Category Archives: Relationship Advice

discoveries

Inspire and Be Inspired

Be inspiring.

Show up big, bold and outrageous.

Be the spark that ignites creativity and passion at home and at work.

Demonstrate what it means to be a true dreamer, by following your heart and encouraging others to do the same. Inspiring others to achieve their dreams can actually give you the confidence you need to achieve your dreams.

Let Life Inspire You.

To inspire means “to breathe.” And as oxygen is necessary to sustain life, so inspiration is to dreaming. Discover what moves you. Be open to the world around you and become aware of how your surroundings can help you achieve your dreams.

It may be as simple as finding a quiet garden, going for a run or finding a creative outlet.

It’s also possible that a friend may be willing to share resources that can put you on the path to success.

Keep your eyes open, remain aware of your surroundings, and don’t be afraid to rock the boat… You never know where it’ll lead.

 

love and belonging

Longing for Belonging

Another yoga class and, thanks to an amazing Sage – the space for insight. So many of us seek to belong.

We seek the affiliation and belonging – longing for belonging, if you will. Yet, in our haste and fervor, we miss the most vital connection of all – the connection to our heart and soul.

Most of us seek connection based on the mind. We are judging and assessing everything around us. In the space of judging and assessing we create separation from our heart and soul – and from the world around us – leaving us lonely and alone.

When we create an incredibly busy mind; there is little peace.

There was a time when you were powerfully connected to your heart – when the world was filled with love; when you got to be transparent and the world returned that transparency; when you met someone and instantly became best friends. Everything was an adventure. This time was when you were young.

My lady has two young ladies – ages six and eight. Recently, we traveled to my brother’s house. My brother adopted a girl from China, who now is seven. When we walked through the door of his home, the girls met, and were inseparable until we left. They did everything together. All three young ladies have so much love in their being, that naturally they just shared it with each other, and with the family. Since then they have written letters and are excited for the next visit, happening in a few weeks.

Simply put, the young ladies honor their hearts; they honor each other and the bond instantly created. They belong. There is little to no judgment of anything, just acceptance and exploration. My niece was initially a little shy, which lasted about 30 seconds.

For most of us, the process of growing up marks a transition- from our hearts to our heads – we becoming distrustful and unsure in the world. We listen to the Thought Monsters in our heads. We empower the judgment and assessment that leaves us alone in the world.

This week, drop back into your heart, and into your original grace. When you do, you will feel the original belonging, that of acceptance and love for yourself. Your experience of life will shift. You will see life as through the eyes of a child, when you were never more than one thought away from belonging.

If that seems difficult, see where the difficulty lives in your mind. For 24 hours, just choose to belong by accepting yourself and loving yourself. When you see difficulty, be aware of it, let it go and accept yourself. After 24 hours, you can either renew the game for another 24 hours, or choose to return to how it was before – longing to belong. And if you play this game, along the way make note of where it feels hard to belong.

Growth lives in awareness.

Create an amazing week!

Contributed by Executive, Life and Spirituality Coach, Jim Pehkonen

soar

Do something you love and dont compromise

Do Something You Love.

What haven’t you done for a long time that brings you joy or a sense of achievement?

Life is full of all the things we need to do and have to do, which is what responsibility dictates. Dreams dry up when we are overly “adult” or when there is little joy.

Participating in activities that you enjoy but haven’t found the time to partake in for years can help to rejuvenate you and put you on the path to success. It can lift your spirits which will in turn make you feel as though you can do anything you set your mind to achieve.

Don’t compromise your dream. Are you giving up on a dream or settling for less, before you’ve even explored the possibilities? When you do this, you are self consciously sabotaging your own dreams.

Our internal doubter mouths sentiments that are often worse than what anyone else could possibly tell us. Show you believe in your dreams by sharing them with another person. Get it out of your head and begin to make your dream a reality.

do today

model someone you admire and move your dream forward

Model someone you admire.

Imitation is still the greatest form of flattery– who do you admire and why? Make a list of the qualities you admire in this person.

In what ways are you similar to them?

How do you wish you were more like them?

Remember to be admirable rather than envious. You’re likely to learn a lot about yourself and your own traits, goals, and shortcomings.

Move your dream forward.

Create a project you can easily accomplish in one month or less. Accomplishing small goals will help you build the confidence needed to achieve bigger dreams.

Think about the outcomes you want– not all the details. Tell yourself this dream is attainable. Measure your progress along the way to stay focused and on-task. Don’t forget to celebrate when you’ve succeeded. Recognizing your success will inspire you to keep forging ahead.

autism

My Good Friend Tim

So I have been working with a young dude named Tim. Tim has difficulty expressing himself with words, he does not like social situations and he has a very different perspective on the world that you and I see.

Tim is an 11 year old pre-teen with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I met Tim when I began my internship in the behavioural classroom of a school, working with an eclectic bunch of people with very different personalities, and very different challenges. On my first day of placement I noticed that Tim did not seem to think that he needed to hang out with his peers at recess or at lunch-time…I knew something was a little quirky.

I asked the teaching assistant about him, and I was told to not bother, that this was who Tim was and is, and will be, so there is no real point in engaging him during these times, only to progress through curriculum. As a Child and Youth Care Practitioner of 5 years’ experience, I knew that something seemed off.

The next day at lunch, I moved past the ‘teacher’ table and sat down at Tim’s table, at which he is always unaccompanied; I sat down across from him and 2 spaces over. I just opened my salad and began my eating.

Tim, with some glorious pre-teen attitude said, “Why the heck are you sitting here!?! I like to be alone.”

After a brief pause, I replied, “me too”.

Tim looked at me with curiosity and then he continued his lunch. The next day I did the exact same thing, except I just sat quietly and we did not exchange any dialogue. After 8 minutes, Tim asked me about my position in the program that he is in, and just some fun facts about Jonny (myself). I shared a large piece about me and my strange yet cool family, and then asked him about his family. He divulged so much information, it was lovely. My colleagues were astonished at the fact that the new guy got him to talk.

The following week, I noticed that he had had a meltdown, and that the teachers were all reprimanding him, but my instincts said something was strange. At recess I asked him how he was feeling, to which he responded in his usual pre-teen response, “HOW DO YOU THINK IM FEELING!?!” After a brief pause I said, “Well how would I know, you haven’t told me.” He looked at me and shared so much information about who has been bullying him, how he feels betrayed and how he, ultimately just does not fit in. We spoke about it and created a plan together.

Following anybody’s verbal and body language, regardless of challenge or diagnosis, leads to extraordinary results. Be it with a friend, a lover, a family member or a child named Tim. It is up to you whether you take that initiative and sit down across from them and 2 spaces over at lunch and engage them at their level, not yours. In every crisis I have ever worked in, this is always the same, be it in my relationships, my family, and my friends or in my work with children with special needs.

This leaves one question–are YOU the one who will sit down across from somebody and 2 spaces to the side? The difference you will find in your life and in theirs is unbelievable.

Contributed by Life, Relationship and Youth Coach, Jonathan Friedman

little things

A Little Soup Goes a Long Way

While visiting Toronto for a week of certification with Frame of Mind Coaching, I was limited in my communication with my girlfriend, Amanda.  Being outside of the U.S., I wasn’t able to use my phone for calls, and I had to be connected to WiFi for text messaging. Amanda and I spoke using Google Hangout at night.

In the weeks leading up to certification, Amanda and I celebrated her birthday and Christmas together – our first time as a couple having dated for close to a year. I gave Amanda two gifts: a bag and tickets to see Wicked on Broadway.  She loved them and I gave myself a pat on the back for picking out two great gifts.

A few days into my Toronto trip, all of the coaches were eating lunch in the hotel lobby and learning about each other.  We were all laughing, sharing, and entertaining each other over some fine Toronto cuisine.  I got a text from my girlfriend saying she was sick and had stayed home from work that day.

Who would have thought that at very lunch I would learn one of the biggest lessons of my life from a Canadian friend I had met that week?

I mentioned that Amanda was sick and my friend and fellow coach Jonathan made a suggestion to surprise Amanda with an order of soup sent to her house.  It was a great suggestion.

I went on my Seamless App on my iPhone and placed the order for two soups and Amanda’s favorite wrap.

It wasn’t long before I got a text from Amanda asking if I had accidentally ordered myself lunch to her apartment. She soon realized what was going on. In our conversation later that evening, Amanda surprised the hell out of me by saying.

“That was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me!”

Wow.  I was amazed.  What a little soup could do!

When it comes to relationships, it’s the little things that make all of the difference. The touching gestures like buying soup for a loved one really demonstrate that we care. Often, it’s the little things that really touch those around us; proving to the people that matter most to us that they are top of mind. Amanda was grateful for the gifts I bought her for her birthday and Christmas, but she was deeply stirred by the kindness of sending soup.

What little things can you do that will make a difference in your relationships?

Contributed by Business, Career and Life Coach, Frank Furbacher

inconsiderate people

Are You Still Holding On?

There is no greater feeling in the world than sharing an intimate bond, a connection with a loved one. We experience unbelievable fulfillment when another person cares for us, desires to be with us and understands us on a level where words are not necessary.

There’s no greater feeling than being in love, being open and vulnerable with that special someone. We experience this feeling only when we share our total self and find a love that is reciprocated.

There is also no greater pain when that relationship falls apart. When the lines of communication are shattered, trust is broken, and the connection no longer exists. When all that we feel is a void – an emptiness that aches within.

We feel deep pain when that significant person we once shared so much with somehow becomes a total stranger. There are no longer exchanges of smiles, words, acts of kindness, or warmth.

Sound familiar? Going through that now? Or perhaps you’ve been through it before?

Ever had someone so close to you, who was such a big part of your life, disconnect from you? Ever felt the pain of the shadow that remains of that relationship?

Are you still holding on to it? Obsessing over it in your mind and trying to figure out what went wrong, perhaps how you can fix it, or how you can still keep this person one way or another in your life?

Ever thought about how it’s impacting you now? Perhaps how it’s blocking you from experiencing the relationship you’ve always dreamed of?

People come into our lives every day. Every relationship, whether it lasts or not, serves us. It is our responsibility to see how every part of it – the good, the bad and the ugly, is a gift. We must take the most from the experience and continue on our journey. Each person who we have ever come to love continues to be a part of us whether or not they’re still active in our lives.

Our thoughts and beliefs about the relationship, the person, and the time we’ve spent together will either be a catalyst in our growth or lead us to stagnation.

If you haven’t let go of a relationship that has been over for a while, I encourage you to take a leap – and explore how an intimate 10-week process with a Frame of Mind Coach can profoundly shift your perspective on life in a way that leaves you empowered to take control over your emotions and pave a new path of possibilities.

All that you’ve ever dreamed of is waiting for you. All you need to do is be open to discovering what gets in your way.

Contributed by Life, Relationship and Spirituality coach, Adi Tamam

anxiety

“Anxiety is Love’s Greatest Killer”

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”
~ Anais Nin

Let’s look at an old friend – Anxiety.  Earl Nightingale once said that 92% of what you worry about will never occur. Many of us realize this, but we still worry- often to the point of anxiety.

Anxiety is composed of thoughts infused with emotions.  We keep thinking the thoughts which rile up our emotions, and suddenly this state of anxiety starts becoming automatic, and a terrible cycle develops. We hold ourselves back from opportunities and we sabotage our relationships, feeling helpless all the while.

But you’re not helpless.

Lets try something. Let’s put our mental gear into neutral for a minute and look at the nature of thought.

When you look at your thoughts for what they are, what do you see? Nothing. You realize that thoughts have no weight, no smell, no taste- they’re not even real.

Our mind is like a river, just flowing thoughts down stream.  When we get stuck in an eddy of uncomfortable thoughts, we just swirl and swirl and swirl.

Now let’s add emotion. Interestingly, where thoughts are not real, emotions are VERY real.

We feel emotions from our head to our toes. Whether or not the thought behind the emotion is real, panic can kick in and send the body into a primal state of fight or flight. Once you feel that signature shortness of breath, it only deepens the panic the mind feels.

Unless you take back control.

Stop thinking.  Take a deep breath.  Open your eyes.  Take another deep breath.

Did you know it’s not possible to breath deeply and have an anxiety attack?  Long slow breaths tell the body everything is okay, which in turn sends signals to the brain that there is no real threat.

Can you now ‘see’ your thoughts?  Can you separate your emotion from your thoughts?

Most clients return to a state of peace when they learn to vaporize the anxiety through realization it is merely a thought. This step, however, takes awareness and work.

Look at this way- babies do not experience anxiety – it has to be ‘taught’ to you.  And that which has been learned can be unlearned through awareness, perception, and realization.

Anxiety can be unlearned – I wish I could just list the 4 steps to living anxiety free,  or the 3 steps to living in peace, but it’s not quite that easy.  If you experience anxiety, it takes a bit of work to free yourself from your self-created bondage.

However, the people I have worked with have done it and so can you by choosing to understand the nature of your thought.

You have to choose to unlearn and step back into the space of a child-  back when the world was an adventurous place to be.  Back when life was simply wild.

So for now, begin to see your anxiety as thoughts (not real) which are combined with emotions (very real).  You are creating a mirage – it seems that you see it, yet the closer you get, it disappears.  Unlike a mirage in the desert though, anxiety feeds upon itself and literally clouds up your state of mind, until the only real thing is a cloud of anxiety.  But’s it’s not even real.

This week, become aware of the thoughts which create your anxiety. They are just thoughts. Without emotions, they are just thoughts.  With emotion, your reality is clouded in anxiety.  When you take the emotion away, you are empowered to choose a new thought.

Try choosing one which empowers you.

Contributed by Executive, Life and Spirituality Coach, Jim Pehkonen

dont think too hard 3

Don’t think too hard. You’ll create a problem that wasn’t there in the first place

Seriously. Stop over-analyzing this tip.

One of the pitfalls of thinking too hard about a certain decision is amusingly referred to as analysis paralysis. This is the condition of thinking so hard about something that no action or decision is reached.

Sound silly? It’s very real. From my experience it happens most frequently when one person says to another person, “hey, what should we do for dinner tonight?”

If you live in an urban or suburban environment the choices can seem endless. First of all, do you order in or dine out? Second of all, what type of food are you in the mood for? American? Sushi? Indian? You must then choose a restaurant based on the first 2 criteria. The closest? The cheapest? The one with the nicest staff? Suddenly, the concept of picking a place can seem overwhelming and nobody is willing to make a decision.

Eventually if someone doesn’t end up overcoming the analysis paralysis, you end up getting too hungry to go anywhere and find yourselves eating cereal at home.

The above example is a trivial, albeit frustrating, example of what can be a major life problem for people. It can happen in every facet of life from choosing which college to attend to what career path to follow.

We make millions of tiny decisions every day. These decisions end up giving our lives their shape and dimension. Wherever you are in life now is based on the culmination of these decisions.

A lot of times you know you’re not happy at your job or in a relationship, but you’re not quite sure what to do about it- you think about it endlessly, weighing the pros and cons and the possible alternatives and consequences, and suddenly the problem seems SO much bigger than it is. It seems insurmountable, so you do nothing to change it.

That analysis paralysis ends up being your decision. You have actively decided to do nothing.

Nothing will change until you get out of your head and into the world.

oxygen mask

Take Care of You First

What is your limit? Have you reached yours?

Do you ever think to yourself as you are falling asleep at night. “I never seem to have time for me?” or “There has to be more to life?” or “Things have to be better than this?”

I know I used to do that, but I never stopped for long enough to consider how things could be different. Focusing on everything and everyone but myself was a great distraction.

At work, the more dedicated I was, the prouder I felt.  The more hours I worked, the more productive I felt.  In my home life, I was eager to lend a hand to family and friends.
From time to time, someone would hint that I needed to focus on me, but that seemed so selfish.

It took me a very long time to figure out that if I didn’t take care of myself first, I wouldn’t be in very good shape to offer my help to others.

Here’s how my story unfolded:

For over 25 years, I worked myself to the bone in corporate America. I cared for my family and friends in my spare time, and I worked 60-70 hours per week at my job. I was darn proud of it all!  I looked after the house, spent time with my husband and somehow squeezed time in for family and friends. I was on the gerbil wheel of insanity and didn’t know how to get off of it.

Then, about six years ago, my husband and I made the decision to welcome my 90-year-old grandmother (Gam) into our home to care for her.

Initially, Gam did not require a lot of care, but my husband and I put a lot of time and effort into making her feel loved, safe and part of the family.

As time passed, I knew I wanted to spend as much time as I could with Gam, but I was feeling pressure from work. Gam’s health began to decline after she had lived with us for about three years, and it become a challenge for me to care for her and stay on top of work – something had to give.

The guilt began to set in. I had so many demands, and I didn’t know what to do. My husband, David, and my mother-in-law were a huge help, but I felt overwhelmed.
My friends told me to put Gam in a nursing home, which was not an option for me.  Gam’s parents had left her when she was a few years old, and she lived in orphanages and foster homes until she met my grandfather.  I couldn’t have her start her life and end her life in a sterile facility with no love, especially after all that she had done for me throughout my life.

I was tearing myself apart trying to figure out how to make this all work, and seeing my inner struggle, David, encouraged me to quit my job.  At first I thought he was nuts. However, the longer I considered it, the more sense it seemed to make. I began to listen to myself and most importantly, I began listening to my heart. I realized that leaving my job was the right thing to do.

It was the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. I felt like I had gotten sucked into my job to the point that it identified me, and I was terrified of who I would be when I left.
I gave my notice six months ago, and I haven’t looked back .

Sadly, Gam passed away about a month after I left my job. I was hoping to have more time with her, however I cherished every moment that I did have with her.

Once I made the decision to take control of my life, I began focusing on me and taking better care of myself. Now I have a renewed energy that enables me to give so much more to everyone around me, and I no longer feel deprived.

So ask yourself – are you putting you first? Maybe you are a dedicated stay-at-home mom, a successful professional who dedicates his/her life to work. Maybe you have a boat-load of responsibilities that all need your attention.  Maybe you are the primary caregiver of an aging parent or grandparent, like I was.

Maybe you put your time into your kids and your job and your friends- into everyone but you. It doesn’t have to be this way.

If you’ve ever told yourself “there has to be more to life,” I challenge you to stop and consider your options. This may very well be the perfect time to take care of you first.

Contributed by Business, Executive and Life Coach, Lori Fortuna