Shift in perspective

You really don't have time

It is becoming more clear to me all the time that we really don’t have time. You don’t have time to not do what’s most important, most fulfilling, and most affirming for your life. Look at all of the famous artists who have died in the first six weeks of 2016.

Several months ago, an REI co-worker and avid bike rider to everywhere, took a turn at a round-about too fast and crashed. He crushed vertebrae in his cervical spine leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. He made the conscious choice not to continue his life and was taken off life support. His normal functioning life vanished in an instant and he was gone within 2 days. I hardly knew him but his death affected me for weeks. I wasn’t quite sure why but time shifted for me.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

And earlier this month I found out that a life coach I’d worked with briefly in the past had chosen to enter hospice care after a 3 1/2 year battle with ovarian cancer. She gave a powerful talk at a conference of her friend, the writer, Patti Digh. It was shared on her Facebook page and I thought I’d share it with you. The link is here. Her name is Laurie Foley.

I’ve followed her progress on Facebook for those 3 1/2 years. No matter what she was feeling or going through on the inside she always came across with such grace and wisdom. She is a writer and able to convey her message so eloquently.

She had gone through various rounds of chemotherapy and I believe was in remission for a while. Unfortunately, her cancer came back with a vengeance, and incredibly quickly over the past few months. I think she realized it was going to take her life no matter what, but she is choosing how she wants the end of her life to be. Surrounding herself with the people she loves in an incredibly supportive hospice environment where she can be as comfortable as possible for her transition.

The outpouring of love for her on my Facebook feed is beyond beautiful. The lives she has touched with her work, her presence, and her willingness to be vulnerable and authentic with everyone in her life, honestly, has blown me away. This world will soon be losing a very bright soul.

One of her gifts to me is the reminder that I don’t have time. As Brene Brown has been quoted, “Midlife-When the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you “I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given.”

Do you think my co-worker had an idea the day before he crashed he would be gone in 48 hours? Do you think my coach friend Laurie had an idea that within 3 1/2 years of being diagnosed with cancer she’d be preparing to transition to the other side?

What are you doing right now? Are you present to it-completely present? Are you living your life your way?

I’m not kidding. You might think you’ve got the time. And you might. But then again, you might not.

Here is that link again.

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

Softening Around the Edges

We have lived in a masculine world for many centuries. It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when feminine energy was the stronger force on the planet. We live in a time where slowly, ever so slowly, the pendulum is shifting in a feminine direction. Masculine (yang) energy includes traits like drive, independence, aggression, directness, logic, arrogance, competitiveness, less emotion, reactivity, and confidence.

Feminine (yin) energy includes traits like empathy, expression, honesty, sensitivity, love, kindness, relaxing, and nurturing.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

We possess both feminine and masculine traits, regardless of gender, and most of us tend to be more of one than the other. Both parts need to be expressed to live a balanced life.

We don’t want the pendulum to swing too far towards the feminine because then we’ll be out of balance again. What I love about women taking a stand more and more for what they believe in and being heard is that their words and actions come from a place of clarity, caring, awareness, and mindfulness. They are not rushing in to make drastic quick changes that masculine energy would do. No, they are slowly, patiently pushing for the changes that will bring more unity, peace, and prosperity to a world that is desperately in need of all of the above.

I too was raised in a world, a family, that felt more masculine than feminine. I have spent (and continue to spend) time looking at ways I show up in my life for myself and other people. Am I balancing those two vital parts of myself? I think I still often lean towards the masculine. It has been ingrained in me from an early age. But as my own life experience has shown me time and time again, that masculine push and drive places me in a place of familiarity (my go to) because I’m so used to it, but at the same time it feels uncomfortable, like I’m trying to be someone I’m not. My husband and I have been working on an issue in our marriage. All relationships have issues (no?). But it wasn’t until I stepped back and noticed how masculine I was acting that I realized we weren’t going to get anywhere in moving toward the same direction together. I needed to soften around my edges and notice what feminine qualities of mine needed to come into play. Already there is a sense of relief and relaxation in allowing that part of me to just be there. I had to soften. My edges were too sharp, cutting, and painful. I think for both he and I.

Are you more yin or yang? What qualities do you need to bring in and which ones do you need to decrease?

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

What I learned backpacking for 10 days

If you read my post from two weeks ago you know I recently backpacked for 10 days here in Central Oregon. If you missed it and want to catch it, here it is. I’m still reflecting on my time spent on the trail both alone and with my friend. In some ways it seems surreal that I was even out there. I came home and jumped back into normal everyday life.

I thought I’d share the things that did pop up for me while I was out there. Some of it may even be practical for every day non-backpacking life.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life coach, Bend, OR

1- Training makes all the difference- I did prepare my body for about 6 weeks before the trip. I slowly worked up to 14 miles with a 28 pound-plus pack on my back. My body felt great the whole time, unless you count the end of some days when I was just tired in general. Overall, I was physically ready. I’m sure I could have done it without the training but I’m not sure how my body would have liked it. Take Home- If you prepare, you an do almost anything.

2- Saving cell phone battery- While I was out there, I sometimes had cell service and sometimes didn’t. And I never knew when I would or wouldn’t. The most helpful thing was to put my phone on airplane mode when I didn’t need it. That saved my battery, which made my phone last waaaaaay longer. So much easier to take pictures when you have battery. Take Home- Do you really need to be available 24-7? You can turn off that phone anytime and messages can come through when you’re ready for them.

3-I learned to read maps better- If you read a few posts ago, you know how stellar I am at reading maps. NOT. The map has all sorts of trails, creeks, and lakes, but it also has little topographic lines that when closer together mean it’s going to be steep. It took me quite a while to understand how that all worked. I will say most of the time I didn’t look at that part because I didn’t want to know if I had a hard climb coming up ahead of me. Better for my brain to not know ahead of time. Take Home- Find out what you need to know, let the rest be a fun mystery.

4- Having more than one source of place is really helpful- I did have a real honest-to-goodness paper map, but I also had an app on my phone that had GPS and could show me where I actually was on the map in real time. I could keep my phone on airplane mode then take it off to briefly check where I was before turning it back on again. That saved me a couple of times. I would think I was one place and found out I was either behind where I thought I was or ahead. It gave me comfort to know I hadn’t missed a trail junction or that I was almost upon one. Take Home- It’s not often we are ever totally lost and don’t know where we are. But there’s nothing wrong with stopping to find out if you think you might be. The peace of mind you gain is worth it.

5- Food as fuel gained a whole new meaning- In this country we have access to refrigerators and cabinets filled with food (as well a grocery stores down the road) anytime we want. I had to carry all my food with me. Trying to figure out exactly how much you need is quite a task. The practice backpacking helped but after several days out there I noticed a general increase in my overall hunger. I really did need to eat something every couple of hours to keep up my energy. There is no way to really configure how many calories you’re burning hiking uphill with 30 pounds on your back. You just know you are burning a lot. My friend started calling my droopy drawers on the trail because I’d lost a little weight and I kept having to pull up my hiking pants. I was most definitely eating to live and not the other way around. I finished with two small snack bags of food left. I did have enough and I wasn’t hungry at the end, but what was leftover wasn’t much. Take Home- We all know that we eat more than we really need. We have a lot of wonderful and amazing food that is both healthy and not so healthy. Eating only when you’re body is truly hungry (not when your mind thinks it’s hungry) is a huge shift.

6- It’s okay to bring more toilet paper- Let’s just say I used my last square of toilet paper on my very last day. It’s incredibly lightweight and one of those items that if you have some left over at the end, it’s not a problem in the least. Take Home- I think you get it. ;)

7- Deodorant is completely under-rated- I’ve gone for a short time without deodorant. Like maybe just over 24 hours. It’s extra weight to carry. Not a lot, but still, those not a lots add up. But here’s the thing. When after a certain amount of time you can’t stand your own body odor (even if you’re alone) that’s a sign. I went 6 days without using deodorant. That was 5 days too many. I would never have realized this if I hadn’t experienced it. Now I know. Honestly, I don’t know what people did before deodorant. I’m convinced that if deodorant hadn’t been invented, the population of the world today would be about 20 people tops. Good God, I wouldn’t have pro-created with myself much less someone else. Take Home- Thank GOD someone invented deodorant.

8- Some needs are needs and some wants are needs- Every backpacker will tell you there are some things you just need. Like rain gear, a water filter, dry socks. And then there are the things that you’ve found you don’t really truly NEED but want them bad enough (like deodorant for me). You know that a want is a need when you are willing to carry the weight of it on your back. I took a little journal. I didn’t write all that much but it was worth having it for when I did write. Take Home- We all know shelter, food, water, and oxygen are basic needs. But we each have certain needs that are very personal and help make our lives that much better. Make sure you surround yourself with those things.

9- Flexibility is super important- I was supposed to hike 101 miles with my friend on the AT. I had it in my head that when I headed out to hike here I needed to do that number. And I was already in the low 60’s by the time day 6 finished. But then something happened. I realized that my goal of getting those miles in was trumping my goal of enjoying my backpacking trip. Plus, a lot of those miles were miles that needed to be hiked in the upward direction. Let me tell you that a 6 mile uphill day can be WAY harder than an 11 mile flatfish day. Plus I started to get a little more fatigued. Which is why I did my best to not pack in the miles at the end.                      Take Home- There’s that saying that the only constant is change. And it’s not only unexpected change that comes along. You can be the one to make the change anytime. And not feel bad about it.

10- I gained tremendous confidence- When my plans abruptly changed and I was not going to be hiking with my friend who had our entire trip mapped out because of her past experience, I was put in the driver seat of my own experience. I was the one who had to decide where to go. I was the one who had to decide how many miles to hike on a given day. I was the one making all those decisions for a new, quickly created adventure. For some reason I never wavered. I just knew I was going to do it and that was that. For whatever reason fear didn’t even enter the picture. Doubt never entered the picture either. I just knew I could do it. Maybe because all that preparation and planning got me to that mental space. Take Home- It’s truly amazing what you can do when you put your mind to something. I look back on my life and realize I have done A LOT. I bet you have too. Who knows what I’ll do next with my increased confidence. That remains to be seen.

What do I know to be true right now?

When they say, “there is nothing to fear but fear itself”, it’s dead on. We (our minds specifically) are the only thing that stops us.

So if you want to go try something new and different, why not I say?

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

A different kind of adventure

There’s that Woody Allen quote that goes “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans”. And yes, I did have plans. Pretty big ones. Like to hike 100 miles of the AT with my good friend. And then I got a call. Less than 24 hours before my flight left, my friend called to say she had flown to be with her father as he was at the end of his life. And boom, just like that, all those plans vanished.

I of course completely understood and supported her in being with him. The timing of it was really quite wonderful. At least we weren’t in the middle of the trail when the call came. THAT would have been much worse.

But of course I was in shock and denial for a bit. All that planning and preparation, all those hours and miles hiking with a pack, ALL that backpacking food I had organized. I was deeply sad for my friend and deeply disappointed about the loss of our trip. I liken it to training for a marathon. You’ve spent so much time getting ready for the big day, then the morning of, you wake up with the stomach flu, vomiting out one end and diarrhea out the other. I sat with that disappointment for several hours. I felt it. Just like I tell my friends and clients. You have to feel what you’re going through. Not push it away. It must get it’s due.

But I had other options. My husband said, “the weather is supposed to be gorgeous here and we have a trillion trails you haven’t been on. You can still go”. Well of course I could.

So I spent the day I would have been flying back east coming up with a plan that would allow me to backpack for 10 days, with stops at my car to resupply as needed, and taking one night at home to shower and sleep in my bed.

And that’s what I did. I spent two nights out on my own, then a fabulous friend joined me. We had amazing weather with only a couple of chilly nights where hats and gloves were needed. We hiked on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) as well as several trails that would weave in and out of it. We stayed at a different lake every night. We had amazing views of lava, and glaciers, and rainforest, and burnt forest, creeks and waterfalls, and bouts of strong wind. We saw some very cool frogs and interesting mushrooms and fungi. We only had to hike a short distance and the terrain would constantly change.

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

Other than a few sprinkles one day we never had rain. And as luck would have it, the one night we got off the trail it rained hard in the mountains with snow falling at the higher elevations. We missed the experience of being soggy.

When you’re out there you have a limited focus. Getting from point A to point B, making sure you eat enough food, finding water to filter and drink, and not getting lost. You don’t think about the war on terror, the drought, or whose running for president. It’s you, the trail, and everything you have on your back.

I could have easily scrubbed the whole thing and decided not to do anything, but that just didn’t seem like a good option. I would have let myself down. Instead I thought about my friend every day. I tried to honor the time we would have spent together.

In the end, I was laughing. Those initial plans got thwarted but I came up with plan B.

What do I know to be true right now?

Not all of our plans work out the way we’d like. That doesn’t mean there’s a problem. In fact I think the universe orchestrates everything beautifully and perfectly, even if we can’t see it or understand why. My friend needed to be with her dad and I needed to be here. I don’t know why and it doesn’t even matter.

We’re making a plan to hike the AT in the spring. Let’s see if the universe allows that one to go through. ;)

Next week I’ll share what I learned backpacking for 10 days. Maybe some of the things that surprised me will surprise you too.

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

What is True for You Right Now?

I’ve not written to you for two months now. Part of me doesn’t want to continue writing because I have SO SO SO enjoyed the increased free time and not having the self-made commitment of writing weekly. And then there’s this other part of me that really wants to return to writing again. There’s actually a deeper part of me that does yearn to be “a writer”, and I have missed it. Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

I do struggle with where to take the Nurture Your Life Newsletter next. Maybe (hopefully) me sharing my own journey in this wild ride of a life we all live will inspire or help you on your own.

I’ve always loved Oprah’s ending to her magazine each month where she writes “What I Know for Sure”. It’s the place I feel she gets the most real in her magazine about life. There’s depth there.

I think I’ll add an end to this newsletter called, “What I Know to be True Right Now”. Because you can only really ever know what you know right now in this moment. Every choice you’ve made and everything thing that has happened to you up to this point informs who you are now and how you view life. And as life continues on and you gain even greater wisdom because you live your life with awareness and presence (which of course you do because you wouldn’t be reading this type of newsletter if you weren’t), what is true for you might change.

So I’m going to ramble a bit since it feels so right. I’ve been part of the self-help community for a looooooooong time. If you’ve read this newsletter for any length of time, you know personal growth is one of the top priorities in my life. I really do enjoy learning and growing and becoming a newer version of myself all the time.

Which is why taking two months away from goal attaining/striving/trying to get to the next thing has been HUGE for me. Never in my life have I stopped working towards a goal. Never. Always a degree to earn, always a job to get better at, always a business to build, always something.

So for me to spend two entire months not working toward something would have seemed like total failure in the past. Who I am if I’m not doing something that someone (who that might be I’m not sure) might think was worthwhile and not wasting my time?

I met that someone in person and she happened to be my very own mind. My own inner Creuella-De-Vil, who told me that just focusing on realigning my body through Physical Therapy, working my job at REI, and enjoying what happened to show up in my life was NOT ENOUGH. I told her to sit down and shut up. I told her I had had enough of her. That life was meant to be enjoyed and not everything I did had to be about attaining some goal and proving my worth to myself. That was the key. It wasn’t about proving my worth to others, but proving it to myself. Really BIG pondering thought there.

It wasn’t until I stepped away did I see how hard I’ve been working. Mostly mentally. Trying to get somewhere with something. I wish I could describe to you the freedom I’ve felt by letting go of my own need to work toward a goal all the time. There are just no words for the peaceful relaxed, open, contented, and restful place I’m in.

Do I wished I’d stepped into this space of letting go of Cruella a bit earlier. No, not really. You see I wouldn’t have been ready four years ago, not even four months ago to do it. Because that isn’t where I was on my personal growth journey.

I often hear you’re never ready for changes in your life but I actually have found that hasn’t been the case for me at all. I’ve made changes when I decided because I was ready. There’s something to be said about stepping up and shifting your life when you just KNOW it’s time. And I know for me that when I want to shift something, I do it. And there’s no fear involved. I hear from many self-help gurus that in order for something to be worthwhile to change there has to be fear. And I think that isn’t true for everyone or all the time. Fear doesn’t have to be part of the equation at all.

So I still don’t know where I’m headed with the Nurture Your Life Newsletter. I do know I don’t plan to write it weekly like I’ve done in the past. Let’s just say I’ll write once a month for sure, and if I’m feeling inspired, I’ll write more often. You’ll just have to check your email every Saturday to see if I’m there or not.

So what do I know to be true right now?

That no one can really tell you how to find what is true for you. Yes, you might read something in self-help that fits, or follow a part of a path someone else has taken, but if something is really true for you right now you will have a deep knowing and sense of peace about it. No question. Of course that’s how I know for me, it might be different for you. That’s for you to discover. If you really want to know (and you don't know now) you keep searching. That’s what I’ve done.

And when they (the spiritual self-help gurus) say, the answers really are inside of you, they really, truly, deeply are.

Until next time…keep searching.

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

 

Are you average like me?

Every Monday I get an email in my inbox with Your Weekly Powerful Question. It’s a question to ponder for your life. I LOVE to ponder. A few weeks back the question that came asked, “Would I be alright being ‘average’ for the rest of my life?” Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

I sat with that one. I’m still sitting with it.

You see, I’ve always wanted to be more than average “at something”. I wanted to be awesome at “something”. Known for “something”. For me it would mean my life mattered. People were helped by my contribution. But so far, I’m not there.

My step-dad knew at the age of 7 he wanted to be a doctor. Everything in his life was tailored towards that. All of his studies in high school, college, then of course medical school. And he was damn good at it.

I’ve always wanted something like that for me. If I could be known for something, be really good at it, then I wouldn’t be average. Because average is, you know, just so average.

No sparkle. No glitter. Kinda lame.

As I really pondered the question I realized how much expectation was around it. From myself, from (perceived) others. In our culture, it’s the people who are experts at something, do great things, or do something no one else has ever done, that are revered, really put on a pedestal. Not average.

How would I even know if I was average or not? Who is the decider of that question?

Being more than average feels like a push, a strain, something to strive and work for. Which if you’re really motivated and full of passion and desire, that’s awesome. But if you aren’t, it feels icky. It’s that feeling that comes with the thought that you aren’t doing enough. And of course that totally translates into the thought, you aren’t enough.

So what I’ve come to in answering this question is that I would be more than alright being average for the rest of my life.

There is so much I love about my life.

I’m grateful for what I have.

I’m average.

And I’m more than enough.

Here's the irony. I work part-time at REI and just received the employee-of-the-month award. If that isn't a universal wink about my average-ness I don't know what is.

Would you be alright being average for the rest of your life? 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.

susan small sig 05:14

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

You don't need a reason

I have a personal story to share. You may judge me for it (or not). That’s okay. What happened was so interesting to me that I thought it was worth letting you in on it. I work part-time at our local REI store. A co-worker asked if I would switch a shift with her because she was having child care issues. This came at a time when I was really tired. She wanted me to work the late shift. It’s a hard one and I was already just pooped. I honored where I was in that moment and told her no I couldn’t.

The next time I saw her when we were both working, I asked if she was able to get her shift switched and she said no. Then she added, “everyone had a reason they couldn’t work”. I didn’t give her a reason, I just said no.

Let me tell you about the guilt that washed over me in that moment. All sorts of thoughts came up. She has a child; I should have helped her out. I’m selfish. Motherhood is the hardest job in the world. Oh the karma gods are going to come back at me for this one.

I actually stopped and asked the universe in my mind if that was what was going to happen to me.

Then…

Not two minutes later, a woman approached me and asked if my name was Susan. She proceeded to tell me that I sold her a pair of shoes a few weeks back and she thanked me for selling her the most wonderful comfortable shoes she’d ever worn. She sought me out in the store to come and tell me that.

Right then I knew the universe had responded to my question about karma. Not switching my work shift with my coworker was not going to send bad juju my way.

I had truly honored where I was in that moment and how I was feeling when I said no. What I needed was to work when I was scheduled for that day and rest later.

We can’t be all things to all people all the time. We have to honor our own truth. I did.

It doesn’t mean I won’t help her out in the future. She’s a fantastic woman. We’ve traded shifts before.

I didn’t need a reason to say no.

No matter what my reason I didn’t need to share it with her.

You don’t need a reason either.

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.

susan small sig 05:14

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Worrying is Optional

I always find it so fascinating the memories we have from childhood that occasionally pop up like they just happened the other day. Back when I was around 7, my parents and I, as well as our next-door neighbors, a fun older couple (50’s is older when your 7), planned to go out on our boat into the Gulf of Mexico for a few hours one weekend afternoon. I loved to go out on the boat to feel the warm sun and watch the dolphins play in the wake.

We got everything loaded up, pulled into the marina with the boat launch, put the boat in the water, and got in all ready to go for our adventure. Except the starter did not turn the engine over. The battery was dead.

My parents took off to go find another battery and I remember talking to my neighbors being concerned about how long my parents were gone, what had happened to the boat, how we weren’t going to get out and enjoy the water, blah, blah, blah.

The wife said to me, wow, you are a worry wart. That really struck me at the tender age of 7. Me, a worry wart? No way! I mean, who worries at 7?

Susan Grace Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR

I guess I did.

Of course, my parents came back with the new battery; we hopped in the boat, and continued with our day on the water.

As a child, I truly had nothing to be worried about, but as adults, holy moly, do we have things to worry about. Mortgages, world hunger, terrorism, getting to work on time, saving enough money for retirement, the list is endless.

Yes, those are all parts of modern life right now, but you know what? Worrying about any of it is completely optional. I would even say it is completely unneeded, unwanted, and unhealthy.

The feeling of worry comes from a thought that says something along the lines of I’m not safe, the future is scary, or something bad is going to happen. Worry is future-oriented. It takes us completely out of the present. We don’t worry about what is happening right this moment. When something is happening right now we are busy dealing with that, not worrying about it.

Worry puts you in an internal state of stress. You do that to yourself. You can take worry off the table anytime you’d like.

How?

You plan for the future, not worry about it. You make a plan to pay your mortgage, you plan to deal with terrorism, you plan to get to work on time, you plan to save money for retirement.

Our media is full of fear-based stories. They perpetuate worry.

How interesting that I don’t listen or pay much attention to the media and I live a peaceful life with very little worry.

Worry is optional and your choice.

So tell me, is there something you can drop your worry about today?

Give it a try and make a plan instead.

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.

susan small sig 05:14

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Letting Go of Past Regrets without Guilt

A newsletter reader chimed in last week after reading my post about regrets. It focused on moving forward in your life and making decisions without regret. If you missed it, you can catch Regrets here. But she wanted to know how to let go of regrets from the past and not feel guilty. Good one!

Let’s dive in.

Think about a choice you made in your past that you regret making. Even to this day it might still sting. Possibly a lot! You made a choice in that moment, and it turned out horribly. Then you have to live with that outcome. And the outcome came about because of you. Guilt comes in. I did something wrong. I made a mistake. Regret. Something didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped it would and/or I shouldn’t have done that.

Letting go of past regrets without guilt-Susan Grace Carroll-Life Coach-Bend, OR

Enter compassion.

Compassion for yourself from yourself.

This is where you get still and quiet, and think about your action(s) from a place of kindness for a small child.

I believe that when we make choices in our lives, we make them from the best information we have at that time. From whatever we feel intuitively at that time. From the wisest part of ourselves, at that time.

Think about who you are today. Would the you today still make the same decision you did in the past? My guess is probably not. You know more now, you are wiser now. If you had known what you know now then you might have made a different choice. Maybe.

But I also believe that you would not be who you are today without having made the choice you made back then. Every choice we make, and experience the results of, helps us grow into who we are. What have you learned about yourself by making the choices you did in the past? How has it informed your wiser self today?

When you look at your past choices through the lens of compassion, growth, and learning, regret has no foothold really. Because you wouldn’t be who you are right now if you hadn’t made that choice back then. It’s all part of your journey. Plus, there is no way to know what the outcome would have been in the past and who you’d be today had you chosen differently. Your mind might tell you that you would know, but you really can’t know.

I don’t believe in mistakes. We make choices, then see the result. From that result, we make more choices, and so on.

Guilt is optional. So is regret.

You are who you are not in spite of the choices you made, but because of them. And that is something to own and embrace.

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

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Be thoughtful with your time

A woman walked by me in the parking lot of our local shopping mall and I overheard her say on her cell phone, “there just isn’t any down time.” A participant in the yoga class I was in was talking with the instructor after class saying, ”I can’t wait for the holidays to be over”. As a life coach I so wanted to pull them aside, teach them some awesome coaching tools, and say, “it doesn’t have to be this way. You get to choose where you place your time.”

Case in point. Just this week I was working on my to do list. I happened to be out walking my dog and thinking about certain things I wanted to have done in a specific amount of time. My poor brain was spinning, my chest got tight, my breathing became more shallow, and I felt overwhelmed. I’m guessing the two women I mentioned above felt some form of overwhelm too. woman-looking-at-watch

Here’s what I did to help. And it is exactly what I would teach any of my coaching clients, as well as both of those women.

First, I stopped and recognized that I WAS feeling overwhelmed. You’ve got to know what’s going on with you in that moment if you want to shift it.

Second, I asked myself what was I thinking about right before I started feeling overwhelmed. I realized I was thinking about all the things I wanted to get done in a certain time frame. AND that it seemed like way too much to squish into that time period. When I thought I had to get all those things done, the feeling of stress and overwhelm arrived. Bingo. And for me, it wasn’t that there wasn’t enough time. It was that I was trying to do too much for the time I had.

Third, I created the shift. The important question I asked myself was, what can I drop from my to do list that would help me feel more free and relaxed, and enable me to get things done without trying to beat the clock? I found three things on that list of mine that if I dropped them, for now, would make my life feel SO much more relaxed, unrushed, and without overwhelm. So I promptly dropped them. To be done later.

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhh….

My brain stopped swirling, my chest opened up, and my shoulders relaxed. Now we’re talking.

Believe it or not, even during this Holiday time of year, not everything on your to do list has to get done. I challenge you, if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed about all you think you need to do, to ask yourself, what can I drop? Maybe it isn’t permanent, but for now, for today.

So be thoughtful with your time. I promise, it can make all the difference.

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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When trying something new feels scary

Why does trying something new feel scary sometimes? Because your brain can’t distinguish between a real threat to your safety or a perceived one. There’s a part of your brain whose sole job is to keep you safe, to keep you alive. If it believes you are being threatened, it will pull out all the stops to keep you from harm. And what form do those stops take?  scary face of woman Your thoughts.

Here’s my personal example.

I’ve always said I enjoy coaching so much I’d do it for free. I’m not coaching as many clients as I’d like to be coaching right now, so I had this grand idea I’d offer subscribers to my Nurture Your Life Newsletter a free coaching session. What better way to introduce them to the experience, right? I get to do what I love and they get the benefit of life coaching. Total Win-Win!

And then…

That lizardy part of my brain crept in and here’s what she said. ”No one will sign up, even if it’s free…People won’t get the benefit…You’ll be wasting your time and energy…D-U-M-B idea”.

And guess how I felt after that rant?

Deflated.

And guess what I did when I felt deflated?

Nothing. No action towards offering free coaching to anyone.

See how that works?

Thoughts about circumstances in our lives create feelings, which create action (or none), which create my results, which ended up being me not offering those free coaching sessions.

Let’s recap. My brain felt threatened by me offering free coaching and threw up a bunch of blocks in the form of negative thoughts. Our brains are wired to keep us safe. That’s great if you’re about to get in a traffic accident, but the threat of people not understanding coaching is hardly life threatening. Again, our brains don’t know the difference.

So what do you do? Especially when your brain throws stuff like this at you. Which it does all day long.

You first recognize that you aren’t your brain, or your thoughts. You can observe when you have them. You can’t possibly observe them and be them at the same time.

Then you choose what you want to think on purpose.

Back to my example.

I changed my thought to “I’m going to experiment with this just to see what happens”. This thought caused me to feel excited, hopeful, and that it could be fun. With these feelings I picked a time that I could coach for my schedule and started writing up a blurb about it to send to my Nurture Your Life Newsletter followers.

I took action towards my goal rather than doing nothing.

I have no idea how it’s going to turn out and that’s okay. I can’t ever know how anything will turn out. The important piece is that I told my brain what to think, I felt better, and took steps towards what I wanted just by changing that one thought.

Your turn.

What’s something new you’d like to try but are afraid to?

What thought(s) are you thinking?

How do those thoughts make you feel?

What action or non-action are you taking because of those feelings?

What results are you getting?

Don’t like those results?

Awesome!

What thought can you think that would make you feel good enough to take action toward the result you want?

Perfect. Now go think it.

It is that easy. It does take practice. You have to take the time to notice what you’re thinking and feeling, but it’s worth it.

Do you want some free life coaching?

Sign up for the Nurture Your Life Newsletter below my picture near the top of the left sidebar and that option can be yours 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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When you don't get what you want

We all have goals, dreams, wants, or desires. And we take steps toward what we want thinking we’re headed in the right direction. You thought the new relationship was “it”, the different job would be a better fit, or something you bought would solve your problems…

And it didn’t work. You didn’t get what you wanted. Roadblock.  pouting

Shit!

Shit!

And one more shit for good measure.

It’s SO frustrating isn’t it?

Especially when you’ve put time, energy, and/or money into it.

There are no mistakes. I really believe this.

If you weren’t supposed to have the experience you had or are having… you wouldn’t be having it. You’d be having a different one. Follow me?

So since you’re having it, really the most helpful thing you can do is decide how you want to react to the fact that you aren’t getting what you want.

Roadblocks suck, but I’ve come to realize they serve a bigger purpose than just the frustration they cause.

It’s your opportunity to ask, why is this roadblock here?

I often think of that little thing called universal intervention. Maybe whatever you’re wanting is not in your best interest at this moment. Now isn’t the time. Or that other person, the job, or the thing you spent money on just wasn’t the right fit. That usually means there’s a better fit somewhere. You may not know where at the moment but if your dream really matters you’ll keep looking. And eventually you’ll find what you need. Whether that comes from something else, someone else, or within you.

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

What your brain does with uncertainty

I am (for the most part) totally fine with uncertainty. Yea I plan for the future, but know that things won’t always work out that way I visualized them in my head and I’m okay with that. I can’t possibly know what’s going to happen tomorrow. No one can. IMG_0729

But uncertainty hit me at the beginning of the week and scared the bejeebies out of me. My lab/husky mix dog child Kona, who is one active, healthy, 12 year old, woke up Monday morning and couldn’t walk very well. His hind legs were stiff and straight, his back arched, and he seemed to be in pain.

I immediately knew something was very wrong with my normally full of energy happy kid. I stayed home all day to monitor him and made an appointment with the vet.

Then my brain proceeded to freak the hell out. It said things like OMG!...What’s wrong with him?... This is the beginning of the end… What if he has cancer… I’m not ready for this… You get the picture. Not pretty! Or comforting.

And unfortunately, that’s what our brains do. Tell a story and freak out about a made up future that isn’t even here yet.

Absolutely NOT helpful.

So I pulled out some coaching tools to use on myself.

The first one was to sit outside on my deck surrounded by trees, green grass, and singing birds. I closed my eyes, breathed in, and breathed out.

Then I looked at the situation. I had only two facts in front of me. 1- my dog wasn’t walking right and 2- he was in pain. That’s it. TWO facts. Everything else was just an anxious story my mind spun about what those two facts might mean.

I also noticed and observed the crazy thoughts I had about the gloom and doom of what the future “might” hold. When I did that I became anxious and scared. And then I cried. I let those suckers flow.

Then after crying I’d come back to the present moment with my two facts. And just focusing on those two facts was so much more doable. He’s not walking right, he’s in pain. I’d already made a vet appointment, so help would be coming. I lay with him on the floor petting him and watched him sleep. Interestingly enough, if you are sleeping you don’t know you’re in pain and your back legs work great. Especially because I watched him running in his dream.

That was the key for me. To stay present with the facts. Yes, I was sad that something was off for him, but staying just in the moment, one moment at a time, made it so much less stressful and anxiety provoking.

I’m not going to lie to you. My brain toggled back and forth between staying here and jumping into a scary future. But at least I know I had control over it. I chose whether or not I worried.

You can do it too. Notice something you are worried about for the future. Notice the thoughts you have around it and how you feel. Now notice what the actual facts are in the situation now. Notice the difference between the two.

We made it to the vet and my Kona had a herniated disc in his back pressing on a nerve affecting his legs. He got an injection plus great meds and he is SO much better. My boy’s spunk is back. I am beyond grateful for amazing veterinary medical technology.

And for coaching tools to help me stay here and now. Because that’s where life happens. Not tomorrow or 6 years from then. In each little moment. Now. I can handle life if it’s broken down like that.

I bet you can 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.

I love hearing from you.

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Get Outside and Nurture Your Life