Wednesday, July 21, 2010 Anonym 5529 Personal Development What is it all about really? In midlife we often start asking ourselves some really big questions. Things like: What is my life purpose? How do I make a difference in the world? Who am I? Questions like that are wonderful explorations. And they can also feel overwhelming. Deep personal reflection needs to be balanced with the simple joys of life. Sometimes during a coaching call the most off handed comments produce the best wisdom. Recently one of my long time clients was discussing different perspectives on the next few months of her life. As we played with a number of ideas, she casually mentioned a bumper sticker that she had seen: What if the hokey pokey IS what it's all about? That led to a great coaching conversation about how she would approach things if the hokey pokey was really what life was all about. Do you remember doing the hokey pokey when you were a kid? Just a silly little dance you did for fun. What would you do differently? It is so easy to get wrapped up in the details and to do lists of your life that you start to take things way too seriously. Things begin to feel hard. You get stuck in a routine and it's more difficult to try new things. You might worry about getting things right or feel the weight of figuring things out. I bet if the hokey pokey was really what life was all about you would decide to lighten up. You wouldn't think so much about how you looked or if you were turning the right way. You'd just take part in the dance. I bet you'd not take as many things so seriously. You'd have way more fun, laugh more often, listen to more music. You'd trust that most of the time everything will work out just fine even when you miss a step. What if? What if life is all about putting your hand in and trying new stuff because you could just as easily pull it back out? What if shaking things up is just part of the dance? What if turning yourself around when you need to is a comfortable part of how you approach your day? Life is a lot like a dance - finding your own rhythm, moving in and out of step with others, keeping time and changing with the beat. And if at least for a good part of the time you're not enjoying the dance, then it's time to find another tune. And that's what it's all about. Five Ways to Lighten Up It's so easy to get so caught up in your to do list that you lose sight of what's really important. When that happens, you likely start to take life way too seriously, perhaps even letting minor things get the better of you. Are you walking around feeling like you are carrying a heavy load? Try these ideas to lighten up: 1. Laugh more. Did you know that on average children laugh 146 times a day while adults only laugh 4 times? No wonder kids seem to have such a happy perspective! How often do you laugh during the course of the day? Look for the humorous side of things. When you get right down to it, life is a pretty comical adventure most of the time. If you find yourself saying, "One day I'll laugh about this," go ahead and laugh about it today. 2. Decide that it's not about you. Taking everything personally is a sure way to stay serious. Here's a reality check - most of the time whatever is happening is not about you. When you encounter someone else's frustration, anger or stress, pause for a moment and consider that it's not about you. It's more likely about something that is going on in that person's life that has nothing to do with you. So let it go. 3. Find your happy dance. Let music and dance play a greater role in your life. Find your own personal happy dance and do it one a regular basis. Many people are too concerned about how they look to other people so they resign themselves to a inconspicuous toe tapping when they hear a beat that moves them. Go ahead and shake your booty - even if it's only in the privacy of your own kitchen. Remember, "What if the hokey pokey is what it's all about?" 4. Embrace failure. Think back to the best life lessons you've learned. Chances are they were a result of things that went sideways. Mistakes are the best way to learn. So next time things didn't go the way you planned or you screwed up royally, take it as a learning opportunity, not as a reason to beat yourself up. Ask yourself, "What can I learn from this to move myself forward from here?" Laurel Vespi is the creative energy behind stone circle coaching. Known for her bold, funky and creative style, Laurel partners with people who are really ready to make something different happen in their lives or businesses. Whether it is deciding at midlife what someone wants to be when they grow up, taking back control of a runaway life, figuring out the big picture or re-energizing a relationship, Laurel takes people on an amazing journey that aligns choices with personal values. Laurel is a certified life coach, an award winning author and sought after public speaker. Her most recent book Spontaneous Combustion explores why we wait for the most important things in life and how to start living your best life today. Visit Laurel’s website www.stonecirclecoaching.com where you can check out the free stuff including a free guidebook to blissful living. When you find yourself taking things a little too seriously, stop and take a few deep breaths. Using your breath is one way to elicit a relaxation response in your body. Deep breathing sends a signal to your body to release tension and pain. You can also use your breath to help visualize your stress easing. As you breathe in, imagine you are inhaling peace or calm. As you breathe out, imagine you are exhaling all of your tension. 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