connect with your body

Internal Preparation

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?

Oh, and remember to CELEBRATE!

In the spirit of knowing ourselves,

Jalene

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.

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Swinging Forward

Our process for returning home has begun. Yes, we’re still in South America but truth be told, we’re not entirely here anymore. We’re traveling less now, and the exhilarating and terrifying idea of going home is more than merely creeping into our minds; we’re making arrangements, lists, and decisions to re-enter the US. It feels like swinging. Remember the last time you sat your grown-up butt in a good solid swing and let yourself feel the child-like sensations of swinging? I did it recently at our hostel in the tiny town of Malargüe, Argentina.

The swing-set is just to the right of our countryside Eco Hostel.

I settled into the swing, stuck my legs out straight forward, leaned my body back, and fell into that familiar pumping motion that would take me as high as I dared. I stayed there for a good while, sensing the butterflies in my tummy as I experienced a fraction of a second of weightlessness at the apex, feeling simple joy. I took in the tranquil countryside in front of me, felt the wind against my body, my hair blowing in the breeze, smiled. Ahhh…I hope I remember to give myself these simply pleasures in life more often when we return home. Eventually, I was ready to move on. I stopped pumping my legs, sat fairly still in the swing, let the momentum gradually slow, gaged when I felt comfortable to let go, and let the slower momentum of the swing propel me forward to stand on my feet. If I let go too early, there was a high probability of falling and hurting my happy 53-year old body. If I held on too long, until I stopped entirely, it would have been boring, no fun at all to step away from my delightful adventure. That’s exactly how this transition feels to me.  

Like any time of big change in my life, I recognize the familiar feelings of exhilaration and terror. I’m excited to reshape my life and, at the same time, I’m mostly afraid of the money aspect. I know from past experience that staying in touch with my feelings and gathering information will energize (rather than paralyze!) my forward momentum. Keith and I have been sharing our hopes, fears, and feelings, and to learn more about the process, we watched an online program called RELAUNCH! by Cate Brubaker. (Thanks to my friend Christine Martell for this hot, timely tip.) The fifteen presentations and interviews led us to discussions from perspectives we would have never come to on our own. My favorite parts were hearing other people’s stories about their challenges, fears, excitement, etc., working through some exercises to get a grasp on our own feelings, and the ideas for actions to make re-entry smoother.

My tried and true way of understanding my thoughts and feelings is journaling. Recently, I noticed two familiar patterns related to change showing up. I tend to get uber-focused and let all the fun slide right out of my life. Focus is a good thing, in moderation. Right? The other thing I noticed is that I tend to rush toward the next shiny thing/experience/plan and forget to be where I am now. My response to seeing these patterns is to book a wine tour and take a motorcycle ride out into the countryside of Mendoza -- ASAP!

So now, less than a month away from our departure date, we’re traveling less, giving ourselves time in Mendoza, Argentina and Santiago, Chile to prepare for our step out of travel, and into home and working. Exact answers to the question of, “What’s next?” are still evolving. So far, we have a pretty good idea that we’ll live in the Northwest and some ideas for what we’ll do to make a living. We’ll share that adventure as it unfolds. For now, we know that we’re flying ourselves and our bikes to Los Angeles on February 23, 2017. From there, it’s one baby step at a time, the same way we made it 38,000 miles away from our home in Newport, Oregon.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

P.S. Here's a snippet of our ride to Mendoza.

(To enlarge the image, click on it then hover over the bottom of the photo to see the complete description.)

What do failure and extraordinary have in common?

Peru's Colca Canyon wowed Keith and me. The canyon is known for its Condors, and as soon as we spotted our first ones, with their graceful, delicate gliding style, we wanted to stay longer in the expansive grandeur of the canyon. But, we couldn’t. For the first time in a year, we were on a schedule. We had tickets to Machu Picchu on a specific date the following week so, we set out to make the most of our time in the area.

With two different visions of how we wanted to explore the canyon, we decided to go our separate ways. Keith took off on a ride to the canyon bottom, and I hiked down to an oasis spot called Sangalle. Let’s just say, it wasn’t quite what I expected. Click on the video below and come along with me.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

Travel Tools

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,

Jalene

Appearance vs. Being

Nine months ago, my husband and I hopped on our motorcycles and embarked on a radical adventure. Nine months without going to a full time job, which I did for 34 years. Nine months without a remotely regular routine. Nine months of not seeing the person I was accustomed to seeing in the mirror. Who is this new woman's face and why does she wear the same old clothes day after day? 

I had to wrestle with the concept of appearance for a few months before I appreciated its meaning to me. I share my experience in this 3-minute video as I consider the affect our appearance has on our lives.

After you watch the video, here are some questions for you to ponder about your appearance.

At what age did you become aware of your appearance?

Do you recall a scene or something that someone said to you about your appearance that changed the way you thought about it? If so, how might this still be influencing your appearance today?

Complete this sentence: If I could experiment with changing my appearance, I would...

Being comfortable with our own appearance means letting go of comparing our current selves to our younger selves, to the media's portrayal of women, to other women, to what we think we 'should' look like or what we wish we looked like. To be sure, appearance plays a role in our lives but it need not be the starring role, that goes to how we show up in our lives. 

In the spirit of learning,

 

Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!

Near Palomino in northern Colombia.

“No matter where you go, there you are.”
— Confucius

We're a long ways from home, but that doesn't mean we've left behind our old habits and behaviors. Lately I've noticed how a sense of hurry-up! creeps into the most unexpected places, so I decided to learn more about it. I've also noticed that what's most fascinating on this trip are the faces, not the places. And that's what I'm sharing about in the video below.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene


P.S. Here's a short tour of the artistic, funky hostel we're staying in.

Travel Learning: Lesson 2 of 10

The massive trunk of this tree and all its burls, curves, and branches, make me think of the many dialogues that happen within us to shape us into who we are. This tree is located in Santa Maria del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico and has the stoutest trunk of any tree in the world! Its age is unknown, somewhere between 1,500 to 6,000 years old. 

Lesson 2 of 10: Magical Trio

Had I listened to the pain shooting down my arm earlier, I would not still be nursing my rotator cuff. Thanks to our friend Jennifer, the Physical Therapist, I know how to tend to it and am slowly mending.

I’m learning to appreciate that my body is communicating with me all the time. It says, “stretch me, exercise me, rest me, massage me, feed me,” and more. Whether I’m home or on the road, I can unconsciously let the noise of other demands from life override my physical feelings. I’m surprised by how often my mind (consciously and unconsciously!) denies my body’s simple requests. But it’s deeper than that.  

I’m appreciating the interaction between my mind, body, and soul, and doing my best to pay attention to the conversation going on inside me. What a magical trio we have inside us.

Since my life has slowed down, I can see the moving parts with more clarity. Right now, I’m sitting on the front porch of a cabana 20 yards away from the warm Pacific Ocean in Mexico on Zipolite Playa. My inner dialogue this morning went something like this: My body was hungry when I first woke up so I fixed oatmeal and coffee. Then, my body wanted to go for a walk but my soul really wanted to journal. My soul won on this one. Then, my mind wanted to work on this blog post so, here I am. I know. The walk lost out but I’ll do it at some point today. It’s a never-ending give and take.

I know that when I take care of myself, I’m deeply happier, and I have more of the best of me to give everyone around me. As I share from a joy-filled place, I’m contributing to the swirl of good juju in the world.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene

Travel Learning: Lesson 1 of 10

Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to get her early morning coffee fix. Piping hot drinkable (not great) coffee is in the cover pot on the lower right.

I knew I was going to see new places, meet new people, eat new food, ride my motorcycle for thousands of miles, and learn, learn, learn. Here’s what traveling has taught me, so far.

Lesson 1 of 10: Ask for what I need.

At home, it was way easier to give myself what I needed, when I wanted it. When I needed alone time, I went out into my studio, aka Escape Pod, in our backyard. Hungry? Eat. Tired? Nap or go to bed early. Ready for coffee in the morning? Make it.

On the road, all these needs have to be done in relation to another person, my husband Keith, and the environment. It's tricky business. 

I have to consider how my need affects Keith and whether, or not, it works with where we are. A common scenario is journaling with coffee early in the morning - my favorite time of day. 

When we're in a hotel room and I'm awake at 5 or 6 am, I don't want to turn on the light and wake up Keith, plus there's hardly ever any coffee around until 8:30. Many times, journaling may get put on hold for the day. 

That’s where patience and flexibility come in. I need to eventually find a way to fit coffee and journaling into my day but, it may not be exactly when and where I wanted it to be. I'm learning to roll with it rather than be frustrated by it.

The key – for both of us – is to ask for what we need before we melt down into a whiney puddle of goo. To do that, I have to discern what I need and what I just really, really want right now. Perhaps, this is a 2 for 1 lesson. I’m learning patience and flexibility as I wait for my morning coffee, and I’m more aware of what I need to take care of myself and how to speak up and get it.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene