FEATURE - January 2017 - Kansas City
How To Reinvent Yourself With Authenticity and Grace
by Angela Watson Robertson
Most of us at one time or another in our lives find ourselves at a crossroads. Due to a hardship, such as a health crisis, loss of a job or the end of a long-term relationship, we need to reinvent ourselves in order to survive. On the flip side, though everything in our life is copacetic, we may feel that our current way of living and being in the world is no longer serving us. We want to reinvent ourselves in order to align our lives with our authentic selves and fulfill our soul’s mission.
Regardless of the reason for your personal transformation, you most likely want to go through the transition with ease (or at least without chaos). As a health and life transformation coach, I teach people from all over the world how to reinvent themselves with authenticity and grace and I’ve compiled a few tips that can assist you along the way:
1. Ground yourself.
Take time each day to ground yourself with yoga postures, deep breathing techniques and meditation exercises. These exercises will help ground your energy and keep you balanced and calm despite turmoil that may be all around you. I recommend a daily routine of 10 minutes of meditation, 30 minutes of yoga postures (asanas) and deep, belly breathing.
2. Process your emotions (then let them go).
It’s important to allow yourself to really feel (and thus metabolize) any emotions you have. As they say, “what you resist, persists” and I find that to be true. Any feelings you deny or push away will potentially grow in size and bust out of you (like me exiting my first hot yoga class) in a potentially dramatic and unexpected way.
One of the most common emotions that may come up when reinventing yourself and your life is anger. Often the emotion behind anger is fear. It is normal to feel afraid when going through change, yet it’s important to not let fear run the show. We have to get to know our fear- how it makes us think, feel and act- and then put it in the back seat. Process any anger or fear you feel by journaling, exercising or talking it out with a trusted friend or therapist.
Health Coach Tip: If your feelings are really intense, often high intensity exercise or a really high energy yoga class is best before sitting down to journal or talk with anyone.
3. Slow down and make time for silence.
If at all possible, slow down the activity of your life. Let go of the attachment or addiction to being busy. A busy life is not necessarily a fulfilling life. Many spiritual teachers tell us that being busy is often a distraction from feeling. Ask yourself, “are you wearing your busy life as a badge of honor?”
Here are a few ways that I create space for silence in my daily life:
Each morning and evening (and sometimes throughout the day) I make time to practice the deep breathing exercise, called the 4-7-8 Breath (mentioned above), for five minutes to calm my mind. Find my demo of this technique here.
I create gaps in my calendar to allow for silence and non-activity. I consider this a spiritual practice and it requires saying “no” a lot and setting boundaries with my family and my business.
I’ve started following a “screen-free” day at least once a month where I keep my phone and computer off all day. I use this time to connect with friends and family in person, get out in nature or simply go about my day without a screen in front of my face. What a concept, right?
As often as possible, I sit in meditation. No, I’m not on the floor in full lotus pose with mala beads around my neck chanting mantras (though I love mantras). I’m just in my favorite chair, with Beats headphones covering my ears to drown out external noise. And I sit. Sometimes I breathe or I pray. I don’t do this every day, but it’s my goal.
4. Connect to a higher purpose or vision for your life.
This process is very personal and different for everyone, yet silence is key. Take time to sit with yourself in silence, be that in meditation, reading an inspirational book or listening to uplifting music. Connect with your own form of spirituality or religion in whatever way feels authentic for you.
In times of challenge or change, I find it helpful to remind myself of my purpose. As we speak I am looking around my office to see affirmations, goals and even my life mission statement carefully placed so that I see them every day. Maybe you aren't as dense as I am, but I need a lot of reminders. I want my mind focused on the good so I can keep my vibration high.
If you've lost your purpose or vision, take heart that it's still there, you just have to reconnect to it. Pray for courage (to your higher self, inner divine, God, Universe, whatever aligns with your beliefs). Check out inspirational podcasts, books and speakers. Chances are you'll learn from their experiences and it'll give you solace and comfort. Surround yourself with messages, affirmations and reminders that keep you focused on what you love about yourself and why you are excited about your future.
5. Recognize old patterns that keep you stuck.
Transformation can be overwhelming. There is so much to do and we often want to change everything all at once. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, but don’t let it get out of hand and keep you stuck.
In my work with my coaching clients, I often see an old pattern around the fear of success (or failure). In this situation, the client does feel overwhelmed, of course, as life is stressful, yet they are choosing to feel overwhelmed (unconsciously) so that they feel validated by lack of clarity and indecisiveness. As long as they are overwhelmed they don’t feel obligated to “put themselves out there” or create a BIG life.
So how do you get around this? Most experts and gurus say (and I agree with them) to create systems in your life (schedules, calendars, timelines, to do lists, etc.) that you commit to and do no matter how you feel. How you feel each day and in each moment no longer gauges what you do with your time and energy. By doing so you will create trust with yourself and the overwhelm may subside. It’s also helpful to remember that a meaningful life is often a stressful life. Ask yourself- am I chasing meaning or am I avoiding discomfort?
6. Get support.
This part is super important and it doesn't have to mean seeing a psychologist or therapist. In this day and age, support can come from a lot of places: books, podcasts, online courses, Facebook groups or other social media communities. All this being said, don't neglect good, old-fashioned connecting one-on-one. You gotta have it. Attend a spiritual retreat, church or support group that resonates with you. And get yourself there as often as you can.
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Angela Watson Robertson is a Certified Integrative Nutrition health coach, reiki master, yoga teacher, writer and wellness entrepreneur who teaches people from all over the world how to live an authentic and balanced life. Find her free recipes, wellness tips and programs at www.angelawatsonrobertson.com.