Maria Connolly, LPC

Category: Somatic Coaching

Somatic Coaching will unlock your potential, revealing the body/mind connection that’s vital for living a full, rich life as a person and business professional. It gives you the skills to make subtle shifts in how you use your body as you create mindfulness and awareness that exponentially increases your ability to influence, listen, be resilient, manage stress, maintain energy and be more effective.

Seven Ways to Know You’ve Found the Best Life Coach to Mentor You

seven ways to find the best life coach to mentor you

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”  ~ Albert Einstein

When it comes to choosing a mentor or life coach it’s definitely not a one size fits all scenario. What’s right for your spouse or best friend may not be a good fit for you. What do you want and need from a mentorship experience?

If you don’t know what you want to accomplish, the time you spend with your mentor will not be as meaningful. So mindfully think about your life. What is the one area of your life you’d like to improve right now? What do you want to change?

There are fundamentally five areas of life to consider when you’re trying to pinpoint who will be the best life coach or mentor for you:

  • Relationships and Intimacy
  • Life Purpose, Personal Growth and Spirituality
  • Goal Setting, Creativity, and Motivation
  • Career Planning & Development and Life Balance
  • Lifestyle Improvement, Self-Care, and Stress Management

 

After you identify which area of life you want to grow in, you’ll be able to narrow down what you specifically want to achieve. Then you’ll be ready to seek out a mentor (or several mentors if you want to work on a few areas at once, such as a fitness expert and a business coach) who can help you formulate a sensible plan to help you reach your goals.

But how do you know if a mentor is right for you? Look for a life coach with the following seven consistent characteristics. Consider whether he or she…

1. is available to talk with you on a regular basis so that you can learn, grow and become a better person. Consistency is very important!

2. has qualities and values you admire and want to reflect in your own life.

3. has successfully traveled the road you want to go down and has the patience and skills to show you how to do it too.

4. has a depth of knowledge and wisdom in areas you lack and is able to give valuable advice.

5. will support you as he encourages you to reach for higher goals, to take the next step and to push yourself in ways you never thought possible.

6. will push you harder and keep you going by asking the hard questions that challenge you to come up with hidden answers. 

7. will help you dig deep and pull out more of the person you’re meant to be as you reach your full potential.

Which of the above characteristics best fits the place where you are at right now? If you’re in a very fragile place, you may need more nurturing rather than someone pushing you hard. Or if you’re ready to grow but are holding back because of fear, you may need that extra push right now.

When you find the mentor who is right for you, approach your mentoring relationship with an attitude of openness to reveal yourself and willingness to receive feedback. And don’t forget this is a give and take relationship. You have value to share with your mentor as well. As your relationship grows, you very well may have found a best friend for life.

I’m thrilled to work with women in private coaching and group coaching sessions who are ready to expand their ability to consistently make choices that contribute to personal happiness and that of others. If you are ready to partner with me to help you reach your goals, please contact me and let’s talk.

Tips on How to Squeeze a Summer Vacation into Your Busy Schedule

Tips on how you can squeeze a summer vacation in even if you have a tight scheduleAre you going to take some time off this summer to refresh yourself and recharge? Or are you going to be like the majority of workaholic Americans who won’t get away from work? Nearly three-quarters of Americans feel they’re too busy to use their paid vacation days and 15 percent don’t use any of their vacation days at all! That’s more than 150 million unused vacation days every year. Is this making us a healthier and happier nation of people? Absolutely not!

Did you know that much of Western Europe takes from four to six weeks off? In Italy, where I grew up, workers get 31 days of guaranteed paid vacation. And they take those days and enjoy them with their families. Every year I make a point of recharging by attending retreats that are both educational and promote personal development and emotional growth. My hope for you is that you can enjoy a similar experience.

But what if you can’t be away for an entire week because of unusual circumstances? Does that mean you should give up on the idea of having a vacation? Not at all.

Here are some suggestions so you can squeeze in some time away:

If you can’t block out a large chunk of time, why not split your time up into short, two or three day vacations throughout the year?

Strategically plan ahead for your vacation days. Of course, you won’t want to leave in the middle of a project, therefore make sure you wrap things up before you go so you’re not worrying about it.

Be willing to delegate. It’s worth it to train someone well in advance who can step into your shoes while you’re gone. And if you’re worried about your home, hire a reputable house sitter or have a friend stop by to check on things.

Put your vacation time on your calendar as non-negotiable.

Inform and periodically remind your clients, co-workers, and boss that you’ll be gone so it doesn’t catch them by surprise.

Leave your office and home organized. This relieves your mind of nagging, unfinished business, as well as, gives you a clean place to come back to. Nothing destroys the vacation bliss faster than coming home to a chaotic mess.

Unplug. Even if you have to force yourself, disconnect from technology, including the television. Use the time to reconnect with your loved ones and feed your mind on books, art or another creative outlet.

Don’t expect to hit the ground running on your first day back. It’s so much better to give yourself a day to ease back into your routine and catch up.

The truth is if you want to achieve business excellence, you must take time to recharge your battery. You’re health and your relationships will improve, too, because you’re finally getting relief from the constant stress. Plus you’ll discover some great opportunity to fuel and tap into your greater creativity.

Want to get into the vacation mood quicker? Why not schedule a session of somatic coaching to calm your mind and reconnect with your body? Contact me and I’ll help you get started on that summer vacation you deserve.

Teaching the Body How to Program the Brain for Health

The Feldenkrais Method® teaches your body to program your brain for optimal mental and physical health, self-confidence and enjoyment of life.“We act in accordance with our self-image.” ~ Moshe Feldenkrais

According to the latest report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), 116 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. That’s a staggering amount of human suffering and lost productivity. Are you one of them?

Pain and mobility issues typically come from two sources — an underlying physical condition (like an injury or inflammation) and the subconscious way you hold your body and your movement (like tension or habitually walking with your head down). It becomes a vicious cycle of inflamed muscles aggravated by poor posture, which inflames the muscles more.

While medical treatment addresses physical conditions, they often neglect the subconscious choices. How can you find the most effective solution if you’re ignoring a major component of the problem? That’s why the Feldenkrais Method® teaches a person to uncover the underlying way your brain and body are working, or not working together.

Let us be clear – The Feldenkrais Method® is a learning process, not a treatment. It helps you learn to better understand what your body is telling you and to improve your movements and interactions with the world around you. Through it, you engage muscles you’ve not used for quite awhile or didn’t even know you had – in a non-invasive, very gentle way. Many people, after trying it, marvel that so much can be accomplished with such little movements.

What are some of the benefits, besides pain relief, of Feldenkrais? You will…

  1. Improve the Basics: Achieve better balance and higher performance by learning to sit, stand, and walk with dynamic stability and balance. Learn skills for improving your sensory acuity and self-awareness.
  1. Move Smarter: Recover from injuries faster and understand how the whole body participates in the process of recovery. Encourage the development of new neuro-pathways.
  1. Sleep Better: Teach your body to rest well, improving sleep function for restoration, relaxation, and repair.
  1. Improve Posture: Learn to move more efficiently, with less effort and highest skeletal support
  1. Improve Your Self-Image: Moshe believed that our self-image is smaller than our potential capacity. Awareness Through Movement creates a favorable training ground for enhanced learning, improved thought processes, more efficient movement and positive learning, which in turn, improves the awareness of the person in relationship to self, others and the world.
  1. Have Fun: Feldenkrais is fun! Learning is fun! Feldenkrais is a way of learning how to learn rather than a therapeutic method to fix aches and pains.

There is an indisputable connection between the mind and body. And it is only by engaging the whole person that you can become aware and make mindful choices that support you. Are you ready to learn what you’re body and mind have been trying to tell you all these years? If you live near Ashland, OR, please contact my office to discuss the best option for your situation.

How I Eliminated Chronic Pain and Began Teaching The Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Re-education

Maria Connolly teaching Awareness Through Movement® from The Feldenkrais Method®Six years ago, before I decided to sign up for The Feldenkrais Method®, a 4-year intense course in Eugene, Oregon, I often suffered from lower back pain. It seemed as if it would come up all of a sudden with no warning and no clue as to how it happened. At times, I would have to clear my schedule because the pain was so intense and debilitating. Perhaps many of you with high stress jobs where you sit in front of the computer all day can relate to having intense back pain for no apparent reason.

During the training, I learned to sense into myself more accurately and deliberately. The daily practice of body awareness through movement was a delightful discovery, an opportunity to know myself through my body in motion. Feldenkrais has enhanced the perception of both how I move and why I move. I loved it so much that the student has become the teacher. That’s me in the above photo teaching some of my clients an Awareness Through Movement® (ATM) lesson.

What is The Feldenkrais Method®?

I realize that many haven’t heard of this method, so let me give you a little background. It was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, an Israeli physicist, engineer, judo master, soccer player and gymnast. After a knee injury, he began to pay attention to his own movements. Opting out of surgery, he turned to his knowledge of physics and using his own body as a research subject. Feldenkrais created a means of learning to move beyond habitual patterns of movement.

He believed that the central nervous system plays a key role in a person’s comfort, so he focused on encouraging awareness of the skeleton, muscles, and joints. This new awareness allows each body part to participate more fully in every action so that no one part is stressed more than another.

The skeleton is able to provide its intended support so the muscles feel more relaxed. This leads naturally to a decrease in tension and an expanded range of motion and flexibility. This new awareness helps a person understand their customary negative patterns of posture and movement and learn to create more functional ones.

He developed his discovery into a program called The Feldenkrais Method®. It allowed him to increase efficiency and range of movement, reduce stress, improve posture and flexibility, function and self-image with greater comfort and ease. After helping himself, he went on to help many others experience that same relief. Is that something you’d like?

How can you learn The Feldenkrais Method®? There are two ways of learning this technique:

Awareness Through Movement® (ATM) lessons. Generally these are group lessons. In a non-judgmental learning environment, the Feldenkrais teacher verbally guides the students in gentle and easy movement sequences. Students are supported in accepting themselves and their bodies by moving only within their ranges of ease and comfort. The emphasis is on curiosity, discovery and exploration, attending to the quality of movement, and especially observing one’s own internal process while performing the movement.  The above photo illustrates one of these lessons.

Functional Integration® (FI). This is done in individual, hands-on lessons.  The client lies fully clothed on a low table while the teacher uses gentle touch to explore ways that she can move more comfortably. The lessons are tailored to the individual and will be different each time. The quality of presence and touch in an FI lesson reassures the nervous system and can help restore inner balance.

Are you interested in exploring how this easy-on-the-body method can bring lasting pain relief and increased personal confidence? If you live near Ashland, Oregon, please contact my office and schedule an appointment so we can work out lessons that help you become more aware of movements that support you as a person.  If you know someone who could benefit from this, please refer them to me so they can benefit, too.

The 90-Second Secret to Mastering Your Emotions

90 second secret to mastering your emotions“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus” ~ Bruce Lee

Psst…Want to know a secret?

How do successful people perform so well, whether it’s on the ball court or in the boardroom or on the stage? They’ve learned to control their emotions and make them work for themselves rather than against themselves. They know how to tap into the power of their own natural brain processes by fully utilizing the 90-Second Secret.

In an earlier blog, we discussed how the emotional response from cortisol only lasts 90 seconds in your system. How you react after that is within your own choice. You can either perpetuate the cycle or you can shift your focus to a more positive thinking process. Your thoughts are powerful. And it does only take 90 seconds to make significant changes in your emotional responses. One secret is to utilize visualization.

Here’s the key that many don’t tell you when they discuss visualization: Most of us visualize before we want something to happen. However, it’s much more powerful to use 90 seconds during or after an incident and visualize a successful outcome.

Here are five steps to making the most of those 90 seconds.

  1. Relax your body by breathing deeply and slowly until you have 6 to 8 breaths per minute.
  2. Be fully present in the moment, blocking out what others may be thinking or doing.
  3. Be aware of how you’re feeling, but don’t give in to it. Count to 90 and remind yourself that you get to choose your emotions.
  4. Engage both hemispheres of your brain. Often we’re taught to replace our thoughts and redirect our attention towards more positive and relaxing topics. However, this means you’re still relying solely on the left hemisphere of the brain. Before the thoughts take root in your left hemisphere and become your reality, move them to the right hemisphere, by choosing to focus on what you smell, taste, see, hear and physically feel.
  5. Visualize in great detail or play a movie in your mind of successful outcomes. What outcome do you want and how will it feel? Again, engage your whole brain by incorporating ALL of your senses – what you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear as you do this. It only wastes time and energy to replay negative emotions. You don’t want them to become your reality.

In practical terms, how can you apply the 90-Second Secret to real-life situations? Here are some examples:

  • You begin your day feeling unfocused, not knowing where to start. Take 90 seconds to visualize your desired results for that day’s important goals. (Feel the confusion leaving as you become totally centered.)
  • You have good intentions to accomplish so much, but days and weeks go by and you feel like you have nothing to show for yourself. Take 90 seconds every night and be grateful for what you have accomplished and the steps you’ll take to accomplish your goal for tomorrow. (Feel how this grounds you and keeps you on track.)
  • You really want XYZ in your life but it seems elusive and you tell yourself, “It’s never going to happen”. Take 90 seconds and visualize what you want, how you want it to happen and how it feels when it happens. (Feel your inner peace and confidence return and joy when it does happen!)
  • You feel the stresses of the day piling up on you until you want to scream or cry. Take 90 seconds to reboot and change the course of the day from that point onward. (Feel the tension release and the frustration dissolve.)
  • You’re tired and can’t focus. Take 90 seconds to recharge yourself with calming deep breaths and body movements. (Feel your energy and ambition renew.)
  • You’re nervous about an upcoming speaking engagement or difficult conversation or meeting. Take 90 seconds to become more deliberate as you go in with a positive attitude. (Feel your muscles loosen and peace and harmony return.)

This technique isn’t hard to learn, however, it does take some effort. Want me to walk you through this process in more detail? I’d love to help you master this technique so you can live a more intentional and peaceful life. Contact me and we can get started right away. It’s time to master your emotions instead of letting them control you.


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