On Balance

by Cynthia Bischoff on February 7, 2016

Do you long to bring greater balance and meaning into your life?

For more than thirty years, I’ve coached thousands of people internationally. And over the years, I’ve found that it really didn’t matter whether my audience consisted of corporate executives, homemakers, physicians, artists—whatever the occupation—people said the same thing. Their lives were overloaded with work and personal responsibilities and they were just playing catch up every day.

Some people felt that their lives were an exhausting effort to maintain safety and security.

And they tried to make the “right” choices so that they could be in control of their days, only to find that control is just an illusion. The reality is that we’re never really “in control” of anything.

You see, no matter how hard they worked at it, how many measures they put in place, how many times they second guessed what might happen, they found they couldn’t really control what was happening in their world.

They worked in part to have health insurance and found that their work itself affected the very quality of their health.

So, really, what I’ve found in my coaching is that most people are looking for some kind of inspiration and understanding that will lead them to create a more meaningful, balanced life.

I’d like to share a true personal story which I’ve referred to over the years as the “Hamster on the Wheel” story! When my children were young, they were staying overnight at my parents’ house. They had a pet hamster that they loved and fed every day, and there was a little wheel in the cage for the hamster to exercise on.

On this fateful Saturday morning, the kids were gone, I woke up, and lo and behold, our poor little hamster, who was only 2 weeks old, had died.

I called the pet shop, and told them what had happened, and they said reassuringly: “Oh, I’m so sorry. But that happens. Sometimes the hamster forgets to get off the wheel, keeps going without stopping, and has a heart attack. Just bring it in and we’ll give you another one.”

Now—you could not have given me a better analogy for my life at that time. Because I was the proverbial hamster on the wheel. I was working fifty-hour weeks, writing a book, parenting my children, and generally just trying to survive my life.

And we all do this: We get on the wheel of life, move rapidly, and sometimes forget to get off and rest, or forget to decide what’s important and what’s not. We burn ourselves out.

So how do we course correct, gain greater understanding, and change our lives into something worth living?

Here are a few tips:

  • First, pay attention to what you’re saying YES and NO to. If your heart’s not in it, you’re not either. I’ve certainly found that out.
  • Second, take a break and gain a little perspective. Fast forward to your 80th birthday. Imagine that you can look back over your life at that point. What would you have wished was your life?
  • Third, does your life reflect the best version of you? Is what you’re doing, your greatest contribution? You see it doesn’t matter whether you’re president of your company or doing a job of manual labor, you have to ask yourself: Is your heart in it and are you doing it well? Is it a contribution that you’re proud of?

And while each of us didn’t come into this world to be Moses, Gandhi, or some great figure, we did come in to be the best version of ourselves.

So, our freedom lies in going backstage in this Life play, challenging the thought that our dramas are pre-recorded, having the courage to challenge our thinking and to rewrite our scripts, and in general, through these new thoughts and more consciously intended actions– to bring new and better experiences into our lives.

Here’s to a mindful week. . . and life!

{ 0 comments }

Just Pause

by Cynthia Bischoff on January 30, 2016

Do you find yourself engaging in the same old behaviors even though you want your life to change? You are not alone. Most people continue to do what is familiar without realizing that by “doing what they’ve always done, they get what they’ve always gotten.”

So how do you break free of negative reactionary behavior? For starters, to break an old behavior or pattern you have to create awareness, be willing to respond differently, and do what I refer to as “practice the pause.”

Gain Awareness

The first step in redirecting any behavior is to gain awareness about what is happening. Although you may be aware of the many ways in which a negative behavior does not serve you, it is important to recognize that the behavior would not continue to exist unless there were some hidden benefit. In fact, the key to change is in realizing WHY you are repeating the same response.

Let’s examine the desire to stop procrastinating. While you may want to stop procrastinating because you feel it has negative consequences–such as, it may create a bad reputation for you or cause you stress–you have to ask yourself what purpose or benefit procrastination does provide for you?

While you may be thinking that it doesn’t provide any benefit, that would not be true. If it didn’t you would easily stop doing it. So what if the following benefits were possible?: What if by waiting long enough, you escape doing the thing you don’t want to do after all? Or what if you are a perfectionist and give yourself less than ample time to create your project so you can better rationalize a less-than-perfect outcome? The key is to more deeply explore what you are gaining by doing that which you want to change!

Be Willing to Respond Differently

Once you have identified what you are gaining, you have to decide whether the benefit of a new choice outweighs the familiarity of the old. If it does, are you willing to change? No matter what has happened (even if throughout an entire lifetime), you can use three simple words to inspire yourself– “up until now” (Remember my YouTube HeartlivingVideo)–knowing that now you can do it differently. Your knowledge is not complete unless you act on what you know.

Practice the Pause

So how do you create a change? How do you hold conscious intent? You decide to “practice the pause.” When you notice you’re about to engage in a maladaptive behavior or when you feel “stuck,” literally pause for at least six seconds (research validates that pausing triggers a different response in your amygdala—a part of the brain) and then respond rather than react. The pause allows you to hold a different consciousness, one more aligned with your new goal.

The pause also allows you to lead from your heart intelligence. With growing awareness and new methods of responding, you can begin to redirect your behaviors to reflect greater peace and understanding.

Above all, know that you are writing the story of your life every breathing moment. You are not trying out for a part in someone else’s drama. You are the author and the director of your own life. As you begin to pause and respond to life circumstances, rather than to react, you will literally change your story and change your life!

{ 0 comments }

Act On What You Know

January 23, 2016

How do you weave your spiritual journey into your daily life? Every choice you make leads you toward or away from balance. Being mindful of what you do that affects your body, mind, and spirit is important, and acting on what you know is your key. Ask: Does this choice make my heart feel heavy […]

Read the full article →

Healthy You

January 17, 2016

While a healthy diet and adequate rest are beneficial in building your immune system, a number of natural ingredients can help you prevent or heal a cold should you get one. I learned these ideas in trainings I have taken in healing and health. Here are a few tips: Get plenty of zinc in your […]

Read the full article →