Using the Wisdom-Energy of Your Body to Create Positive Change

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What's an easy way to find out from within yourself whether you're making a new professional or personal choice that's right for you?  

The good news is that we have in our own bodies this great, built-in resource that's surprisingly accurate in helping us affirm new choices for what we want in our work, our relationships, our creativity, and our well-being. This is the wisdom-energy of our bodies. Becoming aware of this resource as part of the coaching experience is often a fascinating part of the journey in itself for coaching clients.

From many years of giving stress-management classes, I've noticed how people at work cut off from connection with their feelings and their senses. I've seen that type of tightened, hunched-over body posture often in professionals from non-profits, tech corporations, schools, and businesses. The message so clearly embodied is: "Work is hard and demanding. It takes all my energy and leaves none for breathing and feeling. I will myself to focus only on my work and not my well-being, unless maybe there's time for that later (and there probably won't be)."

Recognize yourself?  When did you last stop to check in with yourself at work or in other situations during your day, inhale and exhale slowly and deeply, and actually feel the sensations in your body?  For your body speaks to you through sensations-- warmth, cold, tension, flexibility-- and your energetic level. In general, when your body is warm and flexible, and your energy is high, your mind and spirit feel more expansive than when you're cold, tense, and energetically depleted.

When you're in a higher energy state, your thoughts and feelings are more positive, and it's easier to become aware of new possibilities and feel ready to make new changes.

As you practice moving from lower to higher energy states, you start to tap into the aliveness in your body and spirit that you need in order to find fulfillment in what you do and how you are in the world.  Otherwise, though your career choices, for example, may look good on your resume, they may feel unsatisfying, as well as disconnected from a sense of purpose and vitality in your life.

What we can learn here is that when we hold back from feeling our life energy, we cut ourselves off from our intuition and awareness. We cut the cord to the direct knowing of our own truth from our feelings and our senses.  

My client, Jana, was a young college graduate who was not happy with her career choice of engineering. Then she had a bout with colon cancer, which gave her the time to pay attention to what her belly and the rest of her body were saying to her. Healing from cancer was the first step in understanding her life priorities and considering  changing her professional direction to one that was more deeply satisfying. 

In our coaching together, I made time for Jana to practice deep belly breathing that allowed her to relax the pressure from her mind and engage with her body energy. 

When she reached choice points, she learned to pay attention to whether she felt her energy get higher or go lower. Considering becoming a career engineer plummeted her energy. But combining some of what she did enjoy about structural engineering with community planning lifted her energy.

By checking in with her energy when making decisions, she gained clarity about her evolving vision for her new career direction and her future life-- creating a sustainable community by connecting people with the sources of real food and life.  Her sense of purpose come alive as she felt her belly softening and opening. 

She began to envision creating a place for growing healthful food, with beautiful buildings for holding classes and retreats to help people heal their relationships with their food, their bodies, and their spirit. In time, she brought together her technical, agricultural, and human potential interests into a more authentic and satisfying professional direction. 

As Jana did, you can learn to pay attention to the messages from your body. When you feel confident about accessing your body's energy, you become attuned to your own intuitive wisdom. In learning to sense what energetically uplifts and motivates you, you can more effectively make positive, satisfying choices and transformative changes for working and living fulfilled.

Love As Foundation for Transformative Change

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What is the power of opening our hearts that it can transform our lives? In my experience coaching people making career and life-balance changes, being supported in connecting with that which you love is the true foundation for making transformative change happen. This isn't something that you generally learn in school, and it's not often what you learn professionally.  Just try, however, to undertake something really challenging, like making a profound change in the way you work or live, and see if you can do this without going deeply into your heart.

Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.—founder of Commonweal and renowned for her healing work with doctors struggling with burnout in trying to heal gravely ill patients— writes in her book, My Grandfather's Blessings, "The heart has the power to transform experience. No matter what we do, finding fulfillment may require learning to cultivate the heart and its capacity for meaning in the same way that we are now taught to pursue knowledge or expertise."

A young doctor, LaVera, who came to see Remen told her about a traumatic event where another first-year student in her medical program suddenly dropped dead. No one in her class, including the professors, talked about the impact of this experience. Busy as the students were with their 18-hour days, they just rolled on through the year without any acknowledgement of how they were affected by this event.  

Months later in a pathology class, the professor passed around a congenitally deformed heart and casually remarked that it had belonged to the student who'd suddenly died.

The sudden impact of that remark hit LaVere like a bolt of lightning, but she noticed that none of the other students showed any sign of emotional distress. And neither did she—until she told her story to Remen and wept.

The metaphor of the heart and what happens when we hold ourselves back from what we feel speaks directly to what is so important about coaching and being coached from the heart. It's often not easy to take the first step in changing your professional identity. You might find it hard to acknowledge sadness or shame at not having taken a different path earlier. You might feel fear (as well as excitement) at leaving a profession in which you've spent years training and working.

As a coach, tuning in to the emotional aliveness of what my clients are feeling in the midst of making powerful changes is a vital, endlessly fascinating part of my work.

For me, this is transformational coaching and has a broad foundation in love. From this aware and caring space, I give people the welcoming experience of being free to be who they really are (sometimes for the first time in their lives) and make new choices for their lives that really matter to them now. 

How do you know when you're following the direction of your heart and spirit? It feels easy to go forward in this way because you're drawn to this energy.  Think of people you know whom you enjoy being around because they love being who they are and doing what they do.  Because they work, relate, and engage with aliveness, awareness, and spirit, with every cell of their body.  Because they shine with the joy of living and working with purpose and love.

I'm thinking of the joy, engagement, and purpose I've seen emerge through coaching and mentoring people from a place of loving connection. There was the coach who was so energized with the new, heart-centered depth to her work with her clients by integrating somatic awareness and techniques she learned during our mentoring sessions.  And there was the architect who moved out of burnout and breakdown in health to radiant joy in creating his own business and shifting his priorities to have time for his family, fitness, and creative passion. 

Opening your heart allows you to claim what has meaning and what gives joy to your life!  In this way, you can dare to risk making the changes you need to work and live with fulfillment, to create and transform. When you then share with others what you love, you let the joy within yourself flow out and inspire them, too. 

What's a transformational change you've experienced that opened your heart and changed your life?

Living Your Life in Dynamic Balance!

Living Your Life in Dynamic Balance

Why do so many people come to coaching seeking balance in their lives? 

Many people I help with making career transitions also feel that it's a great time to open the picture of what they really want in their whole lives. When we explore this in more depth, they see that they want more than just a new professional direction or position. They want to affirm the importance of living in such a way that there is time in their lives for the synergistic richness of meaningful work, caring relationships, health and fitness, personal development, creativity, and simply being.

When you feel your life is out of balance, what happens is that too much of yourself is being absorbed in ways that are no longer fruitful. Living in dynamic balance is about how to refresh and renew yourself within the forces that shape and energize your life— with work, family life, friendships, creativity, spirituality, and well-being.

As Gregg Levoy asks in his dynamic book, Callings, "What is the feedback your life gives you? Is your energy growing or shriveling? Moving or getting jammed up? Is your life deepening?"

Suzanne was a 30-year-old woman who'd moved several years earlier to Portland, Oregon, with her husband and young daughter after several years working with an international corporation in Washington, D.C. She started coaching with me because she felt her life was very much out of balance. While happy with her family, her contract work was unsatisfying to her, she felt isolated from her friends back east, and out of rhythm in her life as a whole.  She definitely felt her energy was "shriveling" and "jammed up."

As we explored what she wanted to do and how she wanted her life to be, Suzanne  realized how much she wanted her life to include teaching yoga again, expressing herself through writing, taking courses at a psychotherapy institute, reaching out to her women friends, and re-connecting with her spirituality. She soon found a studio to teach yoga for disempowered women, took a class in neuropsychology, and reached out for places to start publishing articles about living spiritually.  

Now her energy was "growing" and "moving"! In fact, Suzanne found so many areas of compelling interest that she then had to look at how to fit them into her busy week. Then she took a week-long meditation retreat that profoundly opened her core desire to live authentically, from her heart. 

In this spirit, Suzanne accepted a part-time position on a project she particularly cared about with the organization she'd left several years earlier. She negotiated ways to work as part of a team, even at a distance, so she wouldn't feel isolated working from home.  She also organized a "hub" for herself and some of her women friends as a place to come together to do whatever work each of them was engaged in, as well as connect socially.

In these ways, Suzanne has begun to build on her growing awareness of what it is to live her life in dynamic balance. She no longer tries to make her family life and all her new interests fit perfectly together. Though she plans time for her work routine, including teaching yoga, she's learned to appreciate shifting and re-balancing her energy by following where her curiosity and her caring lead her during the week.  She's learned to trust in herself the evolution of an "inner compass" on her own authentic path. 

Most importantly for Suzanne is connecting with the alive, passionate part of herself in everything she chooses to do now.

Living in dynamic balance is about just that— understanding where your energy needs to go in order to grow and nourish your soul. Living in dynamic balance requires a periodic shifting of your energy from the outer shape of your profession or relationship or creative path to your inner knowing that assesses their meaning and value for you. This, in turn, allows you to re-design your work and other life commitments so you can breathe and go forward, freely, with happiness and with purpose.

Fundamentally, our lives are not jigsaw puzzles that we take apart, then put together again in the same ways. Whenever you create change in some aspect of your life, your whole life changes, as if you're dancing with the universe. This is the “dynamic” quality of “balancing” your life!

             What is the dynamic balance you'd like to have in your life now?

Coach Mentoring for Coaches— Keeping the Spark Alive!

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Have you ever wanted someone to support you in realizing your dream as an aspiring professional in your field? 

Have you ever had a mentor in your life?  

In the coaching field, there's a lot of discussion now about the roles of coach mentors.  As with mentoring in any professional field, a very important function of coach mentors is helping less experienced coach clients fine-tune the quality, breadth, and depth of their coaching.  This also includes coach mentors who support coaches applying for professional credentialing through the International Coach Federation (ICF).  Additionally, coach mentors may offer coaches practice with integrating non-coaching skills into their coaching (e.g., business development, cross-cultural awareness).

As a credentialed coach and certified mentor coach (as defined by ICF), I'm very glad to be part of the mentoring wave flowing through the coaching profession. I very much enjoy mentoring coaches in the areas mentioned above.  In addition to mentoring other coaches, I, too, have received valuable mentoring at certain times from other coaches whose professional expertise I trust and from whom I want to learn. 

A mentor from my mentor coach certification training, Marion Franklin, MCC, introduced me to more nuanced ways of listening to my clients, which allows me to have more fluid coaching conversations with more useful outcomes for them.  My current coach mentor, Ian White, Life Fulfillment coach, has an open, imaginative mind and always helps me find new, creative directions with my coaching.  I have monthly sessions with him to keep my coaching skills sharp and effective.

Why mentoring?

During one session with Ian, I mentioned that I'd been feeling vulnerable from some challenging event in my life.  Because of that, I felt I was at a new level with my coaching, but wasn't sure what it was all about. Ian identified this transition as "transformational, like starting a blaze!"  That image was so vivid to me that I realized, "Yes, this why I coach.  I'm keeping the spark alive!  I help my clients reach for what is alive in themselves to make positive changes in their lives."

Throughout the ages, mentoring— the passing on of survival and working skills from one person to another— has been the primary way that humans have learned how to navigate successfully the tricky terrain of staying alive and retaining cultural legacies into the next generations.  As the world of work diversified, people became apprentices in different trades or professions.  The more promising candidates were mentored into journeymen or mastery when they were considered competent and able to set up their own businesses. 

These days experienced teachers, professors, and corporate managers and executives may be called on to provide mentoring to less experienced employees and students to help them learn to work more skillfully within their departments or organizations.  Many mentors invite their mentees into important networks for developing professional contacts leading to speaking, publishing, and/or teaching opportunities.

In what ways do coaches need coach mentors? 

We coaches invest a great deal of ourselves in helping clients open their vision for their future, align their career and life planning with their values, find new opportunities on which to base new choices, and motivate them to go forward.  Helping our clients keep the spark alive to make changes that matter in their lives is rewarding and sometimes demanding work.  Periodically, we coaches benefit from skilled mentors who remind us just what it is about coaching that we love to do!

As both coaches and teachers, coach mentors challenge their coach clients to move to the next level of excellence in their work by giving them clear feedback about their coaching interactions with their clients. They inspire their coach clients to expand their reach in helping their own clients understand and make the changes they really want.  Coach mentors remind their coach clients to be curious and open to new perspectives that can help their own clients grow and evolve with consciousness and clarity.

What makes mentoring such an effective learning experience for both the coach mentor and the coaching client?  

As Lois L. Zachary says in The Mentor's Guide,"Learning on the part of both mentor and mentee grounds the work of mentoring. It is the reason we do it, the process we engage in during a mentoring relationship, and the outcome that both mentor and mentee seek."  As both a coach mentor and a coach receiving mentoring, I know and look forward to the mutual learning involved in these relationships.  Mentoring other coaches also affirms my connection to, and appreciation of, the profession and process of coaching as an alive and authentic way of helping people create meaningful changes in their lives.

Defining Heart-Centered Success in Your Own Terms for Your Work and Your Whole Life


What does it mean to define heart-centered success in your own terms with work and your whole life?  You don't necessarily need to become famous or rich.  Most importantly, you don't need to give up anything that's really important to you.  Clarifying what heart-centered success means to you is about getting to know who you really are and what really motivates you NOW.  The drive to find work and a way of life that deeply satisfies the needs of a person's spirit can be so powerful that it blows right through old messages from teachers, parents, peers, and the media that say, "you can't" or ''that's not what you're trained to do" or "you won't be able to make a living at that."

If you’re feeling burned out or limited at work, it’s likely you’re seeing your professional future and the picture of your life based only on your past and present experience, training, education, or family expectations.  As Barbara Sher in her book on strategic change-making, Wishcraft, asks:  “Were you given real help and encouragement in finding out what you wanted to do-- and how to do it?”  

If not-- and most people I’ve worked with have not been-- then your first step is:  

Begin to envision an authentic career and life as an integrated process based on what motivates and inspires you in the present moment! 

If you're reading this post, you may be exploring what it means to feel successful

in your career or the quality of your life as a whole— with relationships, creativity,

fitness, travel, spirituality, and whatever else is important to you.  Perhaps there's something intangible that you long for to bring a glow to all parts of your life.  This is what I call the "heart-centered" quality of success.  Your can feel it as energy, vitality, and passion.  Essentially, it's about understanding what it is that calls you.

As I wrote in my book, Success with Soul, "Vitality is our energy and passion to live fully, to discover our purpose, to awaken to the gifts we have to offer and not just get by— on the job, in our relationships with others, in every activity we undertake."

When I coach people, that's where we're going— towards where their energy

vibrates at a high level and towards where they are genuinely attracted.  At this energetic level, you're able to connect with what is most meaningful to you— and to your capacity to let this open and flourish.

Nicole, is a coach in her mid-50s with a strong business background, hardworking and creative.  She began coaching with me because she felt stuck professionally.  She believed that to go forward, she needed to create a bigger business involving associates, trainings, and informational products.  Each time she took a step in that direction, however, she could feel herself losing energy and interest.

Her dream was to go back to living in the country on a good-sized piece of land, but she insisted that she needed to make more money before she could afford to do this.  However, she was clearly longing to take action in a new way.  

So I asked her if she’d be willing to look at whatever she enjoyed doing, then brainstorm ideas for career directions for each possibility.  Soon it became clear that everything she loved doing was in the outdoors.  With “Hiking,” she considered becoming a professional photographer.  “Kayaking” led her to the prospect of offering kayaking tours.

But when she offered “Chickens” as what she loved, then I really heard the passion in her voice, while she felt the upsurge in her energy!  From this place of aliveness, she envisioned starting her own chicken farm of free-range chickens, finding someone with land with whom to partner (thus reducing her need for instant capital).  

In fact, she was passionate about wanting to rid the world of chicken factory farms that torture these animals to force them to produce.  By educating people about the humane advantages of backyard chicken farms, she also saw she could have more opportunities to be outdoors helping people make this happen. 

She even stretched her vision to consulting with Hollywood film professionals about setting up “boutique farms” in their spacious backyards.  With her passion, knowledge, business and coaching skills, she saw clearly how she could help them design and operate aesthetic, flourishing, self-sustaining chicken environments.

Most importantly, Nicole felt supported in embracing a new work and life direction that made her feel alive and ready to work at achieving her dream. 

So if feeling heart-centered success in your work and your whole life sounds like the direction you'd like to take, ask yourself—

What is heart-centered success to me?

How do I want to contribute from my heart?

What support do I need to lift my energy to a higher level to find purpose and aliveness in my work and my life?

Change-Making at Solstice— How the Light Gets In


This post is a reprint from December 2016

Building Connection, Creating Community, Holding Presence

Now, on the shortest day of the year, with even northern California cold enough to wear hats, scarves, and gloves, I'm reflecting on the seeming polarities like light and dark, love and fear, that have swung us back and forth over our political and personal landscapes this past year. For me, the experience has been like standing on rock cliffs, being battered and splintered by an ongoing series of huge waves under the low-hanging clouds of a storm.

One such wave was the result of the presidential election in the United States. For myself and the majority of the electorate there is now the fear of having a president, a Congress, and a Supreme Court that will actively work against what we hold dear for our society— a healthy environment, health care access for all, up-to-date public education, and fundamental equal rights for all— so that we may have work and build lives in connection with our authentic desires, our relationships, and our world.

At such times, it seems that there are only the polarities of storm or calm, vitriol or caring, hate or love, dark or light. When people are able to stand steady in the heart of the storm, grounded in awareness of the connectedness of life, there are ways to bring oppositional forces into calm and wholeness. And it is in this place of wholeness and connection that positive change can emerge.

Recently, for example, I heard the story about the brilliant poet, songwriter, and singer, Leonard Cohen, who just died this year, and how he quelled a riot at the 1970 Isle of Wight rock concert in England. I was there, too, one of 600,000 in the passionate, free-flowing audience, many of whom were upset about political, economic, and social injustices of that time, including the Vietnam War. However, since the concert went on day and night, I seemed to have slept through Cohen's 4 AM performance on the last night of the festival that followed a literally blazing Jimi Hendrix set.

This was what I missed. Apparently, on that dark, rainy night, the audience was cold and restive and trashed the stage. Cohen, awoken at 2 AM after Hendrix played, was only bothered because the organizers couldn't locate a piano and organ for his musicians. "I'll come out when you find them," he said, and did, two hours later. As film reviewer Mike Springer wrote, "Perhaps the most moving moment [was] at the beginning, when Cohen [brought] the massive crowd together by asking a favor: 'Can I ask each of you to light a match, so I can see where you all are?'" In this way, he gathered that huge group of disparate, upset people in a cold, damp, inhospitable place into one whole, and soothed them into listening with his calm and deeply centered presence.

Fast forward to 2008, to Leonard Cohen's concert in London at a time of world-wide economic depression. I was very moved by what he said before performing his famous song, "Anthem," to the people in his audience. Again, he brought them together by speaking to their feelings of fear, anger, and upset with lovingkindness— "Thank you so much, friends. We're so privileged to gather in moments like this when so much of the world is plunged in darkness and chaos."

And then he sang:

"So ring the bells

that still can ring,

Forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything,

That's how the light gets in."

In our lives, it's not so imperative to seek perfection as to embrace our wholeness.  This includes our stormy encounters, as well as the thin band of light we see on the horizon. When we put our attention on this light, we can see it radiating outward, reflected on the waves of the sea, reaching and opening our hearts.

So try this— when you find yourself in a difficult work situation, relationship, or political landscape, focus on whatever you can that is beautiful or inspiring in the midst of that challenge. Find that crack where the light gets in, whether it's a compassionate glance from a colleague, a memory of a loving moment, or a song that opens your heart. In this way, allow the change you long to make begin from within.

As poet and inspirational speaker, Mark Nepo, wrote in his book, The One Life We're Given: "When we can keep breaking through what has hardened and keep what is alive soft, the cracks turned into openings fill us with an undying light." In this season's darkest days, may we celebrate the beauty of the light and love within us as we move forward into the challenges and changes of the new year.

An Oasis in Time — What Is It to Make Time to Savor and Transform Your Life?

Do you long to have a way of taking a satisfying, daylong weekly "time out of time" from your busy life?  

Are you wondering if this is even possible?  

Have you tried taking a day off from work at the end of a busy week— and enjoyed it so much that you wanted to do it again— but never did?

If having a way to disconnect from an over-busy, over-technologized, incredibly hectic way of managing a life filled to the brim with work, family, friends, fitness, social activities (and probably no time for yourself) is important to you, you will want to read and take to heart the wonderful new book by my colleague, Marilyn Paul, PhD, An Oasis in Time— How a Day of Rest Can Save Your Life.

An Oasis in Time is a deeply compassionate and profoundly felt exploration of the value of the weekly sabbath day— and why it's so important in our over-stressed, modern, professional lives. Just as importantly, this book helps you design, protect, prepare for, and live your own unique sabbath— or "oasis in time."  Finally, Marilyn Paul describes the transformational value of taking a weekly day off that is dedicated to nourishing yourself, your community, and your world — emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

As Paul says about her own life, "Years ago, before I discovered oasis time, I was a hard worker round the clock, or so it seemed to me.  But I was incredibly inefficient.  

I thought I was giving work my all, all the time, but actually I was slowly running out of steam . . .  Next weekend, I told myself, I will get organized, straighten out my priorities, go for a long run, maybe out in nature, and just get back on top of things.  But that next weekend never came."

And what is the cost of delaying finding and keeping your own oasis in time? What's so important about not burning out on the job? According to Paul, "The combination of a stressed immune system and the overuse of technology can lead to another serious outcome: burnout. This one word is so powerful, and yet it hardly captures the deep emotional and spiritual costs of losing one's inner flame."

Taking a whole day off to unplug and put aside your work gives you the chance to shift your life back into your organic circadian rhythm— back into replenishment, health, and connection with what else, and with whom, you love.

Furthermore, "Taking back our time is a subversive act these days. It entails claiming that . . . we can have a good day without achieving anything other than unwinding, slowing down, connecting, and experiencing grace.In other words, you don't make the world a better place by over-working, or over-stressing in other parts of your life seven days a week! By dedicating a day a week to enjoying being in the moment, gladly spending time with those you love, playing with them, having relaxing meals together, talking a long walk, or just reading a book you've saved for a special day, you add to what famed author and neurologist, Oliver Sacks, M.D., calls "living a good and worthwhile life— achieving a sense of peace within oneself." 

Just in case you think taking a whole day off from work each week isn't possible, An Oasis in Time has great tips for helping you shift your perspective, hold your time boundaries, and become a convert to the delights of "slowing down, connecting, and experiencing grace"!

I was particularly fascinated by what this book has to say about the potential of oasis time for transformation in our lives— "Our oasis time offers a chance not only for rest and renewal but also for transformation. This is the unexpected benefit of taking regular time off: The nurturing haven you create each week can become an incubator to support the kind of growth you need to face your greatest challenges. Oasis time, with its uniquely nurturing setting, provides the perfect conditions to prepare us for deeper engagement in life."

In other words, by creating a designated day apart for relaxation and re-connection with what you love and value that you may rush past during a busy week, you're building your inner resources of vitality, emotional resilience, and creativity. You're opening yourself to your fullest potential with ease!

Using the Wisdom-Energy of Your Body to Create Positive Change #2

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Have you ever thought that you've been holding back your professional aspirations or your creative potential?  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to connect with the deep, untapped well of possibilities within yourself, and let it flow? This deep inner well is your life energy, and you can draw from this rich resource by learning to pay attention to what you're sensing in your body.

Sound compelling to you?  If so, I hope you'll join me for my new webinar, "Using the Wisdom-Energy of Your Body to Create Positive Change," that's happening on Wednesday, October 25th, from 12 - 1 PM PDT /3 - 4 PM EDT/ 8 - 9 PM CST/ 9 - 10 PM CEST.  This webinar is part of the series, "The Heart of Being Human," sponsored by Living Forward, LLC. Register for this webinar by clicking here.

Gregg Levoy, human potential speaker and author, describes a striking example of a woman who intuitively understood the deeper meaning and limitations of what it meant to her to live with obesity.  She came up to him after he gave a public talk and asked, out of the blue, “You know why I’m so fat?  It’s because I have so many stories inside me that I’m not writing down.”

As Levoy noted in his book, Callings— Finding and Following an Authentic Life:  “This woman knew that her condition meant something and what it meant . . . She seemed to understand that within her body all the records of her rejected desires, deflected dreams, and frustrated creativity were piled up and pushing out from inside….

Levoy also knew something about staying unconnected with his untapped well of possibilities.  Earlier in his life he was a journalist, and continued to work for a particular newspaper until way after his spirit or his life energy was ready to move on.  It was as if he'd just been waiting for something to nudge him away from his secure paycheck, and free him to do the writing and teaching about creativity and authenticity that was calling to him.  

And then he was fired. To me, it's as if a mouse had slowly been gnawing away at the rope that had Levoy bound to a way of working and expressing himself that no longer made sense to something deep in his vitals. 

But you don't need to wait.

You can learn to be more pro-active in recognizing the signals from your body's energy— and encourage that deep well of possibilities within you to flow. You can learn to slow down, breathe more fully, and pay attention to the wisdom-energy ofyour body.  You can learn to feel what engages your energy and what limits it. As you learn what lifts your energy, you'll be able to feel what choices will lead to positive outcomes in making the professional and creative changes you desire. 

If this interests you, I invite you to join me for my webinar on this topic on Wednesday, October 25th, from 12 - 1 PM Pacific Time.  I look forward to sharing this new experience with you!

Using the Wisdom-Energy of Your Body to Create Positive Change


Did you know that you have a great built-in resource that can help you create positive change in your work and your life? This resource is your life energy, and you feel it through sensing in your body. What it has to tell you about what inspires or depletes you is what I call the "wisdom-energy" of your body.

If that sounds exciting to you, I hope you'll join me for my new webinar, "Using the Wisdom-Energy of Your Body to Create Positive Change," that's happening on Wednesday, October 25th, from 12 - 1 PM Pacific Time. This webinar is part of the series, "The Heart of Being Human," sponsored by Living Forward, LLC. Register for this webinar by clicking here.

From my earlier career as a somatic therapist and in my current career as a certified life coach, I've learned that becoming aware of the body's energy is usually an easy way for people to assess their level of interest in choices they have to make.  Well-cared-for children instinctively follow where their energy leads them. However, as we grow older, we tend to become more socialized and less spontaneous with this ability.  

In order to be socially accepted, we hold back from the direct knowing of joy, happiness, and understanding that our feelings and body sensations tell us. We forget the resource we all have inside ourselves— the wisdom-energy of our bodies— that lets us go forward and make authentic choices that lead to positive change.

As a coach, I've found that helping people slow down, breathe more fully, and pay attention to sensory perceptions (signals from our bodies) allows them to feel what engages their energy and what limits it. In learning what lifts your energy, you're more able to feel what choices will lead to positive outcomes in a career or other life transition. In this way, your energy builds, and these changes you make become transformative leaps in the way you work, create, and connect with yourself, others, and the world!

A man in his early forties whom I coached was in transition from his engineering career and struggling with all he had to do, as he saw it, to get his new business under way. He felt tense and exhausted, seeing no end to his to-do list. He felt he couldn't give himself the time to go to the gym or even take a walk in his neighborhood.

So I challenged him to put five items from his list on the back burner for a month and see what new choices he was inspired to make for his work, as well as his health and well-being. He was appalled because he thought that now his business development would have no structure and that his new career venture would fail.

I had him practice awareness of his body sensations and breathing as he considered different actions he could take. By doing this, he realized that his original plan to create a new website plunged his energy down low. What sent his energy up, and what he really wanted to do first, was take time to deepen some connections with potential partners for his business. Suddenly, he felt energy rush through his body as he was filled with a sense of new possibilities opening!

He also planned to invite a friend to join him for a weekly workout class at his gym. In paying attention to his body's messages, he realized that what motivated him was connecting with other people— and this new insight transformed his approach to working and making time for fitness and self-care.

So if you're interested in expanding your awareness of the wisdom-energy of your body to create the professional and personal changes you desire, I invite you to join me for my webinar on this topic on Wednesday, October 25th, from 12 - 1 PM Pacific Time. I look forward to sharing this new experience with you!

Making Things— The Joy of Creating with Magic and Wisdom

Have you ever considered a career path that involved creating things with your hands?  Or have you ever used your hands as a staple of your profession apart from writing with a pen or working on a computer?

As Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling book, Eat, Pray, Love, states in an "On Being" interview with Krista Tippett: "The entire world . .  has been altered by the human hand . . . making things a little more beautiful than they have to be, altering things, changing things, building things, composing things, shaping things.  This is what we do . . . And no one is left out of the inheritance of that."

I was reminded of that quote when I visited the Rosie the Riveter museum in Richmond, California, where thousands of people— the majority of whom were women entering the work force for the first time— came in 1941 to work in the huge shipyard there as part of a major armed forces buildup as the US entered World War II.  For these women it was an incredible experience to use their hands and minds outside the home to create enormous ships that the lives of men in the military would depend on.  The skills, self-confidence, and professional camaraderie they developed on the job in a common cause I believe also helped set the bar for the second wave of women's rights activism in the early 60's.

Personally, I'm quite tactile and have always enjoyed using my hands to make things and explore the world.  However, because my education from age seven on was primarily conceptual and to some degree social, the focus of the work I expected I would do as a career was also conceptually based.  In my book, Success with Soul, I described what it was like when I changed careers from nonprofit program development to somatic therapy.  I felt like "a complete imposter . . . never before having worked using my hands, with the integrated presence of my body and mind, as my tools."  But I also felt that, for me, this way of working "was guiding me to my own inner wisdom that could connect to that of every person whose life I touched in this way."

Making things happen with your hands as part of your presence in the world is a creative way of being that can also be professional.  Our hands put us in touch with our primal ability to make things that can be both useful and beautiful, and let us explore the range of our creativity.

So I was intrigued when I read "Magic in the Making"— an article about Stanford mechanical engineering professor, David Beach, who, in the early 1970's, transformed the Stanford Student Shops ("shop class," as it was known in high school) into the Product Realization Lab (PRL).  Having worked on the Hewlett Packard factory line before getting his master's degree at Stanford, Beach knew he could work with his hands.  But he didn't know he could combine his hands' skill in making objects with the creative experience to bring forth innovative solutions for a wide span of societal needs.

At the beginning, he didn't even know how to teach at this level. He didn't know how to help students who'd never had hands-on experience with different materials learn to have fun and be creative with these materials.  He didn't yet know how to work with students on the big picture of what they were doing, on how to interweave design and manufacturing.  But the "magic" and the "wisdom" he learned about the process of creating with his welding tools led him to success with this "timeless" new way to work.

And now, the PRL is in hot demand on the campus.  Working with the hands and with the mind together is now the new white-collar way to go!  Students from the PRL are being hired by Apple, Tesla, and Google.  They are also working to help meet worldwide societal needs, such as creating low-cost medical devices (e.g., burn rescue tools) and more effective groundwater drilling tools for developing countries.

Plus, there's the pure joy and confidence students experience in "the feeling of finally making things."  As one graduate student states, "Everybody talks about ideas and invention . . . but the ability to immediately turn [them] into something is incredibly empowering."