Laughter & Darkness

http://thegoodvibe.co/

http://thegoodvibe.co/

 

Hi there, dear ones,

Today I had a great brunch with a dear friend.  One of the neatest things about this friend is how fiercely intelligent she is ~ have I mentioned how much I love smart women?  Oh, I do. I love being friends with smart women, and I love coaching smart women.

So, over brunch with this feisty, wise friend, with conversations ranging from Scandinavian adventures to fellas to vulnerabilities to creativity, I was once again challenged to write about what’s on my heart. And that is what I’m doing right now, in response to the encouragement of this lovely friend.

As we drove back to her house, I explained to her a little theory I had about life, to which she replied she had a similar theory, though with a darker twist.  I laughed, and asked her to share her theory.  She was right – it was similar – but much darker and more depressing.  I loved it.

Upon arriving at her house, she said, “Oh, remind me we need to discuss Anais Nin at some point.” I eagerly agreed, as I am a fan of her writing, and my friend looked at me, smiled, and warned, “I think she’s darker than you might think.” To this, I laughed and as she opened the car door I exclaimed, “I’m not afraid of the dark!” We both laughed and she walked away.

I’ve been smiling to myself about this conversation ever since.  It’s an interesting thing, to acknowledge both light and dark in the world. I have a natural bent towards the light, to seek the positive, and to see the world in this way. If you ask me how this happened, I couldn’t tell you, but it’s been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember.  Even in grade school, I remember people commenting on how much I smiled all the time. It just felt natural, and I joke that it’s one of my superpowers (to find the lightness).

But I’m not afraid to explore the depths and the darkness either. I dig authenticity, and messiness, and know that there is space for it all. The balance, in fact, fascinates me about life and people. We would not feel the lightness if we couldn’t feel the darkness.  Happiness and joy are magnified by the knowledge that life also encompasses suffering and tragedy.

The above quote, “I just want to spend the rest of my life laughing,” caught my attention this afternoon (post-brunch). It makes me think of lightness, and how brilliant it feels to be laughing through life. One of the best good things about life is laughter (yes, I just said “best good things” on purpose). Especially those gleeful laughs that one cannot suppress because of being caught in a moment of silliness or delight.  I *do* want to spend the rest of my life laughing (at least most of it), and I think this is a good vision to hold.

This vision also reminds me of something one of my clients mentioned to me this week.  (I learn so much from listening to my clients.) She explained to me that she’s been through so much difficulty in her life, that laughter and humor really help her through the pain.  She is incredibly strong, and laughter is a tool for her to move beyond and move forward.  She embraces the darkness, but also has brought light to her lived experience.

With all this in mind, let’s find ways to laugh through life.  Let’s bring lightness into our own lives, and into other people’s lives.  And let’s “not be afraid of the dark” together, and be there for one another in those times, too.  It’s all part of our experience here ~ and let’s experience it fully.

With love & light,

Sol

 

On Being a Client

Hello dearies,

I’ve been reflecting recently on what I’ve learned being a life coaching client, and I thought it might be worth sharing. Perhaps this will give some of you a sense of what it’s like to be a coaching client (if you haven’t tried life coaching before – you totally should!  It’s awesome!), or conversely, if you’ve thought about becoming a coach – this post may be informative.

For those of us involved in the coaching profession, it is vital to experience being a coaching client.  Personally, I became interested in becoming a coach after a positive experience with a health coach ~ named Christianne Morgan of Healthy Rebellion. A year later, before I made the decision to study life coaching, I scheduled sessions with another respected coach I knew ~ named Jessica Colp.  It was through coaching conversations with her that I realized I indeed wanted to pursue this profession. (Check out both of these coaches – they are beautiful human beings!)

For my coaching studies, I chose the International Coach Academy, and throughout my studies over the past year and a half, I have experienced being a client to many peer coaches. Through this experience, I have gained greater depth and breadth in my understanding of what it is to be a client, and I am grateful for this chance.  I was able to meet so many amazing coaches throughout my studies.  Two lovely ones that come to mind immediately are Shraddha Trasi of I Be Live Today and Moira Spence (both bright stars – worth knowing!) My experiences as a client inform my coaching practice in numerous ways.

As a coach, I think it will be important to continue being a client, as this will help me develop and grow in my own practice. I value the profession, and I know that coaching has helped me throughout my life. Here is the beginning of a list I plan to add to as I continue the coaching journey ~ what I’ve learned as a coaching client thus far:

*The best coaches:

    • Help “give you wings” by holding the highest, most wonderful vision of you in mind at all times, and having faith that you can achieve whatever it is you set your mind to doing;
    • Listen intently;
    • Are warm and kind;
    • Challenge you in just the right ways;
    • Feel in some ways like your best friend, with time to listen, fresh perspectives, thought-provoking questions, and honest feedback;
    • Don’t have to be from the same part of the world, or even the same culture, to “get” you;
    • Will invite you out of your comfort zone.

*As a client, to get the most of out your sessions, it is essential to:

    • Bring ideas and concepts to explore during your session(s) – it’s YOUR time;
    • Try to meet on a semi-regular basis with your coach – this varies based on your needs as a client, but meeting once/week or every other week seems to help people stay on track if there are specific goals to be achieved;
    • Sometimes you don’t need the recommended twelve sessions ~ it may be that (depending on what you’re looking for) you can benefit from 1-4 sessions;
    • Conversely, having a brilliant coach can be incredibly useful in your life, so it may be that you choose to meet beyond twelve sessions with someone who is really helping you move forward in your life;
    • As clients, we have to commit to make changes if we really want to see things change in our lives. Our coaches support us, but we’re the ones that have to make the daily choices.
    • Give your coach notice if and when you decide to stop meeting with him/her. Coaches appreciate you letting them know ahead of time – it’s better than just not contacting your coach again and “disappearing” for you and your coach (a professional coach will not take it personally if you choose to stop meeting – that is your prerogative as a client).

I also want to mention a few “lessons learned.” I do not tend to focus on the negative, but here were a few things that I wish I would have been more aware of as a client:

Be selective about choosing your coach. It’s a problem if:

    • You’re more reliable than your coach (ex: You show up at your regularly scheduled weekly session and your coach forgets – more than once);
    • Your coach gives you a lot of advice (then s/he is not coaching anymore) or you feel judged or assessed by your coach;
    • Your coach isn’t fully present with you or it seems like it’s a hassle to meet with you for whatever reason;
    • You don’t genuinely respect the person who is coaching you. If you meet for a few sessions and it feels “off,” politely excuse yourself and find a new coach who fits you better.

As I continue in this profession, I’m positive I will add more to this list. In the meantime, perhaps you will find this useful in your own journey either being a coach or being a client.

And (as always) I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Do you have anything to add to this list?  If you’ve experienced life coaching before, did you have similar experiences?  I’m curious.

With love and authenticity,

Solveig

What Stories are You Telling Yourself?

Hello lovelies ~

Recently my friend Geoff Welch, the mastermind behind This Tiny Empire, and I got together for another little chat. This time we talked about narratives – or the stories we tell ourselves.  Both Geoff and I have realized that we’ve told ourselves stories at certain times in our lives that have been less than helpful, and we’re both working to change them.

The stories we tell ourselves can be conscious or unconscious – sometimes we aren’t even aware of a narrative we’ve been playing out in our lives. Sometimes we’re very aware of the stories we tell ourselves, and know that these are either holding us back or helping us grow. These narratives impact the way we perceive and live our lives.  The stories give us wings, or they weigh us down. What stories do you tell yourself – about you?

This time, Geoff and I explored our understanding of narratives together.  I value my conversations with Geoff because he’s such a smart fellow and I’m always learning from him.  He is authentic ~ and he is rad.

If you have 20 minutes, check out our conversation ~  and I’d love to hear from you.  Have you uncovered any narratives lately in your own life that help you grow or hold you back?  How are you working to change the destructive ones?

With love & sparks,

Solveig

 

sending out a little love

Hello dear ones,

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  Over the past month I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my life coaching certification – and submitting all of my final documents.  In December, I should graduate with my life coaching certification from the International Coach Academy.  

I hope this post finds you well and living life fully.  I hope to start posting more and more resources and other goodness to this site in the near future.  One book that I’m loving these days is a 40 day practice from Gabrielle Bernstein.  The book is called May Cause Miracles, and I definitely recommend it.  

Image

In the book, there are 40 days of practices around growing your gratitude and releasing fear.  I’ve found it to be a brilliant way to start and end each day, and for those of you who are looking for a nice way to be intentional over the next month or so, this might be a good option for you.  

I promise, you’ll be hearing more from me soon.  In the meantime…sending out love and sparks your way.

~Solveig

The Power of Two Letters

source: http://luna---belle.tumblr.com/830

source: http://luna—belle.tumblr.com/830

 

Oh lovelies,

Recently, my friend Geoff Welch of This Tiny Empire and I had a little chat about combining two special letters: N O.

If you’re like me, it can be hard to say them sometimes.  As I mention in the video, I’m a recovering overcommiter. I love saying Y E S!  But sometimes it’s useful to step back and re-evaluate your world, and what and how you’re deciding to show up For those of you who might need a little pep talk, I hope this chat will be useful!

My buddy Geoff has such awesome perspectives and I love getting a chance to bounce around ideas with him.  If you want to check out more of his stuff (which I highly recommend), you can find him at:  This Tiny Empire.

In terms of other resources we mention ~ Geoff talks about the book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen. (I’m halfway through it and it’s pretty dang helpful.)  And I mentioned Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath (a book I’ll probably mention again as it’s super awesome for getting clearer on your own personal strengths).

As always, if you find this helpful and would like to learn more about Sol & Heart Coaching and creating a more vibrant life, message me at solandheart@gmail.com.  I’d love to meet you!

And if you have 20 minutes ~ check out our chat:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU0UL-b0uHQ&feature=youtu.be]

What’s your vibe?

light vibes in writing. photo by me.

light vibes in writing. photo by me.

Hello sweet friends,

Last weekend I turned 34 years old!  I’ve been taking some time to reflect on life and where I’m at, and that can be awesome and scary all at once, right?  I’m pleased to share with you that upon reflection, 33 was a dang good year, and I’m hopeful about this next year of life.

It’s funny, actually, [insert quirky story here] that I was chatting with one of my coaching clients after our session and I shared with her that I’d been excited about turning 33, but I was a little unsure about turning 34.  We got to talking about why, and I told her that for whatever reason, I liked the number 33, so it felt good.  I wasn’t sure about 34.  Then she said, “Well, three plus four equals seven, right?  And seven’s a good number.”  And there it was.  My client helped me reframe my perspective.  Yes, I do like the number seven!  And I’m embracing being a year older and more brilliant!  :)

In this past week of reflection, I’ve been reflecting on what it takes to own one’s strengths, to rock what and who we are and where we’re at, and to love ourselves, regardless of our shortcomings.  As with most people, I’ve got some things I totally dig about myself, and some things I wanna work on…  (We’re all works in progress, I know!)

So, one thing I’ve been thinking on is our own particular presence, our own specific vibe.  I’ve gotten a lot of feedback lately that my vibe includes lightness.  While I joke that positivity is my superpower (Have I told you the story of how I realized that?  Perhaps I should…), sometimes it helps to have people reflect back to you what vibe you’re sending out to the world.  After the fifth person said this in the recent past, I started to listen.  Yeah.  Lightness.  I like that. I’m gonna keep rocking this light, positive vibe…and hope that I can send out some love your way, too.

And I wanna know what your vibe is!  Do you know?  If you’re not sure, I challenge you to ask some people who love you what vibe you send out to the world…is it the vibe you want?  If not, you can change that, my friend.  And if it is the vibe you’re cool with, then I hope you rock that vibe. You are the only one of you, and the world needs your vibe.

xoxo

light & love,

Solveig

Body Warrior

source: http://bestquotesaboutlife.org

source: http://bestquotesaboutlife.org

Hello beautiful friends ~

Recently I’ve noticed a theme in many of my coaching sessions, which sadly does not surprise me, and probably will not surprise you, either.  Many of my clients (men and women) struggle with body image issues.  No matter what shape or size our body is, it seems that so many of us face the feeling of not [__________] enough.  The list is endless: not [tall] enough, not [thin] enough, not [strong] enough, not [curvy] enough, not [fit] enough, not [sexy] enough… You get the point.  Lots of us have this endless self-talk, whether we consider it our inner mean girl, our inner critic, or our inner bully, that tells us we’re not enough.

Some of us have voices that are louder and more persistent than others.  Some of us aren’t aware of the voice subtly degrading us. And a few of us have figured out how to tell that voice to be quiet.   We each have our own ways of navigating life, and our self-talk, but it sure can be rough.

The first thing I want to say about this, is not to be too hard on yourself if you recognize this inner voice.  Look around you.  We are inundated (at least in the U.S.) with messages that tell us, #1: to be discontent ~ to always, always, always want more, better, younger, sexier… And #2: there is a perfect body and it looks like THIS (insert almost every advertisement here…oh, and by the way, I notice you don’t really look like this, but maybe if you buy product X you will, but also even if you do buy it, most people still don’t look like this and surprise! even many people who do look like this have body image issues!)  Did you follow me there?  Point is ~ sooooo many of us have these issues because of (what we call in Communication terms: the generalized other).  This generalized other tells us how we should be, and it tells us what we should be a lot…(a LOT).

If somehow we figure out (usually over time and with support) how to overcome the generalized other, and say, “Hey, generalized other! Eff you ~ I reject you!” we may still have significant others (parents, friends, lovers, siblings, colleagues, or anyone else important to you) who might be reinforcing that message of not [_____] enough, because THEY experience the same issues.  Lovely.  (Note sarcasm.)  So not only must we learn to reject the generalized other, but also we have to reject the perspectives of significant others in our lives who might also (hopefully out of love, even if misplaced because of their own issues) telling us we’re not [________] enough.  This is tough stuff.

In terms of our bodies, and ourselves, I encourage you to focus on your health and wellbeing.  If you give yourself some space and solitude, thank the inner bully for his/her time and tell it to go away for reals, and then gently become present in your precious, unique body. I’m curious, at that time:  Are you feeling vibrant and energized in your body?  Are you feeling passionate and sexy?  (No, not sexy in terms of the generalized other, but in terms of YOU. Are YOU feeling sexy?) Are you feeling healthy and whole?  If you don’t feel these ways, then maybe there’s more space for reflection and possibly a few life changes.  But, if you can be present in your body, and you can answer YES… then ROCK THAT, my friend!

I’m reading a book right now about radical self-acceptance called Beautiful You – a Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance, by Rosie Molinary.  I’ve just started the book, but I wanted to share with you what Molinary calls a Body Warrior Pledge.  I think this can help us to claim our vibrancy, energy, passion, sexuality, health, and wholeness…no matter what size or shape we are.  If you ask me, we are love.  So as loving body warriors, let’s help others to reject their inner critics, and find ways to grow and challenge our own bodies in loving ways.

The Body Warrior Pledge - 

Because I understand that my love and respect for my body are metaphors of my love and respect for my self and my soul, I pledge: 

*To stop berating my body and to begin celebrating the vessel that I have been given. I will remember the amazing things my body has given me: the ability to experience the world with a breadth of senses, the ability to perceive and express love, the ability to comfort and soothe, and the ability to fight, provide, and care for humanity.

*To understand that my body is an opportunity not a scapegoat.

*To be the primary source of my confidence.  I will not rely on others to define my worth.

*To let envy dissipate and allow admiration to be a source of compassion by offering compliments to others.

*To gently but firmly stand up for myself when someone says something harmful. 

*To change the inner monologue in my head to one that sees possibility not problems, potential not shortcomings, blessings not imperfections.

*To give my body the things that it needs to do its work well: plenty of water, ample movement, stretches, rest, and good nutrition, and to limit or eliminate the things that do not nurture my body.

*To see exercise as a way to improve my internal health and strength, instead of a way to fight or control my body. 

*To understand that my weight is not good or bad.  It is just a number, and I am only good.

*To love my body and myself today. I do not have to weigh ten pounds less, have longer hair, or have my degree in my hand to have worth. I have worth just as I am, and I embrace that power.

*To recognize my body’s strengths.

*To no longer put off the things that I wish to experience because I am waiting to do them in a different body.

*To understand that a body, just like a personality, is like a fingerpring: a wonderful embodiment of my uniqueness.

______________________________        ______________

Signature                                                                      Date

Love, love, love ~

Solveig

Resilience

Coffee & my journal = self-care  (photo by Solveig)

Coffee & my journal = self-care (photo by Solveig)

Hello lovelies ~

So recently, something crummy happened to me.  I mean, crummy.  Like, someone did not treat me right.  This person hurt my feelings.  Bad.  I mean, not the worse hurt I’ve ever felt or anything, but it hurt.  No matter how much I try to cultivate kindness in my life and with others, sometimes people are unkind to me.  It doesn’t happen often, and it doesn’t change my belief in the goodness of people, but it does mean that sometimes tough things happen to us, no matter how well we treat others.

Saturday I felt really sad about what happened.  Sad enough to cry about it, and not feel like getting out of bed for a while.  I mean, I felt awful the second I woke up.

Now, I’m not actually writing this post to vent (really) or even to process what happened.  I’m writing it for three reasons:

1.  I don’t want you to think I’m always happy.  Yes, I focus on peace, love, and happiness in my life and in my coaching, but this does not mean that I live some sort of painless, utopian, rosy life in which nothing nothing nothing gets me down.  Crummy things happen to me.  People hurt my feelings.  Sometimes life sucks for a little bit.  I think that for you to know and understand me as a coach, that’s important to share.  I’m definitely not “perfectly happy” all the time, and that wouldn’t be authentic.

2.   I want you to know that I let myself feel sad sometimes. I do focus on the positive generally, and I am mostly a happy person, but sometimes I feel sad or angry.  In this case, I was feeling sad.  I know from research and lived experience that sometimes we need to let ourselves feel sad.  These are the ups and downs of life ~ these are the feelings of contrast.  If we falsely “act” happy when we’re not, or try to cover up sadness or frustration, we are doing just that; covering it up and not dealing with it.  It’s not a healthy choice.  We need to allow ourselves to feel the pain sometimes.  In fact, the pain provides contrast for the goodness.  I wish we could live pain-free lives, but I don’t think that’s real.  The pain helps us learn; the pain helps us grow; the pain provides comparison for us to know the opposite ~ when things are so so so good.

3.  Resilience is what gets me through.  Have you thought much about resiliency?  Resiliency is “bouncing back,” and we can grow our own resiliency in tough situations.  Through my research and study of youth development, resilience is key.  Hopefully, we learn resiliency as a young person.  If we haven’t, it’s something to cultivate as an adult.  Resiliency is knowing that things (though they may suck right now) will get better.  Resiliency is knowing that we can get through the hard times, and that we’ll be stronger afterwards.

 How resilient are you?  What are some ways to grow our resiliency? 

Here are a few ideas:

    • Find and nurture positive relationships.  We all need connection and people to listen or care for us when we need it most. Nurturing positive relationships, and taking care of our loved ones, is a foundation for when we need someone to care for us.
    • Practice self-care.  When you feel awful, think about how you can help yourself.  Self-care, or figuring out how you can best take care of yourself, is huge.  Do you need to go on a walk in nature?  Do you need to cuddle with your pet?  Do you need to get extra rest?  Do you need to go running?  Figure out ways to show love to yourself.
    • Stretch your trust muscles.  Maybe you don’t believe that things will get better…but try.  Tell yourself that things will get better.  Pray, meditate, talk to yourself, and remember that our words have power.  The more you trust and put your energy towards the positive, the more likely things will improve around you.

I hope this helps.  Yesterday, in addition to talking to friends, and talking kindly to myself, I went on a long walk in the woods with my dog, got an iced coffee and read a book in the sunshine, and planted some herbs and flowers near my bedroom window.  All of these things helped me a little bit.  I know I’ll be okay.  And I know you will, too.

With love,

Solveig