Isn’t that a contradiction?

I have the kind of brain that loves to play with contradictions. I don’t really like black and white. Sometimes I take the opposite point of view just to see what it is like. Not to the Chidi extreme of paralysis, but I do see lots of shades of greys.  If your brain doesn’t work like that – if you like black and white – then this blog is for you. Think of it as flexibility training…

Here’s something I’ve been playing with a lot lately. “I can do hard stuff.” That thought makes me feel strong, and when I feel strong, I absolutely can tackle difficult things, and get the results I want. Good, yeah?

Then my inner tween starts whining “why does it have to be so hard?” Hmmm. If I’m stuck in the strong, I say “Shut up. Suck it up. I can do hard, so just do it.”

But what if… it doesn’t have to be so hard? What if there really is an easier way? That really got me thinking, and I actually felt a shift as a bunch of things aligned.

My life – like, everything in my life – got easier when I did the work I needed to do to begin to manage my brain, to shut down the noise and drama. I stopped struggling, and everything was so much easier. I began to operate from a totally different place, a place of peace.

Here are the Cliff notes of how I got there:

What if I’ve been wrong all this time? What if it’s not either/or? It’s either hard or it’s easy? If I’m not being strong, I must be weak – what if that’s just BS? What if it can be easy and hard at the same time?

I think I have it! Every day doesn’t have to be hard. We don’t have to start from a place of struggle and drama. That’s big, take it in. We don’t have to start there. But we might encounter obstacles along the way (might? OK, we will). That’s when we need strength – to overcome them so we can get back to the place of peace.

I’m thinking of my niece who is climbing Mt. Whitney right now. She set this challenge for herself months ago. She knew it was going to be a challenge, because she had never done it before. But she didn’t start off thinking it was going to be “so hard” that she made up a bunch of drama or she quit. No, she just figured out what kind of practice and gear and nutrition and conditioning she was going to need. Then she did it. She didn’t start off struggling and miserable she figured out how it didn’t have to be so hard Sometimes she needed to tell herself “I can do hard. I can do this.” But she didn’t start off struggling.

Okay, that makes perfect sense in this example, right?

But what if the challenge you choose is weight loss, or career change, or starting an academy? Writing a book? Reading the classics? Stop drinking? “Oh that’s different. That will be hard. I’ve never done it before. I have a million reasons why I won’t succeed, such as…” Queue the drama.

These are big things.

It may be hard AND it doesn’t have to be a struggle.

Does that blow your mind? It should. It changes everything. Queue the peace.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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If you’re interested in tackling a big goal for yourself, and you want to try a different approach, email me (maggie@talktomaggie.com) or schedule a free mini session with me (here). A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about the noise that’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

What does it even mean – does it serve me?

Sometimes we assume we are all talking about the same thing, when we really aren’t.

Look anything up in Urban Dictionary and you’ll see what I mean.

I use the question “does it serve me?” as a criteria for evaluating so many things: my thoughts, my beliefs, my decisions, my values – and I highly recommend it.

Sometimes I get pushback from my clients, because they think I mean it in a selfish way, and they just aren’t comfortable being selfish (which is a topic for another day!) They think that I am saying to be self-serving, which means having concern for one’s own welfare and interests before those of others. That’s not at all what I mean!

“Does it serve me?” = does this thought or belief or whatever thing help me to be my best self? To become more of who I want to be? To be more authentic, more aligned with my values and ethics? Does it help me accomplish what I want to accomplish? to feel the way I want and need to feel to be able to achieve my goals?

When the answer is “yes” then it is never self-serving, because being my best self means that I am bringing a better version of me to the world to love and serve and give.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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If you’re interested in finding some peace for yourself, email me (maggie@talktomaggie.com) or schedule a free mini session with me (here). A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about the noise that’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

What’s this peace thing you keep talking about?

Almost two years ago now, I had a major moment. Life changing.

It didn’t come with a trumpet fanfare nor an angelic chord.

It wasn’t in some glamorous place after a bunch of soul searching.

It was in a coffee shop in SoCal talking to my sister.

I was telling her about some changes I had made in my lifestyle. She said I seemed different, and she wanted to know all about it, because, you know, she loves me and was interested. It was the first time I’d talked about it out loud.

Sometimes I learn what I’m thinking by talking.

I told her that the best thing was that my mind was quiet. Just quiet. There wasn’t a lot of bickering and bantering going on. Should I or shouldn’t I. Endlessly debating a decision and feeling guilty in advance then berating myself.

I hadn’t even known that was my normal noise level until it stopped.

Peace is a quiet mind.

I reveled in the peace and quiet for a month or two. I began to trust that it was going to stick around. I began to trust myself more.

From that peaceful place, I started making more changes. Setting goals and achieving them. Setting bigger goals – like getting my Life Coaching certification, relaunching my coaching practice, and now becoming a Master Coach. Setting smaller goals and pretty much just knocking them out without drama.

The life changing moment was when I realized that the noise was completely optional. I didn’t have to struggle. I didn’t need my brain to motivate and nag me – in fact I was better off without it!

My noise just happened to be mostly around food. At another time in my life it would have been around something else. It’s kind of entertaining that all that noise around food got in the way of the rest of my life, isn’t it?

Now that I know how powerful peace can be, I talk about it a lot. It’s the foundation of my coaching practice. I am becoming the Peace Coach.

Peace is a great foundation for doing big things, for achieving your goals – whatever they are!

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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If you’re interested in finding some peace for yourself, email me (maggie@talktomaggie.com) or schedule a free mini session with me (here). A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about the noise that’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

What if hope isn’t all wonderful?

Hope can be a wonderful thing, when we use it correctly. It’s kinda like medicine. When it’s used incorrectly, it can actually be a bad thing. I know that’s an unusual thought, and you probably don’t see how that could possibly be. So stick with me…

It’s wonderful when we use it to:

  • Help us through the dark times
  • Inspire us to a new, brighter future
  • Guide us to our light
  • Start us on a journey
  • Motivate us with a vision
  • Be a gift to others

That’s why we love hope and the idea of hope. If you notice, all of those uses of hope are active.

But we can get addicted to passive hope. Passive hope is a dangerous drug. Hope becomes passive when we just sit around and “hope something good will happen”, when we “hope it will work this time”, when we “hope we will rise to the occasion.” Do you see how that’s passive? We don’t take responsibility for the outcome, we just “hope” for it.

We can absolutely start with hope. And then add commitment, action and belief. Faith, even. Then hope becomes something. Something that resembles movement, growth, challenge and success.

Hope is a great place to start. It’s just not and ending place!

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace. A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about what’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

Are you absolutely positively 100% sure?

When I was in middle school, I had this kinda nerdy, kinda cute, young biology teacher who unintentionally messed me up.  He set me up to be a rather obnoxious young woman who had a difficult time with belief and commitment.

One class, he asked us if we knew what 1+1 was, and of course we did.

“Are you sure?” Yes.

“How sure? 90%? 99%? 100%?” Of course we were all 100% sure.

He asked us multiple times. He made a big deal out of it. He made us stand up and walk to different places in the room if we were 100% sure and yada yada.

“You are wrong.” He then went through some logic problem, I forget the details, where he proved that 1 person + 1 person = 1 pair. Therefore 1 + 1 = 1. We were all dutifully humiliated.

He was a science teacher, and he wanted to teach us to be objective, precise and never to make assumptions and  a bunch of other things that make sense in the world of science and research.

But there were two BIG unintended consequences for me, and this is where he led me astray.

First, I learned that it was a big deal to be wrong. Wrong is embarrassing, so it is really important to be right.  I believed that for a loong time.

The need to always be right is exhausting. Plus it made me a really obnoxious person to be around. It really wasn’t until my early thirties that I learned that it’s okay to be wrong (okay for anyone. That made it much nicer to be me and to be around me.

Second, I learned that truth, fact and precision are imperative. Like Prime Directive stuff. Never believe something unless you can prove that it is true, that it is a fact. Objectively. Boy, did that set me up for Freshman philosophy debates!

Maybe this sounds good on the surface, but it really isn’t. It’s a lot of work to prove things. It’s almost impossible to prove most things, which means living in a lot of doubt and uncertainty.

Combine the two: You have to be right and you have to be able to prove it. There’s not much wiggle room there. So I spent a lot of time “on the fence”, not really wanting to commit to things in case they weren’t really true. Didn’t want to make a choice, in case I got it wrong.

Imagine my surprise (and relief) when I learned this about the brain (thanks, neuroscience!): the brain likes beliefs, because they save time and are efficient. The brain does not require facts before it hardwires a belief. The brain creates beliefs out of thoughts all the time. ALL THE TIME. Those thoughts don’t have to be “right”. They just have to be repetitive. Think them enough times and you will believe they are true.

New combination: I can believe things and be wrong. You can believe things and be wrong. You can believe things ABOUT ME and be wrong. Happens all the time.

OH NO! WHATEVER SHALL WE DO?

Here’s what I choose to do: think thoughts that serve me, over and over again, so that they become my beliefs. Look for evidence to support them, not to disprove them.

BTW, here’s how I know a thought serves me: it feels, good, powerful, authentic and leads me to be and do my best. Simple.

So sorry, Mr. Hipkiss, I am 100% sure that you were wrong. And I believed you anyway. That’s okay, I’ve adjusted my beliefs now.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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P.S. Because it is Rocktober and one of my most favorite witchy months, I want to do a new thing. I’m offering 5 places in a FREE training program “How to make your intention inevitable.”  If you’d like to amp up your goals and intentions to the next level, send me an email today!

Maybe a little chocolate…

There’s this thing I do in the evenings, after I eat dinner. I think I want something sweet. You know, just to cap off the day. Or something salty.  Maybe crunchy. Maybe coffee. Maybe a nightcap. Maybe a little chocolate…

Hmmm. I’m not sure what I want. I just know that I want something.

I thought food was what I wanted, but it isn’t really. I just used food to fill up the empty space.  It works for a short time, because I get a dopamine hit and I keep busy for a bit. But it rarely is satisfying, really.

I decided to try consuming something other than food.  A podcast, a story, an article, a song, a Pinterest search, call someone (what?!?), a rehearsal…some little bite of something more interesting than food.

You know what? That’s actually what I want. I want to consume something other than food. I want little bites of something “tasty” for my brain, or my heart or my spirit. That’s actually what Tapas for Your Soul is all about.

Figuring out what I really want, and getting THAT, is magic. Sometimes I’m a little lonely. Or a little curious, or a little creative, or to move a bit more, or a bit bored.  Food doesn’t fill that need, really. It was more of a substitution habit. I’ve been short changing myself for a long time, trying to substitute a “treat” for something I was really missing. Spending the time to figure out what’s going on and getting what I want is way more fulfilling. A little taste of what I really want goes a long way.

Sure, sometimes I do really want something sweet. Fine. But then I have to pay attention while I’m consuming it so that I make sure I enjoy it.

And remember, in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

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Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

Obligations that don’t suck

Obligations. We all have them. Stuff you just have to do.

How you experience them is completely up to you.

Ugh. Why do I have to do this? I hate it. It’s not fair. It’s gonna be hard. And miserable. And I could be doing something else way more fun. It’s gonna suck.

Absolutely 100% you won’t be surprised.  It sucks.

Or

Well, I can just get this done. Not my favorite, but I’ll feel good when it’s done. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn something, or meet someone kinda interesting. No matter what, I’ll feel good about myself for following through. Maybe I’ll be surprised.

It won’t suck. You might be surprised. You’ll definitely feel good about yourself.

To paraphrase Henry Ford: whether you think it will suck or it won’t, you’re right.

Since it’s in your control, why not choose for it not to suck? Or go a little further – choose for it to be delightful and surprising.

It really is your choice.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace. A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about what’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

BS Files #5: I’m weighing my options

The BS Files are kinda like the X-files – full of myths and urban legends and mysterious things. I feel that it is my duty to tackle them (occasionally). Because, you know, the truth is out there. I think I’m going to handle one case a month, so here is September’s case.

Case #5. I’m weighing my options. Bullsh*t!

This one looks good, right? I’m doing research, investigating, evaluating the pros and cons, making an informed decision, deliberating, getting a second (or third or fourth) opinion. I’ll make my decision after I have all the information.

Good right? Well, not if I look deeper.

What’s really going on is this: I’m stalling. I’m delaying, procrastinating, taking my time. I’m nervous. I’m worried. I’m scared. What if I make the wrong decision (as if that’s never happened before!) I fool myself into believing that if I take my time, I’ll make the right decision. I’ll get better at making decisions by researching.

Truth: I already made a decision to do nothing. I have narrowed my options down to 1.

Truth: You don’t get better at making decisions by research. That’s like saying you get better at riding a bike by playing the accordion. You get better at making decisions by making decisions.

Actually making a decision takes about 5 seconds. The research and investigation part happens before you make a decision.

If you get it wrong, you can always make another decision. Okay, almost always. There are times when there are enormous consequences without a do over – like when McGyver had to choose which wire to cut on the bomb. But even in that situation, the decision had to be made quickly.

Efficient research and evaluation can be quicker than you think, especially if you decouple it from the emotional impact of making a decision.

Pick. Choose. Decide. It’s a skill. It’s a super power. Get better at making decisions by making decisions. Not by playing the accordian, please. Case Closed.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace. A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about what’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

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Have a topic for the BS files? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

A war of words is still war…

I’ve really noticed lately how much conflict language there is around these days. Maybe it’s always been there and I haven’t noticed. But I notice it now, and I’m on a…I almost said “rampage”…mission to change things.

It’s everywhere and it shapes how we think about things.

The language of conflict implies a battle, requiring winners and losers.

It evokes inner thoughts and feelings of struggle and fighting and pushing other people out of the way and fierce competition.

It feeds hidden beliefs, because it’s language we just take for granted, we don’t even notice it. Monsters and demons and enemies.

It’s meant to motivate us, right? And it does. Slaying. Epic. Bad-ass.  So prevalent in the business world. In media.

We get used to things when we are exposed to them over and over again. Sometimes it’s wonderful. Take TV for example. I think it was a lot easier for some Americans to elect a black president after seeing David Palmer on 24 – even if it was on Fox! Or how we don’t even notice it anymore when a female character talks about her wife.

But exposure isn’t always wonderful, and I think that over exposure to the language of conflict numbs us to the impact and meaning of that language.

“Kill two birds with one stone.” Why not “Feed 10 cows in one pasture?”  What others come to mind?

Words matter. Be aware. Choose wisely.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace. A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about what’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

There is nothing like STRONG

Time for a little confession. It’s not an accident that this post follows the one about guilt being a poison, because I think guilt is the toxin that started this phase of the story, but it isn’t the point of this particular chapter, so we’ll just let it sit in the corner by itself…guilt, you just sit there and think about what you did. Leave us alone. We’re busy.

About a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with melanoma, and an ugly one had to be removed from my leg right away.

I’m an amazing healer. I have a history of healing in record time and amazing all the doctors and nurses and physios. I’m pretty much used to it.

So I had the surgery a year ago June. All good, all clear, no more cancer. But I didn’t heal well. The site opened up as soon as the stitches were out. It got infected. Really infected and wasn’t responsive to antibiotics.  I had an open wound for 6 months with weekly wound care appointments. The body doesn’t like open wounds, by the way. It wants to be whole.

During that time, I couldn’t really be more active than gentle walking, maybe a little stationery biking. I had to be pretty sedentary. Not my way at all.

Around November, I was remarking to my wound care nurse that this was so unlike me, to not be healing faster. She said, “Well, that’s just because you’re getting older and your body starts deteriorating.” I was stunned. I had to tell her that I didn’t believe that. I don’t believe that there’s any evidence that says aging HAS TO BE a process of declining health. When I said it out loud, I realized that I needed to hear that. I finished up the rest of the healing pretty quickly.

The next part is what’s really awesome. I had been pretty sedentary for a while now. I didn’t like it. I gradually started increasing my activity. Then one day in March I just decided it was time. I started playing around with exercise. I started with cardio. At first I had to modify things a lot, but I really did see rapid improvement in my flexibility and endurance. By June I was ready to go all in and start lifting and HIIT again. It’s August, and I’m lifting more than I ever have before. Ever.

There is nothing like STRONG. That’s the feeling I want all the time – for all my life, up to the very last second.

Strong isn’t just physical. It’s confident and brave and powerful and comfortable. It’s authentic and connected and loving. There’s no judgment in strong. Strong is accepting and open and vulnerable. Strong is a belief system. Strong is incredibly grounded, and yet fierce.

Yes, for me having a healthy and strong body is a big component of Strong, but it’s not the only piece.  I completely understand why communities claim strength after a traumatic event, like #SonomaStrong after the fires last year.

STRONG = Life Force.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace. A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about what’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!