All Posts By

Heather Lyon

Coaching InnerYoga Meditation

How to Relate to Yourself with Care Instead of Criticism.

May 4, 2016

Today-I-choose-to

You can be an active participant in your own healing and integration. One big part of that is your attitude towards yourself, it’s learning to drop the critical internal dialogue. When you get stuck in self criticism it’s just a default mode, a habit or programming that’s not actually very useful. No matter how useful you think being self-critical is, it’s REALLY NOT.

WHY you have this habit isn’t the question we need to answer.

See, you could be self critical because your parents were critical of your behavior or appearance, to themselves, to each other. You could be self critical because you think it makes you more productive or more likeable and you could think that you do it because you deserve it. You don’t deserve it!! That’s the belief we actually really need to address, the deserving piece… I invite you to feel deserving, especially when your knee jerk reaction is to criticize, nit-pick and judge yourself.

I invite you to do the opposite instead, to tell yourself ‘Today I Choose to Relate to Myself with Care instead of Criticism’. When you catch yourself being harsh, remind yourself that you deserve care, you might not believe it at first but don’t let that stop you from shifting away from the negative commentary in your head. Keep refocusing, keep telling yourself a different narrative. When we can see our own deservingness of care/kindness, amidst all our trip-up and screw-ups, we can see our fellow humans deservingness of that same quality of attention.

Basically if you beat yourself up, you are more likely to treat others poorly, you’re also more likely to have a hard time with healthy boundaries. You might either find yourself in the pushover/doormat bunch or in the overly angry/emotionally unhinged bunch. You deserve better.

Today I Choose to Relate to Myself with Care instead of Criticism.

-Love Heather

 

Coaching InnerYoga Meditation

Meditation to Melt Away Stress

December 22, 2015

Dear InnerYogi’s,

We are mere days away from the end of the year and that means family, travel and perhaps more feelings of stress than usual.  Don’t worry though, I’ve got your back! I’ve recorded a lovely guided meditation to help you melt away holiday stress.

Whether you’re braving an airport or three, hosting out of town guests or staying home to recharge, I hope this meditation will help you melt away stress.

Quick Tip: Your mind will wander! Gently bring your attention back each time it does. Thoughts will arise and that’s really not a problem. Keep returning to my voice and my guidance, harnessing your intention when it does wander.

 

 

Coaching InnerYoga

Let’s Face it, you’re Going to get Triggered

December 8, 2015

 

It’s a mad dash towards the winter holidays and the end of the year!

Are you spending time with family?  If so, read on. If not you can skip this one.

For most humans seeing family for any length of time means dealing with lots of difficult family dynamics.  Your buttons are probably going to get pushed. Ok they will definitely get pushed, let’s be honest.

 

Here’s the thing that aunt or parent that always drives you bananas is actually reflecting back to you how you feel about yourself.

If “they” are making you feel badly about still working for a company you dislike or “they” make you feel badly about your hoarding tendencies, your weight, your finances or your coffee/tv/wine habit etc.  The Question to ask, isn’t “Why are they always so judgmental and rude?”. But rather what part of me feels badly about my own hoarding tendencies, or badly about the state of my finances or my struggle with weight issues.

 

Shine the light of your awareness on the places that get triggered and bring the soothing salve of compassion to what you find. This is not an exercise in self judgment or self criticism but a good time to align with reality. Even if that reality is unpleasant.

Your triggers highlight the incongruencies in your actions in relationship to our best self. They are clues and should be seen as gifts on the path of awakening and accepting. Gifts that over time, allow us to pivot and choose a better option, choose again, again and again until over time it becomes our new pattern.

 

Resisting and suppressing the emotions that get triggered on the other hand is a lose-lose but unfortunately this is usually how most people handle family issues and the difficult emotions that come with them. If those emotions aren’t met in some way, than you can bet that they’re at work behind the scenes leaving us to do crazy stuff, like over-eat, fly off the handle and/or drink way too much, which again leaves us with feelings of guilt, shame and blame the next day.  Blah!

 

When your buttons get pushed here’s what to do instead:

  1. Feel the emotion, sit with it for 90 seconds without doing anything but feel it
  2. Notice where you feel it in your body
  3. Are you feeling reactive over the comment or contracted?
  4. Ask yourself “What inside me feels badly about this too?” or “What am I avoiding within here?”
  5. Hold what you find like a good friend, no judgment at all, consider shifting the pattern by working with a coach or get counsel around it from another trusted source.

 

Here is an InnerYoga mantra that I use when I’m about to spend long stretches of time with relatives, my hope is that you add the mantra below and these tips to your toolbelt and call upon them as needed.

“May I show up as my best self and my I respond from there, even if nobody else does.”

InnerYoga

My Surprising Advice for Summer Love

June 16, 2015
looking down at my feet in sandals

In the spirit of Summer…

Making myself a priority is at the top of my list for ways to improve any relationship.  When I’m happy and nourished I show up as my best self not just for my hubby but for everybody in my life.  There are lot’s of great ways to infuse good juju into your love-life and one of my personal favorites is spending time apart, even taking separate vacations!

Stepping out of the couple dynamic and having your own adventures is an amazing way to breathe new, sexy life into your partnership. You’ll each come back from your time apart with exciting stories to share, and you’ll remember what it feels like to miss each other, which is totally a good thing.

So why do so many of my clients balk at the idea initially?

The same reason I did for so long!

Guilt.

I felt guilty for wanting to spend my free time away from him, I felt bad about spending the money on myself and I felt like there were things I should take care of at home (those pesky shoulds!) and those feelings clouded my judgment, I figured that if I felt bad about going on the trip or signing up for the retreat  than I probably shouldn’t do it, which I’ve come to realize is wrong!

It doesn’t have to be either or, one or the other.

#1. Give yourself permission first.

Give yourself a chance to think it over, daydream a little. Get excited!
Now give yourself space to feel ALL your feelings.
The excitement for the adventure and the heartache at being away from the ones you love.
The delicious indulgence of treating yourself and the guilt that come with that.

Whatever you do don’t try to resist the difficult emotions. It’s ok if it feels a little edgy.

Give yourself full permission want what you want and get clear on what it looks like in the real world. Maybe you need a weekend away with your best friend, maybe you need a 7 day silent retreat to recharge or perhaps signing up for a language immersion is at the top of your list.

The key here is to give yourself permission to feel bad for leaving, a little guilty or even a lot AND to also be excited about your personal adventure. Holding both experiences as true and expressing them clearly to your partner is your best bet.

You could try something like this:

Here’s how:

“I think it would be nice for each of us to have a vacation either with our friends or alone, and then we could also go on a trip together. I was thinking we could each choose a vacation that we know the other person wouldn’t be interested in. I don’t want you to think I never want to go on a trip with you, I know I’m going to miss you like crazy so it’s kinda hard for me to even share this with you and I also think it would be pretty fun to have some time with my girlfriends. What do you think?”

#2. Lay down some ground rules.

Each couple’s ground rules will be different, it’s important to make sure you’re both on the same page so as to avoid any grumpiness down the road. For example, you may say that the solo vacations can last no longer than a week or even a weekend, or solo vacations with friends are only okay if no one of the opposite sex is also going on the trip.

#3. Take vacations together as well.

We’re talking separate vacations here!  Not separate lives! The former can enliven your relationship; the latter is not a good sign. Even if your schedule doesn’t permit you to take three long vacations throughout the year, plan weekend getaways together for sure! Get creative here. Excitement and novelty are key to keeping your relationship fresh.

#4. Revist the “agreement” often.

After your first vacation apart, revisit your agreement to make sure it’s working for you both. Be open to tweaking the agreement until you have something that works perfectly for your relationship.
Separate vacations can certainly breath new life into a humdrum existence as a couple. For this to work it’s important to focus not on what separate vacations will accomplish for your bond but rather what it can do for you as an individual!

I want to hear from you! Have you and your spouse ever taken a separate vacation? Would you? Share your thoughts / experiences in the comment box below!

Coaching

Are you Settling for Less than you Deserve?

June 16, 2015
Blurred view of ocean and horizon

Have you ever wondered if you’re settling for the wrong guy?

The fear of settling is a challenge that I see all the time working with clients. The settling song goes something like this… “He’s really great but…” And that “but” is followed by some version of enoughness. Not funny enough, educated enough, tall enough, fit enough, affluent enough, outgoing enough, available enough… “If he would just be more like X and less like Y”

I get it. It’s not fun to feel like you’re settling, like you’ve chosen the wrong option. And oh boy! Once that fear shows up it permeates the relationship and becomes a huge preoccupation. It sucks because instead of being engaged in the experience and enjoying the relationship for what it is, you’re stuck in your head. Engaged in the mental gymnastics of analyzing, ruminating and keeping score.

Frantically searching for proof that you’re with the right person is sucking the joy right out of your relationship.

If you’re singing the settling song, consider that you might be buying into a belief system that says if you find the right partner, if you choose the right relationship, (or job, or place to live, the right college, etc…) if you just choose the right option than you can finally stop worrying and be happy.

Carl Jung said it best “everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Focusing on your partners not-enoughness is taking up valuable resources that would be better allocated towards your inner-inquiry.

Just because you worry that you’re with the wrong person, doesn’t mean you’re actually with the wrong person. It means you need to unpack the muck that’s showing up. And by “muck” I mean the inevitable anxiety that comes along with the belief that you’ve chosen wrong.

The real issue isn’t that your partner isn’t enough this or that. The real issue is that you’re out of touch with your inner wisdom so instead of being able to relax and enjoy, you’re worrying that you’ve made the wrong decision.

Shift your perspective to see life and love as a series of experiences to be approached with curiosity, some of those experiences are going to be pretty crappy and others are going to be down right spectacular. Challenges are the curriculum of our spiritual evolution. They are our teachers.

Bottom line, the fear of settling isn’t fixed by finding a new relationship but rather by addressing the underlying fear, trusting that this relationship is showing up for a reason and trusting that if/when the relationship has run it’s course you will know exactly how to move forward.

Action Steps
1. Stop collecting evidence that your partner is all wrong for you.
2. When fear/worry/anxiety show up, slow down and tune in to your inner wisdom and trust.
3. Step up and show up fully for your partner

Coaching

People Pleaser

June 15, 2015
Turquoise ocean with island and clouds

Hello, my name is Heather and I’m a recovering people pleaser. For me being a people pleaser has meant, taking a lot of pride in being easy-going and flexible. But it’s a compulsion, it’s neediness, and it’s often a covert maneuver that I hoped would leave me feeling adored, appreciated and indispensable.

My people pleasing clients demonstrate their love by going above and beyond in the hopes of making their love interest feel special. And at first glance it seems harmless enough, or even normal, but the truth is that people pleasing is more complex than just making a little extra effort to make somebody feel special.

It involves putting other’s needs (real or perceived) before your own and then shape shifting into the person who can meet those needs. It’s being accommodating without letting on that you feel that way, and then being surprised that nobody’s thanking you for it.

Sooner or later my dear people pleaser you will start to feel taken for granted, unappreciated, and very resentful of your partner. Here’s the thing, your partner isn’t the problem.

Recently a client shared with me that she was surprised that the guy she was dating wasn’t expressing more appreciation for how often she spent the night at his place, she was confused and resentful that he never came over to her condo, they were always at his place. She was hoping that he would interpret her behavior as going above and beyond and “repay” the favor (her sleeping over) by offering to spend nights at her place more often. Here’s the thing, he had no idea she was doing him a “favor” and didn’t know any of this turmoil and resentment was building below the surface, for the simple reason that she had never mentioned any of it. I encouraged her to speak up and invite him over. This guy isn’t a mind reader and yours probably isn’t either

My Advice (tweet it!): He’s not trying to decode your every action; he needs to hear your preferences in plain English.

So, what’s the relationship fix? Get curious about your patterns of “giving to get”. Stop going above and beyond in order to get what you want from him/her, and start taking care of your own priorities first. And no, this is not selfish! You can’t give what you don’t have, so you can’t truly be generous and loving towards anybody unless you’re generous and loving to yourself.

To start, look at where you’re accommodating his/her preferences at your own expense. For example, do you skip your morning exercise because he’s not a morning person and wants to stay in bed on the weekend? If so, tell him to sleep as late as he wants, but you’re going to spin class! Do you tend to cook the steak, potatoes, and pasta he likes for dinner, instead of the lighter fare you prefer? If so, start preparing the dinners you actually like to eat. Tell him there’s enough for him, too, but if he wants something else he’ll have to make it. Do you wait to have time with your girlfriends until he’s away for the weekend? Stop it! Start doing girl’s night a few times a month, even if he’s in town.

I know this may sound a little scary but trust me: the results are worth it. Once you start taking care of yourself first, you’ll have more to give and you won’t be waiting for him/her to decode your actions and respond accordingly which means you can say bye-bye to confusion and resentment!