I’m great at doing, doing, doing. I love to make a list, with little empty boxes next to each item. Then, with immense pleasure, check-off each item with an energetic flourish of a checkmark. I get to say to myself, “Done!” However, I’m learning that while this may be admirable, it’s not the best approach to getting what matters most to me done. This is how the insight came to me.
Why oh why do we think it’s selfish to take superb care of ourselves? I don’t think that…anymore.
How do you internally prepare for a challenging experience?
Getting ready for something you want to do really well in (think: exams, interviews, presentations, etc.) can cause an internal storm of shallow breaths, clammy armpits, and a gut that won’t stop turning somersaults. Remember the last time you felt that?
This week I took an oral exam for the Coaches Training Institute's coach certification program. It wasn’t about regurgitating technical terms. I had to prove I could be a professional coach by coaching the examiner. Gulp. With more than 135 hours of coaching during the last year and passing the written exam, logic told me that I was ready. But I sure didn’t feel like it on the inside. I was feeling all those internal storm sensations I talked about above. Now that the storm has passed, here’s what I noticed.
By the time we get to the challenging event, we’ve done as much intellectual prep as possible. Right? That’s not the hard part. The tricky part is believing (on the inside!) that we know the material, with our emotions and body in-synch so we can shine.
To prepare for my 9 am exam, I stuck to my normal morning routine of coffee, journaling, and oatmeal. Then, I added some yoga, breathing, stretching, a wee bit of Qi Gong, and lots of internal pep talks. I reminded myself of how I wanted to show up for the exam with the personal characteristics that would serve me best such as listening, focusing, and being curious. I could hear my coach’s voice reminding me, “Breathe, so your brain gets plenty of oxygen to function!”
Throughout this entire process, the shallow breathing, clammy armpits, and gut somersaults crept in. However, the prep work made them more of a passing rain shower than a full-on storm. I felt great at 9 am and ready to take my exam. After it was over, I felt really good about how I performed.
Phew…satisfied sigh of relief.
What will you do to prepare your whole self for the next challenge?
In the spirit of knowing ourselves,
P.S. Would you like to know more about what I do?
I help individuals who want to step up into new leadership roles and yet are struggling on the inside to become that new leader on the outside.
I help small to medium sized organizations who want to create a cohesive environment and are struggling to get everyone on the same page and moving forward.
The phrase "heart above head" came up in yoga recently. Our instructor Gabe (short for Gabrielle) extolled the physical virtues of placing our hearts above our heads and then, she wondered out loud about allowing our hearts to guide us in our lives more often.
When was the last time you followed your heart's lead?
It may not be an easy change in leadership. My brain is johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to chiming in on everything. My heart, on the other hand, is harder for me to hear most of the time. Connecting with my heart's voice takes conscious effort. The interaction goes something like this:
Me: Place my hand on my heart to bring my attention inward. Heart, what do you have to share with me?
Heart: Shhhh...quiet your mind. Let go of all those racing thoughts for a moment. They'll be there for you to pick up again. Breathe. Soften the muscles in your face. Listen with all you senses. I may speak through physical sensations, quietly with words, visually through images, or with a sense of intuitive knowing. I am always here for you.
How could you make a decision you're facing with your heart above your head?
In the spirit of learning,
Hi! Here's a link to the previous posts in this series:
Reconnecting with My Husband Keith
I saved the most intricate for last. What happens in a marriage when you go from traveling on motorcycles to living in one house and working? It’s a bit like riding on a pot-hole infested road, trying mightily to avoid hitting one!
A few months in, we exploded and faced what had been happening to us. You know the story of the frog in the boiling pot? That’s how it felt. Slowly, probably since our last month in South America, we had been sliding back into our old pre-travel habit of living parallel lives.
Internally, we were coping with our separate experiences of homecoming and there was a gigantic difference at the core. Keith longed to continue traveling while I was elated to be home. We had been inextricably tied to each other while we traveled. We had to agree on darn near everything we did — where we slept, where we ate, where we traveled. Once we hit US soil, that ever-present knot that connected us began to loosen. On one hand, it was awesome to have my freedom again! On the other hand, our relationship started eroding and we didn’t pay attention to it, until frustrations with coming home, and with each other, overtook us. We both exploded.
Let’s fast-forward past the explosion, to what we learned as a result of it. From my perspective, we realized that we weren’t having those deep, interesting conversations anymore. Almost all we talked about were the items on the eternal list of to do’s. We didn’t share our fears of restarting our income flow, figuring out where we were going to live, feeling like we didn’t belong anywhere, and not in any way, shape, or form wanting to be mooches as we stayed with friends and family for (what ended up being) four months.
We separately did our best to cope with it all. I relied on girlfriends, wine, yoga, walking. He relied on going for motorcycle rides and getting out among people. I started my new business. He went back to work, in a different job, for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. I wanted our home to be beautiful and clean. He wanted his garage in order.
Here’s where we came together. We agreed that we wanted to do better. We wanted to reconnect with each other more in the way we did on the road. We had had a taste of it. We knew what it felt like to have a truly intimate connection. We’re starting with making time for real conversations, opening ourselves to new ideas of what we enjoy doing together, with touching each other more, with real kisses. It's the beginning of accepting more change in our lives.
Before we returned home, we knew our travels had changed us. What we didn't know is that we couldn't possibly understand how travel had changed us until we started living at home rather than on the road. It stands to reason that since we changed individually, our marriage would change. We're learning, we're committed, and after eight months back in the U.S., we're still exploring ourselves with love.
Conclusion for All My Relationship Reconnecting Posts
Inner Change = Outer Change
When we change, all of our relationships change. It’s inevitable if we’re being true to ourselves. Coming back from an epic adventure makes the changes more apparent than in a normal time of life.
I wonder, what would it look like to once in a while press pause and look through a different lens at the important relationships in our lives? We could ask ourselves, how have our relationships changed over time in the “frog in a boiling pot” kind of way? How are we showing up as our true selves in our relationships?
In the spirit of learning,
My husband and I are back from our nearly 2-year motorcycle adventure through South America! We're appreciating and adjusting to the comforts of home in Newport, on the stunning Central Oregon Coast. I’m writing to tell you about my next adventure from traveler to solopreneur.
While traveling, I pondered how I wanted to make a living when we returned home. I analyzed (in a myriad of forms!) how to infuse my business experience and education, with the topic that lights me up, that lives on my book shelves.
I'm a geek when it comes to learning about how we develop as human beings! How do we create lives we love? Why do we settle for a mediocre life rather than taking the risk to live our individual versions of an extraordinary life? Why don’t we do what we really, really want to do?! I love learning, teaching, and having juicy conversations about personal development.
Voila! I had my answer to, "What do you do?"
I help people in a state of flux, who yearn to figure out what’s next and are struggling to decide what they want to do and how to do it.
How, you may ask, am I going to do that? I’ll teach workshops, facilitate and speak to groups, and work with people one-on-one.
So far I’ve taught a workshop called Reshape Your Life in Boise, am scheduled to teach Conversing with Your Creative Self at the Sitka Center (class full), given an hour-long presentation called How Riding Teaches Us About Truly Living (great for non-motorcycle riders, too!), and coached lots of people (take a look at the kind words some have shared).
Now that we’re home, it’s time rev up the momentum! I'm talking with places about offering workshops and starting the second phase of a a rigorous coach certification program. As part of my professional development, I'll be working with practice clients. Perhaps you or someone you know would like to work with me.
Here's the big picture of what you can expect from working together one-on-one:
- Fulfill your goals
- Develop new skills and perspectives
- Change your self-defeating habits
- Overcome your obstacles
Contact me to receive one complimentary session.
Here's a link to the video.
Traveling on my motorcycle for nearly 2-years taught me so many lessons. Above all, the experience taught me to be fully me, to appreciate and be kind to myself, and to do what brings me tingles of excitement. Perhaps I'll give myself the title of CTO, Chief Tingles Officer!
To see more of what I’m up to, head to jalenecase.com + subscribe to my blog Knowing Ourselves to hear about future workshops, groups, presentations, and whatever else I dream up to offer on this exciting new adventure.
In the spirit of learning,
As of today, we've been traveling for 481 days. It's hard for me to get my head around! I've had a job since I was 14 years old and we left on this trip when I was 52. I know how to do work. Traveling, on the other hand, has been a challenge in many unexpected ways. I have a doosey to share this time.
But first...the backstory...
We started our trip with a Horizons Unlimited Traveler's Meeting in Nakusp, BC in August 2015. Our plan was to attend another one in Argentina in December 2016. It was the perfect bookend to our trip and located on the way to our end goal of Ushuaia. When the time came, we found ourselves 750 miles away from the event. To make matters worse, the event was no longer "on the way" so it would need to be a round trip. That's 1500 miles out of our way for a 2-day campout with about 20-30 fellow travelers. I seriously hated to miss it but I didn't have it in me to do an extra 1500 miles.
New plan. Keith, and two men we met during our travels, rode together to the event while I stayed at "home" in Puerto Varas, Chile. After some pondering about what to do with 10 days dropped in my lap, I decided to design what I call my Curiosity & Desire Retreat, a combination of being an artist-in-residence and a woman on retreat.
Some of you will think this is cr-azy
and some of you will think it's co-ol!
Here's the thing...we're in the last phase of our trip and seriously talking about what going home will look like on multiple levels. There are big frickin' changes coming! This total break from traveling is a deep, expansive, juicy time for me to wonder and be curious about who I am now, and what I want next. Maybe you've had this feeling. We want to know what's next but can't quite put our finger it or, more likely, we know what it is but it scares the hell out of us, and we wish we wanted the safe, easy thing. That's where I am.
There are way too many details to share everything with you but I want to share the essence of it. I'm six days into it with another four to go. Its been strange not having Keith around all the time, humbling to flail between what I think I "should" do and what I "want" to do, frustrating not to see a clear path to my next phase, and freeing to play, learn, and wander down any rabbit hole I wish.
My goal is to answer the question of whether I want to pursue finding a job I love, or starting a business I love, when we return from our trip. The bonus question is, if I want to start a business, what would the focus be? To approach these questions from different perspectives, I built a structure to inspire wonder, thought, and creativity.
The basics of my Curiosity & Desire Retreat:
- I set aside precious time and space for me.
- I set up a written foundation for my time with what I want to do daily, how much time I will spend doing it, and a place for me to check off that I have done it, so I can celebrate with funky, happy-dance moves.
- I gathered inspirational material such as poems and quotes.
- I set the intention of listening to my body’s needs, my heart’s desires, and my mind’s knowledge + eating healthy, exercising, and resting + being willing to be surprised through showing up, wondering, being curious, and doing the work.
- During my Curiosity Retreat time, I'm working with a whopping 34 questions by hand-writing my answers in multi-colored markers, and taping them on the walls so I can see the themes and patterns emerging. I research topics of interest to learn more.
- During my Desire Retreat time, I do whatever I feel a desire to do. The photos at the bottom are some of my creative work. It's my first attempt at a mandala! Ha!
I made a one-minute video to show you my crazy, cozy, creative space.
If you feel like you're in transition and would like to talk with someone, I'd love to hear your story. Email me. I appreciate the work it takes to make our big choices in life, and know it can be a tough, lonely time. I don't have the answers however, I love meaningful conversations about struggles and possibilities, gremlins and muses, realities and dreams.
In the spirit of learning,
I realized that you might like to read the poem so here's the full size image :)
During a particularly deep "dip in our trip," I made this 2-minute video to share about it. (Pardon the occasional wind noise.) Little did I know, it was going to get a little deeper before I made my way out of it.
Here are the links to the books I mentioned in the video:
Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future by Peter M. Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers
Back to that dip I was talking about. It continued until we took a longer break in Santiago, and I dug deeper into my basic needs to understand why I was so off-kilter.
Like cream rising to the surface of fresh milk, letting go of everything I know to take this trip has allowed my needs to rise above my wants. By letting go of my house, job, friends, family, exercise routine, relaxation rituals, stores I like to shop in, restaurants I like to eat in, closet full of clothes and shoes, jewelry...you get the idea...I've had a chance to distinguish between my needs and wants in a new way.
Here's where I am now. I've let everything go. We're still traveling so I can't put my whole life back together again but, I can make choices about my basic needs. That's where I'm focused. I'm identifying my "minimum requirements for self care" (a term used by Jennifer Louden) so I feel like myself, comfortable in my own skin. Louden's writing prompts have helped me to get at the topic from some new angles.
For example, some of what I've learned is that time alone on the bike isn't enough for me. It was easy to get time to myself at home but on the road, I have to let Keith know that I need a few hours to myself with no interruptions. This is hugely important for my sanity and I wasn't giving it to myself! Another example is what I've started calling stretch projects, in which I challenge my mind or body or heart. The time I spent creating my ebook, Journaling Whys & Hows, fed my need to share about a topic that's super-important to me and to be visually creative. As a "thank you" for reading my blog, I'm giving it to you for free! Use the promo code thankyou.
I'm pretty sure I've made it through the dip in our trip. I've learned more about my basic needs, am in the midst of a 2-week (or more!) break in Santiago, Chile at an awesome hostel with other motorcycle riders, and Keith and I are laying out the next to last leg of our trip, which will take us to our goal of Ushuaia, Argentina. We haven't quite figured out the last leg involving how or when we go home, yet.
Whew. Who knew there would be so much to learn when we left our house 443 days ago!
In the spirit of learning,
We're 13 months into our adventure and I'd like to share with you how traveling is opening my heart in a new way.
I’ve been practicing a couple of new-to-me concepts, which are changing how I understand the people and places we’re visiting, and what I believe is possible for the future.
From our hotel balcony, I’ll share a bit of what I’m experiencing, and in the background you’ll hear sounds from the shores of Lake Titicaca and the small town of Copacabana, Bolivia. It's a touristy town near the border with Peru so don't be surprised if you hear a very recognizable song in the end :)
If your curious about the book, here's a link to it: Untethered Soul
From my heart to yours, I send you love.
In the spirit of learning,
When we left home just over a year ago, I did my best to pack everything I thought I'd need for two years of motorcycle travel. Some things I got right. Some things I shipped home, tossed, or gave away. And some things, I didn't realize how much I needed until I tried to live without them for several months. Strangely enough, roadside stretching, in the photo, is connected to one of those things.
In this video, I talk about the tools I've discovered that make travel way more fun. Surprisingly, they're more similar than different to life at home.
In the spirit of learning,