Embracing Presence + A Gift for You

soulful-shout-out

I absolutely love the Soulful Shout Out series here on Soul Speak! I get to highlight and introduce you to beautiful people and their wonderful offerings!

dave

988890_10153587438362004_9206186701417908682_nToday, I am happy to introduce you to my friend, Dave Rowley from Welcome Presence!

Dave is a member of my Soul Shakers’ community, and I’ve had the chance to get to know him over the last year. Like me, he is a sensitive, introverted soul, and I just love his energy and his spirit. I feel blessed to know him, and I’m glad you’ll get a chance to know him better, too!

Dave is a presence coach, which is something that I feel is so needed in our fast-paced world. He has a very calming and grounding personality, which you’ll get a sense of in our interview below. Keep reading to learn more about what presence coaching is, why it matters, and how you can benefit from it!

Dave has also created a wonderful free ebook for you, which we’ll share below as well!

Welcome to Soul Speak, Dave!

I would love to start by asking you to share more about what exactly presence coaching is, especially for those who are hearing about it for the first time.

Presence coaching is a kind of life coaching that uses presence as the starting point.

When I say ‘presence’ I mean something like ‘mindful,’ but I prefer the word presence. Sometimes, the word ‘mindful’ comes across to me as a little clinical and detached. I like the term presence because it seems to invite more of me into awareness than just my mind. And there’s a real emphasis in our coaching sessions on inviting awareness of the body, and including emotion as well as thought. There is even some exploration of our surroundings as we explore being in relationship to the world we live in.

Working with presence can:

  • Encourage you to access your own inner wisdom.
  • Create a sense of spaciousness around the issue you are working on.
  • Help you disentangle from other people’s, or your own, misplaced expectations.
  • Make it easier to recognize your own habitual responses.
  • Make new and more skillful responses possible.
  • Give you a sense of belonging.

What excites me most about working with presence is that once you get a taste of being with yourself in this way, it creates a desire to be even more present to your life. That’s what makes this such a beautiful way to work.

In a typical session we probably spend at least half of our time doing simple experiments or explorations based on paying attention to our present moment experience. (I say “We” because I’m doing this along with the client, as much as possible.) We do this by giving attention to our breath, guiding our awareness to different parts of the body, interacting with our surroundings, and feeling what’s there right now.

It doesn’t take long for the client (and coach!) to start feeling more connected, grounded, and calm within themselves. This gives us a great starting point for the the other element of the session – working on the issue, or issues, the client has chosen.

As we work through the client’s issue(s) we keep coming back and checking in with the body, noticing our inner responses to what we have been discussing. This process of moving between the discussion and getting quiet and paying attention to the body yields some really interesting and useful information.

I would love to hear more about what led you to becoming a presence coach.

On the personal side, I walked into a meditation centre in Sydney over twenty years ago, sat down, and had a very uncomfortable first-time experience of meditation. By the time the bell had rung to finish I had already decided this was not for me. Luckily, I stayed for a cup of tea and the teacher was so gracious and kind, and spoke with me about my experience. She assured me that this was something I would be able to do. Two weeks later I arrived at my first meditation retreat.

Since then I have practiced and studied meditation. At times I have been so pushy and hard on myself, meditating for long hours, working with teachers, and doing retreats, while at other times I have completely fallen away from my practice for long stretches.

Right now, presence is my practice. The idea of pushing to be more present seems a little funny to me now. I practice presence as a way of caring for myself and feeling my own life more. Hopefully, that helps me to respond to things that happen with a bit more intelligence and care. There is a place in my presence practice for sitting meditation, and I also like to fold presence into more ordinary activities like walking, eating, gardening, or just being in my body and noticing what that’s like.

On the professional side, I worked for nearly a decade as a drug and alcohol worker, mostly in community-development projects and working closely with local artists. I loved working in this way, and I got to see people make amazing changes in their lives though accessing their sense of creativity.

When I made the switch to coaching, I first trained as a creativity coach. After a while I started to realise the aspect of creativity that really excited me was that sense of deep presence and peace you get when you’re completely absorbed in your creative work.

Over a period of a few years I moved towards ‘creative presence’ as the focus in my coaching and completed more training in ways of coaching that included mindful awareness of the body. And then, last year I realised that ‘presence’ is the heart and soul of what I am meant to explore for myself and with other people. I decided that would be the guiding principle for my coaching.

I am currently rebuilding my business to reflect that commitment to working with presence. I became sure this was the right decision when I got quiet during a planning session and asked myself: if this doesn’t work out as my livelihood is it still something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life anyway? The answer was a clear and strong yes.

Would you like to share some tips on how to be more present?

I would love to. One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in trying to be more present was that I always put so much pressure on myself. And I’ve learned over time to prioritize self kindness and to approach this work with a light touch. So, with that in mind, here are a few tips that can help make it easier to begin.

Start small, and start with pleasure

Sometimes it’s easy to think that to be more present or mindful we need to sign up for a meditation retreat or a four-week yoga immersion class. That kind of thinking is an easy way to get discouraged. It’s so much kinder and easier to start small and to start with something pleasurable.

Stop for a moment and drink a glass of water or juice. Feel the glass where it touches your fingers, notice the coolness of the fluid as it moves down your throat. You might go outside and stand on your lawn in bare feet. You could eat a single square of dark chocolate and notice all the sensations and thoughts that brings up. Whatever small action you can think of that gives you some kind of pleasure will do.

Taking this approach makes it easier to stay in awareness as you give yourself to the activity.

Cultivate curiosity

It really helps to be curious about what you might discover through being present. Whenever I am paying attention to something I like to wonder what will happen next.

If I stop writing right now and pick up my coffee, I might feel the warmth of the coffee through the mug. I might wonder at the difference between the temperature of the mug in my hands and the temperature of the coffee as I drink it. Do they feel the same? Is one warmer than the other? (Yes, I just tried it.) If I move my hand away from my mug, how long does my hand stay warm? Can I track that if I pay attention?

When we cultivate a sense of curiosity it often encourages a sense of playfulness. That sense of playfulness makes it easier and more fun to maintain a sense of presence.

And there is so much to be curious about. Every moment is fresh and new, and both our selves and the world around us are constantly shifting and changing in response to each other.

Use your hands

Your hands are highly sensitive. They are a great tool in helping you to be present.

My first move when I wish to be more present is to place one hand over the center of my chest. Through that simple act I can feel so many things: bone, skin, my breath moving through me, the warmth of my chest, I even get a sense of my emotional state. As soon as my hand makes contact I drop into a state of deeper presence.

Exploring different areas of your body with your hands can be a great exercise: cup them over your eyes, rest them on your head, place them over your belly, hold one of your feet. What do you notice? Because our hands are so sensitive, when we use them to check in on our body we get so much more information and that helps cultivate a sense of curiosity and the urge to explore.

gift


noticecoversmallI’m so happy that you’ve created a Notice Your Life Ebook that you’re offering for free! I would love for you to share more about it!

Sure! Noticing is a writing meditation practice I’ve been developing for a few years that simply involves noticing sensations, our surroundings, anything that comes up in the moment, and writing all that down as we notice them.

It’s a simple practice, but it is so powerful. I use it a lot when I am feeling anxious about writing something as it gets me into my feeling body and helps me to feel grounded before I start on whatever writing project I’m working on. I’ve found it’s a really useful exercise to do for a few minutes if I’m feeling anxious before a writing session or if I’m about to make a difficult phone call. It’s also a wonderful practice for people who like to keep a journal — it’s like a writing prompt that never fails to get you started.

While the practice is very simple I have developed a few different approaches and guidelines which can help you to make the most of it. It gives you all the information you need to try your hand at ‘noticing’ and, hopefully, will inspire you to make it regular practice.

I love sharing this practice and hope those in your community will benefit from it.

Click here to receive Dave’s free ebook!

What does your soul want you to know?

My soul wants me to know that going quiet and listening deeply to what is happening in my body will always give me the wisdom to determine the next step I need to take.

When I offer attention to my body, I find more spaciousness, ease, and quiet strength to deal with and appreciate whatever is happening for me in that moment.

When I am still and become present to my body and the circumstances of my life, it reminds me clearly how much I belong. And the more deeply I know that fact, the more deeply I sense it is true for everyone.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I am currently working on some exciting new courses that I will begin offering in the next few months. The first is a re-invigorated version of the self-care course I offered last year that was such a pleasure to work on. The second is an embodied writing e-course that will look at ways to access the wisdom of both our body and mind through the act of writing. (If you enjoy the noticing ebook you will love this!)

Thank you, Dave, for sharing your heart with us!

Please spread the love and share this post on Facebook and Twitter!

Big hug,
jodi

Free Soul Clarity Message + Pay What You Can Ecourse

***Thank you to everyone who participated! I’ll be back next month with more readings!***

Happy August! It’s that time again where I’ll pull one Soul Clarity Card for each person who leaves a comment below!

I do this on the first day of every month, and it’s always so much fun to offer these messages straight from my soul to yours.

Before we get started though, I wanted to share this month’s special, which is very close to my heart.

Monthly Special

250 sale copyI’m celebrating the Coming Back to Life ecourse’s 3rd anniversary by having a sale!

It normally sells for $147, but I have it set up where you can pay whatever you can through the end of the month!

While I love all of our ecourses, this one will always be closest to my heart. It’s the first course that I ever created, and it’s helped hundreds of people (myself included) embrace their lives again. Because it’s so powerful, I wanted to offer it at this pay-what-you-can price so everyone would be able to sign up!

If you’re tired of feeling numb and disconnected and are ready to wake up and start living fully, this course is for you! 

In this course, we will spend six weeks together journeying back to our soul. We will start right where we are and begin to peel away the layers of gunk that have kept us from shining our light as brightly as we would like to. As we remove each layer, we will begin to feel lighter and freer.

Your journey starts exactly where you are – right now in this moment. Throughout this journey, each week you will receive a bundle of love in your inbox. Each email contains helpful guidance from me and other dear hearts who know what it’s like to be in this space of feeling disconnected from our soul and want to help. Each week will build upon the last, guiding you back to yourself and helping you come back to life.

Our light shines so brightly within us. That all-knowing part of us never fades – it just gets covered up by pain and fear. Throughout this course, you’ll be uncovering this pain and allowing your light to shine. You’ll be reconnecting with your soul – your deepest, truest essence. And you’ll be saying yes to life again.

Click here to learn more and sign up!

And now, it’s time for your free message!

The Soul Clarity Card deck includes 48 cards to help you get clarity on what your soul wants you to know. They come wrapped up in an organza bag and include an amethyst gemstone (which helps you connect with your soul).

My soul speaks to me in concise phrases, and so these cards were created with that in mind. Each card contains a guided action for you to consider – something to help you live soulfully and mindfully.

I believe that the answers are always within us, but sometimes our light gets covered up by life – all of the to-dos and the shoulds and work and errands and hurt and anger and all sorts of gunk. And it can be hard to sift through all of that and find our way home – back to our soul. These cards are a tool to help you on your journey back home.

Each card contains words that your soul needs you to hear. And whichever card you choose will be exactly the one you need in that exact moment. That’s just how it works!

Here’s how it works: I’ll pull one card for anyone who leaves a comment at the end of the post by 11:59 pm pst today (8/1)! If your comment is posted before then, I promise I will pull a card for you. Each month when I open this up, I receive hundreds of requests, so please be patient with me. (If you happen to miss this deadline, please know that I’ll do it again on 9/1.)

All you have to write is “Yes, please!” or something similar. Please don’t feel that you need to share what you are looking to heal or what you would like guidance for. You are more than welcome to, but it’s not necessary. I know that this can be very personal, and your soul and the universe already know what you need. (If you are reading this via a reader or email, please click here to be taken to the post.)

A technical tip for you: To be able to find your comment and not receive a barrage of emails by subscribing to comments, you can go to the comments page and do a search for your name. (On a PC, you press the “control” button + the “f” button.) This makes it super easy to scroll to your name and your reading. :)

Big hug to each of you.

Please spread the love by sharing this on Facebook and Twitter! 

P.S. – Be sure to click here to sign up for my Coming Back to Life Ecourse! You can pay what you can for it this month only! 

A Note from My Soul

believeI’ve had a really tough week, and so I’ve asked my soul to write this post to all of us when we’re feeling disheartened and defeated. I know that we’ve all found ourselves here at one point or another, and so if you’re also feeling this way, it’s my hope that this will be as helpful for you as I’m hoping it will be for me.

***

 

I want to start by saying that no matter what has happened or hasn’t happened, you are loved. So loved. And, even though it may not appear as such, everything truly is happening for your highest good.

I know that you’re disappointed and that you wanted things to go in a different way than they did, and that’s perfectly understandable. I love how invested you are in your own happiness. I love that you care so much about feeling good and wanting to do things to create a life that will help with that.

Please remember that while you are only able to see what’s right in front of you, I am able to span out miles and miles and miles ahead. And because of this, I can see how each decision will impact the next. And because of this and also because of my love for you, I want to do everything I can to insure that the path you’re following is a healing one and a loving one that is always in the interest of your highest good.

That means that there will be times when you will feel like things just aren’t falling into place – that no matter what you do, you can’t seem to find the light. And when that happens, I ask that you go back to love and faith. I ask that you shift your focus towards something bigger than what’s right in front of you and place your energy on trusting in something bigger than you: me, the universe, and all that is and has ever been. Believe, really believe, and know, really know, that everything – absolutely everything – is happening for your benefit. Everything – absolutely everything – is happening to support you and is coming from a place of love.

I know that while things seem bleak now, as you move down your path, you’ll be able to see why things didn’t go according to how you wanted them to go right now. And you’ll be able to see why this had to happen in this way in order for what’s coming next to happen and what’s coming after that to happen (and so on and so on). You’ll see how it’s all going perfectly. It truly is.

But for now, please give yourself permission to grieve the path that you thought you would take that is no longer. Be okay with feeling sad about what will never be. Allow yourself to go to that desolate place that feels so hopeless. It’s so important that you keep your heart open and continue to feel everything – the feelings that feel good and also the feelings that don’t feel good. You are here to experience life – all of it. Not just the easy parts, but also the parts that help you expand and grow.

Remember when things didn’t go the way you had hoped in the past. Think of one of those moments right now. Think of how upset you felt and how deflated you felt. And now, remember how grateful you became (after you had the benefit of perspective) when you realized how lucky you were that things didn’t go your way. Think about what your life has become because of that experience and what it wouldn’t have become had you not gone through it. And take some time, right now, to really take in this appreciation for the loving universe that you are a part of that truly only wants to see you soar.

There are so many great experiences and moments just waiting for you – they are just out of view. But they are there. And having this not-so-great experience will make these good ones that much sweeter.

You are so strong. You are so loved. And you are exactly where you need to be.

Always remember that.

***

Hugs,

jodi

 

 

 

400x400 giveawayP.S. – I’m having a giveaway to celebrate over 8,000 friends in the Soul Speak Facebook community! You can enter to win one yearly membership to the Soulful Life Sanctuary!

To enter, click here to go to my Facebook page and then click on the Giveaway Tab at the top! Good luck to all!

A Great Tool for Stress

relax copyI will be the first to admit it: I don’t always react positively to stress.

I’ve always admired those who could stay calm while surrounded by complete chaos. You know the people I’m talking about: the ones who rush to any emergency clear-headed and immediately know what to do. The ones who exude a calm energy no matter what kind of craziness is happening around them.

I’ve never been that type. I have always been a bit more like a live wire where even the tiniest setback can turn my whole being into one big stress bomb. I’m more the type who climbs into bed at the first sign of trouble and stays there until whatever danger/stress/discomfort has passed (and then a bit longer just to be sure). I’m more the type who works myself into such a huge tizzy over anything remotely stressful that it takes me a long, long time to settle down and experience equilibrium again. 

As many of you know, my lack of stress management led me to severe adrenal fatigue. For years and years, I was constantly in fight or flight mode, and finally my adrenal glands told me one morning a year ago that they were done – that I was on my own – that they were going on an extended vacation. And I’ve been lying on the couch ever since.

It’s an interesting thing to be bedridden for this long. It’s brought up all sorts of things for me internally. I’ve had a lot of time to explore how I got to this space and why I got to this space and what I can do to get out of this space and finally coming to accept this space and be grateful for this space and allow myself simply to be in this space.

During this time, I’ve tried so many different gadgets and vitamins and healing techniques – anythingimages that would help me to feel better again. Some of them worked and others didn’t do much at all. One of these days, I’m going to put it all into an ebook for those who are also going through something similar with the hopes that it will help. But for now, I wanted to share a tool that I just recently came across that I already love and that is already helping me in huge ways. It’s called the emWave, and it’s a stress-management device that the HeartMath company created. 

This device was mentioned in almost every book on adrenal fatigue that I had read over the past year. I shied away from it for a couple of reasons: the price and also that it seemed too easy and simple. I wondered how this little gadget could truly help bring me from a place of stress to a place of calm.

But, a few weeks ago, it came up yet again in another book that I was reading, and something inside asked me to give it a try. So I did. And I’m so glad.

While I’m not a scientist and don’t know a ton about how it works or why it works, I do know that it measures your heart rate variability, which are the time-intervals between each heartbeat.

Here’s what HeartMath says about it:

Whenever we are stressed, these time-intervals become jagged and irregular, sending a chaotic pattern throughout our body. And we feel this: our body becomes tense. HeartMath has done a lot of research on the effect of emotions on our body and when we experience positive emotions such as care, gratitude, appreciation and compassion, those time-intervals in our Heart Rate Variability Pattern become very smooth and sine-wave like. This creates a much more orderly and balanced pattern in our internal systems, creating a state of coherence. We experience this as a more calm, harmonious state.

The emWave analyzes your heart rhythms for “coherence,” a term used by scientists to describe a highly efficient physiological state in which the nervous system, cardiovascular, hormonal and immune systems are working efficiently and harmoniously.

It has 3 lights: red, blue, and green. Red basically means that you’re in a stressed state, blue means that you’re moving up, and green means that you’re completely present and calm. There are two ways to use it: either by putting your thumb over the sensor or by wearing an ear piece that clips on to sense your heartbeat.

The first time I tried it, I was in a really good mood. It was the end of a great day, and I was feeling better than I had in months. I was happy to see that the light immediately went to green, and it stayed there for a few minutes. Until my cat attacked my other cat (something that unfortunately happens several times a day and is always really stressful). The light immediately went to red – showing how quickly one little incident could take me away from a place of peace. This part didn’t surprise me because I could feel how tense my body was. But what did surprise me is what happened next: normally, I would have stayed in that place and felt really angry about the fight and complain about it and get even more angry. But this time, I wanted to bring the light back to green – it became almost a game. And so I breathed along with the pacer that is part of the device and within just a minute or two I was back in the green.

I continued to test it out over the next few days. If I was in the green, I would think about something stressful to see if it would go down, which it always did. And then I would see how quickly I could bring it back to green again. If I started in the red, I would focus on my breath and watch it go up to blue and then green again once I was calm.

I put it on while working to see if I could remain in the green. And what surprised me was that work itself rarely was what stressed me out – I was almost always in a calm (green light) state when I was working. What brought me to a stressed (red light) state was when I left the present moment – when my thoughts traveled somewhere else (even for just a moment and even if the thought itself wasn’t negative or stressful). This insight has been huge for me since I’m such a multi-tasker. I’m the one who is constantly flipping between windows on my computer hundreds of times a day – doing something for a second and then switching to something else and then switching back. It turns out that my body doesn’t like all of this switching. If I stay on one task (even one that I’m not a huge fan of), I stay in the green.

I’m still in the early stages of learning about this fun tool and seeing how it can help me in the long term, but what I’ve seen already has been life changing. I’ve never been good at meditating – it’s just not a comfortable (or enjoyable) space for me to go to. But the emWave makes calming down a game – sort of a friendly competition within myself to see how quickly I can move into a calm state. (This may sound like a stressful way to do it, but it really feels fun for me!) I look forward to using it, and I always feel really good about myself and my ability to move into a calm state within a short period of time.

There are so many ways for us to minimize our stress. This is just one of the many techniques and tools. But I have to say that so far it’s one of the best that I’ve seen. I’m loving it, and it’s really helping me learn about my own reaction to stress and is helping me get to a calm state and stay there.

And hopefully, in time, I’ll find that staying in that state becomes much easier to do – much like the people I have always admired who just seem to have a positive reaction to stress. I’m hoping that this will be me soon, too. And that is definitely something to smile about (and feel at peace about).

If you would like to learn more about the emWave, you can click here.

I would also love to hear if you’ve tried it before! Feel free to share in the comments below what your experience has been. You can also feel free to share any other tools and techniques that you use to minimize your stress.

Hugs,

jodi

moments of grace ebook smallerP.S. – If you would like to be part of our next collaborative book, please be sure to sign up now for the waiting list! Our first book sold out very quickly, and so this is a great way to make sure you receive all of the details when early registration opens next month. The book is called 365 Moments of Grace, and it’s going to contain personal stories of grace, miracles, and transformations from beautiful souls all around the world to show how magical our world is and how connected we truly are. Over 150 people have already signed up for the waiting list, which is just wonderful! You can sign up here: http://www.365momentsofgrace.com

Finding Peace Within the Chaos

spring field

The field before construction began.

My heart is heavy as I write this post. I’m looking out my back window and see mass destruction in what used to be a beautiful field that was a sanctuary for wildlife and a peaceful haven for those of us whose houses back up to it.

I’ve lived in this home for five years, and my husband and I have always felt so grateful that this was our view. We loved having this tranquil space that seemed to go on and on right in our own backyard. It created a buffer between us and the world – a place to be one with nature and ground ourselves. We knew that the day would eventually come when this view would become something very different – since planning for a subdivision has been in the works for quite some time, but it’s still a saddening shock to have a front-row seat to this chaos.

Construction began one week ago. We are now awakened each morning by the sound of bulldozers and banging and beeping. We have constant headaches from this never-ending noise that goes well into the evening. My husband’s outside “office” is no longer an option, and he’s had to move into my office for the time being (on the other side of the house) since even his inside office is too close to the noise.

I have been walking around in a daze of anger and sadness and powerlessness. I have cried many, many tears. And I have worked myself into such a tizzy that I have become physically ill with a fever and a sore throat, which certainly doesn’t feel good at all. And what I’m realizing, even in the midst of this frustration, is that this is one of those real-life situations where I get to put into action all that I’ve been theorizing about and teaching for years: I can focus on what isn’t working or what is working; I can appreciate all that I am still grateful for in my life; I can choose how I will respond to this situation; and I get to decide how and where I will find my own peace and happiness.

I’ve been so sad about the geese – my sweet friends who have lived in the field for many generations. I’ve worried that they wouldn’t be able to cope, and I wanted to somehow prevent them from feeling any pain.

geese

Two of our friends before construction started.

Yesterday, after the workers had left and we were sitting in our backyard enjoying the silence from all of the machinery, I looked over and saw about 20 geese sitting on the top of one of the dirt piles that had just been created. I was sickened by this scene of what I considered to be devastation, and my eyes started to fill with tears. But then I noticed that the geese didn’t seem sad at all. They were pecking around and finding the seeds that had most likely just been brought to the surface. They still had their families, their field (even if it looked a bit different), food, and water. They still had their home (at least for now). They weren’t concerned with where this construction would lead – with whether they would be able to cope with the destruction in the coming months or in the coming years – with whether they would have a home at all once it was all paved over and built on. They were just there – enjoying their time – just like any other day. They were focusing on what was working rather than what wasn’t.

And that is the lesson and insight that I am able to pull out of this upsetting situation. Yes, I’m upset. And yes, I’m sad. (Both of which are completely normal and understandable.) But, in order to take care of myself and my body and not continue to spiral into an even darker place, I’m going to do my best to take my cue from these beautiful, wise birds and focus on everything that is right in my world in this moment – because there certainly is a lot of positive energy surrounding me always.

Life doesn’t always go our way. Certainly not how we expect it to. And maybe that’s a good thing – because it’s in these moments where things aren’t “perfect” that we get to go a little deeper and find the kernels of good. We get to witness our own reactions, honor them, and then decide if we would like to change them moving forward. We get to learn so much about ourselves when things aren’t going “right.” That’s where the growth comes in. And I am thankful for that.

Do I wish that this were all happening differently and that the field could stay a field forever? Of course. But this is my reality, and I want to do whatever I can to honor my own needs and find some happiness within this current situation.

That feels right for me.

If you’re in the midst of your own hard situation, I hope that you’ll also be able to find even a tiny bit of peace and wisdom within it.

Hugs,

jodi

sponsor-ad-200x200P.S. – I’m having a sponsorship special!

It’s a great way to share your soulful offerings and services with thousands! You can learn all about it by clicking here.

Space is very limited, so if this is something that resonates be sure to email me soon!