How the Sense of Taste Adds Zing to Our Days

We pick up where we left off in the previous sensory balance post by exploring the opportunities to be found in our fifth and final outer sense—taste.

Taste: A diverse mix of flavors—salty, sour, sweet, bitter, creamy, crunchy, juicy—adds zing to my days.

I left the sense of taste until last in this exploration of the outer senses for a reason. It’s because so many of us gorge this sense with too much poor-quality food, hoping to distract ourselves or fill fear-shaped voids that overeating or consuming junk is never going to fill. By walking through the other four outer senses first, you are beginning to understand where and how you could better feed your senses of sight, touch, hearing, and smell instead of gorging your sense of taste.

If NASA employed superior design in building a state-of-the-art space vehicle and then cut corners by putting junk in the fuel tank, it wouldn’t matter how sophisticated the engineering of the rocket: it would never reach its destination. So it is with human beings. You are a unique and precious cocreative expression of the Divine here to do a big job: tuning in to the Universal frequency so you may channel love and light to reveal and advance the highest good for all, in all, through all. When it comes to food, it’s not about deprivation and starvation. It’s about creating the optimal rocket fuel for the rock star you are!

Our sense of taste adds zing to our days!

The key to achieving and maintaining balance in feeding my sense of taste, as with all of the outer and inner senses, is mindfulness in each moment. What’s my objective? What’s the optimal path? How am I doing? The five attributes of constructive core energy and all of the other inner and outer senses converge in the evaluation of each sense. Do my objective, path, and progress embody love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude? Am I employing all of the sensory tools at my disposal: a variety of nutrients, textures, colors, and scents? Is my presentation creative? Is my timing optimal? Am I demonstrating consistent commitment to my welfare by investing my energy in advanced planning, shopping, and preparation? Do I remain mindful and committed to fueling my sense of taste nutritiously at both ends of the emotional spectrum: celebration and disappointment?

There are scores of programs on nutrition and healthy eating. I was introduced to Weight Watchers in the 1980s when I wanted to lose ten pounds and they were using their original “exchange” structure. I had experienced anorexia in the 1970s and never wanted to go there again. Weight Watchers is not a fad diet for dropping pounds fast; it’s a way of life, one based in mindful self-care, not deprivation. Its focus is to understand the principles of balanced nutrition, figure out where and why your relationship with food has gotten off track, and determine how to restructure your partnership to support you in being healthy and fit for life.

It’s not about following the eating plan that worked for me. It’s about mindfulness and self-love. Invest the energy to figure out what works best for you. I was a sugar addict, so I now avoid refined sugar wherever possible. While not hypoglycemic, based on my chemistry and makeup, I find my optimal approach is eating small meals every two to four hours that combine lean protein, whole grains, heart-healthy fats, and fresh fruit and vegetables. When we go too long without food, our bodies’ primitive starvation monitors kick in and send the message to slow down metabolism for survival. It can take a while to get your rate of calorie burning back on track.

I discovered two additional reasons to drink lots of water, especially before and after meals. Sometimes when we think we’re hungry, even though we ate a short while ago, we’re actually dehydrated. This makes sense because our bodies use water to process our food. Try drinking a glass of water and see if the feeling you were tagging as hunger disappears. I also begin each day and each meal with a big glass of water with fresh lemon. It kick-starts the hydration, digestion, and fullness registration processes. One of the reasons we tend to overeat is because our bodies generally don’t register “enough food” and turn off the appetite switch until about twenty minutes after we’ve eaten. Starting with water, eating at a reasonable pace, and paying more attention to nutritional quality and portion size than how full you feel are great habits to help you avoid overeating.

Water fosters flow

A couple of years after I gave up refined sugar in my food, I also gave up alcohol. It was the right decision for me. It is essentially concentrated sugar, so it sent me up and down the glycemic roller coaster and continued to feed the sugar addiction I was trying to be free of. For me, alcohol had insufficient nutritional value; it fueled mindless eating, slowed my metabolism, and had always been a depressant. Even one drink could produce depression that would still be evident the day after. Add to that a family history of alcoholism and, as a therapist once warned, for me, taking a drink was like putting a loaded gun in my mouth. Unsafe, unwise, and unnecessary.

I am not against alcohol or sugar or any particular food or drink. I am for mindfulness and self-love. I trust and respect you enough to know that, when fueled by love, you’ll figure out what works best for you. Clear yourself of fear and trust your intuition. Once you are fueling yourself with constructive core energy based in love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude and you are feeding all of your senses in balance, you will find that what, when, and how much you eat falls into place just like everything else in your life.

As we bring this exploration of your sense of taste to a close, I’ll share an interesting aside. I have found that in terms of the members on my personal board of directors, it’s my muse, Bee, who has the greatest interest in food as a source of entertainment. When you learn more about the roles of the sage, guardian, and muse in chapter 6 of my book Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!, the muse’s perspective on, and potential obsession with, food will make greater sense. For now, just note that it is the muse who, if you are not feeding all of your senses in balanced ways, will sabotage the healthy eating process with junk food for the brief high it offers. Yet another reason to focus on feeding all of your senses if you wish to align your eating habits with optimal nutrition.

You matter. You are the only you we’ve got. Invest your energy in feeding your sense of taste optimally. You are worth the effort. There aren’t enough cookies or french fries on the planet to smother anger, blame, shame, and self-loathing. Nothing you can eat or drink will fill a fear-shaped void. The good news is that nothing tastes as good as being healthy and fit feels.

Trust your gut

In the next sensory balance post we’ll turn our attention from the outer to the INNER SENSES with a two-part consideration of the sensory balance opportunities of the first of our four inner senses—creativity.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2019 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

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How the Sense of Smell Seasons Our Journey

We pick up where we left off in the previous sensory balance post by exploring the opportunities to be found in our fourth outer sense—smell.

Smell: An eclectic array of aromas—sweet, spicy, floral, fruity, earthy, pungent—seasons my journey.

When I began to be intentional about feeding all of my senses in a balanced way so that my sense of taste would stop leading me to fat-and sugar-laden foods in an attempt to fill sensory voids it could never hope to fill, I quickly shifted from being a sugar addict to being an aroma junkie.

Sense of smell is the mind-body interface

Based on the findings of The Sense of Smell Lab (2013), it’s no wonder aroma proved such a compelling alternative:

“The sense of smell is thousands of times more sensitive than any of our other senses. In less than a millisecond, just one whiff of a familiar smell can trigger memories of childhood, home, and family. Smell impulses travel faster than signals from sight or sound because the olfactory system is the only part of the brain that is directly exposed to the air.

The brain processes sensory information delivered through sight, sound, taste, and touch by identifying the incoming information first, which in turn generates an emotional reaction.

But our sense of smell is different. It does the opposite. The information of incoming odors is first processed by the emotions and subsequently identified. This places our sense of smell at the root of our emotional being.

Breathe in peace, breathe out love

Aromas delivered directly to the smell receptors in our brains have a powerful effect on behavior. Just think of your response to the smell of a cup of coffee in the morning or your reaction to a dead skunk on the side of the road.

Since birth, our smell receptors have catalogued every scent that passed through our nostrils in an area of the brain the size of a postage stamp. The average adult is able to process approximately 10,000 different smells, with each odor having the potential to evoke a memory.

Smell influences our moods, our emotions, and the choice of our mates. It is the main organ that contributes to our enjoyment of our sense of taste. Smells warn us of dangers such as fire, poisonous fumes, and spoiled food and give us awareness of our place in the environment.

Our sense of smell contributes enormously to the quality and enjoyment of our lives, our health, and our well-being. It is the mind-body interface.”

Yum-oh!

The persuasive power of our sense of smell is the reason some realtors bake bread or cookies just before an open house. Your special treat may be the scent of fresh flowers, evergreen branches, or citrus potpourri.

Many people who now find themselves living alone for the first time in their lives confess that they get into a rut of not cooking real meals for themselves. They feel the preparation time just isn’t worth the effort if it’s only going to feed one person. Like everything else, if you don’t cook because you don’t enjoy it and would rather invest your time in other activities, then love is the core energy under your decision. But if you adore cooking and routinely produce fabulous, elaborate meals for guests but feel you are not worth more than a microwaved frozen dinner, it may be that fear is underneath your choice. Get curious; decide for yourself. Because you do matter; you are always worth the effort.

Yesterday morning I cooked a batch of homemade vegetarian chili in the crockpot. It smelled wonderful during the five hours that it bubbled away while I was preparing and broadcasting my weekly radio episode, enticing me with anticipation of the wonderful dinner to come. The aroma continued to linger for hours after I had put it all away in the refrigerator, greeting me each time I returned home after running errands. A gift that kept on giving by reminding me of the love I had demonstrated for myself by investing a little extra energy to prepare a home-cooked, healthy meal just for me alone. I matter. I am worth the effort.

Aromatherapy oils proved very beneficial. I found I didn’t need to eat sugar cookies; I could be just as delighted by heating sugar cookie scented oils in my aroma burner. I became the queen of layering the same scent of shower gel, rich lotion, and eau de toilette on my body so the aroma lasted longer. I feed my passion for variety by switching styles every two weeks, rotating through sets that are sweet, savory, fruity, floral, spicy, and musky to keep my scent life interesting. The day Bath & Body Works came out with their limited edition iced cinnamon bun line of body care products, I was in ecstasy. So was everyone who encountered my sugar-and-cinnamon-drenched person. Total strangers, men and women alike, would stop me on the street and proclaim, “You smell fabulous! What is that scent?” Alas, in answer to your unasked question, that particular line is no more. But there are many other fruit-and food-scented options available in its place.

Scent influences our emotions

The same guidelines apply to sense of smell as the other outer senses. Be intentional; remember the findings of The Sense of Smell Lab. The scent of everything in your life matters: laundry soap and fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner, shower gel and bubble bath, dishwashing detergent and hand soap. Get curious and discover what works for you. Learning how to set and enhance your mood with scent is a skill you will be glad you developed. Calm, invigorated, sensual, or happy—there are aromas that can help you get there and stay there as long as you like. This applies especially to those of you who are highly sensitized and believe yourselves allergic to scent. Invest extra energy in figuring out what type and quantity of scent enhances your life. Your happiness matters. You are worth the effort.

In the next sensory balance post we’ll explore some of the potential sensory balance implications of our fifth outer sense—taste.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2019 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

Click here to explore Deborah’s book.

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How Touch and Hearing Intensify Experience and Empower Presence

In the previous post, we introduced the first in an extended series providing a deep exploration of the liberation to be found in fostering sensory balance.

To recap, sensory balance involves feeding all of our senses in healthy, balanced ways so that no one sense takes over trying to fill voids it can never hope to fill. This begins with mindfully feeding our five outer senses, through which we celebrate our world, and it extends to intentionally feeding our four inner senses of creativity, vitality, spirituality, and belonging, through which we imbue our experience with meaning.

The previous post explored the sense of sight in some detail to give you a feel for what’s involved. In this post we explore the second and third outer senses—touch and hear.

TOUCH: A broad range of tactile stimuli—hot, cold, soft, hard, wet, dry, smooth, rough, fuzzy, furry, fluffy—intensifies my experiences.

Touch

Let’s begin with temperature. Do you prefer feeling warm or cool, or does it vary? While there are many upsides physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to losing eighty pounds, there is one downside: I often feel cold, and I don’t like it. I want to feel warm and dry all year round. Over time, I realized feeling cold didn’t just have a negative physical effect on me. That chill extended to my mental, emotional, and spiritual state. For me, feeling cold resonates with deprivation, which vibrates with fear. So I live in a state of constant mindfulness concerning temperature. I always have with me many options for layering my clothing based on the environmental variations I may encounter during my day. While my delightful home state of Colorado boasts more than three hundred sunny days a year, it can experience wild temperature swings throughout any given day at any time of year.

I also invested in little electric fireplaces in the main rooms of my home. They are an inexpensive, attractive, and highly functional method of easily adjusting the temperature to nurture my body, mind, heart, and soul.

It took me a while to figure out where the potential thermostatic issues might occur and what to do about them. For example, in restaurants in the summer, I have learned to order iced tea with no ice (which is to say warm or room temperature tea). In the winter, no matter where I am, I always have a hot cup of something at hand.

What makes YOUR life feel cozy?

You may be one of those people who are always too warm, so you will be identifying ways to lower the temperature of your environment. Or your preferences may vary from warm to cool based on your season, activity, or mood. My husband likes to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but he always drinks his beverages nearly frozen. The point is to be curious about what feels good to you, respectful enough to notice how you’re feeling, compassionate enough to do something about it, and grateful for the opportunity to fine-tune your environment.

The same applies when it comes to the texture of your world. Clothing, furniture, bedding, flooring—each of these brings opportunities to explore what feels good to you and, to the best of your abilities, align your world with what you find optimal.

There are many more opportunities to nurture yourself by feeding your sense of touch: therapeutic massage, a hug, a hot shower, caressing the soft coat of your animal companion, a warm whirlpool bath, and rich body lotions to name just a few. If the lotions are scented, they offer the bonus of also feeding your sense of smell. Two of the most meaningful ways I demonstrate the depth of my love for myself take a total of ninety seconds a day. In the morning, after my shower, before drying off, I apply baby oil to my still wet body. It’s a quick, inexpensive, and incredibly effective method of sealing moisture into my skin. And morning and night, no matter how busy or tired I am, I always massage rich beautifully scented body cream into my feet before putting on my socks. These acts are my way of appreciating and pampering myself. My feet do so much to support and transport me; it seems a small repayment of the debt I owe them. This ritual doesn’t just nourish my skin; it feeds my heart and soul. It reminds me that I matter, I care enough to pay attention to what delights me, and I’m willing to invest extra energy to bring myself comfort and joy.

HEAR: A varied compilation of sounds—music, voices, nature, noise, silence—empowers my presence.

Hear

I’ve been singing since the age of two and a half and played musical instruments for more than twelve years as a child, so music features prominently in feeding my sense of hearing. One of the things I discovered during my recovery was that when it came to music I had been starving my sense of hearing for years. When I became aware of accompanying my activities with music whenever possible and fitting the style of music to my specific activity, my general sense of well-being increased dramatically.

If the sounds of nature nurture you, make it a priority to spend time outdoors in all seasons. Find ways to bring the outdoors indoors. I love the sound of running water. I’ve incorporated that soothing sound into my home through two filtered water fountains for my cats. Those fountains support optimal physical health for my cats while feeding my sense of hearing. The one in my bedroom soothes me while I sleep. The one in my main living space helps me foster a sense of flow throughout my day. There are music players and files that feature a variety of environmental sounds to help bring the outdoors indoors if that is your auditory cup of tea.

I also found that I wasn’t experiencing enough therapeutic silence. My professional consulting career was characterized by a noisy nonstop pace that left me feeling I never had a moment to myself and couldn’t hear my own thoughts. During my recovery, I discovered the immense therapeutic value of intentional silence. I realized it was just as important to preclude overstimulating myself as it was to avoid understimulating myself.

Listen to the sounds of silence...Love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude are the hallmarks of my approach when it comes to balanced feeding of my sense of hearing as well. The goal is not to feel compelled to replicate what I do. It is to use what works for me as a key to unlock the secret of what might work for you.

So far in this series on sensory balance, we’ve explored some of the many ways three of our five outer senses—see, touch, and hear—serve to fuel, enrich and expand our experience. In the next post, we’ll explore some of the potential sensory balance contributions of our fourth outer sense—smell.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2019 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

Click here to explore Deborah’s book.

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Creating Balance by Feeding All of Our Senses

This is the first in an extended series of posts providing a deep exploration of the liberation to be found in fostering sensory balance.

Like the framing in a home, our outer and inner senses build on our energetic foundation to provide the day-to-day infrastructure for a life of flow securely grounded in constructive core energy. Sensory balance involves feeding all of our senses in healthy, balanced ways so that no one sense takes over trying to fill voids it can never hope to fill. This begins with mindfully feeding our five outer senses, through which we celebrate our world, and it extends to intentionally feeding our four inner senses of creativity, vitality, spirituality, and belonging, through which we imbue our experience with meaning.

Outer Senses—I Celebrate My World

Though the nine senses overlap and interact freely to enrich our experience, for simplicity we’ll explore them one at a time, beginning with the outer senses. What role might balanced feeding of your outer senses play in finding flow and the journey to wholeness?

Using the terms of the Discovery Framework, figure 6 depicts the outer senses as the roof and outer walls of our energetic home. They are an invaluable interface for interaction with the external world. Built on the firm foundation of constructive core energy, when functioning optimally, they are able to transmit and incorporate what will serve the highest good while filtering out what is not beneficial.

Feeding Your Outer Senses

SEE: A vast cornucopia of sights—
color, pattern, movement, people, places, objects—expands my possibilities.

Feeding your sense of sight starts by surrounding yourself with colors, patterns, and objects that please your eye. Do you prefer variety or consistency? As an artist, I love every color in every shade imaginable. I use all of them in my art and my environments, but my favorite colors are purple, orange, and green. It’s uncanny how often they end up in my art, in my living space, and on my body without any conscious intention. In fact, even when I try to exclude them in a design, they sneak in no matter what.

Why? When I did some research, I learned that different colors vibrate at different frequencies and resonate to different themes and moods. If you are intrigued by the connections between color, energy, and mood, you will find copious opinions on the Internet and at the library. Figure 7 shows my quick version of how colors align with the chakras, or energetic substations of the body.

Chakra Summary

Purple, orange, and green represent spirituality, creativity, and love, respectively. In combination, they feed my soul. Pale tints in spring, bright hues in summer, dusty tones in fall, and darker shades in winter, they are always present. They comfort and delight me, providing a feeling of consistency and wholeness. What we love about the colors is not the colors themselves. It’s how we feel when we see them. That is true of all the senses. We don’t enjoy the stimuli; we enjoy how we feel in their presence.

Color affinities can be both indicators and influencers of our moods and intentions. As with most things, I begin by following my intuition and then, if my energy is flat or cloudy, I’ll apply reason and intention. Let’s use my eyeglasses as an example. I have five pair in five different colors. (Two are variations on purple. How unsurprising.) My glasses are often the first “clothing” choice of the day. Sometimes I just reach for a color instinctively and find that my clothing colors align. When I translate my intuitive color choice to the frequencies of the chakras, it’s uncanny how often what I choose fits perfectly with where I need rebalancing or a boost. For example, I instinctively pick my bright blue eyeglasses on a day when I have a lot of writing or public speaking on my agenda. In chakra terms, bright blue resonates to self-expression energy.

Other times, when no strong color is drawing me, I’ll reason out which colors I should include based on where my energy needs realigning or fortifying. Although the process may sound complicated, it actually takes only a few moments.

Changes in color affinities sometimes signal major events and shifts in direction. For example, as I completed my two iPEC coaching certifications, I was less consistently drawn to purple, orange, and green and often attracted to turquoise (self-expression), yellow (self-esteem), and bright pink (identity). I didn’t resist, just relaxed into this new color phase of my life and enjoyed the broader range of experience.

Color My World

Clothing is your portable environment. While I may be especially attuned to it as a fashion artist, it affects all of us. Clothing is the house we wear on our bodies and carry around all day. Try beginning each day by consciously selecting clothing that supports you in expressing how you want to show up that day.

An individual item may nurture multiple senses. While I’ve started by exploring a single outer sense, you can quickly see how interrelated they are. For example, clothing nurtures our senses of sight and touch.

Let’s expand our perspective beyond feeding ourselves with colors to include feeding ourselves with images and symbols. As you know by now, I love cats and live with three—SiddhaLee, Mortimer, and Maisy Jane. To be more accurate, they let me live in their house, sleep in their king-size bed, eat in their kitchen, and work in their office. We’re crazy about each other. I love the way it feels to be with cats. I foster that feeling by maximizing the opportunities to experience it. I season my environment liberally with images of cats—pictures, quilts, jewelry, and more.

I also love the symbolism of butterflies—patience and hope for the fertile possibilities of life transformation during incubation in a dark void. Their images are sprinkled liberally throughout my life, including serving as my primary life coaching logo. I love dragonflies—symbols of living in the moment, abandoning self-limiting beliefs, seeing the vast potential of the Universe, and the power and poise that come with the mental and emotional maturity of seeing the deeper meaning to life. I adore books too—the power of human thought shared. I love seeing them in my space, reminding me that even when I sit alone writing, I am not alone. I am surrounded by every person who has ever had an idea or experience and felt compelled to share it with someone else for the benefit of reader and author.

See

In the world of entertainment, pay attention to what you read and watch; the themes and messages affect your energy. Are you feeding yourself a visual diet of optimism and unlimited possibilities (love) or pessimism and scarcity (fear)? I have become very selective about books, movies, and television shows. My test for choosing what I consume is, “Will watching or reading this expand and strengthen my ability to fulfill my purpose or limit and weaken it?”

Don’t get hung up on my colors and choice of symbols; the point is to figure out the colors and images to which you resonate. While there are many books on standard energetic reactions to colors (blue is soothing, yellow is cheerful, red is energizing or irritating, black is depressing or stabilizing, etc.), we are not interested in standard reactions. What matters here is your personal reaction. Experiment and determine what unique mix is most beneficial in helping you live in flow.

Provide a pleasing visual meal in each room. Pay attention to portion control, avoiding the visual version of gluttony by overwhelming your senses with too much stimulation and thereby numbing them. Go for healthy, digestible meals that leave you hungry an hour later for more visual stimulation outside your home and work location. Include regular outings to places that augment your visual diet with special treats: botanical gardens, galleries, the mountains, book stores, pet shops, the ocean, museums, fabric shops, art supply stores—whatever delights you. I have a client who feeds her sense of sight by selecting fresh produce based on including as many colors as possible, which also happens to be very good for you nutritionally. On other grocery shopping escapades, she focuses on what smells good together, demonstrating once again the opportunity to have a single item nurture more than one sense at a time.

I’ve explored the sense of sight in some detail to give you a feel for what’s involved. In the coming posts, I will provide briefer descriptions for each of the remaining outer senses and leave it to you to fill in your personal details.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2019 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

Click here to explore Deborah’s book.

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Posted in All My Blog Posts, Creativity & Self-Expression, Joy & Vitality | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What Respect Looks Like

What respect looks like

I honor my choices; I do the best I can
with the love and light I have at the time. 

Unconditional self-respect begins with mindfulness—caring enough about myself and my experience to pay attention to what is happening and what I am feeling. If I don’t recognize when I’m feeling stressed, I can’t do anything to change it.

Respect is also about not beating myself up for past choices—things I thought, said, did, or didn’t do. It’s about knowing that I am doing the best I can with the love and light I have access to at the time. Every experience is an opportunity. As I am able to recognize and transform more of my fear-based limiting beliefs into love-based empowering truths, I gain access to greater wisdom, clarity, and confidence, moving myself further along my personal journey to wholeness. By learning to demonstrate unconditional respect for myself in every moment, I become more able to demonstrate it for others as well.

Respect is also about boundaries, being clear where mine end and yours begin. Many of us find it hard to set clear and healthy limits on what we will and won’t allow others to do to us. Even more of us have difficulty not violating others’ boundaries.

What respect looks like

Consider this example from my own life. On Monday night, my spouse comes home from work miserable about how his boss is treating him. It pains me to see my husband so unhappy. I listen patiently and sympathetically to sixty minutes of complaining. I tell him exactly what he needs to do. He doesn’t do it. Tuesday night, he comes home singing the second verse of the boss abuse song. I listen less patiently and repeat, with additional rationale, what I told him to do the night before. He shuts down and retreats to his den to watch football. Wednesday night, same song, third verse. This time I don’t listen at all, blow a gasket, and tell him to stop being a wimp. He demonstrates just how much of a wimp he isn’t by getting royally annoyed with me and storming off to the den. I demonstrate just how much of a wimp I am not by following him into the den and repeating my suggestion with even greater volume and specificity, including what he can do with the horse he rode in on. The good news—my husband’s boss is now completely off the hook because we are now so angry at each other that what his boss is doing to him pales in comparison.

Some of you are taking my side: She’s a professional management consultant and life coach with more than thirty years’ experience. What moron wouldn’t immediately implement anything she suggests? Others are taking my husband’s side: She’s a pushy overbearing know-it-all who’s taken three months to write the final three chapters of her book. Why doesn’t she stop sapping his self-confidence and mind her own business? To both sides I say, “Blah, blah, blah.”

The root of the problem is not whether my suggestions were wise. The issue is the nature of the core energy underneath me providing suggestions in the first place. Input stemming from a supposed “desire to help” becomes interference when it is fueled by fear in the form of anxiety, self-doubt, avoidance, or arrogance. Anxiety is when I can’t stand whatever pain I am choosing to feel over the choices he is making, and in order to stop my pain, I need to get him to choose a different path. Self-doubt is when I fear that if he isn’t making the same choices for his life that I’m making for mine, maybe I’m wrong. Avoidance is when there are aspects of myself I’m not yet willing to address, so I distract myself by focusing my need for personal growth on him instead. Arrogance is when I dare to presume that I can run his life better than he can, despite the fact that I’ve not walked even one mile in his shoes. The common denominator in each case is that fear, not love, is the core energy fueling my suggestions.

What fuel is in your tank?

In the scenario of my husband’s problem with his boss, my real goal wasn’t to help my husband. My goal was to relieve my own fear-based pain at experiencing his pain. My goal was to stop his pain as quickly as possible so that I could stop my own. What I was doing didn’t “come from a good place”; it came from fear. From wanting to fix it for him to release myself from fear faster instead of respecting him enough to fix it himself when the time was optimal for his highest good. The tip-off was that I got annoyed when he didn’t take my suggestion—annoyance being one of fear’s many ugly cousins. It is nothing short of arrogant of me to think I could possibly run my husband’s life better than he could.

I’m asked all the time if this means it’s always wrong to make suggestions or try to teach anyone anything. No, that is not what it means. Here’s how to tell the difference between making a respectful suggestion and disrespectful interference. When I am coming from respect, I have no energetic charge over whether you act on what I share. When I’m being respectful, I’m fully and creatively engaged in the process with no attachment to the outcome. Disrespect is evidenced when I get hooked by what you decide to do or not do: either relief or happiness when you do it my way or anxiety, frustration, or anger when you don’t. Either reaction demonstrates that I am a little too invested in how you live your life. When I feel neutral about whether you do or don’t adopt my suggestions or act on the information I shared, I’m coming from respect.

This lesson was driven home for me dramatically when I heard the following story a couple years ago. In late fall, a man stood enthralled watching a caterpillar spin a cocoon on a branch outside the kitchen window. All winter long, the man watched over the cocoon, amazed at how it withstood the onslaught of freezing rain, blizzards, and harsh winds. When spring finally arrived, the man was relieved to see the cocoon still hanging in there. As spring ripened into summer, the day finally came when the butterfly began to make its departure from the cocoon. The man watched the butterfly work to break free. The process went slowly and looked difficult. The man became impatient with how long it was taking and anxious that the butterfly was suffering. He could hardly bear to watch. Finally, beside himself with frustration and worry, the man decided to help. He took a small pair of nail scissors and carefully cut the cocoon open wider to allow the butterfly to escape more quickly and easily. Alas, the butterfly did escape but died just a few minutes later. What appeared to the man as a needless struggle was actually crucial developmental time the butterfly needed to be able to thrive outside the cocoon. Robbed of that added growth opportunity, the butterfly never developed the strength it needed to survive and flourish.

What respect looks likeWhen I first heard this story, I sat at my kitchen counter and sobbed; I finally got it. All those times when, energized by my own fear, I had interfered with another’s life, I had been decidedly unloving. When I disrespected the other’s personal path by trying to shortcut her opportunity to learn in her own way and time, I had demonstrated anxiety, self-doubt, avoidance, and arrogance.

While the lesson of the chrysalis didn’t result in me ending all fear-based interference overnight, it has made me much more aware of what’s energizing my actions. In those situations where fear and a lack of respect are my fuel, I am faster at detaching and releasing myself and the other person to walk our authentic individual paths with love and light.

These examples don’t just demonstrate the subtlety of respecting others’ boundaries; they point the way to respecting my own. Without a doubt, the greatest violator of my own personal boundaries is me. I am the perpetrator of unconscionably disrespectful words and acts against myself. Much of it happens in the confines of my own head.

When I use my thoughts to undermine my self-confidence and punish myself repeatedly for past “mistakes,” I am abusing myself. When I incessantly rehash painful scenarios from my past, I cause myself far greater injury through that repetitive instant replay than the original abuser ever caused me. When I communicate to myself in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that I don’t matter, am not good enough, and am powerless, I am being cruel. When I tell myself I’m crazy to keep thinking, saying, and doing the things I do, I disrespect my journey and myself. Most of us never say anything half as loathsome to others, even in our most enraged moments, as we say to ourselves daily in casual conversation. Respecting ourselves means zero tolerance for self-judging and self-abuse.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2018 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

 

What readers say about
the impact of Deborah’s book

“This profoundly educational book shares Deborah Jane Wells’ personal journey of healing burnout and depression to living a life of wholeness and hope. She walks us through her process that she used to heal herself as well as her coaching clients with several detailed case studies. Her Discovery Framework method works with the outer senses, the inner senses, and your core energy to help you free yourself from limiting thoughts so you can experience a flow in every moment that fuels you with love, gratitude, and compassion. Her background as a minister comes into play in her passion to move you out of fear-based thinking and into love-based thinking through many interesting exercises you can do on your own. This book gives the reader hope that you really can change your life and that it’s a conscious choice. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a more fulfilling life.”Jeannette Koczela, Founder/President, International Association of Professional Life Coaches

 

NEW 2017
EXPANDED EDITION
NOW AVAILABLE
in print, ebook and—
for the first time ever—
AUDIOBOOK

Click here to explore Deborah’s book.

 

Explore Deborah's Book

FREE Coaching Opportunity
($250 VALUE)

If someone offered you a precious gift for an hour of your time, would you be interested? That’s what I offer with a Complimentary Coaching Session. A comp session isn’t a brief demo or sample. It’s a full 45-minute coaching session focused on current real life challenges of your choosing plus 15 minutes to discuss your experience and any questions you may have about my approach to coaching.

There is no expectation or pressure to hire me as your ongoing coach. Providing meaningful, substantive comp sessions with no obligation is one of the ways I demonstrate gratitude and give back to the Universe a small portion of the abundance and opportunity it bestows on me daily.

The real value of a comp session? PRICELESS! 

Those who have experienced comp sessions will tell you, when you come to your session open to the possibilities for transformation and fully committed to your own growth, big breakthroughs can happen!

FREE Coaching Session

What clients say about
the power of coaching with Deborah 

“I knew Deborah before she became a Professional Life Coach. I’ve been amazed at how she has changed her life. When I decided it was time to begin making decisions about the next phase of my life, I knew immediately that Deborah was the person I wanted to work with. Her personal and professional experiences help her guide clients through coaching in a way that is individualized and delightfully eye-opening. Her warmth and sensitivity are immediately apparent, even over the phone. With gentle encouragement and permission, she will guide you through an examination of your life, including difficult experiences. She will help you gain insight from your past choices and then explore possibilities for moving forward in less encumbered ways. When you work with Deborah, your life will take on new meaning and your potential will be limitless!” Chris

“The work I did with Deborah continues to change my life. While I have learned many valuable lessons from her, the greatest was the deep insight that is available to me when I listen to and learn from my own inner wisdom. Her intuition, discernment and encouragement have taught me to trust my own intuition—creating new paths and possibilities for my life. One of Deborah’s great gifts is helping others respect and connect with their inner guidance and through that connection, to form a deeper, more meaningful bond with the collective wisdom and energy of all.” Ryan

Click here to sign up for a 60-minute
complimentary coaching session with Deborah.

Posted in All My Blog Posts, Curiosity, Respect & Compassion | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What Love Looks Like

What love looks like

I nurture, encourage, and
delight myself in healthy ways.

My first big realization on the road to recovery was that my utter and complete burnout was clear evidence that I had not been loving myself. I was not nurturing, encouraging, or delighting myself in healthy ways physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. I was disrespecting my body, mind, feelings, and values. Working myself nearly to death with no regard for illness or despair. If I had treated another being that way, human or feline, I would have been jailed long ago.

When I became serious about uncovering the roots of my imbalance and trying to set it right, I concluded that there are two fundamental types of core energy: love and fear. When I examined the primary energy underneath any thought, feeling, word, or deed, I found love, fear, or some combination of the two.

Love is constructive and moves you forward.
Fear is destructive and holds you back.
Love is the author of truth and reality.
Fear is the author of lies and illusion.

At first, I didn’t always recognize them as love or fear because they didn’t always show up in my life with those specific labels. I found the terms to be nebulous, tricky, and easy to misunderstand. With awareness, persistence, and unflinching honesty, over time I was able to recognize love and fear masquerading under lots of other masks.

In trying to get a more concrete grasp on what healthy self-love might look like, I realized I understood its opposite, fear, much better because I had fueled myself with it for so long. With mindfulness and curiosity, I recognized that the many faces of fear could be synthesized into a four-part pattern that captured the most common guises in which fear showed up in my relationship with myself—contempt, judging, shame, and lack. I then employed one of my favorite writing technologies, the Microsoft Word thesaurus function, to find their opposites—respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude. The chart below is my summary of the many faces of love and fear.

The Many Faces of Love and Fear

With the help of the insight and clarity provided by those particular attributes of love, the light dawned, and I began to make real progress. Focusing on these four constructs helped me more easily answer the eternal question in every situation:

Is this what unconditional
self-love looks like, and if not,
what would bring me closer
to that intention?

While taking good care of myself physically produced many healthy changes, when I shifted from taking good care of myself to falling in love with myself, everything else in my life finally fell into place. I lost weight physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I got off the hamster wheel, found my calling, and created a joyous, fulfilling life. Falling in love with myself was just like falling in love with someone else. I paid attention and treated myself as if I mattered, as if I were my own beloved child.

I am my own beloved childOne of the most powerful changes was being relentless about noticing and transforming any negative head talk into more loving, supportive messages. In chapter 6 of my book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!, concerning your personal board of directors, I dive deeply into the roots, role, and transformation of this type of self-sabotaging gremlin head chatter. For now, just know that fear is incredibly toxic; it doesn’t take much to poison the well of your life. Little things like the verbs I use—have to, should, need to, can’t, and the like—are indicators that fear is fueling my thoughts and beliefs about a given situation or relationship. Nothing is too small to matter; every little bit of fear you transform into love gives you a substantial energetic boost. It doesn’t take much fear to bring you down. Letting go of even a little will raise you up.

Months after I began writing and teaching about the love-fear energetic dichotomy, I started encountering it all over the place. The message is shared by many of the world’s great spiritual teachers. Though surely I must have encountered this lesson before, I had either misunderstood its application or experienced a common barrier. Head knowledge hadn’t been enough to make a difference. I needed to learn it for myself from painful personal experience. I needed to take life’s longest journey: the eighteen inches from my head to my heart.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2018 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

 

What readers say about
the impact of Deborah’s book

“I’ve read many self help books and this is one of the best. What makes it stand out is the fact that it has a very personal touch. Deborah Jane Wells shares her own personal journey of transformation and the experiences of some of her coaching clients to inspire all of us who’ve felt overwhelmed and burdened by life’s challenges. Her courage, insight, and wisdom are simply inspiring. She not only motivates the reader with these stories but also shares the tools she’s learned along the way that we can all use to allow for positive change in our lives. This book is Deborah’s gift to all of us and is empowering to anyone willing to take an honest look at their thoughts and limiting beliefs and in the process become more aware of the power we all have from within to have the life we really want.” Hollie Kikel

 

“I highly recommend this book to anyone who really wants more out of life. This book is changing my life 1 page at a time, 1 baby step at a time. I just can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I am that the Lord placed this book and its wonderful author Life Coach Deborah Jane Wells in my life. The life lessons are so practical and easy to relate to. I was looking for one little nugget of insight to share here but this is so chock full of simple and valuable morsels I could not isolate just one snippet. Let me just say after years and years of delving into my Bible and dozens upon dozens of self-help books, tapes and CDs and even motivational conventions, I now realize I was missing a very key element … Loving Me. This is a super great book to ponder over and over and over again. Truly a must read for everyone!” Linda Guntharp

 

NEW 2017
EXPANDED EDITION
NOW AVAILABLE
in print, ebook and—
for the first time ever—
AUDIOBOOK

Click here to explore Deborah’s book.

 

Explore Deborah's Book

FREE Coaching Opportunity
($250 VALUE)

If someone offered you a precious gift for an hour of your time, would you be interested? That’s what I offer with a Complimentary Coaching Session. A comp session isn’t a brief demo or sample. It’s a full 45-minute coaching session focused on current real life challenges of your choosing plus 15 minutes to discuss your experience and any questions you may have about my approach to coaching.

There is no expectation or pressure to hire me as your ongoing coach. Providing meaningful, substantive comp sessions with no obligation is one of the ways I demonstrate gratitude and give back to the Universe a small portion of the abundance and opportunity it bestows on me daily.

The real value of a comp session? PRICELESS! 

Those who have experienced comp sessions will tell you, when you come to your session open to the possibilities for transformation and fully committed to your own growth, big breakthroughs can happen!

FREE Coaching Session

What clients say about
the power of coaching with Deborah 

“I knew Deborah before she became a Professional Life Coach. I’ve been amazed at how she has changed her life. When I decided it was time to begin making decisions about the next phase of my life, I knew immediately that Deborah was the person I wanted to work with. Her personal and professional experiences help her guide clients through coaching in a way that is individualized and delightfully eye-opening. Her warmth and sensitivity are immediately apparent, even over the phone. With gentle encouragement and permission, she will guide you through an examination of your life, including difficult experiences. She will help you gain insight from your past choices and then explore possibilities for moving forward in less encumbered ways. When you work with Deborah, your life will take on new meaning and your potential will be limitless!” Chris

“The work I did with Deborah continues to change my life. While I have learned many valuable lessons from her, the greatest was the deep insight that is available to me when I listen to and learn from my own inner wisdom. Her intuition, discernment and encouragement have taught me to trust my own intuition—creating new paths and possibilities for my life. One of Deborah’s great gifts is helping others respect and connect with their inner guidance and through that connection, to form a deeper, more meaningful bond with the collective wisdom and energy of all.” Ryan

Click here to sign up for a 60-minute
complimentary coaching session with Deborah.

Posted in All My Blog Posts, Love, Fear & Gremlins | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Stress-Taming Power of Gratitude Part 2 of 2

As I wrap up the discussion of gratitude that I began in the previous post, I want to explore an essential aspect of genuine gratitude that truly fosters flow: the principle of circulation. While many people are extremely comfortable with giving to others, far fewer are equally comfortable with receiving from others. Raised with “It is better to give than receive” and “God loveth a cheerful giver,” many have mistakenly concluded that life is all about giving. But giving without a similar commitment to receiving blocks rather than fosters flow.

Circulation

Flow requires free circulation, both inflow and outflow, with neither condition being desired, admired, or sought after more than the other. Giving with abandon accompanied by resistance to receiving is not what love looks like and it won’t encourage flow. Such duality indicates that fear has crept in and tainted what could, if fueled differently, be an act of love. The roots of this sort of circulation imbalance are planted firmly in misunderstanding the nature of power and assuming power is the same thing as force.

The misperception is based in the belief that giving will put me in the “up” position, leaving me superior and powerful. Once I succeed in giving to you, I can expect you to return the favor on demand in the future in whatever form I desire consistent with my unilateral terms and conditions.

With this definition of giving in place, it follows that I might perceive receiving would put me in the “down” position, leaving me inferior and powerless. Once I succumb to receiving from you, I will be obligated and vulnerable to acting for your benefit in the future—on demand and against my will—in ways that may conflict with my personal values and abilities.

Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!

The simple recalibration to these misperceptions is to realize that sort of exchange is not what love looks like. Rereading my previous posts on love’s essential attributes of respect, curiosity, and compassion will increase your clarity in that regard. As the giver, when you choose love as your core fuel, whatever the expectations of the receiver, you never give from a desire to control or manipulate others. And as the receiver, when you choose love as your core fuel, whatever the expectations of the giver, you are never obligated to respond from fear. Only you decide what is right for your life. What you give and receive, when, why, how, and how much are always yours to choose. In each moment, you have the opportunity to choose love over fear and behave in alignment with your choice.

Overgiving is NOT love-fueled generosity

Here’s an additional insight to help you move more comfortably into balance, harmony, and understanding concerning the roles of giving and receiving in fostering flow. The practice of “over-giving” is just another variation on the arrogance-based disrespectful interference we explored in the posts on respect. When we over-give, we rob the recipient of the opportunity to develop the healthy independence essential to personal growth and freedom. How do you know when this is the case? As always, look underneath your potential actions and be unflinchingly honest with yourself about whether your core fuel is love or fear. Once you recognize your fuel, you have the opportunity to respect yourself and the other by making a conscious constructive choice.

People sometimes respond to this perspective on giving and receiving by saying, “But Deborah, it just feels so good to give!” Yes, it does feel good. And when you refuse to receive with gratitude and grace, you rob another of experiencing that joy of giving. Much as you may not like to admit it, such behavior demonstrates greediness: hoarding all of that good feeling for yourself. When you give but don’t embrace receiving, you imprison yourself with fear and your gifts become tainted.

PAY IT FORWARD!

Remember to consider the big picture when assessing how well circulation is working in your life. Don’t expect direct reciprocity in relation to what you give. Adopt a “pay it forward” mindset and the God’s-eye view, knowing that the circulation you set in motion when you give to a friend or stranger, may return to you in ways you never dreamed of through people you don’t even know. When you celebrate giving and receiving with a sense of joy and freedom, you exhibit genuine gratitude and foster for yourself and others lives of generous, effortless, gracious flow filled with faith, hope, prosperity, peace, and joy.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2018 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

 

What readers say about
the impact of Deborah’s book

“This is a book that I keep going back to again and again. Everyone deserves to live a fulfilling life. That’s why this book is a powerful tool and reference guide to help me stay on track with my life’s goals of discovery, wholeness, healing, love and truth. The Lessons in Living section is particularly helpful when I just need a quick pick-me-up from life’s daily stressors and a positive boost of energy. The client stories and the meditations and affirmations the author shares have definitely aided in transforming my life for the better. I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s ready and willing to shed old layers of fear and move into a place of greater joy and fulfillment.” Jennifer Adamson

 

“I enjoyed reading ‘Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!’ and getting to know Deborah. By example, she leads us to look inward beyond our head and toward our heart. And she generously shares helpful wisdom through stories and her experiences.” David Goldstein, author of Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive, David’s Courageously Creative blog and website

 

NEW 2017
EXPANDED EDITION
NOW AVAILABLE
in print, ebook and—
for the first time ever—
AUDIOBOOK

Click here to explore Deborah’s book.

 

Explore Deborah's Book

FREE Coaching Opportunity
($250 VALUE)

If someone offered you a precious gift for an hour of your time, would you be interested? That’s what I offer with a Complimentary Coaching Session. A comp session isn’t a brief demo or sample. It’s a full 45-minute coaching session focused on current real life challenges of your choosing plus 15 minutes to discuss your experience and any questions you may have about my approach to coaching.

There is no expectation or pressure to hire me as your ongoing coach. Providing meaningful, substantive comp sessions with no obligation is one of the ways I demonstrate gratitude and give back to the Universe a small portion of the abundance and opportunity it bestows on me daily.

The real value of a comp session? PRICELESS! 

Those who have experienced comp sessions will tell you, when you come to your session open to the possibilities for transformation and fully committed to your own growth, big breakthroughs can happen!

FREE Coaching Session

What clients say about
the power of coaching with Deborah 

“I knew Deborah before she became a Professional Life Coach. I’ve been amazed at how she has changed her life. When I decided it was time to begin making decisions about the next phase of my life, I knew immediately that Deborah was the person I wanted to work with. Her personal and professional experiences help her guide clients through coaching in a way that is individualized and delightfully eye-opening. Her warmth and sensitivity are immediately apparent, even over the phone. With gentle encouragement and permission, she will guide you through an examination of your life, including difficult experiences. She will help you gain insight from your past choices and then explore possibilities for moving forward in less encumbered ways. When you work with Deborah, your life will take on new meaning and your potential will be limitless!” Chris

“The work I did with Deborah continues to change my life. While I have learned many valuable lessons from her, the greatest was the deep insight that is available to me when I listen to and learn from my own inner wisdom. Her intuition, discernment and encouragement have taught me to trust my own intuition—creating new paths and possibilities for my life. One of Deborah’s great gifts is helping others respect and connect with their inner guidance and through that connection, to form a deeper, more meaningful bond with the collective wisdom and energy of all.” Ryan

Click here to sign up for a 60-minute
complimentary coaching session with Deborah.

Posted in All My Blog Posts, Gratitude, Prosperity & Abundance | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment