Advice for Aspiring Coaches

Life Coaching. It attracts people as a profession.

And for good reason.

There are a lot of us out there wondering if we are doing it right.  We question how we can be better. We seek self-help support and we attend classes and events like Leslie Knope seeks waffles (Parks and Rec Reference – watch it if you haven’t, it’s awesome and hilarious).

We are told we offer great advice and people constantly come to us for our wisdom and support.

We think, “I should get paid for this.” When we look at how it’s possible, the easiest path appears to be Life Coaching:

  • Becoming a licensed counselor of any sort requires schooling and there are tons of restrictions.
  • Writing a book feels super hard for reasons from the physical writing to the finding a publisher to the dubious path of self-publishing and rejection.
  • As we cast about for an option, Life Coaching shows up, because it is truly an open field = literally anyone can name themselves a life coach and so it is.

I get approached on this A LOT.  A. LOT.  Emails, coffees, “Quick questions” and clients interested.  Some are interested in how I did it so they can do it too.  I share the same advice over and over, it makes sense to share it here.

Some Facts about the Industry

In 2016 the International Coaches Federation published a Global Coaching Study.  This study shared a few facts like:

  • More than 53,000 Life coaches are working today
  • The average hourly rate for a life coach exceeds $200 and coaches earn an average $51,000 per year
  • 99% had some sort of coach specific training and 81% received accredited training to become certified as a coach

I encourage you to read this brief on the study which shares the highlights.

You can download additional information and/or purchase the full study here .

I share these specific facts because it is easy, super easy, to get caught up on the idea that glamorous lifestyle and coaching are synonymous.  We aren’t all Tony Robbins or Martha Beck.  We aren’t all taking monthly trips to Bali for “retreat” and it isn’t raining $1000s in our living room.  That, my friends, is amazing marketing by business coaches.  It is tough to achieve in 30 days, or even 1 year.  It does take work.

Yes. It is possible to create a successful career as a life coach.

Here is a great satirical look at this phenomenon…good for a giggle ( I LOVE JP Sears work, seriously check out his videos, super awesome):

 

Six Pieces of Advice

Here is the advice I give to people who ask me about being a life coach:

  1. Research:  Put all your questions into the search engine of your choosing and see what kind of answers spew out. You definitely need to read more than just this post – there are tons of experts out there with more than tons of opinions, information caches and expertise to offer.
  2. Ask and Answer these Questions: Why DO I want to be a Life Coach?  What kinds of Problems do I want to solve?
  3. Visit the ICF website and consume all you can about the industry.
  4. Identify how comfortable you are with marketing and sales – you will have to do this as a life coach.
  5. Talk to those closest to you in your life and see what they say.  Take their questions or concerns and research them further.  Figure out how you can make this work – and if you still want to.
  6. Once you have done all of that: engage a life coach.

This last one may seem self-serving.  It’s not.  Having a life coach gives you the exposure to what it feels like to be a client – you need to be a client. Your coach can help you make sense of all the things you researched and discovered in steps 1-5, organize your plan of action and help you move through the process of transforming from where you are to where you want to go.  I won’t advise someone on coaching unless they are willing to be a client themselves.

What?  I need a Coach?

Just like an athlete is coached to improve time, speed, accuracy, strength, skill.  A life coach can help you navigate your improvements to confidence, clarity, and decision making while offering support and accountability.

It is quite possible that even if after spending the time researching all you can, you still have reservations.  A life coach can help you work through those to get the answers right for you.  Life Coaching may not be the answer to your career or calling question.  But following this path can help you discover what is.

A great book to read in this area of calling and sticking to things is Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. I love everything she has to say about goal setting, purpose finding, and sticking with things. I recommend grabbing a copy and a highlighter and get to reading.

The First Conversation with an Aspiring Coach

I love helping people answer this question of “How do I become a life coach?”.  I love it. And I will tell you, the conversation usually starts out like this:

Me:  Soooo tell me why you want to be a life coach!

You (ubiquitous form): 

“I love people and they are always coming to me for advice and telling me I give such good input.”

OR

“I want a job that pays me well and provides tons of freedom. I love helping people so this made sense.”

OR

“I want to help other people do something they love. My life is kind of a mess right now and if I can start a job I love then I think it’ll straighten out and I can help other people do the same”

And my Favorite – this is the answer I want more than anything:

“I want to work with people to realize what they are capable of and help them get it in a specific area of their life.”

This last person is clear on what they are looking for in seeking coaching as a career.  The previous 3 answers aren’t horrible entry points because they all possess a sincere desire to figure out how to help someone live optimally. An awesome starting position and in many cases help is only needed in getting specific.

These answers create different starting points into becoming a life coach:

  • You may need to do some work in your life first.
  • You may need to do some work getting clear on what you want to do and how.
  • You may need to clarify your own vision.

Being a Good Listener isn’t All there is to Being a Life Coach

Wait. Whaaaaaaaaaaat?

Giving advice is very little of what we do – we are here to help others discover their strengths and what optimal living looks like for them.  That isn’t advice based on our personal experience, it is expertise based on research, experience and training.

Yes, you must be able to listen.  Then you translate what you have heard into insight for the client – actionable insight: a question, an observation, a clarifying point to validate.  You guide them through self-discovery exercises and exploratory experiences.  The focus is 100% on what the client can discover through the lens you can share with them.

You must be able to set ego aside and be fully present – this may be the first time this person has ever been truly heard.  It’s life changing.

Again, another giggle worthy take on this: Shit Life Coaches Say

It’s funny, cuz it’s true.

Your Next Steps

If you are ready to do your research on this as a career, follow the 5 steps I outlined above then contact a coach.  I’d be happy to do a free 1-hour session with you to follow up on your learning and help you find a coach whether it is me or someone in my network based on what you want to do.

We may also find you are a good fit for my Coach’s Collective Membership Group where we explore coaching from multiple dimensions and share expertise among professional coaches across the globe.

Email at jennifer@nolimitslife.guru and we will get something set up.

And in case you haven’t yet caught on, I do view coaching a serious business.  These are people’s lives. And yet…life is funny.  Look for the giggle worthy.

Best of luck on your exploration!

P.S.  You may have noticed I didn’t talk about business plans, technology, websites, blog presence or networking.  I advise getting clear inside on what you want and how, first.  Once you get clear, you’ll be able to whip that stuff out much easier. Your web designer will thank you.

 

 

 

photo jun 20, 8 27 31 am

Jennifer Murphy – Certified Personal and Executive Coach

I am a certified personal and executive coach ruthlessly focused on helping people live awesome lives.  I spent a large chunk of my life pursuing other people’s ideas of success and while those experiences were sublime in some cases, they weren’t the “more” I was seeking and I just never felt full. In 2011, I made the commitment to live life on my terms and everything changed. The life I love today was created.

My background is 10 years in the US Army as an officer, 10 years in Corporate America and then the last 6 running my own business. I have deployed twice in combat scenarios, worked with foreign governments and militaries and worked extensively in international business.  I have an undergraduate in Criminology, an MBA and certification in Positive Psychology. I have led organizations from 3-400 and love developing people and helping them create their next steps in life and work. 

I am founder of No Limits Life Empowerment Institute as well we a working glass artist, Reiki Master,  Partner in Shaman Grocer in Iowa City, and Co-founder of the Midwest Reiki Festival.    My favorite time is spent doing anything soccer related with my aspiring world cup soccer player, 10 year old Alexander.  I am also a pretty big fan of gaming (PS4) with my partner Craig while solving the world’s social problems. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Break Away From the Group

Yesterday I took my son to Maquoketa Caves State Park. It is what it sounds like: caves in a park. And it’s awesome.
 
While there we saw a lot of things I could write about which promote conformity and crush, absolutely crush freedom. I could be disheartened by a few of the things I saw, instead let’s reflect.
 
A daycare group was there at the same time. The canyon rang with not the sounds of nature, but the sounds of daycare providers wrangling their charges.
 
“Don’t climb on that”
“Stay on the path”
“be quiet” (what?)
“Not so fast”
 
and my favorite “You’ll get dirty, stop that.”
 
Strip away the safety concerns. I get those and as a mom whose kid has been in daycare, appreciate them.
 
Children + Park = so much experience to be had.
 
Yet time and again they were reigned in, curiosity squashed, interaction terminated and opportunity to immerse in what their bodies and souls were craving crushed.
 
Meanwhile, my same aged son is terrifying me with his daredevil perches on out-croppings. We engage fully with wet muddy shoes and body and sprints down trails to the next adventure.
 
We played hop rock in the creek at one point and came across a fawn serenely grazing 6 feet from us. We watched in wonder for about 20 minutes outlasting any group that joined us during that time.
 
Several times we found ourselves alone in a cave or on a trail simply being as we felt and tuned in to the amazing earth and water energy surrounding us.
 
I have no interest in curbing enthusiasm. I have zero energy for “stay in line” outside of a real safety concern.
 
What those kids experienced yesterday happens every day to all ages: the idea that you have to stay with the group and do what the group is doing and don’t dare to explore your own path – it’s dangerous and you may do something the rest of the group isn’t ready for.
 
But maybe you are ready to do something dangerous.
 
If it’s time to unleash your inner warrior and get dangerous,
I have something for you.
 
It’s the five week warrior club. Info session is Sunday at 5pm. I’ll share the 5 key tenets of freedom as I teach them and gift you a guide and video series as part of the webinar.
 
I’ll also tell you about the club and how it could impact you and your quest for freedom.
 
Don’t be those kids all grown up and your daycare provider simultaneously. Stop telling yourself to stay in line and stop allowing others to tell you that. Start being dangerous: be you.
 
Interested? register here: http://eepurl.com/cZbvZL
photo jun 20, 8 27 31 am

I am a certified personal and executive coach ruthlessly focused on helping people live awesome lives.  I spent a large chunk of my life pursuing other people’s ideas of success and while those experiences were sublime in some cases, they weren’t the “more” I was seeking and I just never felt full. In 2011, I made the commitment to live life on my terms and everything changed. The life I love today was created.

My background is 10 years in the US Army as an officer, 10 years in Corporate America and then the last 6 running my own business. I have deployed twice in combat scenarios, worked with foreign governments and militaries and worked extensively in international business.  I have an undergraduate in Criminology, an MBA and certification in Positive Psychology. I have led organizations from 3-400 and love developing people and helping them create their next steps in life and work. 

I am founder of No Limits Life Empowerment Institute as well we a working glass artist, Reiki Master,  Partner in Shaman Grocer in Iowa City, and Co-founder of the Midwest Reiki Festival.    My favorite time is spent doing anything soccer related with my aspiring world cup soccer player, 10 year old Alexander.  I am also a pretty big fan of gaming (PS4) with my partner Craig while solving the world’s social problems. 

How Self Coaching Works

Warning: I use the F word in this post.  If that offends you…either ignore it or quit reading now.

I’m going to give you a peek at what self-coaching looks like.  My goal is that every client I work with can employ this after working with me as the first line of offense when their optimal life is threatened.

Here is me, right now:

Some days fucking suck.

That’s not really what I mean.

What I mean is there are days I must look a whole hell of a lot harder for the upside than others.  I always find it because I want to.  I really want to believe in the best aspects of this world we live in.  I think it’s possible we live in a world where people can be super chill and respect each other and act on their beliefs.

I see a fuckton (yes it’s a word) of bullshit around me.  And through that lens of optimism I choose how I handle my engagement with that.

Received some crap from my kid’s soccer club yesterday that really set me off.  The background is that my son chose to screw around for the last year or so and not engage at his very best in his sport of choice.   Simultaneously, the club decided to institute an “A” and “B” team philosophy for the U11 age group.

I’m all in on competition.  Seriously – give me a challenge and I will prove how ridiculous your skepticism at my abilities is. I was less than thrilled at the prospect of my son at 10 being potentially told he wasn’t good enough for the A team.  We talked mental strategy and physical commitment and he went for it.  He was assigned to the B team.

Devastation. Tears. Confusion.  Questioning.

And he was pretty upset too.

Through his tears he asked me what he did wrong.  How the fuck am I supposed to answer that?

We connected with his coach who had some encouraging and constructive words for him and we developed a mindset strategy for moving past this.  We also talked application of that strategy in a series of upcoming practices, a tournament he was participating in and the multiple soccer camps he requested for this summer.

(I am currently selling body parts to finance all of this. Anyone need a pinky finger?)

He played.  He played like I haven’t seen him play in a while. His fire was back. Go figure…my kid needed a challenge to get him fired up and re-engaged.  He had been bored. I get that and I can work with it.

I’m feeling good about all of this.

Then yesterday I get the rosters for the teams for the fall in his age group.  His team doesn’t have a full roster and doesn’t even have enough to field a team.  Exactly how is this supposed to work?  Parents are jumping to conclusions all over the place.  I am sitting back and choosing my engagement.  Parents are now cancelling their commitments.  They are pulling their kids.

Holy cow.

Should I?  Nope, not my way. I don’t do things simply because others are.

I wait to see how the club director will respond.  I am disappointed.  There is no plan shared.  In fact, we are told that the rosters were created without a plan.  That they are working on one after their break and will share it at the parent meeting in 2.5 weeks.

Not good enough.  Not good enough by even a little bit.

What now?  How do I coach myself through this?  Well, I start with looking at what is true here:

  1. My kid earned the spot.
  2. The club director doesn’t have a plan, though he promises one.
  3. My kid loves, loves this sport. He committed to growing through this situation.

The values I am using to filter this:

  • Authenticity
  • Honesty
  • Commitment
  • Passion
  • Freedom
  • Transformation
  • Growth
  • Professionalism

What skeptical, cynical me thinks:

This is complete bullshit, find a new club.

This lack of communication means there was no plan and now they’ve been caught so they are scrambling.

What you allow will continue.

Intuitive me says:

He will thrive in a new environment

Yes, he earned that spot, but he also deserves more from himself and from his support system.

Questions still lingering:

What would a move to a new club (assuming I can find a roster spot) do for him – what message would it send?

Will the plan be good enough?

Actions I will take:

  1. Be direct with my response to the club director. I expect more. He needs to know that.
  2. Investigate other options for him to play if the plan isn’t satisfactory.
  3. Discuss with his father.
  4. Consult with his coach.
  5. Love and support him no matter what.

If you have a near term threat to your optimal lifestyle, take it through those analysis steps (the ones in bold).  Consider what actions you need to take to resolve it. These threats aren’t always immediately contained.  Sometimes they take a bit of work.  Working through them using your authentic, best self is way better than just reacting. 

Coach yourself.  And if coaching yourself doesn’t work, get a coach. And hey…I’m a coach, you could apply for a lackluster to limitless session with me and we’d see if it’s a good fit by working through what’s on your near-term threat list.

photo jun 20, 8 27 31 am

I am a certified personal and executive coach ruthlessly focused on helping people live awesome lives.  I spent a large chunk of my life pursuing other people’s ideas of success and while those experiences were sublime in some cases, they weren’t the “more” I was seeking and I just never felt full. In 2011, I made the commitment to live life on my terms and everything changed. The life I love today was created.

My background is 10 years in the US Army as an officer, 10 years in Corporate America and then the last 6 running my own business. I have deployed twice in combat scenarios, worked with foreign governments and military and worked extensively in international business.  I have an undergraduate in Criminology, an MBA and certification in Positive Psychology. I have led organizations from 3-400 and love developing people and helping them create their next steps in life and work. 

I am founder of No Limits Life Empowerment Institute as well we a working glass artist, Reiki Master,  Partner in Shaman Grocer in Iowa City, and Co-founder of the Midwest Reiki Festival.    My favorite time is spent doing anything soccer related with my aspiring world cup soccer player, 10 year old Alexander.  I am also a pretty big fan of gaming (PS4) with my partner Craig while solving the world’s social problems. 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

How is Your Health?

In the year preceding my departure from my last corporate job I had walking pneumonia 5 times.  Once it even came with a bonus kicker of whooping cough.  Steroids, antibiotics and over the counter remedies did nothing to stop it.  Days of working from home, long naps and attempting to power through it made no difference.  I was chronically tired, chronically sniffling, chronically coughing after every word I spoke.  I had put on weight.

In the prior 3 years I had been diagnosed with allergies, GERD, Arthritis, Migraines, more than a few bouts of bronchitis and sinus infections as well as the rarest form of asthma.

I kept thinking…wow, is this really what it’s like to be human?  

Around me I saw the same things happening.  To be sick seemed to be the latest fashion trend.  Everybody I knew seemed to be on something for something. Showing up to work sick was done with a sense of pride, “I’m so dedicated and valuable here I can’t possibly stay home.”

“Seriously, there has to be more.” I remember thinking.

There was.

Recently my Yoga Instructor reminded me of all this.  She looked at me in class and said, “we have been doing this about 10 years and you haven’t aged.”  We talked about why and I am going to share my suspicions with you here. I perceive 3 primary actions driving this outcome:

  1. I changed my diet.

My cravings were for fresher foods, more organic flavors and higher quality. I gave in to them.  I began to buy fresh, local and organic.  Even when my budget became the tightest it ever was, I stuck with it. I found I need less volume when the quality is higher – go figure.

My weight dropped and my stomach issues cleared up almost immediately.  Increasing water helped my headaches begin to fade and my ache from arthritis dissipate. As time went on I found that eating processed foods had an immediate and sever impact on my body:  skin rashes, stomach aches and more.

My diet was a huge step to take in feeling better about my life.

  1. I changed where I spent my energies.

Mentally I had to get straight on what mattered. I developed an exercise called aligning priorities and put it to work for me.  Using it I became very focused on spending resources on what I valued most and saying no to the things misaligned.

What followed was an increase in opportunity to engage with my dreams.  The opportunity to open my business presented itself, I took it.  Changes needed in my relationships became obvious and I made them.  Expired affiliations and loyalties were retired and lower vibration options just went away.

This alignment of energies gave me clear path to yes or no in my life.  Today I ask, “will this get me closer or further away from what I want to do?” as the gatekeeper question.

  1. I changed how I heal myself.

How I heal myself today addresses my entire system.  Rather than running to a doctor for each discomfort, I explore my life holistically. I never seemed to have an easy illness for a doctor anyway.  There was never a “oh you have this” response.  It was always, “well it could be several things”.  Now I know why: my illnesses weren’t just a bug – they were connected on all levels.

Today I work with a holistic chiropractor, Dr. Karly Abel, and view my health primarily through natural and spiritual means.  I consult with healers periodically and go the VA for my annual physical.  In the last 3 years I have had to consult a General Physician once for an illness I could not contain.  It was walking pneumonia.  Rather than just taking the antibiotics and waiting for a cure, I also took stock of my life and found other areas needing to be addressed.

I believe our bodies talk to us about our life choices.  They will tell us when we are off track – the same way our intuition speaks to us.  Therefore, we need to heal not only the physical symptoms, but the emotional and spiritual as well.

Do you recognize yourself in any of this?

Is doing exactly what I do right for you?  Maybe.  Is some degree of it?  Definitely. 

Your diet and how much water you drink is a fundamental building block – your body uses what you put in it – wouldn’t you like it to be the absolute best Mother Nature can create? Fuel yourself with high quality and you body will return high quality energy and output.

Focus your energies on what is most important to you and those things will flourish.  Spend time on the things you value most and you will feel most connected to them.  Feeling connected to those things will inspire you to live in alignment with your purpose and in turn you will feel more freedom.  Your sense of conflict will diminish as you know what you can say yes to and what to turn down.

How you heal matters – we are multi-dimensional.  Treating only one dimension just seems ludicrous. If I ignore a spiritual or emotional pain long enough, it will show up physically.  I bet yours does too.

What is your health currently telling you?  Are you trying diet plan after diet plan?  Are you on a closet full of prescription meds? Are you always hungry and always eating?  Are you shoving emotions down faster than a bag of French Fries? Chances are it goes deeper than conventional methods would explain.

Rebel.  Explore other means. Try a new approach if what you have been doing isn’t working.

The answer to how I haven’t aged in my Yoga Instructors eyes in 10 years is in living a lifestyle I love.  It is encompassing of healthy supportive food, people I love, a career that inspires me and a sense of completeness.  This lifestyle is more than professional success, it’s my entire life of success as I have chosen to define it.

YOU can find this too – you can be the person receiving your ultimate compliment.  You can be the person former acquaintances don’t even recognize and look at in wonder. It is possible for you.

Your challenge:

It’s time to define what lifestyle success means to you – how do you define it? Email me at jennifer@nolimitslife.guru and let me know. I’d love to hear your definition!

photo jun 20, 8 27 31 am

I am Jennifer Murphy, a certified personal and executive coach ruthlessly focused on helping people live awesome lives.  I spent a large chunk of my life pursuing other people’s ideas of success and while those experiences were sublime in some cases, they weren’t the “more” I was seeking and I just never felt full. In 2011, I made the commitment to live life on my terms and everything changed. The life I love today was created.

Apply for a Lackluster to Limitless Energizer Session if you are ready for more independence, freedom and sense of living your real life than you have ever had before. 

 

 

 

 

 

“I Know” is Not Enough

Life hasn’t been going well lately. You know it’s time for a change. You know that of all the changes you could make, one stands out above the rest.

You know what you’re supposed to do, right?

And there’s the problem.

The problem is that you already know what to do to maximize your happiness, increase your joy, and live in the power of purpose, and knowing and doing are two entirely different things. After all, there are goals to set, plans to make, and alternatives to consider, and all of it is quite overwhelming.

Or is it?

I’ve got two vitally important things for you to consider.

First, knowing isn’t everything. In fact, it’s NOTHING.

The biggest problem we have is telling ourselves that grand old lie, “I know.” When someone – a friend, coach, adviser, or trusted confidant – tells us what we would do well to do, we respond with, “I know.”

And we’re telling the truth. We really do know. Well…we think we know.

The truth is that knowing is not about what’s going on in your brain. It’s not even about what’s going on in your thoughts.

You see, knowing means that you are doing, pure and simple. If you are living the way you want to be living, then you know that way of life. If you’re not living it, then you don’t know it.

Simple, right?

So if you know what you’re supposed to do, why aren’t you doing it? What’s getting in the way?

That gets to the second point. The biggest obstacle to knowing is your own mind.

Your mind is a treasure trove of thoughts, experiences, judgments and ideas. Everything you have ever experienced, everything you have ever done, and everything you have ever accepted as true, are all stored in your mind. Some of these are wonderful and helpful, while others are less than desirable for your life.

And some of them are flat out wrong.

When was the last time you actually sorted out your thoughts, to see which ones are helping you, which ones are getting in the way, and which ones are total lies? It’s definitely something to consider!

Here’s a quick and enlightening exercise to try: 

Find a quiet place, and simply sit for ten minutes – that’s all! – and watch your thoughts. No phone, no computer, no interruptions. Just you and your thoughts. Notice what you are thinking. Notice where they came from…or who they came from. Then notice whether they are helpful are not

Then realize that you can actually choose to get rid of the thoughts you don’t want. You can actually delete thoughts that no longer serve you, and replace them with thoughts that actually help you become who you truly are (not who people have told you who you are).

Yes, it’s a complicated road. It does seem overwhelming. But it isn’t.

No, you can’t do it alone. This is your LIFE, not a do-it-yourself project.

We humans live in communities for a reason: no one can get through this life alone. We exist to help each other let go of what binds us, and live the best life possible, using our unique abilities and gifts.

Ask Jennifer, Denny, Kari, or even me for help, so that you can get rid of those total lies in your mind, get empowered, and start proving that you know the right direction in your life by actually living it. Follow this link to start the conversation.  

When You Are Sick

It all started with a “tickle” in the back of the throat. Then came the runny nose. Pretty soon, it was a full-fledged cold.

I’m not going to get into specifics about my cold (yuck!), but I want to invite you into a little exploration of the lesson of sickness.

Don’t worry; this won’t hurt a bit.

A week doesn’t pass where I don’t answer at least a few questions from someone – a client, friend or even a relative – about how to increase their intuition. I give my usual answers (meditation, learn a system, etc.), until the one that usually makes them stop in their tracks: listen to their own body. Believe it or not, the human body is an incredible intuition alert system, and, when it comes to sickness, the body can be a living opportunity to teach us volumes about ourselves and our relationships.

My own sickness had plenty to teach me, especially about spiritual identity and the role of spiritual practices in my life.

How did I get to that realization?  Let’s back up a bit.

Sickness is a sign of something out of sync or dis-ease in the human system. Notice I said “system,” not “body.” As human beings we are a composition of body and soul together, so dis-ease is not just a body problem; it can be a soul/mind problem as well.

Now that doesn’t mean that every physical problem can be directly traced to mind/soul problem. There are books that create numerous connections between body problems and life issues. These systems are interesting, and certainly have validity in some cases, but I don’t see a 100% correlation between the two. Sometimes bodily sickness simply happens.

Regardless of whether the sickness is a sign of deeper mind/soul problems, our response to that sickness is the same: we stop. The body wants to stop. We respond to that desire by attending to the needs of the body, making sure that we get appropriate medical care, adequate rest, and proper nutrition for efficient healing.

While attending to the body, it is also important to attend to the mind/soul as well. Many times there is a lesson or two that we are being taught in our sickness, which couldn’t be learned at any other time. This is the beginning of “hermit time.”

How we use our “hermit time” in sickness is very important. There are really three ways that we can use this time. First, we could use it as “poor-me” time, bemoaning our illness, lost time at work, our own personal suffering, and finding ways to ensure that everyone around us feels our pain in as many ways as possible. As we pursue this tactic, we generally feel our illness for a considerably longer time.

Second, we could use our hermit time as “extended work time.” We could get caught up on all that extra work, start a few more projects, and fee like we’ve accomplished a great deal. Of course, we also end up feeling worse for a longer period of time.

Finally, we could use our hermit time as time to listen. After all, our bodies are finally in a holding pattern, in a sort of desert where the heart can finally speak to us without being interrupted by the next urgent task on our list.

“I want to listen,” you say, “but how?” You certainly don’t want to fall into self-delusion where your mind wanders into strange territory, and you also don’t want to miss important insights.

There are four steps to listening to the heart during your hermit time:

  1. Get quiet
  2. Ask what the lesson/problem is
  3. Listen for the answer
  4. Treat the answer as the beginning of a conversation with the heart

1. Get quiet. To get quiet, I mean really quiet. No electronic devices. No phones. No Facebook. No television, Netflix, or movies. No radios or mp3’s. No books (you thought you could get away with that one, eh?). In other words, no input from outside. Picture yourself as being stranded in a literal desert, with no connections to the outside world. You cannot hear your heart when you’re distracted by everything else around you.

2. Ask what the lesson/problem is. Ask your heart what the actual problem or lesson is that you’re supposed to learn. Keep this very simple. Your heart is the core of who you are, your True Self, that contains an immense amount of wisdom. It is also your intimate companion through life. Ask this wise friend your deepest question, expecting the perfect response.

3. Listen for the answer. When you listen for the answer, pay attention to everything: your thoughts, feelings, even your memories, as they emerge in your consciousness. As you listen, disregard the first two or three answers that come up; they are often answer from the ego, trying to derail you from the work of genuine growth. If one of those answers happens to be the important one, fear not; it will come up again in a few moments!

At this point, it is helpful to have a notebook handy for insights as you receive them. If you rely solely on your memory, you will probably forget about 30-60% of what follows. So take good notes!

4. Treat the answer as the beginning of a conversation with the heart. This is where people usually don’t go. Go off the beaten track, and explore the answer further. Start talking to your heart, and also to Source/Higher Power/God about the answer you’ve intuitively received. (Yes, this is your intuition at work!) Have a very simple, loving and honest conversation about what it means for you, and how you can apply the lessons in your life. As in the previous step, pay attention to thoughts, feelings and even memories as they emerge; they are often veiled responses in your conversation. Yes, this does take some time, but I promise you: the conversation is worth it!

The result of this process is a conversation and insights that either set you on a new path in some part of your life, or fine-tunes the path you are walking right now. Sometimes, you may even find that your sickness will last a shorter time, since the lesson has been learned.

Every sickness is an opportunity for growth. The next time you get a cold, or your body is telling you to get some rest, try the approach I’ve outlined to get the most out of it.

Don MDonMarlette(558x800)arlette is, among many other things, a member of the No Limits Life team.  His unique blend of psychic insight, mediumship and practical wisdom guide spiritual practitioners and everyday people through the perils of everyday getting by to build lives that feel like they are singing their heartsong.  Learn more at www.nolimitslifeinstitute.com

 

A 420 Reflection

Normal is a relative term. It really is. Think about it for a moment.  Your routine, your rhythm for your day is yours and yours alone.  It is your normal.

The values and situations you grew up with were normal when you were growing up with them.  You woke up, you had things happen, they were normal.  And the things that happened in your day were likely different than the things happening in your peers day.  Their breakfast routine or homework routine was different.

Take my son for example.  He is driven farther than anyone in his class to get to school and I am guessing he is among a minority if not alone in the fact that he often gets up at one household yet has breakfast and gets ready for school at another.  His normal is different than others in his class. As a 10 year old he is learning a lot of flexibility and gaining the ability to transition through situations pretty well.

It gets me thinking about my own normal growing up as I note the date on the calendar – April 20, 2017.  Known better in certain circles as a holiday called 420.

When I was growing up in California, it was the mid to late 70s and 80s, I graduated high school in 1992.  (Don’t hurt yourself doing the math – I am 42 as I type this article.)  Cheech and Chong were funny guys on the record player and 8 track.  There were funny smelling plants in the backyard we didn’t tell everyone about and in the den there was a red tray that I wasn’t to touch.  The water filled smelly piece with the black sticky residue was also off limits.

The sweet, slightly musky smell of weed permeated my childhood. It was normal.  I didn’t see it as a big deal, it was just there.  Large groups of people around me used it. It was just part of life.

The Red Ribbons showed up in my life a few years later and I remember seeing a display put up by the local sheriff with all kinds of illegal substances and thinking – hey, I know what that one is…

Around that time, the smell became not quite so constant.  If it was happening, I wasn’t seeing it. Why was never my business and I don’t know that I asked.  I don’t remember it being a big deal one way or another.

In high school I was offered some and thought – well yeah, why not?  It’s normal.  In fact, I am almost 100% sure weed was the reason I passed geometry. My junior year of high school I was “busted” smoking after a football game, in my cheer uniform with some football players.  I was horrified to be called into the dean’s office and interrogated.  They threatened to call the sheriff and I was horrified at what that could mean.  I was a good girl. Good girls don’t get the sheriff called on them.

When I got home that day, my mother was waiting and she was not mad at me. Not for trying it anyway.  She was mad at my judgement on timing and placement. She admitted it would be hypocrisy to condemn me for something that was not a foreign substance to her and that she didn’t believe was the worst thing I could be doing.  In addition to the on campus suspension I had been awarded, the temporary suspension from the cheer squad and suspicion of “narking” by my peers, I was grounded for a few weeks.

I didn’t smoke after that. I just didn’t.  It wasn’t a conscious decision to stop or a dislike or anything else.  What really happened was alcohol took over my life.

As an alcoholic I wanted the chaos and insanity and drama that alcohol brought that weed simply didn’t invite in my life.  With weed I passed geometry, with alcohol I failed health.  But by God, I committed to alcohol.  After all, alcohol was legal so why shouldn’t I overindulge and drink as much as I could?  And like an Iowan at a corn syrup…oops I mean corn, festival, I went for it.

For the next 10 years or so I let alcohol dominate me:  through a career in the military where I found many of my kind, through passing out while driving and waking up on the side of the road half collapsed out the driver’s door, through alcohol poisoning and lost memories, marriage and divorce, lost friendships, bad, bad choices and more.  So much more pain than I can describe, or that you want to hear.  Alcohol took me to dark, dark places.

I recovered 14 years and 2 days ago.  It used to be a huge, big deal.  Now I have a new life and the day itself isn’t as big a deal as the gratitude I have for the life I get to live now.

I am interested in this movement of the legalization of marijuana on so many levels:

  • There are so many medical benefits which I saw up close as I watched my aunt recover from breast cancer in a medically legal state.
  • I am intrigued by the vast amounts of information and misinformation out there. The fear based op-eds and the scientists and doctors coming out with more and more research.
  • The dollars gained in taxes in states like Colorado where medicinal and recreational can be purchased and the dollars spent on crime prevention and jails in states where it isn’t legal.
  • Watching Tommy Chong on Dancing with the Stars then reunited with Cheech Marin on stage right here in Iowa a while back was fascinating– a state where you can use cannabis oil to treat certain conditions but you can’t buy it here (note: you can buy CBD oil here), instead you have to trek it in from another legal state across illegal states and pray to whatever you believe in that you don’t get caught bringing medicine to a family member or loved one that experiences intense relief when using it.
  • As a glass blower I can’t help but be fascinated by those artists whose work largely heads into the weed market. Their creativity and artistry is mind blowing.  If you haven’t watched Degenerate Art on Netflix yet, queue it up.  And this 60 Second Docs piece on Robert Mickelson and his work will  blow your mind.

I think we as a society are headed into a new normal – maybe more like the childhood I remember even.  My family couldn’t have projected what they were preparing me for as I was exposed to all that I was exposed to, but as I see it today it is like seeing an old friend.  That moment your olfactory senses are tickled by a scent that brings back happy childhood memories, like gramma’s cookies might do for someone else.  Across the nation people are benefiting from the use of medical marijuana and of legal age adults are choosing the mellowing effects of weed over the chaos of alcohol.

It may not be for everyone, but neither is your anti-depressant or pain management pill.

When I think of the lifestyle I want, the life I want for my son, I pray that he never chooses to drink the way I did.  I hope and pray he didn’t inherit the disease that took me to places I never wanted to go, but signed a contract in blood with as I took those first sips.

What I want is for him to pursue life the way I have chosen – his own way. I want for him, and for everyone, to know that it is super cool to be you.  Just be you, not some expected version that needs to measure up against anything else.  I think as we move towards a more authentic state of being, it is natural to also move toward more natural products for our bodies.  Our bodies crave the new normal of natural, not the old normal of processed synthetic, toxic mind and body altering substances.

Whatever your normal is today, think about it.  Is it right for you?  Is it really, really right for you?  Are you informed on all sides of the issue you spout off about, vote on or endorse?  Do you know your own story and what works for you and what doesn’t?

It is time to live dangerously: define your normal, don’t let it be defined for you.

 

My first time on the big girl torch

My first big torch experience

Jennifer Murphy is a life coach, help captive in Cedar Rapids, but willing to stay because her son anchors her in place and he is so totally worth it!  An expert in helping people across the globe prioritize their values and create a life centered on what they value most, allowing them to shed stress, overwhelm and the BS that can suck the soul from their daily lives.  Learn more at http://www.nolimitslife.guru