Category Archives: Inspirational

Naturally Reflective: New Year’s Review and Reset

I am very happy to have today off!  Since it’s New Year’s Eve, a coworker asked me yesterday with a smirk if I was going to “party hard.”  The sarcasm stems from the fact that I am the only introvert in an office replete with extroverts.  It’s common knowledge at work that “partying hard” is clearly not in my wheelhouse.  In fact, I stopped trying to “fake it in order to make it” years ago.

I prefer to focus more on starting the New Year off on the right foot.  So, New Year’s Eve for me is a good time to reflect back over the last year.  I saw a great quote on Facebook the other day from the ageless and wise Mimi Kirk:

“2016- Life is like a garden, keep the things that worked last year and get rid of the things that didn’t.”

Oh how I love a good gardening analogy!  It seems like sage advice for non-diggers as well.  Removing clutter from our lives has become a popular theme in recent years, as the minimalist trend has gained momentum.  I applaud the idea of careful consumption and avoiding the accumulation of items that aren’t loved or needed.

What about habits and behaviors that don’t benefit us and keep us from living our dreams?  This is the question I will be pondering today.  New Year’s Eve is a good time to look back over the past year and see what worked and what didn’t.  I am going to follow Mimi’s advice to weed out what is not serving me.  I also want to recognize with gratitude what did and plan to cultivate those practices.

How are you spending New Year’s Eve?  Will you be spending time in reflection and gratitude?  Partying hard?  Little of both? Leave me a reply.  I would love to hear from you.

Happy New Year!  May 2016 be your best year ever, filled with love, happiness, prosperity, laughter and many beautiful blessings!

Many blessings,

Cynthia

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Naturally Purposeful: An Interview with Andrea Shields Nunez

Do you hate your job?  Do you feel like you are living your life with purpose?  Just thinking about these questions make your head and heart ache with frustration?  Maybe it is time to liberate your career with Andrea Shields Nunez!

Andrea Shields Nunez is a Career Liberation Coach from Los Angeles, CA, who works with people all over the United States. Andrea helps folks pinpoint what they are passionate about and develop a plan to move toward their goals.

You are a Career Liberation Coach.  Would you explain what that is and how your approach is different than other coaches?

Career liberation is all about freeing yourself of anything that feels out of alignment with who you are and what you want your life to be. Anyone in a job that doesn’t reflect their values; doesn’t allow them to fully express themselves; doesn’t provide them with the fulfillment and sense of meaning they desire, knows what this lack of alignment feels like and it’s not good!

I help people liberate themselves in a very real and practical sense because I come at it from the career perspective but the work I do with my clients is very deep and, of course, ends up touching all aspects of their lives. I think this is the differentiator—I’m not a traditional career coach whose focus is on resumes and interview skills. I’m all about holistic, life changing career transitions, specializing in people who want to do—or are already doing—something entrepreneurial.

You worked for many years as an Executive Recruiter. How did you transition into coaching?

I worked at a global executive search firm for many years and was unhappy for most of that time. When I started, I thought this was finally that career soulmate I had been looking for all my adult life—the place I would stay and build my career in a significant way. But I transferred offices early on and the growth opportunities just didn’t exist in the new office. It took me YEARS to realize and accept this.

When it became clear to me that if I wanted to do something I cared about, that made me feel whole and aligned, it was going to have to be something I created for myself. Well, that’s when things really clicked for me. I took a lot of classes; went to workshops; read a gajillion books and hired a coach.

It was at her suggestion that I start working with people in the career space. It was an area that I had experience and interest in. I had always been the person, friends and family came to for career advice but I felt wholly inadequate to help people FOR REAL. (Andrea laughs) I felt like this was clearly a problem area for me, since I didn’t feel like I had ever found The One. How could I help other people get there when I hadn’t myself? She pointed out that all my years of searching, struggle and angst over my career, the circuitous path with all the crazy left turns—it was all preparation to help other people navigate it more easily. This made sense to me but I was still unsure, so I coached some people for free to try it out and LOVED it. It just felt like home, like this was the one I was waiting for.  After coaching on the side -during my commute, lunches and late at night- for two years, I was able to leave my job and devote myself to my business full-time earlier this year.

I have to ask you…You have a VERY honest blog and YouTube Channel.  You made it clear before you left your full-time job that you wanted to leave.  Were you ever concerned about being called out about that at work?

(Andrea gives a little  laugh) You know….I never really worried about it that much. I’m sure a part of me felt like it might be a gift to get called out and possibly fired. It certainly crossed my mind but I guess I didn’t care, to be honest. Once I tapped into the deep passion I have for this work, that’s where all of my focus and energy went. I wasn’t going to censor myself or hold back in anyway. I don’t even think I could have. It was like a dam burst or something—there was just no stopping me.

That said, I realize this is not necessarily a model for how other people should go about it. Everyone’s situation is unique and one of the most important things I work with my clients on is making their transition in a safe way. I’m a risk-taker by nature with a very overdeveloped rebellious streak! So, this was my path but it need not, and probably should not, be someone-else’s.

Do you think it is ever too late for someone to make a MAJOR career change or start a business?

I really don’t. People can do amazing things when they choose to. All sorts of previously unknown things can align when a person simply decides, “I’m doing this!” Now, can you dance the lead in “Swan Lake” if you’re 47 and have never had a ballet lesson? Not for the ABT, but I do believe there is a way to get some part of that dream fulfilled. It really becomes about deconstructing it and finding out what piece of that would be most fulfilling to you. What I call uncovering the essential elements of a career or business that would make you happy. It’s never too late for that, right??

Yes, I agree!

Reading through the testimonials on your website, there are many references to your excellent listening skills, empathy and intuition.  Do you feel like you have an uncanny ability to help people gain clarity and map out a new career course for themselves?

I’ve always been an observer, a listener. I’m a pretty quiet, reserved person. So that lends itself to hanging back and surveying the scene a lot, which has helped me learn an awful lot about people. I’ve also always trusted my intuition completely and I think that trust has made it stronger and more easily accessible to me. The combination of those things, along with a deeply ingrained desire to serve and make a difference…I think those all help, of course, but really, when a person is ready, they are ready. My role is about supporting them, sometimes challenging them, but always, always about getting them to listen to themselves as intently as I am listening to them.

When people know they are being heard and validated, things start to shift for them in big ways. What previously felt murky and unimaginable becomes crystal clear and totally doable. All because someone modeled for them how to listen to their deepest wants and needs. It’s powerful stuff. This is why I love coaching!

Recent surveys have revealed that most employees are very unhappy in their jobs.  Why do you think this is?

We are in a transitional place right now. The traditional Western career path: go to school, get a job; stay there until retirement and then you finally get to go enjoy your life—that’s just gone, if it ever truly existed. Yet, many of our institutions, corporations, public employers, they’re all still stuck in this model that isn’t working for most people.

Very few working people are encouraged to be creative, to take risks, to fail. We all KNOW that failure is a huge part of the learning process—it’s what makes the greats great, but if you fail in the workplace you’re screwed! So people can’t be human at work. They can’t bring their whole selves. They can’t speak their minds. They have to swallow a criminal amount of shit just to get through their workdays. They’re spending ridiculous amounts of time commuting. Their wages are stagnant….I could go on and on and ON about this, but the bottom line is that people are unhappy because they don’t get to do anything they actually want to do, anything that’s meaningful to them.

The result is that we have 80% of American workers who are disengaged at work. Honestly, I consider this a safety issue, a health hazard and a cultural crisis all rolled into one. And with numbers that high, it affects everyone. Do you want your kid’s teacher to be disengaged? The doctor treating someone you love? The accountant doing your taxes? The pilot flying your plane? This is not just about fluffy “do you what you love” platitudes, this is a real problem with real consequences.

This is the “why” behind my work. I believe the world would be a safer, more peaceful, tolerant place if more people were doing work they care about. If more people are happy, thriving and enjoying themselves at work every day, how can it not be?

“Do what makes you happy” is advice you believe in though.  You’ve put in writing! How can people begin to shift their thinking to feel like it is actually possible for them to have a career that actually brings them happiness?

(Andrea Laughs) Yes, I just called it a fluffy platitude, but I truly do believe this!

One easy suggestion I always make is to talk to people who are doing something they love. Chances are they haven’t always been, so find out what shifted for them. Open yourself up to being inspired rather than envious and learn about how they made the shift. Get really curious about this and start surrounding yourself with people who have done it, and the belief that you can too, will start to rub off on you. I promise!

Beyond that, all it really takes to begin the shift is a desire for things to be different and a willingness to entertain the possibility. Us coaches love to use visioning as a tool to help people see what’s possible for them. Sometimes people have a beautiful, heartfelt vision for what they want their life to be like but it feels so far away that it may as well be a fairy tale. We help them play the “what if?” game, as in, “What if that could be your life? What’s one step you could take today to bring you closer to that vision?” And you build on that day by day, month by month until you know it’s possible because you’re in the process of making it happen!

You are very clear on people establishing “non-negotiables” for their career.  Would you explain this practice and why it is important?

What I call career non-negotiables are 3-5 must-haves for a career that makes you happy. Some people might be able to rattle things off fairly quickly, but it’s important to give this some thought and to go for depth; because what you’re using them for is to weed out anything that doesn’t include ALL of your non-negotiables. It’s a focusing tool, essentially. It allows you to see everything that doesn’t include these things, as the distractions that they are, and focus your attention on the things that have the highest probability of allowing you to be happy. My clients love this!

To figure out what yours are: do a job history inventory, noting what you liked and didn’t like about every job you’ve ever had. Yep, all of them! Then, think about what you want your daily life to look like. Then combine what you’ve come up with and look for themes. You want them to be so meaningful to you, that holding out until you can get them, doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. Because it’s not—it’s an act of self-care.

(For a more detailed write up of the process, you can check out this article Andrea wrote for The Daily Muse.)

Is there any other advice or information you would like to share with people who are looking for their passion?

I talk to a lot of people who know they’re not doing something they’re passionate about but don’t know what would stoke their passions. I was one of those people for a long time. It wasn’t that I didn’t have ideas. I had lots of ideas! I was just too afraid to move forward with any of them. I would play it all out in my head and give it up as impossible before I even started. Until the one time I didn’t. And now I’ve left my job and have a business I’m beyond passionate about!

There were many reasons why it was different this last time but the most important one was that I took action on it, rather than just running through it in my head. I went out and got some clients and I coached them. I often tell people it doesn’t matter which idea, which passion you choose, just pick one and DO SOMETHING! All the clarity; all the growth; all the FUN starts to happen, once you start taking action. So get to it!

Since my blog is about being healthy and happy in a natural way, would you share what role nature plays in your life?

Nature and natural living are hugely important to me. I live in a big city, so I have to make special efforts to get out of my car and go to the beach or the hike in the hills, but it pays dividends when I do. I have high expectations of myself and push pretty hard sometimes. Taking time to get outside and look at the sky or even just walking my puppy around our neighborhood and noticing all the different shrubs and trees is meditative for me and helps me decompress. It’s really a vital part of being able to get everything done.

I’m also very into clean eating (most of the time!) and creating my own natural products, which is one of the reasons I LOVE your blog! I’m making your cashew parm today, in fact! It all goes back to alignment. When I think about what I want my life to be, healthy is obviously a huge part of that. So, I do the things I think will put me on that path; just as I coach my clients to do in their careers and as  do in my own work.

Ready to find out more about Andrea Shields Nunez and how to liberate your career? She is offering a free 60 minute session. Head over to her website, http://www.andreashieldsnunez.com/ for more information.

Are you happy with your career? Do you feel like there is something MORE you’re supposed to be doing? Did anything Andrea say resonate with you? Please leave me a reply in the comments section. I would love to hear from you.

Many blessings,

 

Cynthia

Please follow me on Twitter.  Also, please LIKE my Facebook Page.

justdragonfly

 

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Natural Gifts: Do You Know What Yours Are? What Would You Like To Be Doing?

My thriftiness was the inspiration that got me started making jewelry 13 years ago.  I was too cheap to pay $10 bucks for a bead change on my belly ring (Nope, I don’t have one anymore) at the tattoo place, when I could get a whole package for less than half that.  The only dilemma was what was I going to do with the rest of the beads?

I like to learn new things and since they string beads at kids’ summer camp, I figured making jewelry wasn’t beyond me.  So, I bought my first pair of pliers, some crimps, wire and catches and off I went.  First, I made an anklet, then earrings, then a necklace and bracelet.  I was hooked.  I learned how to bend wire (LOOOOVE bending wire and banging it into designs.) Very quickly, I outgrew the jewelry aisle at the craft store and began going to bead shops, mail order companies, metal companies and lapidaries for semi-precious stones and silver.  I made gifts for friends and eventually starting selling my one-of-a-kind pieces in 2006 under the name Chickyrhumba (a nickname my mom had for me when I was little.)

I closed the business in 2012 but I still enjoy making jewelry and I am proud of the work that I did.  The funny part is I am not sure I would have ever pursued it directly if it hadn’t been for my now defunct belly ring.  Honestly, I am just like that.  Life tends to have to inspire me to try new things indirectly or I need to ease into them somehow…slowly, sometimes VERY slowly.  I practiced yoga for several months on my own before I ever went to a class, just so I wouldn’t feel like a complete spaz doing it in public for the first time.

I suspect I am not alone when it comes to being a bit fearful about trying new things, even things I suspect I would enjoy.  Many of us are probably a bit nervous about looking foolish or fear that we may not be good at the chosen activity we admire or maybe, we don’t even know why we don’t make the effort.   Perhaps, there has just been an underlying current of subliminal messages in our minds telling us things like, “I don’t come from artistic people,” or “I have never been good at any sports.”  So, we stay stuck in our little safe box.

The cool thing is that if you manage to reach beyond your comfort zone, you just might amaze yourself with what you accomplish.  There are so many quotes about going beyond your comfort zone, it’s hard to know which came first.  I like Robert Allen’s “Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.”  (It just sounds so promising!)  More importantly, it’s a good way to take care of yourself.  You may find a new vocation that makes you successful beyond your wildest dreams or you may just find something you really enjoy doing.  Either way, it’s time well spent!

So, what have you always wanted to learn how to do that you have been putting off?  I would love to hear from you.

Love and Blessings to All,

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

A Year after Super Storm Sandy: Challenges, Tumbles and Surviving It All with Gratitude!

A year ago when all the hubbub started about Hurricane Sandy, like so many people in the area where I lived on the water in Amity Harbor, I didn’t take it very seriously.  Although, I lived on a canal, the warnings that were being issued seemed extreme. I had stayed home through Hurricane Irene the year before without the water even coming up my back steps.  So, in my mind, Sandy would probably only be slightly worse.

Chauncy and I hunkered down on October 29, 2012 with every intention of waiting it out.  And for most of the day, it appeared I had taken the right course.  Then around 7pm, things changed radically.  I waded through knee high water to move my car to higher ground.  Forty minutes later when I finally left with my dog and one bag that same water was up to my thighs and had begun pouring into my home from every conceivable point of entry including the sinks and toilet.

I was oddly pretty calm for someone driving around in the midst of a hurricane.  I picked up a stranded driver who was soaked to bone.  He warned me not to go west on Merrick Road because that was where his truck got stranded.  I deposited him at the pizza place where the emergency workers were staying.  I couldn’t stay there with Chauncy.  So, I had to move on.  (There are very few safe public places during catastrophes on Long Island for people with dogs.)

Chauncy was freaking out as we weaved around fallen trees on Sunrise Highway.  He kept trying to crawl inside me practically.  So, I eventually threw an entire bag of treats on the passenger seat to distract him.  First, we tried going west to my folks, and made it about 10 miles before the road was blocked off.  So, I turned around drove further East than where I started and ended up at a friend’s house in Bayshore.  Thankfully, her family was willing to take us both in.

The next day I went to my folks’ house and have been here since.  I thought by now I would be in my new apartment with Hurricane Sandy fading into an increasingly distant memory but a short five months later, I experienced an event that made Super Storm Sandy feel like a mere inconvenience.  On March 2nd, the day after I launched this blog, I fell down the stairs at the Madison Square Garden Entrance to Penn Station. I broke my upper jaw, lost a front tooth, damaged seven more top front teeth, ripped my upper lip completely through, sprained my wrist and broke my nose.

Given the opportunity to take that moment back and hold the handrail, I most certainly would take the mulligan.  I won’t have anything close to my smile back before 2015 (…and we are talking closer to 2016.)  However, several people have told me I would find the blessings in these events and they were right.  When something like this happens, at first you just want to crawl into a hole and disappear.  You wonder what you might have done to deserve such a shitty, fucking thing to happen to you … and in my case two shitty things in row.  You wonder, “is this going to be what breaks me?”  Then a little voice deep inside answers very confidently, “no, it’s going to make you stronger than you have ever been.”  Then you pick your head up and start noticing all the things you have to be grateful for like your family, your friends, your dog, the perfect strangers (who turned out to be paramedics) who stopped to help when you fell, all the flowers, cards, prayers, well wishes and good, competent doctors to help put you back together.  There is so much I have to be grateful for, I couldn’t possibly fit it all into this one blog post.  That is how fortunate I am!

There is one other thing I want to share with you and then I’ll wrap it up!  That is the lesson.  The most profound shift I have experienced since all of this happened is what I thought mattered before… most of it… doesn’t matter at all.  I used to sweat everything: my boss yelling at me, getting a ticket, a friend being distant, paying bills… any little negative thing could tip my mood.  The worse thing on my mind before I fell was that my car had a leaky head gasket.  It seems so silly now ruminating about how I was going to find a new apartment, furnish it and get a new car at the same time.  I thought THAT was something to feel sorry for myself about.  Now, I am looking at a $30K-$40K dental reconstruction.  It’s okay though because getting my smile back to me is priceless!

Love and blessings to all.

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Letting Go: Sorting Through My STUFF

I just watched the last piece of my Nana’s cherry wood set get hauled away.  I dragged that set with me from home to home for the last fourteen years and today, I let it go to an appreciative young man who was probably furnishing his first apartment.

I moved out of my parents’ house over 19 years ago.  Hurricane Sandy brought me back here temporarily.  My dental reconstruction is keeping me here a while longer.  Deciding it was better to have funds available to pay my various dentists than for storage fees, I cleared out my POD this weekend.

I am a fiercely independent person.  I do not enjoy asking for help.  However, this situation has required that I learn how to accept it and I am definitely grateful for the help that has been extended to me by friends and family.  I’d be lying if I said I was excited about the idea of sorting through all my crap and deciding what stays and what goes.  It’s a perfect beach weekend and that is where I would rather be.

Rather than dwell on the loss of my independence (and a good beach weekend) though; I’ve decided to view this as an opportunity to let go of what I don’t need and welcome a fresh start.  While I was looking through one box, I found a baseball card album filled with Steve Sax cards.  My boyfriend in college gave it to me as a birthday present one year.  I had remarked that Steve Sax had a cute tush and he thought it would be funny to give me all his cards.  It was funny but not funny enough to keep toting around decades after we broke up; especially when I never really wanted it in the first place.

The baseball card album was one of his better gifts too.  One year he gave me a toolbox filled with tools.  I didn’t want that either.  The nicest things one of my friends at the time said about it was “tell him next year, you want a jewelry box and to fill that up too.”  The rising chorus from my friends was “dump him” and eventually I did.  So, why do I still have this little album all these years later?  Who the fuck knows… I am a sentimental person but I think this is a good time to reevaluate what I want to keep in my life and what NEEDS to go.

I also have this sense that letting go of unnecessary stuff will make room for new and better things, opportunities and experiences in my life.  I think I will do a mental overhaul while I am at it and let go of accumulated fears, pains, frustrations and insecurities… I’m sure I have a book on that in one of these damn boxes…

What do you need to let go of?  Have you had a positive experience after letting go of items you no longer needed?  I would love to hear from you!

Love and blessings to all,

Cynthia

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Ready to Switch up Your Life?: An Uncaged Interview with Rebecca Tracey

Do you want to make a change, a BIG change in your life?  Are you ready for a new career, lifestyle, to start your own business or a big bold adventure?  Are you feeling too stuck or fearful to move forward with your dream?  Then read on to find out how Life Switch Coach Rebecca Tracey coaches her clients (and maybe kicks their asses a little) on how they can achieve their goals and create the life they really want.

Cynthia Lenz: So many people think that Joseph Campbell’s “Follow Your Bliss” Concept makes so much sense but so few people actually do it.  Why do you think that is?  How would you advise people to be able to?  What are your top three tips?

Rebecca Tracey: Follow your bliss is really vague advice. When I hear that I don’t even really know what it means! It sounds great conceptually, but it’s not always easy figuring out exactly what your bliss is, let alone how to follow it. So my work with people always starts with helping them get really clear about what their bliss is (though I don’t think I have ever used that word before!). What do they value? What do they believe about the world? What kind of life do they want?  So my best tips for people are 1) to get crazy clear about what’s most important to you in life, and make sure you build that into your lifestyle 2) to do it your own way, and not try to copycat anyone else’s life, and 3) to try different things out. You never know what you’ll love and what you won’t until you actually try it. I always say that “figuring it out” is not intellectual, it’s experiential. You can’t just sit at home and think about what you might like to be doing. You actually have to get out there and try it out, with no pressure, and see how it goes. Then tweak and change as you go.

Cynthia Lenz: I love tip #2 “to do it your own way, and not try to copycat anyone else’s life.”  Often, I think people get frustrated because they follow all the steps someone else laid out but it doesn’t work for them because it’s not authentic to whom they are.  Do you find a lot of people struggle with feeling it is okay to just be themselves?  And once they accept and enjoy themselves for who they are that life begins to open up for them?

Rebecca Tracey: Yes!! It’s so common. We’re all human. I have even struggled with this myself in my business. I wrote a really important post about this. (Click here to read Rebecca’s post.) I find that when you really let yourself be exactly who you are, quirks and weirdness and all, you show up as a leader. All those things that make you who you are; are what people admire about you. So it’s really a shame to hide or change them. They are also really good clues about what you are meant to do in the world. When you can tap into your strengths and natural abilities, you can start to do your work YOUR way, instead of always having to try to change to fit your work.

Cynthia Lenz: I love the way you communicate while unapologetically dropping F-bombs and incorporating slang expressions.  You manage to strike a nice balance, where other people sometimes come across as unprofessional or less knowledgeable when using similar language, you still sound clear and intelligent.  Were you ever hesitant about being so bold or fearful about being taken seriously with a more casual, in-your-face style?

Rebecca Tracey: I don’t think I ever really thought about it. I was very conscious of not wanting to fall into the typical “life coach” trap of using language that feels airy fairy, and quite frankly, too vague for people to actually understand. So I decide to just write the way that I talk. Sometimes when I’m feeling really passionate about something, I swear more. When I’m feeling really grounded and grateful, I can be a bit more serious. I have a lot of different facets to my personality, and I knew right away that I wasn’t willing to compromise on any of them. And I was never really worried about sounding “professional” because I knew that the people who would resonate with me, would resonate with ME, and that if I tried to be something I wasn’t, they’d be sorely disappointed if they actually hired me. Now my ideal clients come to me, and they come with a really good sense of what I’m all about because it’s right there on my site. Nothing to hide. It’s probably the best way to attract clients that I know of!

Cynthia Lenz: Life-switch Coach is such a great title.  “Life Coach” sounds very broad but Life-switch coach implies imminent action.  Where did you get the idea from?  Did you coin the term?  If so, was there a moment that inspired it?

Rebecca Tracey: I think my very first copywriter actually came up with the title, and it kind of stuck! At the end of the day, I’m all about helping people switch up their lives for more exciting ones. Getting people out of ruts and into lives, they love, is what I’ve always cared most about, and that title just sounded way cooler than “life coach”!

Cynthia Lenz: Is there something that all your clients have in common beyond wanting to make a change? Maybe a common trait or experience…feeling?

Rebecca Tracey: Yep. My clients all want to start business, work for themselves, and be their own boss. They’re sick of the 9-5, they dream of travel and adventure and time with their families and random Tuesdays off. My clients are total freedom seekers. But they’re also super committed to making this kind of lifestyle happen. They understand that it’s a lot of work and it’s not all as glamorous as it seems, and they are willing to do what it takes to create it for themselves. That’s actually what sets them apart from most people. They are willing to do the work.

Cynthia Lenz: Would you give me an idea of what your life was like prior to being a Life-switch Coach?

Rebecca Tracey: My life was, in a word, fun. (And it’s still fun, I might add!). I was always a bit of a rebel and I hated the idea of working for someone else, so I managed to find ways to avoid work as much as possible. I traveled for several years straight after University, working odd jobs as I went. I’d often come home for just long enough to bank some cash, then I’d take off again on my next big adventure. I managed to live this life pretty easily, and even pay off $25000 of school debt in the process. I kept hearing from people how “lucky” I was, and I always responded with “This isn’t luck. I chose this. I made this happen!” I eventually figured I’d have to get a real job at some point, and ended up in nutrition school (thinking I could start my own nutrition business). What I realized very quickly was that what I was really passionate about was helping people make a choice about how they wanted to live, how they wanted to feel. So I left the fine tooth meal combing to someone else, and I started my coaching business. My business now is a really sweet mix of all my strengths and skills and experience and values – and it’s all centered around what I really believe about life – that it can be whatever you make it.

Cynthia Lenz: Do you have a client success story you could share where you got to celebrate a client reaching a goal that seemed impossible to him/her at one point?

Rebecca Tracey: I have one client who mentioned in passing on our first call that he wanted to write a book. It was one of his secret childhood dreams. It had nothing to do with what he was coming to coaching for. When he talked about writing I could tell how excited it made him. On our first call we talked about what it would be like to finally start writing, and he decided he would start that night. Within a few weeks he had written his first short story, and now, less than a year later, he has finished two novels and is looking into getting something published. It’s been so cool to see him really do something that makes him come alive, and to also see how much he has learned about himself in the process. My job is so fun!

Cynthia Lenz: Do you have any plans for an “Uncaged Life” Book?

Rebecca Tracey: You know, you’re the 4th person to mention a book in the past few weeks. I think the universe is trying to give me a hint. I’d love to hear what people would want to read about! It’s on the long list of to-do’s, but nothing in the works just yet.

Cynthia Lenz: Since my blog is all about being healthy and happy in a natural way, would you share what role nature plays in your life?

Rebecca Tracey: Oh wow. Well since I spent the majority of last year living in a van and rock climbing my way around the US, I’d say nature plays a pretty big role. I never thought of myself as an outdoorsy person (or a sporty person for that matter). But about 5 years ago my life shifted dramatically when my mom died suddenly. It sent me on the search for something, some kind of self-healing maybe?  I found my way to nutrition school. Long story short, I started taking really good care of myself: eating well, doing a lot of yoga, I stopped partying, started really making choices that made me feel good. Part of that included really dedicating myself to rock climbing. I fell in love with it, and it kind of took over my life (in a good way!). I now try to get outside as much as I can, whether it’s riding my bike around Toronto (which is an adventure all its own), slack-lining in my local park, or climbing up north of the city on the weekends. It’s so important for me to be able to get outside!

Rebecca Rock

Ready for more Rebecca Tracey?  Check out her website www.theuncaged life.com.  She has a lot more tips posted and a free downloadable workbook to help you get started on creating the life you have been dreaming about.

Love and blessings to all,

Cynthia

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Failure or Fuel for Growth: Seeing The Forest Through The Trees

While I was walking at the park near where I live, I stopped to meditate on the scene in front of me.  The spot I was staring at still had a lot of trees that had fallen or broken during Hurricane Sandy.  Workers had cleared the paths but left large limbs and trunks just wherever they fell.  So nature would take care of them, in the places where you are not encouraged to walk.

I thought about these trees for a while.  Some of them had grown tall before the storm had taken them down.  Many had probably been quite majestic.  Yet for one reason or another, they could not withstand the wind, maybe their roots were too weak or another tree fell on top of them.  At first glance, it appears like such a tragedy…such waste.  The funny thing is though Nature never wastes anything.

fallen tree1

These fallen trees are still alive with potential.  They are now home to various wildlife, who will shelter in them, until they are too decayed to provide a home anymore.  Moment by moment, the earth is reclaiming her precious leafy babies as fuel to grow new more glorious descendants of themselves

That’s when it struck me that in nature, there is no such thing as failure.  Everything gets recycled to rise again.  It got me thinking about my own failures in life.  Maybe my mistakes could provide fuel for future growth too.  As a human, it can be hard to face up to the embarrassing defeats we have had.   Forget a few fallen trees; at times my life has looked like a fuckin’ California wildfire whipped through it… At least, I tried though.  While sometimes, it may not seem like much.  In reality, it’s everything because you can’t get anywhere if you never make an attempt.  Making mistakes is how you learn what not to do again.  (Of course, sometimes you make them more than once before you learn that lesson…. but that’s a WHOLE other blog post…)  Thomas Edison probably understood this better than anyone. He has been quoted as having said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Why are we so afraid of failing anyway?  Is it really so important to get everything right all the time?  I mean really, think of all the times you failed… chances are that no one died; no great fury was released on the world… maybe it was sad or a little embarrassing (maybe very sad and very embarrassing) but that was probably about it, right?  We sometimes crave approval and acceptance so much that we are afraid to fail.  It seems like someone must be keeping score.  Who wants to come up short or be criticized?  Not me.  I totally get it but as Aristotle said, “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

Love and Blessings to all,

Cynthia

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Back on The Mat: Inspiration for everyone!

I have a confession to make: as much as I love yoga and have gained many benefits from it over the years, my practice has been well…spotty.  Some months I have practiced every day; other years I have averaged once a month.  I’ve always been perplexed by my own faltering commitment, given how much better my life works when I do it.

Instead of devoting any more time to figure it out, back in January I decided to just have a daily practice again.  Then one day when I was tired and busy, I wanted to skip.  Like magic Arthur Boorman showed up in my life to inspire me.  You can bet after I watched this video, I got my ass on that mat:

Click here to watch Arthur’s video right now! You will be inspired!

I practiced every day after that until I fell.  I found I really missed yoga during my convalescence. I found myself thinking about Arthur Boorman and what he had achieved quite often.  I realized that if he could accomplish what he has, then I would not allow my injuries to become future excuses to avoid a daily practice.  So, I am pleased to report that I am now back on the mat again every day and it feels great!

Jack Canfield, mentioned in a lecture I was listening to earlier this week that, “it takes about 30 days of intensive focus to move a new habit or belief into your life.”  Similarly, (…and on the same day…freaky!) I saw another youtube video that Diamond Dallas Page put up, featuring a man named Slim.

Click here to watch Slim’s Video

Slim and his wife Laura started a website called http://www.thenextfortydays.com to share Slim’s experience. They explain their idea like this:

“The Next Forty Days is an idea. It is a notion that everyone can take a step, however small, to make life just a little bit better. The process is simple – define a goal, make a sacrifice, stay encouraged and enjoy a victory.  This is an opportunity for you to do something you’ve always said you would. It’s a chance to start making better food decisions. Maybe it’s finally time to quit smoking. Even in reading these words, something may have already come into your mind. Whatever the goal, The Next Forty Days will help you get there.  Is there any better time than right now? A year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today. The Next Forty Days is the beginning of the rest of your life. So decide a goal, take the pledge and make life better!”

I hope you have found Arthur’s and Slim’s stories to be as inspirational as I have.  Would you like to transform your life?  What habit or belief are you ready to establish?  Can you commit to practice it for the next 30 to 40 days to make it happen?  I would love to hear from you!

Love and Blessings to all,

Cynthia

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