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The True YouTools to Excavate, Explore, and Evolve
By Jennifer M. Blair
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Jennifer M. Blair
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Authentic Wonder Woman
"To thine own self be true." William Shakespeare
In thinking about women of today, I am amazed at how incredible women are. Women have businesses or careers, manage households, raise children, connect with romantic partners, work out and take care of themselves, spend time with friends, volunteer to worthwhile projects and organizations, indulge in hobbies, participate in book and supper clubs, save the world, attend church and Bible Studies, create art and music, go to social functions ... all while trying to achieve balance, poise and grace. It is amazing they can play so many different roles and still have time to accomplish so much. Yet, I wonder, are they happy? Can they really do it all and maintain a life of balance and pleasure? And, are they being the truest version of their authentic selves?
On the outside looking in, most women look and act like they have it all together, and many do. Yet, they often believe that something is often missing ... more fun, more passion, more authenticity, more meaning, more love, more joy, full-out permission to be genuine. They are powerful and can be ambitious, yet real women rarely work on acquiring more things, making more money or obtaining more power for the sake of their egos and self-worth. They want their insides to match their outsides and to be fully transparent. The women of today long to maintain their personal power, use it for good in the world and at the same time be completely fulfilled and happy. They are the Authentic Wonder Women (AWW) of modern times.
In my Life Coaching business, I am hired by mostly women to help them rebalance and re-prioritize their lives; re-discover who they are; and reclaim their own inner beauty, passion and self-worth. We create a partnership for re-learning of the self, and we engage in a very powerful process that is energizing, inspiring, accountable and forward moving.
To assist people in finding their true selves, we start by defining a person's values, or the qualities that are most important to them. We excavate their inner depths, and then look at how well they are living their values in each of the basic areas of their lives. It is an opportunity to explore not only what is missing, but also see what's working. Some of the more common values we unearth are around adventure, freedom, beauty, belonging, creativity, helping or impacting others, connection, integrity, trust, fun, learning, love, passion, peace and harmony, and responsibility. The values are the "checklist" for the AWW, and underlie everything we do. I always suggest laying a good foundation for your home before picking out wallpaper ... this is what knowing your values does for you.
Once a woman knows what is valuable to her, she can begin to make choices about what she does and how she does it, based on her own guiding principles. That is when the change begins to take place and we start to accomplish what has previously been thought of as impossible. The AWW starts to feel more confident and more beautiful, and acts accordingly. She feels more love for herself and others, and it shows.
The AWW of today is the woman who is real in all of her many roles, and makes the most of her life. She can balance the daily life demands while finding pleasure in all she is doing. It is a choice, and she understands that. Ultimately, every AWW develops common traits, as I have observed below.
The Authentic Wonder Woman of today:
Knows her Passion and Purpose The AWW knows what is essential and why she is doing something, and she pursues it with passion. She cultivates creativity, infuses life with fun, and takes inspired action every day.
Connects to Others The AWW is all about tending to her important relationships. A quick phone call, a hug and kiss, making a date to spend time together, a simple "how are you?" She connects and loves.
Asks for What She Wants The AWW understands she is responsible for getting what she needs, being courageous and bold in asking for it and using her voice. She also knows when not to ask, as sometimes there is power in what she does not say!
Practices Gratitude The AWW is thankful for all she has and does. She honors her beliefs and those of others, and constantly recognizes how blessed her life is, even when there are bumps in the road.
Makes Mistakes The AWW recognizes the growth and learning opportunity in every misstep. She doesn't take herself too seriously and laughs A LOT.
Empowers and Helps Others The AWW inspires others by being who she really is. She reaches out to others and wants more for them than for herself.
Rejuvenates Herself The AWW feeds her soul. She prioritizes her time and gets grounded every day. She knows the importance of exercising, nourishing, sleeping, playing, meditating, praying, journaling, beautifying, spending time in nature, creating, reading, and stopping ... whatever nurtures her body, mind and spirit.
The Authentic Wonder Woman of our time is powerful beyond belief. When all women start to recognize their own magnificence, they will transform others as well. AWW can play many roles or choose various positions when desired. It only matters that they are being true to themselves and those around them while in those different roles. Females become a true Wonder Woman of today when they have mastered their own authenticity.
Coaching Questions to Discover the Authentic Wonder Woman Inside of You:
The following questions below are to get you thinking about how you can tap into your Wonder Woman within. Start a journal or write these answers in a special book that inspires you.
1. When was the last time you experienced true wonder? Describe the peak experiences that have made you the happiest, and look for any common themes. 2. What unique values, strengths or skills do you have that directly support your authenticity? Name at least three. 3. What distractions exist in your life that keeps you from being your authentic self? List the things you do instead of being fabulous. (Yes, laundry can be included!) 4. What rituals do you engage in, or desire to create, that would give you permission to fully take care of yourself? 5. When do you hold yourself as powerful, whole and big in the world?
(See "Excavating Your Thoughts: Journaling to Your Authentic Self" in the Appendix.)
Chapter TwoFrolic, Fun & Play ... Every Day
"The world is your playground. Why aren't you playing?" Ellie Katz
Summer is here! A time that is relaxed, carefree, lazy and unstructured. It is the perfect time to frolic and play and have fun every single day. Frolic is defined as playful behavior or action, merriment, gaiety, fun ... so how much fun are you really having? Are you taking time to build play into your life, every day, all year?
People often wait until the weekend or a vacation but you can start now, especially since summertime gives us a jump-start. School is out. The pool is open. Trips are taken. Movies are watched. Books are read. Lemonade stands pop up. Gardens are tended. Parks are filled with people playing sports, taking walks, riding bikes or listening to concerts. Families reunite. It is a time for celebrating, being in the moment and taking breaks from the routine of our lives.
People from across the nation come to me for various reasons in my Life Coaching practice. Some are seeking answers regarding their careers, making more money, setting new goals, or finding the right person. And even though these desired changes are important, I often learn that the key missing element in their lives is not having enough frolic, fun and play ... not the better job or different relationship.
The truth is when you focus on play and enjoyment you can create more overall happiness in your life. My clients tell me their reasons for not delving into their true passions are because: "I don't have enough time;" "I don't have enough money;" "I don't have anyone to do that with;" or "I will do that someday." I believe these are just excuses and stories. So I say to them, "If not this, what?" and "If not now, when?" It's time you have more of what you want by creating more playful opportunities each and every day.
Here are some ideas for infusing more fun in your life:
Love Being Alive Savor your everyday experiences ... I wake up every morning and start the day off by saying "I am so happy and grateful that ..." Fill in your own blanks.
Know Your Passions I love Salsa Dancing (at least one to two times weekly!), Rollerblading, walking in the park, snow skiing, dinner and drinks with friends, and chocolate chip cookie dough. Create your own list, and include something new and exciting.
Laugh or Smile 25 times per day It can be infectious to others!
Choose your Playmates Who can I get to play with me today? Maybe it is someone old, new or just you!
Have "Fun Money" Hide money in your wallet. My mother used to give me a $100 bill for my birthday on occasion and say, "Keep this with you in your billfold for something special and spontaneous."
Schedule a "Pajama Day" Take a day off, for real! Stay home in your PJs for 24 hours! You deserve a break from being "on-the-go." I do this at least once a month, and my children love it!
Be Spontaneous and Open to new People, Places and Things Try a new restaurant. Take a class, just for fun. Make a new friend. Travel somewhere new every year. My best friend enjoys playing bocce ball and singing karaoke.
Engage in Nurturing Activities What feeds your body and soul? Spend time in nature, alone and with those you love. Personally, I enjoy massages!
There is no time to waste and YOU are in charge of creating your own playtime. Fun is a conscious choice. It is about giving yourself permission with both your thoughts and your actions to be happy and to enjoy life in the process of it unfolding. Frolicking and fun are different for everyone, so determine what you want. Decide to be happy every day, and then do the juicy, simple or perhaps bold things that will bring you exuberance, passion and pleasure.
Coaching Questions to Inspire More Frolic, Fun & Play:
1. What activities have heart and soul meaning for you? 2. What excuses do you use, or stories you create, that keep you from doing the things you really want to do? 3. What areas of your life need more succulence and joy? Consider your friendships, love life, children, nature, adventure life, your body, family and spirituality. 4. How can you pamper yourself today?
Chapter ThreeBe Tempted and Do Something About It
"Unfulfilled desires are dangerous forces." Sarah Tarleton Colvin
What tempts you? Maybe it is the latest get-rich-quick scheme you read about on-line. Maybe it's sex, power or prestige. Or possibly it's money, possessions or a favorite dessert. When most people hear the word "temptation," it stirs up thoughts of a wild torrid affair, a piece of chocolate, playing hooky, or taking a spontaneous trip where you leave it all behind.
In our Judeo-Christian culture we often hear the Bible verse, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." So, I ask, does temptation always lead us to evil and are the things you want bad? Temptation has a bad reputation, and maybe for good reason, as sometimes there can be devastating consequences to the choices and actions made. But I believe the things people want are not bad, it's the context or circumstances in which they want them. And it can inform them about a deeper holistic desire.
So, what do you want? What if you could be curious about the desire that has ignited within you? What if you could embrace the yearning long enough to see if the current opportunities can lead you into new growth? Maybe longing for passion is pointing you toward more intimacy with your partner. Wanting a new job could be about the desire for more freedom and autonomy. Perhaps your temptation is simply about the need to connect to yourself.
Part of my coaching technique allows me to help my clients examine their beliefs so they can make decisions about what to do with the things they crave most. Beliefs are created based on experiences and relationships, as well as how people are shaped by family, teachers, religious or spiritual leaders, media and books. There are "rules" to play by, but sometimes even those need to be examined so that you can mature and discover your true authenticity. Beliefs are not good or bad; they either limit you and hold you back or empower you and move you forward. Here are my thoughts around being tempted and doing something about it to move forward.
Guidelines on Following Your Desires:
Wake Up to what is being awakened within ... What passions need to be expressed? What or who is stirring your soul so much so that you feel like you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing?
Follow Your Urges Take chances, activate courage and try something new just for the sake of it. Say "yes" as often as possible.
Be Conscious about your decisions. You are always in choice, even if it is simply in your attitude and thinking. And, don't let FEAR be in charge.
Know Your Line Be fierce for you and what you stand for. Stay true to yourself, and don't compromise. Say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no. Also, know that you can move your line ... just know how far and why you are moving it.
Follow Your Intuition Get quiet and let your body inform you. When we experience a sense of peace and comfort in our bodies, we are in alignment with our thoughts, feelings and decisions.
Cause No Harm to yourself, others or your surroundings. There is no room for living a life of guilt or creating future amends for yourself.
Savor Your Current Life Find joy and appreciate all that you have and do. Feel the textures and see the palette of colors before you. You might discover something new that already exists.
My clients tell me about their temptations and are often looking for someone to give them permission to follow their passions and dreams, to do something different. I give 100 percent full permission after making sure they are truly honoring themselves. I say go for it AND take 100 percent responsibility for your choices and actions. I am not here to judge. I leave that up to my client and their conscience, sacred contracts, and commitments made with self, God and others. I am simply a catalyst for awareness and authentic action.
Coaching Questions to Tempt Authenticity:
1. What is enticing and tantalizing enough to take big risks for your own happiness? 2. What is the distinction between feeling good and being fulfilled? 3. What are the "beliefs" or "rules" you have that are no longer serving you? 4. List five things you truly desire, and give in to your temptations.
(See the "Excavive™ Permission Slip" in the Appendix.)
Chapter FourTake a Chance on YOU
"If you risk nothing, then you risk everything." Geena Davis
Taking chances in life is often equated with taking risks, being reckless, or rolling the dice, like it is a game to be played. Being successful by taking a chance is often considered a 50/50 probability of something working out the right way, based on the favor or dependency of others, being in the "right" circumstances, having good luck, fate, or the generosity of the "Universe" or God, along with a good plan and lots of hard work. It takes struggling through, being brave, taking courageous steps and finally taking the leap.
Excerpted from The True You by Jennifer M. Blair Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer M. Blair. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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