Glow up

Emerson Sunshine quote w tag

You know that saying about “getting out of your own way”? Turns out Ralph was onto it way before your mom, or your 9th grade teacher, or your basketball coach ever were. We’re so good at trying protecting ourselves from the awkward, painful and ridiculous, that we often count ourselves out before we even take a shot at that next step. In school, at work, in our relationships. How many times has “that would be crazy” or “that would never work” been the first and last word on something your heart was telling you to try?

No more. It’s summer, after all. Stop hiding, and get out there and soak up the sun.

Monday Moment: Down a notch

D Allen_Power & Relax quote w tag

We’re starting off this week with one of my favorite quotes for the work that I do with mindfulness and professional stress. So often, we think of power as something that comes through exertion and aggressive effort. We perceive it as something that needs to be earned, taken, or even stolen, because we think it’s available in limited quantities only.

How about this idea, though. What if we all have power within us that is unique to us, and can only be accessed by ourselves as individuals? What if the path to accessing that power started with dialing things down a notch, finding stillness, and narrowing our focus to this present moment, right here?

You know your focus is more clear when your heart isn’t pounding out of your ears, so why would it make any sense that you’d be more powerful in that state? Maybe you can jump higher or run faster, thanks to adrenaline, but is that the kind of power you need to succeed today?

Food for thought, as you run headfirst into your Monday. Maybe slow it down to a saunter, and take a second to catch your breath. Never know what brilliance might be on the other side of that first intentional inhale, and calm and steady exhale.

Photo credit: Kari Shea 

Monday Moment: Love wins

Love Wins_Andrea B Coan

Last week was a difficult week in the US. Again. There was the similar pattern of tragedy, “thoughts & prayers,” and outrage that has become achingly familiar. But then, there was something else.

Where the outrage usually simmers into resignation and hopelessness, there were voices. Not only the usual voices of exaggerated political dichotomy, but the empowered voices of victims and survivors, speaking on behalf of friends and loved ones who couldn’t be with them, and wouldn’t be again. Yes, there is anger, frustration, and indignation. There is also something much more powerful than any of those.

Underlying all of the cries for justice and angry tears, there is love. Love for those who were taken away. Love for those who survive with lifelong scars of many kinds. Love in text messages sent down the hallway, and across town. Love in opened doors and selfless protection. Love in memories, and tributes, and at long last, in the flicker of hope ignited by real change on the horizon.

All experiences in life can be distilled down to two emotions: love or fear. Only one, however, is the antidote for the other. The antidote for everything. In the face of crippling fear, our next instinct is love. I’m scared; I love you. I’m hurt; I’ll help you. I’m in danger; I’ll protect you. When we are frozen with fear, the few things we are capable of doing are those that are rooted in love. Selfless, ego-less, fearless love.

If there were an emotion meter hanging over that tragedy that unfolded last week, and so many others like it, I am sure it would have registered plenty of fear. But above all of that, it would have flown off its own charts measuring the love being felt and expressed in every corner of that building.

Love is stronger than fear, and everything that fear breeds. Hate, greed, self-interest, the illusion of separation. No matter how fierce the battle, or the sacrifices made in its name, there is always only one triumph. Choose it now, and be on the winning side. There is only one outcome. Love Wins.

Photo credit: Andrea B. Coan