Awaken To Your Calling: Create the Life and Work You Love

women_with_arms_outstretched

  • Are you yearning to make a life change but find it overwhelming?
  • Do you continue to work at a job that drains your very soul?
  • Are you fearful of doing what you most desire to do?

There is always a particular moment when you clearly know you need to make change in your life. That desire for change is a like a grain of sand in a shoe, imperceptible at first but grinding away until it becomes the only thing you notice. Your instinct is to dismiss the feelings. Saying, “I can tough this out “or “it could be worse”.

Often we find it easier to recognize the emotions and feeling of others but nearly impossible to recognize our own needs and yearnings. Why is this?

By midlife, after years of loss, comprise, denial, and fear we lose track of our “true self” and the dreams we had. We often struggle letting go of what does not serve our highest needs.

The ego has great difficulty letting go of anything and will defend itself with great intensity. The truth is we must let go of who we are in order to become who we want to be. Gregory Levoy, author of Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic life says, “Sometimes we hear the calling but fear what will be demanded of us if we respond to the “call”.

Our lives speak through our actions and reactions, our intuitions and instincts, our feelings and our words. If we can learn to listen, read our own responses, we will receive the guidance we need.

You must slow down to be able to hear the “calling”, as to why you need to reinvent yourself, change your mindset, change your career, go back to school, or start a business.

Moments of awareness come in many ways to point us toward action.
They include:

  • A dream that keeps coming back.
  • A symptom in your body that reoccurs
  • A call from someone you need to hear from
  • A book that falls into your lap
  • An emotional issue that keeps reappearing
  • A e-mail that excites you about doing volunteer work

These wake-up calls stimulate your intuition; encourage you to ask deeper questions and to seek the answers. This process is a gateway into the deepest layers of your “inner self”.

The time is now! All it takes is an idea, a discovery or a breakthrough that turns the fear of your unwanted situation into the hope of new possibilities.

Strategy Session:

StrategySession
To explore what your next step is request a complementary strategy session, where we’ll meet together for 30 minutes and uncover what you’d really like to create in your life, and I will show you how I can help you reach your dream.

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7 Great Reasons to Listen to Discover Your Calling

rainbowWelcome to 2014 a New Year.

How is this year going to be different than last year? If you don’t make any changes in your beliefs, dreams or expectations for your life not much will change.

If you could live your life with more passion and purpose what would you be doing, what would you be feeling, how would your life change?

It is not that difficult to make simple life changes than can dramatically shift your life?

This is why Jennifer, my co-host and myself decided to make our own life changes this year and to offer the strategies and practices we are doing on a free teleconference: Discover Your Calling: 4 Power Steps to Activate Your Life Purpose; Wednesday, January 15th at 7:00pm EST.

We have so many people who are interested we had to get more telephone lines! If you can’t attend the complementary teleconference just go ahead and sign up and we will send you the link to download the call.

If you are struggling with feeling connected, passionate, in service and living your purpose here are 7 reasons you should listen to the teleconference.

  1. You have a sense that there is more you are here to be and do in this lifetime, but you are not clear how to tap into your brilliance.
  2. You know you’re supposed to be living a much bigger life than you are now, but don’t know how to make this change.
  3. You’re stuck in old emotions, memories and other unproductive life patterns
  4. You dread going to work or performing your current daily activities.
  5. You expend a lot of energy resisting change or trying to force things to happen or go your way.
  6. You don’t feel connected to your life anymore, or you don’t feel aligned to the natural flow of the universe.
  7. You are frustrated with your lack of progress and spend too much time with struggle, fear and doubt.

Seize this opportunity to explore 4 Power Steps to Activate Your Life Purpose. Sign up Now!

A Lesson in Stillness
A Hike in the North Georgia Mountains

Apple Capitol of Georgia

Photo: Art Meripol

About 80 miles north of Atlanta, the small town of Ellijay sits on the edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Renowned as the “Apple Capitol of Georgia.”

These poems by Mark Nepo reminds me of how much I love to hike in the fall in the North Georgia Mountains. It is magnificent!

Reduced to Joy

I was sipping coffee on the way to work,the back road under a canopy of maples turning orange. In the dip of woods, a small doe gently leaping. I pulled over, for there was nowhere else to go. She paused as if she knew I was watching. A few orange leaves fell around her like blessings no one can seem to find. I sipped some coffee, completely at peace, knowing it wouldn’t last. But that’s alright.

We never know when we will blossom into what we’re supposed to be. It might be early. It might be late. It might be after thirty years of failing at a misguided way. Or the very first time we dare to shed our mental skin and touch the world.

They say, if real enough, some see God at the moment of their death. But isn’t every fall and letting go a death? Isn’t God waiting right now in the chill between the small doe’s hoof and those fallen leaves? — Mark Nepo

Excerpted from Reduced to Joy by Mark Nepo.

On the Ridge

We can grow by simply listening, the way the tree on that ridge listens its branches to the sky, the way blood listens its flow to the site of a wound, the way you listen like a basin when my head so full of grief can’t look you in the eye. We can listen our way out of anger, if we let the heart soften the wolf we keep inside. We can last by listening deeply, the way roots reach for the next inch of earth, the way an old turtle listens all he hears into the pattern of his shell. — Mark Nepo

Excerpted from Reduced to Joy by Mark Nepo.

What is Conscious Living?

Today’s post is an excerpt from my upcoming book “Fully Conscious Living”.

Fully conscious living is first and foremost choosing a way of life that starts by being aware, awake and responsible for our thoughts, beliefs, projections and lifestyle choices. It is becoming aware of what is occurring both externally and internally in our body and mind.

Deep, conscious living involves all forms of life choices, including:

  • Choosing to awaken and become aware of your thoughts, emotions, and unconscious aspects in your life that have blocked you from feeling fully alive.
  • Recognizing what is not in alignment with your highest and best self, and taking responsibility to release it from your life.
  • Learning to resist nothing by looking it “straight in the eyes,” blessing it and being grateful for it.
  • Remaining in integrity and honoring your soul’s authentic purpose for your life.
  • Learning how to reset your thoughts to move you quickly into a higher vibration.
  • Choosing healthy foods that nourish your brain, body and soul.
  • Aligning your heart with your brain to manage anxiety, stress and depression.
  • Getting crystal clear on how to manifest your passion, life purpose and destiny.
  • Understanding how to use the laws of manifestation to create what you want and avoid what you don’t.
  • Engaging others with gratitude, forgiveness, selfless service and self-love to profoundly shift your life.
  • Connecting with and shifting your relationship with the Earth as its caretaker.

Choosing to live a conscious lifestyle is the key to living a fully engaged life in all areas -relationships, career, health, spirituality, well-being, environment, and service.

How are you choosing to become more conscious? Let me know by commenting below or emailing me at jjdillon@mindspring.com.

Is Stress Keeping You Up At Night?
7 “Stress Buster” Tips

Stress Management TipsWhat keeps Americans awake at night? For most of us and especially small business, executives and health care providers, as well as caregivers it’s stress. There’s just too much to do, and not enough time to do it all.

We push ourselves to do more and more…

We are a population that’s dependent on medication to get to sleep and get through the next day. This is often the result of our increased usage of technology and life-style choices we choose to engage in.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 70% to 80% of all disease and illness is stress-related. Add to that the fact that the needs for an estimated 75% to 90% of visits to physicians are stress-related, and there’s good reason the drug companies are having a field day. It’s not necessary to get all stressed out over stress when there is so much good information and knowledge about how to reduce it. Managing stress well leads to improved physical and psychological health.

As a life and wellness coach I teach these top seven “stress-busters” (stress management techniques) to all my clients that help them dramatically reduce stress and improve the quality of their sleep. The results are life-changing.

  1. Mindful awareness of thoughts and beliefs – Become aware of what you are thinking and feeling during the day. Are your thoughts negative, fearful or limiting? Do you worry about everything: money, health, and relationships? If you are thinking negative thoughts, you are attracting into your life negative people and unhelpful situations. You are doing the very thing you do not want to do. Try to “let go” of the thought and replace it with a positive belief or image.
  2. Set Boundaries – If you want to alleviate stress you have to set healthy boundaries. And in the world of business that means setting boundaries with technology. It means un-plugging from cell phones and e-mail at a reasonable time each day. It means not having to be on call 24 hours to answer you phone. Having advanced technology is fabulous but not to the extent that you are unable to sleep or engage in activities without checking your e-mail.
  3. Quiet The Mind – Mediating before bedtime for ten to twenty minutes can be very helpful for reducing stress and promoting sounder sleep. Sit quietly in a comfortable chair, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Focus on your breath; relax your chest and body. When your mind wanders and you find yourself lost in other thoughts, let the emotion or thoughts go and return your focus to your breathing. This practice works quickly to reduce stress and rebalance your body. Continue for at least ten minutes or until you feel drowsy.
  4. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise – It’s a great way to release tension and fortify ourselves against the physical effects of stress. Engage in aerobic activity; take a walk, run or swim. Try a new, fun exercise such as NIA, belly-dancing or boxing. Exercising in the evening, however can be counter-productive, particularly if the exercise is vigorous.
  5. Laugh and Have Fun – Laughter is one of the healthiest antidotes to stress. Take yourself lightly and your work seriously. When we laugh or even smile, blood flow to the brain is increased, endorphins are released, and levels of stress hormones drop. Start to notice how often you smile. People who experience joy, fun and laughter sleep well.
  6. Diaphragmatic Breathing – The following exercises make use of the breath and can enhance the ability to fall asleep due to their calming effect. Put one hand on your abdomen and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose and expel it slowly and completely through your mouth. You will feel your belly flatten. Exhale fully, drawing in your abdomen. At the end of each third exhalation, hold your breath for as long as you can. Then repeat the process two or three times, or until you feel sleepy.
  7. Take Action – Rather than worry, re-live the situation over and over or spend sleepless nights thinking about the consequences, take some action to move the issue forward. Get a wellness coach or a therapist, talk to a friend, and begin journaling… just do something! Procrastination weakens productivity, compounds your anxiety and causes the stressful side-effects of guilt, anger and low self-esteem.

If you need assistance in helping to reduce your stress and improve your life – balance check out our stress management services

I would love to know how your mange your stress!

5 Steps to Get Unstuck and Make a Change

5 Steps to Get Unstuck and Make a ChangeIt has been a hard year for a lot of us as we experience loss, grief, health issues and radical change, both personally and globally. Although you may not be able to make all the changes you want now, you can start to mentally and emotionally make changes for how you want your life to be.

It’s time to get unstuck and make a change! Do you know what changes you need to make? If you are like a lot of us, there is at least one area where you feel stagnant, blocked, or at a loss.

Should you try to breathe life back into a tired relationship–or say enough and stop throwing good years away? Have you had it with your ho-hum job that is leading you nowhere? Do you need to take better care of your body in a healthy way but don’t know where to start?

Are you yearning for change?
It is a time for deep introspection, and for exploring how you want to live this part of your life and how you want to become more authentically who you are.Yoga man

  • Step One: Schedule a quiet time to think about some of the questions you need to ask yourself to make change.

Do I want to spend the rest of my working life in my present career? What changes can I begin to make now to ensure better physical and psychological health for the rest of my life? Which relationships do I want to keep and which do I let go? Am I really happy and content with my daily life now?

  • Step Two: Get clear about what you want for your life.

Develop a personal profile that highlights several areas: Your passions, your dream job or career, your wish for where you want to live, and your overall health and wellness. Give yourself permission to get in touch with your suppressed vision of who you truly are and how you want your life to actually be.

  • Step Three: Identify obstacles and outdated beliefs.

Do you have limiting thoughts that are holding you back?

Your set of beliefs, thoughts and lifestyle habits, which include your food choices, your form of exercise, your sleep patterns and stress level, can be an obstacle for living a healthy lifestyle. What are your thoughts and limiting behaviors? It is essential that you learn how to recognize your unproductive thoughts, and how the thoughts make you feel. If you feel good you know you are in a positive or higher vibration.

  • Step Four: Take action to make permanent change.

It is not enough to just verbalize or visualize your goals. You must have a plan and take steps to create what you want!

Action Steps: Write down your goals and action steps to achieve them during the next 3 months. Identify your strengths and areas for improvement and following up with your plan.

  • Step Five: Get help to hold yourself accountable.

To help you manifest your goals and dreams, I recommend that you create accountability by finding a buddy, hiring a coach, or joining a mastermind group with like-minded people to help you reach your goals.

We are all coping in these turbulent times. It’s not abnormal or unusual to sometimes face the lesson or challenge, or to sometimes be in the dark either unaware or stuck. Relief is palpable when we discover that it’s okay to be where you are. Breathe, let go!

Why A Women’s Retreat is the Ultimate Getaway!

This year is half over already – perhaps it’s time to stop a moment and assess where you are in the course of your life. If you’re making plans to take some time off this summer, consider taking an all-women’s retreat, rather than a vacation. Why?

For many of us in our busy life, a retreat is not a luxury, yet it is still a special event. Just like our monthly massages, semi-annual dental check-ups, and our annual mammogram, a retreat is an essential part of our self-care routine for which we need to make time at least once a year.

Like a regular vacation, a retreat can offer lots of fun activities balanced with quiet relaxation, but most of us aren’t there just to soak up some rays and play. We attend a retreat so we can work on ourselves, so we can get quiet and go deep into our soul to perhaps uncover something long lost, or to bring forth something new, more relevant or more meaningful in our lives. Many of us want to find our life’s true purpose, and we’re willing to share this enlightening experience with other women who are also self-examining.

Why We Need All-Women Retreats

So many of us women must deal with a multitude of emotions and challenges in our overwhelmingly busy lives. We often feel selfish and guilty about taking a few days off from our demanding job or business, or taking time away from our family in order to quietly spend it just reconnecting with ourselves and other women. In fact, we’re often guilty of “busy-ness,” of doing too much especially for others, and that’s actually one of the main compelling reasons we need retreats. We’re challenged to leave behind our long “must-do” lists, yet we must get away from our demanding environments so that we have no choice except to relax and just “be.”

Whether we’re meditating in solitude or sharing openly, the nurturing support of other women can help us explore questions of “who am I, really, and how do I want my life to be?” As a result of that self-inquiry, we can often pool our feminine energy to help each other make the necessary changes.

Therefore, a women’s retreat can lead to something new and truly wonderful in our lives, including a healthier lifestyle. Retreating, especially with all women, gives us the freedom to reach inward and more deeply than ever before; it empowers us to heal ourselves, to question our path, to re-examine and redesign our lives, and expand our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits. The safe, nurturing, and often lush and natural environment enables us to embrace our feminine energy along with Mother Nature, the epitome of our essence.

Whether you choose a week-long empowerment event with a variety of adventurous, confidence-building activities, a three-day getaway to focus on health, yoga and breathing exercises, or just a one-day retreat to designed to teach meditation, a retreat gives you permission to just “be” and not have to “do.” You can have fun, be adventurous, be creative, be focused on your health, or just be silent. No matter the retreat’s format, you are sure to come away changed through experiencing a different place, time, culture, lifestyle and perspective.

Check out our women’s empowerment retreat coming up in San José del Cabo, México.

How to Create Conscious Relationships

If the concept of living a more conscious lifestyle intrigues you, you’re not alone. Millions of people are becoming more conscious and mindful of the need to make changes in themselves, their relationships and their communities. The main thing it takes is your willingness to change.

But, often others in your life aren’t as aware and awake as you desire to be.

We all have some forms of relationships with those who seem self-involved and unaware; people who lack an interest in learning about anything outside their comfort zone. They’re not doing anything to positively impact their small corner of the world, and they don’t seem the least bit interested in changing or improving themselves, either.

In a sense, they’re unconscious. So, what do you do when some of the people you care about are not on the path to deeper consciousness?

And, what if one of these people is your spouse, a sibling, long-time friend, teammate or co-worker with whom you want to have a deeper, more meaningful and genuine connection? Dennis Merritt Jones, award-winning author, keynote speaker and spiritual mentor, tells us that how mindfully awake we are in our relationships determines what we shall bring to them and receive from them.”

So while you are actively, consciously growing, how can you effectively share your experience with this less-mindful person, so they’ll also begin to understand the benefits of living in a world that is more conscious and mindful?

This can be a challenge – yet a worthwhile one if you truly value the relationship. Here are some ways you can inspire, encourage and gently coax this person toward his or her own path to hopefully awaken to a deeper consciousness:

  • Share a consciousness-raising practice together (meditation, yoga, or mindfulness activity). Invite your friend or partner to join you for a health/wellness activity. Or, offer to show her a new way to relieve her job- or family-related stress. Instead of heading straight for the local bar, start your “girls’ night out” at your yoga studio or wellness spa. Yoga or meditation may just become the bridge to her higher sense of self.
  • Share with your friend or spouse what you have been doing to awaken yourself to become more mindful, such as deciding to be more present in your life. Your own personal experience can powerfully influence others to help them make changes as well. When your spouse or friend sees the effects of your decision, they’ll want to know what has shifted about you.
  • Invite your friend to an event or workshop about a subject in which they’re interested, such as stress management, health and wellness, or a couple’s relationship program. This is a great way to casually and comfortably socialize with others who want to live a more conscious lifestyle.

The goal is to engage with your spouse, partner or friend in a way that encourages them to take their own first step toward deepening their consciousness. However, despite your best efforts to develop a deeper relationship, your friend may nevertheless fade away, or your spouse or sibling will never really achieve a deeper connection with you.

Whatever you do, don’t give up on a relationship you truly value. LD Thompson, spiritual teacher, filmmaker, and author of “The Message: A Guide To Being Human” says that “If one maintains commitment to growth and embracing change, the chances for a successful relationship are greater.”

How do you develop conscious relationships with those in your life? Write to me on the blog and share your most effective techniques with our community.

As Dennis Merritt Jones reminds us, “it is the relationships we have on the journey that truly make life worth living, so why not make the journey consciously?”

Let Go of Clutter and Free Up Your Life Energy

It’s Springtime… time to bring in the new in all areas of our lives! I’m finally opening my windows, opening my closets and opening myself to letting go of the clutter I find in them!

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you’re like me, you may be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of your stuff that demands to be managed. For example, are you keeping clothes that still have the price tags on them? What about that “nice, but not my style” gift you received from your aunt last year? Does your office look like a white (paper) tornado hit it? Do you realize that the cupboards and closets in our homes that harbor our physical stuff are often a reflection of the closets in our minds?

Our mind is where clutter actually accumulates first, before it manifests itself as excess physical things in our homes. Here is where old thought patterns, emotions and anxieties that keep us confused, stuck and unhealthy (mental clutter) must be “busted” first, particularly the guilty or shameful feelings that made us acquire the things in the first place.

Our outer clutter reflects a degree of our inner clutter. The mind is where the real work begins, where change must happen before any home closet can be purged.

Clutter is all about feeling “stuck,” experiencing fear of or difficulty making change, letting go and moving on. It’s about not feeling good about yourself, and possibly wanting something that has passed. Clutter keeps your energy either in the past or the future, yet prevents you from living in the now.

So what makes us collect, keep and manage excess stuff in the first place? What personal void does our stuff fill? And how does our addiction to stuff, particularly excess stuff, affect us psychologically?

Brooks Palmer, author of “Clutter-Busting: Letting Go of What’s Holding You Back,” says that we try to give our lives significance by filling it up with things, which doesn’t work. Only a feeling of personal significance will replace our need to acquire things. Peter Walsh, host of TLC’s hit show Clean Sweep, and Oprah’s organizer, adds: “Stuff robs people of so much. If your house is full of stuff, all the blessings that could fill your house can’t get in. The stuff takes over. It robs you psychologically. You can’t be at peace.”

Stuff management wastes time and creates work that works against us in our homes and offices. Melody LeBaron, Home and WorkSpace Expert, says “We each have a relationship, a partnership, with the spaces we live and work in. And that partnership is either working for us or against us. Your space is either raising your mood and physical energy level because it’s clean, efficient, and pleasing. Or it is lowering your mood and energy level because it’s not.”

So how do you tackle that mental clutter that forges our strong emotional attachment to things – owning too many things – so that your peace of mind can be restored as well as your motivation and acceptance of change and progress? I suggest that you start by taking an inventory of your excess things which will naturally lead you to taking an inventory of your life. Become aware of your thinking and behavior patterns. Recognize how your thinking shows up in your life and your things. What emotions do your things satisfy?

If it’s sentimentality, ask yourself if those long-held thoughts and behaviors are still serving you today? If not, are you willing to let them and those things go, and to replace them with clarity, insight and happiness? This mental inventory exercise should help reduce your stress and simplifying your life by making it easier to let go of things that create excess work for you, things that you must manage beyond a reasonable degree, things that no longer give you joy, or serve you here and now. Stop suffocating yourself with stuff and watch your energy flow into your life!

So, how does your stuff serve you, or enslave you? How do you decide what supports you, and what steals from you? Write to tell me about how you manage your letting-go process and how that translates into a happier, healthier you!

A Profound Connection Between the Mind and Body

We live in a time of extraordinary planetary change that has profoundly affected the information on holistic healing modalities. Many more people are exploring the multitude of mind-body and spiritual modalities that are available options for trauma, emotional issues, pre- or post- surgery, chronic illness, and stress related disorders.

There is a huge change of scientific thinking in our time. The seeds of a new vision or reality are sprouting everywhere in physics, biology and psychology. It is a shift away from matter as the only reality, toward the inclusion of consciousness and mind. Cutting–edge information in the study of mind-body integration indicates the vital importance of our beliefs and perceptions and how they influence our bodies in creating health.

Significantly, people are now becoming more aware of their “core beliefs.” Core material is composed of memories, images, beliefs, neural patterns and deeply-held emotional dispositions. These ideas shape the styles, habits, behavior, perceptions and physical attitudes that define us as individuals.

Our responses to the major themes of life – safety, belonging, support, power, freedom, responsibility, sexuality, etc. – are all organized by our core thinking.

Some core beliefs support our ability to be who we desire to be, while some of our beliefs continue to limit us in living our best possible lives. These limiting beliefs function as a barrier or filter to the normal process of daily information that is received by our brains.

Illness is an opportunity for personal growth and transformation. As health care providers we are called upon to serve as catalysts and guides in this process.

In my own practice as a wellness coach and holistic practitioner, we use a variety of mind-body interventions that are designed to facilitate the mind’s capacity to affect change in core beliefs which have created emotional and physical symptoms. These techniques include meditation, energy psychology, mind-body practices, trauma release and visual imagery.

Now is the time to live your best life!