The Most Important Thing To Remember About Playing Small In Your Life

Picture this:

You wake up excited to get out of bed… 

Excited to get to your work, your family, your friends… excited to get on your yoga mat, excited to go for a short walk, to drink your favorite  tea or coffee.

You know that these are all parts of what makes a good life, a life fueled by purpose.

But most of us aren’t there yet.

Most of us are still playing small.

Most of us are still making excuses, still blaming others, still shrinking in the face of opportunities.

Most of us are still afraid.

Afraid that if we own our purpose, we might be too big for our lives.

Afraid that we might turn into someone we don’t like. 

Someone conceited… showy… arrogant.

But one of my favorite books, A Course in Miracles, reminds us that it’s actually arrogant to diminish our power. 

I talk more about why the Course said this, and a simple reminder to own our power, in the video below.

I know there’s a lot more to talk about on this topic, including our mindset and the limiting beliefs we’ve adopted.

And I’ll definitely  be addressing those in upcoming posts.

But if you liked this, and if you need some help getting clarity on your purpose, you should download the free guide below. It’s a framework I used to get major clarity on what I should be doing with my life.

Four Steps To Your True Purpose

Download this FREE GUIDE to find your purpose and start creating a life you’ll love.

Self-Care Tip: Spend Time in Nature

outdoors, nature, forest bathing

Stressed, irritable  and burnt out. 

That’s how I felt those last few days. Not even my usual yoga and meditation practice could do much to improve my mood.

I also felt isolated from my boyfriend. Our weekly date had become collateral damage to the other, more-pressing, things in both our lives. 

The sky was so blue that Wednesday morning, mocking me with its happy fluffy clouds and overall vibrance.

I wanted to go back to bed. But my boyfriend suggested we play hooky from life and try to spend some time together

Reluctantly, I agreed. I’m glad I did because as we drove through the miles and miles of coconut trees to get to the beach my mood improved.

 

We barely spent 2 hours at the beach itself, less than half that time in the water (the waves were really rough that day). But even so, we both got back home feeling happier, renewed and more connected.

Apparently we’re not alone in feeling like this.

It turns out spending time in nature has amazing benefits for our mind, bodies and spirit.

According to several studies, spending time in nature can significantly decrease stress. The participants in these studies had lower levels of cortisol (the hormone that’s used as a marker for stress) and a lowered heart rate (less anxiety). 

Outdoor time can also reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is linked to autoimmune disorder, IBS, hypertension, depression and even cancer!

The burnt out, irritable feelings I had are so common that it’s actually being researched.

It’s referred to as fatigue and, as I inadvertently found out, spending time in nature can help with it. 

Walking among some trees, having a picnic, or strolling along the shore is shown to increase focus, creativity and self-esteem. 

Nature therapy may just be the perfect antidote to the fatigue and burn out so many of us report feeling- it’s free, readily available, and has zero side effects.

Studies in Japan even show that their practice of forest bathing is associated with a lower risk of early death. 

We all want longer, healthier lives, don’t we?

So carve out some time this week to visit your favorite park, hiking trail or beach.

You’ll literally be happier and healthier if you do.

If you’d like to learn more about the health benefits of spending time in nature, check out this Business Insider article. 

How to Stop an Anxiety Attack- A One Minute Technique

It was a regular evening.

I was sitting in a taxi on my way to an appointment. 

The phone in my hand lit up with a new message.

Everything slowed down as I read it.

My heart started pounding against my chest… as though trying to escape the car before the rest of my body. 

My throat went dry.

My chest tightened. 

The car suddenly felt too small. 

I had to get out. 

Struggling to keep my voice calm, I told the driver to let me out and I started walking. I didn’t know where I was going but I was in hurry to get there.

I stopped. Closed my eyes. And took a deep breath. 

I’d felt like this before. 

I was in the middle of an anxiety attack. 

And I knew the message caused it. The contents of the message wasn’t devastating. But it was triggering. And my brain and body didn’t seem to know how to handle it. 

I took another deep breath and reminded myself that I wasn’t in any immediate  danger. 

It didn’t help. 

I took yet another deep breath  and tried to remember what my therapist  told me to do in this situation. 

It was a 54321 technique, but I couldn’t recall exactly what the 54321 things were. 

They came back in fragments:

Five things you can see…

Some things you can hear…

One thing you can taste.

I knew I wasn’t  remembering everything perfectly  but it didn’t matter. 

By focusing on my breathing, the taste of gum in my mouth and the sights and sounds around me,  my errant heart starting slowing to it’s usual rhythm.

That technique didn’t actually save my life that day but it felt like it did. 

So I’d like to share it with you.

It’s actually a proven way of treating  anxiety attacks. And it only takes less than a minute. 

The version below is from the Calm meditation app. It’s something I’ve revisited a number of times whenever I felt stressed or overwhelmed . 

If you suffer from anxiety I sincerely think it’ll help.

If you don’t suffer from anxiety but know someone who does, please share this post and video with them. They’ll thank you for it.

The Number One Question I Get Asked as a Meditation Teacher

“Why is it SO hard to meditate?”

We all know we should meditate. 

Everyone from Oprah to Jay Shetty to Google execs to Wall Street Investors talk about their meditation practice and the benefits of it

Even Harvard has a ton of research on it. Harvard. 

So meditation is definitely a big deal right now.

But even with all these celebrity endorsements, studies and research, most of us have a pretty hard time getting a meditation practice started. 

Part of that is because starting anything is challenging. (Another topic for another post).

But a big part of why it’s so hard is because of what happens when we try to meditate. 

We sit our cute tushies on the mat or chair, close our eyes, inhale deeply…

And then the noise comes.

A furious storm of random thoughts, memories and judgments starts rushing into our minds.

We get frustrated because this is clearly not IT, this is clearly not the peace we were seeking when we sat down to meditate.

So we open our eyes and go back to our days. 

It’s hard, I know. 

I’ve definitely been there. Some days I’m still there.

But it turns out that the noise, the monkey mind, is IT.

Well a part of it. One of the most important parts of it actually. 

After venting this exact frustration to my meditation teacher, he told me little story about an old room that I’ll now share with you.

Picture a room or a space in your house where forgotten things end up. Old books, CDs (remember those), piles of clothes we always meant to donate. Maybe some cobweb. A cockroach or two. And dust. Layers and layers of dust. 

Now what happens when you decide to try to clean this space?

The dust raises. It clouds your vision. It consumes you. 

It feels intolerable. 

And we run out of the space overwhelmed  and frustrated because we didn’t make any progress.

Sounds familiar?

It should.

Because that’s what starting to meditate feels like. (At least that’s what it felt like to me)

But it’s important to remember to start slowly, and to be gentle with ourselves.

We’re intentionally looking into a space we haven’t really acknowledged  in years, maybe even ever.

It might be overwhelming  at first. 

It’s okay… 

Completely normal…

A natural part of the process.

Most importantly, you’re not going crazy.

It WILL get easier, more comfortable.

Take it slow. 

One breath at a time.

The peace you seek is already yours. It just has some dust on it. 

I’d love to know if you can relate to this! And if you can, how did you deal with it?

Remember to share this post with anyone you know who’s had a hard time meditating. They’ll thank you for it. 

A Step by Step Process to Discover Your True Purpose

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a background sense of uneasiness in my life.

It’s an unnamable frustration that came from knowing I wasn’t doing all I could with my life. 

Regardless of changes I’ve made in my career, friends, relationship and even location there was always this infuriating restlessness that told me I had more to do with my life… more to be.

If you’ve ever felt like this, you’re not alone.

More people than ever are searching for meaning and purpose in their lives. 

So much so that it’s actually being researched. 

One of the findings of the research  (link here) shows that a lack of purpose can be detrimental to our health. And people who report having a sense of purpose in life are shown to have lower risks of mortality and heart disease.

A sense of purpose is clearly very important to living a good life.

It makes sense that so many of us are searching for it.

If you’re someone like me who’s still full of questions about your purpose in life I may have something that can help.

It’s a framework I happened upon during one of my many internet adventures. It helped me find some answers to the frustration and uncertainty in my life.

It’s a Japanese concept called Ikigai.

ashleycaron_ikigai

Ikigai roughly translates into “reason for being.

When I went through this process for myself, I realized that it provided the perfect blend of our spiritual longings with the practical realties of the world. 

It was through this framework that I realized my purpose. My reason for being is to use my talents and strengths to serve the expression of feminine power.  

My Ikigai is to provide tools, insights and resources for women to grow and thrive. It’s rooted in my belief that the insights, experiences and talents of women and girls are essential to creating a thriving future. 

If you’d like more help to get clarity on your purpose (including prompts and examples) then download your free guide below.

But it’s important to acknowledge  that this isn’t some quick and easy solution to all our problems. It requires time and introspection.

You don’t have to force yourself to answer all the questions now. Just having an awareness of the right questions can help us to be open to insights and ideas that would probably otherwise not come into our life. 

My Ikigai, my purpose, has become the north star of my life guiding me through the ups and downs of every day life. 

It doesn’t guarantee a perfect life (nothing does). But, it does help orient us towards creating a life in alignment with our reason for being. 

Four Steps to Your True Purpose

Download this FREE guide to find your purpose and start creating a life you’ll love.