The Mindfulness TRAP

Heya!

Has anyone spent some time being mindful? Is it changing anything for you? It can feel really weird at first but that’s okay! We all gotta start somewhere.

I always get some push back when I suggest that someone practice mindfulness or any other meditation technique.  It’s always uncomfortable to start something new, especially if it is the opposite of what we’re used to doing.

One common argument is that when we spend time in the here-and-now, how can we possibly be paying attention to things that need to take place in the future?

This is a clever idea that we use to get out of doing our mindfulness work. And sometimes it works!

DON’T FALL FOR IT!

Remember what I said about this feeling counterintuitive?

Practicing mindfulness is exactly what gives us the opportunity to properly handle life’s challenges.

Remaining mindful does not mean you ignore your responsibilities. It doesn’t mean that you don’t remember your lessons from the past or plan for the future.

So what does it do?

It makes all those things easier.

Being mindful gives you the time and opportunity to make choices that align with your values and personal vision.

As you continue with your mindful practice, you’ll find yourself resisting in different ways. This is what your notebook is for. WHen you take mindful moments and find yourself feeling an emotion, write it down. Journal about what is coming up for you.

A lot of people seem to think that these practices mean all we talk about is rainbows and unicorns.

What we’re really doing is giving ourselves the time and attention we need to live our best lives.

Sendin’ love,
Kami

A Mindful Holiday

A year ago, I decided to stop making goals.

No personal goals. No professional goals.

No. Goals. Period.

I know it sounds weird but I was just done.  Nothing I wanted to do ever happened and nothing ever changed. A wise person would say, “Well yeah, if you don’t make any changes, then nothing is going to change.”  Duh. I know.  I can’t explain it other than I was fed up.

Fed up with my inability to commit and remain motivated, I decided to just let it go. I know I’m not alone. It was clear to see that many of my friends were fed up as well. Our way of doing things just wasn’t working.

I decided to try something different.

Aside from setting no goals whatsoever, I decided to focus on habit.

One habit in particular: Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the habit of remaining in the moment.  It’s a simple concept, not so simple to master as I was trained to project waaaaaaaaaaaaaay into the future and to dwell farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr too long in the past.

Is this you? It’s a lot of people I know. All their emotional energy was being spent on things that they had no control over. That’s a lot of wasted energy on things that cannot be changed.

Have you ever done that?

Why did I find it easier to make changes while remaining mindful? After all, I hadn’t set any goals. I didn’t write anything down or make a vision board.

Why didn’t I have to map out a hundred steps like every previous year?

Because I was in the here and now.

Remaining in the here and now gives us the opportunity to make different choices.

That’s it.

This is the key.  This is when the magic happens.

Over the past year, I found myself making choices that helped me instead of hurt me.  I can now identify what needs to happen without worrying and fretting about the past or the future.

Here is a simple mindfulness practice that I practice on a regular basis:

Take a mindful moment. 5 minutes to sit and be. Notice your surroundings, how your body feels. Take note. What do you smell? Hear? See? Feel? Does it bring up anxiety of all the things you have to do? Notice it and put it aside. You can be anxious in 5 minutes. Do you resist? Do you accept?

Take note.

If you have a planner or a journal, write down the date and what it brought up for you.

Have you practiced mindfulness before?

It’s being used to treat depression, anxiety, and trauma.  In the context of helping you reach a goal, it gives you an opportunity to make the choices that you may have missed due to being on autopilot. Autopilot isn’t your friend when it keeps you from obtaining the life you deserve.

And why in the hell am I bringing this up now: Because the holidays are full of stress, commitments we’d rather not keep, money issues, and can bring up some feelings. People are more prone to depression and anxiety at this time of year.

So instead of making a to-do list of tasks I have decided to have a mindful holiday.

—————>And guess who’s almost done with her gifts?!? This girl.<————–

How did that happen? It’s November 30th.

Last year I was up until 4 am on Christmas Eve trying to pull it all together.

This year, I’m in the moment, noticing my experiences, and doing what is best for me.

I know it feels counterintuitive.

I’m finding so much joy in making my gifts.  In the past, it was stressful and I’m always pressed for time.  This is the one change I’ve made and I’m finding it to be really enjoyable.

There have been years when it didn’t matter how good things were, I wasn’t having any of it.  No Christmas spirit would be found, no matter how much my cute mama tried. Then there are other years that I hose my house down in red and green because I just can’t get enough.

There’s nothing wrong with either of these scenarios, but I forgot something in each one: to have the experience.

I’m remaining mindful and I’m noticing my experiences.  Making choices that leave me feeling peaceful and at ease.

I challenge each of you to do the same. Please report back! I want to hear about it!

Sendin’ love,
Kami

How to Flip the SCRIPT

Every time I listen to an influential audio or live speaker I think, “Man, you’d make a GREAT therapist.”

Then I think, “But you’d never make this kind of money as a therapist.”

It’s a sad situation I faced a few years ago when I realized that being a traditional therapist just wasn’t going to cut it for me. More hours, crappy pay.

Certainly, there are therapists out there who make great money and enjoy what they do. I just wasn’t one of them. I’m not one to do something if I’m not totally in love with it.

Not all is lost though! My therapy skills are invaluable to me as a coach. My education and my experience have taught me about what kind of coach I want to be and how I want to influence my clients.

I use them all the time as most of them are common sense (to most of us).  The one I use the most, is called “flipping the script.”

In therapy talk, it’s called Reframing.  It means looking at something with a different perspective with the intention of finding more understanding or to create a more positive outlook on the situation.

REFRAMING: frame or express (words or a concept or plan) differently.

For instance, I used to work with people who were addicted to substances who thought that they would never be able to quit.  But after introducing some new ideas and new perspectives on their situations, they did quit and remained sober.  And I gotta say it, watching someone get sober is  magnificent thing to see.  Talk about being emotionally honest!!

Back to reframing.

It’s similar for anyone who is thinking of doing something that scares them.

I had a moment this weekend where I thought, “What am I doing here? This is never going to work.  I need to find something else.”

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

But do you know what that something else would be?  It wouldn’t be something that would bring me more joy.  It’d be the easy way. The “Scared Kami” way out.  It’s my old training kicking in and saying, “Adults are supposed to go to school and then work for 40 years.”

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

The fact that those thoughts still enter my head are normal; but what I do with them is different now.

When I struggle with negative thoughts, I ask myself these questions:

  •  Am I struggling with being patient?
  • Am I tired? Sad? Don’t feel well?
  • Am I feeling not good enough? In fact, in all my years of being a coach/therapist, it’s at the root of most people’s problems.  So I flip the script.  I do deserve to have the live I want.  I do deserve to be happy.  I deserve to have an abundance of love, money, and time. I am good enough.  And so are you.

If you answered YES then you need to FLIP THE SCRIPT.

Sendin’ love,
Kami

 

The Law of Attraction is Bullshit? Assignment Time!

*This post originally appeared on my now non-existent business blog. It’s still relevant and is particularly relevant to the mission of this blog. And yes, I’m doing the assignment again. 🙂

**Contains affiliate links

People on my social media feeds keep sharing stuff referring to the Law of Attraction as bullshit.

***Here’s a little tip for ya: If you spend a lot of time on social media and want to stop, start an online business.  You’ll get sick of it in no time. You’re welcome.

The people who share this stuff are mostly science people. People who need proof or need to see things rather than go on blind faith.

I have no problem with this. I am one of these people actually. I enjoy being rational and reasonable and realistic.  The three Rs, if you will.  I also understand that people don’t want to spread false information or give people the idea that things should happen for them simply by wishing for it.  But I see the LOA in effect all the time.

I was introduced to the law of attraction by a colleague in 2004 when I was working at a substance use disorder treatment center.  I read what has become my favorite book of all time, “The Four Agreements,” by don Miguel Ruiz.

NOTE: If you ever have a chance to hear him or his sons speak, TAKE IT.  They’re amazing.

The book is just a simple explanation of how we’re trained to be humans and how that training can sometimes be detrimental to our well-being.  For example, if someone tells you you’re not good enough and you believe it, you end up behaving as if you’re not good enough.

Your thoughts are so powerful that you manifest these agreements in your life.

That’s what the Law of Attraction is.  Simply, thoughts become things.

Anything you spend a good deal of time thinking about will come to pass.

Conceive, believe, achieve.

And so on and so forth.

So fast forward to today….I’m a big believer in those core concepts because I see them in my life and the lives of my clients on a daily basis.

And then I go to facebook, where everyone and their dog (literally) has an opinion about everything and see these “scientific” people talking out their butts about the law of attraction, saying that it’s nonsense.

So my question to these non-believers is this: Do you believe in the placebo effect?

Most medical professionals I know do.

According to the American Cancer Society’s website:

What is a placebo?

A placebo (pluh-SEE-bow) is a substance or other kind of treatment that looks just like a regular treatment or medicine, but is not. It’s actually an inactive “look-alike” treatment or substance. This means it’s not a medicine.

Typically, the person getting a placebo doesn’t know for sure that the treatment isn’t real. Sometimes the placebo is in the form of a “sugar pill,” but a placebo can also be an injection, a liquid, or even a procedure. It’s designed to seem like a real treatment, but doesn’t directly affect the illness.

What is the placebo effect?

Even though they don’t act on the disease, placebos affect how some people feel. This happens in up to 1 of 3 people. A change in a person’s symptoms as a result of getting a placebo is called the placebo effect. Usually the term “placebo effect” speaks to the helpful effects a placebo has in relieving symptoms. This effect usually lasts only a short time. It’s thought to have something to do with the body’s natural chemical ability to briefly relieve pain and certain other symptoms.

In other words, if someone believes they’re being treated, sometimes their symptoms improve. In fact, some patients who believe that they’re getting medication will even get some of the meds listed side effects, like headaches.  That’s call nocebo.

What a fun word…noooo-ceeeeeee-booo.

It demonstrates my point: that what you believe affects your outcomes.

Here’s another nerdy example!

In the movie “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” Harry wins a bottle of Liquid Luck and gives it to his friend Ron so that he won’t be so anxious about his Quiditch match.  But we then learn that he didn’t really give it to him, Ron just thought he did. Thus, Ron let go of his anxiety because he KNEW he couldn’t lose.

It’s all the law of attraction.

It’s all about what you think and believe.  Or in don Miguel’s words, what you agree with.

Got it?

PS: go get this book. It’s awesome, it’s a quick read, and it’s eye opening.

Or don’t, do whatever you want.  My whole point is that humans are more powerful than we know.

For those of you who are still with me, let’s do some Law of Attraction shit!

Woo hoo!

Why an assignment?

Why not? There is never a better time than NOW.

As I continue to do this work, it’s clear to me that most of my “failures” are due to some underlying beliefs about my self worth. They pop up over and over again.  Each time, I identify them and work through them.  But it’s a process, not an event.  How’s that for a therapist saying?

Because it’s a process, I’m never done with personal development.  And my business is never done with it either.  I like to be the kind of coach that practices what she preaches but sometimes I’m a slacker.

These networking events are like personal development on steroids. You’re surrounded with the best of the best in online marketing. People are changing their lives! AND they’re telling you how they did it.  It’s a powerhouse of information, positive energy, new friends, and opportunities.

Or…..it sucks.

If you are not in the right mindset, Negative Nelly can take over.  It happens fast.  With one negative comment from a colleague or a disillusioned partner that energy is shot.  I’ve seen it at every  event and I’ve experienced it myself. Not preparing mentally will make or break the experience.

It can be a breeding ground of envy and negativity, and the feeling of “This is never going to happen for me.”

Add in that I’m an introvert and I feel anxious about flying and I’m afraid of looking stupid, an event is pretty much my worst nightmare (except for the nightmare I had last night. I was stuck in a mall and I couldn’t get to the three girls that I’d just adopted.  When I finally got out, I realized that I’d driven all the way to New Mexico.).

I know for sure that if I’m not in the right mindset, my heart and mind will not receive the information that it needs to move forward. I will allow my fear to take over and miss what I need to see, hear, and do.  This assignment is a great way to increase awareness and be open to insights that will improve my business and my life.  It will also prepare me for when I feel uncomfortable.  Which is pretty much the whole time.  I’m working on it.

I thought I’d share it with you because we’re all here for the same reason.  To improve our situations.

Using the law of attraction and filling my mind with the wisdom of don Miguel, I will create the awesome experience that I’m looking for.

And you can do it with me.

Take a few minutes and jot down the areas in your life where you want to make some changes.

For example:

Relationships Work/Career Finances Health/Wellness Outlooks on life

All of them.

Write down what you want to be different and what you think may be keeping you from being successful. Set the intention to have at least one personal breakthrough this week.  If you’re really on it, set an intention to have a breakthrough for each area that you outlined above.

Then:

Go to Youtube.

Search for don Miguel Ruiz.

Listen to a video of him for the next five days.

As you listen to his videos, have your list in front of you.  Jot down anything that comes to your mind. Keep track of any new insights and observations you identify.  Then, set up at least one goal to help you move ahead with your plans.  Let’s do this thing!

I’m starting with this one!!

I’m excited to see what happens for us!  Please send me a message or leave me a comment telling me about your experience!  I want to hear all about it!

Sendin’ love,

Kami

 

You Are Not Broken

“There is nothing wrong with you.”

I remember the first time someone ever said that to me.  I was in the midst of my first social work job, working with adults suffering from substance use disorders.

I thought the idea was nuts considering that I was nowhere near where I wanted to be.  I was overweight, underpaid, single (I used to see this as a flaw), and felt like I had nothing to offer.

It was total crap. I had a master’s degree, a good job, and friends and family that loved me. I even owned my own home.

But I still felt broken.

My thought system was the result of years of programming supplemented by the stories that I’d created in my head to justify my suffering.

I lived in my dysfunction.  If anyone brought up an idea that contradicted my ideas and beliefs about myself, I rolled my eyes (internally, I hope…) and let them say what they needed to say so I could just get out of there.  The very thought made me feel very uncomfortable because it went against everything I knew to be true.

Have you ever met someone to nurtured their stories? Even when presented with contradictory evidence, they still won’t see the truth?

“No good. Can’t hear ya.”

It’s called cognitive dissonance.

When my friend suggested that there was nothing wrong with me, I already had evidence in my brain that proved him wrong.  My brain immediately prepared a Power Point presentation that I would use to convince him of his wrong-ness. I’m sure he saw the look on my face because he told me to just sit with it.  He gave me the time and space to consider his alternative belief.

Could he be right? What evidence did he have? My analytical brain went nuts with this because every piece of evidence I had supported my rejection of this new idea.

Looking back (with my new way of approaching health and wellness) I find it funny that I was tasked at the time with helping people get sober.  I have always been better at solving other people’s problems.

“There is nothing wrong with you.”

This one statement lead me to question what I believed about myself. Where did those beliefs come from and why did I believe them?

After some time, it was clear that these beliefs weren’t mine.  I inherrited them. If they weren’t mine, then I could give them back and choose replacements. One of my greatest realizations was finally understanding that I did have control over my thoughts and feelings. It’s not the other way around.

If our perception is our reality…

…and our perceptions change based on how we feel…

…then that means that we can consciously and deliberately change reality.

If we choose to.

My perception was that if a person had struggles, then they were broken and putting themselves back together.

My new perception was that we have challenges and we deal with them the best way we know how. Does being overweight make me less of a person? No. Were my clients at the time worth less because they abused drugs and alcohol? NO.

We all have pain.  People get sick. Natural disasters happen.   Timing doesn’t match.  Whatever. Shit happens.  It’s what we think/feel about the shit turns it into a problem.  Looking at our issues as challenges rather then problems helps us maintain control of the situation. We decide how to handle it.

Our problems do not handle us.

Not anymore. 🙂

There are steps to making this shift more permanent.

  1. Ask yourself, “Is this a problem?” If you know me in real life, you’ll know that I ask “Why is this a problem” A LOT.  The words we use influence how we think and feel about our challenges.  A problem is something to be dealt with. A challenge is something to overcome. Can you see the difference? Each sentence even feels different as you read it.
  2. Can something be done? What actions need to be taken?
  3. Do I have all the information I need to make a plan?
  4. If nothing can be done, identify and allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. Then let it pass. Different techniques like mindfulness and meditation can be extremely helpful when processing upsetting feelings.
  5. Remind yourself that you are not a problem. You’re a human being. You have challenges just like everyone else. You already possess the power you need to make different choices.

And remember, always remember, YOU ARE NOT BROKEN. You’re not a thing to be fixed. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be challenged by the universe.  It just means that you are okay as you are.

Sending love to you,
Kami

Welcome To The NEW Site!

You know how it feels when things kind of fall into place and you understand what you’re supposed to be doing?

This site is kind of like that.

I started blogging in 2008 with no intention of every turning it into a business.  I watched a lot of other bloggers (who started after me) make huge strides in such a short amount of time. I was just talking about life and posting pictures of my cat.

I didn’t realize that everything would change between 2008 and now.
Thank goodness it has though. I’ve learned a lot personally and professionally about where I am and where I want to go.  It only took….a lot of years…. for me to figure it out, but here we are.

Welcome to the brand spanking new Kami Balmforth Coaching website.

As it’s brand new, there’s a few things that haven’t been done yet. In the coming weeks, I’ll be putting up my “about me,” page which will tell you all about how I got into this coaching thing and where it’s going to go from here. I’ll have a page of resources reviewing my favorite books and self help websites. There will most likely be a shop where you can purchase recommended items and such. The most exciting part will be my page outlining my exclusive coaching packages that will range all the way from self study and e-courses to group and one-on-one coaching packages with me.

Every bit of information I share will be aimed at helping you live your best and most authentic life.

Oh, and I’ll blog. Writing is where my heart is right now.  Let’s do this thing!