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

Becoming Your Best, Becoming My Best, Best, Simple Steps, Become My Best, Become Your Best, Mindset Shift, Being, Being Your Best, Being My Best, raise your vibration, raise my vibration, raising your vibration, raising my vibration, higher consciousness, WonderPlay Coaching, Life Coach, Life Coaching, Creative Coaching

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

Becoming Your Best, Becoming My Best, Best, Simple Steps, Become My Best, Become Your Best, Mindset Shift, Being, Being Your Best, Being My Best, raise your vibration, raise my vibration, raising your vibration, raising my vibration, higher consciousness, WonderPlay Coaching, Life Coach, Life Coaching, Creative Coaching

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.
Becoming Your Best, Becoming My Best, Best, Simple Steps, Become My Best, Become Your Best, Mindset Shift, Being, Being Your Best, Being My Best, raise your vibration, raise my vibration, raising your vibration, raising my vibration, higher consciousness, WonderPlay Coaching, Life Coach, Life Coaching, Creative Coaching

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!

Chaos, Life Coaching, Perfect, Perfection, Pole Dance, WonderPlay Coaching

Chaos As Perfection

I’d like to introduce you to a tiny video clip from a final dress rehearsal.
This is from my 2018 pole competition piece. Turn the sound up to hear my reaction to breaking a piece of a prop: “Sh*t. There goes that!” Unexpected result: it was one hell of a dress rehearsal run – arguably even better than the actual performance, when the props all stayed in one piece.

What is possible when our best-laid plans go awry?
BluesSHOUT! 2016, featuring myself and partner Curtis Ellis when we heard an unexpected lyric during our [blues dance] competition final. Who KNOWS what happened next. PC Mélanie Bert


I know that I can create a Win-Win situation out of seemingly impossible dichotomies. 

And so I ask:

How can life be Perfect when it seems Messy?

Where am I willing to generate Perfection within Chaos?

How could I see Chaos AS Perfection?

I’ve collected many thoughts on this in the last few years.

I was in a coaching group led by Megan Taylor Morrison and Peter Will Benjamin, who told us that they were practicing the following concept:

“Everything Is Perfect.”

Preparing to swim into a Montezuma waterfall with my husband on our 2018 Costa Rica trip. This video is 3 seconds long because our guide and videographer took this 3 second video. While not what we intended, it certainly does capture part of the spirit of the thing.


I have since changed my understanding of that word.


Perfect doesn’t necessarily imply shiny happy people. It implies that I have everything I need to facilitate my life. “Uncomfortable” does not mean “bad” or “wrong” – in the same way, “perfect” doesn’t mean “idyllic.”

  • I learned from having my bag stolen in Costa Rica how easy, freeing, and simple it can be to release physical objects and possessions, and about what what I truly value. 
  • I learned from Pascal and Belonia, Ayahuasca shamans we met on that same trip in Costa Rica, that the Madre (some would say “The Universe”) teaches and shows us exactly what we need – especially when we ask to see and know it. 
  • I learned from the leader of my training program at Accomplishment Coaching that we might consider that everything that we experience is training. 


In what ways can I see that conditions are perfect to create whatever will be next? How is this “chaos” that I have generated actually a gift, rather than something to bemoan or decry?


This dichotomy of Chaos and Perfection often shows up in creative processes.



There are creative moments that seem incredibly ordered.

Jeff Casey at the Towle Theater puts together a mean production calendar.
Even that, though, gets shifted and changed as we learn and refine the type work an ensemble will really need. You better believe that we have an inspired process with room for every actor to experience their process, and we share expectations of excellence and achievement from the very beginning. And yet, part of what brings the inspiration to that company is that it really ends up being a collaborative experience: anything the actors bring to the table gets considered, to the point of really wild moments becoming part of shows that make the role uniquely theirs.

There are also parts of a creative process wherein explosive brilliance may be unpredictable.

I think of the pole dancers I admire in the community, likeTracee Kafer, who has created an entire movement (Finding Your Freestyle) around the assertion that freedance is a way of exploring and expressing what already exists within.


To bring it back to daily life, I would ask:

how is it perfect right now?

When my housemates don’t use our house calendar the same way I do…


would it make it perfect to reflect that this experience highlights my commitment to:
*creating intentional community where everyone’s time, energy, space, and boundaries are respected and honored,
*and we create time for purposeful and meaningful interactions with each other?

I say yes!

~~~~
When I have piles of notes, papers and business cards on my desk right now…

*is it actually perfect to be bringing my awareness to what information exists in the midst of transitioning to new CRM systems for my business – which I have never needed until now?*Instead of being grumpy about the look of it, can I be grateful for the symptom of growth?*It could also be a way for me to learn what I really want and need from my working space, both physical and digital.

How perfect!

~~~
How could it possibly be perfect that everything in my life is not pretty, presentable, and put together?

*I would say, I’m becoming more aligned in fulfilling commitment to my growth, development,*and being increasingly responsible for bringing my gifts fully to the table – manicured or not.

I have acknowledged that for me, Fully Expressed IS Perfect.


Consider where you stand on 

Chaos as Perfection.


I challenge you to look at what you might consider a “mess” and declare it Perfect, as it is.

I invite you, next time you experience something as a curveball or a monkey wrench (or a downright implosion), that you create gratitude for the training from the Universe as you become one step more prepared for what may be down the road for you.


What Else Is Up at WonderPlay Coaching?!


Human-Up! Workshops

You can catch exercises around this topic, and others, at my monthly Human-Up! Workshops. They’re by donation…and there are pancakes. Check them out here!

ImpacTable
Want to join in the conversation? Come to the ImpacTable! It’s another monthly event over food, glorious food, where I feature awesome impacters in the Chicagoland area who are doing rocking things.

This is my hilarious video about ImpacTable.
Share it with your friends, so they can see what they’re getting into.

Individual Coaching

If you want to take a look together at what coaching could shift in your life, here’s the link to schedule a complimentary session with me! Contracts and packages are available. 

Group Coaching
I am offering group coaching starting in August! If you know you thrive in creating contributions for groups and receiving from others, this may be a fit for you. Fill out this form to get more details!
Footnote: RE continuing from the first pole video: the first performance turned out like this. If you want to cheer on the next version, I’m performing it at NAPDC 2018 as International Elite and at Pole Theatre USA as Semi-Pro Dramatic. Woo hoo! Let’s see how perfectly messy I get. <3

Being, Concert, Gogo Penguin, Life Coaching, Presence, WonderPlay Coaching

Presenting…Presence!

I went to a concert on Friday. I was excited to have a night out with a friend (being social! Not working!), and I was interested to see how this experience would go: this was a band I had barely heard of, but came with the most glowing praise from a friend. I hadn’t planned on working, but I found myself inspired to write on my experience.


The band (Gogo Penguin) was great. Better than great, they were incredible. They were a delicious meal for my musician brain – a stunning flow of energy with incredible creativity and precision. Their individual skill was staggering, and their partnership was seamless. Their exploration of their art and craft was gorgeous and intriguing.


But this is not an essay about a great concert. It is a reflection about all concerts, great and otherwise, and inclusive of other powerful public shares: recitals, plays, speeches, shows, circuses, spectacles, protests, and everything at the huge end of the spectrum – and then on the small end, even conversations.


It boils down to this: it’s about sharing in a shared space. It’s about Presence.


“You had to be there!” Ever heard this? Ever said it? There is something special and beautifully impermanent about gatherings of humans in shared space. This is why the performing arts even exist  – experiencing together is powerful. Even if you go to see a movie or a play by yourself, you are still with everyone else who is in attendance – and now you have had a shared experience with people who are strangers. But now you can say to strangers as you leave the shared space, “wasn’t that something?” Being at that concert, I got to experience the peaks and valleys with people around me – and then afterward, my friend and I stood outside the venue and shared all of the reasons why this concert blew our minds.


I met up with my husband on my way home, and when he asked me how the concert was, I didn’t share nearly as much of the particulars with him as with my friend. Why was that? Well…he just wasn’t there, so it didn’t seem like it would be as meaningful for him to only hear my words about it. If I went home and shared their discography with him later, maybe he could appreciate the art the way I did – but that wouldn’t have made him any more present in the moment of the performance itself. Could I share my experience with him in words? Sure. Would he feel like he had been there? Possibly, if I had all the best words. But even if he felt transported himself, that doesn’t add his energy to the experience of the rest of the folks who were there. Experiencing something yourself, in tandem with community, gives access to to a shared consciousness. And “FOMO” exists for a reason.


Presence can be important for people in other ways. Presence or absence can speak volumes. A single person’s presence or absence can change the entire dynamic of a gathering. And think about how many times you have heard (or expressed) gratitude for someone who was “there” for you. Could I have enjoyed the music just as much in the absence of my friend? Likely, yes. Would I have had an altogether different experience with a different friend? Likely, yes. Would our experience have been shifted if it was a crowd of 5, or 50, or 500, or even 5,000? Would the band have been more or less engaging? It’s hard to say – but it’s not a performance until you have an audience to share the experience with you.


This past weekend, the inspiration was not just the glory of the music. It was, for me, a full room of concertgoers experiencing energy together. We were connected not just in the action of going to the concert, but being at the concert. There is something inescapable and unavoidable about feeling the same energy and appreciation as the person next to you, or being in the midst of a cheering crowd, or being in a lively discussion with like-minded passionate people. It’s that collective gasp when something surprising happens that we witness together, or that pregnant hush in the room at a poignant moment, or a tender sigh about something we find collectively precious.


On one end, this palpable shared energy is the source of mob mentality. I have never personally participated in a mosh pit, for instance, or even crowdsurfing, but it’s certainly a part of a community expression of exuberance, even if it sometimes leads to injury. With a different lens, this shared experience is a source of genuine connection and mutually shared power and celebration. Our collective cheers and applause brought them back for 2 encore numbers. Might they have played the encores even if we hadn’t cheered as enthusiastically? Sure. But what we knew to do, together, was to applaud their work with sufficient fervor to ask them back.


Another expression of Presence comes up for me with simply noticing and Being With all of the parts of a present moment – Being With whatever is happening. At my concert, I had moments of being Present with my body sensations – hearing and feeling the music and the warmth of the audience, sensing through my shoes into the floor, changing my balance as people brushed past me, tasting my drink, seeing the lights shift, smelling the room. I sometimes got really Present with my sense of connection – the musicians with each other in body and sound, the musicians with us as the audience, myself with my friend, and the whole of the audience with each other. In those moments, I’m not looking ahead for what’s next or anywhere but fully immersed in the Present. My colleague, Matt Maxwell, reflected this to me with a sportspuck analogy. Hockey moves so fast, the players simply don’t have time to have their attention anywhere but the present moment. If someone makes a poor pass or misses a shot, you don’t see the players kicking themselves or berating each other. You just see them move on to the next new reality, which may now be that the other team has the puck and they’re on defense. Not everyone plays their sportsball games this way, especially with games that have so much downtime (baseball, football, golf) and with access to instant replays. But performance artists know this: dwell on a past mistake and you might just make the next one.


Lately, in my coaching business, I think of Presence particularly in a professional way. In all of my interactions, it’s not enough for only me to be Present – I need to invite the Presence of others! One of my companies, The Sacred Circus, just finished hosting an event yesterday; WonderPlay Coaching prepares for its next workshop (you can find it on Facebook and Meetup); The Sacred Circus opens registration for The Total Wellness Retreat in Costa Rica in 2018. My other pursuits invite Presence too – my dance partner and I invite folks to our next Blues Dance workshop; my students share their upcoming show. Without attending an event, you can get the digest, or hear how it went, or even study the content — but there is no substitute for your Presence: sharing space-time and mental energy. This applies to personal relationships too: recall your last conversation when your companion mentally checked out – or when you did. Recall the opposite – connecting deeply with someone, being fully related or completely on the same page. Even for yourself – tuning in to what you really want or need is a practice of Presence.

A great irony, isn’t it? – that I write about Presence, but in doing so, all I share with you are my words. So, I write as an invitation to share your Presence with me and with each other.
~~~
How have you observed Presence in your relationships? How do you choose to be Present for yourself and others?