Romancing Resistance

So I decided to do a thing, a 100 day challenge thing. 

Here are the the simple parameters of the challenge that I set for myself — the challenge is to move for 100 days.  Seriously, nothing major, 3 days of walking (20 — 45 minutes), 2 days of yoga (again, 20 — 45 minutes), and then 2 days of a HIIT (8 — 15 minutes). Like I said, nothing major

So, before I explain what this challenge is, let me quickly tell you what the challenge isn’t.  Surprisingly, it isn’t a weight loss challenge, although that would be nice.  It’s not about going down a size, or a number on a scale, or any other number for that matter.

What it is — is RESISTANCE.  Yup, you read that right, resistance. According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, resistance n. 1. generally, any action in opposition to, defying, or withstanding something or someone.

In short, this 100 day challenge is all about me romancing resistance.

Here’s the over and under, I am not actually a lazy person, nor am I a procrastinator — I can, and I do, hard & uncomfortable things all the time.  I just tend to run up against resistance when those hard & uncomfortable things are for my own benefit, for my future, or on my calendar. (The calendar thing — well, that is a different post & challenge all together.)

For me, I needed a way to separate myself, from those unproductive descriptors, like lazy or procrastinator, and also ditch that old story about me not finishing things. I realized that I am not the problem. However, my relationship with resistance is a problem.

So, I decided to challenge resistance, maybe even seduce it, at the very least, build a working relationship with resistance.  This is the challenge!  

I chose movement for 100 days. Why?  Because I run up against resistance 100% of the time whenever movement is involved.  This means everyday, for 100 days, I am now guaranteed an opportunity to engage with resistance,  and I get to see how resistance appears in my life.  So far, resistance has shown up as distraction, procrastination, diversion, unpreparedness, tiredness, and transference of emotions (you know, when you lack confidence in one area and your mind wants to transfer that emotion to other areas, yeah, that) — just to name a few. 

And this was just within the first 12 days.  

One might be wondering what I’ve learned so far?

What I have learned is that none of those things have actually stopped me from moving forward.  I simply recognize how resistance shows up that day, and then I follow through with the previously scheduled program, all in spite of the many ways resistance appears.

This is the interesting thing, when resistance appears, and it does, it doesn’t actually stop me in my tracks, nor does it derail me. The day doesn’t turn into a complete wash, and get this, the day also doesn’t spiral out of control. I simply recognize the resistance, feel it, and take action, regardless. Fascinating how the simple act of awareness can bring such clarity.

I’m not done. I’ve actually just started, day 14 out of 100 to be exact — only 86 days to go — or the rest of my life, depending on how you want to look at it. However, this is where I get to dabble in consistency & discipline. Definitely, more posts on the topic to come.

This is my 100 day challenge, this is how I plan on romancing resistance. 

    A Francophile in Paris

    Are you a francophile? Are you familiar with the term francophile? According to Google, a francophile is a person who is fond of or greatly admires France or the French.  

    For me, my francophilia stems from books like French Women Don’t Get Fat, Forever Chic, Entre Nous, and All You Need to Be Impossibly French.  Also from movies like Aristocats, A Good Year, French Kiss, Midnight in Paris, and For Lovers Only.  These stories beckoned me to the city, and ultimately landed this francophile smack-dab in Paris this summer.

    Now, I understand that these books and movies come from a romanticize, idealized, and generalized narrative of France and its people. I also understand that France and its people are just as layered and nuanced as anywhere else throughout the world.  Nevertheless, I am unapologetically a romantic, so I am okay with weeding through these generalizations and easily putting them in their appropriate place. 

    All this to say, after a couple of decades of devouring all things “French”, this not-so-closeted francophile finally got to go to Paris. And of course, I experienced my week in Paris through the lenses of rose colored glasses. 

    I won’t exhaust anyone with a minute by minute, or day by day retelling of my experience.  Instead I will share a few key takeaways from my week long Parisian adventure.  Will those takeaways be generalized or romanticized? Maybe. But it was my experience, so I guess I get to see it the way I want to see it. 

    First, let’s talk architecture.  

    Paris is breathtakingly beautiful. And it is no doubt that the backdrop of Paris is its architecture, which is a huge part of its beauty.  Just to be clear, the areas of Paris I visited were the “historical” & “touristy” areas. I basically stayed within the parameters of the 20 arrondissements of Paris, and no, I did not hit up all 20.  

    The creamy, intricately ornate stone architecture with their quintessential wrought iron balconies took my breath away — constantly.  I essentially walked around the city in complete awe! Just when I established one building facadę to be my favorite, a new one rose up around the corner and three blocks over.  All of it truly is ridiculously beautiful.  

    The museums, government buildings, castles, apartments, & cathedrals — every erected edifice that flooded the city was site to behold. The layering of styles were a complimentary amalgamation of genius and beauty — from the Gothic style, Art Nouveau, French Renaissance, Belle Époque, and Art Deco — the city was any art historians fantasy.

    I tried to capture the beauty with my camera, and as beautiful as the images are, they still pale in comparison to the real Paris. 

    Second, culture & history.

    The history of Paris is incredibly rich.  I forget how young the US is and therefore how lacking US history feels, comparatively.  So the history found within the city walls of Paris, in so many words, WOW.  All the historical sites, buildings, parks, castles, cathedrals, fountains, and endless historical accounts just seem to flow like the Seine as an endless stream of Parisian culture & history, from one arrondissement to the next.

    The historical & cultural scene of Paris is some of the best in the world.  From the countless exhibits, museums, monuments, and parks, the city never left you feeling bored, instead, only wanting more.  Did I see it all? Not even close. Most of my experience of Paris felt as though I was on the outside looking in.  There’s an interesting thought I could unpack later, not just yet though. 

    Needless to say, I cannot wait to return and dive in a bit deeper into all the beauty, history, and opportunity Paris has to offer. 

    Third, the cafés.

    OMG the cafe’s! Seriously

    The food, incredible.  The Aperol spritz, perfection. The pastries, to die for.  The coffee, meh, I’ve had better.  The patio cafés, S H U T . U P ! ! !  

    I would go back to Paris just to sit all day at a cafê — N O T . E V E N . K I D D I N G !  While I was there, I sat at at least one a day, if not two — I think one day I even got to sit at three, that was a good day.  Did I sit at enough cafés? Nope. Do I need to sit at more parisian café patios? One million times YES! 

    The Parisian café, brasserie, bistro, & patio scene is next level, and its own thing altogether. They are utterly worth going back to Paris for! And if given the chance to enjoy the café for lunch or drinks after lunch, don’t miss out on experiencing a gourmand.  It is an espresso with 3 or 4 small accompanying desserts. BEST THING EVER! You can thank me later.

    Lastly, the essence of Paris.

    The city of lights, or the city of love, whatever you call it, there is this undeniable feeling that embodies this city.

    Paris has a feel to her, a mood, an essence about her.  The city pulls you in and kisses you lightly on both cheeks. She then ties herself to you in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. 

    The city vibe is elegant, sensual, mysterious, & a little bit mischievous all at once.  In the daylight, she charms you with her beauty, her history, and her lingering promises.  While at night, she sings a sirens song that lures you through her streets as if drunk on love.  It’s beautiful, it’s inviting, and it keeps you on the edge wanting more. 

    THIS IS PARIS. 

      GET SELFISH — IT’S OK.

      We’re taught early in life that any act deemed selfish is considered negative.  Unfortunately, the negative connotation is in the definition itself.  According to the dictionary on the interwebs, selfish means (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.”

      Let’s try to unpack this — the definition states “lacking consideration for others”.  That seems a bit vague, can one then assume that anything done while lacking consideration for others, is then selfish? If one is wanting to evolve & grow personally, and others aren’t taken into consideration is that then considered selfish?  

      Is it just me or does the idea of “self” require someone to have an altruistic agenda in order for society to be okay with it?  Let’s have fun, and poke holes in some of these long held beliefs. I, also, decided to include the definitions of self, selfless, & selfish just to give us a shared understanding as I use these words interchangeably.

      • self – a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action.”our alienation from our true selves”.
      • selfless – concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own; unselfish – an act of selfless devotion.
      • selfish – (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.”I joined them for selfish reasons”
      • *More that can be definedself-orientation | self-important | self-centered | self-involved | self-regard | self-esteemed | self-assured.

      How do we accept the necessity of being selfish in our own lives? How do we reconcile self growth, self preservation, & self interests with the given definition of “selfish”? Below, I’ve listed 7 Selfish Practices that are actually good for you.

      I believe, at the end of the day, in order to live a truly authentic life, and the life of your dreams — you are going to have to get selfish.  You will have to say no to people pleasing, get honest with yourself & others, and take responsibility for the life you want.  There might be some consequences, relationship adjustments, and lessons learned. It might also feel uncomfortable at times, but learning to prioritizing you is completely worth it! 

      7 Selfish Practices that are actually good for you!

      1. Prioritize your well being & self-care practices.

      When it comes to your well being and your self-care practices, you are the ultimate authority in your life of what’s best for you.  Take the time to explore and dabble within these arenas to find the practices that speak to you and to the future you are cultivating. 

      • Journaling | morning pages | gratitude. 
      • Practice movement — walk, stretch, or do your preferred workout.
      • Utilize meditation, prayer, or intentional thought work.
      • Prioritize personal growth via reading, audiobooks, or podcasts.
      • Elevate your skincare and grooming practices, regularly
      • Create an environment that promotes well being.
      2. Feel without labeling your feelings as bad or negative.

      When we begin to tap into our minds and observe what exactly we are thinking, we might recognize a slew of unpleasant thoughts. However, learning to be an objective observer of our thoughts will require a bit of patience, grace, and neutrality on our behalves. Try to avoid having negative thoughts about your negative thoughts, that can cause an unnecessary thought loop. Remember, our minds are designed to be efficient — if we aren’t intentionally telling our minds what to think, they will inevitably think unconsciously, and by default.

      • Remember, you are not your thoughts.
      • Don’t label your thoughts as good or bad, or right or wrong.
      • Practice observing thoughts with unconditional love for yourself.
      • Consistently challenge thoughts & beliefs that no longer serve you.
      3. Prioritize your feelings about your life, over the feelings of others concerning your life.

      My mentor and life coach instructor Brooke Castillo says that “there is nothing out there that we want independent of how we think we will feel in the having of it.”   This stresses that more important than what we think, is how we feel — after all, it is out of our feelings that we take action in our lives.  Others will inevitably have their own feelings about your feelings — learn to overlook their feelings about you — someone else’s feelings are none of your concern. 

      • First, understand that your feelings drive your actions.
      • Allow all feelings — don’t resist or avoid them — feel them and then let them go.  (They may feel uncomfortable, but the feelings themselves won’t actually harm you.) 
      • Learn to generate the feelings that you want to feel.
      • Remember that other’s opinions about you or your life, are none of your business
      4. Incorporate healthy boundaries.

      Boundaries are simply a tool that tells someone how you will conduct yourself if your safety, propriety, physical or emotional spaces are being violated. Setting boundaries from a loving place creates relationships that are free of negativity, at least for you.  Enforcing healthy boundaries can feel challenging and uncomfortable at first.  However, finding healthy ways to practice this in your life will give you peace of mind in most situations. 

      • A boundary looks like this: If you continue to do _____ , I will do _____ . 
      • Allow people to be & do whatever they want (they are out of our control).
      • You are only responsible for you — follow through on your boundary restrictions. (Do it out of love for yourself, and the relationship.)
      • Don’t use boundaries as attempt to manipulate or control others.
      5. Commit to your habits, routines, & rituals.

      A famous quote by Will Durant, which is regularly attributed to Aristotle,  states “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  Regardless of who said it, the truth and wisdom in the sentiment remains in tact.  We are what we repeatedly do — therefore, habits, routines, & rituals are of the utmost importance when cultivating who you want to be.  Whether it stems around your mental health, physical health, or spiritual growth — commit to you. 

      • Take inventory and critically evaluate what you repeatedly do.
      • Alter & implement the habits, routines, & rituals that aid you in the future you are co-creating. 
      • Embrace obstacles, and use them a steps when creating a new habit, routine, & ritual.
      • Committing to yourself in this way will help you in actualizing your goals, and your dream life.
      6. Spend quality time with yourself cultivating your interests, likes & dislikes.

      I have heard so many people respond to simple questions concerning what they want, or what they would like, with — “I don’t know”.   One of the beauties of living in this time and place (for most of us), we get to decide our interests, likes, & dislikes.  Often times though, due to living unconsciously, we don’t take the time to explore what we actually do like. We can quickly discern what we don’t like, but we don’t often foster the opposite.  Pay attention to when you catch yourself saying “I don’t know”? Exploring, learning, and cultivating what we enjoy is where the fun is at. 

      • Challenge old beliefs, likes, & dislikes, especially when you can’t pinpoint them being a conscious decision.
      • Get both curious & honest with yourself. 
      • Take yourself out on dates. 
      • Try out different activities and see how you respond to them. 
      • Try new foods you’ve been curious about.
      • Read different genres of books to find what brings you pleasure when reading.
      • Use Pinterest to create boards with new experiences to explore.
        *(This list could go on and on!)
      7. Make yourself, your dreams & your goals a priority in your own life.

      Too often we dismiss the importance of being committed to our own “self”, and we find ourselves sacrificing us for others.  A lot of us have been conditioned from an early age to be people pleasers.  As children we were taught by our parents, grandparent, teachers, and other authorities, the importance of respecting others and our elders (sometimes to our own detriment).  We were often forced to share, which can often negate the natural development of propriety, as well as a lack of learning ownership and the natural consequences associated with not sharing. Often, as children, we are not taught to have a growth mindset in lieu of a fixed mindset. (Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, is a great read, one I highly recommend.)   

      • Do some thought work around some of your long held beliefs where you are prioritizing your time for others, in lieu of yourself.
      • Be careful when you say yes to someone else, that you are not inadvertently saying no to yourself.
      • If you have a goal, practice the art of planning and prioritizing it.
      • Learn to honor your calendar.  When you put you on your calendar, respect that time over anything else. *Learning to trust yourself is the ultimate game changer! 

      Being selfish or self-oriented isn’t being mean, and it isn’t inconsiderate.  Now, let’s be clear — withdrawing some kind of contribution that you may have made in the past is not selfish either, and it’s not at someone else’s expense. Taking ownership of what you give — of yourself — to others — is a personal choice, and needs to be done consciously. Withholding you or your time from others does not, I repeat, does not harm or cost anyone else. Make sure to give of yourself only when you have it to give, and that it doesn’t cost you.

      Being selfish in these simple ways are going to ground you within your authentic self.  It is also going to allow you to pour so much into yourself that you will inevitably have much more to pour out to others.   Being selfish will afford you opportunities to learn more about who you are, and to develop traits you want & admire, — intentionally. When we practice being selfish in this way (I’ll call it self-regard), we embrace self-responsibility & self-empowerment — essentially creating who we are & who we want to be, for ourselves. 

      The Self Coaching MODEL

      Every aspect of our lives can be categorized into one of these five categories within the Self Coaching MODEL.

      I’ve created a downloadable pdf for you to use as a quick reference. Below, I elaborate more about this MODEL & how to use it to Self Coach.

      The Self Coaching MODEL is not a new concept — however, this MODEL in its arrangement, is courtesy of Brooke Castillo from The Life Coach School.

      Everything starts with CIRCUMSTANCES: these are things in our lives that are factual, out of our control: this includes our pasts, the weather, and others behaviors. How we know it is factual is everyone will agree on it, or can be proven in a court of law. Circumstances TRIGGER our Thoughts

      “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

      Viktor Frankl — an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, writer, and Holocaust survivor.

      Next are our THOUGHTS: the sentences looping in your minds. They are the narratives we tell ourselves about the Circumstances within our lives. ALL THOUGHTS are OPTIONAL! THOUGHTS are the cause of all of our problems & our successes.
      Thoughts CAUSE our Feelings.

      FEELINGS: The vibrations in our bodies caused by our thinking. Don’t confuse vibrations with sensations. Vibrations stem from our minds and travel to our bodies — sensations stem from our bodies and travel to our minds. A feeling is ONE WORD: sad, mad, glad, happy, frustrated, elated, anxious, etc.
      Feelings DRIVE our Actions.

      ACTIONS: our behaviors — what we do and don’t do within our lives — actions, inactions & reactions.
      Actions CREATE our Results.

      RESULTS: outcomes and consequences of our actions, inactions, or reactions. Results will ALWAYS be evidence of our original Thought.

      Learning to use this MODEL in your life is a game changer.  Here are a few helpful tips when navigating the MODEL yourself.

      First, practice the act of watching & becoming aware of your mind and the multitude of thoughts swirling around. Don’t judge them, be curious and just become aware. Next, start to fill in the model based on a result, an action, a feeling, a thought, or a circumstance.

      Asking thoughtful questions will help maneuver through the MODEL. Here are some questions you can ask: So what? What am I making this Circumstance mean? When I think this Thought, how do I feel? When I Feel this — what actions do I take? What are my actions, inactions, & reactions? What’s the outcome from my action, inaction, & reaction? Does the Result of my actions show evidence of my original thought?

      Bonus Hack — learn to use the MODEL to create your goals and dreams.  Just place the result you are wanting into the result line and work your way up by asking your future self those guiding questions.

      The more you practice the model, the more awareness you can create in your life, allowing you to become a more deliberate co-creator in your own life. 

      Feel free to ask me any questions you might have concerning the MODEL. And if you are wanting to explore some areas (or thoughts) in your life with a Life Coach, please reach out, I am more than willing to work with you through whatever you bring to the table.

      REDEFINING BUSY

      What is busy, and can I redefine this word for myself?

      The dictionary states busy as engaged in action, full of activity.  The Urban Dictionary says: an excuse to not hang out with someone. Also, a nice way of saying no – or not on my priority list.  So, which is it?

      At the end of the day, the word busy is generally thrown around as a badge of honor.  But when you look at the feelings that often coincide with the term busy, you get a slew of negative feelings associated, like anxious, stressed, frustrated, and overwhelmed.  Being busy is so subjective, and it doesn’t necessarily equal productivity. 

      As I have recently embarked on a new and different career path, which is requiring more of my time.  I find that I am having to renegotiate and realign my priorities with my calendar.  Without the calendar, everything that is needing to be done genuinely feels overwhelming and indeed busy, at least in my mind.  However, when I actually block schedule all that needs to be done to stay on task — it all actually appears to be rather manageable — therefore redefining the word busy for me. 

      Do I have as much free time as I had before I began my life coaching course, and the two other courses I am taking along side coaching? No. BUT, I do still have time. And it is time that I am unapologetically learning to schedule to aid me along my journey to fulfilling my goals & dreams. 

      I have time for my morning routine. I have time to get showered & dressed for the day.  I have time to get classes & projects done. I have time to get housework done. I have time to go out to lunch with the hubby or friends.  I have time to get content created. I have time for an afternoon coffee.  I have time to cook, eat, and clean up dinner. I have time to kill an hour or so in front of the television. I have time for my evening wind down routine.  AND — I still have time for more.  

      I have never calendared like this before.  Putting everything down on the calendar is extremely new to me.  And while I still don’t have it all figured out, I have been able to identify kinks that need ironing out week by week, and new ways to evolve the practice and personalize the process.

      Most importantly, I am learning to honor the schedule that I create for myself.  The mental work alone required by me to show up for myself & my calendar is next level, no joke. I think I will be getting some coaching done in this area.  

      All this to be said, my end goal is NOT to schedule every minute.  My end goal is to establish harmony with work/ school/ life — without feeling overwhelmed by the notion of being elusively busy.  The calendar actually helps put it all into perspective — making it manageable and effective. 

      I have also learned to hack my calendar by having everything that can be routine, be routine (as you can see above in my calendar). My sleep time, morning routine, class times, coaching times, content creation times, meal times, house chores & errands, and evening routine are all scheduled to repeat daily and weekly.  Then whatever is new to my “need to get done’ list for the week, gets plugged into the calendar where I think it will fit according to my priority list.  

      This style of calendaring is proving to be revolutionary for me.  I love the clarity it provides, the ease of reference it gives, and, can I say just how cool it is that I can integrate my brand colors into the google calendar process. I can’t believe that I am 48 and I am just now getting this!  Oh well.

      *According to the calendar — fun things are to come!