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Living Fully: Mind, Heart, Body & Spirit

Over the years I have worked as both a massage therapist, and as a chaplain. Can I just say:  I love my jobs!!! Both fields are so sacred and fill my heart with a  deep sense of purpose.

Massage  focuses more on the physical body. The releasing of tension in the muscles. But I have come to understand how intrinsically connected the physical body and the heart are. How the mind and spirit are also involved.  As my clients open up and share their stories, their struggles and their pain, something shifts in their body. Their muscles slowly begin to release and let go. Its a process. A beautiful process and it involves every part of who they are. With a little help from my fingers, they leave with less pain and more freedom to go about their everyday living.

In my chaplaincy work, I am honored to support people in very vulnerable moments of their lives. Some days its when a new baby is born into the world. Other days its through grief support. Sometimes decisions need to be made. Hard decisions. Heartbreaking decisions.  My work is all about  providing a safe place for people to express their pain or fears… their thoughts or expectations. They get to talk. I get to listen & hold their hand.  In those sacred moments I am once again reminded of the fact that the heart, mind, body and spirit all play a part in the journey they are on. Whether they are aware of it or not, all four quotients are involved.

This is what I have come to understand through my work:  To LIVE FULLY means to focus on all four aspects of what makes the WHOLE  person. The emotional, mental, physical and spiritual aspects. Its being intentional about caring for each of those parts that make up the whole.

live fullyMy friends often ask me: Are you well?  They are not just asking about my physical body.  They are asking something much deeper.  Hows your heart? Hows your mind and spirit? Are you in a good place?  They ask because they care about me as a whole.  Not just about a part of me, but the WHOLE me!

So shouldn’t I be intentional about nurturing the whole me? Life is to short to live any other way but FULLY!  Living fully means living to the deepest extent possible.  Living with my whole soul.  Honoring my mind, my heart, my body and my spirit. Growing those areas in my life.

heart mind body spirit

Today I invite you to join me in doing something for the neglected part of your whole self. What makes your heart sing?  What engages your mind? How do you care for your body? What inspires you?Find something on this list, or create your own list.

Talk a walk at sunset.

Do something you love.

Read an inspirational book.

Do a crossword puzzle.

Have coffee with a friend.

Pet your dog.

Star Gaze.

Listen to a Ted Talk.

Create something artistic.

Read the comics.

Call someone that makes you laugh.

Listen to music.

Its the little things.  Those intentional moments when we take time to fill our hearts, be kind to our bodies, grow our minds, and feed our spirits that will begin to transform everyday living into extraordinary living.

-Sharon

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beauty

The Art of Questioning: Asking the Question that Helps

I spend my days coaching and engaging with women…and I love it.

In the coaching relationship, learning to develop the art of helpful questioning allows us to explore what is really going on underneath the surface.  When we ask helpful questions, we will receive helpful answers.  Unfortunately, the reverse is also true…when we ask harmful questions, we will receive harmful answers.

Huh?  What does this mean?  Let me explain.

One of the most reoccurring questions showing up in conversations with women is the question, “What is wrong with me?!?”  I hear it asked in moments of acute frustration, overwhelming despair, internal disgust, and sometimes even just out of sheer curiosity.

After noticing how often I heard women ask this, I was struck with the thought of how unhelpful this question really is.  In fact, it is actually quite cruel.  It hurts the person being asked and does not set anyone up to receive a fair answer.  When we ask this question of ‘what’s wrong’, we do harm to our self by not allowing a fair answer to be found…and instead an assumption is made that something is indeed very wrong with us.

The truth is, nothing is ‘wrong’ with us…we are simply at a painful or confusing place in our journey.  What we need are helpful questions that set us up for success to receive better answers.  I have found that kinder gentler questions such as, “Where does it hurt?” or “Why am I stalled?” to be fairer questions, which eventually lead to answers that guide us.

As I listened one more time to this question being habitually tossed out in our conversation, I found myself saying, “How about we ask what is right with you?”

I was met with dead silence on the other end of the phone.

After a moment, I heard some laughter as she asked, “Am I allowed to ask this?”

Yep.  I’m all about embracing the kindest route to help yourself out.  Isn’t life challenging enough without us beating ourselves up with harmful questions?

beauty

This new posture of asking helpful questions such as ‘what’s right with me?’ gives us the permission to move forward in authentic ways as we dare to explore new possibilities.  To consider helpful questions challenges a whole new level of self-talk.  Most importantly, it engages our critiquing abilities to focus on our strengths instead of our weaknesses, to find the solutions we need, and build the courage, confidence, and clarity to move forward.

So, here’s some simple guidelines to try for yourself.  Next time something goes wrong, we can often hear our inner-dialogue the loudest, so take a moment to pause and reflect:

  1. Notice your inner dialogue.  Are you asking harmful questions like “What’s wrong with me?”

  2. Shift to a helpful question such as “What’s right with me?” Recognize that there is nothing wrong with you when something is going wrong in your world.

  3. Release yourself from that impossibly high invisible and elusive standard that only you are holding over yourself.

  4. Use your energy that is increasing from the helpful question to get to the solution.

  5. Celebrate how much is right with you.

  6. Continue building on your strengths as you practice inviting in the question “What’s right with me?”

Living in helpful questions is a powerful way to nurture your own personal journey and free you up to step more fully into the life you desire.

When we make a positive internal shift and learn the art of helpful questioning, we receive the answers we need and begin to recognize that it is our best gift to offer the world.

– Heather

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imperfection

Beauty: I Am Perfectly Imperfect {and so are you!}

Beauty: {byoo-tee} noun- the combination of all the qualities of a person or thing that delight the senses and please the mind

My perception of Beauty has evolved throughout my life.

As a child everything was beautiful. I always felt beautiful. I was a princess, weren’t we all? My innocence didn’t know there was any other way to feel other than beautiful. My heart song sang as loud as it could.

As a teenager I began to feel less and less beautiful. As my body changed, so did my perception of beauty. I began to feel judged by others, which eventually led me to judge myself. I would flip through the pages of YM Magazine and try to figure out how I could look like the models on the picture perfect pages. I thought, ‘If only I could have: bigger boobs, skinnier legs, smoother skin, thicker hair, flatter stomach, fuller lips, smaller feet, then I will be perfect. Then I will be beautiful.’

As a woman, I’ve come to understand, that Beauty; true, authentic, genuine, everlasting, unconditional beauty; isn’t in the picture perfect pages of the magazines, but rather, Beauty is in the imperfections that make me exactly who I am.

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It’s in the wrinkles around my eyes.

The lines around my smile.

The stretch marks on my body.

The grey in my hair.

The scars on my heart.

The freckles on my face.

The curves around my edges.

The dimples on my cheeks {and not the one’s on my face!}

As my perception of beauty has evolved throughout my life, I see beauty in my every single day. In everything I see and touch and admire. In every unanswered prayer and daily coincidence.

Don’t get me wrong, the teenager in me still judges, just as the child in me still sings my heart song. The difference now, is that it’s no longer one extreme or the other. It’s perfectly imperfect.

Wayne Dyer says it so clearly:

Wayne Dyer

May I be the voice that says ‘Your beauty is perfectly imperfect.’

Now, what imperfection can you transform into beauty today?

Hugs!

-michaela:-)

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