My first role

For years I joked with my Mom that my greatest wish was to be an only child, actually nothing could be further from the truth, being a sibling is one of the greatest roles of a lifetime and has prepared me for so many other roles in life.

This summer three of my siblings and I had the honor of playing hosts with our Mom, two nieces and a dear friend to our youngest sister’s baby shower. Prior to the shower, and after, I reflected on the manner in which my role of sister to four siblings has equipped me with tools that I incorporate in my work as a therapist.

Sometimes it’s all five of us, often it’s one or two, but life’s challenges, accomplishments and blessings more often than not have included my siblings.
They have supported me at my “worst” with love, acceptance and mostly kindness. They have celebrated and applauded my success and held me tightly when life’s losses, pains and hurts felt like too much. They have provided a base from which I have had and continue to create opportunity to soar and fly, finding my own unique path.

I don’t spend time worrying about defeat, or failing. I perceive setbacks as an opportunity to learn with the benefit of knowing that I can count on at least two hands to lift me back up and plan another route or path to whichever direction I choose to go next. This has given me the lifelong gift of courage which in turn, I believe, continues to support me in an effort to continue to be a better version of myself every day. They hold space for me to be just that; my best as they believe I am just that.

Most of my life has been, and still is, about being a team which remains my approach to working with each client:

We start where they are, creating acceptance and then change.
In the process, we celebrate accomplishments, work through tragedy and when a client shows up and isn’t believing in themselves I hold space for them until they do…
We are partners in creating what they desire and achieving their goals.

Thanks to my siblings I had a head start on this practice. Thanks to my siblings I have a life time of team work to draw upon and a whole lot of love.

Enough…

heart-with-rays

Many of us read “The Velveteen Rabbit” as children. The stuffed rabbit becomes real, bit by bit, when loved by a child.

The idea that we might need to be loved by another in order to be “real” is easily absorbed.
If we internalize the belief that we need another to be whole, full, “real” we will begin a practice of seeking external acceptance and love to compensate for our own misperceived lack.

Seeing ourselves as lacking, allowing that thought to become habitual, results in an insatiable feeling. As a result we develop a need for more; food, clothes, things, love from another, and yes, drugs, alcohol, etc.

Often my work centers around reframing this belief. Reminding people of their own capacity to love. Just that word assumes an innate capability. We discuss how a loving relationship with self is the foundation upon which we build our best lives and attract to us amazing relationships with others.

This isn’t some idealized vision of life.

Believing that being 10 lbs lighter, a new partner, a raise or promotion in our careers, the birth of a child, the trip of a lifetime will “fix” us ,or our current reality (relationship, job, body), and or is the “key” to happiness creates a life where an elusive carrot draws us forward away from the present…like rabbits 😉

Learning to be present, creating a practice of being in the now, choosing to love ourselves first and foremost, with gratitude for “what is” and who we are present-ly cultivates long term, sustainable happiness.

Through this practice, we make choices that attract opportunity, experiences, and people that do in fact support us in our desire to have and accomplish the “more” but it’s from a place where we know we are already “enough”.

Love yourself => love your life!

On my mat, in my head…21 days

A dear friend asked me, as we were leaving yoga class, what I had observed in my recent commitment to practice 21 consecutive days of yoga.

What I had noticed, ironically, was the same theme our teacher that morning, the amazing Jamie Silverstein, had chosen for class; the habit of “shoulding.”

I had thinly disguised my shoulding, or transformed it shall we say, from it’s previous form of fairly harsh criticism and judgment into a series of expectations, also a recent theme in class, that felt equally shaming and hurtful.

The list of “shoulds” included:
I should be able to do these poses after two years of consistently practicing yoga…
My balance should have improved by now…
I should be able to hold this pose longer…

and yes, the critique extended to a few teachers:
Shouldn’t that teacher see that I want to be left alone on my mat?
Shouldn’t that teacher realize how shaming it is to use the word “wrong” when addressing my incorrect positioning? (repeatedly…)
Shouldn’t there by music???
etc…

yoga girl namasteOne of best friends gently guided me to a daily practice of yoga two years ago. I needed healing, a safe place to BE, a refuge from pain. Daily+ sessions soothed my mind and calmed my body. My mat became my sanctuary and yoga has been on my go to list ever since.

Fast forward to this month, these 21 days. Too often I made my mat a hard place to fall, rather than a soft place to land with my shoulding struggling to find inner peace and outer balance. Yet, more often than not I ultimately corrected my internal dialogue and flowed on, choosing to move beyond my shoulds, unnecessary and irrelevant expectation..be-ing in the moment.

I am so grateFULL for the love, grace and learning:
The teacher in San Mateo who guided class through wonderful new sequences with so much kindness and encouragement.
Live Love Flow, my home studio, the FLOW and VITALITY as well as the beautiful mantra, of our fearless leader and studio owner, Jaime Scates Schmitz, who begins class cultivating light in our minds and hearts..after she kicks our butts in the spin room.
The Grinning Yogi, Jamie Silverstein, and her fun twists on sequences that keep my neural pathways open and learning…and her wisdom on shoulds and expectations.
Restorative yoga with Chloe Dee on Fridays at Community Fitness, a must, that nurtures my body and mind.
And, of course, JL!, Jenniferlyn Chiemingo…no mention of my yoga practice is complete without the impact of her loving, supportive teaching and her special place in my heart.

As one of my clients left a few weeks ago we recapped…his success in the past week, his challenges, where to go from here…as he left he said it always comes back to the same thing, doesn’t it. Self love, self care and compassion for who we are and where we are, now.

Yes, it does…and that reminder is the gift of the last 21 days. I hope, you too, can stop “shoulding” on yourself.

Perhaps my experience rings true for you? If so, please show yourself some love, kindness and compassion, keep on working toward balance, attempt those poses; why not?! and take your practice off the mat always and in all ways 🙂

Namaste!

Change=Change

change is a processI love what one of my wise mentors reminded me last week.  She asked me Vic, how do you think people make changes…we discussed how often the answer we might hear is awareness.  Awareness is necessary, yes.  The answer, though, is change creates change.  We must be active participants in our lives, in our practice, in order to create change…observe and then act.  Baby steps are progress and eventually there we are…where we desire to be; Changed.

Listen to the “I knows…”

There’s a voice inside.

It’s the kind, loving, encouraging one (right now we are not talking about that other one…)

It might whisper; reach out to that friend with a text.

Create some space in your week for that yoga/spin class.

It might say; divert from your normal busy routine, rest.

It might say call Mom, Dad.

See that stranger smile, compliment her.

It might whisper; purchase that book.

Listen to it.  It’s got your back.  xxoo

Stand Up

“Fall down seven times, Stand up eight”… Japanese Proverb

This is one of my favorite quotes and likely one you have heard if you have ever sat down for a session with me.  A variation of this same quote has been written by many of the great thinkers throughout history and speaks to the idea that success is about trying, and trying again…

In his terrific book “Outliers” Malcolm Gladwell suggests that mastery comes from 10,000+ hours of practicing your craft.

My craft is the joy of working with clients to create their very BEST lives.  I have hit my 10,000 hours and feel like I could log in 10,000 more and still be learning, growing and thriving AND enjoying every minute of it.

I desire to share this work with the world.  To connect with people who need support, to interact with colleagues of like (and not like) minded professions, to have a true home for my blog.  Yet, I dragged my feet for TWO years to return to the internet.  I took up with many designers and went over many, many concepts. None of these ever got off the ground…I got busy, busier…they did too.  I drove my family and friends nuts…”it’s just a word press document Vicki, It can be changed”.  I know, I know. I wanted it to be perfect…

So, I fell down 7+++ and now I am standing up.

There will be tweaks, edits, changes but I’m ready to say “hi…welcome to my space and here’s a little about me and my work”

Thanks for visiting my space.  I hope you will return often.

A million and one thanks to my families and friends who endured my sometimes grumpy mood and my endless edits…it takes a village and I couldn’t be part of more loving community both personally and professionaly.

I love you guys…Vicki