Uncover Your Motivating Passions

In my last post,Your Passions: Pathway to the ‘Real You‘,” I shared how knowing and engaging your passions, with what and whom you truly love, helps to align you with your life purpose and what gives meaning to your life.  This generates a spark of aliveness that becomes a powerful motivating factor in your living a truly fulfilling life. Now I let’s explore how to uncover your passions.

optimism-new-eyesProust said:The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Getting Started
I like to help people start to uncover their passions by reflecting on their greatest achievements, what they are most proud of, and reviewing their strengths, talents, skills. This can provide fodder for opening your eyes to your true passions.

People often say: “I really haven’t achieved anything important.”

Please don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, reflect on what you feel good about or where, even in some small way, you made a difference. Your strengths, talents and skills are what you do naturally with ease or what gets you through challenging situations.

We also look at what you treasure and love most in life and the people who have inspired you and why. Everyone can come up with a list of these. We don’t discount anything, even if it may seem incidental.

We explore what you stand for. This can relate to family, friends, nature, cultural, civic, work, morals, beliefs, faith, etc. This is a brainstorming project, like an “archaeological dig” where everything can provide clues.

We reflect on unfulfilled dreams and aspirations. We look at what you truly want for your life. This is not about material things. Rather, it’s your deepest heart’s desire, or how you want to live or be in your life.

We shine a light on all of these things inside you. We can then sift and examine each part, like fragments of different aspects of yourself, and determine what fits and what may no longer serve you.

We’re now ready for the next step.

The Passion Test

Here is where I draw from an inspiring little book called, The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose, by Janet Atwood and Chris Atwood. Take your FREE Personal Passion Test Profile Here.

List 10-15 passions that would give you a life of joy, passion and fulfillment reviewing all the information we’ve compiled for clues. The heading of this page is: When my life is ideal, I am…. List each passion in short concise sentences each starting with words like: being, doing, having.

Essentially you are writing these statements in the present tense as though you are already experiencing them. For example: being creative, or inspiring others…………Passions are not goals or what you want to achieve, rather how you want to live your life.

Next you select your top five passions by comparing the first to the second, second to the third, etc. much like an eye exam. Once you have these listed you determine markers. A marker is actual evidence that you are indeed living that passion.

People are often surprised when they have come to me to find a path to a better job or career path, we find that most of their passions appear to have nothing to do with work. This is okay, since we are looking at the whole of you.

Once you define and refine your passions and start living them, the work or career piece falls into place quite naturally with often unexpected surprises.

In a future article I will discuss how to engage your passions – how to match your unique gifts to your passions and overcome obstacles. In the meantime, you have plenty to keep you busy. This process is truly a gift you give yourself.

As my mentor, Richard Miller, often says, What you do for yourself you do for others. What you do for others you do for yourself.”

Are you ready to start uncovering your motivating passions? Join one of my upcoming “What’s Next in Your Life” courses to get you started.

Your Passions: Pathway to the “Real You”

shakespeare

To thine own self be true,” wrote Shakespeare. Yet, how many of us are living a life being true to ourselves?

In fact, how many of us actually know what that means?

We start out as youngsters with dreams, passions and aspirations that often become stifled by well-meaning family members, teachers, friends, limitations of resources, or our inability to find our true path. We complete our studies and training and then find ourselves in jobs, careers and situations that seem right at first, but later fall flat.

We can always find a fork in road, though and an opportunity to re-align with the “Real You.” While there are many pathways to accomplish this, one is to uncover and engage your true passions.

It’s never too late to re-generate that spark of aliveness we have when we engage with what and whom we truly love. Identifying your true passions aligns you with your life purpose and what gives meaning to your life.

Inner fire

Inner fire

Passions get your inner fire burning and motivate you. They help you develop an inner compass that guides you to making better life choices. Following your passions is following your heart and connecting most profoundly with the Real You.

In my work as a life coach I frequently engage with clients who may be good at what they do, but are not fully living their passions. Often, your relationships may be great but the job is unfulfilling – or vice versa. Sometimes neither is satisfying.

For one of my clients, his family encouraged him to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a trial attorney. He became very good at his profession, but his compassionate caring nature was being stifled. For many years he had been taking time from work fulfilling his true passion by volunteering with communities and disadvantaged children both here and abroad. Finally at midlife and in a loving and supportive relationship, he started examining his life and passions. He decided to go back to school to train to become a special needs teacher and move to an area of the country that fed his spirit.

But I have no passions!

I commonly hear this from my clients and students: “I’m not passionate about anything.”
For some people passion is too strong a word.

Another way to view passion is to reflect on the things you care about – what you truly value and what provides meaning. When you feel in the zone, when you ask, “where did the time go?” you’re doing your passion.

open arms - anewIt’s what gets you up in the morning
– or would if you were living your passion.

Your passions can be found in aspects of your work, projects you do, talents you engage, play, hanging out with friends or family, caring for others, being in nature, your faith or spirituality, volunteering…what brings you joy or inner peace.

There are a myriad of potential passions inside waiting to become fully embodied. Your job is to identify the strongest ones and take steps towards bringing them fully to life.

What’s inside the real you?

We’ll explore this in our next issue.

10 Steps to Heartfelt Goals!

We all start each new year off with good intentions, yet studies show that while 50% of people are initially optimistic about their goals, only 12% actually fulfill them. If you’re part of the other 88% there is still time to transform those resolutions into reality. I’d like to share 10 steps based on current brain research to get you on the pathway to achieving what you truly want.

The root of the word resolution, or resolve, originates with the Latin “resolvere,” which means to unfasten, loosen, release. In order to hold our goals firm and steadfast to their ultimate resolution, we also must remove the obstacles that prevent them from manifesting. Beyond the specific intention or goal is our “heartfelt desire, which motivates and fuels us to keep us moving toward the goal.

1.  Prepare your mind:
yawn11If you haven’t already done so, quickly write down the first 10 goals that pop into your mind. Once you’ve completed this process – tear it up. Really! This clears your mind of old ideas or beliefs tied to old behaviors. Then get up and stretch, shake your body and walk around the room. Finally, sit down and
YAWN…..several times! This helps you to create a beginners mind allowing you to tune into your insight and intuition. Studies show these techniques provide the best way to calm an over active mind and heighten consciousness.

Heart - love in action2. What is your heart’s deepest desire?
Take time to open your heart to find what you truly care about and what matters to you. Continue questioning and see what words or phrases bubble up from the heart. Repeat them silently and aloud. Continue to do this for a week until you have it fully formulated with a heart-felt sense of what matters to you.

3. Select goals
Based on your deepest heart’s desire, ask yourself, “What are three deepest desires or goals that I can realistically achieve by the end of the year?” Not just what you desire, but what you know you have the wherewithal to fulfill. This is one of the most important questions you can ask as it changes the nature of your resolutions or goals based on a deeper purpose aligned with the real you.

4. Make a commitment
For each goal ask, “Am I 100 percent willing to commit to achieving this goal?” If there any doubts, simplify or modify it.

5. Envision your resolutions or goals
With your Heartfelt Desire in mind, examine each goal addressing:

*  Good things that will happen as a result of the goal
vision of a clear and positive outcome
*  One or two obstacles that could get in the way.
*  Counter strategies to address the obstacles to resolve them and release them.

Record this on small cards as a visual commitment. Also, create a vision board filling a poster board with words and pictures representing the outcomes you envision. Display this strategically along with your vision cards. Allow yourself to really feel this outcome from a visceral sense. Keep your vision in its feeling alive in your consciousness by reflecting on it regularly.

“We become what we think about all day long. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

vision board6. Share your vision or goal
Tell many people about your goal – those you trust who have your best interests in mind. Then find an accountability partner who can help you stay the course and offer encouragement when you might falter.

7. Write a detailed plan
Include step-by-step tactics you will undertake with specific dates to reach each stage of the plan. Then share it with others and accountability partner and brainstorm to make it better.

8. Keep a journal
Begin each day recording three things you are grateful for. This sets up a positive attitude for the day. At the end of the day record three things you did well, and explain why. Make this your Gratitude and Accomplishment Journal – a great reflection tool to help you stay in harmony with the outcome you seek.

positive mantra9. Increase your Positivity Ratio
Research has shown that when you are able to counter each negative expression you have been using in your life with three positive ones, your life will change for the better. Five or ten positives will transform your life.

10. Reward Yourself
Plan a small “prize” for accomplishing any part of a goal at the end of each week. Don’t beat yourself up even if you did nothing. Crush pessimism and self-doubt quickly with positive words. Be kind to yourself. There’s always another week ahead. We often take steps backwards as we are moving forwards.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter how long it takes to reach your goal.
Keep your focus on your Heartfelt Desire.

Maximize your energy

graphic burstI’ve recently been blogging about how to Be a Wise Investor: of Your Thoughts and Your Time for your overall health and to get more out of life with less effort. Ours is a society of the overcommitted, cramming as much as possible into each day which can result in tremendous stress on your overall health and well-being. In addition to investing your thoughts and time more wisely, you can also learn how to invest your energy. Basically this energy is the life force that enables you to be physically active, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned.

You have the ability to maximize its quantity and minimize its waste.

Many of the performance demands of everyday work and personal life are tougher than those professional athletes face. Yet we are not trained as athletes are to manage our energy.

ViolinOur body/mind is like a vibrating string that needs constant tuning, much like instruments in an orchestra. Have you ever felt that your “life music” was out of tune? When you maximize your energy usage, you become fully engaged to put forth your best.

To be in tune is to be alive

To be alive is to consciously impose meaning on what you are doing. According to peak performance experts Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, authors of The Power of Full Engagement, the key to skillfully managing your energy is to build rituals and routines into your daily life, as athletes do when they train. When an activity is as routine as eating, sleeping and creating, you gain resilience and feel natural and in the flow.

Overcome energy blocks
Energy blocks and drains include negative emotions like anger and worry, and negative thoughts that pull you down. When you find yourself engaged in anger or negative thoughts, change the focus. Take a deep breath and ask for inner guidance to help you understand how to better handle the situation. Relax your face and say something to yourself that makes you feel supported and secure.

When I find myself getting into the worry mode, I ask myself, if the result of what I am worrying about is inevitable. Generally it isn’t. This defuses the power from worry and empowers me to come up with a plan. My energy expenditure is reduced, leaving me with energy to use for something more constructive.

frame2Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Instead of fighting life or trying to force it to work, reframe your challenges into rituals or routines with which you feel more in the flow of the moment. Whether in projects at work, household chores or fitness activities, go beyond the force of willpower, discipline or stamina, and focus on maximizing positive feelings and minimizing effort. Align yourself with like-minded people who vibrate at a higher energetic frequency and bring out the best of who you are.

Make a list of energy blocks and drains and begin to create precise and specific behaviors as rituals and routines that you can practice on a daily basis. Over time these practices act like vitamins and nutrients to build the “muscle” that stores the energy you need to meet your daily demands.

Putting it all together
How you invest your thoughts and time affects your available energy. These are intertwined and require regular attention and taking ownership. Invest wisely by incorporating conscious mindful routines such as meditation into your day. You’ll feel healthier, more in tune to play your life music – more fully engaged in living the life you deserve.

Be a Wise Investor of Your Time

This is the second in my series, “Be a Wise Investor.” The first is: “Be a Wise Investor of Your Thoughts.” Thoughts are like a current. Positive thoughts light us up, while negative ones can darken clockour spirit. Scattered thoughts waste our time and energy. Now let’s explore a new way of looking at how we invest our time.

Time shift paradigm

‘Getting more out of life with less effort’ is one of my mottos.

Yet I sometimes feel pressured finding myself struggling running up against deadlines without enough time to complete projects. And I teach of stress management!

I recently learned that I’ve misunderstood what time really is. It’s not a commodity that we run out of. Rather it’s something we actually create.  Another thing I was never taught in school.

According to Gay Hendricks in his book, The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level, we are the source of time. He says we’ve all been stuck in the concept of Newtonian time, which is based on the notion that time is finite and we need to learn time management techniques.

There is only so much time and when you run out of it, it’s gone. We thus become victims of time. Time is our task master and we are its slaves.

Truth of space and time

Hendricks introduces a new paradigm for us to consider, “Einstein’s time.”

When you are doing what you love, such as basking in the arms of your beloved, you relax, and time and space seem to disappear. On the other hand, when you are doing something you don’t enjoy, you may feel pressured, worried, develop tight muscles, etc. – a minute can seem like an hour.

This is much more than learning time management and stress management techniques. When you are the source of time, you need to take ownership of it. Even in your busy life, you can make abundant time for family, interests and self-care.

To begin, Hendricks recommends regularly tuning into your body for sensations that reflect stress or pressure. Ask yourself where you are not taking full ownership in your life, and allowing yourself to be the victim. Then go on a victimhood diet eliminating phrases like, “there aren’t enough hours,” “I wish I had time for…”

Incorporating this liberating paradigm into my life is proving to be one of the best investments I’ve ever made. My ‘motto’ has increased in value!

In my next issue we’ll explore:
How to Be a wise investor of Your Energy.”

Be a Wise Investor: of Your Thoughts

First of a series focusing on your thoughts, time and energy

I read somewhere that our average lifespan consists of 30,000 days. The questions posed with this statistic were: how many days might remain for you, and how do you want to live those days. While it’s helpful to think about and plan your life, breaking down your lifespan into days instead of years provides an opportunity to become more conscious of how you are living. It offers a call to take responsibility for your thoughts, and how and where you want to invest your thoughts –day to day, moment to moment.

scattered thoughts 2Thought investments

Not only was I never taught how to invest money in my earlier years, neither was I taught how to invest wisely in my choice of thoughts (my parents hadn’t learned this either). Strange, since thinking is central to the education process.

Thoughts are funny things. Without our doing anything they can pop into our head instantly, and jump around incessantly – like Mexican jumping beans. Imagine you’re planning the menu for a party for Uncle Henry’s 90th birthday party. Here’s how your thinking might unfold:

Pasta would good – maybe lasagna…not sure about cheese…..I should cut back on fats – and sugar! I really need to lose weight….no self-discipline….maybe I can find some recipes on the internet….my back hurts… I really need a new computer chair…. can’t afford it now….when is the economy going to improve…I need a better job….my boss is always putting me down…..wish those politicians would get their act together…I’m cold…I miss summer….I’m not very creative….my cousin Sherry might have some recipes….I’m so envious of her….she’s always had it together….always positive……she never had to go through what I have….maybe yoga would help my back. . .I’ll ask Sherry for recipes.

memories headThought triggers

Anything can trigger a thought. Scents, sounds and body sensations can spark thoughts and memories of past experiences. We can be thrust back to reliving that experience at an emotional level whether positive or negative. When negative, over time, brain pathways form that repeatedly keep us stuck in negative thought patterns, thus preventing us from being fully alive and present.

Think of what you are missing with negative thinking within the hours, minutes and moments of each passing day.

Wouldn’t you suppose that starting with a mindset, for example, that the “cup is half empty” instead of “half full” could affect how you study, learn, experiment and create? If fear, doubt or self-judgment is present how can you make wise choices? Fortunately as a participant in the school of life and lots of study into the science of thought, I have generated a significant positive thought portfolio.

Muja,,ad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Releasing triggers

One solution to rewiring the brain’s thought patterns is to go on a negative thought diet and use affirmative words and phrases to wash your brain of negativity. This is what Mohamed Ali did to build his self-esteem when he proclaimed, “I am the greatest.” People with strong will-power can shed pounds of negativity with this process, while the rest of us lose merely ounces, fluctuating up and down at best.

Invest wisely

I suggest rather than push away the negativity, welcome it in, and see what you can learn from it.  Doing so removes its grip on you. Over time this has a cleansing affect that frees you to welcome in positive thoughts and affirmations: “I am good enough.” “I do have what it takes.” “Every day, more and more, I’m learning to live each moment.” This is true freedom. (Also see “Welcome Life’s Messengers)

The next article will reveal surprising ideas on how we invest our time.

Getting High on Life – Again

In my last article, How to Get High on Your Life, I wrote about the “Givers High.” Performing acts of kindness elevates our sense of well-being and contributes to a longer, healthier, happier life. Let’s explore how some people discover ways to integrate this high into their lives.

natural-antidepressants-2Natural anti-depressant
Acts of giving take you outside yourself, beyond the troubles, pains and challenges of your life, and can pull you out of the doldrums of isolation and loneliness. The brain is a social organ wired for empathy. When engaged in helping others, we experience their joy and suffering as though it were our own. Yet the giving also produces a positive emotional high pushing away our negative emotions. The old adage, “When you’re feeling down, go out and help someone,” really works.Continue reading

How to Get High on Your Life

Will the economy ever return to providing the good times we once took for granted?  Greed and mismanagement have shown their ugly face and, as a result, millions in our nation are suffering. Those who can still afford the high life are a privileged elite.

getting-highActually we can all live the high life – in a natural humanistic way – with the “Givers High.” The good news is that the means for experiencing this high, in terms of body-mind health, better relationships and spiritual well-being, is available to virtually everyone. Plenty of research studies support how performing acts of kindness contributes to a longer, healthier, happier life.

Getting the “givers high” doesn’t require money, drugs, material possessions, or expensive entertainment. In fact, even if you’ve had to downsize, minimize and simplify, you can still enjoy a richly rewarding and meaningful life. This elevated state can be easily realized by showing concern for others, being a good empathetic friend, reaching out to help a neighbor, mentoring, or volunteering in our community.

Change of heart
|I sense that our society may very well be at a tipping point for positive change. Perhaps this is a time for cleansing and moving from a society enveloped in secrecy, power and greed, to one that recognizes the basic human values of truth, transparency, compassion and interdependence. We are, after all, social beings here on Earth to help one another.

This change is evident in a new breed of humanitarian warriors. A remarkable journey is portrayed in Eric Greiten’s book, “The Heart and the Fist: the Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL.

Before becoming a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Greiten volunteered in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Bolivia serving war-affected children. Integrating his studies and experience with deployments as a Navy SEAL fighting terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, he learned that without courage, compassion falters, and without compassion, courage has no direction. Returning home, he started Mission Continues, an organization to help empower wounded and disabled veterans start new lives as citizen leaders here at home.

Our wired nature
Lots of research shows we are hard-wired to commit acts of kindness and generosity We are all natural born givers—it’s a primal urge. As early as a baby’s first birthday, she demonstrates the need and ability to empathize, connect, care and share. Her soothing and caring expressions melt our hearts, reigniting the joyful, caring child within us. Hanging out with babies can bring out the best in us.

The Dalai Lama says that “our primary purpose is to help others.” He believes that a major paradigm shift of this millennium is from the belief that “parents raise children” to one in which “children raise parents.” There does seem to be a trend among younger people toward getting high by living more consciously, as vegans, protectors of the environment, doing good deeds and finding new ways to connect. Whatever negatives may exist with social networking, the younger generation is living with greater transparency and interconnectedness than previous generations.

This natural givers instinct undeniably blossoms most clearly in the roles of parent, friend, mentor, worker, teammate, and creator.  Similar to the “runners high,” Greitin sees that, in the process of giving, the brain releases natural opiates, endorphins and calming hormones such as oxytocin.

In our next article we explore more benefits to “getting high on giving,” and inspiration for giving of your best self.

BEING with Stress

Stressed womanThese days the media is full of news about the impact of stress on our health and well-being. Modern society pushes us to be astronomical, Type A achievers while juggling work, home, family, and other activities. Then there are those who struggle to make ends meet. Still others are living without direction, passion or purpose in life. And the media and our myriad technologies themselves add stress to our lives.

We experience stress when we response to events that threaten or upset our balance in some way. How we choose to experience stress determines its impact in our bodies and lives.

Rather than trying to eliminate stress or reduce it by self-medicating, we can coexist with stress by BEING engaged with all the healing processes that enable us to live moment to moment with more peace, harmony and equilibrium.

“Tension is who you think you are, relaxation is who you are.”
~ Chinese Proverb

Brain reactions to threat

The brain’s defense mechanism is the limbic system. It has served humanity from the earliest of times when one had to navigate around saber-toothed tigers and the like. It provides an alarm signal to other parts of the brain to prepare the body’s fight or flight reflex. Whatever the danger perceived—a hot stove, an erratic driver, an approaching deadline, an angry boss—an alert signal is transmitted. Physiological functions, such as heart and breath rate, blood pressure, circulation, release of stress hormones, heighten.

Another part of the brain, the medial prefrontal cortex (MPC) or conscious rational brain, helps you think through actions. While the MPC regulates the limbic system, when you are experiencing extreme stress or threat, the limbic system “hijacks” the MPC so your primary attention is on survival and getting through the immediate situation. Consequently, the potential exists to overreact or make poor choices when the situation may not actually be a threat.

stressEmotions and stress

Under extreme stress conditions, the primary emotions that surface are anger and fear, especially when we are consistently experiencing various life pressures. This constant pattern strengthens neural pathways that govern the body’s rigid fight or flight preparedness. Over time, a kind of rigid inner and outer armor forms that plays havoc with the body’s organs, systems and tissues, resulting in tight muscles, disrupted digestive system, etc.

War veterans often find it difficult to shut off this reaction which is heightened when memories and feelings are triggered. In the workshops I present to the unemployed on managing stress, the common response to their job loss are feelings of guilt, shame, regret and humiliation. Many ask, “Why me?” Feelings of abandonment, self-rejection and unworthiness surface in clients who have lost relationships.

Our minds are filled with thoughts, beliefs and memories from our past that continue to surface and can be triggered by a word, image, sound, smell or taste. These triggers spontaneously evoke feelings and emotions from past experiences that are often difficult to understand.

No matter what brain pathways or patterns have been created as a result of how you’ve handled stress in the past, the brain has a resilient a plasticity that allows it to re-pattern neural pathways and create new ones. You can learn how to BE with stress, as opposed to allowing stress to ruin your life.

 

rocks and greenBEINGness

Underlying all of life is a natural state of BEINGness. This ground of Pure Being is where we connect with our True Self and our Source. Here we find peace, contentment, and an equilibrium that is our birthright. Here, there is no judgment, of self or others. Forgiveness and gratitude are the guiding forces opening us to the realization of compassionate love. Here you connect with your purpose, your soul’s calling and what is authentically true for you.

The understanding here is one of perfect health, wholeness and deep peace. When you are aligned with this state of BEINGness, you are no longer swayed by past thoughts, beliefs, emotions or images that trigger unhealthy stress in the body and psyche. The more you access this state of being, the more it becomes a part of your daily life enabling you to meet life situations and circumstances with the perfect response.

How does one go about bringing BEINGness into one’s daily life? By adopting practices that incorporate deep relaxation, breathing, one-pointed concentration, emotional and cognitive healing. We can learn to witness, release attachments, witnessing and practice meditative inquiry. Let’s explore each of these techniques.

Deep relaxation

iRest practiceThe body is filled with information that can transmit as messages creating sensations of pain, stiffness, fatigue. While we are caretakers of this wonderful body temple, we tend to ignore these messages until the symptoms become acute. Within the brain is a holographic-like map of the body. When we systematically bring awareness to each part of the body through progressive relaxation, research has revealed that this not only brings healing to physical abnormalities, but also decreases depression, panic attacks, phobias, and more. It also helps to restructure neural pathways in the brain that support our overall well-being.

Breathing

Stressful situations tend to produce shallow rapid breathing controlled by the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response), while deep breathing stimulates the opposing parasympathetic reaction that calms us down. Practicing various mindfulness breathing techniques brings your awareness to subtler levels of energy flowing through the body. Then, when stress shows up, your body automatically responds with deep breathing and calmness, accessing the rational brain to help you with the perfect energetic response.

Begin by taking a few minutes to experience BEING with my  video NOW!Tranquil scene

Experience a Mini iRest with Jacqui

 

Click lower right-hand corner for FULL SCREEN

Take a few minutes to reduce your stress with this video meditation guided by Jacqui Neurauter.

What is iRest?

The Integrative Restoration, iRest protocol is a guided deep relaxation meditation and inquiry practice that is profoundly transformative. When the nervous system is calmed, one experiences alleviation of stress, anxiety, fear and anger, resulting in lasting psychological change, as well as physical and emotional healing.

For more information on iRest meditation courses or for a personal consultation contact Jacqui Neurauter at 847-359-6391