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Being in the Flow

Posted by kelly on April 9, 2014 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (2)

"Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity." According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, flow is completely focused motivation. This is akin to "being in the zone".

Lately, there have been a few instances where I have been in the flow. I usually have these moments when I am being physical or playing tennis. The last few tennis matches I have played, I have felt all of those feelings: energy, focus, full involvement, enjoyment and a sense of being skilled and accomplished. I felt especially in the flow in my hot yoga class today. I think part of that was being surrounded by several very proficient students who make standing bow pose look so effortless and beautiful. They motivated me to lift my leg higher over my head.:) Yesterday, I felt in the flow while I was teaching a spinning class. My students and myself were immersed in the music and the pedaling up the hill sections seemed a bit more effortless.


I imagine musicians and dancers feel in the flow when they are performing and artists feel it when they are painting. Many other professionals I am sure experience flow when they are working with others creatively and have that sense of total immersion and enjoyment.
Nakamura and Csíkszentmihályi identify the following six factors as encompassing an experience of flow:
1. intense and focused concentration on the present moment
2. merging of action and awareness
3. a loss of reflective self-consciousness
4. a sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
5. a distortion of temporal experience, one's subjective experience of time is altered
6. experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as autotelic experience


Bringing that sense of flow into our lives more regularly can be a challenge, but the rewards are well worth it. You don't have to be a master at your skill or profession to feel flow, but it does have to feel challenging. 


How have you experienced flow in your life, and how can you can bring it into your life more often?

Eliminate Excess

Posted by kelly on June 19, 2013 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

"Minds, like bodies, will often fall into a pimpled, ill-conditioned state from mere excess of comfort." Charles Dickens

Lately I have been hearing a recurrent theme from many friends and clients. They are downsizing and decluttering. In a society that has been all about "more, bigger, faster, shinier", it is refreshing to hear that some people are wanting to simplify and make space for other things in their lives. Things like being more present with themselves and others.

The extremes are everywhere we look. Supersized meals and drinks to overpriced anti-aging products to take away every wrinkle on your face. Sixty plus hour work weeks to extreme diets and work out regimens. What happened to moderation and balance? Television and news programs are the worst to clutter our minds and instill fear in us. It seems if the program doesn't have violence or sex or something over the top in it, we don't want to watch it. I miss the days of The Brady Bunch and Happy Days.There are a few funny, family oriented shows out there today, but they are overshadowed by the reality programs and TMZ gossip type shows.

Most of us have gotten caught up in all the excess, and just like changing your health for the better takes baby steps, so does eliminating all the excess. 
Not giving into obsession in either direction is a challenge in today's world, but it can be done.I think it is a life-long journey but one that is necessary. Everytime you ask yourself if you are balanced gives you the opportunity to pause and reflect. It allows you to be more conscious of the choices you are making instead of following the herd of sheep off the cliff.


What's one small thing you can do today to eliminate excess in your life?



 


Wellness is all about Energy and Awareness

Posted by kelly on August 15, 2012 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)

 

All the energies that make up physical human life are fundamentally organized and vibrate according to what we give our attention to and how we feel about what we give our attention to. We all have had destructive thoughts, feelings and emotions. We all have our "stories". If we give attention or awareness to our story long enough, toxic emotions can accumulate in the body and poison it. If we keep reliving our negative experiences, it will make us sick. It is so important to release these emotions by acknowledging them, but then letting them go. My brother once gave me a little wall plate that most of us have seen the saying before, that reads, "Put on your big girl panties and get over it!"


What we are giving our attention to, or our awareness, is the most life-altering form of energy available to us. It is our awareness that has the greatest influence on the body, our perceptions and emotions. Eastern Science says that emotions are attracted to the body's nervous system according to what the person is giving their attention to. Thus the emotional body actually reacts to the consciousness body. Your anger is the emotional body's response to your thoughts; your thoughts do not take their cues from your emotions.


Louise Hay's book, You Can Heal Your Life is all about the mind-body connection.  I highly recommend it if you haven't read it. When it comes to the physical body, the Eastern sciences of self-healing say that more than 95% of all illness and weakness within the body have an emotional origin. The sequence is: thoughts attract emotions that, if unresolved, may cause physical problems. Unresolved emotions build up and become increasingly exacerbated by what we habitually give our attention to. Thoughts fuel the emotional fire.


Awareness can be the gateway to health or illness based on what we are giving our attention to. Since imbalance and disease enter through the doorway of awareness they can also be shown the way out through the same doorway. When we give our attention to things that live in an unlimited, high vibrational realm such as gratitude, acceptance, love and forgiveness, we can heal, overcome and breakthrough life's challenges.


Coaching Inquiry: What toxic thoughts and emotions can you let go of today, and what constructive thoughts can you replace them with?

Taming Your Gremlin

Posted by kelly on July 15, 2012 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the most significant reasons for human suffering is the narrator or inner critic in our heads. It is also known as our Gremlin. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that voice that tells you, “I can’t lose that weight. It’s too hard. I’m too lazy.” Or,” I can’t get that promotion. I’m not smart enough.” Your gremlin is very conniving. It will fabricate fantasizes and draws you into inevitable internal fights that will send you into depressive moods and “poor me” victim mentality and zap the energy and life right out of you. Your gremlin thrives on negativity and will do its best to keep you from your greatness.

The first step in Taming Your Gremlin (A book by Rick Carson) is simply to notice it.  Just observe the thoughts that come up with no judgment. If we can pay attention to when and how our Gremlin shows up and what our habitual responses to it have been, we can open up to the possibility of choosing to think, feel, and act differently to truly create an alternative reality for ourselves. Just “Be in the process.” Being in the process is a way to move toward “true love”, the essence of who we really are, our inner guide that is more powerful than any gremlin. Remember, you have a choice, to believe your gremlin or to re-shape it to be your cheerleader instead.

I can work with you to help tame your gremlin.:) 

 

 

When All Four Energies Come Together

Posted by kelly on February 8, 2012 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

This morning I took a spin class that brought me to a state of true bliss. Martha, a very seasoned instructor I hadn't met yet, was able to activate my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energies all at once. The music was all instrumental, some African drumming with some jazz mingled in. :) I loved it! She took us on a strength ride, some standing and seated climbs and seated flats.


I found that fifteen minutes into the ride, I was totally in the moment. Martha's commanding, yet calming and encouraging words took me to a place I haven't been in awhile. I felt strong, focused, joyful and connected to spirit. I was almost brought to tears half way through the hour long ride.


This was a class that was not only a physical training but a life training. I went up to her after class and introduced myself as a fellow instructor and told her what a wonderful experience that was and asked her how she got into spinning. We had a fifteen minute conversation about how spinning was her way of releasing stress from things that were going on in her life. Riding was a moving meditation for her. That was definitely what it was for me today. Martha has mastered her craft by being able to get us to visualize being in the moment and connecting to our higher self and the greatness we all have inside of us.