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How I Built my
Business Taking Cat Naps
If someone had told me years ago that one of the smartest things that I could do for my business was to take cat naps, I would have thought that they were out of their mind! Well, I have news for you. Sometimes being out of your mind is not a bad thing, especially in business.
Let me tell you what I mean.
I have noticed that the harder we try to make things work, the more that thing that we want most, elude us. I have seen this in myself, and have seen it over and over again with my clients. That’s the bad news. The good news is that by letting go of things a bit, has a way of making what we want fall perfectly into place. (Remember that saying, what you resist, persists?)
In order to truly let things go you must get “out of your mind” and into your heart. Not an easy thing for most of us super achievers to do. Most of us have spent a lifetime in our heads and the idea of tapping into another place terrifies us. After all, our heads have done us just fine so far!
But if I were to ask you to quiet yourself a bit, turn off some of that mind chatter, would you not say that there is another place from which you often find your brilliant ideas and insights? Yes, your head may be the place that sorts through those ideas and implements them, but it is your heart, that gives them to your head in the first place?
When is the last time that you’ve made time or space for your heart to communicate with you? Even more important, do you create time on a regular basis to do so?
Logically, in order to hear the whisper of the heart, we must find a way to quiet the endless (and often loud) chatter of our minds. This takes conscious effort, especially at the beginning. But like most things, practice does help.
Obviously, meditation is a good way to go about “getting out of our minds,” but there are many other ways to do this as well. Like napping for instance. I have found that a simple 20 minute nap (often during my lunch hour) is the perfect solution for a mind that is working overtime.
Not only does napping allow my mind to rest, but it also allows me to clear my thoughts and digest what I am learning along the way. As a business owner, this is invaluable.
Even more important, I am able to go into my afternoon activities with a clear head and a relaxed body.
Now I realize that depending on one’s circumstances, it is not always easy or appropriate to take a nap in the middle of one’s day, but the power is in the intention. With an intention of creating some “down” time you can find there are many options available to you. For example: taking a walk outside, getting to the gym for a workout, finding a quiet place to do some reading or journaling, or turning your chair away from your door and simply closing your eyes for a few moments. (This is what I used to do when I was a stockbroker with a glass office. I would put on my headset, turn my chair around and close my eyes. From the outside looking in, it looked like I was on the telephone with a client. If only they knew what I was really doing!)
I challenge you to get creative (use your head if you have to) and find a way to “get out of your mind.” Whether it’s stealing a cat nap or finally making a commitment to meditate, there are amazing things waiting to happen for you.
The Perfect Day
"Have you ever had one of those days that was so perfect that you knew nothing could possibly disconnect you from your sense of well being?
This past Wednesday I decided, unexpectedly, to take the entire day off and to do only things that nourished me and replenished my reserves of energy and balance.
First, I let my husband get my daughter ready and off to school while I lounged in my PJs enjoying my morning cup of Earl Grey. Next, with my dog cuddled up next to me, I leisurely wrote in my Mastermind Journal and enjoyed a peaceful and tranquil house. I then languished in an unusually long shower followed by the decision to skip the makeup and blow drying routine. Boy, did that feel freeing and refreshing.
In my state of bliss, I popped in an Abraham Hicks recording and headed down the mountain to get a cranial-sacral session with my favorite healer. I then floated out of her office to enjoy lunch with a dear friend followed by a little treasure hunting in a used book store and ladies boutique.
For the drive home, I treated myself to a decadent coffee concoction while listening to my new tape of Anam Cara: Wisdom of the Celtic World that practically jumped out at me while perusing the shelves at the book store. (I clearly had no choice, but to buy this set of tapes, especially after hearing my angels giggle as I brought them to the register).
Rather than bore you with the rest of the details of my nearly perfect day, I'd like to shift my focus to what this day taught me.
First, I was reminded of the importance of honoring your body, mind, and soul's request to take time to rest or play and the incredible sense of satisfaction you feel when you honor that request.
I remembered that in terms of the law of attraction, there's nothing more attractive than someone who allows themselves the freedom to enjoy themselves. I have often reminded clients of the importance of including things that bring them joy (like massages, yoga, or playing hooky once in a while) as part of their marketing plan for their businesses.
I also realized how easy it was for me to bask in appreciation and gratitude as I relished a day free of time constraints and commitments to anyone other than myself. I felt so lucky and blessed to have the freedom to enjoy such a delicious day.
I loved this day so much that I felt compelled to declare all future Wednesdays as "Well-being Wednesdays." I have already pulled out my Day Planner and blocked out the rest of the month's Wednesdays as my own. In the note page section, I quickly jotted a few luscious ideas of what I'd like to do on my official "Well-being Wednesdays." I scribbled down ideas like: lunch with a girl friend; puttering around my quiet house while Ania is in school and Barry is at work; writing and/or journaling; dancing to lively music; massage; yoga; telephone a friend or two; take hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Last, I realized that in taking the day for me, I had spent time communing with my heart rather than being driven by the unceasing demands of my head. In doing so, I found an unexpected well spring of clarity, energy and joy. I was blessedly reunited with my Soul.
What might happen if you gave yourself permission to play hooky and declare a day just for you? Let's be honest, the world won't come to a screeching halt if you were to take a day off. Better yet, the quality of your life might very well take a turn for the better. What are you waiting for? You'll be glad you did!
"Mommy, what does your intuition say?" Those are the words my 6-year-old started asking me since I sat down with her a few months ago to talk with her about her inner guidance system.
It started in preschool when my daughter would come home from school upset and complaining that someone hurt her feelings. I would explain to her that no one could hurt her feelings without her giving them permission to do so. In other words, her feelings belong to her and that only she can decide what she wants to feel and how long she wants to feel that way. She seemed to understand and soon stopped complaining about how other classmates treated her.
From there, we’d often chat about how important our feelings are and how we can have a positive affect on others by being kind, courteous and compassionate. I wanted her to understand that how we treat others affects them as well as us.
As we talked more about emotions and feelings, I realized that although she was very young, she had a clear understanding of what I was trying to teach her or that she indeed understood that the primary way we find our place in the world is through emotion. I could also see that there was no need for me to teach her these principles as she, in her 6-year-old body, clearly lived in the present moment. What I was doing was simply offering a language she could use and an opportunity to further explore how the world works and how she is a co-creation within it.
Eventually we found ourselves talking about intuition, that quiet voice that lives in our tummy or in our heart, and has the answer to any question we have. We’d be in the car and she’d ask me a question. Often, my response would be, “What does your intuition say about that?” She’d quickly find an answer that, more times than not, was right on target. She rapidly learned that by taking a moment to go inside herself, she’d find the guidance she was looking for.
Being like a sponge, she took off with the idea of using her intuition and ran with it. She’d come into the kitchen and say, “Mommy, my intuition says it wants a cup of hot chocolate.” Or, “Mommy my intuition says it’s okay to stay up late tonight.” I’d smile knowing that she indeed was finding her inner guidance and learning not to give her power away by thinking that others have the answer for her―a lesson many adults are still learning.
My recent conversations with my daughter have been reversed, where her question to me is, “Mommy, what does your intuition say?” My challenge is to remember to remind her that she has her own answers and that I don’t necessarily help her by giving her mine. My intuition is here to guide me just as hers is there to guide her.
I feel so blessed to have such a sacred and special relationship with my daughter. I have known from the time of her conception that she was here to teach me much more than I’d ever be able to teach her. What I didn’t realize is the wonderful opportunity that she’d give me to solidify my own wisdom and to step into the role of being a wise and fully-present mother. Don’t get me wrong, I struggle like everyone else to be the best parent that I can be, but when I get stuck all I have to do is ask, “What does my intuition say?” and I’m back on track again.
©2007 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
Do you know, and honor, your personal limitations? Or do you wait until you’ve smacked head first into them before you slow down and back off?
I’ve been pushing myself a lot lately. A few months ago I decided to work on launching a new business that I already knew would demand a great deal of time and energy from me. I knew that it would take extra effort on my part to prioritize, organize and keep my focus as I learned new skills while honoring my commitment to living a balanced and fulfilling life.
From the inside looking out, it’s been a bumpy ride. Every time I get one task accomplished, five more items instantly appear on my to-do list. Instead of focusing on what is getting done, I’m busy stressing about what isn’t. I find myself up against the relentless and cruel taskmaster within who is never satisfied with my progress or accomplishments. Even my dreams, lately, are filled with chaos and confusion making it clear that it’s time for something to change.
Before my head injury, my solution to challenges was to simply try harder. Amazingly, that usually seemed to do the trick, until I exhausted all my reserves of energy and ended up with a sinus infection, bronchitis or some other ailment. I guess, in truth, trying harder was a short term fix to a deeper problem that was rooted in being an unrealistic perfectionist.
Fast forward many years and a head injury later, whether I like it or not, my inner perfectionist is still alive and pushing. To make matters worse, if I haven’t taken the time to pay attention to my inner guidance and slow down, she takes over and runs my life in ways that clearly don’t serve me. It’s not until I wake up with a nasty headache or sore throat, that I realize that I missed the signs.
Did I mention that my inner perfectionist has unobtainable standards and lacks a sense of humor? She rationalizes that having high standards is a good thing and conveniently forgets to mention that unobtainable standards are really more about her insecurities than they are about the standards themselves.
And, her sense of humor? Forget about it. When there’s so much work to be done there’s no time to waste by laughing or being light. That’s simply a waste of one’s resources.
As I visualize my inner perfectionist, I see her with a whip in her hands yelling wildly, “Keep going!” As I stop to look into her eyes, I see that she’s afraid. Afraid of life. Afraid of people. Afraid to stop.
As I continue to make eye contact, I open my heart and send her love. I allow her to recognize that I truly see her and that I love her. A tear wells up in her eyes. I reach for her and see that she’s frightened and unsure of whether to let me in. I let her know that I can be trusted and that I do not judge her. Quite the contrary, I love and acknowledge her for letting me in and having the courage to allow me to connect with her. I reach out and hold her in my arms. I feel the stiffness in her body soften as we connect. I feel her fears and her fierceness melt away as she relinquishes her resistance and lets in my love.
As I continue to hold her, I realize that she is simply a lost part of me that longs for connection. That like all of us, what she wants most is to be loved and to feel a sense of belonging. By having the courage to be truly seen, she allows herself to be gifted with the understanding that she is worthy. I love her just as she is. She doesn’t need to accomplish anything in order to be loved and valued. Her worth doesn’t need to be earned; it is her birth right.
She is perfect just as she is. She smiles with understanding as she remembers the truth. As we walk together hand in hand we are grateful. Grateful for our connection, grateful for our friendship, and grateful for the good things to come.
She whispers into my ear, “Remind others.” And so with a sense of reverence and peace I ask you: is there an inner perfectionist or inner taskmaster crying out for your love and attention? If so, what can you do to make a connection with her/him? What gifts might await you if you did?
©2007 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
For some reason I have been paying attention to and appreciating my freedom more than ever. As an American entrepreneur, I often take for granted the freedoms in my life. When I step back and look at my life from a distance, I can see the decisions I have made to get me here and I can appreciate my freedom even more.
This past week my 6-year-old daughter and I were talking about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. I was explaining how not that long ago, in the United States, the freedom that people had (or didn’t have) was often dictated by the color of their skin. She looked at me with indignation and said, “Mommy, that’s stupid.” I smiled and agreed. I further explained to her that even now, some people still believe that a person’s value is dictated by such factors as the color of their skin, their sex, or their religious beliefs. I was relieved to see that like me, she finds this not only unbelievable, but very, very disappointing.
We also talked about the courage Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks must have had to face such adversity and hatred. We both agreed that they were amazing people and that it’s hard for us to truly understand what it was like for them to live at a time of such turmoil and the courage it took to stand up against so many people and to say “enough!”
Fast forward 30+ years. We’ve come a long way, but the journey is far from finished. It doesn’t take much to see that discrimination is still alive in ways we’d probably rather sweep under the rug than face head on and have the courage to do something about.
If we truly want to live in peace on this planet, it’s time we throw out our “us vs. them” mentality and replace it with “we.” We all belong to the human race and as Wayne Dyer says, “In a round world, there are no sides.”
So I challenge you this week to lovingly catch yourself when you find you are engaging in judgmental conversation (internal as well as external) or talking in “us vs. them” language. Remember, there is no “them” only “we.” This includes categorizing words like democrats, republicans, liberals, conservatives, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hispanics, whites, blacks, Asians, Native Americans, blue collar, white collar, aristocrat, peasant, veteran, draft dodger, educated, uneducated, male, female, fat, thin, young, old, gay, straight, lower class, middleclass, upper class, feminist, sexist, bigot. I’ll stop now. You get the picture.
In a chaotic and unconscious world that can feel unsafe and overwhelming, we slip into using such terms so that we can categorize people and in turn feel a false sense of order and peace. In truth these words polarize us and amplify our feelings of fear and most importantly, discount the fact that humans are much broader, more complex and certainly more valuable than the labels we like to give them.
Who do you consider the most loving and caring person you know? Perhaps it’s someone you’ve been blessed in knowing personally or perhaps it’s someone you know of (real or imagined) through reputation or study. Imagine yourself being as caring and loving as they are.
Now imagine everyone on our planet being that loving to one another. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Imagine all the present day challenges and conflicts that would simply disappear as we cultivate friendship, love, cooperation and peace.
Far fetched? I think not. One only need visit a preschool to see that our natural state is one of well-being and happiness. At any given moment a journey inside the depths of your own heart will remind you that indeed you are a peace-loving being that craves a connection to Spirit, to Self and to those around you. At that moment of remembrance, the wise person puts down their sword and shield and realizes the only armor they need is the courage and wisdom that resides in their own heart. Nothing more, nothing less.
I believe that the journey to peace starts within your own heart. Why not step fully onto the path and see what happens?
I challenge you this week to spend time in your heart appreciating the freedoms you have, the blessings that surround you, and most importantly, cultivating love and acceptance…starting with love for the Being that is YOU, and Self acceptance. The world is counting on you and quite possibly the future of our planet as well.
©2006 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
1) What are you most proud of accomplishing (both internally and externally) this past year? How can you acknowledge yourself for your accomplishments?
2) What would you like to experience more of in 2007?
3) What would you like to experience less of in 2007?
4) What are you going to do differently this year to create the results that you really want? Remember Mark Twain’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same things over and over while expecting different results.”
5) If you were to allow yourself to be fully loved and supported (both personally and professionally) what might happen? What would that support look and feel like?
6) What important question do you wish I had asked?
©2007 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
*This space is for you to fill in with your own unique and well practiced techniques for becoming disillusioned and cynical. I bet you have one (or two)!
©2006 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
Last week’s Monday Morning Coach spurred a lot of you to write me with words such as, “This was the best Monday Morning Coach ever!” Obviously Gandhi’s message of nonviolence and “being the change you want to see in the world” resonated loudly with many of you.
Sadly, within the short time I wrote Monday Morning Coach and the day it was published, our country was stunned and saddened by two horrid acts of violence in our schools, including in a small Colorado mountain community much like mine.
Like many of you, my first thought was shock and then sadness--sadness for the families and communities affected by such extreme acts of desperation and violence and sadness of how very disconnected these two men must have felt from not only others, but from themselves and Spirit to compel them to act so violently.
I, personally, have been a victim of a crime several times in my life and have always chosen compassion and understanding towards my perpetrator, much to the dismay of the people around me. Don’t get me wrong, feeling and expressing anger and frustration were a large part of my healing process, but that anger and frustration was never focused on the men that victimized me (or my family) because at some level I understood that these men had been victimized themselves or they would have never committed the crimes that they did.
Sadly, in both instances I saw that our penal system was more about punishment than it was about rehabilitation. In both instances, I pleaded with the court that as a victim, the only restitution that I was asking for was that these men be helped so that the crime they committed against me/us would be their last. I knew in my heart that punishment was not the answer. These men were calling out for help and that although locking them up so that they could not hurt others might be easy and appealing, doing so would be nothing more than putting a band-aid on a hemorrhaging and infected wound.
Ten years later, my life is still affected greatly by the crime committed against me. Regardless, I still hold a place of compassion and understanding in my heart for the man who in an instant changed our lives and I pray that in doing so, he has found healing and peace just as I have found peace and healing within my heart.
When I sat down to write today, I wasn’t sure where my pen would take me. I knew that I wanted to continue my thoughts from last week about nonviolence and cultivating peace. I had no idea that I would be sharing my own experience of violence with you. Now that I have done so, I’m glad.
I have learned that to truly be at peace, we must give ourselves permission to feel fully the entire spectrum of emotions including rage and anger. Many of us have been taught to temper our emotions, especially the less attractive ones. I challenge you to give yourself permission this week to stop judging your emotions and let them come to the surface. From there, find appropriate means to let them rip! Journaling, throwing things (like eggs, pillows) and extreme exercise are great ways to allow the more potent emotions to come up and out of your body. You don’t need to know what they are about, just trust that it’s time to finally release them and know that underneath you’ll find a sense of joy, peace and bliss.
I suppose this would be a good time to write some kind of disclaimer about me not being a therapist and to make sure that you enroll the help of a professional with this process. It certainly took professional help to get me started with this process. That being said, I trust that you know what is best for you and that you understand what you need in order to love and honor yourself and others as you release the emotions within you.
Cultivating peace and nonviolence is an intuitive and individual journey of the heart. In order to be in our heart, we must set free the angst in our heads. In doing so, we find our heart to be capable of more fullness and an ability to connect with ourselves, others and Spirit at a much deeper and meaningful level.
Can you fully feel your heart? What is it saying or asking of you? How can you embrace and express some of the other emotions you are feeling (or trying not to feel) so you can make a clearer connection to your heart? What might happen if you did?
I humbly request that when faced with experiences that make your head spin or that leave you stunned or shocked that you take a moment to go inside and connect. Ask Spirit to be present as you notice what you think and feel. Give yourself permission to feel fully whatever emotions come up in that moment and ask Spirit to love and guide you to a place of peace and compassion. If at first you feel like nothing’s happening, that’s okay. Just keep asking and trusting. Soon you will feel Spirit’s presence and you will know that you are being guided and loved at each step of your journey. You are not alone; you never were and never will be.
©2006 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
Did you know that October 2nd, is Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday? Born in 1869, he would have been 137 years old today. On the anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, thousands gather at the park on the Jumna River at Delhi where Gandhi’s body was cremated. Hymns are sung, verses from the Gita, the Koran and the Bible are recited, and cotton thread is spun on small spinning wheels (one of Gandhi’s favorite activities). Other observances are held at his birthplace and throughout India on this public holiday.
Gandhi’s biggest gift to us was his wisdom and his commitment to using nonviolent resistance to create change. It’s humbling to see that almost 60 years after his death we are still in need of remembering the power of nonviolence. Being the optimist that I am, I believe that although we still have a ways to go we are learning and starting to live from the principles of love, peace and nonviolent resistance. We are starting to understand that violence is never the answer and that peace starts from within.
Gandhi taught us to be the change that we want to see in the world. It’s easy to sit in our armchairs and judge others for the mistakes they are making. In doing so, we feel righteous and eventually more and more powerless to do anything. Worst of all, we continue to feel disconnected from ourselves, from others and from Spirit. As we pivot towards using the wisdom within, we understand that the opportunity that lies before us is to realize that we are not helpless and if we desire to do so, we can in this very moment do something to create healing and peace both for ourselves and for our planet.
The opportunity and challenge before us is to catch ourselves (lovingly) when we are waging war with ourselves and simply to stop. If the change you want to see in the world is more love and compassion, be more loving and compassionate towards yourself. If the change you want to see in the world is more cooperation and generosity, be more cooperative and generous with yourself. Miraculously you will see that as you make these changes within, you will start to see them manifest in your experiences and interactions with the outer world.
If we are truly One and somehow all interconnected, then there is no “them” and there is only “we” or “us.” What we do to ourselves we in turn do to others and what we see in the outside world is a reflection of what is happening inside each and every one of us. The good news is that we DO have the power to create change and it lies within us. Not “out there” somewhere, but “in here” somewhere. The even better news is that many of us have already burst through that invisible barrier and are here to help others that want to do the same. In other words, you are not alone in your craving for peace and love. There are millions of us holding the space for all of humanity to step into a new way of being. I believe that we are already creating the change that we want to see and that as we gather together and create momentum, amazing and wonderful things are in store for us.
Your presence here is not an accident. When you are ready, you can unleash the gifts that you came here to bring. It’s really just a matter of time. How about right now?
©2006 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
Learning to accept ourselves just as we are is not an easy thing. There is always just one more thing to do, just one more accomplishment to make, just one more person to befriend before we can relax into a knowingness that we are fine, just as we are.
I have spent more time, energy and money on “improving myself” than I’d like to admit. When do we decide enough is enough? What if we were to stop the effort to be “better,” turn that energy inward and just love ourselves as we are?
Although to the outside, doing our best to “reach our potential” looks like a good and noble thing. If it’s fear of not being good enough that drives you, you’re in trouble because unless you heal the fear, you and your success will never be enough. I know, because I’ve been there.
I thought I had made great strides at learning to let go of my need to succeed. I suppose, on the outside I did, but what has gotten my attention recently, is that I am still coming from a deficit on the inside.
Recently, I have been experiencing some side effects of my head injury and instead of surrendering and trusting, I have been pushing, manipulating and “hoping” for healing. I’ve readjusted my schedule, gone to bed earlier and have seen my brain doctors. But what I haven’t done is truly accepted that I am worthy and valuable just as I am.
I have talked about being humbled and embarrassed by my “special needs” but I have not said out loud that I’m okay with it, because I’m not. I’m still struggling with my reaching my “limitless potential” and that some how, some way I can transcend this and in doing so, I have exhausted myself and made matters worse.
I know what I need and want to do and that is to love and accept myself the way I do others. To love myself with the kindness and gentleness that I share with others, even strangers. I want to laugh and be light with myself and my challenges just like I am with my clients. Mostly, I want to be at peace.
It feels good to share my inner most thoughts and beliefs with you for there is freedom and healing in doing so. If I thought these thoughts were truly unique there’d be no point in sharing, but I’ve learned that we are so much more alike than we are different. And that although our stories may differ, our hearts are the same. And perhaps by sharing my heart with you it will spark something within you that will bless you in some way. If nothing else, perhaps it will help you to know that you are not alone and that as isolated as you may sometimes feel, we are all in this together.
If my head injury has taught me one thing, it is that in sharing one’s heart, we find that we are all connected and we are all loved.
As I step into my heart’s desire to love, honor and accept myself just as I am, I hold out my hand and invite you to come with me.
I lovingly request that you set down your pride, your shame, your harsh inner critic and let go of judgment. Step into a fresh new feeling of freedom and notice the breath of fresh air that comes over you.
Let’s dance, sing and celebrate everything that has brought us to this blessed place in time.
Let’s give thanks for our wisdom, our guidance and our sense of humor. And let’s trust that this is just the beginning. The beginning of a life filled with joy, magic and wonder sprinkled with humility, laughter and lightness.
We do enough, we have enough, we ARE enough.
I need not
for my presence
I need not
I’ve done is
I need not
I’ve said is
I need not
I already know
It is time
that I am
Have we ever talked about the importance of grounding -- the process of bringing your energy downward into the lower half of your body?
I have spent a good chunk of my summer studying and taking classes in a field very different than mine. It’s been fun learning something completely new and stretching my 43-year old brain into new and challenging ways. In spending so much time in my head, I am reminded of the importance of grounding and what happens if we don’t.
Let me explain. Years ago after experiencing my head injury, I learned that most of us are living in our heads and that the majority of our energy is focused above the belly button. If we’re not careful, we can “spin” our way into overwhelm and not even know it. To make matters worse, when an intellect like myself experiences overwhelms we try to “think” our way to a solution, only making matters worse.
The good news is that we have the ability to stop the chaos at any moment we choose. In just a few minutes we can stop the spinning all together by grounding and bring our energy downward.
It’s really pretty simple. The biggest challenge (and opportunity) is to catch yourself sooner and sooner and not wait until the overwhelm has consumed you before taking the steps to ground.
So what are the symptoms of overwhelm? An unnatural sense of urgency and the need to rush, sudden outbursts of emotion like anger or frustration, a need to be in constant motion and busyness, a sense of impatience followed by confusion, an inability to keep one’s focus for more than a few seconds, an inability to sit still or relax, a lack of clarity and direction, and in its extreme, overwhelm can lead to a sense of hopelessness and collapse.
Do any of the above resonate with you? So many of us have learned to live in a state of overwhelm that we’ve actually gotten used to it. As our world spins faster and faster, we just turn up the dial on our own spinning and pace in order to keep up. But what if the key to inner peace is to unplug from the whirling world and find an anchor under us that is solid and unmoving? A touch stone of stillness and peace where we can find clarity once again and stand on solid ground?
I believe that is what each and every one of us is being called to do. As our outside world becomes more chaotic and insane, the necessity for us to be grounded and clear becomes more and more important. As we individually ground and find our connection to Spirit and our higher Selves once again, we can bring forth a change of vibration to a planet that is crying out for a new way of being.
One of the easiest ways to get grounded is to sit on the floor and to breathe deeply into your belly, noticing what it feels like to be aware of the lower half of your body. As you breathe into your tummy, take a moment to notice what your tailbone feels like as it makes contact with the floor. Notice how good it feels just to pay attention and bring awareness to that part of your body.
Next, imagine that you have a cord coming from your tailbone rooting itself into the earth. Make that grounding as wide as you’d like, allow any negative energy, thoughts or unneeded worries to drop down that cord into the earth. And if you’d like, put a well of water below and hear the splashing sounds of unnecessary debris dropping into the water below. Notice how good it feels to be letting go of what you no longer need and noticing that you don’t even need to know what it is you are releasing, you just need to know that it feels right to do so.
Be gentle with yourself as you play with this process. It’s natural for the “monkey” brain to chatter loudly and maybe even fight you a bit as you practice grounding.
As you continue to let things drop down your grounding cord, allow the energy from the core of the earth to come up your grounding cord as well. I like to think of this energy as coming from Mother Earth Herself and I often feel a sense of nurturing and peace like being cradled in Mother Earth’s warm, soft lap. I often sense a feeling of loving protection as well. Mostly I sense stillness and knowingness that all is well. And at anytime that I need refreshment and nourishment that this well spring of peace and unending love is there for me. All I need to do stop what I am doing, ground myself and tap into it.
Although this technique is the best one that I have found to support me in grounding, there are many other ways to ground. In my own personal experience I have found deep breathing, yoga, stretching, warm bubble baths, singing, dancing and conscious eating of delicious food to all support me in grounding. Essential oils like lavender and Bach Flower Essences Rescue Remedy (available at your local health food store) are also great tools that you can keep in your purse or desk to help you when you need an extra boost of support.
I like to think that as we are called to become more conscious of how we show up in the world, that the universe is bending backwards to support us in doing so. By simply asking Spirit to help, you will find yourself being supported and loved in ways that you could never imagine.
So I ask you in this moment to check in and to notice where your energy is. To take a deep breath and to bring your focus and awareness downward into your feet and tail bone. To give thanks to Spirit for blessing you with free will and the ability to manifest all of your heart’s desires. And most importantly to give thanks for the Being that is you and the gifts that you are consciously and unconsciously bringing into the world. Know that you are indeed making a difference, one breath at a time.
I celebrate you and the
amazing being that you are. I send you love and appreciation for all that
you do and all that you Are. And I give thanks for the blessing of our
Peace. A powerful, good-feeling word filled with possibility. World Peace. Two powerful words that when put together create hope often intertwined with a contrary sense of helplessness.
I know for a lot of people the idea of creating world peace is a pie in the sky dream. For dreamers like myself, I not only believe that world peace is possible, but I intend to do my part in making it happen.
On the evening of September 11th 2001, I remember holding my little girl closely in my arms and asking myself, “What can I do to help bring peace into our world? Surely there must be something I can do.”
As my head filled with images of chaos and confusion, my heart was grounded in knowing that this was a significant day of awakening. A day that would play an important role in shaking us up in order to help us connect to a wise, inner voice calling us to action, calling us to stop living on automatic pilot and to start living consciously and with intention. I suppose many of us have experienced events in our lives such as a life-threatening illness or a death of a loved one that turned us on our heads and requested that we take a deeper look at ourselves and our lives. Life has a way of getting our attention and when the stakes are high enough, we listen.
In asking the question, “What can I do to bring forth peace?” I heard the words, “Be peaceful within your Self and Know that is all that is needed.” I realized that the wise voice was right, if my inner world was one of cruelty and chaos, then I would be limited in what I could bring forth into my outer world. I also realized that I had some work to do; a lot of work to do. In that moment I chose to increase my efforts to heal the hurts of the past, to step fully into my power, embrace my wisdom and trust that somehow, some way that would be enough. At least for now.
So, here we are. Several years have passed since September 11th, 2001. Are you living as an awakened and conscious being? Or have you slipped back into a state of slumber in hopes that others will do their part (and perhaps your part too) in making the world a better place?
I would guess that you are someone who has chosen to commit to being awake and to living your life as purposefully as you can. I acknowledge and celebrate you for making that commitment. And I am grateful for you for I know that the world is a better place because of the work you are doing (and it does feel like work sometimes doesn’t it?) to live Authentically and with Intention.
I ask you to take this moment and acknowledge yourself for all that you have done to get to this perfect and important moment. To celebrate the challenges you overcame and to honor the people in your life who helped you get here.
Now I ask you to think about the friends and friendships that have brought you joy and blessings along the way, the angels in your life who believed in you even when you didn’t. Give thanks for them and the gifts they bring. Know that together you are indeed playing an important role in bringing forth Peace into a world that is ready to listen.
It is truly an honor and pleasure to be on this path with you. I am humbled by your presence and exhilarated to know that we are indeed making a difference. What could be better than that?
©2006 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
Years ago, a loving friend said to me “if you treated your friends like you treat yourself, you wouldn’t have any friends.” I remember being stunned and shocked in realization that she was indeed correct. Somewhere along the line, I had become cruel and mean to myself. I had become a relentless taskmaster with no tolerance for anything less than excellence. I had allowed my inner tyrant to take over my life and I had lost sight of who I really was. The irony was that I had a huge capacity to be kind and loving with everyone else on the planet except myself. In truth, I would have been ashamed and embarrassed if any one discovered how brutal I could be, and was, with myself.
I share this with you because I have discovered that most of us have an inner voice or two that if we allow it, can become quite bossy and out of control. Or worse, it can become amplified and it can drive out all of the joy in our lives and replace it with FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real). Sadly, these voices can be very sneaky and manipulative. And who better to manipulate you than a part of you? Right?
The good news is that by remembering who really is in control of your life (and the voices in your head) you can start to embrace that inner taskmaster, send him/ her love and transform him/her into an ally. Believe it or not, that inner tyrant really does love you (after all, it’s a part of you). It has just gotten a bit out of whack on how it communicates its love with you. By loving rather than judging that part of you, you allow it to become integrated and healed so that the power it possesses can be used for your higher good rather than for destruction.
I have found that there is freedom in being able to move from shame to a place of honesty and in turn community and connection in knowing that we are all in this together. We all have inner voices that can get us spinning and lost. In naming, loving, and reclaiming them we can finally be whole, complete and at peace, not to mention the world becomes a much nicer place both inside and out.
So, I challenge you to look inside and send love, lots of love, to every part of your being. I encourage you to send compassion and forgiveness to where there is judgment and to send joy to where there is rigidity or hardness. I promise you, you’ll be glad that you did.
©2006 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
Joy and peace
are your birthright and don’t need to be
Enjoy the freedom that comes with doing so.
Know that being an Authentic Woman is about being real and Real Women love themselves so much that they want to surround themselves with people who can love, support and nourish them. They also know that it is a sign of strength not a weakness to ask for help. Give someone else the gift of giving for a change.
Remember, all the answers to life’s questions reside within You! People, books, seminars and other things outside of you are simply there to facilitate the process of you finding your own answers. Don’t give your power away by thinking they know better than you what’s for your own good. Inspiration comes from within while information comes from with out.
There is no time like the present to start making the tiny changes that allow your true self, your passion and purpose to come forth. Remember, you do not need to do this alone (see #4 above)
©2006, Carole L. Billingham, MCC
One of the side effects of my brain injury was the inability to hold back my emotions, both the positive and the not so positive ones. For a not-yet–recovering-perfectionist it was horrifying not to be in full control of myself and the self that I was showing to others. After all, I’d spent my whole life perfecting the woman that I proudly showed to the world and not to be able to control myself and my image was a nightmare come true.
Once I understood that all my efforts would not and could not change the situation and believe me I tried, I finally surrendered. What I found was that underneath my inability to control my emotions were a new sense of freedom and an Authentic Woman who was delighted to be able to finally express herself fully and completely. I also learned that not only did people not reject me (that was by far my deepest fear), but they seemed to like the new, expressive Carole who was starting to emerge.
Last spring while attending a women’s conference, I met a woman who had seen me speak at an event several years ago. She commented that she sensed and saw a big difference in me. She said that I was much more grounded and present than I had been when she last saw me and that I seemed a lot happier. After I stopped beating myself up for not being perfect when she first saw me (ugh!), I was able to embrace the huge compliment that she was giving me. I realized that my journey had indeed changed me and my life and that perhaps others noticed the difference as well. I also realized that the changes that I had made could indeed be used to help others in their quest for wholeness and Authenticity.
I think that for many of us, we somehow took hold of the idea that we were to temper ourselves and be the girls or women that others wanted us to be in order for us to be valued and loved in return. That’s no surprise, as most women find their value and identity in relationship to others. That’s the way we are wired. Thankfully, as we mature we find that we have a choice. As we awaken to the inner voice crying “let me out, let me out!” we find that the price we pay in not listening is simply not worth it.
The question isn’t are you listening, but do you have the courage to allow those parts of you that you have kept hidden for so long to come to the surface to be expressed, seen and celebrated? Perhaps you will be happily surprised like I was that not only will you not be rejected, but you will be loved graciously in return. Perhaps not only you, but the entire world will be better for it. I’d bet on it.
Even the quote on my latte cup this morning was about living authentically (I can hear my angels giggling. They love it when they get my attention).
So it is with a full heart, a sense of humor and much humility that I write to you today about setting the Authentic Woman in you free. Will you allow her to come out and play? I promise you not only will it be fun, but it will be wildly worth it.
©2006 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
I have been attracting a lot of information lately about the pitfalls of fame and fortune. Maybe it’s because I have been writing a book and questioning just how many people I want it to reach and what that might do to my precious balanced lifestyle. Or maybe it’s because I’m coaching clients who want to or already have created a life of fame and fortune. Regardless, it’s got my attention and has helped me get clear on a couple of things. First of all, just because someone is successful or famous does not mean they have it totally together. Actually, often it’s the opposite. Secondly, fame has its price. Thirdly, once you’ve become famous, there is no turning back. And lastly, fame can be disappointing when you find that you are still the same person you were before you became famous, but now your faults are hanging out for everyone to see.
So what does this all have to do with you? It has to do with being Real, being Authentic and recognizing that you are amazing just as you are and that you don’t need to be on Oprah to know it. It’s about celebrating the unique being that is you and has nothing to do with your accomplishments, your bank account or who you know.
I used to think that the more important and successful a person was, the more valuable they were to me, to our society, and to our world. I now realize that being valued is our birthright and comes from our ability to make a connection to ourselves and others and has nothing to do with outer success or accomplishments. All one has to do is look at the media darlings of the moment to see that fame does not always equal value or contribution (please don’t get me started).
Thankfully, I was nudged off the treadmill and out of the rat race years ago thanks to a brain injury. And as I get ready to devote some new energy and life to my career after 5 years of focusing on my family I find myself asking “what price am I willing to pay to succeed in fulfilling my intention of touching millions of people in deep and meaningful ways?” The simple answer that I receive each and every time is “take it one step at a time, be true to yourself and trust Me (God).”
I know that as with everything else, there is a force much greater than me at work here. As I learn to let go and let God, I know that what I need to know will be revealed to me at the precise moment that I am ready to hear it and not one second earlier. (I can only hope that I will keep my heart open so that I can hear it the first time).
I also know that as I stay conscious and true to myself that I will be able to manifest all of my heart’s desires without the need to give up my commitment to living a balanced life. And if I can’t, then I’ll simply amend my goals to stay true to myself, my soul, my values and my family. Either way I win.
©2006 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
Have you ever found yourself feeling antsy, wanting to “just do something!” but not knowing what?
In my old days as an adrenaline-crazed stock broker, my motto was “ready, fire, aim!” I often jumped into things more out of discomfort than in being intentional. Many years of therapy later, I realized that by being in perpetual motion, I didn’t need to acknowledge the emotional pain that I was experiencing. I also noticed that my ever-accomplishing and high-achieving persona gained applause from my colleagues and my culture at large. Unfortunately, all that applause and attention was addicting and only drove me to move even faster.
Fast forward ten years (and a brain injury later), I have found a whole new pace and way of life. Instead of life in the fast lane, I now comfortably drive in the carpool lane, letting Spirit do most of the driving. Don’t get me wrong, that old tendency to jump in first and think later is still there, but I have learned “when in doubt, wait it out.”
I have had to work through the emotional demons that made it difficult to slow down. That’s probably been the hardest part, but certainly worth the effort. I have also learned to be patient which I suppose at a deeper level is all about learning to trust; to trust my self, my inner voice, and to trust the Universe. I’ve had to abandon my need to control everything (which really doesn’t work anyway) and surrender to a power and wisdom much greater than my own.
As I ride in the carpool lane thinking of grabbing the wheel, I often ask, “God, why are we taking this route? Wouldn’t it be better if we went this way??” If I listen to my heart, I can hear Her lovingly say, “Trust Dear One, trust.” And so I do. (Or at least I try to maintain a sense of humor when I don’t).
I ask you, where are the opportunities in your life where you could learn to surrender and trust? What might happen if you did?
©2006 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
1) What am I most proud of accomplishing in my business and personal life this past year?
did I learn both about myself and my world?
3) Who and what matters most to me going forward into this new year?
4) What am I going eliminate or clear out to create more space for who and what matters most?
5) What would I like to incorporate more of into my life in this coming year? (see question #3)
6) Who would I like to bring on to my support team*?
7) How can I celebrate this past year, my accomplishments and most importantly, the person that I am becoming?
8) What is my soul craving?
9) How am I going to give back or make a contribution, thus allowing my life to have more meaning and purpose?
10) What question(s) was not asked that seems important to me?
*Your support team is made up of the people who you chose to fully support you both personally and professionally and in mind, body and spirit. Members may include a coach, massage therapist, naturopath, loving friends, etc. There are no limits to the numbers or attributes of the members on your team. The idea is to create a system of professionals and non-professionals who have your best interest at heart so that you live your life from a place of feeling full, loved and abundantly supported.
©2005 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
Webster’s Dictionary offers several definitions of the word “holiday”:
1. Holy Day
2. A day on which one is exempt from work
3. A period of relaxation
Here is a Top Ten List that I hope will help you to have a restful and happy holiday that reflects the true meaning of this joyous season.
CAROLE’S TOP TEN WAYS TO CREATE A PEACEFUL & PURPOSEFUL HOLIDAY SEASON
1. Recall What You Learned Last Year.
Unless you do things differently, your results won’t be different.
2. Make Your List and Check it Twice.
Take the time (today) to make your lists and start planning time in your schedule for the things that need to be done. Make sure to leave some time for yourself.
3. Keep it Simple.
Remember that the true meaning of the holidays is to be among the people that you love.
4. Stay Out of The Malls.
Do your holiday shopping on-line or through catalogs. You can even have your gifts gift-wrapped and mailed for you- - one less thing for you to have to do!
5. Ask For Help.
If entertaining, ask your guests to bring a dish to share. Get your family to help with the shopping, wrapping, etc. Hire a cleaning service, a handy-man. You get the idea.
6. Implement a Budget.
There’s no sense in starting the New Year off with a chunk of debt. (See #1, 3, and 4)
7. Try Something Different.
Why not start a new holiday tradition like adopting a family in need, making donations to charities in lieu of gifts, or helping out at a local food bank?
8. When Feeling Stressed, Breathe.
If you find the holiday activities getting the best of you, take a deep breath and pull yourself into a place of gratitude. After all, isn’t that what the holidays are all about?
9. Just Say No.
If there is something that you are not feeling up to doing, don’t do it. Remember, soon you will have a whole new year awaiting you—perhaps there are some things that can wait.
10. Set Your Intention.
What kind of holiday experience you have is entirely up to you. Get clear about your intentions, embrace your ability to make choices, and create the best holiday season ever!
©1996, 2002 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
I just returned from a trip to Disneyland (which was wonderful by the way). Part of our fun at Disneyland was riding roller coasters with my fearless 5 year old daughter. We would raise our hands up in the air and squeal wildly as we rode with delight. Afterwards, we would grin from ear to ear while enjoying the feeling of giddiness in our bellies.
This was a milestone for me, as I have not ridden a roller coaster since my auto accident almost 9 years ago. The risk had rightfully been too great for me to re-injure my still-healing body and brain.
Recently, I have been proudly sharing with anyone who will listen that I am now living in a pain free body. It has taken 9 years of dedication and commitment and hard work to get me here, and it feels fabulous!
I decided at Disneyland that it was time to let go of my fear and to give myself permission to fully experience the thrill of an amusement park again.
At the end of a thrilling and exhilarating day I realized that letting go of fear, raising your hands to the air and screaming wildly might be a good metaphor for how to live our lives (instead of staying off the ride or bracing tensely for what’s ahead, both of which leave you feeling less than happy or at best, a bit sore).
I am already fantasizing (remember I did just spend a week at Fantasy Land) about getting back on skis again this winter and doing some of the things that I chose to put on hold as my body mended.
I ask you, what do you dream of doing that fear or caution have kept you from experiencing? I dare you to get on the ride of your life, put your hands in the air and squeal until your cheeks hurt. You will be glad that you did!
©2005 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
By Carole L. Billingham, MCC As summer comes to a close and autumn follows on its heels, I am reminded of the gift of changing seasons. For many years I lived in a climate where it was summer year round. Although it was warm and beautiful, my Soul longed for the opportunity to experience change. Change in climate, and change in the pace at which my life moved.
I now live in beautiful Colorado where we have four distinct seasons, offering their own unique gifts. For this, my Spirit is grateful. For my Spirit in its infinite wisdom knows that as the earth gracefully moves through its seasons, so can we.
While summer is a time of full activity, autumn is the time to start slowing down. As the days get shorter and the weather cooler, we are called to go within and to listen to the whisper of our hearts. As we do so, we find permission to slow down our pace and to trust the nature within us. To know that as the trees let go of their leaves to make room for new growth, that so can we (by letting go of things that we no longer need). And as the animals start to purposefully gather what they need for the winter, so can we (by learning to be more "on purpose" and to ask for what we need). Most importantly, knowing that within the chaos of the outside world rests a Knowingness that we are an integral part of the nature that surrounds us and that the beauty and perfection that resides in nature, also resides within us.
Why not take a moment to contemplate what the change of seasons means to you? What are some of the things that you can let go of to make room for new and better things? How can you be more "on purpose" in your life and ask for what you need? Autumn is ready to unveil its gifts to you. Are you prepared to accept them?
©2005 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
The Gift of Receiving
By Carole L. Billingham, MCC We talk a lot these days about the importance of balance. I have found that a key element to creating and obtaining balance is learning how to receive. Most of us have the giving part down-pat. It's the receiving part where we may need some help.
I learned about the gift of receiving while on my healing path back from a brain injury. I learned very quickly that if my health (and sanity) were to improve, I'd have to let others help me. Now this wasn't easy for a recovering super-achiever, but I intuitively knew that it was time, not to mention that the alternative was not very attractive.
The first thing that I noticed was that in order to truly let people help me, I had to let my guard down and admit that I wasn't Superwoman. This meant opening myself up to being vulnerable. Having a brain injury helped, since one of the side effects of such an injury is an immense feeling of vulnerability. Still, I had invested a lot into my Superwoman identity, and I had never considered vulnerability an attribute of a Super Hero.
The second thing that I noticed was that in order to receive I had to stop acting like a "human doing" and become a "human being". In other words, there's not much space for receiving if all of your energy is going outward. This meant that I had to slow down. Another difficult feat for a recovering A-type personality.
Things started to shift rather quickly as I stepped more and more into my new way of being. I started to feel more and more connected. Connected to both my authentic self and to others. I also started to feel less stressed about "making things happen" and more focused on "allowing" things to happen. I was learning to take things one day at time and to trust that things would (as they always do) fall into place perfectly. There was a new sense of faith and trust within in me that knew that I no longer needed to try so hard all the time. This faith and trust brought an incredible sense of inner peace. What a gift!
The more I learned, the more I found myself teaching. I remember sharing an important insight with a dear friend facing a life-threatening illness. She was struggling with the fact that her identity had always been rooted in her caretaker role. Now it was her turn to receive, and it was extremely difficult for her to do so. I asked her how she felt when she was helping someone. She predictably replied that it made her feel wonderful. I lovingly reminded her that by allowing others to help her, she'd be offering them the gift of giving. She got it. And I am happy to say that as she learned to receive, her health improved greatly.
In order for the circle of love to be complete, it must be given and received. In letting our guard down and opening our hearts, we can be blessed with a true sense of love and connection. After all, isn't that what we are all looking for?
Here are some questions for you to ponder:
©2005 Carole L. Billingham, MCC
When My Human-ness Gets In The Way
By Carole L. Billingham, MCC Have you ever noticed that when things start to get out of hand most of us simply try harder? Have you noticed that rarely does the extra effort really get us anywhere? In truth, the harder we try, the more out of control things get and the more frustrated we become.
I just spent the last ten weeks struggling to overcome an acute case of Morning Sickness (that's right, I'm pregnant!). Why they call it Morning Sickness is beyond me since most of us lucky gals experience symptoms at any or all hours of the day.
I tell you, I tried absolutely everything from seasickness wrist bands to castor oil packs to peppermint tea. Nothing worked. The harder I tried to find a remedy, the more frustrated I became in knowing that it wasn't working. Believe me, I was not willing to give up. I just knew that there had to be something that would work. Something, that I had simply not tried yet.
Sure, I kept reminding myself that most women experience relief in their second trimester, but that wasn't good enough for me. After all, that was a long ways off. (Close to 8 weeks, 56 days, or 1344 hours to be exact…..but who's counting?!). I am a Super-Achiever that knows that if I try hard enough, I can solve ANY problem that comes my way! This would be no exception.
As the days (and hours) passed, I had lots of time to spend thinking about my dilemma. I finally calmed down a bit and started to tap into the wiser part of me…the part that I like to call "My Higher Self". The part of me that already has all of the answers, if I can just quiet myself down long enough to listen (not always an easy task).
I asked My Higher Self, "What am I missing here?" "This shouldn't be so darn difficult."
The answer came immediately. "Perhaps the present situation is exactly as it should be. Perhaps it is for your (and your baby's) highest good for you to experience this discomfort. Just trust in this and stop fighting it. Soon you'll find peace and comfort."
I decided at that present moment that I had two choices: I could continue to struggle and to focus on my discomfort, remembering that what I focus on expands. Or I could let it go and trust that God and My Higher Self Know what is best. I chose the latter.
In the weeks that have passed, I have decided that God knew me well enough to know that I needed to experience a certain level of discomfort before I'd really slow down and get the rest that me and my baby needed. That perhaps, ultimately my baby's health (and maybe even life) depended on it. I realize that I may never know why I needed to experience those ten weeks in bed, but I do know that it brings me comfort to trust that everything that happens in my life is for the best…even if it is beyond my present understanding. It really comes down to a simple choice: focusing on the limits of my human-ness or centering on my ability to remember the limitlessness of my Spirit. I think that I'll choose the latter.
By the way, I'm out of bed and feeling great! Just 24 more weeks to go!
Is there an area in your life where you are struggling with your human-ness? Are you willing to lighten up, let it go, and allow your Spirit show you a different way? All you really have to do is ask… and listen quietly.
©2004 Carole L. Billingham, MCCGo back to top
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