Barbara Alfors Coaching and Consulting

Be in choice, be aligned, know your path, know your genius.

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Have you met your wise inner adult? 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a wise adult who you could alway rely on for great advice or support? 

We often hear the voice of our inner critic, telling us we aren’t doing things right or other discouraging commentary. We might even have some core beliefs that are based on this perspective of the inner critic. Or we follow the voice of our inner child, who often just says “I don’t wanna! You can’t make me!” But we also all have a wise inner adult. 

Some of us are easily in touch with our inner adult when taking care of commitments for others, but that voice is harder to hear when managing commitments to ourselves. For others, it’s the opposite, and for a blessed few the voice is always there! When we slow down and connect with our inner selves, we have a better chance of hearing the voice of our own wise adult. 

My wise adult knows that daily meditation would be great for me; but my inner child says “you can’t make me!” 

Shifting our inner dialogue so that we can hear the wise adult more loudly than the inner critic or child takes time and practice. It starts with noticing when we hear those voices, and labeling them so we can identify them more easily next time. Often the voice of the inner critic is based on a belief we have; once we can identify the voice we can start to identify the belief. For example, my inner critic might say, “only someone stupid couldn’t figure this out” when the wise choice would be to reach out for support. The underlying belief is that I should be able to do everything on my own, which is not very helpful when learning new things. 

Beliefs are tricky things. We believe any number of things that we don’t realize. When we need that support or advice from our wise adult, we might first ask ourselves what beliefs we have that are relevant to the situation. 

When something is challenging you in your life, what voice do you hear? Does that voice encourage or discourage you? 

If you would like to explore how to brighten your path, or are just curious about coaching, contact me to schedule a complimentary discovery session.

Being vs Doing

snow on blue spruce

It’s snowing today, the day after Labor Day. 

Which seems like a good opportunity to reflect; the snow always invites quiet and reflection and calm. I’ve been thinking about being vs doing, and what that might look like. 

The idea of ‘just being’ can be challenging. Just existing in the moment and accepting that you are here, now. There’s nothing you need to do, no particular way you need to feel. Letting go and allowing this to happen might even feel scary! But giving ourselves a break from the ‘doing’ can make such a difference in our lives! 

It’s the reason writers might go on a retreat and isolate themselves; having space to ‘just be’ is often necessary to the creative process. And we all can benefit from that creative mind space. 

How will you ‘just be’ today? 

If you would like to explore how to brighten your path, or are just curious about coaching, contact me to schedule a complimentary discovery session.

How Will Transformation Look for You?

feeling the joy of dancing on an empty beach

Are you ready for a shift?

Maybe you’d like to start small; taking on a new challenge or building your resilience. Or you might be ready for a major change, either in your career or in your life. 

How will transformation look for you? What will your life be like? Just imagine for a moment; when you are able to move forward how will your life be different? Let’s take away what’s holding you back.

We all need a champion to support us through changes. Give yourself permission to take the next step. Gain the clarity to move ahead in life instead of letting questioning, uncertainty, doubt drain your energy. 

If you would like to explore how to brighten your path, or are just curious about coaching,  contact me to schedule a complimentary discovery session.

Centering Techniques

There are many ways to think of centering; the way I like to think of it is coming to a place of listening to your own wise self. When you are centered, you are able to think more clearly, make better decisions, and avoid creating unnecessary conflicts.  

Here are a few ways to practice centering. This is called a practice because it works best if you keep repeating it to build new neural pathways (see my centering resources post). 

  1. Noticing your Breath
    The easiest way for me to center myself in most situations is to focus on my breath. This can be done in many ways;
         a. put your hand on your heart or stomach and notice the rise and fall of your chest or stomach as you breathe
         b. focus on the difference of temperature of the air as it goes in and out of your nostrils
         c. imagine the breath filling every part of your body as you inhale
         d. imagine you are breathing in from the bottom of your feet, and exhaling out the top of your head (or the reverse)
  2. Imagery or Visualization
    Focusing on a favorite image is another way to get centered. This can be an actual picture or artwork, or an imagined image or place. One way to select this image is to imagine yourself beautifully calm and peaceful, and pick an image that you connect with this feeling.
  3. Touch
    A simple method of centering using touch is to rub your thumb and forefinger together with such delicate attention that you can feel the fingerprints on both thumb and forefinger. This method has the advantage of being accessible in almost any situation. (From Shirzad Chamine)
  4. Keywords or Mantra
    Words are a good way to connect to center for some people, and a powerful mantra, key word, or inspirational phrase may help us to counteract the voice of the inner critic, and instead build neural pathways that focus on more positive feelings. One method of finding a powerful mantra for yourself is to think of the voice of your inner critic in a stressful situation, and find a phrase to neutralize that critical voice. For example, if your inner critic often tells you that you are weak, a good phrase might be “I am strong.” Writing the phrase down and putting it someplace you will see it often, like a sticky note on a bathroom mirror, can help you to remember to come back to this phrase. Repeat it often so it will be available in your brain when needed. 
  5. Noticing and Naming Thoughts and Emotions
    A mindfulness practice involves noticing and naming your thoughts and emotions, and this can be very useful in bringing ourselves to center. We have thoughts running through our minds constantly, and most of these are either a distraction or from one of the critical inner voices. We cannot stop these voices and thoughts, but we can take their power by simply naming them as they arise. This can be as simple as “I had a thought” and visualizing it floating by in the breeze, or in a river. Not being attached to our thoughts can help us stay focused on what is important. 
  6. Somatic Practice – Using Posture 
    Amy Cuddy has a famous Ted talk about the power of posture, and she specifically uses the Wonder Woman posture as an example of how to feel more powerful. We can also use posture to feel more grounded; you can experiment with this yourself and find the posture that works best for you. Typically this will be an upright, standing posture where you feel your weight upon the earth and your head being pulled gently upwards. 
  7. Relating to Others
    If you notice you are reacting poorly to the words or energy of another person, you can imagine that person as a child and imagine feeling love and empathy for that child. (From Shirzad Chamine)
  8. LovingKindness Meditation
    The LovingKindness meditation is a wonderful practice, especially if you are having trouble relating to a specific person. See explanation here. 

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