slow down

Serenity

Some sad updates. Do you remember the friend I spoke about a few weeks ago, Laurie Foley, who had entered hospice? She transitioned to the next world March 4th. Then Custard, one of the horses I spoke about in my last newsletter who had been rescued, had to be put to sleep as well.

And then, a close friend of mine lost a beloved family member too.

All of this news within a 4 day period. Ouch.

I’ve felt heavy for a few days. Physically and energetically heavy. I’m allowing myself to feel that energy, let it sit as it needs to, knowing it will pass through.

Today I want to talk about serenity.

When you hear that word, what does it mean to you?

In Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance she says women can find serenity if they stop behaving as if they were whirling dervishes. The constant multi-tasking of for example, beginning to brush your teeth only to leave the bathroom to start making your bed before the teeth brushing is over, then to notice that something else in the next room needs straightening up, yet you still have your toothbrush in your mouth trying to finish making the bed, and mentally already moving onto the next thing before you’ve even finished the first and second. Sound familiar?  Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

How do you combat that insanity? By doing only one thing at a time. Not possible to get everything done you say. Au contraire. It is. There is a ton of research out there supporting this very thing. When you truly only work on one task at a time, your energy is focused and present. When you are focused and present you are actually able to work more efficiently and with greater ease.

I know your mind might be saying no way. That’s what our minds do. They say it can’t be done if that’s the only way it’s ever been done. I invite you to challenge your mind. Try it for a week. Do one thing at a time and find out how it works for you. Does it make things harder or easier? More simple or cluttered? More pleasurable or painful?

For me serenity means that no matter what is going on outside of me, I am calm and peaceful on the inside. We all have that place, that space, deep within where we are still. That is who we are at our core. Stillness. In that place of stillness is where our best lives come from, our best selves, our best work.

It also means honoring my personal energy. Only putting on my plate what truly feels good for me to do and deciding how much I put on that plate in any given day. And do you know what I found to be interesting? If there’s ever any push back it comes from me. My next door neighbor doesn’t care how much I do. My husband doesn’t care. My dog doesn’t care either. It’s only my mind that fights me (on occasion) about it. But my body will always tell me loud and clear when I’ve done too much. It gets very tired. And until I give it rest it doesn’t respond well to further instruction.

So if this is something you struggle with, how you can bring more serenity into your life? What needs to shift in order to make that happen?

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

~ Susan

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

 

The Secret to Slowing Down

I’ve never been able to keep up with the pace of our world, our society. Never. But believe you me, I sure tired.

Really hard.

Several years back I was on a walk through the woods with my dogs and it hit me. Everyone is in such a hurry all the time. And I HATE being in a hurry.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

I don’t drive fast, I don’t make quick decisions, I don’t run fast, I don’t try to do many things fast. When I do I make mistakes.

If you’re in an emergency in the hospital and need attention fast, then yes, a faster pace is required. Or if you are planning to be the fastest woman in the hundred yard dash, then yes, a really fast pace is required. But for most things in life, not so much.

I believe many of the world problems we have today come from trying to rush things.

So I stopped “trying” to keep up. And do you know what happened?

My life felt better. I didn’t feel so stressed. Not everything got done, but what mattered did. Somewhere along the way I realized my to-do list would always be there. Even when you catch up one day, a new one will start again soon enough.

So what’s the secret to slowing down? It’s a simple decision.

The decision to live your life at a pace that feels natural and works for you. A pace that matches your energy level. A pace that works for what’s important to you.

Slowing down is a choice.

One you make every day.

The world will tell you you can’t survive.

I’m proof you can. And it feels so much better.

Are you living at your own natural pace? Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me, coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Why Mother Nature is a Gift

I can’t tell you how many times I hear a version of the same answer over and over again when I ask someone what getting out in nature does for them. This is what they say, “It brings me peace, clarity, expands my heart, connects me to the world.”

“It fills me with fresh ideas and fresh perspective.”

“It’s my home.”

“It recalibrates my sense of well-being and rightness in the world.”

“It gives me appreciation, calmness, grounding.”

“It inspires me, renews me.”

“It gives me peace and joy.” woman-out-in-nature-looking-at-camera

“It calms my mind and generally makes me feel happier, more optimistic.”

“It’s refreshing and peaceful at the same time.”

“Nature is my spirituality.”

“It gives me a sense of peace, awe, gratitude, and connection with the universe.”

“It helps me remember everything runs in cycles and will change”,

“It frees my body, mind, and spirit.”

Wow- that Mother Nature has got it goin’ on!

This is what she does to us, for us. She is always there to help bring us back to ourselves. Back to a more natural state of peace. Peace, groundedness, centeredness is who we are at a core level.

I can think of almost nothing better than spending time outside and feeling peaceful, connected, re-energized, grounded, happier, and with a calmer mind.

We each enjoy her differently. Some of us like to sit by a river or at the beach. Some enjoy biking or hiking, some like to photograph nature, some like to garden.

What’s most important is that we actually spend time with her. Regularly. The to-do list will always be there. For the rest of your days. So let it be.

There are times when you need to step out of your everyday, a million things to do life, and go outside. Spend 10 minutes watching the birds at your bird feeder like I’m doing as I type this. Spend 3 hours hiking along a gorgeous river, like I did a few weekends ago.

I promise you that if you allow yourself to be there and take it all in, you will leave feeling some if not all of the things mentioned above.

And what happens when you get back to your regular life? Because you feel more grounded and centered, you'll have more energy, you’ll able to make more clear decisions, you'll prioritize better, you'll discover what’s more important at the moment. You can often get out of the muck and focus.

And that’s the gift. Mother nature brings you back to yourself. Your best self.

So I suggest you grab your calendar right now.

Right.

Now.

And flip through the next month, and schedule yourself time in nature. I don’t care if it’s once a week, or once a day. For 6 hours, or 20 minutes. But schedule it. And do it. And enjoy. Not only will you like yourself better. Others will like you more too.

She not only sustains everything on this planet, she sustains us. Without us, she would continue just fine.

Appreciate her and she will nurture you.

If you’d like, Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me, coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to  hear from you.

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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Giving up Perfection when you're trying to be Creative

I love ideas. I have a lot of them. We just picked out our Christmas tree and brought it home. While some branches were being cut to make the tree fit into the base I had a great idea. I’ll use the extra branches to make a wreath we can put outside our front door. Brilliant idea!

My husband brought in some wire from the garage, and since I didn’t know how to make a wreath I Googled it. Martha Stewart makes some might fine, perfectly shaped, symmetrical wreaths!

I tried following the directions and my branches didn’t resemble anything like her wreath, or even A wreath. My husband gave me another idea. I tried that. Nope. Not so good.

Then I got frustrated. I just wanted to make a nice simple wreath using the greenery from my tree without spending a ton of time or money. I am not a moron. I should be able to figure this out. Dammit!

Then, my snarky brain kicked in. Just give up. You aren’t creative. Go to the crafts store and buy a pre-fab round foam form to attach the branches to and get it over with.

But instead of giving up and going to the store I stepped away and took my dog for a walk. Note- one of the best things you can do when you have a problem you can’t find a solution for is to step away for a while. It gives your subconscious mind some wiggle room to actually come up with a way to fix the problem.

I said to myself, I know I can do this. It’s just a silly wreath. So I proceeded to walk in the rain with no particular thoughts in my head. Then out of the blue, the ideas for how to fix my problem started coming. I had at least 2-3 ideas by the time I got home.

I put the wreath up, as is, just to see what it looked like. It wasn’t even close to what I envisioned but it was a start.

Wreath #1

Them I started to cut out the branches in the middle so my wreath would have a hole. It started to take shape until I cut one branch, which separated one whole side of the wreath. Instead of having a wreath with a round hole in the center, I now had one that looked sort of like a C. I said aloud,” that is so not what I had in mind”.

Wreath #2

Then something completely unexpected and fabulous happened.

I remembered that my last name is Carroll. Carroll starts with a C. This is the Carroll household. So why couldn’t my wreath be a big C with a red bow. I mean, why the hell not?

This all made perfect sense to me as I looked at this C wreath. It was totally organic. It didn’t sit on the wall perfectly flat. Some branches stuck out here and there, kind of like my hair often does. This wreath was completely me. It looked nice but not perfect. Care was put in to creating it but the perfection of a Martha Stewart wreath was left out. My life is messy, not perfect, filled with joy and sorrow, and great ideas that don’t always end up looking like I thought they would, or should.

I am quite pleased with my creation. I bet it won’t look like anything else in my neighborhood. And isn’t that often what we notice most? Things that look different but are still beautiful. All because I stepped away from the problem and allowed solutions to come through, then followed through on those ideas, which led to the organic creation of my unique Christmas wreath.

And I’m happier with the outcome, maybe even because, it doesn’t look like a Martha Stewart wreath.

IMG_1050

Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me, coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to  hear from you.

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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Slowing Down and Resting

Two awesome events happened in my town 48 hours apart this week. First, the Internet was down for the WHOLE day. And, we got our first snow followed by freezing rain, which closed schools. What I love about both of these events is that it reminds us we aren’t in control and mother nature/the universe is. squirrel in snow

When the Internet goes down it’s a big thing. Many of us spend a lot of time communicating both personally and professionally on our devices. While in and of itself, it isn’t a bad thing, we can easily get sucked into it and miss other amazing areas of our life.

When the weather makes the roads too dangerous to drive, we have the opportunity to stay at home and play with our kids, if we have them, or take a nap if it’s needed, read a book, organize a closet… all those things we might not do because of our crazy over-booked lives.

This is why I never see the Internet going down or Mother Nature affecting normal activities as a bad thing. It makes us stop and pay attention. And often, it’s important stuff we need to pay attention to, like slowing down and resting. We live in an over-stressed, over-worked, sleep-deprived country. What I find amazing is that when something like a snowstorm hits, most everyone gets upset that it messes up their day and they can’t get things done. As if having to shift gears and slow down is bad thing.

While out walking my dog Elvis this morning, I watched a little girl come running out of her house in full snow gear with her sled, ready to play in the white fluffy flakes. She was one excited ball of energy. I got to watch her joy, and feel my own little kid energy, as I walked down the road with quarter-sized flakes thickly falling from the sky silently but oh so beautifully.

Slowing down and resting helps us to rejuvenate. When we’re rejuvenated, we’ve got more energy for, and excitement about, living our normal daily lives. And who doesn’t want to feel that as they go about their day.

So the next time the Internet goes down or some weather affects your normal routine, see it as a gift, not a burden. Slow down and rest. Heck, why not put a designated rest day in your schedule regularly. I can almost guarantee you’ll feel better, more relaxed, and ready to continue with your normal life when it’s over. I wouldn’t be surprised to find you both healthier and happier too.

Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me, coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to  hear from you.

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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Random events aren't really random

I believe in a friendly universe and I believe events that happen in your life that seem random, aren’t. If you’re willing to pay attention that is.

I mentioned my dog child Kona two weeks ago and how I dealt with the uncertainty of what was happening with him. If you missed it, you can read about it here. dice

The week after Kona had the herniated disc in his back was beyond stressful for me. The kind where you don’t sleep, or eat stressful.

Kona had some kind of a neurological event that caused strange things to happen with one of his eyes. It looks a bit odd, but thankfully, he can see fine.

I found a lump under his armpit and the cells inside were abnormal. I waited two excruciating days to find out if he had cancer or not. He doesn’t. Phew!

And he was diagnosed with arthritis that would need some pretty heavy-duty meds or he would be limping and in pain for the rest of his life. We’ve started those and he’s improving already.

How random all of this seemed. How unsettled I felt.

How could an active healthy dog go from running miles and miles one day to looking like he might not make it through the next day, like overnight?

I had to sit with these questions.

In doing so, I found helpful insight and meaning when I really looked at what seemed like random events.

Am I really paying attention to my life? Kona had some arthritis symptoms now that I look back. I didn’t know that’s what they were, but I’m aware now. Where in my life do I have symptoms of a problem that I’m not aware of or that needs addressing?

Kona had an issue with his eye. What am I not seeing clearly in my life or what do I need to see that I’m completely missing?

There’s that lump I found under his arm. Do I do regular mammograms and get check ups to make sure I remain in good health or catch something early?

What happens outside of us can be a reflection of what’s going on inside of us. Everything is a mirror.

My dog Kona has shown me so much the past few weeks. His issues have given me a lot to think about in my life.

I also found out how deep my love for him was. I’ve always known it was incredibly huge. But when I thought the end could be near, my sadness was overwhelming.

I didn’t know my heart was so big.

I invite you to look at the events in your life that seem random. Are they really? What can you discover or learn?

It’s your life. It matters.

Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me, coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I'd love to  hear from you.

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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

 

Choosing the beaten path

My husband, our two furry friends and I, love to hike. When we lived in Alaska, hiking often meant we wouldn’t pass another soul while we were out. We loved that! That doesn’t happen so much here in the lower 48.

20140720_125418_resized

Over the weekend we decided to go hike one of the endless trails here. We chose a popular one. There were a ton of cars in the parking area at the trailhead. I have to admit, we weren’t really all that excited about sharing the trail with a bazillion other people.

But for some reason we didn’t come across that many while we were out.

No only that, the longer we hiked on this well worn trail, the more awesome the landscape became. Mt. Bachelor was to our left and Broken Top was straight ahead, front and center. It was, as my husband likes to say,

“spectacular”.

And we never would have seen all that spectacular-ness (made up word J) had we not chosen the beaten path that day.

While they say the road less traveled is where life happens, I’d say the well-traveled road has its perks too. It’s well traveled for a reason.

Have you got a story about taking the road more or less traveled? Please. Share it with us.

Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me, coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

I love hearing from you.

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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

When you get lost

I was out on a mountain bike ride last weekend. I knew where I was going, had a map, and headed out. I passed several trail signs which confirmed I was going the right direction. After a while, I didn’t see those trail signs anymore. I knew I had somehow gotten off the path. Again! Dang!

I am notorious for starting out with a plan, losing my way, then getting lost and having it now work out.

Life is SO like this.

winding-path

How often do you find yourself somewhere you didn’t expect or want to be?

Does that mean your goal was wrong?

Sometimes we start on a path we think is the right one for us, then it takes us somewhere unexpected and we wonder if we were actually on the right path at all to begin with.

You’ll know it’s right because you’ll “feel” it. What?

The paths that are true and right for us are felt in a special place in our bodies.

I’m not talking about “that” special place. ;) Hear me out.

Some of us feel it at a gut level, some in our hearts, some in a place that can’t really be put into words. For some it’s a “knowing”, for others it a sense of rightness, or lightness, or peace.

Our paths are rarely just straight, from point A to point B.

We are never truly lost. We’re just where we are on our own path.

Occasionally, the path we’re on starts off feeling great but then something happens and it’s not so great anymore. Some paths end at that point. And that’s okay. Maybe you were only supposed to be with that person, that job, or in that city for a certain amount of time and then it was time to make a change.

How do you know when it’s time to change the path you’re on?

When continuing the direction you’re headed in doesn’t feel right in your body anymore. There’s tension, and yuck, and no way out….

The change could take the form of a slight shift, or it could be you need to move in a completely different direction.

No wrong answer. It’s your path.

By the way, I found my way back to the correct trail. I got out my map which told me nothing about where I was or needed to go. I just stopped for a few moments and listened to where my body thought I should go.

Worked like a charm.

Tell me your thoughts. Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me directly, coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

I love hearing from you.

~ Susan Get Outside and Nurture Your Life