Becoming Your Best, Being, CoachBrain, Life Coach, Mindset

Selfscaping: How to Enjoy Change

Step Zero in Becoming Your Best:

Overall Mindset Shift From “At The Effect” To “Be The Cause”

I don’t think it’s too radical to say that everyone wants to have a great life. And in our society, many of us desire active participation in our own wild success story. This is what I mean when I invite you to choose to “Be The Cause” of your great life. (If you want greatness to “happen to you,” that is, to allow circumstantial dice to be rolled, and be “At The Effect” of your environment, this article may not be for you.) As a life coach, I believe that every person is not only capable of having a great life, but also has the power to be responsible for how it goes. This article is an invitation to look inward and claim your responsibility – do some trimming of your inner landscape (selfscaping) – which will then impact how it goes outwardly.

Everyone has their triggers. [My current working definition of a trigger is something that shows up in your environment that causes an unconscious response. Often, this response is related to something that has been repressed, avoided, or seems unsavory to the person experiencing it.] The moments when we are triggered are the moments when we give up our agency to our circumstances, and it can be a struggle to get back. In those moments, we are “At The Effect” of our situation. And to be clear, there is nothing wrong or bad about being triggered. But what if you could change your mind about what was happening, and enjoy that change?

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Photo by Maverick Sean Photography at USPDF Pro Finals 2019

Many of us resist change. Humans are creatures of habit. Patterns suit us. The Comfort Zone is, well, comfortable. To Enjoy Change, we need to be open to embracing the unknown, stepping into possibility, and welcoming newness. My invitation to you is to change the spelling: In Joy, Change. If you have resisted shifting into a higher version of yourself, slide a filter on it! Are you willing to be joyful about changing your mind? Maybe it’s joy, or maybe it’s love, or power, or boldness, or satisfaction. What filter of Being could you put on yourself and your life that would lead you to a more wonderful experience? (I am channeling Victory as I write this!) Choose a filter of Being that speaks to you!

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Photo by Maverick Sean Photography at USPDF Pro Finals 2019

Now try this with me. Take a breath, and call to mind a recent moment when you were less than yourself. You blew up on someone (or didn’t), had a breakdown (or didn’t), neglected yourself (or others), or any number of things. Get clear on your unconscious thoughts, words, and actions. Invite that filter you chose and see how your experience might have changed. Let your beautiful filter bleed over onto your present self. Now, if you were to encounter the same situation, how would it go differently? What would happen if you took that filter with you for a whole hour – a whole day – a whole week, or longer? Are you willing to try it??

I assert that, to a great extent, how we show up anywhere is how we show up everywhere. If you can acknowledge and redirect your internal selfscape – thoughts, sensations, emotions, your entire BEING – you will be able to do the same with your external words, actions, and interactions with greater facility and grace.

Mindset shifts like this are fleeting; make sure you create or secure sufficient support to maintain your new filter of Being. Journal, create community, read inspiring words, speak affirmations aloud, meditate, hire a coach, join The Creative Level-Up. And stay tuned for the next steps in the series!

Photo by Rachel E H Phototraphy



Being, Life Coach, WonderPlay Coaching

5 Steps to Transforming a Win-Lose Into a Win-Learn

Think about what you would classify as a totally devastating disaster.

There is a golden opportunity there!

I don’t say this to minimize grief or pain – those are really important parts of the human experience, and they need time and attention. I am simply making the assertion that you can have a 180 in the next moment – if you allow it. Give yourself permission to transform a Win-Lose situation into a Win-Learn in these five steps.

Fail early, Fail often, But always Fail Forward. (1)

1. Discover the gifts.

In a situation that didn’t go as perfectly or smoothly as you had wanted, get curious. If this “failure” was actually designed for you as Training from the Universe, what could the title of the lesson be? What lessons would benefit you as you move forward in your life? Consider that every opportunity to learn is always a gift. In my coach training program, we called this turning “Problems to Opportunities,” which I lovingly refer to as “Probportunities.”

2. Look critically within.

In my Advanced Choral Conducting course in college, my professor said something about leadership that has profoundly impacted me. “If the ensemble is not doing what you want them to do, look inside first.” Is there something about your Being that has internally or explicitly drawn this result to you? Garner the courage to look, without judgment, and discover where you can shift your Being to invite more success. (Want help? Schedule a sample session with me!)

3. Take radical responsibility.

Related to the quote above, consider that everything in your life was drawn to you, by you. If it seems like events have happened *to* you rather than *because* of you, practice releasing any trace of victim mentality. I particularly enjoy practicing with mantra or affirmations, such as “I am a powerful creator. I speak and act boldly as the master of my experience.” (More of those, here!)

4. Play like a scientist.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater at every undesirable outcome. Use what worked, and treat the project like an opportunity to polish up the rough patches. Give yourself the power to persistently stick to your convictions, and yet take the freedom to play and experiment with what could be tweaked or improved. At some point, with enough careful gathering of evidence, you may find remarkable results with fairly small adjustments.

5. Appreciate the challenge.

Remember that this is a journey, and you are not alone. Take the time and space to acknowledge yourself fully. Take a veritable bath in love and compassion. Fill your cup or regenerate your spoons for the next day. Remember that you are the star of your movie, and even the superhero experiences minor setbacks. Express gratitude for the possibilities this presents. And get back out there, you resilient warrior you!
So, the next time you find yourself hooked by something that feels bigger or more awful than you can bear, remember that life is what you make it. Enjoy the adventure!

Additional Resources

Becoming Your Best, Being, Creative Coaching, Higher consciousness, Life Coach, Life Coaching, Mindset, Raise Your Vibration, Raising Your Vibration, WonderPlay Coaching

3 Simple Steps to Becoming Your Best – an Overview (part 1 of 5)

Let’s juxtapose two familiar moments.

If you’re like most people, you have moments of your life that feel wonky. Unproductive. Negative. Out of control. Not yourself. Off. We know in our heart of hearts that we are better than those moments.

Likewise, you probably experience moments of uncontrollable shiny brilliance. You are an all-powerful Being. Loving. Loved. Glowing. Flowing. Magical. Everything you touch turns to gold. We wish we could stay in THOSE moments forever.

Sometimes these moments seem to happen to us. While I have nothing against receiving blessings, I believe we can step beyond letting the Universe give us gifts. I believe we can create them on purpose, bringing our best selves to our lives – work and play, friends and family.

I propose a path to Becoming Your Best – one of many – and I invite you to practice with me. (I will cover each section in greater depth in the rest of this series on my WonderPlay Coaching blog – visit me there for more!)

Step Zero: Overall Mindset Shift

From “At The Effect” To “Be The Cause”

This really is the foundation, so I’m calling it Step Zero. Without creating this foundation first, there is no supported place to continue. Mindset shifts are fleeting; make sure you create or secure sufficient support to maintain your new mindset. Journal, create community, read inspiring words, speak affirmations aloud, meditate, hire a coach. Identify your “What For” in Becoming Your Best – Family? Career? Relationships?

It can be thrilling to allow the ocean of your circumstances to toss you about. It is a significantly different experience to be the captain of your ship, and to move in the direction of your choosing. If you wish to exercise more power and purpose in your life, Be The Cause of your movement. Connect with the source of who you are as Divine Creator. Identify and release the disempowering stories of who you used to be, and proceed boldly on your declared course.

1+ minute exercise:

(a) Identify a circumstance of your past when you were “At The Effect” of your world. (ie getting into an argument)

(b) What were the unconscious thoughts, behaviors, and feelings you demonstrated? (ie “If only ____ had said _____, then ______! It’s all their fault!”) 

(c) Ask yourself how it could go differently if you were to “Be The Cause” of your life in that same situation if (when) it comes up again. (ie “When I take ownership of my responsibility for communicating, I articulate my wants and needs clearly.”)

Step One: Notice

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In order to Be The Cause of your Being, first notice – without judgment – who you have been. People call this mindfulness, metacognition, presence, self-awareness, Super-Ego — whatever you call it, it begins with you extricating your big Self from your mindstuff. You know when people mindlessly ask “how are you?” and you mindlessly answer however you answer while you’re thinking about something else? Take the time to really ask yourself. Give yourself the gift of your own attention, even for a moment.

1+ minute exercise: answer these three questions as an outside observer watching the movie of your life, without feeling the need to judge or change.

(a) How am I, really, right now?
(b) What thoughts, feelings, and body sensations are in my space?
(c) What’s going on in my environment?

Step Two: Choose

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You get to Be The Cause of how your life goes. Your thoughts, feelings, and determinations are up to you – your responsibility, no one else’s. If you have that much agency over your life, could you choose to Become Your Best, more and more aligned with the greatest version of your Higher Self? The answer is yes – and at any moment.

1+ minute exercise: play the director in the movie of your life and answer these three questions.

(a) What is the hero’s highest purpose in this [scene, movie, series, life]? (ie Connection)
(b) What is the best next [action, interaction, feeling, scene, line] that would express our hero’s purpose? (ie clear the air with my argument partner and listen for what they need)
(c) When or how will the hero take that action, and what will the results be? (ie invite a conversation tonight, and we’ll be back in connected relationship afterward)

Step Three: Repeat

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Becoming Your Best takes as much practice as anything else. I recently shared with my musical theater students some advice I received when I was their age: “If you care about precision, don’t practice until you can get it right; practice until you can’t get it wrong.” It’s not bad or wrong for you to not get it the first time. It’s refreshingly normal. We are habitual creatures, and we need the reps.

1+ minute exercise: give yourself some reps!

(a) Choose a way of Being to maintain for at least 1 minute of activity. (ie Love) 
(b) Notice the effects of your Being on your activity. (ie appreciating brushing your teeth as an act of Self-Love)
(c) When you fall into unconsciousness (ie brushing your teeth mindlessly), re-Mind yourself of your Chosen way of Being, and come back to it on purpose.
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Thanks for taking a journey to Becoming Your Best. I believe that the better we each express our brilliance individually, the better we become together. Join me for more depth by following my WonderPlay Coaching blog, or join my newest collective, The Creative Level-Up, for weekly coaching and live masterminding (find the schedule here), or schedule a Discovery Call to find out more about joining a coaching group for even more direct support on Becoming Your Best!

Being, Life Coach, Mindset, Perfection, WonderPlay Coaching

Declaring Value is a Choice: 5 Gifts From My Stolen Car

We were about to take a drive to Humboldt Park (to scout locations for a community event for The Sacred Circus), and my car isn’t where we parked it after we got groceries the night before. Towed? No. Stolen? Yes.

The situation is (almost) resolved as I type this. Nothing was ever broken in the first place, but as usual, I am creating a lot of value in this journey!

The bottom line is: Declaring Value is a Choice. When we make a mindset habit of declaring value, the circumstances seem to reorganize themselves around that idea.
These 5 gifts (that I choose to receive) are ways I am declaring value from this whole experience.
Selfie from a day I was feeling really boss that week, regardless of missing car.
I was channeling Power, Creativity, and Love!

Declared Value #1: Recognizing That I Am Warrior. 

That doesn’t mean I’m not a Worrier sometimes. But I am prepared to step up and take appropriate action in the circumstances I find myself in. I prioritize easily. I plan methodically I move swiftly. I trust my intuition. I count on people to have my back, and I also am ready to move along if they are unable to help. I see that my mindset is one of my most precious resources. I didn’t panic or rage. I simply acknowledged that my afternoon was going to look different from how I had planned it and moved along.
At the same time, Warriors need breaks too. Which leads me to my next point…

This was a report to my team about my mindset practice for the day, as I was waiting for a bus.

Declared Value #2: Reminder to Practice Compassion and Gratitude.

Having compassion for myself was a challenge – surprisingly/not surprisingly. As I was waiting for the bus to go to work after I canceled the remainder of my participation in our Sacred Circus research trip, I thought to myself that I wanted to simply cry and be held. My need to be tenderly cared for got met in other ways that week, and sometimes I got reminders to be tender toward myself.

This was right before the first drive back in the recovered vehicle. Some of the objects that remained included this extraordinary shiny and sequined piece of fabric – remaining from my competitive pole season. I opted to wear it as a scarf immediately in the name of Celebration!
It was fairly easy to have compassion for the thief, by surprising contrast. I imagined the person who stole my car really needing transportation. I imagined them getting groceries and commuting to a workplace. I imagined them being super short on earthly dollars and choosing this as a way to generate some quick cash. As I learned from Grace Bishop at the first ImpacTable (find her business at LeadLove and her passionwork as a leader and facilitator of NonViolent Communication in Chicago), much of human emotional behavior is an expression of an unmet need. 
Bonus: whosoever stole the car cleaned it out pretty well! Thanks!

Cleaned out…Stereo included.

Declared Value #3: Leaning on My Human Resources.

What a network I have, in biological and chosen family!

The first phone call was to my Dad, who got into action to mitigate the potential negative effects, including recruiting his sister (my aunt & godmother) to investigate giving me a big ol’ pile of her airline miles to rent me a car for a week while we at least figured out what would happen next. He started fixing up “my” car extra fast and moving forward with that, but then once the stolen car was recovered, my grandmother contributed that she would switch cars with me so I would have a drivable car sooner, and even gave me money for the title transfer. Not to mention, my Dad insisted on having me drop the car off to him immediately so he could make sure everything was still in proper order before releasing it to me again. Holy cow. I would not have managed this situation nearly as gracefully on my own, without their assistance. I am SO grateful.

And then there’s my husband. The moment we discovered the car missing, he offered his service – “What can I do? What do you need?” And he was a space for love and listening the whole time. Even the morning the car was recovered, when we got that call from the police to either pick it up RIGHT NOW or they would tow it and have it impounded, he canceled his bodywork/training appointment that he had been excited about ALL WEEK to come with me in the rental to pick up the stolen vehicle. (I hadn’t even considered that it wouldn’t be drivable, but it started right up when we got there.) He got to be with me, too, when we realized when we were most of the way there that we had left the house without any ID. That was quite a hilarious scene with that police officer, but I was able to confirm my identity by having my Driver’s License Number memorized and independently corroborating the info on the initial police report, so that turned out ok. But I wouldn’t have been nearly so easy and graceful in that situation either, if it had not been for Ryan. I continue to be SO grateful. 

Declared Value #4: Reminder to Release My Hold on the Physical.

Possessions? Great. Stopping to smell the flowering trees? At least as great.

I remember the last time a big-ticket item was stolen out from under me: it was my backpack in Costa Rica. It wasn’t “my” backpack — it had all my STUFF in it, yes, and I was USING it at the time, but it wasn’t strictly mine. 

My husband and I had left a high-stress situation and decided to camp out on the beach the day before we would begin leading our first retreat. We had been backpacking and hammocking, getting trained up with Sacred Paths Yoga, doing Ayahuasca when wild shamans appeared, and all-around having brilliant adventures…and suddenly the earthly possessions I had been carrying around were no more.

For about five minutes I went from disbelief to sadness and anger. I asked continuously through hysterical tears, “What do I do?!” Ryan finally offered, “Start to accept the loss.” That was what I needed to hear in that moment. I snapped out of it immediately. I stopped crying and did as suggested – began to accept that those objects didn’t belong to me anymore, and released them to their next phase of existence and moved on to mine.

The backpack is not the focus of this photo, and it turns out it wasn’t the focus of our journey either.

All of this to say, when the car was missing from its spot, I had already had a great session of practice this year of accepting the loss of a high-value object. We figured out who to call, what to say, and what to do next. It was a little tiring, but I was ready to move forward. I still am, even now that the car has been recovered – missing stereo and some personal affects notwithstanding.

WonderPlay of the Day: Steps Toward Release! While out in the city, I threw away the shoes I was wearing and walked home barefoot. I was on my way home from an adventure to meet @c_rieds ‘s financial planner with @mr.ladysmith last week, and I noticed that my gait had adjusted to avoid the pain from walking in my broken sandals. My beloved white Birks had taken some severe water damage (most recently and deleteriously from our Big Top adventure on the Fourth of July with @placeodiscovery and @deosluciddream), and they had never recovered. And yet! True to my fashion, I had decided that I would try to make them last till the end of this sandal-season. When Ryan suggested I throw them away, I discovered I was still attached to them, broken as they were. They’ve served me ever so well (@birkenstock is my jam), and I’ve had so many adventures in them (3+ years!) – not to mention Ryan has mostly commandeered my other pair (which you can see in the 2nd video). I went through fear that was physical (what about broken glass? will it hurt me to walk on the concrete?), social (what will people think of me? can I present as as person in charge of themselves and their life if I don’t even have shoes?), commercial (will they even let me on the CTA?), mental (I’ve never done this before; can I even handle it?) and even familial judgment (what would my MOTHER say? @sandratuazon) before I finally allowed the pain of my present situation to override all of it. Not only was I not injured, but I was leaps and bounds more comfortable than with my broken sandals. I remembered that my feet were built to walk on, urban environment notwithstanding. Plus, I got to experience something completely new. To top it off, a man living out of his truck under the Green Line asked if I was barefoot by choice, and then offered me some shoes. How humbling! Takeaways: 👞Pay attention to your discomfort. There is something there for you. 👟Pay attention to any invitations you get to release your discomfort – and especially pay attention to your resistance to do so. 👠Give generously, and express gratitude freely. 👡Explore the world for new experiences – they may be closer than you think.
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^^^Another recent exploration of releasing the physical.

Declared Value #5: Seeing A Bigger Picture. (Hint:It’s All Perfect.)

Recontextualizing a hardship into an opportunity is always a way of declaring value. 

Here’s some background that made it seem hilariously extra-complicated: 

  • It wasn’t even “my” car. It was on loan from my family.
  • Therefore, the stolen car is not in my name, nor registered to my address.
  • I didn’t know WHOSE name the car was registered in when I called to make the police report. 
  • The insurance on said loaner car wouldn’t cover theft replacement or a rental.
  • I plan my schedule based on commutes for my jobs, which are in turn based on having a car for commuting.
We learned this glorious tool in my coach training called “Problems to Opportunities.” A few of us clever folks condensed it to “Probportunities.” The shorthand of the exercise is, when you think you have a problem, find at least 3 opportunities from it. I had opportunities to figure out how to get to work on transit and how long that would take, how to file a police report for a stolen car I don’t own, how to rent a car with someone else’s airline miles (pro tip: you still have to pay the taxes in regular dollars, and still with a credit card), and how to get creative regarding missing work supplies (my dance bag was in the car at the time, and they rifled through it pretty well) and stretch the resources you’re left with. As Mike Michalowicz says in Profit First (<<<that’s a link to the audiobook on Audible), one of the tropes of entrepreneurship is to do more with less. I am grateful for all of these opportunities and reminders.

Bottom line: everything is really fine. Really.

There’s nothing like a little training from the Universe to create yourself more into who you are becoming. I create this experience as character-building and interesting, and I know that it will eventually be what one of my colleagues calls “Fun Type 2” – it will all be be funny after it’s not dramatic anymore.


I’d love to hear how you declare value in your experiences! Please comment below and share what values you are creating. 

Being, Life Coach, Pole Dance, Presence, WonderPlay Coaching

How My First Ice-Bath Changed My Life

How My First Ice-Bath Changed My Life

A Tale in Six Chapters

(and it wasn’t even the therapeutic benefits)

Hear me out, friends.

[CW: pole dancing happens in this post.]

[I tried to capture some media to share in this post, but we did this at nighttime, and the images turned out pretty poorly. You’ll have to use your imagination…!]

TL;DR: skip to the 6 points below!
A little background: I classify myself as an athlete. 
Specifically, Pole Athlete & Artist.
Witness my only Eagle in a public performance, lessons from which I mention in my previous blog post.
Photo by Peter Yeung Photography

I am familiar with much of the wisdom readily available about common rituals and remedies that athletes of different ilks might use in their routines. I am certainly not an expert by any means, but I have gained some knowledge and some practices that I like and that have worked for me. 

  • Mindset practices
    • Meditation
    • Goal-setting
    • Success/victory mindset
    • Focus before and during training
    • Accountability
  • Nutrition practices
    • Timing (Meals, Fasting)
    • Content (Sufficiency, Macronutrients, Micronutrients, Supplements)
    • Water (Temperature, volume, frequency)
  • Body practices
    • Preparation (Smart warm-up, consistent maintenance)
    • Training (Timing, Content, Order, Balance)
    • Rest (Sleep and other constructive rest)
    • Recovery (Bodywork, smart icing to reduce inflammation)
    • Prehab or Rehab (injury prevention and treatment)
(Feel free to ask about my moderately-educated opinions on anything here. For more, I would honestly ask Ruby, at least to start.)

But I would draw the line at cold showers.

My dear husband Ryan has some very particular regular practices that he is using to stoke the fire of his discipline, and one of those is the daily cold shower. He is super curious about the teachings of the “Iceman,” Wim Hof, and one of those practices is a cold shower (with associated breath practices).
He has taught me the breathing practice he uses, and I have accomplished approximately 3 cold showers this entire quarter – and one was just because it was a stupid-hot day, not to seek any particular benefits. What can I say? I really enjoy being warm. That’s one of the reasons our company The Sacred Circus held its first retreat in Costa Rica this past March – a break from the Chicago winter? Yes please!
This month, Ryan and I conceived of some potential community events to host as The Sacred Circus, and one of his ideas was an Ice-Bath Party. I scoffed. I resisted. I was like, sure, maybe some athletes will come, but that doesn’t apply to me. I’ll go and host, but I don’t really know that anyone in my community – even the pole dancers – would be down. If my pole-athlete community is like me (and of course I assume they are, to a point), who could I get to willingly dip into a bucket of ice water? 

I eventually agreed to create the event, but remained skeptical.

A few days later, Ryan told me I was invited to go with him to one of his friends’ houses (from his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu studio) to take an ice bath. I resisted up until the moment I had to decide, and then reluctantly committed to meeting him after training, traveling with him to meet his friend John, and participating.

I accepted the invitation.

Even as I arrived, I had an out. John asked me if I was doing the dunk…and I could have said no.

But I said yes again. And then I did it. 

Here are the realizations that changed my life.

1. It’s not any harder than deciding to do it, and then showing up.

I had to decide in multiple ways to be there and do it. Verbally accepting the invitation…collecting bathing suit and towels…actually showing up…committing again onsite. The last bit of advice John gave to me before I stepped in was, “Take 10 deep breaths. Then just decide to get in, and get in. It takes you out of the fight or flight mode.” 
If you think about it, it’s a really small ask. What’s the cost? Some discomfort? Experiencing some fear? I was in no actual danger of death, which I knew in my head – but to convince the body is an entirely new experience. How many times have I experienced the newness of a pole trick and thought I was going to die…and then decided to do it again? (Quick shout-out to Susan Shen, currently a trainer at POW! Gym in Chicago, who was my pole instructor BACK IN THE DAY who got me into my first outside leg hang (that’s #pdgemini on IG if you feel like finding those images). I came down from the pole, crying because it hurt so much. I swore I would never do that nasty thing again.

…and then I did it a gazillion more times, to the point of having it be the start of combos like this. NOT because I was excited about doing this painful thing again. But because I eventually got curious about what could come AFTER it. Because I was more committed to continuing my learning than to avoiding pain/discomfort. (Thanks for the repost, USPDF!)

So smooth! #uspdfpro @elizabethtuazon Video Submissions now open for the 2019 US Pole Dance Championship! Video Submission Deadline December 16th 11:59pm EST. For details go to Final Stage competition held @Symphonyspace Theater in New York City on April 12-13th. Mens, Womens and Doubles Amateur Competition April 12th – 7:30pm Novice Competition Level 1 – April 13th – 9:30am Novice Competition Level 2 – April 13th – 12:00pm Pro Competition – April 13th – 7:00pm Sponsored by: @lupitpole #poledancing #poledancer #poledanceinsocks #socks #competition #nyc #spring2019 Repost from @elizabethtuazon using @RepostRegramApp – More found footage of that magic combo, especially including “how the hell do you get out of this…?” @davidpoleartistry says #pdspatchcock, but that’s not a thing I do yet. But I’d love to see it and be convinced to learn it! #pdbirdofparadise #pdbrokensplit #pdbrassbridge #spinpole @eunyou_lena @kelly_jo2418
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Commitment, yo. It’s real, and you don’t need to overthink it.

2. It’s a solo experience, but you don’t have to be alone.

The jewelry my husband and I wore to our wedding, and to get our marriage license.

Thanks be to John, who was with me the whole time, as much as I needed him. He coached me on my breathing when I started to panic, gave me helpful visuals and analogies that kept me calm, and left me alone once he saw I had tapped into a zone and relaxed. He was super supportive the whole process, all the way from the very invitation to describing some of the process and the physical and mental benefits he derives (much of which is corroborated in this article), to acknowledgement of my rockstar status after I was done, to lending us his tub for our Ice-Bath Picnic in September. He is a real gem.

Speaking of our Ice-Bath Picnic, check out our event on Facebook or on our website! (John will be there too.)

3. Getting outside your comfort zone, no matter how far, is an opportunity to exercise courage.

Each time I said yes, there was a part of me that wanted to say NO. I have learned to have more compassion and gratitude for my fear than ever – it’s there for a reason, and it has kept me plenty safe, comfortable, and alive thus far. Woohoo! 

And it’s job is to continue keeping me safe. 

AND!…sometimes I want to choose outside of that. So I exercise my courage muscle by choosing past what’s comfortable or known, on purpose. I remember standing up out of that ice-bath (stumbling a little, because blood flow and sensitivity has changed) thinking to myself,

If I can do that…I can do anything.

I still might need to exercise the muscle a little more, certainly. And having courage in the face of fear is not the same thing as jumping off a cliff, flapping your wings really hard, and expecting to fly because someone told you that you could. (This image is early in the new book I’m reading in my book club, Profit First by Mike Michalowicz.) But sure as anything, I’ll come up against fear again. Choosing action from courage is a practice. And I choose to practice.

To quote a line from the fantastical film Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, which I just rewatched with my dear friend, colleague, and fellow athlete Ellen, “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”

Here’s a picture of Ellen kicking the Chicago Triathlon‘s ASS!

4. I get the opportunity to walk my talk as often as I choose.

My business is coaching – asking people continually to look past where they would normally stop and consider what’s possible – which sometimes sounds outrageous! If I’m not willing to choose boldly in my own life, why would someone trust me to support them doing it in theirs?

Weirdly, this ice-bath was in integrity with my business. Who knew?

Well, who the f*ck can say, darling, really?
Photo by Jess Rose Photography

5. Anybody can describe THEIR experience to you, but nobody can live YOUR experience for you.

There’s no substitute for Doing It, Being There, Showing Up.  Ever. (See my blog post on Presence.) As I remember reading in Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch, one of the reasons that individuals exist is so that God could experience [Him]self. Because humans are the masters and mistresses of experiencing the wonders of the world, right? And that’s because we’re master creators. There is a supreme gift in creating your own experience and living your own life. 

The caption of this post included the following:
🎹This was one of the early pieces I got heartily coached on, and I recall the total wonder I experienced when I realized that I, too, could be an artist, simply by deciding to interpret the work in my own unique way. 🎹That gets to KEEP being the point: it doesn’t matter who has done it before me or how; *I* am participating, here, now, and contributing my voice. 

6. You don’t have to know “how it ends” to start the story.

I wanted John to explain what would happen beforehand, so I could prepare myself for what would happen. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, certainly! We’re certainly not going to stop asking people for help or advice who have done something we’re about to do. But as a friend pointed out to me recently, NONE of us know what’s going to happen. We’re each doing this – living this life as these bodies and beings – for the first time, and we each have our own thoughts and judgments, experiences and prejudices, beliefs and values. Who can say how it will go for someone else? And who’s to say someone is “more right” in the path they choose to take? 
All I knew was, at first I was desperately interested in the procedure and the results – the “how” and the “ending.” But at the end of that experience, I have rekindled my interest in what my experiential takeaways will be, and who I will choose to Be from there. And those can only be known by me as I write (and live) my whole story.

I couldn’t leave this section without mentioning this popular Lao Tzu quote: “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” (that link takes you to the Bodhi Spiritual Center, a luscious, accepting place in Chicago, where I haven’t even explored the tip of the iceberg yet!) A coach I had in WordPress said it to me recently much more colorfully: “It’s like eating an elephant; you have to do it one bite at a time.” And I’ll be darned if that isn’t true. (You can see my post on Chaos As Perfection to see more thoughts on what’s possible when we think we have our path all planned out.)

In Conclusion…

Come to our Ice-Bath Picnic.

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Tell your story! Comment below or email me.

A time you exercised courage beyond your fear…
The single step you took that started your journey of 1000 miles…
When you emerged victorious on the other side…
Your personal preferences for health and wellness routines…

I’d love to hear from you!