My Top 3 Tools
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Try these tools the next time you're feeling overwhelmed, stuck, or blocked, to shift into inspiration and ease:
#1: When you’re overwhelmed and anxious: See-Hear Practice
Maybe you’re rushed in traffic.
Someone cuts in front of you, triggering a flashback panic.
Your partner asks you to do something that sets you over the edge because your mind’s already racing with a million to-do’s.
How do you come back to center so you can function, get through this moment, and make decisions about what to do next with clarity, calm, & confidence?
The key lies in dropping into your present senses.
You may begin reading this practice and your “habit mind” might want to dismiss it, saying that it is ‘too silly’ or ‘simple’ to be effective. That’s OK. I invite you to genuinely give this a try, anyway. I’ve found that often the most SIMPLE practices result in the most profound results when we actually do them because they get us out of our analytical minds and into our feeling bodies so we can create new nervous system habits.
Breathe. SLOW. 4 counts in, at least, into your belly. 4 counts out. Repeat.
Look around you at what you SEE here and now. Just look.
Now say out loud what you see. For example: “I see the red car in front of me. I see the bus merging to my right. I see the green stoplight. I see the blue sky outside. I see the neighbor’s dog in the yard.” If you’re not alone and it feels strange to say it in front of people, say it under your breath and at the very least, in your mind. This is most effective when spoken out loud.
Listen: What do you hear?
Say out loud what you hear. For example: “I hear the dog barking. I hear the siren. I hear the leaves in the wind. I hear her voice. I hear the vacuum cleaner.”
Repeat steps 2-5 as much as you need UNTIL: You feel less reactive, have a sense of calm, and the ability to think more clearly.
The intention of this practice is not to have you figure out what exactly to do next to end a fight with your partner, or guide you in making a massive life decision (we tap more into your creative power in my online classes). This practice is simply meant to help you return to a state of clarity and calm so that your fight or flight response is no longer in control and you can feel at ease.
#2: When you’re stuck: Ditch Expectations Practice
Your inspiration feels dry as a dessert.
The 9-5 seems to have sucked the life force out of you.
As a result, you find yourself constantly putting off the things you want to do most until “tomorrow.”
‘Tomorrow’ you’ll have the energy, the inspiration, the drive.
But tomorrow is always tomorrow.
How do you bring ‘tomorrow’s’ motivation to today?
Stop thinking about the outcome. You may say, “But I’m not.” Chances are, you are. Here’s what I mean. Usually, we think in terms of, “I want to make this thing…” or “I want to do this because….” And we think in terms of the result we want to get. We place all sorts of expectations on ourselves about how something is supposed to turn out. This creates overwhelm. When we associate overwhelm with the thing we want to do, it becomes safer for our brains to keep us in the comfort zone of “stuck,” even if that’s not what we really want. Example: We want to go for a walk outside, but our brain says, ‘That’s too much effort for today, you’re tired from work, it’s safer and easier just to watch Netflix and distract yourself.’ Or we want to go to dance, but our brain says, ‘Nah, you’re no good, it takes too much effort to learn that right now. Just sit down and watch Netflix because you know you’ll feel good right away if you do.’ First step: Just recognize these thoughts without having to do anything with them. With awareness comes personal power of choice.
Get honest with yourself: What do you ACTUALLY desire. Sometimes we place so much pressure on ourselves to "do a thing" that we lose sight of or can't hear what our body and heart truly want in this present moment. Maybe it's no longer going for a walk or feeling inspired to start a big project. Maybe what we really want is to sleep or rest SOLID for 8 hours without mental chatter. Release the need to do something. Really. It's OK. Pressure kills inspiration. Set a timer for 5 minutes and commit to listening to your body and heart. Get totally honest with yourself with what you truly desire in this moment (not the distractions your habit mind might tell you you want, but what's the desire UNDERneath that??)
Now give yourself the POSSIBLITY of your true desire, for at least 5 minutes. Is it a nap? Writing without an agenda? Staring at the clouds? Listening to your favorite song? Don't try to figure it out. Simply be open to giving this to yourself, and preferably, do it!
Release the outcome!!! This is key. Recognize and release any and all expectations of how it is supposed to go.
Repeat 1-4 when you notice procrastination habits keeping you stuck.
#3: When you’re blocked: Free Flow Practice
You’ve stared at the black page for minutes, if not hours and it feels like wasted time. Why won’t the brilliant first sentence come? Try this to start getting words and ideas on the paper.
Grab a pen and paper (even if it’s not writing that you’re blocked with).
Set a timer for 7 minutes on your phone (yes, there is significance to this number, which you’ll learn about in my online courses).
For these 7 minutes, do not take your pen off of the paper, and do not stop moving your pen. Even if you cover the entire paper. Even if you scribble and draw over yourself. Don’t lift the pen and don’t stop moving it. Yes, this will seem ridiculous to your brain, which might say, “What the hell is the point of this?” Again, it’s the SIMPLE practices, when actually done, that get us out of our overly analytical left brain and into our right brain so we can open ourselves to the possibility of a flow state. Stick with the process.
You can make any and all kinds of marks you’d like: swirls, jagged marks, smooth lines, jabs, or points (as long as you put your pen right back). But by doing this, you are overriding your thinking mind that otherwise wants to analyze the marks you’re going to make next. Instead, you are simply feeling and moving (without thinking about it and therefore without staying stuck in analysis paralysis). You are ACTIVATING your right brain—which is your brain hemisphere that needs to come on board to allow inspiration, and new, creative ideas in.
Once you’ve scribbled for 7 minutes, set the timer again for 7 minutes and write. Yes, this time words. ANYTHING that comes to mind, EVEN if it makes no sense: “I want pizza for dinner. She hurt me by saying that god-awful thing yesterday. Puppies are cute and I wish my sister appreciated Robin Williams.” ANYTHING. Write it out. Keep writing and don’t think, don’t stop for 7 minutes.
Now how do you feel? Sit back down at the drawing board of your project and try this process: JUST BEGIN. It really is that simple. You can edit and refine it later. Just START. Repeat steps 1-5 whenever you’re feeling blocked.