How do you practice gratitude?

April 20, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Posted in Gratitude | 1 Comment
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I’m not one to stick my head in the sand or cop a Pollyanna attitude, but I purposely limit my exposure to TV, radio, print and internet news. Somehow I manage to stay in touch with current events without inundating myself with crisis-based stories that can send my spirits nosediving.

It’s important to stay informed, but in my experience it’s far more essential to care for myself so that I can effectively care for others. My number-one, daily self-care intention is practicing gratitude, usually first thing in the morning for 10-15 minutes. For me, this generally means reading a page or 2 of something by one of my favorite authors (i.e., Parker Palmer, Sue Monk Kidd, Henri Nouwen, John O’Donohue, Frederick Buechner), then meditating and/or journaling about what I’ve read.

I let myself sit in silence for a bit and simply listen, which gradually flows into more mediation or prayer about specific issues in my life, in the lives of people I love, in our world. And this is where gratitude comes in.

I ask for the fearlessness to accept whatever’s going on around and within me, to see it as a gift. Of course, it’s easier to embrace the “fun” stuff, like starting a new client or taking a trip to Tuscany, than it is to be thankful for my aging uncle’s illness or a friend’s shattered marriage. The main thing I know is that when I release my resistance to what is and receive the change with gratitude — just as Eckhart Tolle writes about in The Power of Now — a very elemental shift can happen.

I rarely understand the shift in an intellectual way; it’s an internal process that I sense. And the shift doesn’t always happen. When it does, though, my spirit becomes tender. I stop fighting. I’m no longer afraid of what or who might come my way. I’m at peace with who I am and in knowing I’m right where I need to be to do what I’m called to do.

How do you practice gratitude?

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Good-Bye, Superwoman!

June 10, 2008 at 5:07 pm | Posted in Superwoman Complex | 1 Comment
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Many years ago I recall a wise friend asking me, “Why do you think you have to take care of the whole world?” At the time I wasn’t sure how to answer but now — after several decades of processing — I understand the roots of my Superwoman complex and consciously practice a few key techniques to decrease her influence in my life. You might find these helpful, too, if you’re beating your head against the wall, multi-tasking like crazy and trying to do everything yourself.

* Reflect on whether you’re playing the role of Superwoman. If you’re not sure or if you’re prone to minimizing how much you actually do, ask your closest family members and friends for their ruthlessly honest opinions. Decide ahead of time that when you ask them, you’re going to believe them

* Examine the reasons behind your Superwoman tendencies. You may want to consider engaging a counselor or coach to support this exploration.

* Recognize that there’s great strength in being able to rely on others who are trustworthy. Having needs is not necessarily the same as being needy and clingy. Understanding your needs and then expressing them to people who know you well lets them have an opportunity to care for you. Sharing your needs actually lets others feel valuable and gives them a chance to love you

* Accept that you are not all-knowing and all-powerful in every aspect of life. For example, your husband or partner may actually be a better bargain-shopper than you and, as a bonus, he may genuinely enjoy it! And in the professional world, even though team development may be part of your job description, your colleague may be infinitely more gifted than you in being the consensus-builder for your department

* Delegate some of your responsibilities to others. At home, ask other family members for help or hire out specific jobs. If possible, try to release a few tasks; stop doing them altogether or cut back on their frequency. On the job, dialogue with your colleagues about your strengths as well as their’s and determine if some projects can be reallocated.

* Plan the multiple ways you’re going to relish the added free time and peace of mind you discover when you kiss Superwoman good-bye!

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“Dancing to a New Rhythm,” forum for divorced and widowed women

April 21, 2008 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Authentic Life Events | 2 Comments
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“Dancing to a New Rhythm” will be the next event in the Women in Transition (WIT) forum series . . . it’s designed especially for women who are adjusting to the multiple life changes caused by divorce or the death of their spouse.

Date/Time: Thursday, May 29, 2008/7-9pm

Location: Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale

Registration: $25 per person

Click here to learn more about and register for the May 29 forum.

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Women in Transition (WIT) forum for women in the “Sandwich Season”

February 27, 2008 at 7:44 pm | Posted in Authentic Life Events | 1 Comment
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Authentic Life Consulting invites you to the first event in the Women in Transition (WIT) Forum series, “Savoring the Sandwich Season,” for women who want to thrive (not just survive) while caring for children/grandchildren and aging loved ones.

Date/Time: Thursday, March 27, 2008/7-9pm

Location: Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale.

Registration: $25 per person

Click here to learn more about and register for the March 27 forum.

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Authentic Life group process set to go!

December 31, 2007 at 8:12 pm | Posted in Authentic Life Events | Leave a comment
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Here we are almost on the other side of the holidays, and I’m savoring the look and feel of an exhilarating new year ahead!

One of the experiences I’m anticipating most is collaborating with you in the Authentic Life group process. This is your opportunity to discover, trust, and express all you’re created to be, with 2 or 3 other women who want to grow in similar ways.

We’re going to get started the week of January 14, afternoon and evening times are still available. Group sessions provide the same transformational process I offer to individuals and couples, but at a lesser cost.

Email (ellen@authenticlifeconsulting.com) or call me (602.565.5151) for more details about the Authentic Life group process. You may want to participate yourself and you may know others you’d like to invite as well.

I’ll love to hear from you!

How about a gift for yourself? The Authentic Life group process

November 25, 2007 at 8:06 pm | Posted in Authentic Life Events | Leave a comment
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women-talking_000001746946large.jpgThe gift-giving season is upon us (unless you’ve chosen to go the “Buy Nothing Christmas” route), and right about now many of us are getting down to serious shopping. While you’re at it, how about a gift for yourself, too? Something you may have been putting off for way too long — taking time to discover, trust, and express all that you’re created to be.

Here’s an extraordinary opportunity for you to transform your life and your relationships: join one of my Authentic Life groups beginning the week of January 14. Afternoon or evening times available. The same developmental process I offer on an individual basis but at a lesser cost, with the added experience of enlarging your community. Groups limited to no more than 4 individuals.

Set the intention today that your new year will be one of rich growth and radiant freedom. This is your transcendent time.

Email (ellen@authenticlifeconsulting.com) or call me (602.565.5151) for more details about the Authentic Life group process. You may want to participate yourself, you may have friends you’d like to invite, or you may want to give the group experience to someone you love. Let’s talk soon!

What will your legacy be? (Part 1)

October 10, 2007 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Legacy | 3 Comments
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My mom recently celebrated her 80th birthday with a backyard get-together for about 50 of her closest friends and family. It was a lot of fun for me, my mom, and step-dad (and, I think, for everyone else) to visit with people from the different seasons of my mother’s life, including her church groups, community volunteer activities, and career in college administration.

Clearly, one of the elements that anchors my mother’s life is relational connection; she still has active friendships with people she’s known for nearly 70 years. Her high value for sustained relationship is a legacy my mom has passed on to me, and it’s had a significant impact on my life choices.

What, then, is the legacy I will pass on to those in my influence? It’s definitely a mixed bag, which I’ll explore further in Part 2 of this legacy series.

I heard two stories today that illustrate very different types of legacies. The first came from a friend whose son is currently stationed in Iraq. This father told me his son is now in the habit of gathering his squad in a circle and asking everyone to hold hands so they can pray together before they leave on patrol. I happen to know this is the kind of courageous faith and leadership that’s been modeled by this young man’s father.

The second story came from another friend whose mother was frighteningly abusive. When my friend was a little girl her mother would sometimes rage uncontrollably at her simply because she disturbed her mother’s concentration. One of the legacies left to my friend was that for many years she felt like a non-person. She’s worked for a long time to develop her sense of wholeness and self-worth, to un-do the power of her mother’s legacy.

We have such a precious opportunity to leave a legacy of emotional health and hope for those we influence. While we can seldom select the legacy we inherit, we can choose a great deal of the legacy we leave to others. What will yours be?

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