Thursday, February 10, 2011

Can Chocolate Cake Lead to Enlightenment?

In my last entry I talked about the expansiveness of the right brain (ocean), and the constriction of the left brain (drop of water), and how my left brain still gets caught in the “doing” cycle as it attempts to implement the ideas generated from my right brain.

My intention last week was to practice living from right brain dominance, rather than all my energy revolving around “how much I get done” (see last entry).  Each day, I would wake up and ask myself: “I wonder what will amaze me today?”

The biggest shift I’ve noticed from asking this question is that I am noticing how much my children amaze me. Sounds pretty typical – but not when you know how much I get REALLY focused on my work, and on getting a lot done (that high productivity/creativity mode). 

I tend to go there and STAY there – missing other parts of my life like really connecting with those I care about, having fun, taking down time, etc.  This “chronic doing” is a pattern that in the past led me to getting adrenal fatigue.  So take note, you don’t want to go there and stay there.  Trust me on that.

I also found myself being more spontaneous.  On one of my late afternoon breaks, I spontaneously decided to bake a chocolate cake (if any of you know me well, you might be laughing out loud at how out-of-character this is).  I had a TON of fun, my kids joined in, and it really fed my right brain (and my chocolate craving). 

The other biggest insight from this stage of the experiment:

“I am not a doing machine.”  Doesn’t it sometimes feel like life is all about how much we get done? 

In Daniel Pink's book, "A Whole New Mind - Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future," he talks about how we are entering the “Conceptual Age:"

“Today, the defining skills of the previous era - the “left-brain capabilities” that powered the Information Age - are necessary but no longer sufficient...and the 'right-brain' qualities of inventiveness, empathy, joyfulness, and meaning increasingly will determine who flourishes and who flounders.”

More on this in my next entry…

Have a great day,

PS: BTW, the Chocolate Cake Recipe I used is SUGAR FREE, DAIRY FREE  and GLUTEN FREE - FLOURLESS.   It uses black beans which sounds really weird, but trust me, it tastes wonderful - no bean taste at all, just yummy, rich chocolate.  It calls for different sweetener options, I found Agave to taste the best.  Click here for the recipe.

Inspired Leadership.Thriving Productivity.Whole Mind Solutions.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Trying To Fit an Ocean Into a Drop of Water

There are some of us who need “productivity coaching” and others who need “slow down coaching.”  These days, I fall into the latter category.  It can be equally as challenging to not be able to focus and get stuff done, as it is to not be able to stop 'doing' and getting stuff done (can you relate?).

Before I go on, it might be helpful to set the stage again on the qualities of left and right brain consciousness (see some of the first entries for more on this).  

Right brain consciousness is the home of our higher mind.  It serves as a gateway to infinite possibility, potential, and co-creation with “life-force energy.”  Big stuff.  It’s where our best ideas and creative solutions come from.  It’s the gateway to meaning, purpose and connection to something greater – to the “whole.” 

The left brain takes those great ideas and possibilities and turns them into form.  Obviously, we need both hemispheres working together.  However, the predominant habit is to be left brain dominant – to stay in the linear “doing” mode – especially when we’re stressed or have a LOT to do.

What I’ve noticed is that as I strengthen access to my right brain, I feel like I’m in a fast flowing river.  I’m downloading lots of great ideas and information from a wide reservoir of infinite potential.  Sounds pretty cool, right?

But what can happen is that the left brain takes all that great information and tries to contain it.  It wants to GET IT DONE.  It wants to control it, solve it, analyze it, keep it on track – almost obsessively.  Imagine trying to squeeze an ocean into a drop of water.  

The result?  Sleepless nights, feeling overwhelmed, and the “not enough time to do it all feeling.”  It feels like an internal pressure, or a “crack the whip” type of inner voice whose job is to keep us on task.  Generally speaking, it’s the “overload” place we go to because the left brain just can’t contain the vastness that the right brain can dish out.

I’ve been able to use my left brain as a helpful assistant to the right brain idea generator in some good ways like making lists, organizing projects, getting support, delegating, and taking action.  And that’s all good. 

But…here’s the catch.  It’s not that fun.  It’s tiring.  It’s never-ending.  I notice that I wake up in the morning and think, “What do I need to get done today?” as a motivator to get going.  I end the day thinking, “What did I get done today, and what do I need to get done tomorrow?”  Ouch!  What a barrel of laughs that is. 

So here’s my commitment (and why I’m doing this experiment in the first place):

I choose to live in right brain directed consciousness (not the other way around – where my left brain ends up habitually running the show). 

How can I step into this even more without short-circuiting?

Here some ideas that came to me this morning:

When I wake up in the morning, instead of revolving my energy around what I need to get done today, or what I got done yesterday, or what needs to get done next week (you get the idea), I’m going to focus my thoughts on things like:
  • I wonder what will amaze me today?
  • I wonder what I’ll learn today?
  • What friend can I connect with this week?
  • Do I have some music, dance and play in my life this week?
  • What fun things do I have on my schedule?
  • I will connect with nature and beauty every day (in small ways)
Yes, I’ll still get a lot done, ‘cause that’s fun too (and necessary right now).  But I’m not going to let it run my life.  I’ve done it that way for too long.  And there are consequences.  I've learned that it’s life-taking rather than life-giving.  It’s not sustainable.

I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going.  Try it with me…and let us know how it’s going!


Inspired Leadership.Thriving Productivity.Whole Mind Solutions.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What happens when we never feel done?

Continuing the thread from the last two posts, I think it's worth looking again at what happens when we are in a "chronic state of incompletion." We are so programmed (stored in our left brain) to always move onto the next thing, that it takes conscious awareness (from the right brain) to break the habit Here's some motivation...

When we don't pause in between tasks, and acknowledge what we've just completed, or really feel "done" at the end of each day (and especially at the end of a week), this is what happens: 
  • Our nervous system stays in a perpetual state of incompletion - it's like always leaving the switch in the "on"position
  •  It becomes harder to turn the switch "off" when we want or need down time 
  • We feel like there's "never enough time to get it all done" which causes stress
  • Stress releases excess cortisol
  • Excess cortisol compromises our immune function
  • Cortisol influences hormones and can cause cellular inflammation (now that's motivating!)
We need to practice being "done" each day to train our nrevous system to recognize how to "switch off" and take down time for rest, play, and rejevenation.

Knowing there will always be more to do, try really feeling done today, and enjoy your weekend.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Reminder Tips: Stop the Cycle of Incompletion

Here's a quick reminder on "Stopping the Chronic State of Incompletion."  (see last entry).

My left brain is so used to moving onto the next task, that I thought we  could all use a brush up:

1) Remind yourself you've already done a lot

2) Pause in between tasks and acknowledge what you just completed

3) Take stock of what you completed in 2010 and at the end of each day/week

4) At the end of the day and especially at the end of the week, tell yourself:

"All is complete."  And FEEL it all the way down to your core.  Relax into it.  Practice this until you can access that feeling easily.

5) Celebrate your accomplishments - every day in little ways.  Pat yourself on the back, make a toast with a special beverage, light a candle, tell a friend.

And, especially important: tap into the universal 7 day cycle each week and take that break from the everyday demands of phone, email, lists, appointment, etc. 

REST, PLAY, LAUGH, EXERCISE, GET OUTSIDE, CONNECT WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY.  You'll be amazed at how much better your life will feel.

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Chronic State of Incompletion

How many of us do this: when we finish something, we immediately look ahead to the next thingWe all have this habit to some degree.  It's cultural.  It's our automatic response (left brain).

If we don’t pause, and really savor completing something – down in our core our nervous system stays in a perpetual state of incompletion.
Our body then still thinks there’s more to do, and this feeds the “never enough time to get it all done” feeling.

When we're rushing around to get it all done, our system stays in a state of "chronic stress."  And, according to Dr. Christine Northrop and many leading doctors, this impacts our immune, hormones and cellular inflammation, and even our thyroid.

The Antidote
  • Remind yourself that you’ve already done a lot
  • This sets a signal of internal rest and relaxation
  • Sends a message to your brain and body of self-esteem and personal power
Change your Relationship to Time (shift from left to right brain perception)

Life has sped up exponentially in the past 100 years.  We process more bits of information in 1 day than our grandparents did in a year! 

Taking stock of what you’ve already done shifts your relationship to time.

  • Realize that 1 way or another, you always have time to get done the things that absolutely have to get done
  • This start a loop of positive reinforcement that makes you feel like you have more control of your life.  
 If you perceive that there is always enough time, there will be. 

And that's the nature of the right brain.  

Inspired Leadership.Thriving Productivity.Whole Mind Solutions.