got my life coaching certification! plus, how to notice thought patterns.

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Today is a happy day!  I received my life coaching certificate after having completed a training program offered by the Coaching Excellence Institute.  In addition to life coaching, I’ve been trained in facilitating the Lefkoe Method.  Plus, I facilitate The Work (of Byron Katie).  The former is more about goal achievement in every area of life, and the latter two are more about emotional healing.  And they are all interrelated.  I want to do these things for a living, helping people become more fulfilled, happy, healed, getting what they want, and feeling good about life.

My independent study of how the brain works has been going well, too.  I’ve learned a ton in just the past few months.  This stuff inspires me – this is one of my true passions.  That’s why I’m so giddy about this certification.

Random side note: if you are not already aware… you can follow my posts on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/questionedmind

and/or on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/questioned_mind

Today’s topic: thought locations and triggers.

Have you ever noticed yourself having the same exact thought, or types of thoughts, whenever you do the same thing or you’re in the same place?  I’ve noticed this a lot.

A while back I started noticing that most of my negative thoughts about the other people in my life would occur when I was in the kitchen.  I’ve lived in several apartments, and it was the same in each apartment – always the kitchen.  I’m not sure why this is or what Freud would have to say about it.  Now, the kitchen is where I display most of my words of affirmation and truth.  The kitchen is now a happier place.

There was this song I had memorized on piano, and every time I got to a certain point in the song, I would (seemingly) randomly remember the same person – someone I hadn’t even talked to in years.  Again, I don’t know what’s up with that.  The mind would just repeat itself.

Lastly, I come up with most of my blog post ideas when I’m walking around outdoors, which is a daily ritual that I do first thing in the morning.  Walking gets my brain moving creatively.  It’s almost as if my brain recognizes that I’m doing something that’s good for me and that I enjoy, so it rewards me with creative fuel.  Sometimes I’ll be walking around a store and I pause, pull up Evernote on my phone, and write large portions of what will become a blog post.  It’s almost always induced by walking.

So why am I talking about this?  It’s just a noticing exercise.  Take notice of what thoughts and feelings you’re having, and especially WHERE and WHEN you’re having them, and WHAT you’re doing.  See if you can notice any patterns.  Awareness is the beginning of transformation.  Can’t hear yourself think?  Try turning off the music or background noise, or moving to a quieter location.  Noticing thoughts is very much a hearing exercise – hearing your own voice in your mind’s ear.

If you find yourself having some really similar, negative thoughts or feelings, one of the best things you can do is go somewhere new or make some kind of a change.  An easy way is to just walk around somewhere you’ve never been – tons of new thoughts will come up.  This could potentially help you out of a rut, or an unwanted state of mind, or other problems caused by having the mind on a loop.  Take it off the loop by switching things up.  Rearrange furniture, clear some clutter, get rid of some objects that trigger emotions you don’t want.  This often has a snowball effect… once you get momentum on making one positive change, it’s more likely that you’ll change another.

Love,
Kate

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lessons I learned during separation, leading to divorce

Today I want to share something that I posted on my personal Facebook page earlier this week, because it seemed to resonate with a lot of people.

To give some background – my husband and I separated last year, and are now divorcing. A couple of weeks prior to the post I’m about to share, I had announced on Facebook that I was going through a difficult time, and why. Some people didn’t know about the divorce or separation, because I had never made it known publicly. I received an outpouring of support from people, which was really touching. I also felt that finally talking about it helped me move forward. I am no longer living in denial of the situation, and making a public announcement turned out to be important. By speaking my reality and not just living it, I felt better about it.

My follow-up post went as follows:

My separation and divorce have been a shock to the system that lasts for months until I’m not sure how long. Difficult, yes. Impossible, no.

The shock dies down a little more every day, and even though it spikes sometimes, the overall trend is progress. In many ways, the new reality is more beautiful than it was. I learned so many things and grew in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

First, I learned more about what I’m capable of. If I can get through this, what else am I capable of getting through? A lot of the time I feel unstoppable, and this momentum has carried over into other areas of my life that needed attention.

I learned that extended periods of alone time can lead to tremendous creativity, growth, and healing. I started a weekly blog with the mission to help people feel better, stretched myself by performing improv, went to therapy for a few months, started a daily video journal (I talk to a camera about my life, and only I see it), worked on myself a lot otherwise, and have been really focused on what I want to do in life – what kind of person I want to be.

I want to be a person who writes like this every now and then. 🙂

I learned that it’s possible to keep someone in your heart, but not necessarily as an active participant in your life (paraphrased from a quote I saw but now rings extremely true, where it wouldn’t have before). To love someone AND not want to see them in person, because you need to move in a different direction. There’s no contradiction there.

I knew it before, but now understand more fully about how life circumstances truly shape people, because I have a different awareness because of this.

I also now understand why people have exclusive groups for their specific issues, even though they have many friends and allies. Support of any kind is great, but to interact with someone who has been through something extremely similar? There’s nothing like it. One of the silver linings of traumatic experiences is that it can bring people together in that way. It also makes us more compassionate toward others in general.

I learned that success is whatever I define it as. To me, it was a successful marriage because it lasted exactly as long as it should have (as does everything else in life). So the word success bears no real meaning, outside of a prediction or hope coming true. From now on, my success is defined by my intentions… and my intentions are not predictions. It’s stuff that I do because it feels right. Being right with myself = success.

Last but certainly not least, I learned that it’s okay and even welcomed to express vulnerability in a semi-public place like Facebook. Thank you to all who support others, especially when they are being genuine and vulnerable. You are awesome, and you make the world better.

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don’t always ask permission (aka the value of solo projects)

How many of your current activities require other people’s permission to do?

Some things that require permission include:

  • Working for someone else.  You have to pass the interview process first, as well as adhere to whatever expectations the employer has to keep the position, including your physical appearance in some cases.
  • Getting a friend or significant other to join you for an activity.
  • Making or keeping an appointment with anyone else.
  • Dating.  First you each have to be attracted to each other, then one of you has to ask the other out, then you have to agree to relationship rules.  Lots of planning and meeting of expectations.
  • Being accepted into a school/internship/band/club/team or anything else that requires an admission or audition process.  Just like working for someone else, there are rules you must adhere to in order to both become and remain a part of it.
  • Sharing a home with others.  There are certain things you must ask permission to do, out of respect for others in the household.
  • Co-owning anything with other people.
  • Being financially dependent on someone else, outside of the context of a job.  You would have to ask permission to receive more money or possibly to use it in certain ways.
  • Being in any kind of business partnership.

Can you think of any others to add to the list?

None of these things are bad.  I’m just pointing out that every single one of them involves asking permission or adhering to the expectations of others.  For many of us, these activities take up a significant portion of our time.

It’s worth examining.  Things that require permission can lead to disappointment – if we expect the other people involved to agree to something and they don’t do it.  Say you want to go to a concert, but none of your friends want to go.  Does that mean you stay home and miss out on the concert?  (This happened to me recently.  I went by myself and had a blast.)

I’m also reminded of how my daily walks started several years ago.  I used to want my former husband to go with me on every walk I took, because I liked using it as together time.  He wanted to go sometimes; other times he didn’t.  I used to get really frustrated during the times that he didn’t want to go with me.  I would sit home and be mad that I wasn’t walking.  It didn’t even occur to me that I could go alone.  Eventually I noticed how silly I was being, and started taking some of the walks by myself.  Wouldn’t you know, I discovered that I enjoyed it just as much as when my husband was with me.

I encourage you to allot some time in your life to do something, or many things, that require zero permission from anyone else.  This is for the sake of feeling more powerful, and, in many cases, more creative.  An activity that you can truly own, no matter what anyone else is doing.  Some of these things require an entry fee, but no permission otherwise.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Take a course or class in a subject that fascinates you – one that is not pass/fail and only requires participation.  Great way to interact with others without the pressure of asking permission.
  • Do something alone outside of the home that you would normally only think to do with other people – concert, movie, dinner, theater, travel, etc.
  • Join an event that would happen even if you didn’t show up.  Meetup.com is good for this.
  • Meditate or other spiritual practice.
  • Write (journal, blog, poetry, screenplay, novel, non-fiction, etc)
  • Read.
  • Exercise.
  • Listen to music.
  • Practice an instrument.
  • Start a business that you can run completely on your own (aka being a solopreneur).
  • Tinker or make something with your hands.
  • Create a physical space that is only yours, and decorate it however you please.
  • Start a video journal in addition to, or instead of,  a written journal.  (I did!  It’s now an important part of my life.)
  • Don’t always wait to get invited to parties or get-togethers; host them yourself and invite people.
  • Create a group activity you want to participate in, and be the one who holds auditions (if an audition is required).

There are infinite possibilities of permission-less activities you might enjoy.  Just make sure you’re making some time to do some things that you really want to do.  Living in constant adherence to others’ expectations and rules can suck the life out of you, and you deserve some time to do things your way.

I’ve found that I feel very powerful when I’m immersed in one of my solo projects, such as composing this blog.  Questioned Mind required no one’s permission to launch or continue.  That’s what is so liberating about it.  I paid an admission fee for the URL, and that’s it.  Having several endeavors that I can do alone, whenever I feel like it, has made me feel much more powerful and creative.

What’s something you’re interested in doing that requires no permission?  Have you done it yet, or do you want to make more time for it?  Are there any things that you would be nervous to do alone, but feel that you could do alone anyway?

I hope this was helpful, and thanks for reading!

<3 Kate

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