Hello everyone. I am happy to announce that Unleashing Your Potential is moving. This blog has served me well over the last few years and I am really looking forward to a new blog, which is more in line with my new vision for my coaching and personal practice.
I do hope you have found this blog valuable and will consider following my new blog.
Again, thank you for being a part of this past chapter of my life. Let’s keep in touch.
Posted in Inspiration | Leave a Comment »
If you had asked me back in October if I would meditate for 19 hours in February I would have responded that I mostly don’t have the time. There are two parts to this though. The first, of course, is the actual amount of time, which I would have told you I didn’t have based on how full my schedule is between Monday and Friday. The the other part of it though, is that I couldn’t sit for longer than five minutes without my mind getting lost in its own thoughts, it was mildly frustrating.
If you have read my last couple of entries you will know that I started meditating again back in November 2014. I would meditate for five minutes or so, making my way up slowly to ten minutes, or I would just sit for whatever time I had. Then, last month, I started the 2015 Winter Feast, a daily fourty minute meditation which continues for fourty days. I split the fourty minutes into two twenty minute sessions, usually one in the morning and one in the late afternoon or evening.
By the first week of February I had stopped paying attention to how many days into the Winter Feast I was and simply made it a daily practice to meditate for the fourty minutes. Somewhere in February I noticed that when I had not meditated in the morning that instead of the self induced pressure to meet the daily quota of meditation, it was as though I was missing something. I would not say that my day was better when I meditated in the morning, it is not that kind of missing, which is common for people who find peace in the practice of meditating but not in the rest of their lives. I began to realise that the missing was from a new habit that has been established.
Back in October I would have said that there is no way that I would have a fourty minute chunk of time to dedicate to sitting in silence. Now, I have no problem letting go of whatever used to be in that fourty minute space. There are a few times in a week that I actually will do the entire fourty minutes in one sitting. I have even done the fourty minutes in the morning three times over the last week, which has only meant getting up ten minutes earlier. Based on my past, I would have said that a fourty minute meditation in the morning is simply not ‘time’ possible.
The primary take away from this whole process is how a new habit can literally be built within a framework that does not have the appearance to support it. I did not have a plan or even a goal to be able to do this. It was not my intention back in November to be sitting for fourty minutes in the morning. It almost just happened. Another part of this support was joining a larger commitment, in this case the 2015 Winter Feast. Committing to the daily total of fourty minutes, and yet allowing myself to break it up however I was able to, really supported where I am now.
What new habit would support you? What very small, and yet daily, steps are you willing to take to create that new habit?
Posted in Meditation | Tagged 2015 Winter Feast, building a meditation practice, daily meditation | Leave a Comment »
I have passed twenty days of the forty-day 2015 Winter Feast. There are many interesting things surfacing from this daily meditation practice. One of them is noticing that when my meditation timer chimes, I am not ready to be finished. This has been my experience in the last couple of days. Prior to this I might sneak a peak at the timer, “wait it out”, or feel like it was wrapping itself up when I was close to the end. The last two days have been different. The last two days when the timer chimes, the meditation continues on past the timer’s ring and into the movement of folding my meditation mat and putting away my bench.
What I have experienced over the last couple of days inside of the meditation time is a tangible connection to the silence. I am not in the silence, but I am close enough to feel its presence. As the thoughts are happening I notice them and can simultaneously feel the silence in that space as well. So the three things are coexisting there; the thoughts, “me”, and the silence.
An analogy I came up with is a fire blazing under a clear winter night sky. The “I” I think I am is standing at the threshold between the two distinct spaces. I can feel the bitter winter cold (thoughts) and at the same time I feel the inviting heat of the fire (silence). I am right in this threshold, and the experience is so clear. The further I move toward the cold the less I feel the warmth of the fire and the closer I move to the fire the less I feel the cold.
This isn’t really the best analogy though because I can sense the silence in the thoughts as well as around them. It permeates all of it, which might also include me, but I haven’t noticed that yet. Maybe that is for tomorrow?
Posted in Meditation | Tagged 2015 Winter Feast, daily meditation, entering the silence, meditation | Leave a Comment »
I have been meditating regularly since November of last year. Although I have had periods of some kind of meditative practice off and on for twenty years, this particular one was born out of the call from silence. In the past there was some kind of purpose for meditating. In other words, I was trying to accomplish something. This time began more from a place of listening. In this case, the silence had been calling me since February (I’m a slow listener).
As with anything, when I first started meditating it was pretty easy. I was doing short stints, only 3 or 5 minutes, until there was a natural desire for more. I built up to twenty minute sessions and have pretty much stuck with that since December. What was easy about the beginning was that when thoughts came, I could distinguish them as thoughts and not identify with them, as you may already know it is the identification with the thoughts that causes all the trouble and not the thoughts themselves.
Recently things have become more challenging, as they do in the process of new things, which evidently will be followed by a breakthrough, a new level of being, a new level of comfort from which the new action or movement is then born from.
The thoughts lately have been super seductive. I don’t mean that in any kind of sexual sense. No, these thoughts are about writing, insights, revelations, or even ideas, and they are juicy. When one of these juicy ones ‘pops’ up, I find myself attaching to that thought, beginning a dialogue with it, often creating new ideas along the way, and within no time I am completely engulfed in the whole process of thinking again. Eventually I notice it and this is where the practice of dis-identifying with the thought happens. The tricky bit is that I really like this thought, and isn’t that the challenge of it all? It is not the thoughts we have no investment in that are difficult to let go of, it is the thoughts that align with our desires, heart, or purpose that are the challenging ones.
In the end, these thoughts have led to three blog posts and a whole host of other ideas so I certainly do not want to paint a picture of them as ‘evil’ in any way. The thoughts born of that quiet practice are useful once I enter the world again, and so I am grateful for them, even if while in the meditation practice their siren song sweetly seduces me away from the silence.
Posted in Meditation | Tagged dis-identification with thoughts, meditation, seductive thoughts, thinking | Leave a Comment »
I have just passed day 10 of the 2015 Winter Feast (a 40 day meditation practice). This morning I hummed and hawed about doing 40 consecutive minutes to see what it would be like (I have been splitting the 40 minutes into two 20 minute sessions). When it came time to set my timer I just felt like I was forcing it, as though I wanted to test myself – note egoic challenge. I decided that I would do my 20 minute session and then see what I was moved to do after that. After the 20 I pulled my little bench back and entered child pose letting my back and shoulders just relax. Then I did a couple of shoulder stretches and found that I was moved to do another 20 minute session. So I set my bench back up, started the timer, and sank into another session. I was tempted to do another 20 after this second one, but my left shoulder asked for a rest. I don’t know what this shoulder thing is about, but I can feel a blockage in there; one of the gifts of meditation I believe.
After these back to back sessions I feel like I’ve been in a jacuzzi tub for my mind. It’s very relaxed and quiet.
I was asked, yesterday, what all this meditation is doing for me – am I quieter, more peaceful, is my mind sharper? – and I had to answer no. It was a good question. In the past, when I have taken on a meditation practice, I’ve noticed all those above mentioned things, but it is different now. Now I ask, what feels peaceful, what is quieter, what needs to be sharpened? Are these not tools for my egoic structure? When I sink into my being there is nothing that needs peace because I am peace. There is nothing that needs quiet because I am quiet. My natural state of being, when I’m not trying to be something or someone else, is peace, is love.
One interesting point for me in sharing this is, “then see what I was moved to after that”. To act from what I am moved to do comes from a different place within me than an agenda driven act. So in the above example I had an agenda with my idea of meditating for 40 minutes. There was something I wanted to test or prove to myself. It is subtle, and certainly not a universal truth, but for me this is the action of my ego. One of the practices I have had since last summer is listening from a different place within me. The question shows up as, “What am I moved to do in this moment?”. I am then invited to access something deeper within me which then guides my actions.
Posted in Inspiration | Tagged 2015 Winter Feast, egoic living, listening from your ego, meditation challenge, meditation practice | Leave a Comment »
What nine months does for the embryo
Forty early mornings
Will do for your growing awareness
I am participating in the 2015 Winter Feast this year. It is a 40 day meditation support where every day for 40 minutes, either all at once or split up into segments, you engage in some type of meditative activity: meditation, prayer, journaling, yoga, qi gong, etc. I chose two 20 minute silent meditations for my engagement, although I am going to do longer sessions as the days go along.
On day one, session one, I had a sneezing attack, which was weird as I don’t sneeze often, and once finished decided to look at my timer, which I very rarely do. I had just under 2 minutes left. “Well, I may as well get up really, it’s only 2 minutes,” I found myself saying as my body began to rise. I caught myself in that moment and questioned what I was up to. Was I going to really allow myself to either add 2 minutes to my second session in the evening or even skip them altogether? I sat back down and finished.
On day two I was running late because I didn’t get out of bed when I normally do, as I figured out later, this is a form of self-sabotage, and what this created was only a 10 minute meditation in the morning. Before I left my meditation area I set my timer for 30 minutes so I would not forget later. That evening I realised my timer was set for 30 minutes and had a chuckle at my morning exuberance. After resetting my timer for 20 minutes I realised that I did need to do 30 to meet my 40 minute commitment for the day.
Day three was when I realised what had happened over the first two days. I began this Winter Feast as a support for my meditation and spiritual practices. I noticed how on both of those first two days I had found ways to usurp this structure and had shifted my relationship to it from being a support to being controlling, a lovely display of self-sabotage. There was this sense that my freedom was gone because I now had to meet these ‘requirements’ for the day. I had turned myself into an authority figure commanding these times be met (okay this sounds a little dramatic compared to what you read above, but it felt this way). I was fascinated by how sneaky my ego, or as we call it in coaching, my survival mechanism, is, and how it shifted this really helpful support structure into an oppressive system. Noticing this shift was, in this case, enough to get me back on track into my original context of seeing this as a support structure. I have completed day seven of this Feast. I am not saying this is easy, many things come to the surface in these quiet minutes, but it is easier to accomplish something when I feel supported instead of controlled, both being contexts which I create.
Where do you notice yourself creating contexts which do not support you? What context can you create to shift that? If you find yourself not knowing the answers please feel free to connect with me. I am here to support you.
Posted in Coaching, Inspiration | Tagged 2015 Winter Feast, 40 days, creating context, daily meditation, meditation, struggling with meditation, Winter Feast for the Soul | Leave a Comment »
Almost all my clients hire me to support them in changing the conditions, or circumstances, of their lives. They want ‘things’ to be different.
What they come to realise very quickly is that the conditions of their life, or the experiences they are having, are created by who they are being. What happens then is that as they address who or what they are being in their life, the conditions or experience shifts as well. So it begins with complaints about the physical world (spouse, children, work, money, etc), we journey into the essence of who they are, and when we return to their physical world, things are changing, or not. Sometimes the circumstances of their life do not change at all, and they no longer want their circumstances to change. In this case, who they were being was the origin and sole cause of their malcontent, not the circumstances themselves. Sometimes as they change who they are being they will want to create something different in their physical experience, the circumstances, something that is more aligned with the essence of their being.
The paradox is that what they thought they wanted, different circumstances, is not actually the area that we address in our sessions. And yet, those circumstances can shift even though we are working on who they are being.
The value for me in ontological coaching is being a participant observer as someone sinks into themselves to realise what they are in the world, and then to watch them bring that forward back into their life. As this realisation is released into the world, the world itself changes, and that, my friends, is the process for making the world a ‘better’ place.
Posted in Coaching | Tagged changing your circumstances, changing your life, essence, living from your essence, make the world a better place, ontological coaching, wanting things to be different | Leave a Comment »