Board Principles and Dynamics (Part 1 of 3)

In previous posts, we’ve been exploring how conscious collaboration with the members of  Your Personal Board of Directors (Sage, Guardian, and Muse) helps you reveal and advance the highest good with equanimity in each moment. Equipped with an understanding of the nature and roles of each member of your personal board, in this post we begin exploring some of the common ways the members show up and interact.

If your board members could remain completely empowered by love in every moment, with deep and abiding respect for the full range of team strengths and perspectives, what a smooth and fulfilling life it could be. Your muse would apply its creative genius to producing a never-ending stream of potential opportunities along with a variety of possibilities for bringing them to life. Your sage would assess the options, mine them for deeper insights, and recognize relevant considerations to discern what should be pursued and when. Your guardian would serve as chief engineer to create, execute, monitor, and adjust the optimal plan for manifestation. No jealousy, no bickering, no sabotage. Just a love-fueled, collaborative journey to wholeness with a single objective: endlessly encouraging you with hope, possibilities, and empowerment to support you in revealing and advancing the highest good for all, in all, through all.

Board Principles and Dynamics

To achieve the more fluid and fulfilling life you seek, those are the board dynamics you are aiming for. Why does your board so often fall short of that goal, and what can you do to improve its functioning? Here are some additional insights to help you understand the elements of success, recognize when trouble is brewing, and employ the most reliable remedies to get things back on track quickly.

Gender Identity

In terms of gender, many clients sense the energetic gender of their board members long before they know their board members’ names. Remember, we’re not talking anatomy; we’re talking male, female, and androgynous energy. One way to think of it is that male energy is more left brain, female is more right, and androgynous is a blend. There are many books on the subject of energetic gender. You can read them if you are so inclined, or you can trust your intuition. If it feels male, it probably is. If it feels female, it probably is. If it feels androgynous, it probably is. Your gender identity has nothing to do with the genders of your board members. They can all be male, all female, all androgynous, or mixed.

Choosing Names

That is a trick subtitle: you don’t choose names for your board members. When they trust you and you are ready to connect with them more deeply, they will tell you their names. Honest. No, they aren’t named after your first pet, your most memorable teacher, or members of your family—beloved or reviled. They have their own names, generally with very relevant etymologies. Once you know their names, if you look up the meanings and derivations, you’ll find they hold great relevance to the roles they play and gifts they bring. Here are two quick examples in that regard.

Sophia: Wisdom

The first example is my client Sarah who, as is so often the case, knew the names of her guardian and muse as soon as we began exploring the personal board/gremlin construct. She sensed a third distinct energy and described it as calm and wise but gave no name. Throughout our session, in an effort to help her tap into her intuition, I would say, “I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten the name of your sage. What is it?” She replied, “I told you. I don’t know the name of my sage.” I repeated variations on this tactic a couple more times during our forty-five-minute session and received the same reply. At the end of the session, as we were wrapping up, I said, “In looking over my notes, I realize I never wrote down the name of your sage.” This time, she replied, “I have a name, but it doesn’t make any sense.” I encouraged her to ignore logic and trust her gut. She blurted out, “It’s Sophia. But I don’t even know anyone named Sophia.” I became very still. “Sarah, do you or does anyone in your family have ties to Greece (language, travel, origin)?” She replied, “No.” I told her, “Sophia means ‘wisdom’ in Greek. It’s the name given to the wisdom aspect of God in the Bible. Congratulations, Sarah, I’m fairly certain your sage just told you her name.”

The second example is my client Mark who also knew the names of his guardian and muse right off the bat. His sage’s energy and name proved elusive over a period of weeks. Each week, we’d check in concerning his sage, and he’d report his sense that he’d made no progress. We would re-establish his intention to be open to connecting more deeply with his sage whenever it was ready to reveal itself. Then we would focus on other coaching matters. Periodically during sessions, I would try the techniques I used with Sarah and others (“I’ve forgotten your sage’s name; I neglected to write down your sage’s name; etc.”). A number of weeks passed during which Mark had no awareness of the name. Then I received a midweek email from Mark, excitedly reporting that he had connected with his sage and knew her name. He said it was Sylvia. When he looked up the derivation of her name, he was blown away. Sylvia means “from the forest.” Beginning at a very young age, when Mark was upset or frustrated by life, he would escape to the woods near his home for comfort. He has always loved being in the woods, whether camping, hiking, writing, or just thinking. Mark’s sage had indeed introduced herself. She had been present in his life all along, leading him into the woods for solace.

Sylvia: Spirit of the Wood

Some clients know the names of their most dominant board member the moment we begin discussing the construct. Others know the guardian and muse right away because they have been listening to them bicker for decades. Some clients don’t know any names for quite a while. One day, when your board member trusts you, it will tell you. It’s like any other relationship that you hope will go to a more intimate level. As you prove to each board member that you are respectful, honorable, and committed to the long haul, they will each tell you their names in their own time.

It’s not uncommon to have one member’s name take longer than others. Often that member’s set of competencies is the one you least value or most fear expressing. Don’t expect any of them to tell you their names if your intention is to try to banish them the next time they pop their heads out of their foxholes by “going gremlin.” Be patient, don’t force it, and let your intuition tell you when it’s time. Meanwhile, just do all of the things you already do to build other mutually respectful, trusting, and fulfilling relationships. Before you know it, you’ll be engaging your board members in real-time, out-loud discussions and debates in the lobby of your favorite restaurant, boutique, or movie theater. They are eager to know you better too. They are just understandably skeptical about your motivations.

We Are One

In the Beginning

When you and your board members were born, everything was love and light. The minute you began encountering opportunities for fear, the love and light began to unravel. Because you were small, young, and fairly helpless, those initial fears had a big impact, and your board members developed a tendency to overreact to perceived threats.

Life gets even riskier as you get older. As you grow and mature, life presents even more potential slings and arrows, and you present an ever-larger target for them to hit. If your board members become focused on all the fears, they can erroneously conclude that everything is dangerous and the only escape is to keep you as small and invisible as possible.

In the next post, we’ll continue examining some of the common ways the members show up and interact.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2020 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

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Muse’s Agenda on Your Personal Board of Directors

In previous posts, we’ve been exploring how conscious collaboration with the members of  Your Personal Board of Directors (Sage, Guardian, and Muse) helps you reveal and advance the highest good with equanimity in each moment. In this post, we take a closer look at the core competencies and role of the Muse.

The muse’s agenda and core competencies are summarized in figure 14 below. The muse places its primary attention on matters of the heart. When its core energy is fueled by love, it shows up as the grand visionary and, of the three board members, is most identified with the construct of the inner child. The muse centered in love is in complete agreement with Frank Sinatra that “fairy tales can come true … when you’re young at heart.” When the muse forgets the truth of a reality based in love and oneness and chooses instead to become a victim to the lie of an illusion based in fear and a sense of separation, its core fear is the same two-part core fear of your other personal board members: I don’t matter; I am powerless.

Muse's Agenda

The specifics of how that core fear manifests for the muse are aligned with the muse’s love-based qualities and attributes. Its goal, or utmost desire, is having fun and believing life is a game. The specific fear that challenges that desire is drudgery: the possibility that anything—or worse yet, everything—is a grind. The muse is especially susceptible to stubbornness and avoidance when it perceives chores or toil.

The muse’s means, or preferred way of fulfilling its desire for fun, is flexibility, believing maximizing freedom enhances everyone and everything. The specific fear that can test the muse’s belief in the power of flexibility to maximize fun is constraint: any form of limitation, constriction, or restraint.

The muse’s gift, greatest natural aptitude, and most valuable contribution to every situation is imagination. The specific fear that undercuts the muse’s ability to demonstrate and contribute imagination is monotony of any sort: flatness, boredom, or tedium.

Muse's Love-Fueled Persona

The muse’s passion and chief delight—what brings the muse the most joy in life—is a sense of play: recreation and amusement. The specific fear that thwarts the muse’s passion for play is any feeling of servitude: subservience, subjugation, or bondage.

When any or all of the muse’s specific fears awaken the core fear that the muse does not matter or is powerless, it stops showing up as the grand visionary. Instead, it takes on one of its many gremlin personas, including the dabbling dilettante, sneak, wild child, or loose cannon.

The muse’s initial passive aggressive technique to dissuade you from your chosen path is often a form of deceit. Avoidance and trickery are the tools of the frustrated muse. The dilettante and sneak personas are most common in this stage. When passive aggressive techniques prove ineffective, as the fear continues to grow, the muse will switch to more aggressive tactics of rebellion: the unsatisfied desire for fun now finding an outlet in a level of thrill-seeking abandon that introduces a risk of real and very un-fun harm. The fear is so unbearable that the muse will do anything to make it stop, including choosing activities and companions that are antithetical and horrifying to its sweet, fun-loving norm. The gremlin personas of the wild child and loose cannon are common in this stage.

Muse's Fear-Fueled Persona

There is a simple remedy for breaking this self-destructive cycle, leading the muse out of its fear-based, sabotaging gremlin persona and restoring it to love and a sense of oneness. The key is to help the muse find the fun. Not the adrenaline high of real danger. Just a small suggestion that with a little imagination, what appears to be drudgery could be transformed into something much easier than it appears. With a baby step in the right direction, the task might become downright entertaining. Fun is the medium in which the muse thrives. Fun will cause the muse’s natural aptitudes and abilities to return, strengthen, and grow. When that happens, harmony and synergy with your other board members will be restored.

Whenever you start to feel whiny or put-upon, be alert for the possibility that your muse is shifting into gremlin mode due to fear. The equanimity scan shared in the 12/27/19 post can help you diagnose the root cause and return your muse to its more constructive persona.

Equipped with an understanding of the nature and roles of each member of your personal board, in the next post we’ll examine some of the common ways the members show up and interact.

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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in hardback, softcover and ebook

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Guardian’s Agenda on Your Personal Board of Directors

In previous posts, we’ve been exploring how conscious collaboration with the members of  Your Personal Board of Directors (Sage, Guardian, and Muse) helps you reveal and advance the highest good with equanimity in each moment. In this post, we take a closer look at the core competencies and role of the Guardian.

The guardian’s agenda and core competencies are summarized in figure 13 below. The guardian places its primary attention on matters of the head. When its core energy is fueled by love, it shows up as the chief engineer: everything is a puzzle to be solved to the guardian centered in love. When the guardian forgets the truth of a reality based in love and oneness and chooses instead to become a victim to the lie of an illusion based in fear and a sense of separation, its core fear is the same two-part core fear of your other personal board members: I don’t matter; I am powerless.

Guardian's Agenda

The specifics of how that core fear manifests for the guardian are aligned with the guardian’s love-based qualities and attributes. Its goal, or utmost desire, is finding safety and believing there is no risk of harm. The specific fear that challenges that desire is danger: the possibility that anything—or worse yet, everything—is a threat. The guardian is especially susceptible to overreacting by seeing every instance of the unexpected as a harbinger of jeopardy or peril.

The guardian’s means, or preferred way of fulfilling its desire for safety, is structure, believing that maximizing order, specificity, and predictability always enhances everyone and everything. The specific fear that can test the guardian’s belief in the power of structure to ensure safety is chaos: any form of unruliness, pandemonium, or anarchy.

The guardian’s gift, greatest natural aptitude, and most valuable contribution to every situation is discipline. The specific fear that undercuts the guardian’s ability to demonstrate and contribute discipline is laziness of any sort: lethargy, sloth, or inertia.

Guardian's Love-Fueled Persona

The guardian’s passion and chief delight—what brings the guardian the most joy in life—is a sense of work: quality and productivity. The specific fear that thwarts the guardian’s passion for work is any feeling of waste: carelessness, extravagance, or redundancy.

When any or all of the guardian’s specific fears awaken the core fear that the guardian does not matter or is powerless, it stops showing up as the chief engineer. Instead, it takes on one of its many gremlin personas, including the killjoy, workaholic, drill sergeant, or control freak.

The guardian’s initial passive aggressive technique to dissuade you from your chosen path is often a form of condescension. Sarcasm and superiority are the tools of the frustrated guardian. The killjoy and workaholic personas are most common in this stage. When passive aggressive techniques prove ineffective, as the fear continues to grow, the guardian will switch to more aggressive tactics of coercion: brute force to remove any perceived barriers to safety. The fear is so unbearable that the guardian will do anything to make it stop, including bullying and screaming that are antithetical and horrifying to its cool-headed, analytical norm. The gremlin personas of the drill sergeant and control freak are common in this stage.

Guardian's Fear-Fueled Persona

There is a simple remedy for breaking this self-destructive cycle, leading the guardian out of its fear-based, sabotaging gremlin persona and restoring it to love and a sense of oneness. The key is to help the guardian make a plan. Not a fear-based three-thousand-item fifty-year plan in twelve-hour increments. Just a small suggestion of a path out of the chaos and then the first baby step in the right direction. Await feedback from the Universe and then take the next baby step. Planning is the medium in which the guardian thrives. Planning will cause the guardian’s natural aptitudes and abilities to return, strengthen, and grow. When that happens, harmony and synergy with your other board members will be restored.

Whenever you start to feel rushed or tense, be alert for the possibility that your guardian is shifting into gremlin mode due to fear. The equanimity scan shared in the 12/27/19 post can help you diagnose the root cause and return your guardian to its more constructive persona.

In the next post, we take a closer look at the core competencies and role of the Muse on your Personal Board of Directors.

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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Sage’s Agenda on Your Personal Board of Directors

In the previous post we began exploring how conscious collaboration with the members of  Your Personal Board of Directors (Sage, Guardian, and Muse) helps you reveal and advance the highest good with equanimity in each moment. In this post, we take a closer look at the core competencies and role of the Sage.

The sage’s agenda and core competencies are summarized in figure 12 below. The sage places its primary attention on matters of the soul. When its core energy is fueled by love, it shows up as the eternal optimist: everything’s an opportunity to the sage centered in love. When the sage forgets the truth of a reality based in love and oneness and chooses instead to become a victim to the lie of an illusion based in fear and a sense of separation, its core fear is the same two-part core fear of your other personal board members: I don’t matter; I am powerless.

Sage's Agenda

The specifics of how that core fear manifests for the sage are aligned with the sage’s love-based qualities and attributes. Its goal, or utmost desire, is finding meaning and believing that everything has a constructive purpose. The specific fear that challenges that desire is nihilism: the possibility that anything—or worse yet, everything—is random and meaningless. The sage is especially susceptible to pessimism and despair.

The sage’s means, or preferred way of fulfilling its desire for meaning, is synergy, believing that maximizing collaboration always enhances everyone and everything. The specific fear that can test the sage’s belief in the universality of a synergistic path to meaning is discord: any form of conflict, friction, or arguing.

The sage’s gift, greatest natural aptitude, and most valuable contribution to every situation is discernment—a dynamic, in-the-moment blending of reason and intuition optimal for whatever’s at hand. The specific fear that undercuts the sage’s ability to demonstrate and contribute discernment is confusion of any sort: bewilderment, disorientation, or upheaval.

Sage's Love-Fueled Persona

The sage’s passion and chief delight—what brings the sage the most joy in life—is a sense of flow: a generous, effortless, gracious way of being. The specific fear that thwarts the sage’s passion for flow is any feeling of force: pressure, coercion, or bullying.

When any or all of the sage’s specific fears awaken the core fear that the sage does not matter or is powerless, it stops showing up as the eternal optimist. Instead, it takes on one of its many gremlin personas, including the bleeding heart, hermit, know-it-all, or zealot.

The sage’s initial passive aggressive technique to dissuade you from your chosen path is often a form of withdrawal. Denial and depression are the tools of the frustrated sage. The bleeding heart and hermit personas are most common in this stage. When passive aggressive techniques prove ineffective, as the fear continues to grow, the sage will switch to more aggressive tactics of annihilation: elimination of itself in the form of suicide (figurative or literal) or elimination of others through ruthlessness and murder (figurative or literal). The fear is so unbearable that the sage will do anything to make it stop, including employing force-based tactics that are antithetical and horrifying to its normal passion for flow. The gremlin personas of the know-it-all and zealot are common in this stage.

Sage's Fear-Fueled Persona

There is a simple remedy for breaking this self-destructive cycle, leading the sage out of its fear-based, sabotaging gremlin personas and restoring it to love and a sense of oneness. The key is to help the sage see the opportunity. Just a small glimmer of a possibility buried under all the fear and then the first baby step in the direction of manifesting that possibility is all it will take. Opportunity is the medium in which the sage thrives. Opportunity will cause the sage’s natural aptitudes and abilities to return, strengthen, and grow. When that happens, harmony and synergy with your other board members will be restored.

Whenever you start to feel pessimistic or melancholy, be alert for the possibility that your sage is shifting into gremlin mode due to fear. The equanimity scan shared in the 12/27/19 post can help you diagnose the root cause and return your sage to its more constructive persona.

One of the interesting and challenging realities is that once one board member becomes aligned with fear, the nature of the passive and aggressive tactics to which it defaults will increase the likelihood that one or both of your other board members will be pulled out of alignment in reaction to the first member’s antics. For this reason, it is especially important to form deep, intimate relationships with each board member and pay attention to the earliest warning signs that something may be amiss. A sage not quickly restored to love will result potentially in a much more complex task of working to restore two or more members with very different agendas at the same time.

Squabbling Board Members

When life feels like it’s running amok and gremlin voices are the only ones you hear, it is quite common to find that each of your board members has become afraid of different aspects of the same situation. It is possible to work with all of them at the same time by addressing each patiently and individually based on their particular orientations. It’s just more advanced work. It is much easier to always stay tuned to their distinct frequencies and address any fear-based anomalies in their perceptions before they grow to mammoth proportions.

In the next post, we take a closer look at the core competencies and role of the Guardian on your Personal Board of Directors.

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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Achieving Equanimity: Your Personal Board of Directors

This is the first of eight posts based on the principles shared in Chapter 6 of my book Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life! These insights and tools will help you boost your ability to reveal and advance the highest good with equanimity in each moment by consciously collaborating with your Personal Board of Directors. 

You may say, “So far, the principles you share, Deborah, sound great in theory, but you’ve neglected to take into account the oppressive power of the judgmental voice in my head. Every time I start to break free from thoughts of self-imposed limitation and lack, that voice puts me back in my place by reminding me that I’m not good enough and never will be.” Good news! Help is on the way. Once you build a more constructive relationship with your personal board of directors—the sage, guardian, and muse depicted in figure 10 below—you will find that disparaging voice becomes less prevalent and less powerful.

Achieving Equanimity: Your Personal Board of Directors

When your board members collaborate respectfully, they leverage their vast collection of competencies, seamlessly drawing on your constructive core energy and feeding all of your senses in a balanced way. When fueled by love, your board members are capable of synthesizing their diverse strengths and talents into a whole that is much greater than the sum of its parts. They collaborate mindfully, respectfully, and artfully, ever-dedicated to their singular shared mission of encouraging you with hope, possibilities, and empowerment in every situation, encounter and circumstance.

When your board is working smoothly and constructively, as they were when you arrived in this world, they function much like a single-lever water faucet that seamlessly mixes hot and cold water to the optimal temperature for a variety of purposes.

When your board members are fueled by love, you can trust their mindfulness, imagination, discernment, and discipline to encourage you by fostering equanimity and facilitating your ability to reveal and advance the highest good for all, in all, through all. They do this by creating a moment-by-moment custom blend of competencies that varies based on the optimal mix for the opportunities in each life situation.

Your Personal Board of Directors

I am reminded of the teaching I heard from Deepak Chopra: EGO stands for “edging God out.” Based on the laws of algebra, if EGO equals edging God out and God equals love, then EGO equals edging love out. That’s precisely what happens when your board members become dysfunctional. When they switch to fear as their fuel instead of love, their shared mission of encouragement goes out the window. Instead of fostering hope, possibilities, and empowerment, they block your forward progress by focusing their energies on infighting, backbiting, and one-upmanship on a grand scale. In short, they keep you small because they believe that is what safe looks like. The answer is for you to get to know each of them intimately and coach them into a more expansive, love-fueled approach to life.

Awareness of your board of directors is not an indication that you have multiple personality disorder. The construct of a personal board is a useful device. Sorting your vast array of gifts, passions, options, fears, and coping mechanisms into three distinct though interrelated subsets reduces the complexity of understanding what’s going on in each moment and the specific path to finding greater equanimity.

A reminder: whatever pronoun is used, assume gender neutrality in all descriptions. It makes for smoother reading just to vary the use of masculine, feminine, and neutral pronouns than to constantly indicate female and male in every instance. While it is true that an individual board member may show up as primarily male or female, such designation refers to the member’s energetic signature, not its anatomic gender. Your board members may all be male, all female, all androgynous, or any combination thereof.

Board Members' Agendas

Each member of your personal board of directors has its own agenda and unique set of core competencies. The elements of those agendas are shown in figure 11 above and include the following:

  • Focus: Where each places its primary attention.
  • Love Persona: Their optimal constructive way of showing up when fueled by love.
  • Core Fear: Their lowest common denominator shared fear. This core fear leads each of them to forget the truth of a reality based in love and oneness and choose instead to become victims to the lie of an illusion based in fear and a sense of separation.
  • Attributes: Their primary love-based qualities and specific fears that can undermine those qualities, including their
  • Goal: Utmost desire;
  • Means: Preferred way of fulfilling their goal;
  • Gift: Greatest natural aptitude and most valuable contribution to every situation; and
  • Passion: Chief delight, what brings them the most joy in life.
  • Fear Persona: Their most common destructive ways of showing up when fueled by fear, also known as their gremlin personas or “going gremlin.”
  • Defense Mechanism: Their favorite passive and aggressive forms of sabotaging you. Typically, they begin to assuage their fear by using passive aggressive techniques to dissuade you from your chosen path. If those prove ineffective, as their fear continues to grow, they usually switch to more aggressive tactics.
  • Remedy: The nature of the first baby step that will begin to lead them out of their fear-based, sabotaging gremlin persona and restore them to love and a sense of oneness.

In the next post we take a closer look at the core competencies and role of the Sage on your Personal Board of Directors.

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 to Assess and Restore Sensory Balance Real Time

Over the past 15 months I’ve shared the principles of Sensory Balance from Chapter 5 of my book Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life! 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.

Now that you have greater insight into the importance of feeding all nine of your senses in balanced ways, you are better equipped to notice when any one of them would benefit from recalibration and what form that might take.

While it is possible to gorge or starve any of our senses, because sacrificing food quality while overdoing food quantity is a nearly universal experience, I will use it here to illustrate the spirit of my approach. One of the great benefits of embracing rather than ignoring or denying my habit of using food to fill un-food needs is that I now have an incredibly reliable barometer for when something is out of alignment within me.

PAY ATTENTION!!!

My agreement with myself regarding eating is that I pay attention to the quality and quantity of what I am ingesting. If I find myself overeating, even healthy fare, when I know I shouldn’t be physically hungry, my promise is that I respect myself enough to be honest about what’s really going on. I stop and run a quick scan to see if I can determine what may be troubling me or where my life has gotten out of whack. What sense other than taste might I be starving that I’m trying to compensate for by overeating?

I also look for any evidence of the nutritional equivalent of plopping my child in front of the TV to avoid giving her my undivided attention. What strong emotion might I be avoiding by distracting, titillating, and lethargizing myself with excessive poor-quality food?

Whether you are overeating, overworking, or overshopping, the essence of the sensory balance scan is this: I love myself enough to pay attention. I respect myself enough to be honest about what’s really going on. I am curious about whether what I am doing will really help or, in fact, if it will just injure me further. I have compassion for whatever I find, and a commitment to be more supportive. I am grateful for the deeper insights and additional opportunities for growth.

Sensory Balance Scan

Figure 9 above provides a simple form to guide this process. As with the flow and core energy scans, the sensory balance scan consists of five steps, with each step grounded in caring enough about yourself to do the following:

  • Pay attention so that you notice quickly whenever you’ve drifted into a state of sensory imbalance due to starving and/or gorging one or more of your nine senses. Realize that gorging one or more of your senses is likely to indicate starving one or more and vice versa.
  • Invest your energy in assessing the root cause of the imbalance, paying special attention to any fear underneath what you are thinking, feeling, saying, and doing.
  • Determine what baby steps will strengthen the presence of love in your reality and restore balance to the way you are feeding your senses: quality, quantity, and frequency.
  • Hold yourself accountable for following through on your commitment to take action.
  • Assess your results and continuously refine and expand your action plan to maximize the presence of love and minimize the presence of fear, thereby restoring harmony and encouraging sensory balance.

Having gotten honest with myself, if the results of the scan indicate there is something significant to explore but I don’t yet feel able to go deeper, I demonstrate respect and compassion by not forcing myself. If I still feel that distracting myself with food is the best I can do with the love and light I have at the time, then I may go ahead and eat five pounds of raw vegetables. But I will have planted the seed and taken an additional step in recognizing unresolved fear inside me, moving myself forward on my personal journey to wholeness.

To thine own self be true

For more insights into creativity and sensory balance, read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

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 Belonging Fosters Meaning-Filled Relationships (Part 2 of 2)

In the previous sensory balance post we began a two-part exploration of how the fourth of our four inner senses—belonging—helps us imbue our experiences with meaning. Here are my additional thoughts on the sense of belonging.

Relationships have been the greatest teachers in my life. While often they didn’t feel helpful at the time, in hindsight I can see that they provided the sacred space in which I received my most difficult lessons about the true meaning of healthy boundaries. They were the classroom in which I learned how to establish constructive limits for myself and how to recognize when my “desire to help” was not fueled by core energy of love but by fear in the form of anxiety, self-doubt, avoidance, or arrogance.

I embrace authenticity and honor healthy boundaries

Across a variety of roles and venues—daughter, sister, parent, wife, mother, boss, subordinate, coach, friend—I had to be taught these lessons about respecting my own and others’ boundaries again and again before I began to see the light. These same advanced classes are the ones to which the Universe continues to invite me each day.

Don’t set your intention to develop more patience or better boundaries unless you are prepared to embrace the inevitable upheaval. We only become better at anything with practice. Practicing patience and boundaries requires doing so in difficult situations. It is the only way to get good at it.

I’ll share a few personal examples to illustrate. In the introduction to the Discovery Framework, I mentioned a couple of belonging-related hiccups I encountered on my way to writing this section of the book. These situations provided the latest in a series of ongoing moment-by-moment opportunities to deepen my own ability to live the framework, clarify my boundaries, and strengthen my commitment to my calling. They included two of my beloved cats being diagnosed with illnesses; my husband undergoing two surgeries in one month, with two more to come; and a rift in a long-term friendship.

So how did I fair? I remained on an even keel in handling the two cat-astrophes, demonstrating real progress in my ability to be fully present when I perceive my loved ones are in pain or danger. I didn’t even consider my past practice of spinning death horror stories in my head that would only serve to freak me out and block me from accessing my deepest wisdom. I embraced my responsibility for my cats’ diagnoses and care and continued chipping away at sculpting the framework chapters of this book. I remembered that all relationships are sent to us for a season and a reason. I practiced being here now, appreciating every moment life gives me with the furry family members I adore.

I appreciate every moment with my loved ones

I also did fairly well with my husband’s surgeries, trying to be supportive (love) without being intrusive (fear). I freely admit to a few times when I stuck my nose in and pushed my approach over his (disrespect). The good news is that I noticed my slips quickly (curiosity), didn’t beat myself up (love, respect, and compassion), apologized voluntarily (love and respect), and shifted my focus back to writing the framework chapters, trusting Wilson to manage his own healthcare.

The rift in the friendship proved the greatest challenge of the three for me. I did a bit of obsessing, which distracted and blocked me from writing and other happy endeavors. But I also handled it, especially the fear, much more constructively than I have such situations in the past. I applied curiosity instead of judgment in assessing what my friend and I each contributed to the rift. Over a period of months, I made multiple attempts to repair it. When it became clear to me that reconciliation was not in the cards, I released all of it with love and light and firmly but lovingly closed the door. For me to have pushed the situation any further at the time would not have been loving, respectful, or compassionate to either of us.

With deep disappointments, this release process is often iterative. When the pain of such experiences resurfaces periodically, I try to resist distracting myself with eating to excess, shopping until I drop, or working harder and longer. I set my intention to embrace my feelings with curiosity and identify the opportunity for even deeper healing within me. Sometimes there’s an aspect for which I bear responsibility that I’ve not fully accepted. Other times there’s an element of my friend’s responsibility that I’m still trying to carry. I focus my energy on embracing my own lessons and completely detaching from my friend’s lessons because, frankly, they are none of my business. I have enough on my own plate at all times to keep me constructively occupied. I remind myself that we each did the best we could with the wisdom we gave ourselves access to at the time. I foster genuine gratitude for the growth our relationship has offered me and release both of us into the loving arms of the Universe to move forward on our individual paths.

I am genuinely grateful for the advanced class in boundary setting and the opportunity to share it here (yet another silver lining). In the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1 (The Message version) tells us, “… there is a right time to everything on earth.” The Tao rules of engagement for right relationships express this principle as, “When you come, we welcome you. When you stay, we do not hold on to you. When you leave, we do not pursue you.”

To everything there is a time and season

If the Universe feels my friend and I still have unfinished business, It will reopen the door when the time is right. If not, the time may have come for us to move on permanently because we are meant to learn our remaining life lessons through other situations and relationships. One way or another, we’re going to keep being offered the lessons until we learn them. The longer it takes, the tougher the lessons get. As we say in the practice of Reiki, “May I learn my lessons quickly and gently and help others do so as well.”

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

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