How to Step Out of Your Lizard Brain


There is so much pain being expressed in the world. All of the angry words, shouting and demonstrating against something or someone seems to have reached a crescendo.

What is going on? Why have we lost our minds and fallen into terrorist behavior that threatens, bullies and confronts? Look behind any of the #movements and you will discover strong emotions fueling the rocket of change.

A valid question to ask : is the rocket going anywhere? Or is it just an explosion in the cultural mindset that connects people with the same strong emotions?

It feels as if we are more separated, alone in our silos of conviction that we are right and everyone else is wrong.

The logical conclusion to this approach is continued divisiveness, separation and “otherness.” Everyone is a victim of something…and nothing is accomplished. Any changes only come after much angst and energy has been spent, creating a victory but extending the war against “the others.”

There is another way.

The Mindfulness Secret

When you feel yourself being triggered by something you read or heard, take a moment to check into your body. Notice if you are experiencing any of these physical reactions:

  • elevated heartbeat;
  • short, faster breaths; or
  • heat spreading through your body;

Your body is communicating to you that it senses a threat. It could be mental or emotional, but your body has gone into the flight or fight response. Adrenaline is pouring through your veins, making you feel powerful and indestructible.

There is another effect of this survival reaction. Your ability to access the logical and reasoned part of your brain is momentarily disconnected. The oldest part of your brain takes over, the “lizard” brain. Choices made from the lizard brain do not create loving actions or acceptance of others. Instead, the only choices are to fight or flee.

Lizard BrainIn today’s world, the anger, chaos and destruction of meaningful conversations are fueled by the lizard brain.

Mindfulness enters the scene when you recognize that your flight or fight response has been triggered. Instead of giving your lizard brain the controls to the rocket, take a moment to understand what your body is telling you.

How? Step away from the trigger.

If you read something online that made your blood boil, look away and breathe deeply. If it is a person who caused your angst, pretend you just received a text message, look at your phone, and breathe deeply. The point is to momentarily distract yourself to allow time and space for your body’s response to recede.

The second step is to allow these emotions and your physical reaction to lessen BEFORE you share your thoughts, comments or reaction. Sharing words and actions from the lizard brain only adds fuel to the fire.

The third step is to notice the difference it makes when you chose a mindful response. Instead of confrontation, did you see the issue from a new perspective? How did you feel after you hit send? Better or worse?

After being mindful for a few times, notice the consequences to other people. Did your choice to respond and not react impact them? Is there a softening in your relationships that allows for more acceptance of a different viewpoint or opinion? Were you able to find common ground that you could both agree to?

Conclusion

The end result of reaction (from the lizard brain) versus response (from your logical, reasoned mind) are predictable.

  • Lizard Reaction:       You are stupid and wrong if you don’t agree with me.
    • Result:                 Separation, unbending conviction, and damaged relationships
  • Mindful Response:   I see your point and I agree with parts of it.
    • Result:                 Connection, creative solutions, peaceful conversations

The question to ask yourself is this:

“Do I want to be right or at peace?”

Living from your lizard brain is exhausting, debilitating and frustrating. It doesn’t build anyone up – instead, it tears down anyone who disagrees with you. Your lizard brain only wants to be right, and it will go to extremes to prove its rightness. 

The cost is your sense of peace, your security in the world and your well-being.

Cultivate your mindful response muscle and you will be more thoughtful in your interactions. Open minded discussions can be shared, and you will learn something from the other person’s point of view.

Mindful Response

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

 

 

 

 

3 Ways to Increase Your Business Authenticity


Authenticity in Business

Authenticity is one of those buzz words that you may skip over because it’s been so overdone. But that one word captures whether a brand or business is consistently real. When your business is authentic, your true personality shines in your marketing, your business practices and in the response your clients have to interacting with you.

People know when someone is authentic and real, or full of empty promises.

So, how does you become authentic, especially as a solopreneur?  When you show up in your business and let your unique personality inform everything, you naturally attract a tribe who relates to you and who will hang on your every word, ready to purchase your products. Once your audience knows more about you and likes what you represent, they become loyal customers (provided you deliver what you promise).

Let’s check your authenticity levels:

1. Do you prefer to be honest or to spin a story? No one likes to find themselves in the center of a scandal or on the receiving end of a tongue-lashing from an irate customer but your level of honesty will greatly dictate how customers react. If you’re honest about a mistake, customers will likely understand. If you start spinning a story and seem to distance yourself from the problem, they may see you as uncaring and only out to make money. Which is the real you? Let that shine through, even if you have to take a hit because a mistake was your fault.

2. Do you truly care about your audience or do you just want to make a buck? Customers are smart; they will know and will call you out on bad experiences related to your brand. Caring about your customers means you make their buying process as smooth as possible. It also means creating products and service packages that solve their problems. This adds a human (aka authentic) touch to their experience which can lead them to becoming loyal customers.

3. Have you identified your core values and mission statement? Both of these items are important cornerstones to your business. Who do you want to help and how do you plan to do that? What core values are most important to you? How will you express those core values to your clients and customers? Incorporating these values into your business attracts your tribe and contributes to a heartfelt experience.

In the end, authenticity involves being your true self, not developing a persona that you think your ideal clients want to see. You’re not an actor taking on different roles nor are you a politician spinning stories to gain votes. You’re a business owner cultivating a business based on truthfulness and by earning your clients’ trust. The quickest way to do that is to be your authentic self by sharing the good and the bad with your ideal audience.

Rejuvenate Your Mind and Business with My Latest Online Course,

Mindset Reset

Mindset Reset Title Slide

If you’re in a funk with your business and wondering why you’re working so hard when people are ungrateful or not buying, it’s time for a Mindset Reset.

This is my newest 4-lesson online course where you learn to identify everything and everyone that brings you down; count your blessings every day; learn to love the real you and let her shine; and give your business a makeover so you can fall in love with it all over again. Each lesson contains an Action Plan to encourage forward momentum and a Checklist to help keep you organized. I have also created 4 new meditations that are yours to keep and listen to as often as possible!

My new coaching practice is called Empowered Way Coaching.

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If you are a Womanpreneur and you need help with your branding, marketing, pricing or Signature System, then I can help.

Please visit Empowered Way Coaching to schedule a free, 30 minute call with me. Let’s get your business rocking!

When are You a Grown Up?


pexels-photo-556666Milestone birthdays have a way of encouraging reflective thoughts about life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

I have one of these birthdays coming up — the one that marks the beginning of a new decade and the end of the previous one.

“Milestone” sounds like you have a chain around your neck and you have just been thrown off the boat. I prefer to be more playful — such as “this is my year of celebrating __ years of traveling around the sun.”

Now that I am entering a new phase of life, I wonder if I am finally a “grown up.” When I was a kid, I thought all grown ups had the answers to everything. They sure seemed to…

“It’s just the way it is.”

“We’ve always done it that way.”

“No need to fix something that isn’t broken.”

Of course, now that I am older and wiser, these pat sayings are amusing. But to my 8 year old mind, these words were the law, not to be questioned.

In my moments of introspection, I always wondered what it would be like to be on that side of the table. To have all of the answers and speak so confidently.

Now, I know the truth.

When I was a child, I thought like a child. Now, as an adult, hopefully I think like an adult. But am I a grown up?

That question keeps hammering in the back of my mind. Have I reached the age where grown up status is automatically conferred? Or do I have to earn it?

What I do know is that the more times I travel around the sun, the less tolerance I have for other people’s answers. I am on a quest to seek my own answers that resonate, encourage and cultivate my greatest good.

No one has the answer for everyone; they only have the answer that works for them.

How do you find your answers? For me, meditation and mindfulness have paved the way back to myself.

Dipping into that space between thoughts is the only way I have found to love myself. Being aware of my thoughts and my words is the natural offspring of loving myself.

Why not join the 21 Day Heart Dancing Challenge? It will help you establish a daily practice of meditation, journaling and intentional creativity. Who know where that might take you?

Bali Dreams


Bali is a land of contrasts. Chaos and calm. Frantic movement and serenity. Force and surrender.

These are Western observations and determinations. To the Balinese, everything flows and they allow the current of life to carry them forward.

Every morning, a young girl walks through the winding path of the place where we are staying, placing a small flower or fragrant petal on certain spots. The statutes are lovingly decorated. Color lines the walkways like a jeweled necklace. When I renter my room after breakfast, petals are on the bed, dresser and shelf above the sink.

This ritual is not because we are tourists. It is part of their religion to give thanks for the new day, in as beautiful way as possible.

I think that is why people are drawn to Bali. It is a reminder that we are spiritual beings first, then human. When the spiritual side of our nature is cultivated, recognized and thanked profusely, the human side shows up in the world fueled by compassion, love and gratitude.

Bali is a dream for many, but you can carry the beauty of Bali with you without ever having to breath the air. Spend daily time in meditation, mindfulness and intentionality and you will find your Bali.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Time Travel


Time has always fascinated me. Although time seems to be real and can be measured, why do we experience it differently?

Imagine sitting in a dark movie theater watching a movie. You are totally immersed in the drama playing on the big screen. You are entranced, oblivious to anything that is going on around you.

When your friend nudges you to let you know that she is going to the bathroom, it takes you a minute to connect with what she is saying. You don’t even notice when she returns!

Afterward, you can’t stop talking about the movie. The action, the tension, the action. Your friend can’t believe that you loved it that much. She was totally bored, tired of the noise and couldn’t wait to leave.

You each experienced the same event in completely different ways. And those differences affected how time felt as you moved through your experience.

For you,  time was suspended because you experienced the movie as if you were part of it. For your friend, time was a snail, slowing dragging its way across hot concrete, leaving a slimy trail of inevitability.

You Can Control Time

Time begins and ends with you. As your thoughts and moods shift and change, time is stretched or shortened to match your internal state. It’s almost as if time is Saran Wrap, encasing you as you move through the moments of your life.

Try this experiment. Before you leave for your next appointment, errand or delivery, take a moment to sit quietly and breathe deeply. As you feel your body calm, tell yourself that “I have all the time in the world.” Repeat this phrase several times and then go on about your day. When you feel anxious about not having enough time, use the phrase while taking deep breaths. Then notice if your experience of time changes.

Time is Your Friend or Your Enemy

As you begin to see that it is your decision about how you are going to experience time that molds it, you can get more creative. Deciding that time is your friend and it supports you will produce a much different experience than deciding that time is your enemy and is out to destroy you.

It always come back to you. And your choice.

old people and love

Experiment with these concepts and become an observer of your experiences. When you begin to see this process, you can change those steps that no longer support you.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Start with Yourself


nicolas-tissot-435976

There are absolute truths about the human experience that never change, no matter what century you live in or what culture. These truths are immutable, immeasurable and impossible to ignore.

One of these truths is that to change the world, you must first change yourself.

In the Crypts of that grand cathedral known as Westminster Abbey, on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop inscribed in 1100 A.D., are these words:

When I was young and free and my imagination

had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.

As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world

would not change, so I shortened my sights some

what and decided to change only my country.

But it too seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, In one last desperate

attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those

closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my death bed, I suddenly realize:

If I had only changed myself first, then by example I

would have changed my family.

From their inspiration and encouragement, I would

then have been able to better my country and, who

knows, I may have even changed the world.

Don’t wait for the last moments of your life to know this truth. You can make a difference right now, in the very moment. Decide to change yourself and you will change the world.

Start with yourself.

What wild and crazy thing is calling to you? To go surf in Hawaii? To run the Paris Marathon? To climb a mountain?

Whatever it is, culture will try to stop you. The rules of the world seem to quash the very thing that makes us human — our spirit. Don’t let it quash you.

If your first thought is to denigrate yourself or your abilities, that is culture talking. You will not live your wild, best life listening to culture.

Just remember, that thing that is calling you…is pointing directly at you and saying, “It’s time. Walk away. Come play with me. You’ll see.”

That thing calling you defies reason and logic (more culture speak). It defines your deepest yearning, that person you were meant to be.

Start with yourself and you will discover that impossible truth that we must all face at some point in our lives. You are here for a reason and only you can express it to the world.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance.

Moment by Moment


christian-holzinger-433986“Welcome to another moment in life.”

The rustic sign hung a bit crooked on the cracked wall, having seen many years of wind, rain, and sun as it faced the ocean. The outdoor restaurant in Key West was also weather-worn, much like its regular customers.

I sat by myself at a table facing that same body of water, not as sculpted by the elements as I was beaten down by myself.

I was taking a holiday to get away from the muddle I had made of my life. Only to discover that it still lived inside my head, playing over and over again in full technicolor.

A young man with a messy man bun walked up to me, casually holding a pen and a pad to take my order. At first, I didn’t see him, because the view of the beach, palm trees, and the ocean had entranced my attention. It was only after he said, “Ready to order?” that I turned toward him.

“Oh hi!” I said, brightly. My life had fallen apart, and I was still trying to look put together. “I’ll take the shrimp tacos and iced tea.”

He nodded and started to walk away. That’s when I noticed the other signs that hung over the bar, the doors and any spare space on the walls.

“Be who you are. Everyone else is taken.”

“Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day.”

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult; we just need to remember to do it.”

I stood up abruptly, motioning the waiter to come back over to my table. “What is the name of this place again?”

He looked at me a bit warily and pointed to the large sign over the bar. “Now and Zen,” it said in large, simple script.

I nodded and sat back down, remembering why I had come to this island at the southernmost tip of the United States. It was to rediscover who I was before I became who the world told me to be. And coming to the Now and Zen restaurant was the starting point back to myself.

“Is Henry here?” I called to the retreating back of my server. He glanced over his shoulder and pointed to the kitchen.

Suddenly, a face appeared in the small opening between the kitchen and the restaurant. A muffled yell and then…Henry burst forth like a comet, tail blazing with light.

I was enveloped in Henry’s arms, the hug so tight that the air burst out of my lungs. I hugged him back, laughing at his exuberance. He rocked me back and forth, saying over and over, “Oh Mia, Mia! I am so glad you’re here!”

The sadness that I carried with me like an extra layer of clothing disappeared in that embrace. I let myself go and absorbed his love, knowing that it would fill me up like nothing else. My healing began in those few moments of complete acceptance.

Finally, we pulled apart.

Henry looked deeply into my eyes, touching my soul. My initial reaction was to break the contact, but I forced myself to stay still as he took his assessment of my emotional and spiritual condition. Much like a doctor takes the pulse and listens to her patient’s heartbeat, Henry was taking my spiritual pulse.

He pulled me into another embrace and whispered in my ear, “I have to keep cooking, but let’s talk later.” He hugged me one more time, kissed my forehead and went back into the kitchen.

Sometime later, Henry sat down at my table, bits of food stain on his shirt and shorts. His weathered face showed his age, but not his eyes. Deep blue with a calm, penetrating gaze, Henry could look deeply into another person’s eyes and touch their soul.

He reached across the table and grabbed my hands, smiling as he squeezed them affectionately. His low, gravely voice hummed a sea-faring tune that was calming and poetic at the same time. He waited for me to begin speaking, silently granting permission and creating the safe space for me to become vulnerable.

I took a deep breath and nodded, looking down at our hands. His, dark brown and worn; mine, lily white from lack of sun.

“I couldn’t help her,” I whispered. The shame and pain of helplessness overcame me, and I began sobbing quietly. Henry moved his chair around to sit next to me, holding me in his arms as I grieved.

When my crying jag was finished, I looked up and understood why I came. My mother’s only brother was the one person who would know why I was punishing myself about her last days.

Henry smiled gently and handed me a napkin. As I cleaned up my face, he spoke softly. “You loved her to the end, Mia. She crossed over knowing that you loved her.”

I nodded miserably, but the shame of old grievances was still there. As I took a breath and looked out to sea, I realized that only I could release this shame that threatened to engulf me.

“I should have been there sooner,” I offered as proof of my guilt.

Henry shook his head. He sat up straighter in his chair and looked at me directly, all comfort and care transformed into a laser focus. He wanted me to hear his next words, and his body language was like a neon sign, pointing to this moment.

“Close your eyes and take a deep breath.”

I did as I was told and waited. After a few deep, calming breaths, Henry continued.

“You are here, right now, searching for answers to a question that has no answer.” His voice was soft but insistent. “Regret keeps you locked in the past. Let it go now.”

I nodded and took another deep breath. I could feel the tension leave my body and I smiled at the relief found in the release. A spark of hope became a flame as I breathed in the salty air, held it and then released it in time with the ocean’s pulse.

We sat that way for several minutes. The ocean was soothing, the breeze cooling and I was loosening. All because I trusted Henry and allowed him to open a space for my healing.

Suddenly, I felt another presence near me. My eyes and mouth flew open at the sight of a seagull perched on the railing, about 2 feet from our table. The bird was staring intently at me, while it fluffed its wings and settled more firmly on the wooden perch.

Henry laughed and nodded. “That’s how you know you released something,” he said with a slight tease in his tone.

I glanced at him but kept my attention focused on the bird. It was still staring at me. It was a bit unnerving.

He added slyly, “When a bird comes to visit at just the right moment, you know it means more than it seems.”

This time, I looked at him directly. “You mean…?”

He nodded. “That’s a sign from your mom that she’s O.K. She’s telling you to stop punishing yourself and accept what happened. It was all in divine order.”

As the words fell from his lips and the meaning entered my consciousness, the seagull stretched its wings, preparing to fly. But just before it lifted off, it did something astonishing. It winked…at me!

“Did you see that?” I exclaimed with wonder in my voice. I could almost hear my mother laughing with me. I stood up and raised my arms wide, receiving the gift she had just given me.

The sun warmed my face and arms as I said, “Thank you!”

Henry grinned and joined me in the celebration. His arm hung around my waist as his other arm raised up. Together, we stood in open gratitude.

He turned and smiled into my shining eyes. His next words were simple, yet profound.

“Welcome to another moment of life!”