What's in Your Wallet
The other day I heard a story that warmed my heart, and I will try to recall it in enough detail in hopes that it may be meaningful for you as well. The story takes place in a small town in which the high school does a camping trip with its incoming freshman. This trip is meant to bond the students so that they make friends and have a wonderful high school experience. As it were, a happy side effect that they attribute to this camping trip is that the students have higher grade point averages and lower dropout rates than other schools in their state.
During this camping trip the students do an activity in which they are put into groups and within that group each person takes a turn in front of their group. During their turn the other members of the group are asked to write out on a small piece of paper and then tell that person something about them that they had noticed and appreciate about them. Not something like, “I like how you are so good at basketball”, but something like, “I really like how you went over to the girl in the corner and checked in with her to make sure she was okay and encouraged her to join in.”
This next part is juicy! The person who is receiving the notes and the voiced words of appreciation are only allowed to respond in 3 ways: “thank you,” “thank you very much,” or “thank you, could you repeat that.” I love this so much because it teaches young people how to take in a positive statement about themselves without all the awkward things that many of us do when we are acknowledged. And gives them an opportunity to take it in on a deep level.
As the story goes, there was a car accident in this town in which one of the former students from the high school was killed. In going through his wallet guess what they found? They found one of the sheets of paper from that camping trip. A note that was so important that it stayed with him until his death.
I repeat this story because it reminds me of something that I often encourage people to do, say kind, meaningful words to one another, especially those that we love (and writing them down and giving it to them is great, too). First and foremost, we are not guaranteed anything beyond this moment and if we truly understood that, we would likely go about our lives differently. Secondly, we simply do not get enough feedback that who we are, what we do and what we say has an impact on others. We have no idea that the moment when you looked someone you know, or that perfect stranger, in the eye and genuinely listened to them that they felt valued, it changed their day, or even saved their life.
The work I do with individuals is centered around learning how to be in the present moment and helping them understand their value, which is where true freedom is. No one told me that I had permission to experience life this way, so I am giving you that permission, in case no one has told you, and, I would love to show you how to do it. You deserve it. Let's connect next week.
Erin "here to remind you of your value" Mac
I Feel For You
For many years now, I have a morning practice of meditation, visualization, and reading or listening to something that speaks to me on a deep level. I do mediation so that I can quiet my mind (otherwise it gets busy in there thinking of all the things I need to do, "fix", and what isn't going as planned or attempting to prevent things from going how I don't want), visualization is where I found my joy (initially and to this day), and reading something that speaks to me on a deep level gets me excited and reminds me of what I know to be true, for me, in this life, that we are here to heal and grow. Beginning my day this way has been a real game changer for me. It has brought me into the present moment consistently, being here, now, day-in-and-day-out.
Today, when I was listening to something that speaks to me on a deep level, the word compassion kept coming up over and over again, which is what is prompting me to write about it now. So, when I came back from walking the dog, I "googled it" (this is a new verb in our dictionary!). The literal definition is to "suffer together" and other ideas I read were all around the acknowledgement of another person's suffering and the desire to alleviate it. Ooh, I thought, I love this!!
Now, this is easy to see in everyday life in all the things we do for the people we love. I mean, sometimes it feels physically painful to see my kiddo suffer and I want to do everything I can to help, even when I know that it is her lesson to learn. What is maybe more difficult to see, in terms of compassion, is in our everyday interactions with whoever. When the person at the bank or grocery store is abrasive or that person who is honking behind you when the light has turned green for a millisecond, in those moments it can be challenging to find compassion.
Even more challenging than finding compassion in others, is finding compassion with ourselves. Giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt or cheering ourselves on when we make a mistake, rather than telling ourselves we know better and could or should do better. Recognizing that we are doing our very best with what we know and that we aren't always going to do, say or be the perfection that we strive for or we think is expected of us.
What if you could understand compassion, not just for others, but for yourself too, for everyone? It would look like not wasting energy judging others or yourself for anything, at least not for long. Would that be something you would like to learn and implement into your life? I would love to share one of the first strategies that I used to begin to experience compassion for others, which then turned to compassion for myself. And, when we can be compassionate to ourselves and others, we change the emotional experience to one that feels way better. When can we connect next week? I would love to tell you how I use compassion while driving, even when people cut me off!
Peace, Erin "the zen driver" Mac
You are Not Your Story
Ditch it and create a new one!
When I start with a client the first thing I ask them to do is to tell me their story. Do you know what they say? Everything is and has been rainbows and sunshine, nah just kidding. What they tell me is all the yucky things that have happened (the wrongs, unfairness and the traumatic) in their life starting with when they were a kid. You may be thinking, whoa this is starting off rocky and maybe a little to heavy! Where is she going with this?
Where I am going with this is, that nasty story is not who you are, not even close! You are not your story, you are not your thoughts and you are not your emotions. Are you wondering who you are, if you are not these things? Would you believe me if I told you that you are magic, kindness, and all the awesome things you hoped you are? I can prove it to you. Would that be worth hopping on a zoom to learn the first strategy I teach every client that I think is the most important first step to healing your past and creating a limitless future?
My work is helping people create an internal experience of impenetrable joy, so that they can have calm, peace of mind and a meaningful life. Does that interest you at all? I work with people who are wanting an answer to these questions, "There must be more to this life? Where is the happiness?" When are you available this week or next to gain this strategy?
Schedule some time with me, you deserve it!
Erin "Joy Slinger" Mac
How To Be Happy
It will surprise you!
I think if you asked most people what is the #1 thing they want in this life they would say,"I want to be happy." I wanted this too, to "be happy."
So, in 2014 I did a 90-day seminar in which I was to set 4 audacious goals, by audacious I mean the kind that just thinking about them made me pucker with doubt. I was coached everyday through it and did it with a team of other professionals for further support. What happened? I crushed my goals, but what really happened was I began to see that my thinking was faulty.
See, I had correlated that setting and reaching a goal was happiness, and while it does feel good to do those things, my experience was that the happiness was fleeting. I would feel happy crossing a finish line, reaching monetary goals, and buying the new car, but shortly after it would go away. So what did I do? I kept setting bigger and bigger goals. Guess what? Happiness was fleeting there too. What the heck?
It wasn't until years later that I learned one of the differences between happiness, which is fleeting and joy, which can be a constant experience. Would you like to know the strategy that helped me find joy? Have you been wondering if there is more to this life? Let me know when you are available to chat so I can share that strategy I used and get you started on your path to joy.
Erin "here to help find your joy" Mac
NO MORE GROUNDHOG'S DAY
Ever catch yourself wondering why we are here? Is it just to bump up against challenges? Work a lot? Create memories? Do the same things over and over again, day in and day out? Amass things (car, house, relationships, toys)? Do you wonder if there is more to this life?
Good news, bad news is that the answer is YES to all of the above. Or, at least, sort of. And, the other good news is, there is no bad news.
You may be thinking, what the .... is she talking about? This life is about bumping up against challenges, but not so much in the way we do, by being in reaction to people and situations. In my work with clients and in my courses I explain what this whole mess I'm talking about is and how it is all rigged in our favor.
Would you like to learn more about why we are here? What we are meant to be doing? And, how to be calm, have peace of mind and meaning in your life? Let me know when you have time this week to have a quick chat so I can answer these questions, I promise it will be, in the least, interesting!
Peace, Erin "there is no bad news" Mac
P.S. Outlook is sunny, regardless of what happens with the groundhog!
Out of the Dark, Into the Light
How I Discovered My Joy
It was just over 3 years ago that I was in one of the lowest places of my life. See, I was going through a divorce, my business of 18 years was for sale and I had no idea what I was going to do with myself both personally and professionally.
See, I had done a lot of self-development through seminars and books on all topics of business, personal growth, relationships, success, and so on, but it felt like at my moment of need I could not come up with one helpful thing to make me feel better.
Within a matter of a month my entire life changed. The business that had been for sale for nearly 9 months went into escrow over a bidding war, I met the love of my life and I found my purpose. Most importantly, I found my joy and learned how to cultivate it so that I am experiencing joy, almost exclusively all day, every day.
I spend most days teaching clients how to find and cultivate their joy so that they can love their life now, as it is, on the way to the life they have always wanted. It is possible and if that is of interest to you let's hop on a call so I can share the strategy that I used to discover my joy so that you can discover yours.
Peace, Erin "spreading the light" Mac
I Wish I Had Known
I don't know about you, but when I was growing up the adults in my life didn't sit me down and tell me a lot of things. It was kind of a watch and learn as you go sort of thing. No one sat me down and said, this is why we are here, our purpose, and this is what living a meaningful life looks like.
So, up until a few years ago I really didn't understand any of this. I was in a never ending loop of trying to be "successful" and make more and more money. I was 100% bought into the idea of bigger equals better. I thought that if I continued to strive for more and more I would be happy. Boy was I wrong. What ended up happening was that I was getting more stressed out and more miserable.
Don't get me wrong, I like nice things too, but to what end? When is enough, enough?
By a fluke, over 3 years ago, I discovered what brings me joy and it was a little exercise that only takes 5 minutes a day. See I had experienced joy a few times in my life and I wondered how I could create it intentionally, but I had no clue. There is a formula to this joy thing and creating it intentionally. And, a crazy story. I would love to tell you the whole thing and get you started on your path to JOY. Let's hop on a chat and I will tell you all about it. Got time next week?
Peace, Erin "joy creator" Mac
The First Time
When I Met the Present Moment
The first time "it" happened, I was totally shocked because I didn't even think that "it" was possible. I was at a week long seminar, on a ranch, and it was the end of the 4th day and I was exhausted physically and mentally. About 100 of us had spent the day doing a high ropes course of physical feats that was meant to represent how we show up in our lives and as we were waiting for one of the groups to finish their last event, we were put on silence (not allowed to talk).
So, I laid down in the dirt and looked up into the cloudless sky and "it" happened. The "it" was total silence inside my mind, peace or peace of mind. Now, at this time, I was unaware that there was a voice in my head that was speaking incessantly, it was the lack of the voice that made me realize how loud my head had been! Let me just say, it was heaven. This peace or peace of mind was delightful and calm and still and I was in the present moment, that moment right then. It went away when I returned from the ranch.
A few years later "it" came back. I had started a non-profit to help families in poverty and I was putting on the first fundraising event and the craziest thing happened, I had a moment of peace again. I had never done a charity event, had no prior knowledge how to do it, and the event I was putting together was a tennis tournament, a festival with live music and booths during the day and a gala dinner that night with live entertainment, a live and silent auction. The crazy thing was that it all came together seamlessly, with very little work and it was in my noticing that, that I experienced peace again. This time, though, I wanted to know what created that and how I could create it again and often.
It took another seven years to figure that out, but it was worth the wait. Does this story make you wonder? I'd love to hop on a chat and tell you how I discovered peace of mind and give you a strategy to finding your own. Let me know when you have time next week.
Peace, Erin "daily joy cultivator" Mac
He Said What?
My client Brian, from my old business, used to blow my mind. When I called clients I always asked them how they were and it was his response that would just floor me. When asked how he was, Brian would say in a boisterous and cheery voice, "I could not be better!" See, I was that person that was totally stressed out and overwhelmed all the time, going 500 miles an hour (maybe you can relate?)
At first this threw me off. I wasn't sure where to go in the conversation from there. Why was that? I think it is because we are not accustomed to people being exuberant about their lives. Seems crazy to say because when asked I think most people would say the #1 thing they want is to be happy.
Now, that I have learned how to find my joy and cultivate it daily so that it is the predominant experience that I have, I get Brian's answer to how he is! And, that is why I teach people how to find their joy so that they can be calm, have peace of mind and meaning in their life, NOW! Don't waste another day being overwhelmed, stressed or worrying, when I have solutions to that. Let's set up a chat next week so I can explain how to be in joy, what we are here to do "the work", and how to find meaning. Looking forward to connecting.
Peace, Erin "I could not be better" Mac
Mutant Message Down Under
When I was 25 I was living in San Francisco and going to college. I was going through a break up and my dad came down from Seattle to make sure I was okay. We had a great visit and as he was getting ready to say good bye, he handed me a book. The book was called, "Mutant Message Down Under." I believe it even had that fake alien looking face on the cover? I will have to go back and look now, but that's how I remember it.
Anyway, based on the title and the cover I really had no idea why he gave me the book and what it could possibly be about. I think maybe I thought area 51? It wasn't. As it turns out this book is about a reporter that goes to Australia to interview Aboriginal people. Rather than interviewing them she ended up going on a "walkabout" with them. Now, I don't remember all the nuances of the book, but what I do remember was that the Aboriginal people on walkabout do not take anything with them in the way of food or drink, they ate when they saw food (snake, bugs, etc.) and drank when they saw water (plants, vegetation, etc.).
What was the big take away? For me it was that what you need will be provided. They didn't stress about how they were going to eat, when they were going to eat and how and when they would be able to drink. That sounded like true freedom.
Being able to roll with whatever is. I call this the "is-ness of being." That is no longer being in resistance to what is and not thinking that you can shape what is, just being, and being okay with whatever and whoever transpires in your life.
I'm not saying don't have desires, have desires and many of them! I am just saying that it is possible to have balance, purpose, joy and meaning in your life, NOW, and not have to work so hard for it or put it off until you get the car, house, relationship, work situation, etc. Don't wait another day. Let's hop on a call and we can discuss this and much more! Do you have time next week?
Peace, Erin "rolling with what is" Mac
There is more to this life than...
When I started my first business in 2000 it was so exciting. It took off like gang busters right out of the gate and I had to learn, trial by fire, all the basics of business. But, actually, the exciting part was creating something from scratch that was a legit, quality service that was needed, employing women (most of which were single moms) who enjoyed the work, and helping my clients and employees with whatever they needed. For ten solid years that was enough, it provided purpose and meaning by being of service to my clients and employees, until it wasn't any more. That did not stop me from continuing because I just couldn't let go of the things we are told will bring you happiness: time flexibility, calling your own shots and being able to dictate your financial threshold.
I longed for an existence that mattered. I longed for purpose and meaning. I thought, there must be more to this life than amassing things and money because I had all those things, or at least enough of them, I had homes, the marriage, the family, the trips, the cars, I even started a non-profit that was meaningful, yet when I wasn't involved in it often, just like the other "things" that I had, it lacked luster for me too. And, the amount of stress, overwhelm, anxiety and worry I was experiencing was through the roof, at times.
Recently I listened to an audio book about how to find your purpose in life and I was thrilled that what I heard is exactly what I know to be true and what I love to shout on the roof tops, and it is this: "Everyone has a unique gift to bring to this world. A gift that you are uniquely qualified and positioned to share with this world because of your personality, experience and talents." Everyone is in bold because if you are reading this and have not discovered yours, I want you to know that you are not the only one (in case you thought you were absent the day they doled them out) and you are not alone in not discovering what exactly it may be.
As I got older I began to think, very responsibly, that I needed to make so much money and amass assets and build a retirement because that is what I was told was the "right" thing to do, as I got older. And, I am not saying there is anything wrong with these things, it's just that enjoying my life and having meaning and purpose were not in these responsible conversations. I really don't believe in either or thinking now, but back then I thought that I needed to put my nose to the ground and grind out results in my business so that I could create a future so that I would be "set" for the rest of my retired life. Basically, I bought into the idea that I should sacrifice so many more years so that I could enjoy myself when I retired. (Just FYI, that would have been another 20 years.)
As it turned out, I just wasn't mentally, emotionally and spiritually able to pull it off, to keep doing something that had little to no meaning for me. If you had asked me at the time I would have said, "This business is sucking the life out of me." In fact, I think I did say that many a time, but I didn't know what to do about it.
So, what changed? What was the impetus? It started with a divorce which sent me to a dark place, a magical book experience that gave me the answer (joy), a seminar (I bought without even knowing what it was) that taught me how to find my joy and a training to teach a workshop that when I stood up in front of the first audience it was made crystal clear that it was my calling, my purpose. Now, I teach others how to find their calling, their purpose, so that they can have meaning in their life now and everyday, and in turn I derive meaning in my life, everyday. I'd love to fill in the gaps on this story over a call so that you may begin to discover purpose and meaning in your life now. What works for you next week?
Peace, Erin "on the joyride of life" Mac
It Started with, "Are you okay?"
When I was 29 my boyfriend, at the time, and I had made the decision after 7 years of not getting along to involve a professional. See, we loved each other, but we kept hurting each other and couldn't figure out why. In the first session, about midway through, all of a sudden it got difficult to breathe, the room began to feel very stuffy and I had this sensation that I was 2 inches tall and in the corner with the walls caving in. The counselor noticed my demeanor had changed and turned to me and said, "Are you okay?"
That was the beginning of a year long battle with an anxiety disorder that started with that moment, reached its peak at me holing myself up in my home debilitated by anxiety and rarely able to leave and ending in a homeopathic psychiatrists office one day, to leaving for Italy a week later. It was a whirlwind and one of the best experiences of my life. Of course, I didn't think that was true when it happened, but I now understand how exquisite the design of our lives are and how on purpose it all is.
Now, it took me another 17 years to finally bring that beast down and heal from my experiences. It took me recreating stress and anxiety at such a level that put me in a situation where I nearly killed someone, to a divorce that completely leveled me to the point that I finally woke up! I finally discovered why I am here, what I am meant to do, and how I am meant to experience this life and in this discovery process learned that I am meant to show this to anyone seeking to answer these questions and heal once and for all.
Are you asking the question what is it all for? Are you searching for purpose and meaning? Are you tired of being in stress and anxiety? I teach people how to overcome and prevent stress and anxiety so that you can have peace of mind, purpose and meaning in your life, NOW! What time are you available next week to chat so I can tell you the rest of the story and help you get onto your path?
Peace, Erin "joy diviner" Mac
What the What?!
For most of my life I thought I was communicating in a clear way. So, when I started my first business and began to hire employees I thought I would be great at training them, they would be able to train others and thus the execution would be on point. Boy, was I wrong.
See, the thing is, life is like that game of Telephone that you played when you were a kid. You start out with a perfectly good sentence and by the end of the line it has parts of the sentence, but the meaning is gone. I have always wondered why that is. It wasn't until a few years ago that I discovered why.
Us humans are only capable of seeing this life through the lens of experiences that we have had, which is our perception. And, while we like to think that everyone has the same lens, in fact, they are all different and different substantially. After studying the brain and how it functions and understanding what is going on behind the scenes of our brain (our perception) I began to understand why Telephone gets so convoluted.
Now, I teach others how to navigate this game of Telephone in their life, not only in business, but in their personal relationships. Wouldn't it be amazing to be able to communicate with people in a clear way on a deeper level? Would you like to learn more about this? Let's hop on a call next week and I can share with you what I discovered. When are you available?
Peace, Erin "speaking the language of joy" Mac
At the end of 2017 I was in one of my darkest moments in my life. I was going through a divorce, my business of 18 years was for sale and I had no idea what I was going to do with myself and that business was a part of my identity for nearly 2 decades. It was because of these two things that I felt lost. I was sitting on the beach in Kona, Hawaii (I know, paradise, boo hoo for me ;)) at 9 am and I began to sob (if you can't relate to sobbing fill in the blank with anger, anxiety, sadness, depression). It wasn't anything in particular that I was crying about, the tears just came, and came and came. I didn't even try to fight it because I knew I couldn't.
After an hour or so, I left the beach still crying and went to the grocery store. See, I was having a birthday weekend at a client's house on the beach starting that night with just the ladies, and the rest of the weekend our kids were going to join us. I had told all the ladies that I would go to the grocery store and get all the food and drinks and meet them later.
Living in a small town you get accustomed to running into people that you know all the time and of course that is what happened at the grocery store. A good friend, who was due to celebrate with me that night, saw me and came over. When I looked up she saw that my eyes were red and that tears were coming down my face. Of course she asked if I was okay and I told her that it was just something I was doing that day and I was fine. She hugged me and we said good bye.
I finished shopping and drove out to the house to start putting all the food away and getting it ready for my friends to arrive. Still crying the entire time. Shortly thereafter, my friend Angie walked in the door and looked at me, asked me if I was okay, then said what I needed to hear all day. She said, "Are you going to be crying all weekend?" It startled me so much that I finally stopped crying and said, "No."
Now, some may think it was cold of her to say that, but actually, that is exactly what needed to happen, I needed to disrupt my brain. See, I didn't think I had control over the crying or for that matter any of my emotions. I used to be at the mercy of each and every one of them and my experience all day every day was me being in reaction to every one and everything.
I know now that this is not who you are and not the experience that you were meant to have in this life.
If this story resonates with you at all, let's have a chat. I can quickly show you why I know you are not your emotions or your thoughts and a strategy I use to disrupt your brain's habitual thinking so you don't have to feel bad for long. I can show you how to figure out who you really are and live your life in joy, starting now. What time works next week?
Peace, Erin "dry eyed" Mac
On a Friday, late in the afternoon, I came to check on my staff. It was the last house of the day before the weekend and they were only scheduled to clean the exterior walkways, which were all teak. It was a 10,000 square foot house on the Four Seasons Resort, that was built bungalow style, so every building was separate. You can imagine there was quite a bit of decking to clean. This should have been a 10 minute check, but when I got there all of the decking had white water spots all over it. I panicked.
Turns out the water was turned off in the house, so my staff, wanting to complete their task, used the water from the water features to clean all the decks. Unfortunately, the water was chlorinated, hence the white spots everywhere. I raced into town and bought all the lemon oil I could find and raced back to the house.
For the next 2 hours five of us were on our hands and knees rubbing out the chlorine spots. The hard work we did worked, but the worst part for me, was telling the contractor that we had screwed up.
When I started my business I tried to make sure that we did everything right: I trained everyone, checked all the units for quality control, I was prolific in my communication with clients, I created policy and procedure and sometimes S&*% happened that was out of my control. When that happened I would just be leveled. I took it personally. It would literally feel like the ground was pulled out below me. Like it was the end of the world.
Do you ever feel that way? Like even though you do your best to make sure that everything you do is quality and that whoever you are providing service for, get value, sometimes that's just not enough? Now, I help people in leadership positions overcome and prevent anxiety, stress and overwhelm, so they never have to feel like I did. I'd love to hop on a call and tell you how I help, got time next week?
Peace, Erin "on solid ground" Mac
Do What You Gotta Do
Concussions Lead to Clarity
In my old life I used to think a lot of things would make me happy: money, certain levels of success in all things (achieving things/goals) and owning things. I used to think that being busy and doing a lot of activities made for a fulfilling life, so my schedule was jam packed everyday. I really didn't even know these were the things that I thought would make me happy, it was just ingrained in me through advertisement, the adults in my life, and for lack of a more sexy way to say it, "everyone was doing it!"
It wasn't until I was laying in bed recovering from my second concussion in a few months, that I began to ask myself why I was doing what I was doing. I had no idea what was motivating me, but my body had finally had enough. At the time I was training for a half Ironman triathlon and I distinctly remember waking up and getting ready to meet my trainer, while concurrently my inner voice telling me I am exhausted and still going forth with it.
Do you know what motivates you? Why you do what you do? Would you like to understand these and who you really are? I went through most of my life chasing after things that once I got them fleetingly made me happy and not understanding who I am and why I do what I do. Now that I understand these things I can create my life intentionally, a life filled with peace of mind, calm and meaning, what I call Impenetrable Joy. Would you like to learn how I got the concussions and how I found my joy? Let's chat. When do you have time next week?
Looking forward to connecting.
Peace, Erin "joy vs. happiness" Mac
Finding Your Magic Again
It's crazy what we get used to. Life unfolds slowly, so slowly that we don't even see what is happening in real time. It's like a time lapse video. And, all of a sudden we are in a predicament we didn't see coming. For some it may not be a crisis, just a life lived unfulfilled, that would be me.
I mention this because I distinctly remember, prior to discovering my joy, that I would drive down the street and see a houseless person and their life looked like freedom to me. See, I was so burdened by my responsibilities to my clients, my employees, my non-profit and the children that we touched, and my friends and family. Not a burden that I resented, one that I wanted to live up to. Come to find out, I am the one that put that burden on myself, I'm the one that created the stress, anxiety, overwhelm and worry.
Now, I experience this life very differently. I live it in joy, almost exclusively. I am no longer at odds with it or in resistance to what is. I don't need anyone or anything to show up how I want and I spend my days in calm, peace and wonder. I want you to have that, too.
In the wise words of Mr. Magorium, from the movie Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, "Your life is an occasion, rise to it." If you are looking to find purpose and meaning in your life and enjoy it now, find your magic again, let's have a chat. What works in your schedule next week?
Peace, Erin "rising to the occasion of my life" Mac
what am i not seeing?
Lately, I have been getting distracted by the flag that is on my daughter's bike flapping in the wind. See, I can see it from my desk out of the corner of my eye. What it has got me thinking about is that there is wind, a lot, but because it is often not blowing the trees around it goes undetected.
What it really has got me to thinking is what else am I not noticing? I think this is a metaphor for our lives. Recently I read/heard something that I have not been able to stop thinking about, and it was something like this: "If you want to know what is important to you look at what you spend the majority of your time doing."
I don't know about you but most of my life I would talk about things that were important to me. I would talk about things like: work/life balance, being there for my family/friends, and building quality relationships in general. I have to say that while I did believe that these things were important I continued to overwork, be distracted by my business when I was supposed to be spending time with family or friends, and non-stop talk about employees, clients or situations that were not going how I wanted them to. Also, my thoughts would get the best of me and I would overthink about what the future held and attempt to figure out how to prevent "bad" things from happening.
Let's just say that it was not a very pleasant experience being in reaction to everyone and everything and worrying or being overwhelmed by the future. Can you relate? My experience in life now, is almost exclusively in joy, peace of mind, calm and stillness and definitely some jumping up and down, laughing and dancing! (In fact, as I write this I am dancing in my chair to Justin Timberlake!) I have figured out some super cool strategies to getting into this space and I would love to chat with you if you could use a new way to go about navigating this life, seeing what is going undetected in your life. I would love to connect, what's good for you next week?
Peace, Erin "dancing through life" Mac
You Just Never Know When
We all know that there are no guarantees that we will live to see another day (sorry, a little dark, hang tight). But, do we truly understand this truth? If we did, would we waste another day not enjoying how we spend our time, not spending quality time with those we love, and not smiling all day?
A few days ago I found out that a friend died unexpectedly. For many this would have really thrown them for a loop, I know not too many years ago that would have been me. I would have let it ruin my day, week, month, or more. I would have spent countless hours wondering why it happened and what it all means.
Today, I don't have to wonder because I recognize that thinking and thinking about something does not change the outcome. I don't have to get sad because I understand that being sad does not change the outcome. Most importantly I understand that each day is a gift and I practice being present for every moment I can remember to.
Being present means that I can be with who I am fully, even myself. It means that I am no longer sleep walking through my life and letting every moment slip by without my awareness. Being present is beautiful and encapsulates the feelings of joy (awe-inspired, lightness, calm, stillness, peace of mind, and so much more). The experience of my life is a slow, beautiful movie with an interesting cast of characters in it each day. I experience it from a place of spectating. By being this way I no longer have to be at the mercy of every person or circumstance, I can just watch life unfold before me and enjoy each moment.
Does that sound like something you would like to know more about? Let's hop on a chat. What works for you next week?
Peace, Erin "here now" Mac
I Finally Figured It Out
Maybe you can relate. From the beginning I always knew that I wanted to find someone that I could spend my life with that was all the things: loving, kind, funny, successful, loved my family and loved his own. I wanted to be with someone that I could start a family with, make forever memories with, someone to go through battles with and laugh about them when we got on the other side.
I have been in monogamous long-term relationships my entire life hoping to find all the things, but what kept happening was that I would seem to find all the things and then several years later (around seven, to be exact) everything would seem to fall apart. The things I loved about them were no longer there, the little things added up to become big things, we just couldn't seem to communicate to each other clearly. It was so frustrating and heartbreaking.
All I really wanted was to be loved and love someone in a deep, meaningful way, but I just couldn't crack the code, couldn't figure out the secret. See, society would have you believe that longevity makes for a successful relationship, but I know plenty of people in 10, 15, 20+ year marriages that aren't happy. Or, being with your best friend, but I know plenty of people who have an unfulfilling sex life (and we all know the opposite of that doesn't work!) The other misguidance is the idea that you find your perfect match, someone who completes you.
It was not until I began to work on myself, love me, understand me, that I began to recognize the secret to being in a loving, fulfilling and meaningful partnership. See, the person to fall in love with is yourself, the "soul mate" to find is yourself, not in someone else. When you learn to heal and grow you become a whole person and when two whole people come together and understand how to support each other in their healing and growth, authentic love abounds, exponentially.
I have just expanded my practice to working with couples on these very things. Is your relationship lacking luster? Does it feel like you are challenged by communication and arguments? Is it starting to feel too comfortable and not exciting (yes, it can be exciting even after many years)? Are you wanting to create a deeper, more meaningful connection with your significant other? You can have all these things in your relationship and enjoy it starting now. Let's hop on a call and I can get you and yours started on a joyful relationship path. What works for you next week?
Peace, Erin "relationship whisperer" Mac
it need not take a crisis
Clients typically come to me when they are in crisis (the bottom has dropped out) or they are confused because they recognize that they are unhappy and the usual "fixes" to being happy aren't working. Crisis we understand, "ouch!," that is painful.
However, low levels of unhappiness, that can be sneaky to recognize. For me, I used to spend my days going from one challenge to the next. Any given day could look like employees not having supplies, to clients complaining, to my ex not able to pick up the kiddo, to a run-in with a customer service rep, to an issue with payroll, to a team running late to a job or not having entry access to the job, along with the to do list of personal and work activities, and sometimes that was just the morning. More importantly, the experience of all of that was stress, overwhelm, being frantic, frustration, anger and anxiety. Maybe you can relate?
And, what are those "fixes" that we use? Well, the obvious ones are eating, drugs, and alcohol (these don't need to be in excess, can be a daily activity), and the less obvious are things like social media, filling our schedule so that we are busy, helicopter parenting (when being a parent becomes your identity), telling stories about why other people or circumstances made you feel a certain way to friends and family so that they can agree with you to help you feel better (victim stance).
Now, I believe that it is our birthright to be almost exclusively in joy all day, every day and that is just what I experience. You are probably thinking, "get outta here," or as my daughter and her friends like to say, "okay boomer," (FYI, not my generation, not that there is anything wrong with that.) It is true that joy can be had now and mostly, and not the experience I was having, until about 4 years ago.
Here's the deal, if you do not learn to heal and grow from the challenges in your life they will keep coming, it is why we are here. This is not doom and gloom, this is exciting, especially when you understand what is going on behind the scenes and a process to healing and growing. This is how we create joy, we wake up to what is really going on in our lives and say, "I have had enough of this ___________ (anger, depression, anxiety, frustration, stress, blah) and I want to have a better experience. Let's hop on a chat next week so I can share with you the step-by-step process to finding and cultivating your joy daily. What works for you?
Peace, Erin "joy slinger" Mac
The Seemingly Uninvited Guest
Not so long ago, maybe four years or so, I was asleep in my life. I didn't know it because I was just following what everyone and everything I had known was telling me, "you will be happy when you have the car, the house, the marriage, the success, the kids, etc." So, I sought those things out and while I had moments of happiness, where I crossed that finish line (literally and figuratively), they were just moments.
I didn't realize that this life is spectacular in all moments, not just the moments that make memories or when I was not working or when I was on vacation. (Actually, who am I kidding, while I owned my old business, it actually "owned" me! There was no vacation or time off! You probably can't relate ;) ) I was so busy working, solving problems, filling my schedule, over thinking, and stressing out to realize that I really wasn't having much of a life at all. It wasn't my fault, I didn't know any better, but I do now.
See, our whole lives we are trained not to feel, to fear feeling, to cover it up. It starts at a young age, you fall and skin your knee and the adults in your life say, "It's okay, don't cry." Seems innocent enough, but the message gets drilled in so much that we spend the majority of our lives finding ways not to feel (drugs, alcohol, being too busy, over exercising, complaining, making up stories about others, etc.). And, wouldn't you know it, feeling is actually the way to freedom. In fact, when I work with clients the first step is learning emotional awareness, literally what feelings are and recognizing when you are having them.
I do this because experiences like stress, anxiety and overwhelm are not emotions, they are an experience based on emotions from the past that we are projecting into a predictable future because we are not aware. When we can learn what these emotions are and what causes them to fire, then you can heal and grow from them. Until you heal and grow from them, they will continue to keep visiting you, likely uninvited, and seemingly without your control. That can end today. Let's have a chat so I can teach you how to never have a bad day again. What looks good next week?
Peace, Erin "every day is a good day" Mac
Life In Paradise
Well, it is just about summertime and that is when the insects come out, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about them. Let me tell you a little story.
When I moved to Hawaii (Kona) the first time, my sister and I lived in a part of an older house. It was decent and we weren't that picky because we were in our early 20s. However, because the tops of the walls were screened in (vs. there being wall to the ceiling) it was less than air tight. Every night, after a long day in the sun I would go into the bathroom to take a shower and every night (not exaggerating here) there would be a huge (a little exaggeration here, was around 1.5"-2", I have seen bigger) cockroach on the back side of my towel that was hanging on the towel rack (link here to what I am talking about, viewer discretion advised, and not necessary if too creepy for you: https://www.citymill.com/howto/blog/roaches-hawaiis-favorite-pests/). And, every night (definitely not exaggerating here) I would scream out loud. Night after night, screaming.
Why is it that I didn't stop screaming? How come with that much exposure to the large bug I didn't just know it was going to be there, expect it, shoo it away and move on with my shower? Why didn't I come up with a solution like a bug trap or insecticide. As crazy as it sounds, I actually never considered that there would be a solution to this intrusive insect, I mean it is the tropics.
So, why am I talking about this? I bring this up because I think that many people don't realize that having stress, anxiety, and overwhelm on a regular basis is not something that you have to put up with, there are solutions. It is possible to experience calm, peace of mind, meaning and purpose in your life, almost exclusively. When you understand that this life is not about challenges, it is about understanding who you are, what you are here doing, and healing those not so wonderful past experiences so that you can enjoy your life, now, then you can create purpose and meaning each day, with all that you do and in all interactions. You can learn how to be present in your life and with those that you love.
Let's hop on what I call a "step 1 to joy call." What looks good in your schedule next week?
Peace, Erin "no longer screaming" Mac
You may not know this about me, but I am the self proclaimed "Joy Slinger." Now, you can imagine that this title lends itself to some scrutiny for a whole host of reasons. First, what kind of industry do I belong to? Us humans need everyone and everything to sit in categories so we can decide what we think about them. And, you can imagine how challenging it would be to attend a networking event and give an elevator pitch (30 seconds or less) on what joy slinging is and the outcomes you might achieve by practicing this. Not going to lie, it has been interesting. And the faces I get, everything from deer in the headlights to what the what is she talking about?!
The most amazing thing happened this morning, though, I heard a succinct explanation of what I do, "I teach the cessation of suffering!" (I thought that was worthy of an exclamation point!)
What does this mean? Let's break this down. The definition of cessation is: "process of ending or being brought to an end." The definition of suffering is: "the state of undergoing pain, distress or hardship." In a broad sense suffering is an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm.
What are the real world examples of suffering, since we are likely not faced with physical harm? Well, suffering, at least for me, used to look like: overthinking every decision, being upset by what my employees were doing/not doing correctly, stressed about client complaints, worried about coming up with payroll, feeling like there is not enough time to get everything done, overwhelmed by the amount of emails I received, lack of quality time with loved ones, rushing from place to place, being physically present and emotionally elsewhere, an overall sense of not getting everything done or not feeling like I did it well enough.
See, I didn't realize that my life had become a hamster wheel of same experiences over and over again and I also didn't realize that a different, more meaningful and purpose filled life was available. Enter joy slinging as an option! It didn't happen all at once, the realization that I could be predominantly in a state of joy, it was gradual and I was resistant! This is exactly why I teach this, because we aren't taught that it is an option and for sure not taught how to achieve it. If this strikes a chord with you at all let's hop on a call and discuss further. When are you free next week?
Erin "no longer on the treadmill of life" Mac
FEELING GOOD ABOUT IT
It's no wonder we don't know how to feel good about ourselves, no one taught us. Wait, let me make it about me, in case someone did sit you down and teach you how to feel good about yourself. I was never taught to feel good about myself. (This is not a boo hoo story, just something I realized.)
Maybe you can relate to this? When I was little my parents, and some other adults (teachers, priests, relatives) started congratulating me for all the things. It started with waving, standing, running, talking, then it moved into sports and academics, and so on. I think most adults do this? I don't mean all the time, for sure! Likely in support of their child/children. Makes total sense. They said things like, "Good job" "Way to go,"or "I'm proud of you."
It wasn't until about 5 years ago that I was listening to a webinar on parenting where the instructor said that in order to build up your child's self-esteem you should rephrase your praise of them to, "How does that make you feel to win that game, get that A, or when someone says something nice?" What the what??!! This was a game changer for me in parenting.
As it turns out this is also how you can learn, as adults, how to feel good about yourself. You can ask yourself that question, "How does this make me feel?" And, I would suggest, that you ask this to yourself over and over again about everything because we've practiced for so long looking outside of ourselves for validation. No wonder we are trying to keep up appearances in all parts of our lives. We have been taught that it is what others think of us that matters. Now, it is time to look inside and discover what makes you feel good, what matters to you.
I think my grandfather said it best, "What other people think of you is none of your business." This statement has carried me through some trying times. I realize now that seeking validation outside of myself does not make me feel good, and so many more things, all because I continue to ask myself, "How does that make me feel?" Would you like to learn how to feel good about yourself, confident in what you are doing and who you are being? Let's hop on a chat and sort it out. How does next week look?
Erin "all the feels" Mac
Is it HUG Time Yet?
So, one of my favorite movies is Trolls. Yes, that's right, the animated kids movie! Why do I love it so much? For starters, one of the first scenes is with Princess Poppy teaching a group of young trolls. As she is talking a bracelet she is wearing pings and a flower on it illuminates and she tells them it is hug time, which I admit is great, a timer to hug each other every hour! Now, for you non-touchy-feely folks this likely sounds like a nightmare, to me its just a metaphor for connection and scheduling humanity into your day.
Then, one of the young trolls says, "I wish we could hug more than once an hour" and Poppy says, "If we did that there wouldn't be enough time for singing and dancing!" (I'm paraphrasing here as, although I have seen the movie many times, I don't quite have it memorized.) Again, metaphor for the experience I believe we are supposed to be having right now in our life, one that is in joy almost exclusively, no matter what is happening in your life.
Trust me when I say that I didn't always feel this way, it took some challenging moments and a willingness, or more like a hammer over the head, to wake me up and realize that what I thought was going to bring me happiness continued not to (things like striving for success, money, cars, houses, things), and yet I kept striving for it. I believe that is the definition of insanity?
Anyway, back to the movie. The premise behind the movie is that these humans, called the Bergens, collect trolls to eat on a special day once a year called Trollstice, because they believe that eating trolls is the only thing that can make you happy. In the end Princess Poppy tells them, "Happiness isn't something you put inside, it's already there. Sometimes you just need someone to help you find it." Then, one of the Bergens says, "Do you think I can be happy?" and Poppy says, "Of course, it's inside you, it's inside all of us, and I don't think it, I feel it."
What are you trying to "eat" to make you happy? What is your "troll"? Where are you seeking outside of yourself to feel good? Whatever you are struggling with (your relationships, your time, your quality of life, your health, anxiety, stress, overwhelm, fear, your past, etc.), is not situational. In order to stop experiencing things that do not make you feel good you must heal them, and that is an internal journey. No external "troll" will make them go away. The situation, circumstance or person is just pointing this out to you.
Does this peak your interest? Would you like to discover how to enjoy your life now, no matter what is happening? What's a good time to chat and sort some of this out? This week? Next?
Peace, Erin "Princess Poppy" Mac
It is that time of year when many will start to travel. I love to travel and always have. Maybe it started with traveling by myself to Hawaii to spend the summers with my grandparents at the age of 7? I still remember that first plane ride by myself. The flight attendants were so kind to me and they gave me a pack of playing cards with the airline's logo on it, remember when that was a thing? (I'm dating myself now!)
Not long ago it came to me one day why myself and so many others love to travel. It is because when we are traveling we are forced to be in the present moment. We don't know where to go, what to do, and sometimes have to navigate a foreign language. So, we get busy finding out how to overcome these obstacles.
Along with that, when we are traveling we are not in our regular environment, which means that all the habitual things that we do day-in-and-day-out get disrupted. This is the key to change, disrupting status quo. See, our subconscious minds love to do the same thing over and over again because they are consumed with survival only, which is why change can be so difficult to achieve. To the subconscious mind anything that disrupts business as usual means threat (except when it is labeled vacation, especially when it is on a tropical island!) So, when you decide to make a change in your every day life, the resistance you face has external moments, but is almost exclusively internal. And, totally out of our awareness.
So, now you know this, now what? Now you learn how to re-train your brain to have new experiences with less resistance, strategies to overcoming the old experiences and creating real, lasting change in any area of your life, likely all areas. Areas like: stress, anxiety, overwhelm, creating deep relationships with others, finding your purpose and meaning, and learning how to respond vs. react. All this with the ultimate goal of living in the moment, because that is where true freedom exists.
Is that something that interests you? Let's hop on a call next week so I can show you a strategy to living in the moment that I use often, to create change in my life daily. What works for you?
Peace, Erin "nomad of the mind" Mac
Become the Architect of Your Internal Landscape
One of my morning practices is listening to or reading something that speaks to me on a deep level. The other day while I was doing that, I heard this, "So many people are disconnected and numbed by the routine of their life." See, I thought that this meant those people that go to work for a company for 50 years, doing something that they don't particularly like but happen to be good at, or stay in the 20 year marriage in which they are unhappy. I completely stood in judgement of those people. Come to find out this was me, and I had no idea. It's so crazy, too, because I look back on things now and wonder how in the heck I could not see how miserable I was.
I remember not too many years back, going to a seminar and coming home inspired and buying a glass jar, putting it on the kitchen bar and telling my husband (at the time) and my daughter that the jar was for the purpose of writing down memories, happy moments, or things that happened that made us feel good. I thought that we could collect them for a year and then sit down together and read them aloud and it would feel good. Funny thing is, after many months there were only a few pieces of paper in there and those were not easy to come up with. I thought about the jar often, but I could not think of things to write down, that were worthy, to put in the jar.
There are several reasons why I was unable to come up with things to jot down and put into the jar. I did not know who I was. I did not know what I was meant to be doing. I did not understand that I was responsible for how I was feeling, I was so quick to blame others for my unhappiness. I thought that a busy life meant a full life, and while we were doing all the things and we had all the things, my life felt empty.
As I sit in stillness, in this moment, I realize how far I have come on this journey. Tears of joy and gratitude well in my eyes because I can sit in stillness, be present in my life, and hold that space for others. All day, everyday, is filled with meaning, purpose, and snapshots of beautiful moments connecting with other humans, and most importantly, connecting with myself.
I didn't know it was possible to be overwhelmed in joy and how to be grateful for the many gifts in my life each day. I didn't know that it was possible to be in joy and enjoy my life, just as it is. I was waiting for each next achievement to make me happy, to feel like I had finally arrived, to give me a sense of security, and I was basing this all on external things.
Come to find out after reaching each achievement, it felt good, but only briefly, which is what I call happiness (feeling good about something that is based on something external, that is short lived). Joy, on the other hand, is an internal experience that can include jumping up and down and also encompasses things like stillness, peace of mind, purpose, and meaning. When you create joy as your internal landscape, you are empowered to dictate the experience you are having in your life. You get to decide.
I am so honored to show others how to create their internal landscape of joy. Is this something you would like to know? If so, lets jump on a zoom next week so I can remind you how amazing you are and how much you deserve to live a fulfilling life.
Erin "my jar runneth over" Mac
you are not alone
It's been nearly 21 years since I found myself so riddled with anxiety that I holed myself up in my home for 9 months. I was so debilitated by my fear to leave that it seemed safer, albeit not rational, to stay in. You see, when you have panic attacks, they seem so real. So real in fact, that your heart can start racing (literally), your vision can get narrow (like you are going to faint), it can be difficult to take in full breaths (like there is a heavy weight on your chest), and you can feel like you are separate from your body. At least that was my experience.
It didn't happen overnight, being afraid to leave my home. It happened gradually, like most things in our life; so gradual, that you aren't even aware that it is happening until one day there it is. You wake up 5, 10, 20 years later, and wonder how you ended up in this career or relationship that has little to nothing to do with the hopes and dreams you had when you were younger. While you can trace the path that led to your current circumstances, it is difficult to understand why you made the decisions you did that led to this life. And I want you to know that you are not alone.
I think most people believe that experiences like stress, anxiety, and overwhelm, are situational, based on the circumstances at the present moment. They believe that once the "problem" that is causing the stress, anxiety, and overwhelm is resolved, then these experiences will go away. I do not agree. While the current "problem" will likely resolve itself relatively quickly (I say relatively because wouldn't we all like them to be gone immediately? Or for that matter never happen?), experiences of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm are internal and specific to you. So while they may seem to go away after the "problem" is resolved, actually, they are just latent until the next "problem" comes around.
This is not because it is a cruel world that we live in. These challenges that come up in our life are for the benefit of our healing and growth. I believe that this is the reason we are here, to heal and grow. Ultimately it is to evolve into the greatest version of ourselves, reach our greatest potential, and share the thing you are perfectly slated to share with this world based on your unique history, talents, and personality.
The thing that I am uniquely designed to bring to this world is helping people understand what is causing their experiences of anxiety, overwhelm, and stress, teaching them strategies to heal and grow from them, so that they can have the predominant experience of joy in their life, starting now! If you are ready to learn why, stop experiencing anxiety, stress, and overwhelm regularly, I am here for you. Let's chat next week and see about getting you on your path to relief. What works for you?
Peace, Erin "here to teach calm, peace of mind, and meaning" Mac