Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Is it really yours to carry?

I taught a yoga class a few weeks ago and had to hold back my tears much of the class. During savasana especially, I was overwhelmed with a heaviness through my chest, and a deep need to cry uncontrollably. After I brought the women out of savasana and concluded the class, I casually mentioned that if anyone was feeling really sad, to please go home to cry and let it all out. It turns out, one of the girls had recently (and suddenly) lost a pet that had been a huge part of her life. This information confirmed my suspicion - that the deep sadness I was feeling wasn't mine.

Being a yoga teacher, reiki and reflexology practitioner, I have been taught how to ground myself to avoid taking on other people's "stuff," yet it's a practice I have been neglectful of, believing I was immune to other's energy (sometimes I'm like that, you know, I think the rules don't apply to me).

Then I got to thinking about this incident. I didn't just feel sad during that class, I felt like I was being crushed under the weight of deep grief. Every cell in my body was bathed in sorrow. It was a lot to feel so suddenly.

And that made me wonder. How much of my life have I been taking on other people's emotions? How much of my anxiety, fear, sadness, lonliness....was never mine to begin with? I suspect the answer is this:

a fuck-load of it.

Could this, perhaps, be the case for you as well?

I have a new mantra these days.
Any time I feel anxiety, sadness, anger, hurt, fear, overwhelm, frustration....I pause. And I close my eyes and silently say, "this isn't yours to carry Rachel."

I repeat it slowly if I need to, but I always feel a huge shift in my emotions and thoughts. I actually feel a physical release, like a weighted vest removed from my body.
And I can move on, without the load that was never mine to carry in the first place.

Next time someone around you is angry or upset, I want you to tune into your own body and emotions for a check. Do you start to feel tense? Does your breath quicken? Do you feel yourself shutting down? Does your energy begin to plummet?

These are all signs that you've taken on their energy.

Ask yourself how much of other people's shit you take on. If I had to guess, I would say that a decent amount of what causes you stress or overwhelm was never your stuff to begin with.

And if you find this to be true, try out my mantra and let me know how it goes.
Awareness is the first step. Actively working at re-wiring both your mindset and your response is the next step.

How much lighter will you feel if you could let go of everyone else's stuff?
After all, how can you fly with wings that feel like stone?


Thursday, August 3, 2017


I love the concept of Greatness.

I probably first became familiar with it as a personal attribute a few years ago when I purchased Robin Sharma's "The Greatness Guide" as a gift for my Grandfather. I had followed Robin Sharma for a good 12 years before this point, as he was someone my Mom highly recommended and respected.
It sounded so cocky to me.

But then I started thinking about greatness through a different lens altogether, and the definition, for me, incorporates multiple characteristics:
More than average.
Authentic living.
Living your passion.
Designing your life.
Always striving for more (while simultaneously being content with where you are)

Mediocrity is something that has always frightened me. Well maybe not always. But back in 2004 it became a concept that entered my awareness. After the very sudden passing of my Mom, I decided (consciously or unconsciously I'm still not sure) that I would not live a mediocre life. I will not be an average person who is willing to settle for what feels comfortable. I would not be a bystander in my life, I would be an active participant. I would set big goals and achieve them. I would dream big and embrace possibility. I would inspire & lead and be the person I wanted to be - patient, kind, giving, but also determined, driven, motivated, and relentless in the pursuit of joy. I believed that my vow to live from a zone of greatness would give my Mom's life meaning. I could make her proud. I could show the world how great of an influencer she was on me. I could use her wisdom and example to continue inspiring the world, even though she was no longer here. And when it was my time to go, I would have no regrets or wonder, as I feared she perhaps did. I would improve the quality of my own life to make up for the limited quantity of time she had on this earth.

Lewis Howes is a another big influencer on me. He hosts a podcast called "The School of Greatness," which I listen to just about daily: while I'm in the kitchen, in the gym, cooling down after a run or folding laundry (more on that in a minute). He interviews influencers from all over the world, digging into how and why they are living a life of greatness, from their daily habits, to mindset and routines.

This idea has been evolving in me and I find myself surrounded by it on a daily basis.

I was recently enjoying a latte with a friend of mine and I was discussing the things that bring me joy. In my business, I shared that the best part of what I do in working with women, is the evolution I get to witness through my time with them. They begin hesitant, unsure and a little fearful as their journey of nutrition and fitness begins. Over time, I begin to see (and feel!) ambition, confidence, excitement and assurance.
Empowerment. (greatness!!)
They begin to realize that they are strong, capable and worthy. And holy shit, that aura of power is unlike any other.

My deepest passion is guiding women to this place through tools, encouragement, tough love, accountability and unwavering support. A good friend of mine recently shared a quote that resonated with her, "you cannot transmit wisdom and insight to another person. The seed is already there. A good teacher touches the seed, allowing it to wake up, to sprout, and to grow." ~ Thich Nhat Hahn

How could I possible encourage my clients to be outside their comfort zone in order to find greatness, if I myself, wasn't doing the same? How could I understand the discomforts of evolution and transformation if I, myself, haven't been through it as well? I am only able to reach these seeds within my clients but aligning my life with what I value. They see that and feel that.

I wanted to share with you the top tools or practices that I feel have guided me onto this path of living in the zone of greatness. (keeping in mind, I will forever be evolving, growing and learning. We're in this together).

But first, let me share a quote I came across the other morning on Instagram via Mastin Kipp:

"There is greatness within you.
To release it, work each day to face your fears and push yourself further than what's comfortable. Greatness is forged through challenge."

Let's begin there.

1. Challenge yourself. Daily.
You will never know what you are capable of until you are willing to try things you assume are too hard for you. In fitness, this is easy. Lifting heavier than you think, running a couple minutes longer than you think you get the idea. In life this can simply translate into goal setting. I'm obsessed with goal setting. For me, these goals give meaning to my day. I can set my goals up and align everything else with them to ensure success.
What are some goals you can begin setting for yourself?

2. Face your fears. Often.
Hey comfort zone? Fuck off.
That's where we're at with concept #2. Fears are learned behaviors that tend to keep us in a safe little comfort zone, where we don't get to experience new things or explore new worlds. Lame if you ask me.
Being outside your comfort zone is the only way you can expand your life, and reiterate the fact that you are a multi-passionate person with endless possibilities, talents and interests.
Write down 10 things that you have wanted to do or been curious about, but have been halted by fear, anxiety or uncertainty.
Set a timeline, and start checking those bad boys off.

3. Keep your heart open. No matter what.
When we close off our heart, we think we're closing off potential hurt and heart ache. Yet, much like spot training, we cannot choose what we close off, and inevitable also end up closing off opportunities to connect, love, share and fully enjoy people and experiences. It is through vulnerability and expansion that we allow deep peace, joy and abundance trickle into our lives. We connect with others at a deeper level, we learn to find growth through challenges, and learn to connect deeply to the center of who we are...if we can just keep our hearts open. More on this in a later post.

4. Align Your Life.
My bread and butter. This concept lights me up like nothing else.
First, decide how you want your life to FEEL and LOOK.
Second, set some short and long term goals that act as stepping stones to getting you there.
Third, create actionable steps to achieve these goals.
All while being true to the first step.
For example. Say I want to feel FREEDOM in my life. My goal is to create and accept work that allows me to feel that way. Someone offers me a weekly yoga class to teach Saturday mornings at 11:00, for minimal pay. What to do?
Well..first off, Saturday mornings are typically my time with my kids. It's a day of the week we can sleep in, take our time and just slow down. If I took the class, I would give this up, throw a wrench in basically all of Saturday itself since I'd scramble for a sitter, drive, teach, drive, then it would be nap time for my little one, meaning we'd only have a few hours after he wakes up to spend together. Does this scenario, despite additional pocket money, lead me to feeling freedom? No. It feels more like a box to me. So my answer is "no, but thank you for the offer."
Alignment. Authenticity. Boundaries. Learning to say no and learning to say yes. Be that one who walks her talk.

5. Learn. Expand. Grow.
Remember when I was talking about Lewis Howes' podcast? This is an example of how I am constantly tapping into new knowledge. I listen to podcasts every opportunity I can, I read articles online, or highlight books about a topic I'm interested in learning more about. I dive deep into discussion with those around me who inspire me, tapping into their thoughts, ideas and mindset. I like to try new things as often as I find the opportunity. For example, I just signed up to take a SUP yoga class in a couple weeks. It's like stepping outside your comfort zone, without perhaps the fear and hesitation. Be mindful of opportunities for expansion in your life, and seek them with an open heart.

I hope you find these tidbits of ideas helpful.
Feel free to add your own (and share with me!)