Making a Decision?

I’d like to share a tool that would help you achieve clarity and disclose hidden worries and issues when making a decision just about anything, especially decisions that are ‘life changing’. Sometimes facing them can keep us on hold for a long time, as our brains don’t distinguish the stress produced by a real threat from a perceived one, and often use the stress model of ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mechanism to cope. Often we put our lives on hold while making those decisions as we cannot face all the aspects of what is stopping us from moving forward.

This tool has a fancy name Cartesian Questions based on Cartesian logic founded and used by the 17th century philosopher, mathematician  Rene Descartes. Present day Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), sometimes used in coaching practices to a great effect, became very fond of it too.

Cartesian Questions

The beauty of the questions construed in this way is in its simplicity and yet it is capable of uncovering the depths of one’s unconscious mind and bring it all to the light of day. You can do it on your own or your can talk it through with someone.

So when you have a certain outcome in mind or need to make a decision about changing something or starting a new project, ask yourself:

What would happen If I did fully achieve the intended outcome?’

This asks you to see clearly the effects of your decision. How would this affect my situation, my relationship, health, work, leisure, possessions, achievements, my other desires and aspirations, new goals? Another huge thing to consider – do you expect that achieving a certain outcome will make you feel differently? Compare it to what you feel now and is it the change of your feelings you are after? As honestly as you can evaluate your feelings in your current situation and find all the pluses in it. Often changing your feelings first is a solution by itself. It’s not the easiest but certainly healthier way forward. Feelings are only a part of your current state that includes your thoughts and behaviour as well. All these have to be taken into account when evaluating the total outcome of your decision or goal setting. As there often enough is at least one if not a range of possibilities to find an easier and less costly way to achieve what you are after.

Here is a sample of questions to have a structure to work on:

  • How certain am I that I really want this?
  • What do I expect to have once I reach the goal?
  • What is it I am really after?
  • What changes will it bring to my situation?
  • How will I accommodate the changes in my current situation?
  • What does it mean and will mean to me to achieve this goal?
  • What is next?

‘What wouldn’t happen if I did achieve it?’

Posing this question will help you see the good things that you habitually overlook in your current situation because often enough you take them for granted. These ‘goodies’ might be lost to you when you get to your new goal/decision. For example, a career woman, let’s call her Anna, and her partner wanted to get out of London to be closer to nature and have a more relaxed life style and bigger space for themselves. It only became obvious to her after couple of years of commuting that her leisure time that she spent shopping on her own after work and walking in a nearby park was swallowed by the commute as well as almost three hours of sleep. Anna noticed it only after she got tired and exhausted which was exacerbated by a stressful work situation. The shopping time on her own – her little pleasure she never thought much of – turned out to be her major ‘me time’ which was a way to reconnect with self and be on her own however public the shopping environment might seem to others. It wasn’t a big deal to think about and admit it when they decided to move out of London, but became apparent in crisis that eventually brought her to me and other professionals. If she’d asked herself this quite simple question when moving she might have identified her little pleasure habit and it would give her a new perspective on the house-hunting location. Her daily ‘me time’ and several hours of sleep, foregone due to the extra commute, over years accumulated to the point that when she needed her power (adrenal strength) to carry her through stress, the resources weren’t there.

‘What would happen if I didn’t achieve my intended result, make this particular decision?’

Answering this honestly will show you the price of not changing and staying where you are. Often it is a painful experience in our present situation that motivates us to change. So if you continue, the pain continues. Or if there is no pain involved the exact cost of staying put will show up anyway and still be enough to move you forward. I like this simple saying: ‘This day next year you’d wish you started today.’ My best example is about my relationship with my mother, my dearly beloved mum for whom I felt I lived all my life. Yet, when I brought her to live with my family I couldn’t live in peace. My whole baggage of ‘childhood trauma’ drama of being emotionally disconnected from her came out and played often enough to make our lives miserable. It’s only when I faced the future cost of my behaviour that I could make a decision to change my attitude and behaviour.

‘What wouldn’t happen if I didn’t do, decide, achieve my goal?’

This question on the face of it doesn’t have any logical meaning, yet the semantics of it create a chaos in your rational mind and provokes you to think intuitively. It opens up the possibilities that were never there in your intended rational decision making and yet invites you to play with different eventualities of life that otherwise never come to mind. Basically it gives you the opportunity/permission to create the other reality without directly saying to you “don’t do what you want to do”. If you say to your brain don’t pursue your goal you have other things to do, it often creates a mental block against those other things, because the aspiration or the desire of the intended outcome is so strong that it won’t let you think anything else. In other words this brings you back to your conscious mind and senses to evaluate life  as it is (It’s lack, abundance and everything in between) without jeopardising the confidence and the strength of the intention to achieve what is desired.

This process of going through a decision making or goal evaluation is totally useless when you have a moral duty or obligation to fulfil. In such situation only the values and commitments matter and cost and possible side effects won’t make any difference to a conscientious human.

In all other situations have fun (as much as you possibly could) exploring the depths of the Cartesian logic in problem solving such as moving up or down a career ladder, expanding/downgrading your house, moving the country, or out to the country, changing profession or work/living place. These are not light-hearted decisions to say the least and if you need help to make them, yours truly is a phone call away.


		
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Emotional Snakes and Ladders – overcoming the negativity bias

Thank you Elaine! Really helpful post – Emotional Snakes and Ladders – overcoming the negativity bias.

For many of us, emotions are things that happen us – sometimes a tornado that blows us off our feet or a sinking that silently drags us down. Or a feeling of elation as fleeting as the sun on a winter afternoon or a burst of joy – here and gone in an instant.
Recent research in neuroscience informs us that our brains are wired to be focussing on what is wrong with things. It is known as the « negativity bias ». Not only is the negativity bias an evolutionary trait of humans but we can see that it is also a trait of nations and maybe even the world. If we see nails everywhere, our only response will be a hammer, right ?
We know that putting on a happy face or ignoring suffering will not effectively allow you to « manage » your emotions, or « manage » your stress. Now we learn that the brain is being sculpted from each emotion, perception and experience and slowly but surely we accumulate a mind that is wired from our lived experiences.
Much as your body is built from the foods you eat, your mind is built from the experiences you have. Rick Hansen

Many of us we have a limited repertoire of emotions. Under duress, and depending on your personality and how you have wired your brain over the years, we tend to have a fairly predictable emotional response – anger or tears, action or withdrawal, etc. If moderate to chronic stress becomes a regular state of affairs in our body mind – and this is the modern condition – it makes us vulnerable. Stress releases cortisal into the brain that stimulates an alarm bell which sets off the amygdala which in turn kicks off the fight and flight response. It is all good except when chronic stress becomes a way of life. Cortisol actually kills neurons in the hypocampus and what should be passing mental states become lasting neural states and gradually change the very structure of the brain so we become even more sensitive to stress.
Stess impairs our immune and digestion functions, depletes our neural transmitters, and makes us vulnerable to such emotional states as depression and frustration and anger, which in turn can result in becoming driven and anxious, or on-going feelings of loneliness and disconnection.
This is important knowledge : the brain is all set up for processing those negative emotions of fear, anxiety, anger. In fact, our brains are built to be continually scouting for what is amiss, wrong or potentially problematic so that we can have a better chance of surviving an attack or a danger in the environment. Or the subjective perception of one.
Rick Hanson, neuroscientist and meditation teacher refers to this « negativity bias » as being in the brain’s « red zone » – the brain, he says, is like velcro for negative emotions (they tend to stick) and teflon for positive emotions (they tend to slide quickly away). Simply put, the brain is good at learning from bad experiences and bad at learning from good experiences.
It is clear that we all need to overcome our brains’ hardwired negativity bias – but how ? Let’s first have a look at what emotions we are talking about. This Emotional Scale is taken from Abraham Hicks work and shows the way one emotion feeds another as we go progressively either up or down the emotional spiral :
This scale reminds me of the child’s game Snakes and Ladders. As you can see, you can’t get from Depression to Joy in one step – like a ladder you have to climb up or slide down – It may be good to know that Anger is already higher up on the emotional ladder than Despair ! A victim mentality is very low on the scale – right down there with Powerlessness. If you can play the Appreciation Game (a Law of Attraction Coaching Process) you can climb steadily the ladder right up to the top alongside Love and Joy.
Today we have abundant scientific research that allows us to understand what is happening in our body and minds when we experience what is commonly called « negative » emotions. Sometimes, we aren’t even aware that we are on a downward emotional spiral because we are accuustomed to it and we have put in place some coping strategies – until we suffer from ongoing back pain, or sciatica or a chronic illness and we have to pay attention.
Mindfulness practices propose that we start by bringing into our awareness our emotional state, as it is showing up in our bodies and as it is expressed in our narratives (the things that we are telling ourselves). But it is all very well to recognize that one is truly pissed off or melancholy or depressed – to seek the cure from an external source in the form of prescription medication or alternative remedies (millepertuis for depression..) but the source of the emotion often remains hidden from your awareness and so continues to generate the anxiety or the anger in more subterranean ways. The body never lies !
Living in constant stress has become a way of life. In our modern world we are training our brains to constantly zap from one screen to another, from one information bite to another. This actually contributes to avoidance strategies. Whatever the psyche cannot integrate, the body will express. We could go so far as to say that whatever the physical symptom, there is always an emotional and mental component to it. If we believe that we have no choice but to continue in a job we hate or in a relationship that has become empty or hateful then our brains will make this a reality.
To what extent can learning the skill of emotional literacy and learning how to climb up the emotional ladder affect our health, the quality of our life, our relationships and even our life expectancy ? When our cortisol levels are high due to stress and our brain is sending panic signals because of a perceived threat to our needs or well-being, the fight and flight response will take over, shutting down the other bodily functions that regulate our digestion, our immunity, our sleep and our ability to cultivate relationship. The stress response will impact our ability for growth and healing. In fact we only have two basic responses to life : contraction and expansion. When our cells are in contraction we are in defense mode and we cannot grow, learn or heal. When we are in expansion mode we can heal, we can develop pour capacities, and we can grow in all ways
The buddhist traditions understood this a long time ago. They taught that one could learn how to deliberately and purposefully create certain emotions – in order to create happiness in oneself and one’s environment – regardless of circumstances. I think of it as rather like cooking with the chemicals of emotions ! A dash of appreciation, a handful of gratitude, several whisks of compassion and before we know it the brain is releasing a chemical cocktail into the body – the cocktail of well being and expansion.
Research is indicating what the wisdom traditions have taught for millennia – When we are at ease, feeling that our needs for safety, satisfaction and affection are met, the level of stress hormones in the body will decrease and the chemistry of expansion will increase. I call the chemistry of expansion anything that allows our body to do what it is supposed to do – allow the immune system to be powerful, repair cells, destroy viruses, heal us deeply. Modern life is preventing our body from doing what it does best – heal us !
So what if emotional literacy was simply knowing how to shift the stress reaction to a deliberate response on behalf of well-being ?
In the illustration below from the Heart Math Institute, we see that very different signals between the heart and the brain are picked up when we are in these two different modes – the emotion of frustration creates havoc and confusion as the body interprets this as a situation that needs a stress response – fight, flight or paralysis !
On the other hand, the emotion of appreciation creates a heart frequency that is harmonious and steady – we are letting our body and mind know that

« I am safe, I am loved, I am competent » – this is why Affirmations when they are said with real intent and emotion can indeed heal.
Doing yoga and any exercise reduces our cortisol levels. This is why we feel better after exercise even if the problem that we are experiencing or the situation that is causing us anxiety remains unchanged. After 20 to 30 minutes of exercise we do not perceive the problem in the same helpless way.
This three-step process comes from Rick Hansen again. I have used it on myself and with my coaching clients.
Step 1 : Turn positive facts into positive experiences – Good things keep happening all around us, but much of the time we don’t notice them; even when we do, we hardly feel them. Instead, actively look for good news, particularly the little stuff of daily life: the faces of children, the smell of an orange, a memory from a happy vacation, a minor success at work, and so on. Whatever positive facts you find, bring a mindful awareness to them—open up to them and let them affect you.

Step 2 : Savor the experience – Make positive experiences last by staying with them for 5, 10, even 20 seconds; don’t let your attention skitter off to something else. Savoring positive experiences intensifies our positive response to them. The longer something is held in awareness, the more emotionally stimulating it will be and the stronger the trace of it becomes in our memory. This allows you to internalize them so that you carry them inside you and don’t need to reach for them in the outer world.
Step 3 : Let the experience sink in – Finally, imagine or feel that the experience is entering deeply into your mind and body, like the warmth of the sun on your face, like water into a sponge, or a jewel placed in a treasure chest in your heart. Keep relaxing your body and absorbing the emotions, sensations, and thoughts of the experience.
We know that thoughts and emotions create vibrations and that these frequencies affect in turn what we are experiencing and what is happening to us.
Without going down the road of mastering our emotions and reducing the palette of our emotional experience, we can learn how to ride those choppy waves and intervene with mindfully and deliberately using this three step process to climb the emotional ladder, rewire our brain by looking for, savouring and intensifying positive experiences.
Now that you have learned that you can fabricate emotional experiences, memories and responses that contribute to your well-being and off-set the brain’s negativity bias, try paying attention to the next time you are dwelling on the negative. Start climbing up the emotional spiral rung by rung – this will not only re-wire your brain but you will have experiences of heart-centred emotions more often and for longer periods of time. 

Mums and Daughters a Very Special Connection

As we are preparing for our mother-daughter days this weekend at Chiltern Escapes a lot of brainstorming going on among us – Debra, the artist and founder of Minimonetsuk.com, Dyann, the host of the Chiltern Escapes and myself. We are aiming to create a very intimate and caring space in time and place where one could pause and rejoice in this powerful energy of the primary feeling or even instinct of mother-daughter love.

Debra is going to take our Friday group into the magic planes of artistic expression or application (whichever closer to one’s heart’s desire) where mums and daughters can work together on the same piece of artwork in the serene environment of the Chilterns Escapes where nature is only a step away.

For the coaching session we were discussing various topics touching on creating beautiful relationships. There are three main ingredients for those:

  • The quality of our thinking about self and the other person one relates to, this depends on lots of things such as our beliefs and thoughts, our own and others’ six human needs met and not and more;
  • Presence – are we with the person mentally as well as physically (there are different communication skills to explore and practice, which I will write more about in future posts);
  • Time – as in time for communication (does anyone actually know that the best time for creating loving connection in family and relationship starts from 6 pm?:)) and time as in the feeling left behind after the time spend together which brings us back to the thinking mode.

For the purposes of the Escapes day we will only be able to reflect on the first subject – relationship to self, which starts with the quality of our thinking about self which affects how we relate to others. Here we are going to explore Tara Mohr’s Inner Critic and Inner Mentor from her Playing Big book.

The reason we are starting with Inner Critic is because feelings and emotions are our bodies’ physical reactions to our thoughts and beliefs. It’s a simple thing of thinking nicely of our selves, feeling great and then being able to act on it and produce better results.

And mother-daughter, mother-child connection is the most emphatic connection of all existing in human relationships. Empathy is our ability to feel what others feel. It’s been proven by neuroscience that the feelings experienced by mother are directly transmitted to the child, daughter in particular. So whatever a mother’s Inner Critic says rubs off on her daughter’s mind in no time! Affecting our daughter’s behaviour in a good way is possible only through love and it starts with addressing our own thoughts – negative and positive – whichever mother has her daughter will feel, too and it will show. In the end giving love means having it first.

The Amazing Healing Properties Of Nature! (Video)

I’m sharing this video because I love everything about Ayurveda it pulled me out of health and relationship problems I experienced before I discovered Ayurvedic nutrition and psychology and am so happy that Kimberly is one of the pioneers bringing it to wider audiences and making it mainstream. In my coaching practice with women we refer a lot to different parts of this wonderful source of wisdom and practical knowledge and see great results every time. The Amazing Healing Properties Of Nature! (Video).

Female Hormones, Careers and Energies

In my previous posts I was introducing the concepts of all adults operating in feminine and masculine energies. I also wrote about three feminine energies that women posses in themselves. Without further introduction I would like to point out a connection between female hormones and women’s careers and the conundrum of “having it all”.

When stressed, our adrenal glands borrow on our sex hormones either female or male depending upon who we are, therefore our ability to sustain stress is directly connected to our womanhood or manhood respectively. If you’d like to know more about this follow Dr Yolanda Loafer’s functional medicine Daily News Paperless. I had the pleasure to work with her a few years ago to figure out all these tricks of nature.

Testosterone, the main male hormone, is produced when a person is actively doing something in a social setting achieving definite results. The more men go out and do, like kill a mammoth, the stronger their adrenal glands are and overall strength, both physical and mental power.  Of course there are limits to growth, and men confront their peak performance and then downhill slope during their life span. Female hormones are produced in a calm and loving environment. When women go out and do their active social achieving roles in a manly manner they produce testosterone too, but it cannot be utilised by female adrenal glands; instead, it stresses them. When it comes to a typical burnout (adrenal fatigue), the female adrenal glands had already heavily borrowed on the body’s progesterone/oestrogen. Temporary infertility or inability to sustain pregnancy is often a result for many professionally active and high-achieving women as their female hormones are low and not supported. Every individual has different capacity and ability to sustain stress.

When a woman relaxes and manages her work and stress levels, fertility comes back. It takes time and stillness of mind though. Other hormone related illnesses, like endomethriosis and breast diseases, are all sign of women operating in the wrong energy. All traditionally female crafts like needle work, embroidery, quilting and sewing are great facilitators of female hormone production. It’s especially beneficial for young girls to do such crafts as doing them grows and strengthen their female hormones and balances the adrenal glands. So the conundrum for women who want to play all social roles without stepping heavily into masculine territory is real and have practical health and personal life implications.

Most of us adore those amazing women among us who kept their femininity and achieved a lot in many spheres of life and are taken seriously at work. They didn’t hit the ‘glass ceiling’ and have great relationship with a long term partner in their life. What is their secret? I found an interesting answer in Vedic psychology according to which every woman possesses three separate energies that present themselves as distinct social roles, are purpose oriented and to many come with age as a rite of passage. Yet all three are always available to us at any time if we know how to connect to them or they are simply triggered by situations. In my workshops I help women to establish this connection within themselves and to take a great advantage of using these energies purposefully in their relationships and careers.

The first feminine energy encompasses beauty and fragility, vanity and seduction. Its only purpose is to give joy and attract a romantic partner and bring a new generation into the world as it’s maternal and life giving at the same time. This energy is sacred and must be kept very private in order for a woman to keep her strength and attractiveness for a long time and sustain a stable life long relationship with a committed partner. When women operate on this young and beautiful energy at workplaces, their careers end when the energy runs out. Hollywood with it’s demand for young hot beauties is the starkest example of this. But we all know there are actresses like Maryl Streep and Helen Mirren and others. Their careers only blossomed after the age. Why?

It has to do with the second feminine energy, which is all about creativity and learning. A woman operating in this energy is a patroness of arts and education, progress and innovation. This energy is great to connect to when going out to work instead of adopting the masculine model of goals and efficiency and alienating people along the way.

And the third feminine energy is maternal protective energy. It has no fear or hesitation, it’s a strong leadership energy and it’s very caring and supportive as well and could be belligerent when the need arises. On a comical side of it, an American writer coined the word momism referring to women using this energy without a limit when communicating with their partners and making children out of their husbands. But practically speaking women in managerial positions are greatly empowered if they can relate to it and utilise it at work. Among  the fifty most powerful women in business listed by Fortune Magazine, only ten are below the age of fifty. The rest are approaching their sixties or already there but all of them clearly are operating in their third feminine energy and could be called matriarchs. None presented themselves in their flighty and vain seductress powers. They obviously didn’t ‘trade on their [bottoms]’ as in Madonna’s latest statement.

Women gracefully operating in these three energies achieve great highs in all spheres of life without provoking social criticism and disapproval of which many of us complain often as we compare our CVs to those of men. The criticism and disconnect arise when women stand on masculine energy platform and become harsh and void of emotion, and then both sexes have a hard time relating to them. This ability to relate and connect to others is essentially what makes us human, and that’s why Madonna is called a superhuman. Personally I identified with her a lot when I was a young and driven woman operating in masculine and rational side of things. I had to adjust a lot though when I started my family and devoted time to child rearing and close family ties. We are mostly brought up in such a way that we strive to achieve external goals and results and it’s a hard throw back for many women to suddenly sit still and watch a little seed grow in the pot and then start all over again with a zero confidence level on top of other things. It was very uplifting for me to receive a birthday card from an older woman relative who went back to work at 40 after twelve years career break because of staying at home with her three kids and navigating it successfully among younger ‘short skirted’ colleagues. It’s actually a huge theme for a new post about going back to work.

In my practice I help women to find clarity and vision for whatever they are set off to do and recognize and manage inner blocks that holds them back and move ahead.

 © Dana Johnson 2015

‘So what is it with the ‘F’ word’, Annie Lennox and Living in Feminine Energies

On Friday my girlfriends and I went to the fifth annual Women of the World (WOW) Festival in London – blissful day it was at the Southbank – the sunshine, the vibe, the atmosphere! A celebration of womanhood. Six of us rushed in the morning from different parts of London and out of it to be on time for the opening talk with Annie Lennox. What a treat! One of my friends even had a ‘bump into the star’ moment with her at the front door! Which she ‘facebooked’ on the spot, Who wouldn’t? Sharing enhances every experience.

And Annie delivered! Among other very compelling things she said was the question, ‘What is it with the ‘F’ word?’ She related a story of her receiving The Woman of the Year Award about six years ago. She was on the stage giving a speech sharing her natural raw emotion of being touched and honoured with an audience of four hundred very powerful individuals of all walks of life – policewomen, women who overcome disabilities, rights activists. On the hype of it all she called everyone who supports feminism to stand up. And it was a real moment of truth for her when half the audience stood up and the other half remain seated. So she asked herself,

‘Why feminism became such an ‘f’ word. The word is tricky by itself.’

Maybe a better word won’t carry so much baggage as to alienate so many. As it probably sounds to a great number of people, the word feminism is in the same category as every other power grabbing ‘ism’ – capitalism, socialism, pacifism, communism, fascism – all to do with allocation of power and resources. It’s political. We don’t expect men to be any of the above just because they are men. To accept this is to relieve this social backlash of expecting every woman supporting something just because of being a woman and propelling the gender bias further instead of getting rid of it.  Also, it actually purifies the feminist cause as one consisting of women taking care of each other first of all and then spreading the equality message to include all willing.

I’m writing about this in connection with my workshop on living in feminine and masculine energy on one of the Chiltern Escapes days. During it I was showing examples of people (famous statesmen and celebrities) portraying different energy. And Annie Lennox presented a slight puzzle for me in this respect.

We looked at masculine versus feminine first. And an example of pure masculine was King Abdullah of Jordan in his commander in chief capacity training his helicopter squad. The front square body posture, direct eye contact and stern facial expression says it all.

marilyn-monroe-pink-The pure feminine example was Marilyn Monroe as I couldn’t find any better contemporary example of a celebrity stepping out in the public view in a pure feminine (vulnerable, beautiful) energy – the only purpose of this energy is romantic relationship. There are two other feminine energies though not particularly identified in Western culture nevertheless existent (follow this post). In our everyday experiences as adults we all live in a combination of different proportion of masculine and feminine energies. We had examples of women in the public eye and workplace stepping into their masculine energy predominantly (like Madonna or younger Hillary Clinton) due to their lack of emotional connection and as a matter of personal protection it’s a safer energy to go out and perform; being in the first type pure feminine energy  – in the social life isn’t such a good idea and didn’t end well neither for Marilyn nor for her contemporary icon Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

Way too often women get crash-and-burned or hit the ‘glass ceiling’ in their career life simply because they are either going to work in their young beauty selves and consequently either promoted for the wrong reasons up to a point or not being taken seriously despite their expertise. Or women step into the masculine, being competent and super efficient and yet alienating everyone around them and hitting the ‘glass’ eventually.

And we concluded with images of matriarchs – women in their fully realised feminine energy – HM the Queen Elizabeth the Second and Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, the second largest food company in the world. But we didn’t quite solve the puzzle of what to do for all the working women in between the ages of young beauties and matriarchs. We employed a very useful coaching tool from Tara Mohr’s ‘Playing Big’ book of finding our ‘Inner Mentor’. Tara was another celebrated guest of the WOW on Friday as part of her paperback release world tour.

Well, Annie Lennox is the perfect prototype of the third feminine energy – knowledgeable, artistic and socially active, teaching and learning. Despite her age I won’t place her in the matriarch category and she certainly is not a flirtatious beauty even as her younger self she didn’t step out as one. But she is beautiful, emotional, connected to people, artistic (of-course!) and engaged, she exudes not the power and serenity of the matriarch but the kind of energy many women in different generations could easily relate to – live, vibrant and passionate. She shares her art, experience and knowledge and is constantly learning herself! She has a certain percentage of masculinity (she certainly ‘played’ with it during her long enigmatic career). But in the end this is the type of feminine energy that is predisposed for social life as well as one of the matriarch.

The trick for women is to be flexible in these three energies and preserve the young beauty exclusively for romantic relationships and utilise the artistic-knowledgeable and protective- maternal types in all other areas of life. It may sound all too regimented and unrealistic but it has the positives of preserving intimate relationships and leading a healthy home and active social life. And I can say that my five girlfriends who went to this WOW day are such amazing women.

So as Annie says it, ‘One can be a lipstick loving, high heeled feminist,’ and I’m not afraid of the word.

8th of March is celebrated as International Women’s Rights Day and the eight days of WOW from March 1- 8 is such a powerful and delightful project giving everyone an opportunity in Nelson Mandella’s words, Annie reminded us of, to be ‘a part of the solution not the problem.’

As a life coach working with women I help them identify the three distinct feminine energies in themselves and utilize them on a daily basis to achieve healthier, more balanced and conscious living which ever path they chose not waiting for a major crash like Arianna Huffington. The fears, uncertainties and stresses of being intimate in relationship and moving ahead in career and social life are greatly reduced and often disappear when women find these powers in themselves and use them appropriately.

© Dana Johnson 2015

Living in Your Own Energy

During one of the recent days at Chiltern Escapes our group of ‘escapees’ discussed a very practical topic of balancing our feminine and masculine energies and employing the right one for the time and purpose given. I’ll write a special page about it to share more details of our workshop but for now I’ll give away a sneak a peak into the self help side of it.

I offered our participants a quick testing tool of my own making (see picture below) to identify in which energy they are habitually living on the day to day basis. The basic wheel template was given to me by a fellow coach Rita Silva who studied it at Lisbon Coaching Academy. I added my bit about feminine and masculine energy halves based on my Ayurvedic research.

Many women were sincerely astonished by and others just honestly accepted the fact that they are regularly preoccupied in the masculine zone and don’t spend enough time in the feminine. Or use their feminine at work and come home to find them selves in the masculine. Behaving accordingly and feeling exhausted, stressed and demotivated.

The advantages of living in one’s own energy are vast! First of all your own energy is a renewable source if used correctly and therefore the main perk that comes with living in it is feminine health that depends on all hormonal functions being aligned and delivering properly.  An individual living in their own energy grows in power whereas the opposite mode brings depletion of strength and often a crash and burn situation.

Here as a reader of this blog post you won’t have the benefit of the whole workshop but you could ask yourselves, How much of my time of acting and thinking is spent in each section of the wheel? Use the scale of 0 – 10 as a measure for the same period of time (chose a week, month, quarter of the year or annual unit) for each section alike.  Connect the numbers and colour the space resulted.

If you find that the left hand side half of the circle coloured red and green filled more than the right one (my situation a decade ago) than you are a typical modern woman with all the perks of stress tiredness and often emotional disconnect from loved ones family and friends to a greater or lesser extent.

If you’re mostly in the right side of the wheel – it could be that you’re not taken seriously at work and despite your professionalism and expertise, are having hard time climbing the career ladder.

Another important question to ask  is ‘What is your style of communication?’ I’ll talk more about it in my future posts. 

You could be your own coach and see what little actions you could take in the opposite side of the wheel to bring things into a more balanced picture.

These are only a couple of very polarised possible examples described here and to no measure is a complete profiling of all imaginable combinations.

Contact me if you’d like to discuss your findings and their implications in person during your free introductory session.

 © Dana Johnson 2015