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Carrie Bowman, Professional Certified Coach, MA, PCC, CLC
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There is a notion that is it not all right to have everything we want and I am here to say that is simply ridiculous. Some other notions that too many people automatically believe:

Change take forever and is like a toothpick chipping away at a boulder.

Real change comes only from pain (it does often at the beginning but that can always change to conscious intention).

To be truly happy you need things outside of yourself.

Question your predominant belief systems. Chances are quite a few of them are false and affect your life to a high degree. Are you ready to adopt true belief systems that can change everything??? If so, there is some work to be done and some freedom to be had.
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I read a post this morning in another group that was telling people that the answer to their happiness is outside of themselves. They said the answer to feeling unfulfilled, depressed, anxious, in fear, unable to make change is something they need to GET from outside of themselves.

I was absolutely horrified.

Seriously.

Horrified.

That is the equation and myth we need to BUST and plow through IMMEDIATELY. The answer to joy is inside. The answer to getting free from your mind and being more in the present moment is inside. The answer to connecting to your purpose and mission is inside. The answer to developing more authentic, trusting, and real relationships is inside. Believe it or not, the answer to the right career, more money, more bliss is inside.

I am not saying we don't create change outside of ourselves. I am not saying we don't create masterful goals and create an effective and powerful action step and guide to reach those incredible goals and vision. BUT...goals that are not based on clarity will not work. They will not bring your joy or fulfillment. Change not based on a real vision connected to WHO YOU ARE will not being you anything but momentary excitement which will soon fade. Creating a life that is BEYOND incredible is based on first and foremost KNOWING who you are, what you want, what you need, and how you would like to express this in your life.

THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS INTERNAL CLARITY FIRST AND THEN WE GO OUTSIDE.

If anyone is teaching you to find yourself outside of yourself, run.

And run fast.

If anyone is teaching you to try to control your external environment to obtain the results you crave, run even faster.

People, the answers are all there ALREADY. You just need to clear away what is blocking those answers so you can connect with yourself and all that is waiting.

THE

ANSWER

IS

INSIDE.
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I was responding to a client email this evening who is struggling, as I feel we all do (just to varying degrees on a continuum) with “needing” things to be a certain way.

Whether that be how people treat you, wanting someone to desire you, circumstances to “go” the way you would like, basically anything outside of yourself you would like to manage or manipulate to “be” the way you feel it should “be,” (because if it’s not “ok,” than you experience fear, anxiety, obsession, stress, exhaustion from thinking about it) well, welcome.

Welcome to the human existence and dilemma.

You are in a good company! So this evening, I thought I would share some of my response to this lovely individual in hopes that another might find some clarity and healing in it, too.

"First of all, I get it. Seriously. It can be challenging, and exhausting, to feel like we have to keep growing, and it is still painful and grueling at times, and hard to feel things will change.

I am here to tell you a few things from my own experience and that of many of my clients.

It will change.

It is impossible when you set the intention (as you have done) and continue to do the necessary work, for it not. It is trite, but if you imagine practicing riding a bicycle, eventually you get better. The same is true with self-connection and healing.

I'm happy that you are asking yourself the tough questions: why do I need them to want me? There is nothing inherently BAD with this at all, it just doesn't work (it feels good in the short-term, but that's just the ego feeling like it's getting what it wants). Take the question a step further. If they do want you, then what? What will that do (more than just a temporary "fix?"). It sets you up to just need the next situation the same way, the next person the same way, the next breath to feel a certain way, and so on and so forth, in one exhausting, never-ending cycle.

So, instead of feeling angry, perhaps try on the feeling of excitement (and gratitude) that you are beginning to see through the inner deception of the ego and are beginning to seek out the truth (even though it feels frustrating and slow).

YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH.

Rejoice, celebrate.

It feels so hard now but you are on "it" and that is more than many can say. When I experience feelings of stagnation, I am finally in a place where I trust that I am moving forward because I continue to do the work and I recognize that process for what it is worth-my journey.
If you want to move home (or go back to the old job or the old relationship), than you can certainly make that choice. But, it doesn't sound (from what you have told me) that it would be easier at all. In fact, it sounds like it would be even more of a challenge than where you are now. The comfortable, even when it is not healthy for us, can often beckon when we feel lost. I encourage you to try on the perception that the lost feeling is a call from you to YOU, and nothing external to you can answer it.

This is the greatest experience in the world-although II know it doesn't FEEL that way. Your feelings may not be telling you the truth. In fact, often I find that are not.

My thoughts and feelings often tell me to be afraid. They tell me it is not going to be ok and I will not be safe, happy, fulfilled, fill in the blank. My brain likes to paint pictures of scarcity and loss, and the thoughts can run 24 hours a day and feel debilitating. And, these are just my thoughts. Just neural impulses and reactions to my external environment that I take as truth. I believe them without question, without judgment, without pause. And they lead me to a place that has no light and when I am there, I am lost. When we are there, we are all lost.

It is just an illusion, and a sad one at that. Just a picture, black and white and threadbare that we clutch to our chest, thinking it is the only one. Well, I am hear to beg you to challenge that picture. I am here to implore you to look under those thoughts to see on what they really stand. And what they stand on, is nothing. It is dust, an out-picturing of my consciousness when I am disconnected from me and my truth. It is just my false sense of self behind the big curtain, a tiny dog bellowing like a lion.

The answer?

Connection.

Simple, beautiful connection to the truth,where there is no fear, no incessant thinking, no future that looms. Connection to my most sacred self who knows the truth and in that space, the breath comes easily, peace is infinite, love is the only choice, and all is well.
And we each have this inside. And we each have, as our birth right, the ability to access it and rest there. To live from there.

Watch your thoughts. Start to glimpse your ego for the subtle provocateur it is. Begin to learn your triggers. Begin to hear the dialogue of your hard-wired thinking, often based in lack and fear. Begin to notice when you DO feel connected so we have a reference point for this. This place of self-connection is what you seek.

When you feel, if even for a moment or two, peaceful, happy, in the present moment, safe, secure, not needing anything more, look to see what is happening. Where are you? What are you doing? Even more critical, what are you being? We start to build our own toolbox for this process, and the more we learn from our experience, the more we can connect the next time. Down the road (even though it might seem impossible to believe) this place of connection will be a go-to for you; you will intuitively know how to go home to yourself.

This is the journey. There is, in my experience, no other that is of such value or grace.

To go home. Could there be anything more?
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What is it that you want to do? What is it that you want to be?

Do you know?

It’s certainly all right if you don’t, but the awareness that you have to get clarity is the first step in change.

How often do you really ask yourself this? How often do you really stop and ask yourself, “Am I doing what I really want, what I yearn, to be doing?” How many times during a week, a month, a year, do you pause and see if the person that you are being really resonates with who you want to be? How often are you ecstatic to be living your life and no one else’s? How often is what you have exactly what you want?

If you are like most people, the answer is rarely. Very rarely.

And that’s ok.

Until it’s not.

So here is my wish for you.

Today I IMPLORE you, no, I BEG of you, to pause and ask yourself these questions.

I plead with you to take stock honestly and ascertain where you are. Take stock: what is working in your life and what is not? Have you stopped in the autopilot tracks of life? Are you on pause? Are you defeated, good enough, bored, restless?

WHERE ARE YOU?

Ask yourself these questions with honest vulnerability to receive the answers. These answers are some of the most important ones you have. They are so vitally, life-giving important because the point out where you are and where you still need to go. They point out the complacency, the stoic face of our lives that we don each morning, the static.

But, please don’t stop there. For in the answers lies a space, the tiniest space you can see, as if getting down on your hands and knees on Christmas Eve and peering through the crack under the living room door to see if you can catch a glimpse of Santa. Get down on your knees and look with the all the anticipation of that child. Get down on your hands and knees and look, for there is much to see. And just like Christmas Morning, there are infinite gifts and adventures ahead if you decide that you want to change where you are to a different place, a different consciousness.

Be that child for a moment. Be the child you once were with infinite imagination, excitement, and belief in the impossible. Invite that child’s eye back so you can view these opportunities with wonder, rather than fear. Allow yourself the priceless gift to see the lack you currently experience to set the stage for the fulfillment that is possible.

For a moment, allow yourself to dream. Allow yourself to experience. 

Allow yourself the world.

What is that world? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Get as clear as you can. Clarity is power and it is impossible (and no fun) to change the ambiguous. Get clear. And then get ready.Hire a coach, get an accountability partner, do whatever it is that will motivate you to take one step. It doesn’t have to be life-changing; it doesn’t’ even have to be something frightening. But it must be in line with the perception that came from wonder.

What step can you take to remain in the wonder today?
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Have you ever noticed how much being angry and resentful at a person or situation really dominates you? I actually was so drawn to that word that I looked it up:

Dominate: to rule over, govern, control.

Once you feel these emotions welling up, you begin to identify with the situation and start to literally re-live or re-create the conditions in your mind, truly experiencing the painful feelings time after time. No wonder anger is so vicious.

So. What to do?

Well, I’m not sure what works best for you but I will share what works for me AND I suggest you find something that works, because the domination of these thoughts is an experience you no longer have to endure. The freedom I came to realize from this was one of the most life altering and profound changes I ever experienced.

The first thing I do….Look at the facts.

What really happened? Often, my interpretation is a bit skewed or off. I find another person can usually help me with this much more than my skewed interpretation looking at it can do on its own. Usually my skewed interpretation will continue to re-act (act again like I did in the past) and re-feel and the anger (and/or fear) becomes more intense.
Second thing. I’m taking it personally.

Not once has someone woken up in the morning and said, “You know what? I’m going to take a program of action to harm Carrie. Yep, better get out of bed and get started.” Nope. Sorry folks. It does not work like that. One of the most insightful things I ever heard was, “They’re not doing it to you; they’re just doing it.” And that is almost 100% true in every case. People are walking around, thinking about themselves, trying to take care of what seems necessary for them, avoid their own fears, succeed where they are trying to succeed, and we collide. We just collide with each other. The lethal part of this, instead of getting up and realizing that, although perhaps unfortunate, it was not intended, we take the view that things were indeed malicious and planned, and take this corroding energy home with us, to linger and pollute our consciousness as we spend time with family, make dinner, and go to bed. And often, the anger is still there when we awake, and the re-feeling of it has only served to intensify things, and we have constructed our own self-imposed prison. Once the cycle has begun, it becomes increasingly difficult to extricate ourselves.

Third thing. Did I do anything? Did I have anything to do with what happened?

Much like the need for help in looking at “the facts,” I often need an alternate view point here as well. It can be incredibly challenging to objectively “see” how I might have caused some of the harm myself, how I might have participated in the situation, how I might have been partly to blame. It is incredibly unusual for an event to be completely 100% not my fault, although there are of course exceptions.

Final thing: compassion, compassion, compassion…

I have found in my experience, that rarely does anything happen to me (or around me, to someone I care about, etc.) that I have not done myself, or certainly that I am not capable of doing. The intriguing thing about judgment is that for the knowledge to judge to be present, you have experienced it yourself (i.e., the behavior you are at that moment judging and feeling resentful). It is literally impossible to experience negative emotion toward the behavior of another person if you are not aware of the own behavior that you have committed. Sometimes you judge harshly because you fear that energy in yourself. Or, likewise, you recall how harmful you have been in the past when you acted from similar energy.

Basically, if the people around you could do better, they would do better. Just like you and I. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have, and for us to judge someone and get angry taking it personally, is the height of self-centeredness. “It’s not all about you,” was one of the best lessons I ever learned. It took my extreme sensitive-ness and brought it down to a realistic level, where I didn’t feel battered and bruised at the end of the day.

The final thing I want to touch upon is the awareness that ultimately comes from “being” in the first four things discussed. What we intuitively and (easily) come to see, is how much being resentful actually harms us. When we are resentful we are, at the very core, in ourselves, focused on ourselves, cut off from others around us. This is actually the definition of self-centered: centered in oneself. When you are angry, you are simply centered in yourself. And this feels lousy. No growth or joy can come from this. Joy comes from connection and openness to others and the world around us. Peace stems from the experience of being a part of humanity and realizing how interwoven our lives truly are. Nothing grows from a place of constriction; attention to your own thoughts spurred by anger is a slow death of happiness.

Is it possible to be enlightened after “knowing” these things? Possible but doubtful. Awareness is a road one can choose to take in the creation of a different kind of life. Awareness of the reckless nature of anger and its malicious effects is a good start. The “knowing” slowly becomes a spiritual awareness that seeps into all of your thoughts and activities. In this space, the miraculous can happen.
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Most people assume that life coaching facilitates one achieving their personal and professional goals in a timely and efficient manner, finally achieving their ultimate visions, and creating a life in which they can fully participate with joy. This is true, to a point, but what many do not stop to consider and reflect upon, is how sure are you of what you want in the first place?

Most quickly assume the needed change must come in the form of a new job, or career switch, a better relationship, or more financial freedom. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these goals and, in fact, many of the goals with which clients come to me when they first begin life coaching are exactly what they wish to create.
However, there is a vital time in the coaching relationship when desires and goals must be fully examined, articulated, and defined, in other words, we have to get SPECIFIC, before we can go any further.
Simply put, it is impossible to manifest anything of value from ambiguity.

Do you know what you want?
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Everything that I think that I need to do is all only in order to propel me to some place that when I get there, I think I will be happier. So, everything that I am doing, no matter what it is, all of my lists of rights and wrongs... are all about me getting to a manifestation that I believe I will then be happier... So, why don't I take a short cut and just go get happy?
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There is utility in discomfort. Huge utility. In fact, I often suspect there is more positive room for growth and change in the awareness of feeling acutely uncomfortable, anxious, alone, frightened, and despair. When I feel happy and content, that is where my brain attempts to stay, and not much happens until things shift, and then my brain scrambles to find some semblance of comfort and control.

When I am uncomfortable, if I am willing, I can start to become aware of WHY I am feeling that way and what is happening inside myself that I am choosing to perceive a situation as negative and threatening. Everything around us is inherently neutral and it is only the value label I attach that causes me to give it a positive or negative weight. Therefore, when I feel “something bad” it is because I have attributed “something bad” outside of myself that I perceive is going to affect me negatively, and this results in an aversive emotional state.

In my experience, EVERY TIME I am discontent, it is because something OUTSIDE of myself is not the way I think/want/feel it should be. So, the more I become aware and notice how things are that I am not accepting of outside of myself, I can look at why that emotional disturbance and dependence is present and do the work necessary to either change something in myself that is disturbed or get more accepting.

In objective reality, those are the only options. I am going to say that again. Those are the only options. Controlling, manipulating, planning, scheming, all the millions of little methods we employ to manufacture things around us in a certain way can only “work” for so long and invariably (meaning always), we come up short and bereft. It is an illusion that any of it is productive. Or honest. Or realistic. Now, what is productive, honest, and realistic is going to work on ME to see what needs to be addressed. The more I am uncomfortable, the more opportunities I have to get more comfortable with things not going the way I desperately feel they need to be.

I.E…DISCOMFORT IS GOOD. :)
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What if I told you that change didn’t have to be hard?

What if I told you that transformation could be much more natural, flowing, and effortless than you ever imagined?

What if I told you that the entire notion that change is hard, excruciating, something that takes lots of forcing and will power and sweat and LOTS AND LOTS of time, even YEARS, was completely untrue?

Now, open your mind for a moment and imagine that your problems are like huge boulders that sit right in the middle of your consciousness (we will call this your living room). Now you can actually live with a huge boulder in your living room for years and try to pay it no attention. This boulder is big, invasive, and it just sits there; you create your entire life around this. You decorate the room around the boulder. You arrange furniture around the boulder. You sit behind it. But you take it for granted that this boulder is there and will continue to remain there and your whole life has been supported by its presence. The beautiful thing about the absence of this boulder is that once it is out of the room, you have much more room (consciousness) in which to live your life and create it the way YOU want it.

Some examples of boulders are how you view yourself lacking in certain areas; men/women are terrible, I won’t ever have good relationships or enough money, etc., and when you believe these things they are actually TRUE. If you believe that all men or women are not trustworthy than guess what your experience will find and prove to be true? Yes. All men/women are just that. If you believe you will never have enough money than you have created a boulder. And these beliefs, these boulders, sit in your living room, blocking you from everything available and take up a ton of space and create your life experience.

Do you understand this? Your boulders continue to create the exact problem with which you are trying to get free.

The process that we engage in culturally around transformation does us a huge disservice because it frames the entire premise incorrectly. What I am asserting is that this process of dismantling your boulder(s) is not one that you need to carefully examine, hold, hug, converse with, diagram, and study. To the extent that you create a problem or something that you do not have but that you identify that you need and then maintain a relationship with this as a real thing, a living thing, something that you must contend with every day, you continue to create the problem.

The most important thing is identifying your boulder and then taking the steps necessary to see, truly see, that although your boulder may have been with you for years, literally decades, it is NOT YOU.
Can you pause for just a moment and imagine that? Your biggest boulder is not even you. It is something your brain has created and its creation is the actual problem.

So, for today, I ask you…what are your boulders? How does your living room look? Can you imagine how spacious, how inviting, how peaceful and calm your living room would be for you (and everyone else) if they disappeared?

For today, imagine what your life would be if the boulder actually was not you, just a creation you believe and to which you give over all your power and energy.

How would that truth (because it is true) feel?
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 We all tend to lean towards the predictable, the known, the soft and comforting lines of furniture in the still dark room when the sun is beginning to come up in the morning. And, as tempting as it can be to reside in the plateau of life, noting really occurs in this space. It is static. It is void of color. Frankly, it is often boring and trite and is voracious in its appetite to eat the years quickly as they pass. 

I am just like you. I get it. 

Our human-ness calls for the comfortable. 

But what about the uncomfortable? Do you ever wonder about it? Do you ever wonder what happens in that space? Do you ever consider the Technicolor of discomfort? These are moments and spaces where true growth resides. For it is only in the authentic space of discomfort, the exact moment of experiencing deep unhappiness or emptiness, that change is borne. When we finally keep coming back up against our sandpaper spots, our own rough edges, our own “wherever you go there you are” kind of moments, are we ever finally forced to step out of our habitual patterns and ruts and begin to search for other ways and more authentic answers. 

Basically, for many people, if things still seem to be working “enough,” even if it’s painful, even if it seems bleak at times, they remain in the same behavior, the same relationships, the same careers, the same hide-outs. 

So what do I say to that this evening?

Get uncomfortable. Find what is unnerving to you. Find the things you wish to avoid. Find the places in your life that are barren and void and hold out your arms for what you can learn from this teacher. 

Discomfort is a signal, much like physical pain is to the body. 

Pay attention. 

What are you supposed to be learning in this situation? Where can you go from here? How can you take what you experience as negative and frightening and use it for strength and clarity? How can you begin to see your aching discomfort as exciting, for it signals the opportunity for growth and change? 

Close your eyes and imagine what signals you are ignoring. And then for the briefest moment, consider that these might not be foreboding signs to avoid but welcoming. What if all these years, all of the exact things you avoid are precisely those, that by which overcoming you will grow?

How incredible would it be?
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