Oak Communications
April 6, 2010
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Oak Communications

Oak Communications Blog

C2Arts: Consultants and Coaches for the Arts

I went to the gym today at 3 pm. Believe it or not, I have not gone to the gym in the middle of a weekday since I started my own coaching and consulting practice. Today I asked myself why not go to the gym this afternoon? I make my own schedule. So where did this crazy "rule" come from that I can't go to the gym in the middle of the day?

We each make crazy rules for ourselves. Many of my coaching clients have a rule that says that they can't take a lunch break. Actually, when we talk about it they say they can take a break for lunch; however, when push comes to shove, they don't.  Something always comes up that seems too important. They have a last minute meeting, they have a report to finish, or they need to check their email. It all feels really important at the time. But when they go home and are exhausted and perhaps irritable, they may ask themselves, "why didn't I take a break today?"

We all get caught up in our responsibilities and our to-do lists and forget to pay attention to our thoughts, our emotions, and our bodies. Later we wonder "why do I have a sore neck? Why do I have a headache?" If we tuned in a few times each day, we might make some different choices.

Case in point: during the past two months, my husband and I have had several important choices to make.  Recently, while mulling over future scenarios in my mind, I leaned over to pick some weeds from the garden.  I know better than to lean over from my waist without bending my knees.  But I did it for just a few moments. When I stood up, I instantly felt a severe backache that lasted for days.

The pain was a wake up call to be present. So, I have been giving myself frequent breaks from sitting in front of the computer. I have had sessions with body workers (massage therapist, chiropractor, and even tried a Yamunaź body rolling class) in order to get my body into balance.

I am also observing my thoughts and my emotions throughout the day. I am writing in my journal about what I am noticing and experiencing. And, when I feel overwhelmed or confused, I go for a walk or turn on music and dance, or sit in mindfulness.

All of these techniques are helping me to reduce stress. It doesn't always work, but I do feel I am able to stop and observe my mind, body and emotions more than I would have in the past. I attribute this to the mindfulness practice I have been doing the last several years. As the picture on my wall says, "When in doubt, breathe in, breathe out."

Happy Spring,

Sue Schleifer
Sapphire at window
There are so many ways to help ourselves come back to the present moment. Perhaps the most accessible at any time of the day or night is to consciously breathe. When I find myself getting tense, worrying, or thinking about the future, I often will take a few conscious breaths.

Another tool that I use is to look and really see what is right in front of me. Or I will stand up and go to a window and look out and notice what is outside. This gets me out of my head. And it only takes a few moments.

"Mindfulness enables us to cultivate a different quality of attention, one where we relate to what we see before us not just as an echo of the past, or a foreshadowing of the future, but more as it is right now." (From Sharon Salzberg, "A More Complete Attention" in tricycle, Winter 2009)
Days With My Father - photo journal
Photo by Phillip Toledano
Mr Toledano's Father

Phillip Toledano is a wonderful photographer. He has composed a beautiful and moving photo journal of the last three years of his father's life and their relationship.

Days With My Father- The site takes a long time to load, but it is worth it.

It is also a bit difficult to navigate. If you hold your mouse over the main picture and then move it down to the bottom, the top of the next page should be visible. If you click there, it will take you to the next picture.


Alternatively, if you move your mouse all the way to the left, the page will scroll to the left, and you will see all of the photos small. You can click there to go through the pictures in any order you want.

Thank you to Karen for sending the link to me.
Coaching with Sue

Headshot Sue

Have you been thinking about working with a coach?

Perhaps you are tired of feeling stressed and overwhelmed and want to feel a sense of clarity and energy.

Do you yearn to bring your creative side back into your life and not sure how to proceed?

Maybe you would like support in making a change or moving forward in your life to feel happier and more at peace.

I would love to talk with you about how I can be your partner in moving forward with your life. Call me for a complimentary half hour telephone coaching consultation.

Coaching is extremely effective via telephone. Let's talk.

Sue Schleifer
Oak Communications

Oakland, CA

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