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The Gifts of Giving and Receiving (Day 24 & 25) #25DaysOfPresence

The Gifts of Giving and Receiving (Day 24 & 25) #25DaysOfPresence

My hope for #25DaysOfPresence was to attempt being more present and share the gifts of presence as I went. I saw what I needed to see and felt what needed to be feel. I’ve done and undone. I’ve course-corrected when I slowed down during the busiest time of the year in a completely different way. And I thank you for coming along for the ride. Today, I received a gift this morning via an email from a friend who shared a story of seeing the portrait child prodigy Akaine painted of Jesus (featured in the book and movie Heaven is For Real). I saw the movie and remembered it clearly. It reminded me of the original and true story of Christmas about people coming together to celebrate and give whatever they had – out of the spirit of giving. And their gifts were fully received and rejoiced. They were truly grateful. In thinking about the simplicity of this, something opened up in me and a rush of emotion had me sobbing amongst my wrapping paper and ribbons. Not tears of sadness or melancholy. Of love. The love that happens when we slow down and receive the gifts all around us – not just in the packages we open. Thus, I was inspired to write… First, on Gifts. This year I’ve received many gifts and now see how they can take many forms, so pay attention. The more present and aware you are, the more you find. First, there are the obvious gifts you open and appreciate. There are also gifts in written and spoken words that touch your heart or wake you up, get your attention and point you in a new direction that feels right. There are gifts of experiences and gestures that tell you someone sees you and that you matter. Gifts can even show up in fights, disagreements and ‘life-is-happening-to-me’ moments that can be opportunities to clear the air and begin again, stronger and clearer. On Giving. There are so many gifts we are waiting to receive from others outside ourselves.  Something to help us feel seen, to feel better or change our situation. In the past, when I waited to receive this from others, my life stood still, stuck unconsciously asking, Do you even see me over here? Do you know what it’s like for me? Do you even care? Beuller? We never think to give the gift of being seen and acknowledgement to ourselves, FROM ourselves. This is one of the greatest ways we can receive. I never realized that I was the very person I needed to be seen and loved by. Turns out this is the best gift I’ve ever received is my own loving attention. To celebrate, document and acknowledge the things I’ve achieved, moments I’ve learned and ways I’ve changed for the better. As the year comes to a close, I’m asking you to take a moment and find as many things as you can to celebrate, acknowledge and give yourself credit for. Whether you do this silently or write it down in literal love letter to yourself. Simply let yourself know, Hey, you did that thing. I saw it all. And you are amazing. In line with this, in the book A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle suggests that whatever we are missing or wanting in our life – give it to others. Give without without expectation, attachment or obligation. That this has the power...

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The Four Agreements #3: How ONE Agreement Can Transform Your Life. (Day 12) #25DaysOfPresence

The Four Agreements #3: How ONE Agreement Can Transform Your Life. (Day 12) #25DaysOfPresence

It’s an oldie but a gooder… When we ASSUME, we make an “ASS out of U and ME” and that is why THIS is one of the biggest tickets to personal freedom…     When the storyteller in our head makes up a story, we believe it and then fail to ask questions that might shed light on the truth. Most of our disagreements and life friction stem from making up these assumptions. We assume they won’t want to help us, so we don’t ask. We assume the tone they are speaking in means they are angry at us so we shut down. We assume we aren’t good enough so we don’t try for different. It’s one big guessing game.   Whether it’s about the story we tell about ourself or the one we interpret from others – it all leads to mess in our life. Miscommunication, misunderstandings and nobody being heard or speaking up. All because we assume. We create so many problems for ourselves and others because we are unwilling to ask questions to clear up these assumptions and then them personally and believe them as truth. How many times have you seen this Shakespearian Gong Show play out in your life? The mind hates not to “know” so it takes the surface information it has to work with, keeps the mouth shut and fills in the gaps based on an stories and experience in our past which we then apply to the future of what “it” all means or we guess on how its going to go. This on some level helps us feel safe and that all is predictable. And so the cycle of lies and miscommunication continues. The way out of this mess is through practicing awareness. To pay attention to the story and be willing to see life as it is and not the way you want it to be (to justify what you already believe). When you are willing to see that the voice in your head is always telling a story, you can begin to question the story and notice if it’s based on truth or assumptions. If you notice an assumption you can ask whoever you are interpreting the information from to see if it’s true or not.  In this place, you no longer try to put things into words as much or to explain anything to yourself and this keeps you from making assumptions. When you only use the word to communicate with others and ask questions for clarity (knowing that what you are saying is just a point of view based on what you believe), you take responsibility for your communication. For example, when I begin coaching a new client, we start by designing our relationship agreement where each person shares what they need to be successful. Within it, I have what I call my “Big Girl/Boy Pants Rule” meaning, I expect that we say what we mean and mean what we say. No drama. No apologies. No worries.We speak up when we need something or want to make a change in our agreement. We tell the truth and let each other know when or if we do or say something that offends or goes to far, and more. The clarity is such a relief for both parties. You mean we don’t have to figure what you REALLY mean in the background? Imagine if we all just spoke our truth, expressed our real feelings and just believed what we said and heard it for what it...

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The Four Agreements #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally.  (Day 11) #25DaysOfPresence

The Four Agreements #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally. (Day 11) #25DaysOfPresence

In the pursuit for more presence in life (and over the holidays), yesterday I summarized one of  the first Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, from his book that blows up self-limiting beliefs through a simple and effective “code of personal conduct”. Today, I get into one of the most FREEING agreements of them all. Don’t take anything personally. BOOM! When you begin to know the storyteller that resides inside yourself  (review agreement 1), you understand the way others act around and towards you is really fueled by THEIR storyteller. Basically, projecting the lies they’ve gathered throughout their life experience. This is where you can finally know (and possibly say) – “This about you, not me.” Knowing this, helps us disengage in the pattern of being ‘hooked’ by their words and believing the biggest lie which was that how they were acting or what they were saying was because there was something wrong with us. When we were kids we never had a choice about what to believe because everything we agreed to believe was imposed on us.  Sadly we create a lot of our stories as innocent children who interpret these interactions in very simple terms. “I must have done something wrong. I’m not okay. Who I am and what I do is bad. I am bad.” Now, we have the opportunity we didn’t have  when we were kids. We get to tell a new story. Our new story can be based on the truth that resided in us BEFORE we grew up and absorbed the lies (beliefs, expectations, roles, responsibilities) imposed on us. Look at babies. They are the fullest, truest expression of themselves. They don’t quiet themselves down for fear of upsetting anyone or hurting their feelings. They don’t play small or shrink. They are larger than life in terms of their spirit. They are open to give and receive love to the fullest. In not taking anything personally anymore, we liberate our self from the suffering of believing it was always about us, our value or our worth. It never had anything to do with us – and in this new place we can STOP continuing the cycle of spreading emotional poison. Allowing this agreement into my life, liberated me in ways I never imagined. It had be immediately become acutely aware of other people acting out their stories and paying attention to how I interpreted those actions. I became a skilled detective about what was mine and what was theirs.  With every old reaction and dicey interaction, I was empowered to examine my thoughts and look for the story I was telling myself about what was happening. Doing this allowed me to sift out what felt really true and what felt like someone else’s story. It didn’t mean I became immune to reacting or having my feelings hurt. With practice and the willingness to get curious about what is really going on in me, I continue to learn more my own evolution and grow more confident in my own skin reconciling all the misunderstandings I’ve collected over the years. As these layers continue to unravel and disappear (note there is no end destination) my level of authenticity increases and with it come a LOT MORE FUN. Not taking anything personally also allows more room and space for compassion to show up when people are on the attacking. Sometimes its possible to rise above it and love them regardless of what’s shaking out and other times we know to walk away from these experiences. Either way, we become more empowered in our own experience. All...

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How To Shift Your Perspective and Turn Bad Situations Into Good (Day 9) #25DaysOfPresence

How To Shift Your Perspective and Turn Bad Situations Into Good (Day 9) #25DaysOfPresence

  I hear from a lot of my clients that they are tired of the same ol’ interactions with people or situations in their life. To follow up yesterdays post on stopping the Groundhog Day effect, I demonstrate the power of this practiced skill in a short video below. This story was from one of the funniest exchanges I’ve ever had with another person. The poor guy didn’t know WHAT to do with me… LOL. The truth is that the experiences we have can be a direct result of our attitude towards it – or how we “see it”. We say “this is going to be hard” or “it’s going to be painful” and we’ve already set the stage whether we mean to or not. “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” Wayne Dyer If you’ve ever dreaded certain experiences – pushy sales people, annoying relatives or awkward moments that you can’t avoid then this post is for you! What’s possible when you change your state of mind? Anything, that’s what. Remember a moment where you got the BEST news in your life – maybe someone told you they loved you for the first time, you bought your first car, or you found out you were pregnant or the day you got engaged. In the happiest state of mind, it is nearly impossible to get pissed off, isn’t it? Because you don’t care what anyone else is doing or saying. You were just riding out the good vibes. In the story below, I dreaded engaging with these young sales guys that would come into my office desperate and seriously pushy. I learned that when I was in a different state of mind,  I could be myself, honest and assertive while still being loving, fun and playful. It was like discovering a goldmine!! Since that day, I no longer worry about getting sucked into into buying something I didn’t want or need for fear I’d come across as bitchy or impolite. I turned these dreaded experiences into something I enjoy now.   In just a shift of attitude, perspective or approach, we can turn awkward or uncomfortable situations into experiences we enjoy and even master with kindness and humour. The first step is being aware (aka present) to how you see the situation, or the story you tell yourself about it. Once you start playing around with altering your story, it becomes one of the most valuable skills with practice – like everything in life. I hope you enjoy one of my favourite stories as much as I enjoy telling it – and consider for your own situation- how can you change your mindset about a difficult, uncomfortable or challenging thing I’m experiencing? Ask, how else could I approach or see it? You don’t need to take on a totally bizarre persona as I mentioned yesterday (however it’s pretty fun when you can) but not necessary. A simple shift can be incredibly powerful. Good luck and have fun with it! Keri-Anne Livingstone is a Mom of two boys under five, a Wife and former Corporate Marketing Professional who transformed her “unconscious” life in every way by exploring one powerful concept – Daring to Suck. Today she serves the world as Certified Professional Coach, Speaker and Author-In-Progress daring men, women, professionals and entrepreneurs to unleash their authentic self and “come alive” in their life and work. Keri-Anne demonstrates when we listen to our heart, leap into the unknown and TRUST…. that amazing...

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How to Break Routine, Avoid DREAD and Have Fun Freaking Out Your Relatives! (Day 8) #25DaysOfPresence

How to Break Routine, Avoid DREAD and Have Fun Freaking Out Your Relatives! (Day 8) #25DaysOfPresence

  In light of yesterdays sobering (and true) declaration of DREAD that can come with the holidays, I want to throw some levity and an actual Strategy into the mix. It really doesn’t have to be heavy or feel like “work” we have to get done before we dive head in to survive the chaos. Want to know how movies and pop culture can change your experience from surviving to THRIVING? I’ll explain. Remember that GroundHog Day with Bill Murray? His character essentially wakes up to live out the same day over and over again – doing the same thing and getting nowhere. Nothing changes. He finally surrenders to the fact that nothing is going to change, so he starts to get more creative with the time he’s given. He learns to play the piano and carve ice sculptures. He explores this ‘purgatory’ and learns so much about what he is capable of when he changes the way he approaches the day. The same goes with our life. There can be this level of “same-ness” (aka traditional) or things become ridiculously predictable. It could be with the holidays coming, your job situation, romantic relationship or an overall routine rut in your life. What surprises me is that at Christmas in particular, we don’t see each other a lot during the year and yet collectively we create  a rut by playing out the same roles and holiday routine every year – as a group! It’s hilarious in a way. So, maybe you always go to your parents on Christmas Eve every year and Uncle Jo always hurts your feelings by saying something shocking. Your cousin sits in the corner and sulks. Your brother-in-law likes to get confrontational with you about hunting and you are an animal activist. Or maybe your Mom plays passive aggressive mind games about you eating gluten free and how that’s really inconvenient. Blerg! Whatever predictable and unpleasant routine you dread is coming, I DARE YOU to “GroundHog Day” it!  Go in there and completely mix up the norm. If you were to do anything differently, what would that be? How could you act? What could you say? How could you really change things up? Just IMAGINE all the options here! Go wild and bring in the ridiculous. Instead of preparing yourself to just get through it (without punching someone in the throat or stuffing your emotions) and feeling bad about yourself — Humour me. What if you spent your time consciously creating a different approach that makes it fun, more meaningful or enjoyable for YOU ? Tomorrow, I will share a funny story (video post) about how I turned a typically heavy, burdensome experience into one of the funniest exchanges I’ve ever had with a person. It was a riot and in this moment, reminds me to bring more of this person to the table more often. Talk about a game-changer. My hope is that these stories and strategies give you some wiggle room with how you approach the difficult or awkward this season (or anywhere in your life for that matter). We can’t change the way others behave but we can change our relationship to those people and the way we approach the situation. The Strategy: How To Mess With Your Relatives (and make it a better experience for you in the process too) Ask yourself… (with examples on the right) 1. What is the situation you want to change or avoid?  Your sibling loves to ‘one-up’ you at every opportunity. 2. How do you typically respond (feel / behave)? I feel...

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The Audition & Blowing Up Myths on Being Present (Day 6) VIDEO #25DaysOfPresence

As promised, here is the lowdown on what happened in yesterdays audition. It was fun, eye-opening (literally) and call backs are next week so I will hear sooner than later if I was selected. That wasn’t really the point though. Daring to Suck is about welcoming adventure, risks and pursuing things that hook your passions. For me, I have always been drawn to acting but never followed through on it and regretted it. Stepping into challenges  like this allow me to try again and not live in a “it’s too late / I’m too big / I’m to old” state of mind – because that stuff just isn’t true. In this video I also want to share some unexpected examples of being present. And in doing so I must warn you – there is air guitar and a possibly offensive impression of spiritual gurus I admire. Yikes. Sometimes when I get going I kind of black out and when I watch it again I laugh AND cringe. But mostly laugh forgetting I ever did it.   As for Day 6,  I spent the day running errands with the boys and connecting with some amazing local businesses in Steveston that are all a hustle with the upcoming holidays. We baked, decorated cookies, and listened to every christmas album we could find on youtube. I made cardboard swords, ninja stars and shields for them  to run around and hurt each other, in between stirring several simmering pots on the stove. I also found a moment to write and post this. I know it sounds busy and it is. And I’m experiencing it all. Aside from the minor flesh wound, tantrum over uncooperative lego and an unintended backflip off the couch – it’s been a good day and honestly can’t believe I’ve made it this far. LOL I’m so glad I did this. Thanks for following and sharing your thoughts and feelings along the way. Enjoy your weekend soaking in all that is around at this beautiful time of year! Keri-Anne Livingstone is a Mom of two boys under five, a Wife and former Corporate Marketing Professional who transformed her “unconscious” life in every way by exploring one powerful concept – Daring to Suck. Today she serves the world as Certified Professional Coach, Speaker and Author-In-Progress daring men, women, professionals and entrepreneurs to unleash their authentic self and “come alive” in their life and work. Keri-Anne demonstrates when we listen to our heart, leap into the unknown and TRUST…. that amazing experiences and our full potential are waiting on the other side of resistance, hesitation and fear....

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