If you’ve been following along, I’ve been sharing about my mission in a 3 part series. If not, you can catch up by reading ‘Are You Self-Aligned?’ which is Part 1 about the importance of women having a positive relationship with themselves in order to live their fullest expression and lead a truly fulfilling life. Part 2 dives into ‘The F Word’ and why I’ve chosen to focus on work with women, because I truly believe if we want a more balanced, peaceful & regenerative world – Women are going to be a huge part of the transformation that is needed.
Today we are diving into why Mindfulness is the primary method that I use to support women towards their soul-alignment in order to hack anxiety, self-doubt, burnout, perfectionism, people pleasing and over-extending.
Our mental & emotional system is the foundation for EVERYTHING. So if you have lofty goals, if you want to achieve something, or if you want to experience a life that is fulfilling… it ALL goes back to your operating system in your mind, body & soul. I don’t know about you, but my parents didn’t teach me all I needed to know about managing my thoughts & emotions, even though they did their best. I had an outdated operating system, until I learned mindfulness.
You may know that before I transitioned to women’s coaching, I have been a licensed psychotherapist for around 15 years now. In my therapy practice, I will not do trauma work, thought work (cognitive behavioral therapy), shadow work, inner child work or almost any other kind of therapeutic work, until my client knows mindfulness.
Now let me say, there are many roads to Rome and Mindfulness isn’t for everyone. It IS however tried and tested over THOUSANDS of years in Buddhist & Eastern spiritual practices and now it’s been researched for decades through science. It’s been found to be one of the most beneficial & transformative practices for our mental & emotional health and wellbeing.
Lets start with some research findings on Mindfulness practice (WHICH IS WAY MORE THAN JUST MEDITATION BY THE WAY!):
I could seriously go on because there is tons of research. If you look at top executives, athletes and performers, I guarantee you they have learned or are receiving coaching on principles & practices related to mindfulness.
Let me share a little bit more about how I specifically use it with my clients and why it’s always Step 1.
Women often come to work with me in order to create some sort of change – they want to be more productive, be more relaxed, enjoy life more, have more quality time with loved ones, worry less, be more confident, start a business, get a promotion … and they are usually going about it ALL WRONG.
They are digging into themselves, criticizing and pushing themselves, judging themselves and straining… then they are wondering why they are exhausted, frustrated, anxious, doubting themselves and more. Their progress is halted or sporadic. Or, they’re highly successful, but their body and soul is tapped, they’re wondering why they don’t feel more fulfilled when all the boxes are ‘checked’ in their life. Relationships may be suffering, health might even be impacted.
Listen, I get it, and it’s not your fault. Families & society don’t really prepare us all that well for how to be a human & cope with life. How to work with our mind, emotions & body. Societal structures condition us to work more against ourselves than anything. We are working with an outdated operating system, and it’s frying our circuits.
Did you know that 30% of adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their life? And that’s significantly under-reported because most people never seek help due to stigma. There is something wrong with the way we are approaching life. And with a few changes, you can prevent ever having to get to the point where you’re dealing with crippling panic or more serious health problems.
If we are trying to create change in our mind, emotions or behaviors using the wrong tools – it’s never going to work. Mindfulness is looking at the goal (or problem) with new glasses. Mindfulness is a practice of zooming out and holding purposeful awareness – but not just any kind of awareness.
It is non-judgmental, curious, non-reactive, non-attached, compassionate and loving awareness.
Here’s where things get real good in Mindfulness – a sense of actual life fulfillment. I’ve had clients come to me and say, “I have everything I ever wanted! I’ve got the career, relationship, house, family and why do I still not feel satisfied?”
Women who are high achievers can tend to be a bit perfectionistic (speaking from personal experience). A lot of this can be a response to trying to survive chronic stress and/or trauma including high expectations placed on children, but that is a post for another day. With perfectionism comes rigidity, high standards, hyper-independence, always looking to the next goal, wanting to feel a sense of control and agency in life.
Now, none of these things are inherently ‘bad’ but there is an important piece of the puzzle missing. Balancing where we’re going or what we want, with living NOW and what we have. We’re taught that true ‘success’ or ‘perfection’ is always ‘over there somewhere’. I will relax when… I will be happy when…
We never learn how to actually EMBODY joy and presence NOW. How do we call on pleasure, relaxation, curiosity & playfulness NOW? How do we teach our bodies & nervous systems that it’s safe to relax NOW? How do we learn that it’s safe and satisfying to collaborate and seek support when we need it, instead of taking everything on by ourselves?
It doesn’t mean we stop working for what we want, but if we keep up at life like that we end up on our deathbed exhausted and having completely missed out on experiencing a fulfilling life.
Now, a fulfilling life is not one without disappointments, frustrations, fears or tiredness. These are things that nobody can avoid. But it is typically the striving for perfect happiness, and desperate avoiding & running away from the painful aspects of life, that cause us the most suffering.
Mindfulness teaches us to hold space for the painful/disappointing aspects of life, so that we can move through them with more ease. It helps us savor and enjoy the positive aspects, without clinging to them. It helps us find satisfaction & fulfillment through & in spite of the ups and the downs. It helps us become the eye of the storm, in the midst of chaos.
The women that I work with inspire me so much. They are resilient, ambitious, leaders & change makers. That they are operating from an effective, regenerative & mindful stance is critical. Not just for their birthright of fulfillment, ease & joy – but also for the collective ripple effect that it seeps out to workplaces, families & communities.
If mindfulness sounds like something you want to learn more about, be sure to get on my email list and sign up for my Free Life Balance Workbook. Or, reach comment below & reach out to me on Instagram to ask me any questions you may have about how I can support your mindfulness journey!