
As I wrote in this article, you don’t need to work for a not-for-profit or save the world in some way to be living a purposeful and meaningful life. But you do need to know what gives your life purpose so that you can find small ways to live in alignment with that every day. If you’re stuck on your life purpose, you may find more clarity as you work your way through the End of Year Wrap eBook.

12. Meditate
If there’s one thing that’s changed my life more significantly than anything else, it’s the daily practice of meditation. If you’re not sure where to start, try this guided Mindful Awareness Meditation of mine on the free Insight Timer app or listen to the Learn How to Meditate in Seven Days course by Sarah Blondin.

 

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Changemaker: Tracy Pec, Feng Shui Consultant https://totalbalance.com.au/feng-shui-mornington-peninsula/ Mon, 09 Nov 2020 00:06:37 +0000 https://totalbalance.com.au/?p=17515 One of the things I have loved most about moving to the Mornington Peninsula has been connecting with local women who are running their own business. One of those women is feng shui consultant, Tracy Pec. Like many of the women I’ve met, Tracy is...

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One of the things I have loved most about moving to the Mornington Peninsula has been connecting with local women who are running their own business. One of those women is feng shui consultant, Tracy Pec.

Like many of the women I’ve met, Tracy is someone I could happily spend hours with. She’s grounded and calm and it’s an inspiration to see how she has evolved her business. Maybe it’s the blend of the bush, the ocean and the bay that invites such creativity but I suspect also, it’s the deep desire to make the most of this peaceful environment and to share its beauty with others. Once you’re here, you never want to leave.

I invited Tracy to be the first interview in the new series I’m calling Changemakers. It occurred to me some time ago that everyone I work with (and everyone who inspires me) wants to change the world in some way. My hope is that by sharing stories about the changes we want to see or be a part of, we might encourage one another to take positive action in our own lives.

I think you’ll enjoy spending time with Tracy as much as I did. Her insights on how to live a purposeful life, how to discover your own version of spirituality and her reading, listening and cooking inspiration certainly brightened my day.

Can you tell us a little bit about your business?

I have been forever curious about how we live and how we can live better.

So, I became a healer, a feng shui consultant and public speaker in the hope of sharing my passion in awakening ourselves and our living environments potential.

I have devoted the last 27 years to learning, exploring and researching many different healing modalities and tools to improve and understand our living and working spaces in regard to land choice; architecture; design and space.

I love that every home, land, workspace has a unique story and intention that is ever-changing as we grow and evolve.

I love that each change, whether it be a floorplan design, a space clearing, a colour change, a bed repositioning can all contribute to putting us in the right direction of living with greater awareness and intention.

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We’re doing this interview in the midst of stage four lockdown in Victoria. How have you managed this challenging time?

From a practical point of view, I ‘zhuzhed’ our little living zones.

Creating spaciousness and nurture inside and outside of our home, setting up spaces that visually delighted and hugged our family.

This has certainly meant getting out ‘life’s tool kit’ alongside verdant plant life, lots of beeswax candles, aroma and of course a smooth playlist.

Once the foundation was set, my next step was letting go of the ‘monkey mind’ and giving myself permission to go with the current flow and listen to what we all needed day today.

Particularly in regard to kid’s homeschooling,  ‘Zoom’ meetings and working from home.

In actual fact, I have actually embraced this time and have seen it as a gift to slow down further and look at a bigger picture.

I think sometimes the universe works in ways that challenge us at the perfect moment to put us on a journey of self-upgrade and change…

I think this also requires us to be in the present moment and know that we are not given any more than we can cope with.  To trust that the change is needed for our next chapters in life.

I have learnt on my own journey that sometimes the challenge does not always come in the neat package we expect, but if we let go of our expectation and fixed outcomes the messy and chaotic package outcome can be so much better than what we thought we needed and wanted at the time…

So, I have spent many moments walking, yoga-ing, reading, writing, gardening, cooking whole food and connecting with my family and soul tribe.

Practising being present in order to listen, acknowledge and accept all healing that is needed for myself, family, home, land… and world.

The feng shui numerology and astrology has certainly helped me with this, as the knowledge gifted in both has given me incredible guidance – understanding what needs to be a priority in this now moment in regard to what is ‘written in the stars. ‘

For the past few years, there has been a gentle nudge directing us to all slow down… embrace, reconnect and awaken our Yin – female… reassess how we presently live in a very fast-paced, industrial world.

I understand through the same numerology forecast that we are at the beginning of a more impatient nudge… which will continue to birth over the coming years into 2024.

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What do you love most about your working for yourself?

Certainly, the freedom… but also the self-discipline and the want or passion I have for exploring new ways to expand, grow and share what I do.  It becomes a part of your life, a service that connects you with an expansive purpose to grow together.

And what are you missing the most at the moment?

Sharing a meal and a glass of wine with family and friends…

I am also a little bit of a free floater… so I would definitely say my freedom to walk in my many little nooks on the peninsula and beyond.

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One thing that struck me when we worked together is that your business has a beautiful spiritual feel to it. How would you describe the way you view spirituality?

I was on a lovely self-holiday in Canggu, Bali a few years ago and I had just had a divine healing massage and papaya wrap before sitting down to a foot massage and pedicure.  I was glowing and couldn’t stop smiling.  The lady next to me, who was on a well-earned group retreat at the same eco-resort, started talking with me…. She was surprised I was there alone, and asked me many questions about my family, self, work, daily routine…. At the end of our conversation, she explained that she would like to do so many of the things I had spoken about with her – ‘one day’ I will start, she said.

It made me realise that firstly, we are all ‘spiritual’ and being ‘spiritual’ doesn’t fit into your daily planner.  It is a way of life.  Each day you add a little more change to the busy and overwhelming that you have created, and you allow spirituality and presence be in the mundane, you invite it into your days by saying ‘yes’ to yourself and ‘no’ to another, you embrace it by connecting with and listening to your inner self-guidance, and you accept the imperfect as perfect in yourself and in another.

“I have come to learn that spirituality is not only found in a quiet cave, a yoga retreat or on a healing course… it is mostly found in the present chaos where you learn to flow with the current while finding your centre in amongst the reality ride.”

 

For me, spirituality is all about finding your worth and centre in all weather.  It’s easy when it is sunny and calm and takes a little practice and self-accountability in the windy and stormy.

It’s the merging relationship we have with all living things and the energy surrounding us, understanding we are all connected.

Can you tell us a bit about what gives you a sense of purpose – in business and in life?

Being a part of growth and change.  My life and business purpose are quite connected.  I love my work as a feng shui consultant and very much find my purpose in continuously growing and improving to be the best version of myself and sharing this with others.

I think seeing in different colours to what you were told to see in order to reach the potential of all we can be and create together, as a family, community, a world, is the purpose.

Sharing this with my children and others excites me, even more, knowing that you each have a piece of the puzzle to contribute.

My dream would be to see us all live in environments that we merge with, spaces that nourish and support us, that shelter us with wellness and love.

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Where do you go for inspiration, creative or otherwise?

For the day to day inspiration and creative flow…The beach would be my local hotspot.  Swimming, paddle boarding or writing a report in a borrowed beach house.

Going for a nature walk in the many beautiful nooks on the Mornington Peninsula and Tasmania is another must-have when I am connecting to ‘downloads’ or intuitive messages and guidance.

To come home to myself.

For greater inspiration and creativity, travel is my big must-have.  I am very passionate about observing how we live around the world – the differences and the similarities, the way we interact with each other, the landscape, architecture, history, the food we eat, the homes we live in and how we colour and furnish them… I love it!

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What are you reading / listening to / cooking at the moment?

Reading:

Currently can get enough of reading, so I have a few books on the go – Pam Gregory The Language of the Universe.  Toko-pa’s Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home and I have just started Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta.

I am listening to:

Stan Getz, João Gilberto and Ajeet – Haseya

I am cooking:

A yummy slow-cooked organic chicken and pumpkin curry with kefir lime leaves and coriander….topped with yogurt, cucumber and lime.

A slow-cooked whole organic sweet potato with spinach and chard, roasted almonds, crème fraiche and goat cheese is another easy lunch feast.

Wild rice salad with garden greens, topped with roasted currents, chilli, ginger, kaffir lime, a little olive oil and fresh lime juice – YUM.

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What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone wanting to go into their own business?

Have courage, passion and self-discipline.  It’s essential to believe in yourself and have trust, focus and accountability.

Sift out the unnecessary ingredients and put your energy into one package that you can build on.  Scattered energy and too many ‘great ideas’ I have found in the past never works.

Build on an unhurried foundation.  Have a grounded plan.  Then start with step one.

What’s the change you’d love to make or see in the world?

I would love to continue being a part of changing the way we currently live and co-create homes that heal.

To hold hands with the kids in lifting the energy vibration in schools, classrooms spaces and their bedroom spaces. Planting seeds to create future schools that merge with nature, invite self-worth, wellness, inquiry… belonging.

A space to ask questions and explore other possibilities for better ways to live and learn.

For where we ‘shop’ and ‘work’ to be spaces of integrity, intention, sustainability.

To create spaces of visual delight, embraced with aroma, sound, joy and purpose.

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How to make a vision board https://totalbalance.com.au/how-to-make-a-vision-board/ Thu, 05 Nov 2020 05:58:44 +0000 https://totalbalance.com.au/?p=17490 Life coaching clients often ask me how to make a vision board. A few years ago I shared the story about how we found the dream home that had been on my own vision board for many years. Today, I’m sharing a more detailed version...

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Life coaching clients often ask me how to make a vision board. A few years ago I shared the story about how we found the dream home that had been on my own vision board for many years. Today, I’m sharing a more detailed version of how you can start exploring ideas for your own vision board, even if you’re not entirely certain about your future direction.

Step 1: Draft your vision statement

Set aside a few hours to draft a few paragraphs about your ideal life, five or ten years from now. As you start to think about vision board ideas, approach the exercise with a sense of lightness and creativity and even if you feel unclear about what you want, make something up, to begin with. It’s helpful to keep the time frame broad so you feel that there’s enough time to make any kind of change possible.

When I do this exercise, I begin with the phrase, “It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m at home with…” and continue writing in the present tense. I imagine where I live and who I’ll be spending time with later in the day. This helps to anchor me in a place and gives me the opportunity to reflect on the most important relationships in my life.

I then reflect back on the week prior and consider the kind of work I am doing, how I’m taking care of my health and wellbeing, how I’m learning, growing and challenging myself, how I’m contributing to society, being creative, taking care of my finances, the interests I have and so on.

As you work through this exercise, don’t be overly concerned about how you’ll achieve what you include, just focus on what you would love for now. If you know, for example, that you’d like a wider social circle, write something like, “I have a few close friendships with people who share the same values and interests as me and we spend time together each week, walking in nature, seeing a film or catching up for breakfast.”

Including detail in this way helps give you clarity about the kind of lifestyle you’d like to create and the person you’ll be in your vision. It will also help you become clear about how to make your vision board inspiring enough to keep you engaged.

Step 2:  Meditate on your vision

Before finalising your vision put the written exercise aside for a few days and meditate on it to make sure it feels right for you. This will help you to sense whether your vision aligns with your personal values rather than being something that sounds good to other people.

You may find it helps to listen to this meditation to help you tap into your innate wisdom and connect with your intuition. As you listen, remember to deepen your connection with your physical body – this is where we most easily access our intuitive wisdom.

Step 3: How to make your vision board

Using any format that appeals to you (sketching or painting, taking images from magazines or creating a document on your computer), now you can get to work creating your vision board. The images you choose don’t need to be an exact replica of your ideal life but as you start looking for vision board ideas, consider how you’d like to feel in your future.

Once your vision board is complete, place a copy of it where you’ll see it on a regular basis.

While you don’t need to be fixated on it there’s some fascinating research that suggests that our brains are more open to creating what we can visually imagine.

Step 4: Keep yourself grounded as you dream

This may sound like something of a paradox but when we can keep ourselves grounded in our existing lives, we create a solid foundation from which we can dream.

Stay grounded by meditating, walking in nature, lying on the grass in your local park, swimming or surfing in the ocean or walking on the beach with bare feet. Make a regular habit to engage in practices that connect you with the energy of the earth.

As well as creating and maintaining a deeper connection with yourself, being grounded will help you to recognise when an element of your vision board is no longer right and needs to be changed.

Step 5: Stop dreaming and start doing

Choose one area of your vision board to focus on for now and identify a couple of small actions that will move you in the direction of your dreams. Taking small action steps in a given direction (even if you’re experiencing some doubt about that direction) is the most effective way of gaining clarity about whether that option is right for you.

Don’t feel that you need to rush this or have all of the steps mapped out – initially the goal is to simply create a small amount of forward momentum.

For example, instead of waiting for a new partner to appear in your life, add your profile to a reputable dating app (even though this may initially fill you with dread!).

Make a point of being the kind of person who takes the first step. Invite a colleague for coffee, arrange a social event at work, open up a thoughtful discussion instead of waiting for someone else to initiate conversation, proactively start researching a career option that sounds appealing.

Taking small steps means you’re putting energy into the world to encourage change. If nothing else, as you progress down a given path, you’ll build resilience, learn about what you don’t want, and it’s likely you’ll also discover things that genuinely energise you.

Join Kate for the Create Your Vision online workshop in January 2021.

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7 ways to change how you work https://totalbalance.com.au/change-how-you-work/ Wed, 30 Sep 2020 01:58:13 +0000 https://totalbalance.com.au/?p=17436 As a career and life coach, I’ve noticed how people’s priorities have changed over the course of this year. As well as a shift in relationships, interests and lifestyle, what I’m seeing is that many of you are now seeing you can change how you...

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As a career and life coach, I’ve noticed how people’s priorities have changed over the course of this year. As well as a shift in relationships, interests and lifestyle, what I’m seeing is that many of you are now seeing you can change how you work.

Some are planning to start their own businesses, others are cutting back their hours, a few are preparing for a career change and almost all are thinking about how they can create a more balanced approach to work and life.

Your job is important but you don’t want it to become your entire world. Making time for outside interests, prioritising relationships and having boundaries between work and life are imperative to maintaining a sense of wellbeing.

1. Set boundaries between work and life

When you work from home it’s easy to blur the lines. It might be tempting (and even sometimes necessary) to jump back online after dinner but before you make a habit of this, think about how you’d ideally like to structure your days and weeks.

Working from home can be great for flexibility if it means you can get out for a walk during the day or share the homeschooling with your partner, but it can also mean feeling constantly ‘on’.

Create some personal rules about how many hours you’ll work each day and establish a time to switch off at night. Ideally, set aside a couple of days each week to completely disengage from work tasks and to take a break from your email.

If you don’t have the luxury of a separate workspace in your home, clear away your work things as a way of marking the end of your day.

2. Unplug sometimes

After recently watching the documentary The Social Dilemma, Chris and I have decided to be much more vigilant about our time online. We didn’t need the film to tell us how addictive our devices are, but it reminded us that it’s easy to let technology take over our lives.

Switch off as many notifications as you can and make a commitment to have certain periods of your day offline. You may like to try one ‘screen-free day’ every week and observe the difference this makes.

Allowing downtime gives you a greater opportunity to connect with yourself and the people around you as well as the chance to properly decompress.

3. Prioritise your health

Our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing should be our number one priority at all times.

If you’re predisposed to anxiety or low-mood, make sure you have support measures in place, particularly while you’re isolated from friends and family. Choose activities that genuinely restore your wellbeing and ideally, create a sense of routine around these habits.

Try not to be overly prescriptive about what constitutes healthy living – instead, consider a few ways that you can enjoy moving your life in the direction of greater wellbeing, rather than away from it.

Meditate upon waking. Get up from your desk and move or stretch on a regular basis. Finish work early to join an online exercise class. Set up a regular appointment with a psychologist or career coach for mental support.

4. Improve your relationships

When we let work take over our lives, our relationships generally suffer. Even the connections with colleagues can become strained when our sole intent is on driving results.

Take a step back and reflect on the most important relationships inside and outside your workplace. Are you making time to genuinely connect with those people? And if yes, are you being mindful in how you interact with them, taking personal differences into account?

One simple way to improve your relationships is to become a better listener. Tune in to what the other person is really saying, be curious about their point of view and ask a few questions before jumping in with your thoughts.

5. Play to your strengths to change how you work

In many workplaces, the focus is on trying to overcome weaknesses. One way to change how we work is to reverse this focus and build on our strengths, career and life satisfaction are likely to improve.

Your strengths are the characteristics and abilities that help you to perform at your best and overcome adversity. Each of us possess character strengths, which Positive Psychology groups under the six virtues of wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Your particular collection of strengths is what makes you unique.

Research has found that when we play to our strengths we feel happier, we’re more confident, we perform our roles more effectively, and we are more inclined to find more meaning in our work.

Identify your strengths by observing the activities you enjoy and the things you do well naturally. Sometimes we downplay our innate strengths because it feels almost effortless to use them.

Take the free Positive Psychology VIA Character Strengths Survey to learn about your natural strengths and aim to engage your top strengths more regularly in your everyday.

6. Become more mindful with money

Often when we become aware of economic uncertainty in the wider world, we begin to pay more attention to our personal financial wellbeing. Taking good care of your finances will help you to feel that you have more control of your future and in turn, this sense of security will give you more freedom and choice about how and where you work.

If you feel you’ve been somewhat neglectful in your financial planning to date, now is a great time to start.

Set up a simple budget or establish a savings plan that supports the achievement of your longer-term goals.

If you feel overwhelmed about where to begin, grab a copy of Scott Pape’s Barefoot Investor.

7. Take your annual leave

A recent survey found that Australians currently have the highest level of accrued annual leave since 2012. Which means we’re missing the regular breaks that give us the chance to properly unwind and change how we work.

While overseas trips are off the agenda right now, a short stay-at-home break can be a great way to relax and replenish.

Set aside a few hours to plan your leave for the coming twelve months. You might like to include a few extended weekends for home-based vacations as well as longer breaks once or twice every year. If you can’t yet put dates to your dreams or made bookings because of COVID or work considerations, it will still be rejuvenating to plan what you’d like to do during your breaks.

Research has found that planning and researching your holidays have a positive impact on your wellbeing – even before you head away.

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Changemaker: Nicola Newman https://totalbalance.com.au/interview-nicola-newman/ Sun, 27 Sep 2020 05:02:46 +0000 https://totalbalance.com.au/?p=16614 I met Nicola Newman seven years ago on a wintery afternoon in a cafe on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. At the time, she was living on the Sunshine Coast and hosting an online program teaching people how to grow their own organic vegetable gardens. We found...

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I met Nicola Newman seven years ago on a wintery afternoon in a cafe on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. At the time, she was living on the Sunshine Coast and hosting an online program teaching people how to grow their own organic vegetable gardens. We found out later that we love many of the same things – the garden, spending time in nature, living a creative life and although I haven’t sailed for many years, a deep love for spending time on the water.

I had the pleasure of reconnecting with Nicola this year and speaking to the audience of her Gentle Business Mastermind program. We’ve been chatting over recent weeks about all sorts of things. Her and her husband’s courageous decision to live on a yacht, her art, and her latest program, Flourish: The Art of Creative Living.

It’s not often that I meet someone who is genuinely living from the heart, but Nicola really is one of those people. She has inspired me to get my paintbrushes out and to explore getting back into sailing. She took time from her busy schedule last week to respond to my interview questions and I’m so pleased she did. I think you will love her story.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your business and your lifestyle? I would love to know about what led you to be living on a yacht.

Absolutely! My husband, our Cavoodle dog and I have been living on a yacht for close to three years. Before then, Andrew was working 100+ hours a week as a quarry manager and we were barely seeing each other. I was trying to figure out a way we could change our lifestyle and, inspired by a documentary about a couple who were living on a sailboat in French Polynesia, one afternoon he came home from work covered in dust and I asked him, “How about we live on a sailboat?”

Without hesitation, he replied, “Let’s do it!”

Three months later he’d resigned from his job, we’d sold our house, art studio and all our furniture and bought a 35-foot Martzcraft sailboat in Pittwater, just north of Sydney.

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What do you love most about it?

I adore being so connected to nature. We have turtles, dolphins and whales around the boat so often. I love seeing them. Our little dog Lacey-Jane loves them too. She runs around on deck ‘turtle spotting’ and often hears them before I do.

I also love the simplicity of our belongings, now that we’ve decluttered much of what we owned so we can fit it into a small space. Marie Kondo says tidying up can help you focus more on the relationships, activities and experiences you want during this current season of your life, and I have found that to be true. Having only about 15% of our original belongings, it’s easy to focus on doing more of what I love; teaching, painting, reading, writing, snorkelling, and mentoring other creative hearts.

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And what are some of the challenges?

Weather is probably the biggest challenge. While we are connected to nature, we are also hugely influenced by it. We need to be flexible as we often have to change plans, pull up the anchor and move without much notice.

Sailing has also brought up a lot of my own fears. I rely on mindfulness practices when conditions trigger a sense of anxiety and meditation to help me sleep when I’ve finished my watch and we are sailing through the night.

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Can you tell me about your decision to become an artist and then choosing to teach creativity to others?

I studied art at university and became a professional artist when my fist solo exhibition all but sold out! I was so surprised, it was easy to decide to quit my casual job and instead focus on my art practice. That was eighteen years ago. I exhibited in commercial and regional galleries around Australia and overseas and loved producing a new series of paintings for shows. I always drew inspiration from nature, my travels and my own inner experience.

In my late twenties, my health took a turn for the worse. I set up an organic veggie patch to support my healing, and after experiencing the joy and benefits of having a garden, I created two online courses teaching others how to grow organic food.

I enjoyed teaching and as my health improved, a dear friend asked me to teach her how to paint. We had so much fun painting together, and I saw how it helped her to process the grief she was experiencing after losing her precious mum. I realised I deeply wanted to teach others how to express their creativity, even if they didn’t think they were naturally creative.

For me, creative expression has been a doorway into the present moment. It’s led to beautiful experiences of being ‘in flow’ and a deeper connection with my own heart. I love, love, love to share that with others. My passion is to demystify the creative process and support others to be kind to themselves, follow their hearts and find meaning and fulfilment through creative living.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I don’t have much of a typical day! Sometimes I notice myself longing for more of a routine, but very quickly I crave variety more than predictability. That being said, my day pretty much always begins with my dog walking on me, waking me up for cuddles and then her breakfast. She’s very cute how she wants cuddles before food.

After I have fed her, I make a cup of Earl Grey tea for me and brewed coffee for Andrew. Then, I love to take my tea up on deck where I check in with how I’m feeling physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally, in my much-loved journaling practice. I find this semi-regular-routine helps me to plan my work activities for the day, while also paying attention to what I need for my own wellbeing. I love it. I find it very supportive, centering and it helps me be more intentional in my days.

After journalling, anything can happen! If I have coaching calls, I’ll spend time with clients, whether they are in my year-long global creativity school, Flourish: The Art of Creative Living, or with members of the Gentle Business Mastermind, a beautiful group I co-host along with Naomi Arnold and Amanda Rootsey, or private coaching clients.

If I don’t have client calls, I might spend the day writing, creating new videos for my YouTube channel or recording podcast episodes, or painting with my new favourite medium – watercolours! Of course, there are some weeks when we focus more on sailing, and I tilt my attention away from working so many hours in the business. I love sailing. We’ve now sailed thousands of miles up and down the east coast of Australia and we are currently in the Whitsunday Islands, which is a truly beautiful part of the world.

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How does your partner spend his time while you’re working? Does he have a side project too?

That’s a great question. I love that you asked, actually, as it’s not often talked about during these times of transitions while women are working online. For the first couple of years, Andrew was pretty much solely focused on keeping the boat running and taking care of trip planning/navigating. There are always things that need attention on a boat because it’s such a harsh environment with all the salt etc. So he is/was chief electrician, plumber, carpenter, rigger and mechanic. He did all the servicing on the engine, installed new plumbing, takes care of the fridge, solar power, battery installation etc.

He also went fishing sometimes when I was working, too. 😀

While he still does those things, he has also recently begun trading the Forex (foreign currency exchange). He signed up with a company who offer training in it, and he’s been working really hard at that. It takes quite a bit of time to check the charts, look for trade setups and learn new strategies. We are hoping it will be a change of career direction for him, as he doesn’t want to go back to quarries or working in such stressful environments. It’s lovely to have the time and space and financial freedom/breathing room to be able to make this adjustment and see how it goes. He’s naturally wired for this kind of work in many ways. It plays to many of his strengths and he’s enjoying it too, which is great. It would drive me bonkers, with all the detail, but as you know, we are each suited to different things and thankfully, this seems to have taken his fancy.

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We were looking for a way for him to bring in income while we are on the boat, and in a way that still offers us the freedom we love, knowing he didn’t want to begin a business or be an entrepreneur. Nothing popped up until one day he just stumbled on the idea. It’s now been five months and it’s going well. I love seeing him enthusiastic about the future.

Where do you go for inspiration, creative or otherwise?

I love being around the ocean for inspiration. So that is handy! Choosing to live on a boat was largely influenced by my love of nature and the ocean in particular. I love all the marine life, sunsets, and the variety of places we get to visit. I’m currently painting a series of watercolours of the islands we are exploring.

For inspiration in my business, I love to learn from others who have a heart for supporting people to deal with life using practical tools and self-compassion. I find mindfulness and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy is hugely useful, and I Iove to infuse those approaches into how I teach creative living and creative expression. So there is no surprise why I love your work, Kate, and adore all your wonderful books.

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What are you reading and listening to at the moment?

I’m currently listening to Bari Tessler Linden’s podcast The Art of Money and I am enrolled in her wonderful year-long program. I love how she blends mindfulness and self-compassion with financial literacy.

And I’m in the middle of about six different books! What can I say, I do love variety! Tonight, I have been reading Maya Angelo’s book Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes. I adore her ability to tell heart-opening stories that leave me feeling connected to others across cultures and generations.

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What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone wanting to pursue their creative dreams?

I would encourage them to focus on cultivating a kind and loving relationship with themselves, so they can offer themselves self-compassion when the inevitable fears, self-doubts, perfectionism and resistance pop up during the journey. The very nature of following our hearts and pursuing our creative dreams means stepping into the unknown. Part of that includes moving through fears in ways that don’t traumatise us but instead allow us to expand, grow and flourish.

So many of us are left believing we are ‘just not creative’ or that we ‘don’t have time for creative expression.’ When the truth is, most of us were not taught how to craft a life that is deeply fulfilling, meaningful, vibrant and true to our hearts. Our minds often throw up lots of reasons why we can’t create or follow our dreams. When we blend mindfulness into the creative process, we can elegantly navigate the creative blocks our mind uses to try to stop us, and instead step into a life where we are engaged, alive and vibrant.

If someone feels like their life is on autopilot, if they never put themselves first, or if they are constantly searching ‘out there’ for someone to tell them what to do, give them the answers or show them the ‘correct’ way to do things, I would encourage them to slow down, tune into their heart and find the practices that support them to intentionally craft a life that is fulfilling, meaningful and true to them.

Those practices might include mindfulness or meditation, walking in nature, journaling their heart out, developing their trust in their intuition and taking small steps towards their creative dreams. I’d encourage them to surround themselves with support and do all they can to give themselves a sense of safety as they embark on their new creative adventure. Most importantly, I’d encourage them to stay in relationship with their own heart. I’ve found it’s the best compass we have for leading us home.

What’s the change you’d love to make in the world?

I would love to continue supporting folks to build more loving relationships with themselves through mindfulness and creative expression. Years ago, when I was walking along a street in Brisbane one afternoon, I asked myself what I would be most proud of at the end of my life. I imagined lying on my death bed and I tried to really feel into what would be most meaningful for me. Looking back over the legacy I imagined I had left, I immediately felt the words, “I want to support others to realise they are, indeed, creative.”
Since then, my work has deepened and I’ve come to realise it’s not only about being creative but also nurturing mindfulness, self-compassion and self-leadership. Working with clients, I’ve noticed when they have practices to listen to themselves with curiosity, non-judgemental awareness and self-kindness, they authentically carve out lives that are true to them. Lives that light them up, from the inside. They are in touch with their heart and their power to create change. It’s the best, most rewarding work I can imagine doing and I’m so honoured to get to do it.

Nicola’s Flourish: The Art of Creative Living course opens for early bird registration from 15-31 October 2019. You can join Nicola now on her Art of Creative Living: Free 7 Day Introductory Course

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Could this be a turning point in your life? https://totalbalance.com.au/turning-point/ Mon, 21 Sep 2020 04:54:28 +0000 https://totalbalance.com.au/?p=17413 If there’s one thing I’ve become most aware of over the past few months, it’s that many of us are reflecting and asking ourselves, “What is it that really matters in my life? And how can I be more true to myself?” For many, now...

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If there’s one thing I’ve become most aware of over the past few months, it’s that many of us are reflecting and asking ourselves, “What is it that really matters in my life? And how can I be more true to myself?” For many, now is a turning point in life.

Some of my clients have started projects or taken up interests they’ve been toying with for years. Ignoring their perceived lack of readiness, they’re taking steps toward their long-held dreams, big and small. One client is dabbling in watercolour painting and another has accepted her job loss as the opportunity to start the business she’s imagined for years. Another is exploring a side-project he has a deep personal connection with, and several are writing books.

This time is a crossroads for all of us and an opportunity to review our life choices. While you might not be able to change your outer world immediately, you can certainly begin by looking at the thoughts, behaviours and habits that are currently defining you and consider how you can be more supportive of your true self.

Your relationship with yourself

Over the next few days, tune in and catch the way you speak to yourself. Pay particular attention in the moments after making a mistake or feeling inadequate in some way and listen as you start thinking about your dreams. What do you notice? Are you kind in your self-talk or are you more inclined to self-criticism?

Offer yourself compassion

Consider this a time where you will offer yourself a greater degree of compassion, support and kindness.

One easy way to do this is to remember that within each of us is a younger, more vulnerable part of ourselves (you might think of this as your inner child). What would you say to the five-year-old version of you? She or he is the one who experiences vulnerability and is often in need of support. This younger part of you is also the most playful, imaginative and creative.

Speak kindly to yourself

Think about how you would talk to a child who was feeling scared and uncertain or who wanted to dream, explore and find adventure.

Come up with a few phrases that feel helpful and natural to you, such as:

“It’s ok to feel lonely/sad/worried right now. This has been an incredibly uncertain time.”

or

“Be creative and enjoy the process without fearing the outcome.”

When you notice and take care of the more vulnerable aspects of yourself, you’re not being self-indulgent but rather, you’re taking ownership of your need for support.

If you’re able to nurture your desire to explore, you may find you can move beyond some of your self-imposed boundaries, which will help to grow your confidence.

Your relationship with others

If you live with other people, you may have discovered that being together for long stretches of time can strain relationships.

Emotions are running high right now, so we need to be more mindful than ever in the way we interact.

Offer others compassion

As John Gottman says, it takes five positive interactions for each single negative interaction to keep a relationship happy and healthy. When we find ourselves slipping into the habit of turning away from our loved ones because of resentment or frustration, we can take small steps to recover our connection.

While it’s tempting to criticise or attack another person for their flaws, we need to also remember that every relationship is a dynamic between two imperfect people. As much as we might feel loathe to admit it, our own behaviour plays a part too.

While it’s reasonable (and in fact, essential) that you expect the people around you to treat you with fairness and kindness, this might also be a good time to bury the hatchet or forgive old wounds.

Keep your heart open

Forgiving people doesn’t mean condoning poor behaviour nor is it about reconciling with people you have wisely moved on from. It’s about recognising the burden of anger or resentment and choosing to let go for yourself. Forgiveness doesn’t need to involve interaction with the person you’re forgiving but you may find it helpful to create a ritual of some kind that helps you to release your old hurts.

If people in your life have been a bit erratic in their behaviour in recent times, consider how you can open your heart to their struggles. Are you able to offer greater empathy or feel more compassionate about their actions? At the same time, consider how you might have been shutting down or closing off connection with your own responses. What might you do or say in order to maintain a connection?

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Changemaker: Catherine Morey-Nase https://totalbalance.com.au/inspiring-clients-catherine-morey-nase/ Sun, 23 Aug 2020 21:00:15 +0000 http://totalbalance.com.au/?p=9441 Catherine and I first met over Skype when she was living in Switzerland. At the time, we were exploring her options for career change. When she visited Melbourne the following summer, we met for coffee at St Edmonds on a sunny December morning. Catherine had just...

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Catherine and I first met over Skype when she was living in Switzerland. At the time, we were exploring her options for career change.

When she visited Melbourne the following summer, we met for coffee at St Edmonds on a sunny December morning. Catherine had just been for a run and she had a beautiful glow of health about her but what I remember most from that meeting is how readily she laughed – and what a lovely sound her laughter was.

We have worked together for several years now in various different capacities. I have called on Catherine to help me in my business when I’ve been busy and I have supported her in setting up her own small business, The Wellbeing Corner. These days, Catherine runs meditation classes and mindful hiking days for women (which are hugely popular).

It’s an honour to feature her on the blog today. I know you’ll find her as humble and inspiring as I do. She’s one very special human being.

Can you tell us a little bit about your business?

Meditation and spending time in nature are both essential to my wellbeing. I couldn’t imagine life without either of them. I wanted to provide practical and accessible ways of learning meditation and mindfulness techniques, whether in a class or out in nature.

The Wellbeing Corner runs 6-week beginner meditation courses as well as ‘Mindful Hiking Days’ for women. While meditation and mindfulness have become widely accepted (which I think is fantastic) learning to meditate is not always easy and it can be hard to know where and how to begin. I aim to introduce meditation in a way that is gentle, practical, accessible and fun, as well as inspire people to spend more time in nature. There really are so many places of incredible natural beauty on our doorstep just waiting to be explored.

What do you love about your working for yourself?

I love the flexibility and variety it gives me. I love that I get to decide what I do and when, as well as the fact that there are no rules! Occasionally this can feel a little overwhelming but mostly it’s really fun and exciting. I also love that I’m doing something I really believe in and am passionate about.

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What does a typical day look like for you?

I tend not to have a typical day. The one constant, however, is my morning meditation practice, which I do first thing upon waking. After breakfast, I usually treat myself to a coffee at my local café where I’ll plan out my day. Some days I’ll be reading, researching and writing course content, blog posts, newsletters etc. and others I’ll be out in nature researching a potential hike. Then there are the days when I’m running a Mindful Hiking Day and the evenings when I run my meditation course.

What’s one thing you would do differently if you had your time over?

That’s a tricky one! I want to say I’d do lots of things differently but also that I wouldn’t change a thing. Can I have it both ways? It probably sounds a bit clichéd but everything I’ve done, including the mistakes I’ve made, has made me the person I am today and I like to think that I’ve learned something from each and every experience along the way. I will admit, however, that I’ve had to learn the same thing over and over a few times!

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Who are your role models?

You, Kate, are definitely one of my role models. I admire the passion you have for your work, your willingness to put yourself out there in the world in such an authentic way, and how kind and caring you are. I’m inspired by so many people but other role models that come immediately to mind include Ian and Ruth Gawler, Brene Brown and Roger Federer who, in my opinion, also share many of these same qualities – authenticity, determination, self-discipline, absolute belief in, and passion, for what they do, courage and kindness. I’m also always inspired by women, especially older women (my mother is one), who, in spite of life’s challenges, remain open-minded and curious about the world and who have an adventurous spirit.

What’s been the best thing you’ve done to grow your business?

I’m not sure I can name one particular thing. I consider myself a classic introvert so traditional marketing is not comfortable for me. I’ve tried to find ways of putting myself out there that feel true to me. I try to make my meditation courses and Mindful Hiking Days the best I possibly can in the hope that people love them and recommend them to others. I will probably need to think beyond this at some point but for now it seems to be working. Connecting with like-minded business owners and doing guest blog posts and other similar exchanges has also been extremely helpful.

How did coaching help you?

Coaching helped me enormously. I can honestly say there is absolutely no way I would have started The Wellbeing Corner without it! It helped me break down pre-conceived ideas and barriers I’d subconsciously constructed that were holding me back and gave me the confidence to take that first step and then keep going.

Where do you go for inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere – nature, books, art, radio, blogs (Brain Pickings), Ted Talks, magazines (Dumbo Feather, Peppermint), family and friends.

What are you reading at the moment?

A little while ago I noticed that since starting my business I’d been reading fewer novels and I love reading novels! I’ve been getting back into fiction lately and have just finished Haruki Murakami’s latest novel ‘Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage’, which I loved.

How do you maintain a sense of balance while running your business?

I think this is something I need to get better at. Because I love what I do I find that it can be hard to switch off. On the days I’m working at the computer, I find setting a time to stop work and take a break to do something physically active such as go for a run, swim or yoga really helpful.

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What are you looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to seeing how The Wellbeing Corner changes and evolves over the coming years!

What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone wanting to go into their own startup?

There is no one right way. Keep checking in with what feels right for you and do that. Also, you don’t have to buy into a definition of success that is based on profit alone. For me, a successful business is as much about the contribution it makes and how it makes people feel.

What is the change that you’d like to make in the world?

To support people cultivate loving and supportive relationships with themselves.

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How to find your ideal role https://totalbalance.com.au/find-your-ideal-role/ Fri, 21 Aug 2020 19:05:00 +0000 http://totalbalance.com.au/2010/10/finding-your-dream-role/ As a career coach, the question I’m most often asked is, “how do I find my ideal role?” Many clients make the assumption that many people are working in their dream jobs and that those people have proactively chosen their career paths. The truth is...

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As a career coach, the question I’m most often asked is, “how do I find my ideal role?” Many clients make the assumption that many people are working in their dream jobs and that those people have proactively chosen their career paths. The truth is that many of us fall into our roles by accident and often we don’t always love what we do. While you may not need a professional career coach to help you find your ideal role, the following tips will move you in the right direction.

Most of us choose careers that we know

Research tells us that our career choices are significantly influenced by the careers we’re exposed to as children. If your parents were lawyers, you’re more likely to choose law. If they worked in government, you may be inclined to follow. And if they were entrepreneurial, you’ll be either start your own business (if their experience was positive) or avoid it at all costs.

Equally, if as a child, you had a meaningful encounter with a medical professional or a friendship with the son or daughter of an artist and you made a strong connection with one of those people, you’re more likely to consider a career in these areas.

In many cases, this means we choose our roles by default rather than accessing career assessments and evaluations that help us to find our ideal role.

If you’re currently working in a role you don’t love, don’t let these factors stop you from formulating your ideal role. It’s never too late to change – I’ve worked with clients who’ve begun new careers in their 60’s. I also know from my own experience that there’s nothing in the world that will make you happier than spending your days doing what you love.

Identify your strengths

Your strengths are most easily described as the characteristics, skills and tasks you perform well. Engaging your strengths in your ideal role will feel make your work feel more effortless. Most people say that they’re energised and motivated when they have the chance to use their natural strengths.

  1. Discover your strengths by taking the Positive Psychology VIA strengths test.
  2. Make a list of the things you’re naturally good at. Include anything that other people compliment you on or activities that you can spend hours on without feeling tired.
  3. Email five friends and ask them to list your top five strengths.

Once you know your strengths, think about whether you can use these more in your existing role or is there a role that you’d be better suited to?

What are your passions or interests?

The most interesting people I know are interested in something. While some people find it daunting to make a list of passions, most of us can at least identify some interests.

If you’re stuck to name your interests, answer the following questions.

  • What are the articles you’re drawn to when you open the newspaper?
  • What magazine would you subscribe to if you had your choice?
  • Who do you admire or envy and for what aspects of their life?
  • What activities do you enjoy when you’re working?
  • What do you look forward to doing when you’re not working?
  • What did you love doing as a child?
  • What do you naturally do well?

Once you have a list of interests, think about how these might impact the kind of work that you do or the type of organisation you would ideally like to work for.

Map out your values

Your values are the guiding principles by which you live your life. You might also think of them as the measures by which you can determine whether your life is currently going well. Unlike your goals, you don’t achieve a value but rather, a value is something that you’ll continue aligning with, right throughout your life and regardless of what you’re doing.

Most people find that their values stay fairly static across a lifetime. Many are influenced by our upbringing but some we don’t discover until later in life.

Once you’ve identified your values, you may find that there are times in life where you’re not fully aligned with them. My top value, for example, is ‘inner harmony’ while another is ‘achievement’. When I’m overly focused on the achievement value and working long hours, I can become less focused on taking good care of my mental and physical wellbeing, which is an important aspect of inner harmony for me.

If you’re unclear about your values, try mapping them out by following the instructions in this article. Once you know your values, make a note of how aligned you are in your current role and consider how your organisation’s values match with your own.

Review your career history

Look back across your career history and make a note of the skills, strengths and achievements you’ve engaged and look for any that are transferable (e.g. being a good negotiator, the ability to think strategically, customer service).

Consider how those qualities can help you to find your ideal role.

  • Which role did you love the most and why?
  • Who did you enjoy working with most?
  • What was the organisation culture you found most appealing?
  • What team size do you love?
  • Do you prefer working in teams or alone?
  • How have you felt about leading others?
  • What are the skills you’ve loved using at work?

Make a list of at least ten potential ideal roles

This might sound like a stretch but the purpose of this exercise is to push you out of your comfort zone and get you thinking a little more creatively. If you’re stuck for ideas, here’s a long list of potential careers to choose from.

Once you have your long list, choose the three most appealing roles and get to work researching them using Google, LinkedIn, job search sites and by talking to people who work in those roles.

Talk to people who work in your dream role

Reach out to people in the roles you’re interested in and ask them about the aspects of the role that they love. Find out which parts of the role were surprising or challenging.

If you’re keen to start your own business, listen to podcasts people who have taken the entrepreneurial path and learn about how they achieved this.

Start with the end in mind

Envisage yourself as a fit and healthy 65-year-old and think about the kind of life you would love to be living. As you engage with this question, imagine that confidence and opportunities aren’t barriers and importantly, imagine that you still love your work enough not to want to retire. You may want to work part-time to allow for other interests but equally, imagine that you’re in your ideal role.

Once you have clarity about this, write out your vision in detail, being as specific as you can. Visualise where you’d be working, what your days would involve, who you’d be working with and create a clear picture of yourself in this setting. Imagine the clothes you’d wear, the kind of person you’d be and how you’d feel if you were in that role.

If you’re still unclear about your ideal role

If you’re still unclear about your ideal role after completing the exercises above, save your answers somewhere and make a note in your diary to come back to them in a month’s time. Sometimes by just letting the idea simmer away in the background, you discover your unconscious mind does some of the work for you.

And if you still feel stuck, you’ll find some extra tips in this article. You may also want to talk to someone about your career aspirations (or your career confusion). If you’re not ready to engage a professional career coach or career counsellor, ask a friend if they can spare an hour of their time to let you run through your concerns. Often just hearing yourself talk it through out loud gives you some clarity.

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Change the way you think https://totalbalance.com.au/changing-your-thinking/ Wed, 29 Jul 2020 22:34:57 +0000 http://totalbalance.com.au/?p=9538 While life is such a long way from normal, it’s hard not to wish things were different right now. If you’re open to interacting mindfully with your more difficult thoughts and emotions, you may discover that mindfulness can help you to change your thinking. Most...

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While life is such a long way from normal, it’s hard not to wish things were different right now. If you’re open to interacting mindfully with your more difficult thoughts and emotions, you may discover that mindfulness can help you to change your thinking.

Most of us are doing whatever we can to keep our difficult thoughts at bay and much of it is imperfect. Almost everyone I speak to tells me they’re drinking more wine, eating more chocolate, spending too much time shopping online and scrolling mindlessly through social media.

Without any real sense of control, we’re all just doing the best that we can in order to manage our worries. The problem is that some of our choices create their own set of problems and they can even inhibit our wellbeing.

Soften into your thoughts and feelings

With practise, you may find you can soften into everything you feel. Even the most uncomfortable emotions and experiences become easier to bear as you work to change your thinking.

Mindfulness teacher, Jack Kornfield describes how to do this well. He says, “There is a deep joy that comes when we stop denying the painful aspects of life, and instead allow our hearts to open to and accept the full range of our experience: life and death, pleasure and pain, darkness and light. Even in the face of the tremendous suffering in the world, there can be this joy, which comes not from rejecting pain and seeking pleasure, but rather from our ability to meditate and open ourselves to the truth.”

It might seem a bit of a stretch to suggest that joy is an option right now but there really can be a sense of freedom – and even lightness – when we let go of the idea that we have control over anything.

Jack suggests that the path to inner peace involves changing the way we think. His approach is about recognising that there will always be the potential for suffering in our lives.  There’ll be a mix of wonderful experiences and painful ones too. When we have the courage to love someone deeply, we risk losing them one day too. When we attempt to pursue a new career path, we risk appearing inexperienced or potentially even failing. Even when we invite a new friend for coffee (or a socially distanced walk), we risk the uncomfortable experience of rejection.

A mindful approach means learning to go with the flow of life rather than fighting against it. This is not an easy thing to do, but what I’ve found when I do this myself is that it really is quite liberating.

Become aware

First, pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that stop you from feeling hopeful and positive about the future. Just notice them for now and if you can, make friends with them. Say hello to fear or loneliness and be curious about what it’s like to experience those feelings rather than pushing them away. Become aware of how your body feels when there’s fear, find out where it’s located in your body and just name it. ‘This is fear, I’m noticing fear.’ It’s enough to just do this for now. Soften into it, stay with it, don’t resist it

Don’t run away

Notice your tendency to want to numb the emotions that are most difficult. Learn about your habitual ways of dealing with pain. What do you feel like doing to get away? Instead of giving in to whatever you usually do, take another breath and keep making room for the emotion you feel in a mindful and open way. Keep naming what you feel. Stay with your emotions. You’ll be surprised at your capacity to bear discomfort when you stop fighting and over time, you’ll come to see how you can change your resistance when you change your thinking.

What really matters?

Once you’ve made room for the emotion and taken the time to sit with it for a while, you might want to think about what is within your control. What are your deepest desires about how you want to live your life? Even in the midst of this painful experience, who and what really matters?

Do one tiny thing

Rather than choosing your habitual behaviour, choose one tiny action step that is aligned with your values. For example, if you have a value of inner harmony and you know that mindfulness practice helps, make time to listen to a mindful meditation at the beginning or end of your day. If you have a value of connection, call someone you care about and talk with them. If you have a value of kindness, think of one small thing you can do to brighten another person’s day.

Don’t be afraid

Sometimes people worry that if they acknowledge and make room for difficult feelings, they’ll become consumed by them. In fact, the opposite is usually true. Fighting our fearful thoughts and pushing away our worries only serves to escalate them.

When you begin to trust that you can manage whatever life throws your way you come to recognise that within you is a great capacity for inner peace. From this place, you then have the opportunity to embrace the small pockets of beauty that can be found in the every day.

If you need support to change your thinking, our life coaching or online mindfulness workshop series may help.

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5 ways to increase your energy https://totalbalance.com.au/5-ways-to-increase-your-energy/ Tue, 30 Jun 2020 00:00:36 +0000 http://totalbalance.com.au/?p=9727 The uncertainty and stress of the past few months have left many of us feeling pretty depleted. With so much change in such a short time and a while to wait before our lives have some semblance of normal again, the only thing we have...

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The uncertainty and stress of the past few months have left many of us feeling pretty depleted. With so much change in such a short time and a while to wait before our lives have some semblance of normal again, the only thing we have any control of right now is how we respond to this crisis. The following tips will help increase your energy levels and build your resilience.

1. Get the basics right

Listen to your body about the foods that energise you and the kind of movement that makes you feel grounded. Walking, dancing, yoga and qigong can help to bring down anxiety levels and help to reconnect you with your body. When you’re properly tuned in, you’ll find it easier to listen to what your body needs.

Energy is derived from your emotional wellbeing so make sure you’re taking care of your mind state too. Spend a few minutes in meditation upon waking. If you find yourself feeling flat, try a loving-kindness practice,  which has proven to be the most effective form of meditation when it comes to warding off depression.

If you have noticed your mood is lower than usual, which is not that uncommon right now, don’t leave it too long to reach out for support with a psychologist or personal coach.

2. Connect with nature, even while you’re indoors

If there’s one quick way to shift your energy quickly and create more inner calm, it’s spending time in nature. Patients in hospitals with a view of the outdoors heal faster than those without.

People who work in offices with windows get sick less frequently and a recent study of elderly people found that those who don’t venture outside are more prone to depression.

Try to get out into a beautiful natural environment at least several times each week. When you can’t get outside, brain scans have shown that even looking at images of natural environments can lower your stress levels. Use a screensaver of a natural scene or put a bunch of flowers or pot plant on your desk.

3. Stay up to date with the news, but take breaks too

Keeping abreast of the updates is essential right now, but it’s easy to slip into a state of overwhelm when you’re checking news sites too often.

Work out which time of day is best for you to be updated (preferably not right before bed) and make a habit of checking in just once a day. Consider taking one or two “news free” days in your week.

4. Spend time alone if you’re an introvert or with others, if you’re an extrovert

Tune in to your capacity for socialising. If you do better one-on-one, reduce your group gatherings – even if they are just online. If you share your home and workspace with others, negotiate some alone time every few days. And if you’re living alone and working from home, make an effort to connect in real life where you can.

5. Be kind to yourself

The biggest energy drainer of all is the pressure you put yourself under to be perfect. Try to catch the voice of your Inner Critic and counter it with a voice of Inner Kindness.

The greatest sense of emotional freedom is achieved when you can be more at peace with who you are, which includes making room for your flaws. Remember that none of us is perfect –some people might be better at hiding it than others, but at the end of the day we’re all simply doing the best that we can.

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