Posts Tagged ‘small steps’

Celebrate?What if the going gets rough~

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Celebrate: to mark a significant time or event with an enjoyable activity.’

Image-Celebrating Small Steps

Photo- Celebrating Small Steps

It’s easy to celebrate when things fall seamlessly into place…right?
We have a plan, a goal, a dream.
We get at it, enjoying the feeling of having our feet on solid ground.
We know we’re heading in the right direction~ we have a clear destination in view.
Now take a look at the photo above…
What about this girl?
Does she look like she’s celebrating or just managing to stay afloat?

Can we celebrate when the going gets rough?
Who wants to celebrate when it feels like it’s all we can do to stay on our feet…to stay afloat?
How do we even begin to find our way towards a Spirit of Celebration?
Ah…good question.
What if it’s not a case of moving forward but rather standing still?
Pausing.
Bringing Awareness into the present moment.
Lowering Expectations.
Cutting our self a little slack.
Exchanging ideals of Perfection for the success of ‘Good Enough
Giving ourself a little Credit.
Responding to our own sense of Equilibrium.
Taking a Breath; allowing a space for Relaxation.
Asking ourselves this one small question…

“What’s going right?”

Too often, we’ve trained ourselves to pay attention to the deficits, the issues, the problems,
the restrictions, the limitations of our journey. Ugh.

Hey…what about all those overlooked things that are going right?
The unexpected moments of calm that are placed perfectly on our path?
The Small Thoughts that endlessly entertain True Self…
nudging us to go inside for just a few moments and play with our wild and creative self, exploring our landscape of possibility ?
{…you know, those ‘what if?’ energy boosting thoughts you promise you’ll pay close attention to~later~when you’re finished building your empire, putting stuff in order, making things perfect, yada, yada, yada.}

Can you give yourself a little CREDIT for the small things you’ve accomplished today?

The girl in the photo is my 8 year old granddaughter.
Determined to make it to the other end of the dock, she boldly declared it was NOT too windy or rough to ‘walk the plank’.
Certain she’d turn around after the first few rock and rolling steps, I watched as she took one small hesitant step after another, dropping to her knees as a wave crashed into the platform.
She’d look back over her shoulder…a big smile on her face.
“uh-oh…she’s going the whole way. Good thing the water’s not too cold or deep,” I thought.
By now, she’d realized the waves were bigger, the wind more fierce, the challenge greater than imagined.
It was all she could do to stay upright, yet she kept going.
Every few feet, she’d pause to look back, grinning from ear to ear.
She managed to stay afloat; she refused to turn back.
I watched as she stepped into moments of Celebration.
She’d pause, breathe, wait for the waves to calm and regain her balance.
Then she’d continue…moving up and down, forward; sometimes backwards…one small step at a time.

Many, many small steps later she stood at the far end of the dock…she made it.
Undaunted by the sudden realization that she had to retrace her steps over the rock and rolling dock to get back to the car, she clasped the guardrail watching the waves slapping close to her feet.

photo - i walked the plank

photo- I did it!

The return journey was easier…she knew the waters would be choppy, the passage rough.
Perfection was replaced by ‘Good Enough.’
Every step was in fact a Celebration, a big “Yay Me!…I’m still afloat. I can do this.

I’m glad I was there to take photos of this adventure. They’re a great Reminder for ME.
It used to be easy for me to focus on all that was undone, unfinished, deficient…
Celebrations only happened at the end of a job.
By that time, I was too tired, too grumpy, too worn out, too jaded, too this, too that to celebrate.
Now?
I give myself Credit for the small things more often than not.
I cut myself some slack. Somedays, I cut myself a lot of slack.
‘Close Enough’ works for me.
I leave room for Good to happen.
I Celebrate the small, the medium and the large.
I Celebrate at the beginning, in the middle and at the end.
I Celebrate being Me.
~especially when the going gets rough.

Would you like to find out how to Celebrate being you…at home, at work, at play~
I’m just an email away.

Thanks for taking the time to hang out with me here. I appreciate it.

Dawn Kotzer
creative coaching for this business called L.I.F.E.

  • Master Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coach

    • Martha Beck Certified Life Coach

      • Coach Mentor

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choose the Red Chair for the long view

Monday, April 18th, 2011

See the Red Chair?

The choices we get to make each day are a little like the red chair. Seemingly insignificant compared to the long view but once you know where to look, kind of hard to miss.

Of-course, first we have to understand that we do get to choose.

As a life and creativity coach, I help people find a way to live life, their way, by tapping into their creative source. That’s easy when you feel engaged, plugged into something that revs your spirit…not so easy if you find yourself bogged down, putting in time, pushing through the motions in a state of being you barely recognize as your own.

A lot of people feel they have no choice at all…nada. Someone else is in charge, in control.  They feel that all they can do is hop around,  jerked this way or that by the person who’s holding the strings.

Many times someone else is in charge…on the outside. The real issue is who’s in charge on the inside?

Question:

What if we live life from the inside-out, not the outside-in?

What if life were like a movie production…written, directed, produced and promoted by the part of our self that is the most compelling on any given day?

Try this.

Picture yourself sitting in the red chair on the edge of a northern lake; blue sky, warm summer breeze, fish jumping, eagles and pelicans soaring silently overhead…tranquil, peaceful. No phone, no cell, no laptop, no hassle, no hurry.

In this moment of serenity, what thoughts come up?

Do your thoughts embrace the natural balance of your surroundings? Do you move into a state of appreciation and embrace the cosmic events that have led you here?

Do your thoughts highlight the isolation of this place?

Do you move into a state of stress; apprehension and anxiety about this unknown landscape?

What choices come up to keep those thoughts company?

What if there were only two?

  • Respond
  • React

Respond…feel the embrace, the appreciation.
React…feel the stress and apprehension.

  • Respond. Through observation and awareness, this choice opens you up to step closer to the place of possibility for your greater good, your creative source.
  • React. Your body rewards this unhealthy nervousness by producing stress and limiting the possibility for your greater good.

Remember the movie production? Written, directed, produced and promoted by the part of our self that is the most compelling on any given day?

Which choice, Respond or React, would most effortlessly honour your true self, the place where creative source is found?

I know what you’re thinking.

Lady, life isn’t a cakewalk down to the nearest lake where a perfectly placed plush red chair awaits you…

(Do you know how tricky it was for me to drag that chair from the my living room down to the water’s edge? Tricky. Real tricky. Keeping one eye open for slippery rocks, the other eye obscured by the chair balancing on my shoulder, it was all I could do to sidestep my cat who had decided to play footsy with me the whole way down. Yeesh. I’m clumsy at the best of times…chair wielding, rock clambering, cat dancing activities are not my strong suit.)

Even so, getting the chair down to the lake is no comparison to slogging through a tough day.  I know life is not always a peaceful, easy stroll to the water’s edge.

What does get easy, with a little practice is choosing to Respond rather than React…choosing to allow room for your greater good, for a chance to plug into your creative source.

When can you start?

  • Start now.

How can you start?

  • Start small.

Where can you start?

  • Start with the easy things.

When someone asks you which restaurant you prefer, which author you like best, which movie you want to go to, if you want to go out or stay home and work on your stuff…

Choose to Respond.

Answer them honestly.  Answer yourself honestly.

Visualize sitting in the Red Chair on the water’s edge, taking in the long view.

Take a breath.

Appreciate the question.

Embrace the long view.

Answer from the inside out.

If it makes you nervous to answer out loud, to give your honest opinion, that’s okay. Answer silently.

Perhaps it’s not yet time to say it out loud.

The simple act of knowing you have a choice, understanding you can either Respond or React is enough for now.

Practice appreciating this new found understanding.

Practice tapping into that place of possibility for your greater good, your creative source one small step at a time.

Then someday, in a voice you know as your own, you will calmly, quietly Respond from the inside out.

Want to Laugh More, Love More, Live more? Curious about how your Inner Genius, Creativity, Pursuit of Meaning and the Success Experience connect naturally? Find out at dawnkotzer.com. I’m a Certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, Modern Muse Group Facilitator, Artist and Martha Beck Certified Life Coach engaging life from my Boreal Forest home in Saskatchewan, Canada.

PS- If you think you’d like to work with me, please get in touch for a free introductory session. I’d be honoured if you want to share any of my posts with others. Please be kind and include a link to my site. Thanks for doing that.


Clearing the Path of Perfection.

Monday, March 14th, 2011

The path has vanished…again.

I can’t  believe my eyes. How can this be? It was a path of perfection yesterday…tidy, clear, level.

True, it stormed last night but man, not even a hint of my studio path remains.

I groan. More shoveling. Looks like I’m in for quite a work out.

That’s the upside.

Bundled up in layers of winter clothing- trudging, struggling, sinking through 3′ snowdrifts just to get to the shovel, frustration overtakes me as I recognize the downside.

Whoa! As soon as frustration meets ‘downside’ Lizard Brain jumps on the bandwagon chiming in with a resounding  ‘Shoulding’ refrain.

“I should have shoveled a wider path.”

“I should have put up a snow fence.”

” I should be better at this by now.”

“I should have parked the snowblower where snowdrifts CAN’T bury it.”

“I should have known about the snowstorm.”

Does this refrain sound familiar?

Does all this ‘Shoulding’ make you feel just a tad paralyzed by perfection or the need to get it right?

This need, aka Perfection Paralysis, is high octane fuel for the Lizard Brain. Give her an inch of frustration and she’ll turn it into a mile of misery.

If you let her, she’ll lodge that ‘Shoulding’ refrain in your head for days, weeks, months, even years at a time. Worse yet, the bigger your need to be perfect, the louder and stronger her voice.

Built into to our physiology to protect us from danger, to ensure our survival, you can appreciate that the ancient Lizard Brain is committed to you 100%.  The  faintest glimpse of the enemy, the slightest sound of fear and she’s got your back, using any tool she can lay her hands on. She takes her job very, very seriously.

It’s just that these days she’s a little confused about the enemy.

It sure seemed like she heard alarm bells…isn’t that what all the muttering and moaning was about?

She’s also learned how to read my thoughts…

Obviously if I had set things up perfectly to start with, it would be easier now.  I’ve been shoveling snow for years. When am I going to Get-it-Right?”

No. I can’t blame Lizard Brain. She’s just trying to do her job.

As far as she knew, reading my reaction; irritation, frustration, unhappiness, anxiety over shoveling through 3 feet of snow-AGAIN…I was obviously in great peril.

“DANGER! MUST SAVE DAWN FROM?…ah, LARGE WILD ANIMAL CLEVERLY DISGUISED AS A SNOW SHOVEL! IMMINENT FREEZE-DRIED DEATH! LOOK AT ALL THIS SNOW. IT MAKES MY BLOOD RUN COLD. YES-THERE’S DANGER OUT HERE.

QUICK! AMP UP FRUSTRATION. BRING ON ANXIETY and EMOTIONAL DISTRESS! CREATE PANIC! I’LL MAKE HER FLEE INTO THE HOUSE FOR SAFETY!”

Ahhh, poor little Lizard Brain.

I pat her on the head, thank her for her vigilance and settle her down for a nap on a nearby sunlit snowbank.

Over time, I’ve learned to pay attention to the whisperings of my Lizard Brain, to let go of my need  for perfection and develop new habits to bring Peace to the moment.

Here’s what works for me:

  • Lean Back and Sigh~ Gain a little perspective by claiming some breathing space. In this case, I lean on the shovel. Practice Awareness, 10 seconds at a time. Take in the beauty of the pure white snow. Pay attention as my moist breath floats like a cloud into the morning sunlight.
  • Hang out with the Nine Modern Day Muses~ I choose Spills and Bea Silly. Both are into the Joy of DOING, not just the Joy of Done. For those stalled by the ‘Paralysis of Perfectionism’, Spills uses the power of Close Enough. She rewards me for having patience with the process of practice. Bea Silly uses Kidstuff ™ as a way to infuse an attitude of Play into everyday life. Any way to lighten up and have a little fun here? (Sure! I go back into the house and slap on my favorite trapper style Canada hat.)
  • Three Breaths ~ Take 3 even, regular breaths. Pay attention to your body as you breathe in and out. I know, you hear this all the time. Why? Because it works. Attention to your breath is the simplest, smallest step you can take to still inner stress.

So there you have it. Snow, glistening white in the morning sun; Lizard Brain content to dream away the moment in the warm sunshine and me…Trapper style Canada hat on head,shovel in hand, clearing a path for imperfection as I embrace my own process of practice and play.

1-2-3 shovel-breathe. 1-2-3-shovel-breathe. 1-2-3-shovel-breathe-lean back and sigh.

Want to Laugh More, Love More, Live more? Curious about how your Inner Genius, Creativity, Pursuit of Meaning and the Success Experience connect naturally? Find out at dawnkotzer.com. Dawn Kotzer,  Certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, Modern Muse Group Facilitator, Artist and Martha Beck Certified Life Coach engages Life from her Boreal Forest home in Saskatchewan, Canada.

What Path? Sno.o.w Overwhelm

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Snow Overwhelm

Howling winds, biting snow slanting across the yard…doesn’t look like I’m going anywhere today.

Think I’ll head  out to my little studio.

A perfect place to spend a cold wintry day, don’t you think?

I bundle up and step outside.

Oh, man.

3′ snowdrifts everywhere…someone’s going to have to shovel a lot of snow.

That would be moi`.

Crap.

I clear away drifts by the door, the deck, the steps. I don’t even consider clearing the back walkway. An hour later I’m tired, hot and not even close to my studio.

It would be easy to give up; give in to feelings of overwhelm. My tired back joins my Lizard Brain in a whining refrain…”you’re  kidding, right?” Too tired to think, I lean on the shovel and take a break.

I ask.

“PLAY? PLAY? Not Work?” Lizard Brain is all ears.

My batteries are recharging already.

I tune into Kaizen-Muse™.

Developed by Jill Badonsky, the Kaizen-Muse ™ Creativity Coaching model combines these 2 aspects-

Kaizen: A Japanese word meaning “continuous improvement with small steps.”                                                                                                                                         Muse: A bearer of creative inspiration.

Backstory: Apparently, one fine day in a coffee shop,  as the story goes, Jill made the glorious discovery of her 9 Modern Day Muses and a Bodyguard. These ‘life’ companions come complete with Tools and help clear creative blocks, (overwhelm, procrastination, perfectionism, self-sabotage, fear of failure, success and comparison…you get the drift. Ahh- pardon the pun).

Years later, on yet another fine day- though not in a coffee shop, I met Jill, the 9 Muses, the Bodyguard and Kaizened right into the best of my life.

Every day, I use  KMCC™  for many things, creative or not…like clearing a path that is completely blocked by snow. (Now there’s a metaphor for life.)

Anxious to get at it, Lizard Brain is prodding me with my shovel, “c’mon, c’mon…let’s play.”

Game On! I choose a few KMCC™ Tools.

Break it Down.

Looks like I’ve already broken this big job down into sections… my path is the last area to shovel. Way to go. I’ll make it even simpler and break the path into 3 parts, no 5…Beginning, REST, Middle, REST, and End. Lizard Brain is lovin’ this.

Ask small questions.

Did I ask Small Questions? Oh ya…Can I use my favorite shovel to do this?

Lizard Brain’s raises an eyebrow and smugly says,”Dawnie, your favorite shovel is the small grain shovel…you know…the one you use for G.R.A.I.N., not snow.”

I am so.o.o tempted to throw a snowball at him.

Instead I just reply, ” So What? It’s my favorite shovel. I’ll use it anyways.”

Use the power of Small Steps and Creative Foreplay ™

Small Step: Pick up the shovel. Right.

It’s nice, light and the perfect size for me.  I feel the ease as it cuts effortlessly through the snow, revealing a little more of my studio path with each scoop.  With a quick toss snow crystals dance in the bright sunshine as they arc downward, settling into the growing snowbank. Even Lizard Brain is smiling…he likes the flash of shiny aluminum as I bring the shovel back around for the next small load of snow.

Creative Foreplay: Imagine that…

I imagine that every slice through the packed snow is like digging deep into the earth, soon to reveal glorious buried treasure.

Lo and behold, the next slice of snow does just that.

I see a sparkle… What’s this? A cavern, a snow tunnel that leads me to gold…light at the end of the snow tunnel.

Neat.

By now, I’m at Part 4- REST.

Sure, my back’s a bit tired but in 10 minutes I’ll be done.  Lizard Brain gave up any resistance to the game when we discovered the  tunnel. Right now he’s sunbathing on top of the snowbank…I’m still tempted to throw a snowball at him- this time just for fun.

I finish clearing the path and decide to add one more Small Step to this game of Kaizen and the Muses…A Small Reward.

Heading back into the house, I make myself a steaming cup of freshly brewed tea. Pulling on a cozy sweater and toque, I slap on my sunglasses, grab one piece of chocolate for Lizard Brain and one piece of chocolate for me, head outside and step lightly down the studio path  and into my creativity.

THE END.

Or as Jill Badonsky would say…Way Cool!

Want to Laugh More, Love More, Live more? Curious about how your Inner Genius, Creativity, Pursuit of Meaning and the Success Experience connect naturally? Find out  here. Dawn Kotzer, Certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, Modern Muse Group Facilitator, Artist and Martha Beck Certified Life Coach engages Life from her Boreal Forest home in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Feast

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

IMG_5518

I know. It’s spring. The crocus blooms are just bursting to blow through the forest loam, and I’m sending you a picture of sunlight on snow.

Tell me. Do you see the snow or do you see the diamonds?  Do you see winter or do you see the deep freeze pushing itself up towards the sunlight.

What I’m really sending you is neither snow nor sunlight.  Delivered by the magic of technology is a Feast for your eyes…the main course:  Nature’s Reality.

I have spent the past winter too much inside, anchored to my computer, plunged into the task of learning rudimentary tech. For me it’s a hit and miss process. Considering information is exchanged at lightning speed my progress is glacial, slow, measured in bits and bytes of comprehension. My reality…Technofog.

Hours fly by. Days pass. Night moves in and out and then back in again. Technology doesn’t care. I don’t care. I’m on a mission. Occasionally, I hear the outside world calling. Winds sing, windows rattle, chimes ring in a southfacing, sheltered deck.  “Come out, come out, wherever you are. Yes, it’s cold outside, but it’s a dry cold. Come out. Come out and play.”

I turn a blind eye, a deaf ear and like a confused turtle, go back inside my head.  Finally, thankfully, my body cries, “Enough!” Pushing away from the desk, taking a small step to start my rebellion,  I turn and catch a glimpse of the silvery sunshine on the sleek, silky nub of birch bark.                                           “When did the sun start shining so brightly?” The snow gleams with a  layer  of  brilliant crystal bling.

My body calls. “Go out, go out…yes, it’s cold outside but it’s a dry cold…dress warm. Go out. Go out and play.” I listen, bundle up and go.

Grabbing my camera, step by step I  head up the hill to the south meadow. Catching my breath with an intake of homecoming, I walk into a land filled with diamonds in the rough. Winter grasses bleached and softened by cold north winds look polished with the sun’s shine. Winter is in full bloom.

I feast my eyes and touch the world. Laying in the soft white snow I glance through the grasses, skyward.  Wow. Prisms, crystals, diamonds…everywhere. I pull the camera out of my jacket. Click. My fingers stiffen with cold as I crawl through the snow.  Click. Twisting in another direction; Click. Click. Dipping as close as I can to the frosted earth, my head tilts skyward. Click. Click. Click. Finally, I stand up, shake off my snowman coating, stuff my hands into my mitts for warmth and go home. Back to the office. Back to the computer, back to my learning curve.  But I am deeply refreshed, nourished and re-energized by my Feast in the meadow.

Now on the eve of another season, I share my Feast with you. This gift is woven by the magic of combining 2 realities.  One at a time they may both call to us, inviting us to play.  I am lucky. I have learnt through my lesson of neglect, we are best served when we blend our inner and outer realities together.

Ah…do you hear that? “Come out, come out wherever you are. Come out and play.”  Now go find a Feast that replenishes you.

As an Inner Wilderness Guide, I use a lifetime of diverse experience, humor, grass roots wisdom and professional training to guide others into mind expanding landscapes.  Find how your inner genius, creativity, pursuit of meaning and the success experience connect naturally at dawnkotzer.com.

I’m a certified Canadian life and creativity coach thriving in Saskatchewan.Copy of cert_coach_logo_1 tiny