The Obstacle is the Way: When Challenge Becomes Inspiration

by Cheryl Brewster

Feeling discouraged or overwhelmed with life’s challenges? Try this… it works! Amor Fati  is a term from Stoic philosophy that is an absolute lifesaver. It means to embrace your fate… to make the best out of anything that happens, treating each and every moment—no matter how challenging—as something to be embraced, not avoided. To not only be okay with it, but love it and be better for it, so that like oxygen to a fire, obstacles and adversity become fuel for our potential.

The whole idea of Stoic philosophy is based on the word virtue, which is another word for strength, by living in alignment with nature.  In my experience, a critical prerequisite that makes the idea of amor fati even remotely possible, is self-compassion. If you are highly intuitive, empathic, a caregiver, emotionally sensitive, have experienced trauma or have a  tendency to avoid conflict, (sounds like all of us), this is especially important. When faced with challenge, our biology can take over and the amygdala part of our brain takes us straight into fight, flight or freeze. We lose the ability to intuit or think clearly. We put ourselves at risk for losing rational thought by either going numb and shutting down, or blowing up and blowing things out of proportion.  It’s pretty hard to practice amor fati, when all this is going on! It’s called an “amygdala hijack.”

Science defines this hijack of our limbic system,  as an immediate, overwhelming emotional response that comes with a later realization: that the response was inappropriately strong given the trigger. Compassion for self helps to create a pattern interrupt in this biological, chemical explosion… it says, wait a minute, you’re getting upset, what’s going on here, what unmet needs are asking for attention right now, what do you need? This is a form of amor fati… redirecting overwhelm into something more constructive.

Stop the Amygdala Hijack in its Tracks!
  1. Know the signs: Get familiar with the the body sensations that indicate something’s coming up (like a racing heart, sweaty palms, that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, dizziness, etc.)
  2. Take 3 relaxed breaths to chill – it takes approximately six seconds for the chemicals spewing out from the amygdala to dissipate
  3. Your hand on your heart prompts the release of the oxytocyn, an anti-stress hormone that lowers, blood pressure and cortisol levels
  4. Re-frame uncomfortable feelings by seeing them as chemical reactions taking place in the body; don’t judge! Part of what gets us into trouble, keeping us stuck in these emotional vortexes is self-blame. Of course you have emotional triggers… they are a part of your biology. Use compassion to give them a safe place to land. They’re allowed to be here, even if (especially if) you don’t like them. With kindness rather than judgement, the tidal wave of emotion begins to  dissipate, the overcharged amygdala calms down, so sound reasoning and intuition can be accessed once again. It takes time, but it works. Besides, nothing is more rewarding than transforming chronic worry, anxiety or irrational guilt and thinking distortions.
  5. Create some time for evaluation: sit down and engage your logic with writing – the logical brain wants to help sort through the situation – make a list of what you’ve learned about yourself, and how you can apply insights for future application
  6. Keep practicing being okay with what is, without wanting it to be any different. When we adopt the duo of self-compassion and amor fati as a lifestyle change, we stay more present, enjoying life, and being empowered by it, even when it’s difficult. We work with what we can control, rather than exhausting ourselves with what we can’t. We reverse energy drains to energy gains, and that’s hugely important, to stay on the pathway of living our potential no matter what the circumstances.

This is a game-changer; What a way to live and work… when challenge becomes inspiration and stays that way! Empowerment is strength, the outcome of living in alignment with nature, sound reasoning and your intuition. Contact me if this blog has stirred questions or insights for you or your work teams. By converting challenge to inspiration, we empower individuals and workplaces with resiliency, vision and team work.

“Disempowerment is the nemesis of intuition because it allows the subconscious to protect you from the truths you need to be listening for. Alternatively, when you practice empowerment, your intuitive information will follow in abundance.” – Laura Day

 

 

 

 

The Power of Personal Reflection

by Cheryl Brewster

December is the invitation to reflect in  a time of stillness and quiet beauty.IMAG0558

This December has transformed itself into a month of stillness and beauty despite the hustle and bustle of the year…. Perhaps it’s because I’m up at 5:00 am every morning to drive my son to his new job until his pre-arranged car-pooling kicks-in again. I’m sure that’s a big part of it… I’ve enjoyed the extra time… it’s been quite magical. Not usually such a morning person, I have been gifted with so many things, like the play of light that streaks across a dark horizon; the stunning purples and blues behind the starkness of leaveless trees, mixed in with moonlight reflected off a sleepy river… it’s all been so memorable and powerful. In addition, the quiet, reflective time with my son has been such a gift of bonding that we wouldn’t normally have had.

I am very grateful and with winter solstice just around the corner, I’m reminded that we each have the opportunity to reflect, to go inside before the shortest day of the year arrives. The name solstice means ‘sun stands still’ and spiritually, it offers the opportunity to pause and reflect. How else can we measure the effectiveness of what’s really working or not working in our lives without that quiet pause?

Winter Solstice is symbolic of allowing the darker shadow side of our experience to come out; to be acknowledged and transformed as it heals, and we lovingly, kindly, with compassion, tell the truth to ourselves… what do we really want more of in life? What are we willing to let go of in order to embrace the new?

This meditation by author Meg Casey captures so succinctly the hushed beauty of this special time:

December is a holy month. Maybe it is the dark, silky silence that descends so early that speaks to me of reverence. Maybe it is the promise that December holds — that no matter how dark, how cold, how empty it can get, the light is coming back. Something always shifts in me when December arrives — I embrace the darkness, and am eager for the coming solstice when the whole world is still and holds its breath, waiting to be reborn again.

What is seeking to be reborn in you? Time to pause, to reflect and vision in the quiet of your own heart is always a good thing.  May the balance of December be for you, a quiet reflection of stillness and beauty. Happy Winter Solstice!

If you would like to be a part of the 2014 Visioning Tele-Seminars in December, click here. To be a part of future teleseminar series that focus on prosperity and visioning, email us here.

Photo credit of Trees in Mist: Tina Doughty, Photo credit for Cheryl Brewster: Amber Light Photo

 

cheryl75Cheryl Brewster is a Personal and Business Intuitive who provides intuitive readings and coaches entrepreneurs, business people and individuals to embrace intuition at deeper levels for personal effectiveness, self development, stress management and self discovery.  She founded The Intuitive Life in 2004 and delivers interactive, dynamic keynotes to business teams wanting a refreshing approach to communication, stress management and inspired business building.

 

 

 

3 tips to greater personal effectiveness

by Cheryl Brewster

As we grow in awareness, we become more cognizant of what we most want in life. The willingness to let go of the habits that have created what we “don’t want”, requires huge acceptance. Part of that acceptance is the habit of becoming more kind and compassionate with ourselves. This is not a “one time deal or hit and miss scenario.” This must become a habit, and habits are borne out of one thing… the willingness to repeat, repeat, repeat; to make the achievement of our desires more important than the feelings or habits holding us back.

This is hugely courageous and effective work. The definition of effectiveness is producing or being capable of producing a desired effect, so the question becomes, how important is my own personal effectiveness to me? You must be willing to “Take Your Stand,” to make this the most important objective in your life.  As Joel Osteen said, in his book on living your full potential:

“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It wont happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.”

Wow… important words to remember. Why? Because in becoming more aware, we are required to meet our ineffectiveness head on. We must be willing to meet our disappointment and not let it get the best of us. The following three tips are key:

  1. You are in training. Every expert started out a beginner. Give yourself a break! Start with where you are and be willing to enjoy the journey; enjoyment allows you to see the possibilities that judgement refuses to see.
  2. Be kind to yourself. It’s your judgments that hold you back… begin an “Awareness Log “of your judgments.
  3. In that log,  include a column for kindness and compassion. Kindness and compassion will  melt the judgement. Judgement is what feeds the fear or procrastination that hold you back from your personal effectiveness and reaching your desires. Expressions to self like “I understand how you could feel this way,” or “of course you would feel this way,” acknowledge the judgement and underlying suppressed feelings. Only when they are acknowledged, can they be released. This is personal effectiveness; the willingness to let go and keep moving on.

Try this:
Notice your judgment of your judgment.
Now bring kindness and compassion to those judgments (e.g., I can understand how you could feel this way).
Breathe.

Consider journaling your experience, or, to receive your complimentary “Awareness Log” click here to request it. The journey of personal effectiveness begins in the extraordinary adventure of self discovery. Where is your intuition leading you? Clues are held in how aware you are of both effective and ineffective habits in your life and how willing you are, to bring kindness and compassion to them. That is the gateway to your powerful knowing  as the Conscious Changemaker in your own life, borne through the fire of trial and error, made easier with the healing effectiveness of kindness and compassion.

As we grow in awareness, we become more effective in achieving what we most want in life. Kindness and Compassion are the Key.

About Cheryl Brewster of The Intuitive Life:
Cheryl’s “calling” to intuition took her from the corporate world into her own consulting business; she mentor-coaches individuals and entrepreneurs wanting to bring deeper levels of self awareness and effectiveness into personal and business life, using their intuition.

 

Spiritual Awakening – can we choose outrageous joy?

by Cheryl Brewster
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How willing are you to be brave, positive, confident, adventurous, fun, and peaceful? What feelings do these words invoke? Try this experiment: take a moment to reread these words and REALLY experience the feelings they represent.  What would happen if you were outrageous in bringing them into your day,  moment by moment, including today’s:

  • to-do list
  • biggest problems or challenges
  • judgment of yourself and others

What would happen to your day? Your relationships? Your past hurts?
What would happen to how much you got done? Or the quality of the work and how you did it?
What would your experience be?

The power of our emotions plays a crucial role in everything we do, including our intuition and our prosperity.  Just a short few minutes consciously, deliberating choosing to be in alignment with our positive feeling emotions can help us:

  • become more  aligned with our center
  • help us see things we need to change so we can course correct into balance with love and compassion
  • be more patient, kind and accepting of the process of spiritual awakening
  • stay more present
  • be more at peace

1. Awareness first, then Action
As Esther and Jerry Hicks remind us in their book The Astonishing Power of Emotions: “An awareness of your emotions and what they mean is essential to your conscious evolution…. allowing yourself to become what life has caused you to desire is not about action. It is about the aligning of thought Energies. It is about focusing your attention in the direction of your desire rather than looking back at the current conditions that have given birth to your desire.” I interpret this as mindfulness birthing right action; it starts with a willingness to be emotionally present not only with what is, but with the certainty of what CAN be. As Napoleon Hill said, “you must have a keen, pulsating desire that transcends everything.”

2. Are you swimming against the current or going with the flow?
To paraphrase Hicks: we believe that anyone who amounts to anything has to work very hard, against the current. Turning downstream to go with the flow is labelled as too easy, even lazy. However, here’s the rub: “Nothing that you want is against the current!” The Stream of Life, if we allow it to carry us, is always downstream… the flow of life that we can trust… hence today’s “DARE YA!”.  Spiritual awakening – can you let yourself go with it’s flow?

3. Emotions help direct from ineffectiveness to improvement
“In this moment, am I turned toward improvement or away from it? The emotion you feel will give you the answer.” We’re either choosing to struggle or to flow… it’s that simple.

4. Take the dare, go with the flow
So let’s go back to the challenge of the day and be willing to experiment…. how will you know the power of peace if you don’t actually choose it? No matter what happens… can you let peace be here too, amid the inherent discomfort of painful emotions of spiritual awakening? Take a look at the list of emotions at the top of this article…. how will you know their power if you don’t actually choose them?

Helen Keller said that life is a daring adventure or nothing. Despite the physical challenges of being both blind and deaf, this amazing woman became one of America’s most famous educators, and internationally acclaimed inspiring speakers. She accepted her impediments; she let them carry her into her awakening. You do the same, when you allow fear to be here and choose peace anyway.

Experiment for just one hour, one day, one week…. in the process of your spiritual awakening…. will you BELIEVE; can you let the flow of life carry you into the present moment where inspired action arises in its own timing? In doing so, you let go of the unconscious patterns contributing to your worry and stress. And let’s face it… isn’t spiritual awakening only possible by choosing to allow peace, happiness and freedom to be here now, even when, or especially when we don’t really feel like it?

Dare ya!

Cheryl Brewster is a Personal and Business Intuitive, providing Readings and Mentor Programs for individuals experiencing plateaus in life, change and spiritual awakening. She supports entrepreneurs in building their businesses through conscious awareness and hosts Intuitive Gatherings and Teleseminars to build awareness and community. Participants experience first hand, the amazing power of their own intuitive prosperity that always starts as an inside job.

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