A Shift in Consciousness

Have you ever been a part of something so great, so special, so moving that it literally shifts your consciousness?  Moving you from one way of thinking to another?  Opening your eyes to possibilities you didn’t think exist?  Causing you to believe in something much bigger than your self?

This past weekend I took part in a retreat that literally shifted the way I look at the universe and my role within it.  We spent what felt like a week, but in reality was about 48 hours, on a secluded island in south-western Quebec.  It was beautiful, the most perfect example of Canadian cottage country.  Jagged rocks that set into a clear, blue lake.  Tall pines, maples, and birches that frame the view.  I really felt at home there.  The feel of the earth under my bare feet.  The moments I close my eyes and feel the sun and breeze on my face.  The sensation that takes over my body as I dip a toe in the cool waters.  And then the absolute silence that envelops me after I dive in and just float, underwater, for a few moments.  It’s perfection.

The time I spent up north was truly transformational for me.  I shared the space with ten other chiropractors who were all as engaged as I was in the process.  We were introduced early Friday morning and within minutes, there was this feeling of complete trust.  Which is necessary in a space that exposes vulnerabilities you didn’t think existed.

Honouring the privacy of the retreat, I will only share what I came away with.  These revelations are far from finalized and need much more contemplation for me.  But I can see that where I’m headed now is far from where I was headed before beginning this journey 6AM last Friday.

  • I am enough.  I’ve written about this in the past but it’s very easy for me to go through periods of feeling insecure and unsure.  I often don’t feel like I am enough for my husband, for my kids, for my family,  for my friends, for my patients, for you….but my biggest take away from this weekend was that I can’t possibly be enough for all of them unless I can own the fact that I am enough for me.
  • I love to create and cultivate meaningful connections with people.  I do this in the office, while adjusting, and through my other love of writing.  It’s something that I’ve wanted to do more of but have been scared to really jump into.  Fear of rejection, fear of exposing those vulnerabilities, fear of sounding crazy, and a fear of people (you) not resonating with my purpose.  I’m choosing to acknowledge and then quiet those fears.  I have committed to writing more and really putting myself out there to submit my articles to publications.  If they get picked up, great.  If not, I’m okay with it.  It’s the process of DOing that is more important to me than whether or not they are accepted at first.
  • My power hour.  Oh, I’ve missed it.  I’ve made up excuses (namely in the form of my beautiful daughter, Maggie, who doesn’t think sleep is necessary most nights) and I am now choosing to stop letting those excuses keep me from something that grounds me.  That morning time for me is crucial and it sets the tone of the day for me.  I recommitted to my power hour, despite rough nights of sleep, and the last two mornings I started my day with quality time to myself.  I’ve been gentle on myself by fluctuating the time a bit (moved it to 5:30ish), which gets me a bit of rest but still fills me with purpose.

I want to leave you with another big take aways from the retreat.  It was a simple thought that really puts into words how I feel each time I connect with someone in my office.  It helps me sift through the anxious thoughts in my head.

At-any-one-moment-in

You are exactly who you are meant to be right now.  I am exactly who I am meant to be right now.  Whether we are tired, rested, happy, sad, excited, emotional, feeling lost, feeling broken, feeling healed, in pain, sick, injured, emotionally drained, hurting, stressed, in balance, bored, engaged, or in any other physical or mental or spiritual state….we are exactly who we are meant to be.  And we are the most perfect expression of who we are meant to be.  Accepting that concept puts me at ease.  Even after a weekend that (quite honestly) turned my world upside down and is making me think about what it is I am doing and how I am expressing my life’s purpose, I feel at peace knowing that I have to be where I am now in order to get to where I will be in the future.  It’s not right, it’s not wrong…it just is.

Thanks for reading…until next time.

 

 

Advertisements

My 5 Favourite Things About A Spring Power Hour

5AM was tough this morning.  I didn’t want to get out of bed.  It would have been really easy to roll over and go back to sleep.  In fact, after turning off my alarm, I even laid there in bed, shut my eyes and justified it as meditating.  “Meditating” at 5:01AM, with my eyes closed, while lying in bed is not meditating.  It’s going back to sleep.

So, instead I gave myself a mental kick in the pants and dragged my butt out of bed.

Now as I sit here at my kitchen table and write this blog post, I’m glad I did.  For five reasons.

1.  The birds are chirping.  I can hear them and they sound lovely.  You know the saying “up before the birds”?  This morning, I was.  It wasn’t until I had started stretching that I heard my first tweeting morning companion.  And now it literally is a symphony out there.  It’s so beautiful and every once in a while I stop what I’m doing, close my eyes (to really try to meditate this time) and just listen.

2.  The sunrise.  I think it’s cloudy out this morning so I don’t know how much I’ll see but there is something so gratifying about watching the sun rise.  It comes up through my bay window that faces our backyard.  Through the trees, over the ravine, yesterday morning came up the most awesome orange sun.  It was breathtaking and made me so grateful to be awake to watch it.

3.  Going for a walk.  After being cooped up all winter, I am giddy to get outside and walk.  I don’t do it each morning but if I let my husband know the night before (so he’s aware that he’s getting the kids if one of them needs us), I plan for a walk.  I can watch the neighbourhood wake up around me, I can fill my lungs with fresh morning air, and I can get some early exercise into my day.

4.  I’m wearing only my pyjamas.  This sounds silly but I love that I don’t have to bundle up in my warmest pyjamas as well as wool socks and a sweat shirt to enjoy my power hour.  The temperature in our house hasn’t changed by more than a degree since mid February but yet now I only wear my light pyjamas. I’ve realized over this really cold, long, snowy, icy Canadian winter that I am really looking forward to a time in our future when we will live in the south.  I want to love winter.  I love the idea of partaking in all of the winter sports, but when spring comes out and I don’t have to wear three layers just to feel warm IN my home, I’m a much happier person.

5. Increased productivity.  I know this is my mind playing tricks on me but when I see that it’s light outside, I feel like I should be up and being as productive as possible.  To me,  light = daytime and daytime = time to get stuff done.  So when I see the sun rising and daylight fills the room I literally have this push to get more done.  And if I look back at what I used to do during winter power hours, I am definitely more efficient with my time now.  I feel energized and more awake (once I’m up) and this translates over into what I accomplish in the morning.

My increased productivity could also be because there is a challenge with spring power hours.  It being that not only do I feel more awake with the earlier sunrise, so does this one.

IMG_5694

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily, I also like playing in the morning.

More Power Hour goodness

I was really excited to see that an article I wrote on the awesomeness of the morning power hour was published on the Experience Life website this past Thursday.  You can check it out HERE.

On the same day, there was a great article that came through my Inbox from Robin Sharma.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll note that Sharma is one of my favourite authors.  I’ve listened to his podcasts, read his books, followed his blog, and seen many of his interviews.  This is what Robin had to share this morning about HOW to get up for a 5AM power hour.

He shares an awesome video at the bottom.  Enjoy and if you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to jump on his email list.  I have yet to be disappointed with his message and I think it will be a huge boost for you too.

Did you know we collectively spend 100,000,000 minutes a day playing Angry Birds on smartphones?

Did you know that most people spend 2 hours or more each day being distracted from doing important things that will deliver their dreams by watching dancing cats on YouTube?

Did you know that the more you allow yourself to be interrupted, the more you actually develop a brain that can’t focus?

It’s just unbelievable how many of us are spending the best hours of our days chasing trivial pursuits that add zero value to our lives.

It’s the #1 success destroyer these days…all these distractions that have invaded your best hours…

So how can you break free of “The Addiction to Distraction” so your days become WILDLY productive? And so you create a life you adore?

One of the absolute best ways I know of is learning how to wake up early. Get this one habit right and you’ll achieve more in one day than most people get done in one month.

FACT: From 5 am to 8 am are “The Golden Hours” that the most successful achievers in the world use to set up their days for success. The way you begin your day really does determine how you live your day.

These 3 hours are the hours of least distraction in your day. And when your energy is at its peak.

So in response to the thousands of requests, I took the time to shoot a new training video that shares the next piece of my formula for extreme achievement. It will teach you exactly how to get up early.

Follow the steps I share and you’ll be getting up early within a few days (so you can achieve important things).

Watch the “How to Get Up Early” video now

Down time

So, after reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain, I have confirmed that yes, I am an introvert.  It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knew me growing up.  I’ve learned to “come out of my shell” in social situations as an adult but for the most part, I’m content to stay at home, read a book, and be with my family and close friends.

September is our busiest month of the year.  We are at the Home Show this weekend, our annual appreciation BBQ is next weekend, I have a couple of workshops I’m presenting during the weeks, and of course we’re knee deep in back to school chaos.  Oh yes, and I am now three weeks away from Tough Mudder.  So, just a few things on my plate to keep me busy.

To keep me sane I am carving out time each day for down time.  I have my morning power hour which starts my day off right.  But I’m also creating time during the day to just enjoy silence.   Ahhhh, silence.  No kids.  No husband.  No dog.  No other people.  No music.  No TV.  No phone.  No computer.  Just me in either a quiet room or outside somewhere alone.

It’s sublime and it allows me to “be on” through the rest of the month.

sunday-solitude

Morning Power Hour Ideas

So this post from last week inspired a lot of conversation via email, twitter, Instagram, and in our office.  We’ve had a few new people join the 5 AM club for their morning power hour!  I’m stoked!  Not only because I know how powerful a morning power hour can be but because it’s an extra push in the morning if I know other 5 AM peeps like Rebecca, Karen, and Lindsay are all rolling out of bed at the same time!  You’re not alone, ladies!

I received a few requests to elaborate more on what to do in a morning power hour.  Here are some ideas to make the most of your power hour.

Tip #1 Babies are very good at interrupting you.  This is not the way to maximize your time during your power hour.  But this morning, as if to mock me writing this post, Maggie joined me at 5:06AM.

Power Hour Interrupted!

Power Hour Interrupted!

Now onto the good stuff.

1.  Start with tea.  I should really say start with stretching but it would be a big fat lie if I didn’t say I start with tea in the morning.  My new favourite is Almond Cookie from Hamley’s in Barrie.  It tastes and smells like an almond wafer.  It’s heaven in a cup when mixed with some stevia and heavy cream.

2.  Okay, now stretch for five minutes.  Stretch on your own (hmmmm, piriformis stretches are the best!) or grab a foam roller and roll out those muscles.  If you’re in Barrie, you can pick on up at our office!  Not sure how to foam roll?  Check out our video on how to do it.

…and here’s where it gets fun (really!  I promise!)

3.  Books.  I made a 2013 reading list of 24 books I want to read by the end of the year.  I’m on track to make that happen and part of it is that I not only commit to a minimum of 30 minutes each night before bed but I sometimes add in time during my morning power hour (15-30 minutes).

4.  Journal.  I used to be a collector of journals but I never wrote in them.  Until my friend and colleague, Dr. Amy Robinson, inspired me to finally fill up those pages.  She’s been journaling forever and has noted on many occasions how it has helped her stay connected, process thoughts, work through challenges, and more.  So, I now journal.  It’s also something I do right before bed if I don’t want to go to sleep with a string of thoughts running through my brain.

5.  Purpose Book.  Different than a journal.  I add to it once in a while but not often.  I created a book (picked up supplies at a local arts & crafts store) with the intention of each time I opened it I would be inspired.  The pages include (but are not limited to and continue to grow – if you have some new ideas for me, please share!)

  • A photo of my kids with the word “WHY” at the top.  Because they are my reason for working hard and creating an exceptional life.
  • A list of my values & value statements
  • My purpose.
  • A gratitude page
  • A list of affirmations
  • My kids bedtime affirmations
  • My life list (a bucket list)
  • A list of extraordinary people I want to meet
  • A list of extraordinary places I want to visit
  • Pages of quotes that inspire me
  • A list of books to read (which has since been moved to my Amazon page so that I can access it whenever I’m in a book store or just want to order online)
  • My goals for the year, broken down into quarterly objectives, both professional and personal.
  • A page dedicated to each of the following topics: health & fitness, intellectual life, emotional life, character, spiritual life, love relationships, parenting, social life, financial life, career, quality of life, and life vision.  I’ve written out what would be the ideal in each of these.  (This took a while and I’m often modifying.  I have a file in my computer with the same so I can add in/change as I see fit)
  • An ideal day in my office (my vision for what an ideal day for me is so that each time I read this, I can picture it in my mind with such clarity that as I move towards it, it becomes a reality)
  • A list of priorities for both my personal life and our office (a top ten list of things I would like to see in both areas)
  • A list of five things that would make 2013 my BEST YEAR YET (thanks Robin Sharma for this one!)
  • Pages with ideas from books I’ve read.  For example, the Six Steps of Success from Think & Grow Rich.
My Purpose Book

My Purpose Book

6.  Podcasts.  Find something relevant to your field or something that inspires you to be your best you.  Keep in mind I love inspirational information that revolves around health, parenting and self-development!  A few of my favourites are:

7.  Meditate.  I haven’t mastered this one yet.  I’m not even in the ball park.  Meditation to me often leads to sleep, which would be against the purpose of power hour.  But I’m willing to work on it.

8.  Movement.  Go for a walk.  Do yoga.  Lift some heavy stuff.  I tend to leave this stuff to my exercise routine but I like to shake things up sometimes.  If the mood strikes and it’s a beautiful morning, I’ll walk the dog down to the lake and just breathe.  It’s lovely.

I hope this inspires you and gives you some ideas to go on.  And please, share with me what you love to do with your power hour!  I’m always open to new ideas too.  I like to change things up, keep things fresh, and have fun with it.  And I never forget my tea.

Morning Power Hour what?

So this is a question I field a lot.  What is a morning power hour?  Quickly followed up by the question “Why the hell would you do that?” The allure of the power hour can easily be misunderstood.  It’s early (5 AM).  It’s quiet.  It’s dark.  It’s honestly awesome.

I had heard of the morning power hour from so many different people for so many years.  Back in college, I would listen to Chiropractors talk about the benefits of getting up before everyone else in order to achieve greatness in their lives.  But here was the thing.  It sounded…..early.  And really?  What could I get done at 5AM that I couldn’t get done at any other time during the day?  In my head nothing.  I couldn’t rationalize or justify losing out on sleep.

It took the great Robin Sharma (one of my favourite authors) to finally convince me that a morning power hour would do me good.

So one morning I got up at 5AM.  I dragged myself downstairs, made a cup of tea, and sat myself down on the floor in our livingroom.  I stretched for a few minutes and then literally drew a blank.  I had all of these great ideas as to what a power hour would consist of.  I thought of reading.  I thought of writing out goals.  I thought of writing down affirmations.  I thought of listening to TED talks.  But I wasn’t sure where to begin.  What would make the biggest impact?  I spent the rest of my first power hour in confusion and ended up not getting much accomplished at all.

Onto morning number two.  Got up.  Made tea.  Stretched.  I spent most of my second morning power hour thinking of sleeping.  It’s even possible that I fell asleep on the couch in an attempt to mediate.  Because meditation would be purposeful, right?

Day three required some thought.  I literally spent the entire hour writing down everything I wanted to accomplish and then prioritized it.  For me, it was important to create my version of a Purpose book.  So I spent the first two weeks worth of morning power hours creating it.  I would read it over and over again, as I added pages.  My why, my purpose, my values, my ideal day, a list of places I wanted to visit, a list of people I wanted to meet, my “bucket list”, etc.  It gave me a good start.

Two weeks later though I was ready for something new.  My experience is that I need order.  Organization.  (Just ask my mom…I used to have the most organized day planner when paper day planners were still a “thing”. I colour coded work, school, activities, and more.  It was very pretty.)  So, I made a list that I could refer to each morning until my morning power hour became natural.

A sample week of morning power hours.

A sample week of morning power hours.

This helped significantly.  Literally I would look at my list the night before and be prepared for what I would accomplish the next morning.

Your morning power hour is all about you.  There is no greater investment that you can make than an investment in yourself.  Invest in your own knowledge and skills.  Become a better, smarter, more efficient YOU.  Your morning power hour will be a huge game changer.  You will feel accomplished.  You will feel energized.  You will feel rejuvenated.  It sets the tone for my day.

Why the hell would I do a morning power hour at 5AM?  Why the hell would I not?  There are two reasons that keep me sleeping in bed:

1) I’m under the weather and literally need more sleep to function throughout my day.

2) One of my kids was up multiple times through the night and I got less than 6 hours sleep.

Other than those two reasons, I am up and ready for time for ME.  I promise you that it would be the single most influential action step you can put into your life starting tomorrow.