Time for a Life Audit

If you’ve followed me for even a brief amount of time you’ve likely heard one of my favorite quotes from Jim Rohn that states, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

 

This has been one of the most impactful quotes of my life. It’s one of the reasons why I think it’s crucial to take regular inventory of who I’m spending the majority of my time with and evaluating what I am listening to when I am alone.

 

Am I consuming the news which is geared to keep me in a state of fear at all times all in the name of good ratings? Or am I listening to powerful podcasts and reading powerful books?

 

One of the most important places to audit is the thoughts in your brain. If you are finding that you are not creating your desired life, you are holding onto a lie (or many.)

 

Ask yourself: am I listening to the part of my brain that is wired for survival and trying to convince me that I need to do everything I can to keep myself safe even if it means holing up in my house watching Netflix while eating ice cream for days straight? Or am I directing my brain and talking to myself more than I am listening and intentionally believing what I want to believe for my future and the world?

 

Look at your conversations with others to reveal what you currently believe. The conversations you participate in uncover the beliefs that have been driving you.

 

It becomes very clear as to what we have been focusing on by taking a look at our results. So after taking inventory ask yourself: what can I eliminate and what can I introduce to support the life I want to create?

 

Nothing is more valuable than this audit exercise to design a life that you love, one in which you are achieving your goals, and thoroughly enjoying your time here on earth.

 

I am about to do another audit and I invite you to do the same. Want more support? Sign up for a complimentary discovery session at: https://calendly.com/bestversion76/60min.

Living like your Body is an Ornament vs. Instrument

 

 

I was listening to the Compared to Who podcast the other day and Heather Creekmore posed a question that made my mind explode.  The question was: are you living from the perspective that your body is an ornament or an instrument? For so many years, before coaching, I had focused on living my life as an ornament. And for years, focusing on my physique and appearance was my default setting.  It was my escape to check out in times of discomfort. 

 

If you looked at my life 5 or so years ago, anytime the going got tough you could find me turning inward to find out how I could look better.  This was always proceeded by turning outward to find the perfect diet or workout plan. This habit did, in fact, dull my feelings temporarily.  However, as we all know, we can always find something to improve appearance-wise which makes this a perpetual, self-defeating process.

 

When I heard this ornament vs. instrument question a month or so ago, it basically summed up how I’ve been feeling in recent years. I had known that I no longer wanted to focus on being an ornament. This question clarified who I had chosen to be for myself and the world. It was a question that defined a period of time in my life. The era of being an ornament had ended and the era of being an instrument began 5 years ago. I am so grateful, thank you, Heather Creekmore, for this clarification. 

 

My purpose here is to help moms lose internal and external weight so that they can be the very best instruments in their life. The journey I provide my clients, which fulfills this goal, is the most exhilarating, life-changing experience. It is the journey I went on that began the quest to be the best instrument in my life. And I, along with several of my clients, can attest that nothing is more exciting.

 

There is a version of yourself that is waiting to be discovered.  Let’s go find her together. Book a complimentary discovery session by clicking this link: https://calendly.com/bestversion76/60min.

This is the Reason Behind Everything

I don’t know about you, but when I was younger I was told, “I’m going to give you something to cry about” if my parent(s) didn’t want to deal with me crying.

 

For so many years, “feelings” and “emotions” have been dismissed and even looked down upon. Expressing our feelings has been regarded as a weakness and out of control. So much so that many of us will go to any length to avoid them. There are a plethora of ways we avoid feeling. Some of our favorites seem to be: food, alcohol, shopping, and social media.

 

There are many tragedies that come from being a society that has believed this about feelings for such a long time. Firstly, we have become a population of people who turn to quick fixes to eliminate any uncomfortable feeling, which has led to an inconceivable amount of addictions. Secondly, the more we numb out, the more we disconnect from ourselves which also prevents us from being able to form genuine connections with others.

 

I started numbing out with food and dieting at 10 years old. And it has taken me years to realize that feelings are a gift. Feelings are our inner GPS. They are the only reason we choose to do certain things and avoid doing other things.

 

Want to lose weight? It’s because of how you think it will make you feel once you hit goal weight. Want to get that raise? It’s because of what you are telling yourself you will feel once you get that raise.

 

Want to switch careers or move to a new place but haven’t yet? It’s because you are afraid of the feeling that might come as a result of doing either.

 

Want to know the best news about feelings? A feeling is created by a sentence in your brain and is never dependant on any situation. You can feel anything you want without changing a thing. That is pretty magical.

 

Also, once we know that we can handle any feeling, our confidence increases 100 fold.

 

Join me on the journey to befriending our feelings. For so long I would do anything to avoid them until I realized that by getting to know my feelings, I would discover the key to achieving anything I want in life. And that my friends, is the least bit weak and insignificant.

A Life by Design

 

So many of us, myself included feel overwhelmed by our to-do lists. We run around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to check off all of the items, only to end up burnt out and ready to escape each evening. And if you are anything like me, you have all of the cravings for the sweets and snacks in the evening as a way to temporarily numb constantly ‘feeling inadequate.’ Ultimately, this renders us unable to be present for the most important things.

 

But the truth of the matter is that we don’t “have” to do anything in life. One practice I like to do on occasion is to take everything off my calendar and re-decide which activities and commitments I want to intentionally keep.

 

We get to create the lives we want. And by re-deciding at regular intervals whether or not it’s something that lights our fire or something we genuinely want to be a part of, we get to create a life by design instead of life by default.

The Only Reason Why You Feel the Way You Do

 

What are you blaming in your life for feeling the way you do? What have you been telling yourself is creating your frustration, overwhelm and stress? The pandemic? Your kids? your job? Your weight? Your in laws?

 

This is one of the biggest lies we continue to believe. For years I thought the reason I felt defeated, stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated was because of current events, people or conditions in my life. And for years, because of this, I had no power to change how I felt.

 

In essence, if the people and events in your life are making you feel a certain way, you have absolutely no agency or power to change how you feel. But thankfully, this is the great lie. One that you don’t have to buy into any longer.

 

Guess what is causing EVERY SINGLE FEELING that comes up in your life? A sentence in your brain.

 

And this is the BEST NEWS EVER. We can always change the sentences in our brains. We can’t on the other hand change the people, places and things around us.

 

So, I will leave you with a couple of questions: what are the main feelings you’ve been experiencing lately? And why have you been feeling this way? And the answer to the this, my friends, is the sentence responsible for your feeling.

The Secret to Losing Weight

 

Over the past couple of years I have discovered the number one secret to losing weight.

 

Ready for it?

 

It is: to embody the loving scientist, abandon your inner judge and cultivate an inner cheerleader.

 

We are wired to judge ourselves, others and our circumstances as a way to survive. This was great during the times of the saber tooth tiger, but isn’t useful and often becomes our biggest obstacle when trying to lose weight nowadays.

 

Many of my clients, myself included, have embodied the judge while trying to lose weight. But the judge informs us of all the things we aren’t doing right and that it would be more beneficial to stop trying all together. This is why most people give up on their goals. Their inner judge convinces them to quit.

 

So, you ask, what is this “loving scientist” way? The loving scientist approach is consciously deciding to abandon your inner judge. Notice it and redirect. The loving scientist takes a look at your journey periodically and asks: what went well? What didn’t work so well? And what could I do differently? The loving scientist makes adjustments as needed to figure out what works best.

 

The next equally important step: cultivate an inner cheerleader. What does this mean? Celebrate the heck out of your wins.

 

What are your wins? Anything that you want to keep repeating that is instrumental to weight loss success. Celebrate them by cultivating a narrative that makes you the hero and the badass of the journey. If you aren’t making your brain excited about your wins it’s going to want to stop all together or pursue a quick hit of dopamine in the form of your favorite food.

 

I can promise that you will see amazing results by implementing this one strategy.

 

 

 

Stop living out the lie

What you tell yourself everyday will lift you up or tear you down. choose wisely..png

     Our entire life we are conditioned to look forward to the next approaching event or milestone, and if you are like most of us, when you get there it’s not quite as magical as anticipated.  Inevitably, an emotion comes up that does not fit into the box that we have created that we “should” feel once we get there.  Whether it be getting our drivers license, graduating from college, getting married, having kids or buying or first house, we are left wanting and hoping that the next milestone will bring us the bliss and fabulous feeling we have been searching for.  We are chasing milestones our entire life,  all in the pursuit of this elusive “happiness.”  As we chase these milestones we completely miss out on all of the moments that make up the “now” of each and every day.

 

     We aren’t taught that what it boils down to is that we are chasing a feeling, a feeling that we could have right now.  So, we often miss out on experiencing the journey and all of the other emotions along the way because we are looking for that special feeling.  Most of us aren’t taught that part of life is supposed to be challenging and part of life is supposed to be amazing.  More importantly, we aren’t taught how to handle all of the amazing and challenging feelings that come up along the way.

 

     We continue to chase the amazing moments, thinking by doing so we can eliminate the tough moments and we end up missing out on our lives. We aren’t taught that if we can learn to allow those lower emotions like pain, disappointment or fear, that we can fully experience the higher emotions, like joy and love.  We are conditioned to believe that life is supposed to be a certain way and if it doesn’t look mostly positive, we resist it all. So, instead of embracing and allowing it all, we choose to numb ourselves by overdoing shopping, food, alcohol, Netflix, dependency on others and the list goes on.

 

     So many of us stop getting excited about our lives and wonder why.  The issue is that when we try to numb the lower emotions, we inevitably numb out the positive emotions as well.

 

     We can, however, stop this pursuit and truly experience our lives if we accept the reality that there is no better place than right now.   Just like the present, the future will have both negative and positive emotions also, and to experience all of it, instead of trying to eliminate the negative, is to fully embrace the human experience in all of its depth.

 

     What if we could teach our kids this concept?  Could we change the course of our numbed out culture and create a world where we want to soak up every moment, the good and the bad that the present moment has to offer?   A culture where we could create genuine connection with one another instead of wanting to reach for out next hit of dopamine from social media, wine, shopping, food or overworking.

 

     The bottom line is that we are teaching our children, and living by this universally accepted fallacy, that our lives should be amazing most of the time.  And, because they aren’t ever that way and we are never taught how to manage our minds and emotions, we try to outrun them and chase the next milestone that we are convinced will bring us the 100% amazing and happy life.  The majority of us are living by this incorrect idea and miss much of our lives entirely.

 

     How do we know our lives aren’t meant to be amazing ALL of the time?   Because they aren’t.  There is loss and evil that we would never choose to see as a positive thing and without the contrast of the undesirable experiences and lower emotions, we would not be able to realize the amazing ones.  Life becomes a lot more tolerable when we embrace the notion that part of life is negative and part of life is positive .  We actually become more positive about life when we accept this idea instead of resisting it and believing  that it’s all supposed to be awesome.

 

     I lived the first 36 years of my life chasing the desired emotions and rejecting the negative ones.  I moved from one milestone to the other until I chose to adopt this 50/50 philosophy and embrace the journey and all it has to offer.   I have never felt so fully in my life and this has honestly changed how I experience each and every day.   I feel the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows and everything in between these days.  I am uncomfortable half of the time and I make it a practice of allowing for that daily.  I am not a victim of what is going on around me, I get to choose what I want to feel based on the thoughts I have about the situations in my life.  Do I choose to be sad about the wars, starving children and homeless people?  Absolutely.  I’m just not at the effect of my emotions anymore.  I don’t resist them, I choose and allow them.

 

     If I could give you any take away from my experience, it would be stop chasing the elusive carrots of happiness and embrace the full spectrum of feelings that come up every day.  Stop and appreciate what’s in front of you, allow for all of the low and high emotions  that come up.   I can pretty much guarantee you that your brain will keep telling you that life should be better and it will want you to numb out with your preferred escape.  That my friends is exactly how this will show up and reveal to you that your mind is wanting to drift to something in the future and search for a brighter moment.  Just remember, there are no brighter moments than the present one. Notice the urges that nudge you to escape your current feeling.  Allow all of it.  This, without a doubt,  is one of the keys to the kingdom.

How will you embrace all of your moments and ALL of the emotions that your thoughts create along the way?  The answer to this is your prescription for a life well-lived.

You are NOT a good parent

     For just a minute I would like you to pause and come up with your definition of a “good mom” or a “good dad.”  If you are like the majority of us, you will come up with a plethora of things that you think qualify someone or yourself to be a good parent. These things might include but are not limited to: patience, a sense of humor, modeling kindness, love, integrity, being present and engaged, balance, wisdom, being a good example as a spouse, helping them to be the best version of themselves and the list goes on. 

     All of these are noble characteristics to possess without a doubt.  However, I have come to the conclusion that the said list of qualities that a “good parent” should possess leave most of us feeling less than and falling short.   Because let’s be honest, if we truly believe that a good parent must embody patience and we lose our patience even every other day, we no longer make the cut.  If we believe that a good mom or dad should be present and engaged then when we aren’t that way we fall short once again. Ultimately, this leaves us chasing an unattainable carrot and the side effects are disappointment in ourselves, frustration and anger for not living up to this ideal.  And what do most of us do when we are confronted with these lower emotions? Of course this does not include everyone, but most of us would rather escape and numb these feelings.  So we distract ourselves by binge watching Netflix, overdrinking, overeating, overspending, over doing social media and the list goes on.  The inevitable result of this is a parent who is less present and engaged and left frustrated by their actions  because they can never fully embody that “good parent” definition that they hold in their mind.  This takes us further away from what we truly want to be as parents.  

     So, the question is; how can we be more present and give the very best to our kids?  I would like you to consider this belief for a moment, because I believe this is one of the best answers to this question.    What if you were to believe that you would be a good parent if all that you ever did was love your child?  No more and no less.  I can hear some of you already thinking and saying that this would not work because a good parent must do and be more than just a person loving their child.  I have also questioned whether or not buying into this belief would make me  more complacent as a parent and therefore not  as motivated to strive for those noble qualities.  However, deep down, I know the very opposite to be true.  

I know that if I truly believe that I am a good mom based on the only requirement that  I love my kiddos, I will come from a place of abundance.  I will always want to be the very best version of myself for my family because I absolutely know I will always love my kids with my whole heart until the day I die.  Without even trying, I meet the requirement.  I will enjoy those relationships more because everything above and beyond loving my child is icing on the cake and it becomes so much more enjoyable from that perspective.

    Do me a favor and try on this belief for a spell.  Put down the rest of the expectations you’ve had about what you must do, and be, to be a good parent, unless they are serving you in making you a better parent.  I know they have never truly served me in that endeavor.  

     So if you are reading this, I don’t believe you are a good parent, at all.  I would put money on you being an AMAZING parent because I have NO doubt that you adore your babies.

PS.  Mom and Dad- thank you for being incredible parents.  Peggy and Steve- thank you for being incredible step parents.   I love you all to the moon and back. I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as you're living my baby you'll be.

Are you buying into beliefs that serve you?

ourwillingnesstobepresentwithdiscomfortistheultimatetickettoourwellbeing.brookecastillo

I’m so sorry for your loss.  Everything happens the way it’s meant to.  These, among others, are a couple of comments we have all heard along the way from well intended family and friends after we have experienced a loss.  Although we know it is well intended, these words don’t feel right coming in or going out.  Nothing can match the grief that we feel with any great loss or huge change in life.

So, if there are really no words to say at these difficult times in life, what are we to do?  I have been contemplating this question a lot lately.  How can we be there for our friends, family and ourselves more deeply and effectively?

This has made me think about how conditioned our culture is to believe we should all be happy 100% of the time.  I think it’s because of this underlying societal belief that we are so quick to want to get out of our own pain and rush our friends and family out of their own discomfort.

So, we offer words that come from a place of discomfort not wanting to see the person suffer and struggle.  As individuals, we reach for numbing agents to get rid of the discomfort.  These include but are not limited to:  over doing anything,  including keeping ourselves too busy, alcohol, eating, Netflix and social media.  In an attempt to get rid of the pain and discomfort, we drown ourselves temporarily with these artificial pleasures.  The issue comes when these buried feelings come up again and we keep numbing them out instead of feeling them.  Because we are all so convinced we should be happy and comfortable all of the time, we don’t allow the lower emotions that make up the entire human experience.  The result of this is that we get into serious debt, become overweight and unhealthy, become detached from our relationships, alcoholicism and the list goes on.

I have experienced this on a personal level a lot throughout my life.  I have been sold on this concept that we are supposed to be happy all of the time.  And because of this, I have been unable to be with friends who were really struggling, without trying to fix them or make them happy, leading to a shallower, less fulfilling relationship.  I have also numbed myself with being overly busy, social media. chasing the illusive perfect physique and overindulging in sugar along the way and this has taken me away from who I truly want to be and what I want to stand for.

What if I were to look at my life as a journey that is supposed to be part happy and part crappy and I accepted both fully?  Striving for joy and happiness in our lives is important and something we should all do, but at the same time it’s equally important to realize and accept that there will be moments of discomfort that require our ability to process the lower emotions.  If I fully acknowledge this ahead of time I will be better equipped to handle them when they arrive.  I wouldn’t have to self medicate when anger or sadness came to visit, because I would be expecting them to come along at some point, embracing the full spectrum of human emotions.

This is something I have been working on a lot for the past year or so.  I have realized I don’t want to be happy all of the time.  When I see suffering, I want to choose to be sad.  When my friends parent passes away, I want to hold the space for them and their grief.  I don’t want to rush myself or anyone out of these emotions, I want to allow them fully.

Embracing the idea that I am supposed to be happy all of the time has had way too many negative consequences in my life and I refuse to keep buying into this notion.  I want to have the full human experience.   I want to feel every emotion to the fullest as they come up in my life, allowing for the amazing high emotions and the uncomfortable lower ones.

What has been the effect of buying into this belief in your life?  You get to choose what you believe, my friends.  Make sure it supports your best version.

42 and Botox

 

I can’t tell you how many times over the past 5 to 7 years I have thought of getting, researched and asked opinions of people on their view of Botox.  There have been many times I have thought how nice it would be to look a little less aged and look like I did back when I was  30.  I have many friends who use the product and who LOVE it.

As I was reflecting most recently on turning 42 and aging, still contemplating getting BOTOX to smooth out the lines that have become part of the most recent “me,”  I thought about how much all of these lines tell the story of contrast in my life up to this point.  So, I thought it would be fitting to document my lines and flaws, in case I do in the future get Botox or any other cosmetic surgery.

The reasons why I have the lines I have up until my 42nd year are an effect of all of the joy and pain I’ve experienced throughout the years.   The horizontal lines on my forehead represent worry that I have experienced.  Worrying about my future, about the people I care about so much and if I am living my life in a way that will bring me pride when I look back many years from now,  if I am blessed to make it to a much older age.  I have smile lines, which represent all of the joy I have experienced thus far, most notably the addition of my two sons, and the times I’ve spent with friends and family being silly and laughing a whole lot.  I have some dark circles and puffiness due to the many sleepless nights, from the blessings my husband and I named Kai Patrick and Niko Elijah.  I have more lines than I would have if I’d lived in a lower altitude environment, due to more sun exposure although I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed the 300+ days of sunshine that Colorado has had to offer me the past 18 years.  Another cause of my forehead lines are from losing my best friend at 36 and my step dad at 58.  I don’t believe I have cried that much in my entire life but I wouldn’t want to ever go back and skip grieving for those precious lives if I  had to do it over again.

You see, without the pain, I wouldn’t know joy .  Without the loss, I wouldn’t appreciate what I have so much.  I firmly believe in the quote, “aging is a privilege denied to many.”  Do I want to try to hide the stories of my life that have accumulated on my face and body?  Or, do I want to wear them as a badge of honor of the precious time I have been given to experience the beautiful, joyful and painful moments that have made up this life?

Honestly, I have no idea if I will ever end up getting botox or any type of cosmetic surgery.  The bottom line is that I don’t think there is a right or a wrong decision in getting either one for that matter.

I do know that I am so thankful and blessed for my life.  For the lines I’ve been privileged to accumulate.  EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.  What do the lines and marks on your body reveal about you and your life stories?

Love every moment, friends.

Those aren't gray hairs . They're strands of glitter growing from my head.-2