Moving beyond where we usually stop requires a lot of breath... but practical tools can also make a big difference. Here are twelve of my favorite tools to support people to “go beyond!”
Most of us stop-short when it comes to sharing our feelings, particularly when we face certain types of people, EG a difficult boss or co-worker, or a family member who refuses to see us as the adult we have become. Your voice is a powerful tool and can support you to “move beyond,” simply by opening your mouth. This is not meant as license to be nasty... but perhaps you can go further than you have in the past and express with compassion exactly how you feel.
2) Use the men’s/women’s room
When the men’s room is the same as the women’s room with nothing different than a sign on the door, it might be time to stop “holding it in.” Most of us have rules in our lives that can be stretched, challenged or discussed. Self-imposed rules are the easiest to challenge, since we put them there in the first place! I’m not advocating breaking the law or being unsafe but sometimes you just have to challenge the rules.
3) Ask “What will it take?”
Stuck-ness often arises when two people battle for control. I have found this simple question powerful for breaking log-jams. When you ask “what it will take,” you can then look with objectivity to see if you are willing. It might be easier to move forward than you think. This question might also facilitate negotiation of a mutually acceptable solution. But unless you ask, there might be no movement.
4) Clean-up messes
I’ve found this to be an important ongoing practice. Movers are nimble, and it’s hard to leap when you carry the weight of unfinished business in relationships... or the clutter of messy closets... with you wherever you go. I’ve found that ongoing clean-up is an important practice, just like physical exercise. It requires discipline... each day I try to bring more order by the end of the day than at the start... and it pays a big dividend; I feel ready for whatever comes next.
5) Don’t settle
Make a list of the things in life that you tolerate. Take action to change just one of those items and chances are excellent that your life will move. Movers don’t settle.
6) Look for magic in the storm
Change can be very difficult but if you can welcome and even celebrate change, life becomes richer. Emotions and circumstances move like waves and the better you become at celebrating this inevitability, the quicker you will respond to the new circumstances that greet you on your journey.
7) Be a “Yes”
Each day brings so many new opportunities, yet some people seem so invested in their own agenda that they greet life with nothing but a negative attitude. Be open to spontaneity and invitations... relationships will move, and life becomes richer.
8) Be a “No”
If you are someone who takes care of everyone around you, then “No” might be your new mantra. For compulsive caregivers, “no” might be access to moving beyond, and to finally taking care of yourself. Seek a balance that works for you.
9) Trust your inner voice
The answers might already be there, if you can quiet your mind and see them. Moving beyond might be as simple as trusting what you always knew to be true, but were perhaps afraid to trust or hear. Use your breath to support a quiet mind, and perhaps new answers will materialize in the stillness.
10) Re-train your environment
Your identity is familiar to your peers and loved ones... people are accustomed to your behavior even if that behavior isn’t working for you! Each relationship in your life is a dynamic work-in-progress. Edit your behavior and announce your new commitments. You might just find that people welcome these changes and will perhaps even remind you of your declarations, thus providing welcome support should you lapse into old habits.
11) Don’t ask “why”
This question is generally a trap, especially when applied to spouses (EG, “Why do you always throw your underwear on the floor right next to the laundry hamper?”) or to feelings (EG, “Why do I always feel inadequate when I meet new people?”). Asking “why” only seems to perpetuate that which we most want to change. A great re-frame is to include a “need-declaration” which might actually cause the circumstances to move in the future. “When you throw your underwear on the floor, I feel like you don’t respect our home. I need our space to clean and ordered,” is a declaration that reinforces values and allows full self-expression. “I notice I am feeling inadequate. I need to breathe.”
12) Retain a sense of humor
After thousands of hours in coaching sessions, I’ve noticed that the clients who keep “unstuck” are quick to let-go of the significance of their circumstances. When we cling to the meaning of circumstances, “stuckness” usually results. I got an email today from a friend who faces cancer surgery next week but her message was one of humor and lightness. She has no choice about her surgery but she has chosen to face her circumstances in a way that will likely promote faster healing. There is great power in humor and detachment, no matter how big or small the day’s challenges might be.
"Moving Beyond" is an experiential workshop first offered
at Kripalu Center in January 2009. The next workshop at Kripalu will be
January 24-27, 2010. Please
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Copyright 2009 Empower, LLC