Don't Hold On So Tight...

"Love is like quicksilver in the hand. Leave the fingers open and it stays in the palm; clutch it, and it darts away."

-Dorothy Parker, author (22 Aug 1893-1967)

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The more we try to control anything or anyone in our life, the greater our stress and anxiety tend to be. It is then that we live more in fear than in love.

Many people live more in fear that unpleasant things of the past will repeat or worry about how the future will unfold, which robs them of the peace and joy to be experience in the present.

Of course - make plans, set goals, dream and think through possible challenges but then…don’t hold on so tight.

Shall we learn from the monkeys…

I love this story to illustrate how getting so fixated on how we think things should be can actually be a trap.

Natives in Asia, African and South America have devised a simple and ingenious method of trapping monkeys. They take a gourd, pot or bowl with an opening just large enough for the monkey’s hand to pass through; they weigh down the vessel with rocks or sand, then put some enticing food, nuts or fruit, inside and place it where the monkeys will discover it.

The monkey discovers the goodies, reaches in and grabs the food but can’t get its hand back out with a clenched fist. Rather than risk losing the treasure, the monkey becomes trapped and sacrifices everything.

By holding on so tightly to the one possible solution of achieving its goal and winning the prize, the monkey gives up its freedom and possibly its life.

Perhaps if the monkey would loosen its hold on the goodies, maybe even let go completely, it could shift perspective and devise another plan.

When we get attached or fixated on the outcome or anything for that matter, we limit and restrict ourselves. It is only by letting go, relaxing that more possibilities and opportunities become available to us resulting in allowing ourselves to experience more love.

What in your life are you holding on too tightly?

What can you just let go of to make room for the treasures you really seek?

In what ways can you let more love in your life today?

Share this with someone you care about and support one another so that you don’t hold on so tightly any longer.

Abound in grace,

Karen

Freedom is But a Flutter Away...

Have you ever just wanted to fly away?

Perhaps you’ve wanted to fly away to escape…

Then again, maybe you’ve felt light and free and as if you are soaring to heights not yet experienced and the view from above is amazing!

Life is often a paradox; a mystery, and sometimes, yes, sometimes, our way of being allows us to hold the paradox and mystery of what otherwise may seem like polar opposites freely and easily in a sea of grace – kindness, mercy, unconditional love.

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A very common theme in people I work with is that they deeply desire a greater sense of freedom – freedom to express, create, and really just be themselves. 

Unfortunately, many people experience the polar opposite. They feel stuck, trapped, and captive to their circumstances and often feel held back by people in their life. Many feel they have little to no options and as if they have no choice but to endure.

Lies. Lies. Lies.

There was a time that I felt such a heavy burden - like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.  The harder I worked; the more things seemed to fall apart. I kept looking for others to solve my problems and often said things like: “If they would just [fill in the blank], then my life would be so much easier.” The more I tried to control others, the situations and circumstances, the worse I felt and the more out of control things seemed.

Freedom, dear friends, is generated from the inside-out. 

I know this is counter-intuitive to our ego or our intellect, yet, I speak Truth.

So, back to the title of this article, “Freedom is but a flutter away…” and paradox. If you do more and more of things you are doing that created the stuckedness, you will keep getting more and more of the same results and over time things will most assuredly get worse. 

To be free, one must think and act free. In other words, one must flutter. You must learn anew to fly and soon you will be soaring to new heights and experiencing life more amazing than you could even imagine.
 
What does freedom mean to you? 

When or at what time in your life have you felt most free? 

In what ways do you express your freedom(s)?

What daily practices, habits and routines are you willing to implement so that you can consistently experience a greater sense of freedom in your life?

Don’t live a mediocre life in captivity or in the shadows of your deepest desires. Learn to flutter so that you may fly and enjoy the wonderful sense of freedom you were born to live. 

It would be my humble privilege to walk along this journey with you as your coach. Schedule your free Thrive-ability session now – simply click here and begin to strengthen your wings. 

Abound in grace,

Karen
 

Happy Independence Day, USA

As I was reflecting on what independence means, I’ve had the pleasure of working with several clients and interestingly, many were seeking more “independence.”

So, now my curiosity and adventuresome spirits are piqued…what are we seeking “independence” from or for? Many of us want more financial independence, or perhaps more independence to express our creativity, and even independence from what we think others think or want from us.

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Take a moment to reflect upon what “independence” means to you.

Take your time on this – it’s wonderful to really explore your inner desires and where you may even be feeling trapped…..got some ideas/thoughts?

Now, as you are ready, keep reading.

Ultimately, I’ve discovered that what we really want – deep down – beneath the surface level, is to be free. To embody a sense of freedom. Freedom to love and be love, express our uniqueness, freedom to experience life and share our joys as well as our sadness, to be free from doubt and worry - about what others think or want or expect from us and freedom from what we perceive are our own limitations and shortcomings that hold us in dependence upon something or someone outside or ourselves.

Our egoic self, the part of us that thinks it’s all up to us, we’re separate from everything and everyone else, no one gets me, so I better figure out what everyone thinks or wants so I fit in and can be appreciated, valued, loved and know that I matter. That part of us is continually seeking “independence” thinking that it’s the them, the those, the thing, situation or circumstance that we must get away from to be free and thus happy and we believe this as ultimate truth. Frankly this approach is exhausting and searching for a lie.

The truth is there is no way we can go it alone. How do I know this. Just look around…..are there others? Yes. Therefore, we’re all in this thing called life together and we need one another (on varying level of course and at different times-reason, season, etc.), otherwise, there would only be an expression as one of us. Yet, just look at all the variety and diversity and beauty each of us bring…yep, we need one another in all our amazing differences that upon close examination, we discover many more similarities just expressing in so many different ways.

Life is beautifully and divinely designed to weave and work intricately together in all its simplicity and complexity - a wonderful paradox. We need others that have gone before to imagine and create tractors to harvest food, automobiles and trucks to deliver our food to stores, our road systems for travel, store owners to provide the location for shopping, the chair, table, plate, utensils, computers, hair stylist, dentist, doctors, teachers, sanitation workers, sales associates, accountants, lawyers, architects, and the list goes on and on. It is impossible to absolutely be “independent.”

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So, what if we embrace our dependence? What might that look like? Well, it could look like living a life of humble gratitude. For example, I am super grateful that I do not have to do all the things that once were required to live and that I have support and dependence upon so many so that I may focus on what is mine to do, what I love doing, so that I may share and offer my gifts and talents freely to others.

True independence is a quality of being generated from within based on your choice of perspective, shaping your perception and creating your reality regardless of situation or circumstance. So many have exemplified this attitude: Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Buddha, Jesus to name a few and I’m sure you could come up with others, perhaps role models from your own life. This independence allows a true sense of freedom to just be yourself.

So, on this Independence Day and every day, I challenge you to stretch your imagination as to just how freely you can live because of and with others AND create a lovely long gratitude list as to all those others and all the ways that allow you the freedom to be you.

Please share your current top 3 Freedom Gratitude’s – let’s change the world and truly let freedom ring!

Abound in grace,

Karen

The 3S Process: Transform Negative Inner Chatter Into Supportive/Positive Thoughts

If we treated our friends like we treat ourselves, we’d all go to jail.” -Unknown

We all have that nagging inner voice in our head. That inner critic that tells us horrible lies, yet there is a hint of truth, such that we follow along and make up dialogue and “what if’s” that pull us further and further away from what we truly desire.

Most of the time, this chatter is happening and we’re not even really aware, until we may realize that we have low energy, are grumpy, tired, and just feel like crap.

This moment of realization or awareness is THE MOMENT when you can do something positive to shift or transform that inner critic in to our greatest ally.

How?

3S – that’s how!

Step #1 Stop

Step #2 Spot

Step #3 Swap

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The 3S is a quick and easy process, and armed with the above fun image, it’s an effective way to help you remember that YOU can transform that crappy feeling in to happy.

Here’s how it works:

Step #1 Stop Notice the negative message. Awareness. Stop it in its tracks.

Step #2 Spot Spot the lie. 

Step #2.a. Get Curious You’re already having inner dialogue with yourself-just let it be fun.

Step #2.b. Question Question the thought for its truth.

Step #2.c. Correct Correct the inner critic by telling it the belief/statement is untrue…

”That’s a lie.”

Step #3 Swap Reframe the negative “you” thought/belief to a positive “I” statement.

(Yes, most always our inner critic talks to us in 3rd person “you” statements.)

Cutting Ties With The Lies And Tethering To The Truth

Negative thoughts are like weeds and any gardener will tell you, if you don’t tend the weeds your garden will soon be overrun with them. The other truth about weeds is, regardless of how diligently you pull them, you can never fully eradicate them. Think of any paved parking lot with even a solitary weed poking its head up. The weeds will find a way.

So the goal is not to eliminate the inner critic. The real trick is to give that inner critic a voice. Acknowledge the negative. Give it oxygen. Only then can its statements be examined and dealt with (i.e. transformed, shifted or reframed). 

The next time you are faced with that nagging inner critic try this 3S, 3-step process – you may even get to know, like and trust your inner critic.

Step #1 Notice the negative message

Our negative self-talk can be so commonplace that we don't even consciously notice when we’re doing it.

To become more aware of your inner critic's voice notice when your mood or energy takes you into negative thinking when there hasn't been an incident to cause such a shift. If you notice a change, go back and ask yourself what you were just thinking about. You will often find that you have been engaging in negative self-talk without even realizing it.

Step #2 Stop it in its tracks

Even if the negative thoughts are true, they are not healthy. And honestly, most often when really examined, the thoughts are distortions of truth and thus, not true. So stop them immediately. You can use this simple technique from Prentice Mulford, a prominent thought pioneer from the 1800's. He said that we must deny access to those thoughts we don't want. He created a "thought refusal" tool in which he says,

“I refuse this thought and the mental condition it has brought on me which affects my body.”

If you are really brave and decisive, you can simply say “delete” or “cancel” to remove the unwanted/negative thought. 

Say “delete” or “cancel” aloud, if appropriate, or in your inner voice if others are around.

Step #2.a. Get Curious.

Ask yourself empowering questions and reflect back to discover or uncover your thoughts. I’ve found that “Why” questions keep us stuck in the past. More empowering questions, ones that allow you to ask and answer from the viewpoint of the observer, typically begin with “What” and “How.”

Step #2.b. Question the thought for its truth.

We often accept our negative self-criticisms as truth without questioning their validity. The next time you become aware of a negative thought, challenge it. Ask yourself if it’s true or not. Pitting our negative thoughts against what is actually true can be a simple yet powerful exercise and a step towards shattering our negative and usually untrue belief.

Step #2.c. Correct the inner critic by telling it the statement is untrue.

Now that you’ve acknowledged and challenged your inner critic, it’s time to replace the inaccurate assessments and lies with the more accurate, empathetic, and powerful truth. Instead of, “You’re a loser and you’ll never succeed,” try, “I may not be perfect, but I tried my best and I got a pretty good result.” Reframe the negative thoughts so they more accurately reflect the truth.

Step #3 Reframe the negative “you” thought to a positive "I" statement. 

“I” statements help us assert what we really believe by connecting us to what we’re feeling. For example, the internal dialogue would shift from, “You never do anything right,” to, “I feel frustrated and angry when the results don’t reflect my efforts.” Replacing “you statements” with “I statements” takes the negative charge out of our inner dialogue.

The nagging chatter call of the inner critic serves as an opportunity to challenge inaccurate thoughts and replace them with positive, helpful ones. 

This 3S - 3 Step process can help…

What does your inner critic tell you? 

What can you learn from it? 

How can you use that inner dialogue to help you improve your life?  

Because our inner critic has been with us for a long, long time, it is often quite challenging to recognize it, and even more challenging to get beyond its distortions and lies so that you can discover and uncover the truth.

This process is powerful in and of itself and if you would like one-on-one support and help noticing, disrupting, healing, and integrating those old patterns that block or hold you back from dreaming, creating, and living the life of your dreams, please do not delay. Email me at Karen@LifeCoachingwithkp.com or better still, book Your Free Needs Analysis Coaching Session now.

Have fun with this new tool in your proverbial tool belt of life.

Blessings and Abound in Grace,

Karen