30 December 2008

A Purposeful Day!

Habari Gani? NIA!

What’s the news? Purpose!

Today we celebrate the fifth day of Kwanzaa, that beautiful week-long festival honoring African heritage by giving thanks to our first fruits of the harvest. Today’s principle is my personal favorite: NIA or Purpose.

The day, NIA, speaks of making our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

This is my hope too for this community of passionate and purposeful women (and men); to build up this community by being an active part and by taking and exercising your power as purposeful creators. You have the power to think, to choose, to decide, and to act. How will you exercise your power? Or, have you given your power away?

How do we give our power away? By allowing anger, resentment and unforgiveness to clog your hearts and cloud your judgment. Set someone free this new year’s day, and you will indeed set yourself free. Live your life with and on purpose.

Blessed and prosperous New Year’s to you all!
Coach Carolyn

19 December 2008

Live on Purpose

"Even the fear of death is nothing compared to the fear of not having lived authentically and fully." ~ Frances Moore Lappe

"Your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be." ~ Raymond Charles Barker

Are you living the life you were created to live? Or, are you living someone else's idea of your life story? It is never too late to begin again. Remember, we are "becoming."

Life is about constant change. The word change comes from the Old English meaning "to become." Life is about changing, about becoming.

How are you showing up for your life? Remember, your life is what you deicde it will be.

Live on purpose!
Coach Carolyn

09 December 2008

Expect A Miracle Each Day

During this time of the year, we tend to want things and expect to receive them, coming in the form of holiday presents. Yet, what about the rest of the year? We want things then too, don’t we? Do we ask for them? Or do we simply make a wish and wait for a birthday or another special day of the year.

Do you know that it is your birthright to receive miracles? When was the last time you asked for a miracle? Do you awake every morning and ask for your miracle? Why not? I am taking this opportunity to invite you to ask for and expect to receive a miracle.

Miracles come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They are not all ginormous, lightning bolt sized, split-open-the-sky types either. Some miracles are quite small but make a great impact. Babies are born everyday, yet for each family, it is considered a miracle. An “aha moment” is a miracle. Anything that changes you just a bit is a miracle. Remember, it is all a matter of perspective.

So, just for today, ask for and expect a miracle. And remember to be grateful for it.

Peace, blessings, and miracles!
Coach Carolyn

01 December 2008

World AIDS Day

“Presidents and prime ministers, doctors and lawyers, scientists and schoolteachers, chief executives and trade union leaders, religious groups and communities, and – critically – people living with HIV, are coming together in a brilliant coalition that has proved that, with clear targets and strong commitment, we can move mountains.” ~ UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot, 2008 World AIDS Day message

After the Thanksgiving leftovers have been devoured, we turn our attention to what Thanksgiving really means. It means being thankful for all that one has and to pray for those who go without. We also hold in our hearts and minds those who are suffering, particularly this day, for those who suffer from HIV and AIDS.

On this World AIDS Day, we are still battling this pandemic after 27 years. Thirty-three million people worldwide are still living with this deadly disease. As Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS states, there is reason for celebration, yet still reason for concern. Though we have made progress with HIV prevention programs, there are still areas in the world where such programs are non-existent. This affects all of us, especially our children. Nearly half of all AIDS cases in the U.S. involve people 13 to 24 years of age.

10 Basic Facts on HIV and AIDS

It is your right to know...

§ AIDS is caused by HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, which damages the body's defense system. People who have AIDS become weaker because their bodies lose the ability to fight all illnesses. They eventually die. There is no cure for HIV.

§ The onset of AIDS can take up to ten years from the time of infection with the HIV virus. Therefore a person infected with HIV may look and feel healthy for many years, but he or she can still transmit the virus to someone else. New medicines can help a person stay healthier for longer periods of time, but the person will still have HIV and be able to transmit HIV.

§ HIV is transmitted through HIV-infected bodily fluids. HIV is transmitted through the exchange of any HIV-infected bodily fluids. Transfer may occur during all stages of the infection/disease. The HIV virus is found in the following fluids: blood, semen (and pre-ejaculated fluid), vaginal secretions, breast milk.

§ HIV is most frequently transmitted sexually. That is because fluids mix and the virus can be exchanged, especially where there are tears in vaginal or anal tissue, wounds or other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). Girls are especially vulnerable to HIV infection because their vaginal membranes are thinner and more susceptible to infection than those of mature women.

§ People who have Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are at greater risk of being infected with HIV. People who have STIs are at greater risk of being infected with HIV and of transmitting their infection to others. People with STIs should seek prompt treatment and avoid sexual intercourse or practice safer sex (non-penetrative sex or sex using a condom), and inform their partners.

§ The risk of sexual transmission of HIV can be reduced if people do not have sex, if uninfected partners have sex only with each other or if people have safer sex – sex without penetration or using a condom. The only way to be completely sure to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV is by abstaining from all sexual contact.

§ People who inject themselves with drugs are at high risk of becoming infected with HIV. HIV can also be transmitted when the skin is cut or pierced using an unsterilized needle, syringe, razorblade, knife or any other tool. People who inject themselves with drugs or have sex with drug users are at high risk of becoming infected with HIV. Moreover, drug use alters people's judgment and can lead to risky sexual behaviour, such as not using condoms.

§ Contact a health worker or an HIV/AIDS centre to receive counseling and testing. Anyone who suspects that he or she might have been infected with HIV should contact a health worker or an HIV/AIDS centre in order to receive confidential counseling and testing. It is your right. (Article 24 of the Convention on the rights of the child).

§ HIV is not transmitted by everyday contact. HIV is not transmitted by: hugging, shaking hands; casual, everyday contact; using swimming pools, toilet seats; sharing bed linens, eating utensils, food; mosquito and other insect bites; coughing, sneezing.

§ Everyone deserves compassion and support. Discriminating against people who are infected with HIV or anyone thought to be at risk of infection violates individual human rights and endangers public health. Everyone infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS deserves compassion and support. (Article 2 of the Convention on the rights of the child).

Education is the path to prevention and healing. Inform yourself of the facts about HIV and AIDS. Ignorance leads to death.

Sometimes we may feel powerless in the face of such an epidemic. Fear not! You need not feel helpless or powerless, there are things that you can do. For more information on how to help and what you can do, visit BlogCatalog's Blogger Unite Challenge Page.

Remember, it only takes one to make a difference.

In peace,
Coach Carolyn

26 November 2008

Using Spiritual Practices

Our Becoming a Woman of Purpose Meetup met last weekend. I want to say thank you ladies for coming out on a frigid afternoon, I appreciate you all.

We talked about spiritual practices ~ some tips on how to use them and some examples of specific ones. One very important tip is to just do it! It is not about being perfect, but being centered and at peace. This you will never accomplish if you just don’t start already! Never mind about how it looks or sounds to anyone else, this is your journey and your practice. It looks however you need it to look for it to work for you.

Another tip is to have no expectations. It is said that expectations are future rejections. When I expect someone to do something, and they do not; it is not the person that has let me down, but my expectation of them. Go into everything with an open heart and an open mind. This is critical for spiritual practices because when you have expectations, chances are something will come up that is not in line with what you expected. Then what? You give up because it didn’t go according to your plan. In the realm of the spirit, nothing goes according to your plan. This is an important lesson to keep handy. I can do the same practice two days in a row and each day presents something different. Why? Because I am different. I am feeling something different, I am experiencing something new and different, or I am just in a funky place at the time.

One of our newest members shared her spiritual practice of meditation. She remarked how centered and peaceful she feels once she has had her meditation time; and how empty she feels when she does not meditate. Another member shared that she creates vision boards and this is very calming for her.

There is no set practice ~ whatever you do to connect you with the divinity that is within you and outside of you is your practice. I shared my four main practices: prayer and contemplation; spiritual reading; silence and solitude; and journaling. I can definitely feel the effects when one or all of those practices go unchecked. For silence and solitude, I take myself on an Artist Date; just me, my journal and my pen. No friends, family or pets. No distractions, just time to be with yourself, to get to know yourself more.

If you are a newbie to spiritual practices, there are two sites that I have found to very useful: One is Beliefnet – whatever your belief system, this site will accommodate you. It offers prayers, meditations, news and views on all things of a spiritual and religious nature. The other site is Spirituality and Health, named for the magazine. Try one or both sites to jumpstart or spice up your spiritual practice.

I also shared a ritual I use for ending my day: every evening I do a self-inquiry of my day. I answer three questions:
*What have I learned today?
*What have I enjoyed today?
*What have I improved or contributed to today?

Then I list five things I am grateful for that day. Instead of going to sleep anxious and worried about the day or the next day, this sets the tone for restful and peaceful sleep. When you wake up, set an intention for your day.

What would you like the day to look like? Ex., a day full of peace-filled conversations with no drama!

How do you want to feel? I want to feel peaceful and grateful all day, not worried or stressed.

Also, if you have a petty tyrant, that special person whose job it is to constantly annoy you, set an intention that your petty tyrant won’t annoy you today. And if s/he does, it won’t bother you; you will remain in a state of peace and goodwill. It may sound hokey, but when done in the proper spirit, it does work and you will notice the difference. As a coach, teacher and speaker, I have many petty tyrants. Yet, I see them as my teachers ~ they are in my life to teach me something. Yet, I simply remain open and grateful for the lessons and the blessings that come. This is what consistently doing spiritual practices has taught me ~ to be more open and look for the light instead of expecting the darkness.

I would love to hear what spiritual practices work for you. Please share them with us.

In peace and gratitude,
Coach Carolyn

Saying Thank You

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice." ~ Meister Eckhart

During this time of the year, being thankful is top of mind. We recall the sacrifices made for us to partake of the liberties we have come to enjoy and in some cases, take for granted. One of my spiritual practices is a gratitude list. Every evening I list five things I am grateful for that day. I just learned from one of my coaches yet another practice with the gratitude list. In the morning, list five things that you can be grateful for before they even happen. It helps set an intention for the day.

Out of my gratitude, I remember to say “thank you.” Two simple words yet so profound in meaning and impact. Think about what happens to the recipient of a “thank you,” a smile crosses their face, their manner is a bit lighter, and they are inclined to do more for you. A simple “thank you” begets more favor. You too are lifted when you bestow this simple yet effortless act of kindness and gratitude.

So, just for today, remember to say “thank you.” It may be all you need to say.

To my friends in the United States, I wish you a warm and blessed Happy Thanksgiving Day, and thank you for your continued love, encouragement and support. You are all warmly held in my heart.

Coach Carolyn

21 November 2008

Living in Radical Gratitude

We are truly abundant when we can live in a state of radical gratitude. Though simple gratitude is wonderful enough; radical gratitude takes us to places that are beyond our deepest imaginings. Being grateful means recognizing and appreciating all of the material abundance in our lives. We acknowledge our means and give thanks for them. Living in a state of radical gratitude means not only acknowledging those material and tangible things, but also acknowledging the intangibles as well. Those are the things we most take for granted because we cannot readily see and touch them in our lives. It is not until tragedy strikes that we begin to really see those things that are unseen to the naked eye.

There are the simple things to give thanks for: shelter, food, clothing, and some means to have all of our basic needs provided for. Yet, there are those things that we do overlook: a loved one’s smile, a mass transit system that gets us where we need to go, a reliable though slow computer, running water. It is usually when our loved one frowns upon us that we take notice and complain, rather than appreciating and thanking them for the smile. We do notice when the water stops running so freely as opposed to giving thanks for the countless times the water does flow effortlessly.

It has been said that until we acknowledge the small things, the big things will continue to elude us. I have found this to be the case. It is when I can truly acknowledge and appreciate all the small things, the intangible things in my life, that I see an increase in the larger things. Radical gratitude is seeing all of those small, insignificant things. It is also seeing those people, things and circumstances that seem not so kind: the rude boss, the loss of a dear one, an illness. It is difficult to find anything to be grateful for in those situations. Yet, this is the time for radical gratitude. Those are the moments in our lives that try and test our resolve; showing our true strength and stamina.

I have had many losses in my life, some worse than others. I am constantly asked how I stay so positive in those moments of crisis. My answer is radical gratitude. I always say to myself it could be much worse; others have it much worse than I, and this is a lesson to grow me and a blessing to show me that grace abounds. When those moments of crisis occur, that is the time to think less of myself and more of others. This can be a hard thing to do, especially when you are in some emotional pain. The pain will change and soften, if not totally disappear. But until that time, you are not meant to sit and suffer. Remember, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Instead of choosing to suffer, make the choice to reach out and help another person who is also in pain. It will ease the pain for both of you.

There is a Native American proverb which states, “When you share your grief, it is halved; but when you share your joy, it is doubled.” There is also a line in the famous Peace Prayer attributed to Francis of Assisi that states, “It is in giving that we receive.” I take these two quotes very much to heart. It is through the losses that I can live in these two sayings. Loss brings with it grief, and grief brings the healing and the growth to step into a new light. Radical gratitude helps you step into that new light. With radical gratitude comes an awareness of our own finiteness, therefore bringing us to a place of deep reverence for all that we have been privileged to receive. When I can live from that place of radical gratitude, then I can witness to the abundance in my life.

May you be radically grateful,
Coach Carolyn

03 November 2008

Using Spiritual Practices ~ Part One

“Spiritual practice supports the development of personal power. Spiritually powerful people are not necessarily people who do so much, as they are people around whom things get done.” ~ From A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

I have a great many tasks and projects that I work on from day to day. I don’t consider myself busy, as I consider myself productive. We can be extremely busy, but produce nothing at the end of the day. When the day is done, I want to have something to show for the time and effort I spent on an assignment. As one of my spiritual practices, I assess my day; evaluating how my time was spent and what was truly accomplished.

I have several spiritual practices, and they have become just that, practices. It took time to develop them into a daily habit. Like brushing our teeth and showering, spiritual practices are to be done until they are very comfortable and natural. You miss them when you cannot do them.

The only time my spiritual practices are out of sync is when I am traveling. So I have adapted a travel version of my practices so that I can do them when I am on a plane, train, bus, or traveling by car. I love my travel practices, because when I am traveling, I love the motion. I find this very soothing and meditating, thus being conducive to putting me in a peaceful state. I am good at shutting other people and noises out. (Don’t know if this is a good thing or just plain rude, but it works for me!)

At our next Becoming a Woman of Purpose Meetup, we will be discussing the ins and outs of using spiritual practices. For me personally, I could not do all that I do if I did not have spiritual practices. I would not be as peaceful or as focused. When I feel less than peaceful and less than focused, I know that I have my practices to fall back on. I can do them anytime.

If you are looking for the peace, the calm, the focus in your life, consider attending the next Meetup gathering. If you cannot attend, look for the follow-up posts and notes. I may also do a teleseminar if there is enough interest. Looking forward to your thoughts on this one.

May you be at peace,
Coach Carolyn

29 October 2008

Bathroom Blogfest “08: Toilets and WC’s

Woohoo! Another year and another Bathroom Blogfest. This year’s theme: Cleaning Up Forgotten Spaces Around Us.

So, when I participated in this Bathroom Blogfest last year, I had just returned from France, with the bathroom experiences there. This year, I just returned from Italy. It may seem like I am this awesome world traveler, so if you think that, keep thinking it! I do like the sound of it. I do get around quite a bit and I get to experience a lot of loos.

The French WC’s (that’s water closet for you non-French speakers) were not exactly stellar. As a matter of fact, they were downright nasty. It pays to wear skirts and dresses, nothing to drag on the wet floors. Talk about cleaning up the forgotten spaces; well, the French WC’s were totally forgotten. And toilet tissue? Well, what’s that? Luckily, I pack my own supplies.

So this year I can squeal on the Italian toilets. After my experience in France, I knew I had better pack toilet stuff. My backpack included a healthy supply of tissues, napkins, and hand sanitizer. I was pleasantly surprised that I did not have to resort to my stash very often. The toilets were clean and stocked. Some of our group complained that there were no toilet seats. This did not bother me as I am a professional squatter.

I am tickled about the bidets in the hotel bathrooms. I still don’t know exactly what to do with one, so I guess I didn’t need it. After all, I don’t own a bidet. Yes, I know I can go to Wikipedia and find out all about bidets, but you know what? I really don’t want to know.

Italian toilets are up there for me. Didn’t have to do too much cleaning up as the spaces in Italy were never forgotten. And I frequented many of them. Whenever there was a bathroom break, I was first in line. And it wasn’t because I drank so much water; I could not stand the taste of the water; as water should not have a taste. I preferred water with gas. But that’s another blogfest – natural or gas water. My point is, I visited a lot of toilets. Oh, I must confess. Don’t you love confessions?

One of the toilets cost 50 cents. Imagine, charging you money to take a leak! Anyway, I being cheap didn’t have the 50 cents. So what’s a signorina to do? No, I did not jump the turnstile. If anything, I would crawl under; though I am tall and that would be painful. I went through with another woman. Thank you, dear Catherine, my toilet sister!

Yes, I have had some funky bathroom experiences abroad. Must write a book about it someday. Next week I go to Cleveland. Can’t wait to christen those loos! This could be a whole new job for me – journeying to bathrooms around the world. Then, I would blog about them. Until then, see you in the loo. I’ll bring the tissues!

~ Carolyn

Check out my Bathroom Blogfest sisters and see what they are up to:

Susan Abbott at Customer Experience Crossroads
Katia Adams at Transcultural Marketing
Shannon Bilby at Floor Talk!
Laurence Borel at Blog Till You Drop
Jo Brown and the blogging team at Kohler Talk
Lisbeth Calandrino at Lisbeth Calandrino
Sara Cantor at The Curious Shopper
Becky Carroll at Customers Rock!
Katie Clark at Practical Katie
Iris Shreve Garrott at Circulating
Ann Handley at Annarchy
Marianna Hayes at Results Revolution
Elizabeth Hise and C.B. Whittemore at The Carpetology Blog
Maria Palma at Customers Are Always
Sandra Renshaw at Purple Wren
Kate Rutter at Adaptive Path
Claudia Schiepers at Life and its little pleasures
Stephanie Weaver at Experienceology
C.B. Whittemore at Flooring The Consumer

05 October 2008

Be of Service ~ On Purpose

"We don't get our lives together and then give them to God, but rather we give our lives to God and then things start coming together. As our hearts open, our talents and gifts begin to blossom. Many people have told me that once they're successful and have made a lot of money, they will use that success to help the world. But that's a delay technique by which the ego tries to keep us from showing up fully in our own lives. Even if we don't yet consider ourselves successful, we can devote our work now to being used in the service of the healing of the world. From that point of power our careers will take off."

From A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson.

May you be of service to all ~ on purpose,
Coach Carolyn

30 September 2008

Be On Purpose

Nothing in life can take the place of knowing your purpose. If you don't try to discover your purpose, you're likely to spend your life doing the wrong things.

I believe that God created every person for a purpose. As psychologist, Viktor Frankl said, "Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life. Everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus everyone's task is as unique as his specific opportunity to implement it." Each of us has a purpose for which we were created. Our responsibility - and our joy - is to identify it.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you identify your purpose:

For what am I searching? All of us have a strong desire set in our hearts, something that speaks to our deepest thoughts and feelings, something that sets our souls on fire.

Why was I created? Think about the unique mix of abilities you have, the resources available to you, your own personal history, and the opportunities around you.

Do I believe in my potential? No one can consistently act in a manner inconsistent with the way he sees himself.

When do I start? The answer to that question is "NOW."

From Your Road Map for Success by Dr. John C. Maxwell.

Be You On Purpose,
Coach Carolyn

22 September 2008

Doing Charity ~ On Purpose

Part of being a woman of purpose is tapping into issues that are greater than ourselves and giving back, to our own individual communities and to the global community. The Bonita Trust is one such charity. Founded by billionaire entrepreneur Ruth Parasol in 2004 as an independent philanthropic charity, Bonita was created to give back to the communities in which they, the company, and its staff live and work, past and present.

Bonita focuses the majority of its grant-making in five geographic areas: the United Kingdom, India, Israel, Bulgaria and Gibraltar ~ where the company is based. The Bonita Trust is committed to enriching the community through programs geared to health issues ~ prevention and treatment; enterprise and education ~ through technology and leadership development for women; and culture and heritage.

Our online and real time communities of Becoming a Woman of Purpose is committed to the spiritual empowerment and enrichment of women and the issues that concern them. When we are troubled within, this bleeds to the outside and infects as well as affects all areas of our lives. The Bonita Trust is also committed to building community and making a tangible impact on the lives of the people in the community, especially women and children.

Ruth Parasol, born in San Francisco, currently lives in Gibraltar with her husband Russ DeLeon and their three children. To see more of the work of The Bonita Trust, please visit their website http://www.ruthparasol-bonitatrust.org/.

21 September 2008

What’s Holding You Back?

When we are stuck or in a state of uncertainty, it is difficult to move forward on our dreams and intentions. We are inclined to stay in that state of uncertainty instead of moving forward to a place of unknown. Yet, when we think about it, every move forward is a move into the unknown. We take the risk when we are certain that it will benefit us, or if it is a life and death situation; for example, staying in a passionless job because you are afraid of not being able to pay the bills. We resign ourselves to a life of drudgery instead of trusting the process and ourselves and taking a leap of faith.

Our last Becoming a Woman of Purpose Gathering was about those things that hold us back. The most common reason is fear. I believe fear is a catch all phrase for us not knowing and trusting ourselves and the process. If we can truly trust in ourselves, knowing who we are, it is less difficult to take that leap. I still ask the ladies, “Who are you?” and with the exception of my most diligent members (shout out to my girl Jennifer, woot!), no one can fully answer the question. Why is this? Because it is easier to stay stuck, not taking full responsibility for one’s life, than to make decisions that might get you what you want, or might get you evicted. I am by no means saying to make these decisions without proper planning. This planning is all part of the process called life. It pains me that so many women are not in touch with who they really are and what they truly want out of life. Oh yes, we know what we don’t want, but what do we want? Can we name it? Can we allow it once it shows up?

Stopping is a spiritual action

This can be a sticking point for some people, because stopping may seem like resigning or being lazy. This is far from the truth. There is stopping actions all throughout our lives, for a reason. We stop at red lights in order to allow someone else to move. Yet, when we are stopped at a red light, we tap our feet anxiously wanting the light to hurry up and change so we can move on. Move on to what? Just move! Stopping allows us to read the signs of the times, within our own lives and intentions. How can we know what we truly want if we do not take a moment to stop and ask ourselves? Then, if we keep moving like the hamster on the treadmill, and the thing we want shows up, will we stop long enough to allow and receive it? I say we do not and we miss the opportunity.

Once we take the time to stop, we ask ourselves what do we want and when do we want it? Do not worry about how we get it, that part is none of our business. Our part is to just show up in a state of allowing and receiving. We ask for what we want, then promptly negate the request. For example, we may want a new home. Yet, we say but I cannot afford it, the market is bad for buyers, how will I make the payments, on and on and on. Just state the intention, and then allow it to come. You cannot state an intention when you don’t know what the intention is. Stop and ask the questions. Some questions to consider:

Where am I in my life right now?
Where do I want to be right now?
What is the gap between the two?
What do I need to do to bridge that gap?

Also, remain in a state of gratitude. When we are grateful, we are not in a negative place. Remember, love and fear cannot co-exist. When we are in one state, we cannot be in the other. Which state are you choosing? And remember, it is your choice.

Live your life on purpose!
Coach Carolyn

17 September 2008

Walking for the Cure ~ On Purpose

“When you get to the end of all the light you know, and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.” ~ Edward Teller

Through all of our trials and transitions, one of the deadliest of all is a diagnosis of cancer. Women are being diagnosed at a very high rate and we need to love and support all of our sisters who are victims and survivors. In my effort to equip, empower and encourage women and girls, this includes all parts of woman: spiritual, emotional, physical, and socially. I have met many, many survivors and known many who have succumbed to the brutality of the cancer fight. My own family is no exception. So, I am making an appeal and asking for your help.

My dear friend and sister Gina Colicci has committed to walk a 26.2 mile marathon this coming January to fund leukemia research. Gina and her sister Toni Marie lost their beloved mother Frances to leukemia in 2006. Although Frances lived to see Toni Marie walk down the aisle, she did not live to see the birth of Toni’s son, Nicholas. This is Gina’s first marathon and she is walking to put an end to this killer disease through research. Twenty years ago being diagnosed with leukemia was almost a guaranteed death sentence. Today, due to leukemia research, nearly four out of the five children diagnosed with leukemia are cured and four out of ten adults are cured. Ten times as many adults are stricken; so we still have quite a bit of work to do.

Finding the cure for leukemia is the key to finding the cure to all cancers. The treatment of many varieties of cancer today, use chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation, both of which have evolved from leukemia research. By raising money, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society can continue funding cutting edge research.

I know Gina’s and Toni’s story, yet there are thousands of others whom I don’t know. By raising money for funding, countless stories can have a happier ending. Through your help of financial donations, prayers and positive energy, we can continue to fund the research needed to eradicate this deadly disease. Help give the thousands of untold stories a happy ending.

To donate, please visit Gina’s page at http://pages.teamintraining.org/wch/pfchangs09/gcolicci to make a secure donation online. Also, email me your stories, and I will pass them on to Gina. She walks for her mom, but she also walks for all of us.

Live in peace and love,
Coach Carolyn

12 September 2008

Women in Transition’s Peace Ritual

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." ~ Albert Schweitzer

I know I always say this, but I will continue to say it. Last evening’s Women in Transition gathering was the best ever! It was a wonderful group of women who came together to share deeply on their memories of September 11, 2001 and the lasting impact it had on their lives. Then we lit candles to those memories, honoring the memories as touchpoints for life. It was a very powerful ritual as the women shared things that were never reflected on before.

After our opening song and sharing, I read out the famous quote from A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

This quote sparked a lot of conversation. In the candle lighting ritual, I wanted us to be reminded that we are a reflection of the light shining from those flames. That light burns brightly within each and every one of us. When we give light to someone else, it takes nothing away from our light, only causes it to burn brighter. Lighting another candle does not diminish our own light. Being light not only extinguishes the darkness but also fear. Love and fear cannot co-exist, just as light and darkness cannot co-exist. We have the power to choose love or fear, light or darkness. May we choose wisely.

One of the wonderful lessons that came out of that very awful and tragic day was that it gave us as a nation permission to grieve publicly. One of the things we are taught from the beginning is to suck it up and bear it. This is absolutely bad advice for a human being; for a robot or non-human, maybe. As a human being living a fully authentic life, part of that authenticity is honoring all feelings; realizing that they are just feelings, they are not who you are. Feelings are not facts, as the slogan goes.

At this gathering, we gave ourselves permission not only to grieve and to remember, but to completely honor the process, knowing that we come out stronger with more courage and confidence. Of course, I believe that any woman that walks into a room full of strangers and can bear her heart and soul is already courageous and confident.

One of my takeaways from the evening was that going through any life altering event brands you with the responsibility of journeying with another along the way. If you have had a significant loss, you are now a teacher to guide someone else through that kind of experience. We do not experience grief, loss and pain just for its own sake; there is a reason for its presence in your life. You now become light to someone who is in the darkness of their own grief and pain.

Look for the lessons and the blessings of each experience, especially the painful and traumatic ones. Our tendency is to just ask “Why is this happening to me?” then curl up in bed and pull the covers over our heads. Yes, that is an option. Another option is to question each experience: “Why are you here?” “Why are you here now?” “What do I take from this experience?” Then just sit with the questions. Do not look for the answers; the answers will come when you are ready to receive them.

Women in Transition Groups meet every second Thursday of the month at the Elizabeth Seton Women’s Center. When you are ready for the process and need guidance with your dimly-lit candle, come and join us to help brighten your own light.

Shine your light and live in peace,
Coach Carolyn

27 August 2008

Making Agreements ~ A Question

Greetings Purposeful Divas and Divos!

Just wanted to share an email I received concerning making, breaking and negotiating agreements. I believe it can benefit other women as well.

Thanks so much for sending this recap. It is extremely useful and full of wonderful ideas. I wish I was not out of town and could have attended.

If someone breaks an agreement with you...say a lover who cheats on you...what could one say to share ones feelings in an adult, honest, loving way and not angry and then renegotiate a new agreement?

Much appreciation and gratitude for your insights.


Your question is a good one and one that I am sure lots of people are dealing with. When we speak of making agreements, we also mean making agreements with ourselves; all this comes down to trust.

Do you trust yourself enough to make and re-negotiate an agreement? If not, how can you trust another? We expect significant others to do for us what we will not do for ourselves.

Did you make an agreement with the other person? I don't mean a hap-hazard sort of agreement, but a real agreement with clarifying statements?

In re-negotiating an agreement, we must do the truth in love. State exactly what you are feeling about the broken agreement. State facts.

"When you did ______, I felt ______. The impact that had on me was ____. My request is ______."

No angry words, no emotional outbursts. Just state the facts. Then re-negotiate as you feel comfortable. The re-negotiation process is unique to each situation. What does your gut/intuition tell you? Are you able to trust the person again in order to make a new agreement.

Infidelity is a difficult case. Discern carefully and take your time. This is your life. Only you must live it.

Agree with a purpose!
Coach Carolyn

25 August 2008

Are You Living Your Agreements?

Our Becoming a Woman of Purpose Meetup Group concluded our three part discussion of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. We by no means exhausted the topic. We, at least I, could talk on these agreements until the cows come home. When exactly do the cows come home? Anyway, our discussion was very powerful. We had a great group of ladies, as usual. It is always a new group because one or two new ladies will join us. Yet, the dynamics are always fascinating.

One of my passions is being a part of a group of purposeful women discussing spiritual issues that impacts their souls. Amazing to watch and share. We discussed honoring our agreements. Life is about making, breaking and re-negotiating agreements. We make an agreement, say to meet someone at a certain time. Then as life happens, we break the agreement. The reasons do not matter. What does matter is that we then need to re-negotiate the agreement, or make a new agreement. This is the part we fall down on. We don’t communicate our feelings about the broken agreement, so we just stew and let the matter fester until we are carrying anger and resentment towards the other person.

If we would just have a conversation with that person about the broken agreement; not in an angry or argumentative manner, but in a loving and honest way, then things would not get so out of hand. All we need to do is to clarify the agreement, apologize if necessary, and then make a new agreement. Make the new agreement with a few clarifying points. Say to the other, “okay, let me see if I got this right…” then repeat the agreement to clarify. When we can make and negotiate agreements in this way, our relationships are so much stronger and kinder.

Several other topics along the same theme came up and I want to recap one of them because I believe that we could all benefit from shining light on it here. The concern was about being and staying present. We tend to live either in the past ~ dealing with regrets and if onlys, or we live in the future ~ worrying about the what ifs. Both are about our fears and both take us out of the present moment. I know that we all have these moments when we fret over past events or worry about our tomorrows.

It is about creating spiritual practices for ourselves. One of the practices could be taking one issue or worry that you are carrying and take some small action toward it. If something is bothering you about your past, it could possibly be an incompletion in your life. An incompletion is something that was left undone or unsaid in your past that is affecting your present. For example, if a memory comes up for you and there is some amount of pain attached to the memory, chances are there is something incomplete about that event. So you need to complete it.

To complete what was left incomplete, get clear about what the incompletion is. Ask questions about it: What is incomplete? What did I feel about the circumstances of that event? How does that affect me in the present moment? How is it affecting my moving forward? After exhausting all of the questions, then ask what needs to be done to complete it. Who is involved? Remember, it is not necessary to involve another if it would be harmful to you or to them.

Can you declare it complete and move on? Sometimes you just need to make the declaration and be done with it. The event or circumstance may not need anything done to complete it except to declare it complete.

Remember, life is a process, not an event. This all takes one step and one moment at a time. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip. Just wake up the next day and agree to make a new agreement. Soon you will see that your life will shift to a brighter and more peaceful way of being.

Make and keep your agreements on purpose!
Coach Carolyn

Now, about those cows. It is an old Irish expression. So, when do the cows come home? Well, when they are damn good and ready! Or when they need to be milked. Just like a cow!

21 August 2008

Make a New Choice ~ On Purpose

"There is a thought in your mind right now. The longer you hold on to it, the more you dwell upon it, the more life you give to that thought. Give it enough life, and it will become real. So make sure the thought is indeed a great one." ~ Ralph Marston

Most of our self-talk comes unconsciously from our subconscious. Yet every thought that exists in our subconscious got there through a conscious decision to accept that thought.

We need to become conscious of our self-talk so we can at will choose to replace negative beliefs with positive ones. We have the power to choose an identity we love, but we need to do the work. The process of changing our subconscious beliefs requires awareness, diligence, consistency and repetition.

~ From Higher Awareness

We have an amazing power that we tend to take for granted. It is our power to choose. We can always choose to make a different choice, especially when our original choice isn't working for us. We must learn to ask questions ~ we must question our choice.

We do know when our lives are out of whack. We do know when things just aren't going according to plan. Yet, we continue to make the same choices and do things the same way. Remember the definition of insanity ~ doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

So, just for today, choose to make a purposeful choice ~ a choice that will bring peace to your life instead of chaos; a choice that will result in freedom and not frenzy.

You have the power ~ choose wisely!
Coach Carolyn

18 August 2008

Stop Taking Things Personally!

Thanks to the ladies, our last Becoming a Woman of Purpose gathering was wonderful. Lots of deep, intimate and honest conversations. Taking the topic from one of Don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements, Don’t Take Anything Personally, certainly evokes lots of discussion and lots of fire in the belly. Of the four agreements, this one is the most difficult to follow.

As Don Miguel explains, we tend to think everything is about us, when in fact, it is not. We must learn to let go of our own belief that we must react to everything that is directed at us. We have not been called to police the universe. Everything is not about me. It is a hard enough job taking care of my own business; I don’t need to delve into everyone else’s business as well.

We all have our own stories, and we all operate out of our own stories and realities. Yet, my story is just that: my story. It is no one else’s. This holds true for all of us. When someone says something to us, whether positive or negative, it is from their own reality, their own story; and has nothing to do with me.

This particular agreement has been absolutely life changing for me personally. When I finally wrapped my brain around the fact that whatever was said to me or about me, had nothing to do with me, I was liberated. I have also learned to no longer “take offense” from other people. When someone offends me, I can choose not to take the offense, and let it go; because again, it is not about me.

And if you constantly offended by other people, think about how many times you offend other people. I can hear you saying that you don’t mean to offend anybody. Well, does anyone mean to offend? If you are in a relationship with someone, platonic or intimate, who constantly offends, then it is time to rethink the relationship. Someone you are not in relationship with, and has no vested interest in, should not cause you distress. If it does, then ask yourself why? What button has it pushed and why do you have the button in the first place? Also, think about your part in any distressing situation and ask yourself, “What is my part in this situation?

Stop wearing your heart on your sleeve, and stop taking things personally ~ it is not about you!

Coach Carolyn

14 August 2008

Are You Speaking Your Truth?

This month’s Becoming a Woman of Purpose Meetup Gatherings are focused on The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I have always stated if everyone on the planet would read this book, this world would be very different. For myself, having embraced the agreements, my life is considerably calmer, more peaceful and more purposeful.

The first agreement is Be Impeccable With Your Word. Remember the time when a person’s word was their bond? What happened to those days? Today, even if it is written in blood, there can still be disputes and lawsuits.

Don Miguel simply says to speak your word with integrity; if you say it, mean it. Also, avoid using the word against yourself and others; steer clear of using the word for malicious intent. Remember our mothers saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!” This still applies. Unfortunately, it isn’t enforced.

Just for today, speak your word with conscious awareness. Don’t simply speak to fill up space. Only speak if it is an improvement to silence.

Words can harm and words can heal. Choose wisely.

Coach Carolyn

05 August 2008

What is Truth?

“A woman who loves herself makes direct statements in response to the requests of others, sets clear limits in her interactions with others, and offers respectful solutions to her interpersonal challenges. With courage and respect for her own life, she no longer hides her truth within convoluted narratives and indirect explanations. Initially, her use of the vocabulary of truth is awkward. Eventually, her responses become graceful and effective.” ~ Patricia Lynne Reilly

Speak your truth on purpose!
Coach Carolyn

26 July 2008

The Passion of Women Bloggers

"I write because I have something to say. I blog because I have to say it."

It is amazing that in less than a year, we have listed over 300 women bloggers on the W Magical List of Women Bloggers wiki. It has been so empowering for me to have fabulous conversations with other women who blog on everything from being a mom, to running a business, to dealing with difficult life issues. Yet, this is only a fraction of the female blogging talent in the blogosphere. Women bloggers are still an unrecognized entity.

One of my dearest of friends, Kathy Russell, knowing my own passion for blogging, emailed me an article from today's New York Times entitled, “Blogging’s Glass Ceiling.” The article talks about the disparity between men and women bloggers. On the heels of the recent BlogHer conference in San Francisco, the article quotes the Pew Internet and American Life Project that among Internet users, 14 percent of men and 11 percent of women blog. A study conducted by BlogHer and Compass Partners last year found that 36 million women participate in the blogosphere each week, and 15 million of them have their own blogs.

As the Assistant Organizer of the New York Bloggers Meetup Group, of the 250 plus members, there is a definite mix of guys and gals; and the Organizer and I are both female. Why the disparity? From my own humble observation, unless blogging has some monetary value attached to it, there is no real incentive to do it more than as a hobby. Life happens and the blogs fall by the wayside. For women, life is more urgent than posting the latest news on a blog.

Two of the loveliest ladies of the blogosphere are my Facebook buddies, Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff, known as the Blog Squad. These ladies revolutionized blogging for me and taught me so much that brought such a deep passion for the genre. Not to mention, they are two rockin’ gals! Now I eat, sleep and dream of blogs. And yes, I do have a life! I post about it regularly.

No doubt there will be more to talk about on this topic. Would love to hear what you think about this. And if you are a woman who blogs and have not yet contributed your blog to the wiki, please pop on over and register to list your blog.

Here's to blogging with a purpose!
Coach Carolyn

22 July 2008

Purposeful Service

“If you dedicate yourself to service, the doors will open.” ~ Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

Today’s society seems to be so focused on the “what’s in it for me?” attitude. One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was, if you want to make yourself happy, go and make someone else happy. In the end, you will be happy too.

Living a life of passion and purpose means giving yourself in service, filling a need when you come across one; and there are no shortages of needs to be met. Offer a smile, a word of encouragement, a genuine compliment, or go the extra mile. Offer to shop for someone who cannot get around as much, especially if you are going already. It is in the little things that great things can happen.

To love is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

12 July 2008

Soul Guidance

“People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a résumé than to craft a spirit. But a résumé is cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely …” ~ Anna Quindlen

Letting go of my own ego-driven thoughts and allowing my soul to guide me is what really empowers me. I can tell when it’s my soul speaking because she always speaks without any negativity and I always feel a sense of peace and tranquility. Usually, whatever she wants me to do not only helps me grow spiritually, but also helps someone else along the way. My ego, on the other hand, is often selfish, negative and critical.

Bad habits are hard to break, but when I allow my soul to show me the best way and when I allow myself to be aware, I know I'm going in the right direction. My ego still takes over sometimes and when I listen to it instead of my soul, there’s always a lesson to be learned afterwards.

Listening to my soul empowers me. Looking inside myself isn't comfortable when I see the shadows as well as the light. But then I stop and realize that without the shadows, I wouldn't know about the light. ~ Diana Brunson

“The place where I am most at home, the place where my soul resides, feels located in and around my heart and a little below, in my solar plexus. When I am aware of that part of my self, attend to it, and act from it, I am at home.” ~ Patrice Vecchione

Ignite your heart passion!
Coach Carolyn

06 July 2008

A Purposeful Inconvenience

"I imagine that the present is as it should be. It is perfectly unfolding even if I don't understand why." ~ Evelyn Rodriguez

I constantly speak about living a life of purpose and passion. We are the authors of our lives and can create what a passionate and purposeful life looks like for us. This includes living in some of the inconveniences that may become quite purposeful. I will share a story.

Last week, I was on the bus and in the seat next to me was a planner that someone obviously left behind. Well, being a person of purpose, I know how extremely important our planners are to us. I took the planner and put it in my backpack. When I arrived at my destination, I checked the planner and found the email of the owner. There was also a phone number; but I thought emailing was less intrusive. The owner emailed me in return and followed up with a phone call. She looked me up! We spoke and arranged a meeting.

I was greeted with one of the loveliest and warmest of women. Elaine and I chatted for about fifteen minutes and we shared some of our mutual interests. Turns out we are both on a spiritual journey.

Now, this could have been a tremendous inconvenience. Yet, I am a lover of anyone who fully utilizes a planner; so I merely saw this as an opportunity. I instinctively knew that the owner of the planner was a woman of purpose and passion. In our conversation, this was verified. Elaine even rewarded me with chocolates! Now, that’s living with passion!

The next time you find a planner, remember, it could be an opportunity to meet another traveler on the spiritual journey to a life of passion and purpose. Take advantage of the opportunity.

Live in the moment; live passionately!
Coach Carolyn

27 June 2008

Dealing With Fear and Negative Self Talk

“NOW is the operative word. Everything you put in your way is just a method of putting off the hour when you could actually be doing your dream. You don't need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating.” ~ Sam Ewing

Is what you are consistently saying to yourself contributing to your fears? Are you allowing your negative self talk to dictate your life and sabotage your dreams? Are your fears being fueled by the energy of your negative inner chatter? If you have answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, then it is time to re-write your inner script and re-design your life.

Remember when you were a child. You had no worries and no cares. Everything was taken care of for you. You just played happily, knowing that somehow all of your needs would be met. You were also fearless. You could tackle anything. You even had to be taught to avoid the clear and present dangers, like animals that could harm you. So, what happened? Well, you grew up! And in growing up, you were conditioned against what you instinctively knew – that you are fearless! That fear is merely a stepping stone to a new adventure.

In some of our popular children’s stories, Alice was not afraid to go beyond the looking glass; the children of Narnia could not wait to see what adventures were in back of that huge bureau. Children are naturally curious and full of wonder and awe. As we grow up, we have lost that sense of wonderment and awe. We have lost our natural spirit of curiosity, replacing it with the spirit of trepidation. That natural spirit of curiosity is what sparked our passions and helped fueled our dreams, creating the adults we are today. Yet, somewhere along the way, the spark has dulled and dimmed and so has our sense of wonder.

As adults, we seldom, if ever, allow our eyes to widen and our voices to squeak, “Ooooh!” We have stopped asking questions. I remember as a child, I would drive my mother crazy because I would ask a question, then upon hearing the answer would ask, “Why?” I kept this up until my mother, in utter frustration, would very firmly say, “Because I said so!” We have lost this childlike curiosity of asking questions; and have taken up the unfortunate habit of talking to ourselves in the negative.

Daily Practice:
When you hear the negative inner chatter, simple stop, take a breath and ask yourself: “What am I feeling right now?” Then simply wait for the answer. Don’t force anything. Don’t get impatient or frustrated if you do not receive an immediate answer. Remember, the answers are within you, they have become blocked by the toxicity of daily life. You need to create practices to clear the toxicity away.

“Perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things,
but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
~ Angelique Arnauld, Abbess of Port-Royal

05 June 2008

Being Fearless ~ On Purpose

Hey incredible people of passion and purpose!

I have been doing a lot of "noticing" lately and my findings are quite astounding. It seems that everyone is plagued by one fear or another. Is that not remarkable news? So I have launched two fearless communities on Meetup.

The first is the Fearless Living Spiritual Book Club. Beginning with the book by Rhonda Britten, we will discuss those fears that stop us from living passionate and purposeful lives. We will continue using other personal and spiritual development books and materials. Our first gathering was a brunch and we talked books, fears and dreams. It was a great time and I enjoyed meeting new fearless friends.

The second community is the Fearless Entrepreneur. This group is for aspiring or new entrepreneurs and anyone who has a dream and plagued or sabotaged by fears. This group will be a series of seminars, workshops, and networking events that deal with living with fears. The first seminar is scheduled for Thursday, June 26th @ 6pm.

If you are in the New York area and are dealing with fears, do not deal alone ~ come join one or more of our events.

Stay tuned for more future fearbusting events.

Live your passions fearlessly!
Coach Carolyn

04 June 2008

Embracing Extreme Self-Care

“It takes courage to demand time for yourself. At first glance, it may seem to be the ultimate in selfishness, a real slap in the face to those who love and depend on you. IT IS NOT! It means you care enough to want to see the best in yourself and give only the best to others.” ~ Shale Paul

“If you are not taking care of yourself; body, mind, and spirit, the people in your life don't get the best of you, they get what's left of you!” ~ Lorraine Cohen

Our end of May Meetup gathering was about embracing extreme self-care; extreme being doing it intentionally and on purpose. As women, we tend not to take care of ourselves, putting everyone else’s needs before our own. As member Lynne stated, we are more about “embracing extreme self-neglect.”

Though the weather was a bit gloomy, we all made the effort to fully embrace who we were created to be: women of passion and purpose, though sometimes that may look a little murky. To get clear on what our intentions for self-care are, we began with a self-care intention guided visualization. One of the ways to take care of ourselves is to stay in the present moment. This is difficult to do if you are prone towards worrying about the future and fretting over the past. This behavior leads to fears, stress and anxiety. When we catch ourselves in one of those mental spaces, we must remember. One of the main reasons we get out of alignment with who we really are – which includes ignoring our self-care – is that we have stopped remembering.

Remember what? Remember who we truly are. The opposite of remember is not forget – it is dis-member. We have become dis-membered beings, scattered here and there, masters of multi-tasking. In order to pull ourselves together again and become whole, we must remember. What we are remembering is a feeling – the feeling of being whole and present. The visualization exercise took us back to a time when we did feel whole and present. We held that feeling and created symbols around it to bring it to mind when we most need it.

I shared with the group the three self-care practices that they can do on a daily basis in order to maintain a sense of peace and wholeness.

1. Set your self-care intention. Always begin your day intentionally. Remind yourself of your self-care feeling.
2. Three things you are grateful for. Start small, start with the basics: health, home, nourishment, friends, family, work, Meetup…
3. Find a nutritious support person to check in with – this could be a good friend, an accountability partner, a life coach, a mentor – you don’t have to go through this transition alone; and creating new habits is transition. You can set up a time, preferably weekly, to get together. Keep that person in mind constantly, especially when things are looking dark. Have them on speed dial!

Once you have made the decision to do so, these three practices will easily incorporate into your everyday life.

Set the intention to embrace extreme self-care!
Coach Carolyn

29 May 2008

Are You Stopping ~ On Purpose?

I have noticed in the past several months that when I ask someone, especially women, how they are doing ~ the answer I get is either very busy or stressed! No one is just plain “Very well, thank you” anymore. We have defined our lives by how much we can cram into a twenty-four hour period. It seems that if we are not extremely overbooked, over scheduled, or over extended then we are not living productive lives. But there is a vast difference between busyness and productivity.

If you are merely busy, then it is time to stop and ask yourself what you are so busy about. If your busyness is producing the outcomes needed to achieve your dreams and intentions, then you are on the right path. Even in the productivity, it is wise to take time to just be. Develop a daily practice of stopping, on purpose, for at least five minutes. We all have five minutes to just stop and breathe. If you cannot find five minutes, then you really need to rethink your priorities, for a five minute breath break must be a priority for us all.

In addition to scheduling in time for acknowledging the things you are grateful for, include those five minutes to stop and breathe ~ just notice your breath and be aware of what is around you. This gets you in the present moment for at least five minutes.

Stop and breath, on purpose!
Coach Carolyn

19 May 2008

Living My Dreams ~ On Purpose

I spent this past weekend with about 60 other dreamers and Marcia Weider, America’s Dream Coach in the Create Your Future Now workshop. It was an intense weekend, 9-7 both days with lots of information, sharing, and dreaming. It was awesome to be in a SOHO loft with so many other dreamers and entrepreneurs.

Marcia, founder and CEO of Dream University, has certified nearly 600 Dream Coaches and travels around the world giving workshops, lectures and retreats on making your dreams a reality. In addition to authoring a number of books, she had appeared on Oprah a number of times, had her own PBS special and leads week long workshops on becoming an inspiring speaker and masters of manifestation. Marcia is the former president of the National Association of Women Business Owners and resides in the San Francisco area with her fiancé Patrick and her two puppies, Ciao and Bella.

This weekend, Marcia went through her 10 Dream Principles, with exercises and lots of questions to help solidify our dreams. We also discussed making, managing, breaking and re-negotiating agreements, which Marcia believes is one of the prime sources of suffering.

One of the principles is finding your purpose: “When all of your dreams are an expression of your purpose, then you are in alignment,” says Marcia.

“There are the dream we have for our life and then there are the dreams that life has for us.” ~ Marcia Weider from Dreams Are Whispers From the Soul

The most profound part of the weekend for me, besides meeting and sharing with new dreamers, was the piece on incompletions – something left undone or unsaid in our lives. These incompletions can trigger old memories stirring up disowned parts of ourselves, resulting in unrealized dreams. The process for getting complete is to first identify what is incomplete ~ asking how might this be impacting or inspiring your dream; and then determining what needs to be done to complete it. Completing what is incomplete puts you in an empowered position by reclaiming that part of you that was lost or disowned.

This was especially profound for me because it speaks of grief and loss, which is one of my passions. It indeed brought up lots for me to take away and meditate on further.

Marcia's 3-Step Process for making your dreams come true:
1. Get clear about what you want
2. Believe in yourself and your dreams
3. Take action on your dreams

I am a member of Marcia’s Amazing Dreamers online community which is a wonderful place to support you in bridging the gap between your reality and your dreams. The Amazing Dreamers community is nearly 5000 members and I invite you to join for support, tips and tools, including free e-books and audio on making your dreams come true. When you join, add me and Marcia as a friend.

It was a blessing to have Marcia back in her own home state for the weekend, and the New York Marcia shined forth.

Be sure to check out Marcia’s newest beautiful book, Dreams Are Whispers From the Soul. I have my very own personally autographed copy which will become a constant companion on my journey from living in reality to living in my precious dreams.

Live purposely in your dreams,
Coach Carolyn

16 May 2008

Spiritual Hiatus ~ Not on Purpose

Robert Fulghum once said, "If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience."

How true that statement is. Having been forced into virtual darkness, not having a computer for about six weeks, I realized that it was extremely inconvenient and the timing sucked ~ yet, it could not have been more perfectly timed. I was literally forced into a hiatus that somehow turned into a spiritual time out. Now this could very well be because I live my life by outrageously spiritual tenets anyway. But I don't think it was that easy.

For anyone who really knows me ~ and only the Divine has that privilege, or burden, I am glued to my online work. It is one of my passions. Yet, it was strangely and unceremoniously ripped from me with no notice and no chance for backup. Another words, I had to surrender and let go. Gasp!

The lovely and shocking thing for me was, I thoroughly enjoyed the hiatus. It was surprisingly peaceful and I didn't have a major freak-out. I did have a couple of minor ones, though. I had to wait for new hardware for my laptop, so all I could do was wait. And wait some more! But in the waiting, I remained silent and still. It was like a six week artist date. I journaled, prayed, meditated, questioned, and waited some more.

I had plenty of offline activities in the interim, yet they contributed to the retreat time. Though this was a spiritual hiatus that did not happen on purpose, it should have. Then, would it have had the same impact? I suspect not.

So, in addition to my weekly artist dates, I will schedule in monthly spiritual retreat days. What's the difference, you may ask? The intensity. My artist dates last about three to four hours each week. The retreat will be an entire twenty-four hours of no phones, no emails, no Internet, no blogging (egads!), no nothing! It is in the silence that the Divine and I meet.

I have fallen in love with the feeling of letting things go. And you want to know something? Nothing fell apart! The sky is still where it always was. So I encourage you to do something special for your inner spirit ~ take a spiritual hiatus, on purpose!

So, glad to be back home where I belong!
Coach Carolyn

03 April 2008

Chapter Five: The Pain-Body ~ Letting Go of Negativity

In Chapter Five of A New Earth, we explore how negative emotions and old memories – if not faced and seen for what they are in the moment – become fuel for the pain-body.

"It may be shocking when you realize for the first time that there is something within you (the pain-body) that periodically seeks emotional negativity, seeks unhappiness. You need even more awareness to see it in yourself than to recognize it in another person" (p. 145).

One of the things I have tried very hard to eliminate from my life is negativity. Negativity is nothing but toxic energy. This toxic energy can come in the form of toxic people, or energy vampires whose only job is to suck and drain the life out of you; or toxic situations. When I find myself in one of these toxic environments, be it with people or circumstances, if I cannot turn the situation around, then I merely excuse myself and remove myself.

If someone offered you a bottle of poison to drink, would you? Yet, you deliberately ingest someone else’s negativity or toxicity. This is the same as ingesting poison. The next time you are in the presence of a toxic person or an energy vampire, remember the bottle of poison analogy, and don’t allow their toxins to enter into your soul.

A negative emotion is any "emotion that is toxic to the body and interferes with its balance and harmonious functioning. Fear, anxiety, anger, bearing a grudge, sadness, hatred or intense dislike, jealousy, envy—all disrupt the energy flow through the body, affect the heart, the immune system, digestion, production of hormones, and so on" (p. 136).

Then, there are those of us who do not need the negative people or situations, because we can be negative all by ourselves. We manufacture our own negative thoughts and continuously feed on them. The bottle of poison is still appropriate here, yet we are self-inflicting the poison. We have very little control of what thoughts enter our heads. But we have definite control of what thoughts remain there.

The next time you notice that you are in the grip of a negative emotion, become still and pay attention to the way your body feels. See if you can locate the negative emotion in your body. Perhaps your heart is beating fast, your jaw is tense or your belly is tight. By being present with your body, you can allow the negative emotion to dissipate instead of reacting to it.

"You will be free to let go of your unhappiness the moment you recognize it as unintelligent. Negativity is not intelligent" (p.112).

This week, pay close attention to negative thoughts, feelings or actions and any background unhappiness, including resentment, discontent, nervousness or being "fed up." Become alert to your negativity and repeat silently: "At this moment, I am creating suffering for myself."

Questions to Ponder:
“Who are the toxic people in my life?”
“Who are the nutritious people in my life?”
“Who do I choose to spend more time with?”

Stay positive on purpose!

27 March 2008

Chapter Four: Role-Playing: The Many Faces of Ego

This week’s webclass focused on the many roles we play. I know that when I question clients and workshop participants about who they are, they list their roles and titles. We have become so attached to the many roles we play in a lifetime. Yet, who are we when those roles are no longer valid? This is part of the retirement or downsizing crisis – the job is gone and so is the title or role; and our identities were wrapped up in those roles. The roles, the job has become our sense of self.

"What really matters is not what function you fulfill in this world, but whether you identify with your function to such an extent that it takes you over and becomes a role that you play. When you play roles you are unconscious. When you catch yourself playing a role, that recognition creates a space between you and the role" (p. 90).

“So people who are out of touch with the power within or the place where all power resides, the aliveness itself, consciousness itself, then they feel a sense of lack. Why are they not in touch with it? Because they are not present. They are not in the present moment because the present moment is that entry point into that place of power within. If you are not present you don't realize that there is a source of power within and then you feel that you need to get secondary power from someone or some situation or other people. Then the ego plays roles to manipulate the environment and other people to get what it thinks it needs not realizing that all the thing it thinks will give it the power that it seems to lack, all that is already within you, if you could only be present in the now.” ~ Eckhart Tolle, from “A New Earth” WebClass

Common roles people play, especially women, include working woman, stay-at-home mom, female seductress, nonconformist artist, cultured intellectual, world traveler, etc. You also assign roles to others and then treat them accordingly. (How you speak to the janitor may be different from how you speak to the chairman of the company.)

~What roles do you play at work, home, or in the world?
~What roles do you assign to others?

My question to you is who would you be without those roles?

It is not too late to join in the conversation and create a new earth. Go to Oprah.com and join the webclass. If you have not read the book, you can still join in the class. At Oprah.com there are resources to help you in remembering who you really are, letting go of your ego identity and creating a new earth.

Also, if you are new to the webclass, you can access the archive of the previous classes -- on video, audio, or written transcripts.

Next week: The Pain-Body!

We are spiritual beings having human experiences!

24 March 2008

Conversation Week 2008

Conversation Week 2008 is a celebration of the power of conversation to change the world. Hosts will convene face-to-face, small-group conversations with friends, neighbors, and strangers. The goal is to empower people worldwide to convene a meaningful, respectful discussion in their community. For more information on Conversation Week 2008, check out the Conversation Café.

Social networking, such as blogging is one way that keeps conversation flowing in the virtual world. When you get together with friends in real time, what do you talk about? Are you having awesome conscious shifting dialogues, or meaningless chit chat? Are your conversations infused with lots of mind-stretching questions? From the Conversation Café, here are a few of the Top 50 questions that you can use to shoot into your conversations this week:

~What can we do to reduce or eliminate violence in the world?
~How can intangibles like values and beliefs tangibly contribute to solving the problems of our times?
~What have your found works to open another's mind to what you have to say, especially if they think they already know?
~How do we shift from "Me" to "We" on both the local and global levels?
~How can we take responsibility for making a better future without making others wrong?
~What kind of leadership does the world need now?
~How do we create a culture that is inclusive of all people and beliefs?
~What does compassionate living look like to you?
~What do you hold so dear that you would give your life to it?
~How can you, as Gandhi said, be the change that you want to see in the world?
~What helps you have energy and hope in these times?
~What do you most want for our world? What would it take to bring that about?
~When you look back at the end of your life, what legacy would you most love to have left the world?

Just a note: To have a great conversation, you need two critical components: the speaker and the listener. We have had plenty of practice with the speaking part, however the listening part tends to escape us. To listen does not simply mean to just sit quietly until the other person stops talking so that we can have our rebuttal.

Listening is a skill, an art; a lost art. Listening means using not just your ears, but your entire body. It means setting aside your agenda and judgments while the other person is speaking. When you are focused on what you are going to say next, then you are not really listening; you are rehearsing your lines.

Go out and have a conversation, and remember to listen.

Have a purposeful conversation!

23 March 2008

A Purposeful Moment for Tiny Tips

For those women and men who already know their purpose and it involves other people, Bootstrapper has come up with 100 Tiny Tips to Create and Maintain Loyal Customers.

Some of the tips I give two thumbs up; like Meetup, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, and Elance, just to name a few.

Be prepared to hang out there for a couple of hours!

Here's to making purposeful connections,
Coach Carolyn

19 March 2008

Chapter Three: The Core of Ego

As we continue through A New Earth, we look at some key points to Chapter Three and the core of the ego.

"Anything that you resent and strongly react to in another is also in you."

“What we react to in another we strengthen in ourselves. One of the things the ego needs to survive is reacting against other people. What you react to in another you strengthen in yourself…”

“What we react to most strongly in others and what we most strongly condemn in others is usually something that we also have, a trait that we also have but that we are unconscious of in ourselves. So when we, for example, become upset if we encounter somebody who is very greedy, or we could become upset about somebody who is dishonest, no matter who, the force of your reaction usually tells you that something in you that you need to look at.”

Question: Who in your life do you consider an enemy? What lessons and blessings have you to learn from that person?

“Whatever you fight, you strengthen and what you resist persists.”

Complaining is one of the egos favorite strategies for strengthening itself. Every complaint is a little story the mind makes up that you completely believe in… Some egos that haven’t got much else to identify with, they can survive on complaining alone. So the continuously you are condemning other people, you’re continuously criticizing, condemning or judging negatively situations that you’re in, your surroundings, other people.”

Question: Who would you be if you did not complain? How would your life be different?

It is not too late to register for the Webclass at Oprah.com. Just sign up and join in the conversation. You can also revisit past episodes in audio or video. Take part in creating a spiritual shift in consciousness across the globe.

Live in the moment,
Coach Carolyn