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Other than my children, I have to say that nature is one of my greatest teachers. I went tubing in Deep Creek, Bryson City, NC. I have been here many times before but I approached it very differently today. I once had a bad fall in this creek when my daughter was about 3 yrs. of age and although we were both all right, there is still a small tiny peace of me that gets a little nervous or fearful when approaching the small rapids.temp-post-image

In the last 20 years or so of my transformational and spiritual journey, I have learned a lot about what happens when you RESIST anything in life. Debbie Ford was the first person from whom I learned that when you resist something, it PERSIST! I share this concept with all of my clients because I know it to be true. As soon as we resist something or someone, we are only giving it more power and energy.

As I was floating down the creek today, I made a conscious decision to allow the water to guide my tube and totally surrender to the experience of tubing. I was hearing in my head, “Be the tube!” Remember the movie, Caddyshack, “Be the ball!” In the past, I would put a lot of energy in controlling the path my tube would follow in order to not get stuck on any rocks or fall out of the tube. I would feel my body tense up as I approached each small rapid. I also resisted not being able to see where I was going when my tube would spin and turn to the current of the water not caring whether I was facing forward or backwards.

Today, I trusted, I allowed, and I surrendered to the flow of th water and the rapids. I trusted that the water knew exactly which route to take and which rocks to go around. I trusted that my tube would follow without any guidance. It was one of the most relaxing, enjoyable and effortless tubing ride I have ever experienced. I did get stuck a few times but it was so minimal and I just allowed time to pass to see if the water would move me. Most of the times, it did. In the past, I would have been physically exhausted after tubing and would have worked very hard to constantly get myself unstuck. Today, I feel rejuvenated and at peace.

I have been battling my mind and all the thoughts that swirl around in it over the past few weeks. I came to the creek today knowing that I needed to change my perspective. Even though, I know intellectually that any and all pain, challenges, frustration, or sorrow is created from our thoughts, I, too, get caught up in the limiting stories that play out in my head. We always have a choice when it comes to interpreting life and what it throws at us. We all have challenges and struggles and most of the time cannot control them. However, we do have control over how we choose to look at those struggles and challenges.

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Tubing is a lot like life. We can float down the creek trusting and surrendering or we can spend all of our energy trying to control the path and outcome. I found that when we try to control our p019CCE43-7830-4ED5-BCEC-EE676080F86Dath, it is a lot more work, a lot more energy and effort, and a lot less enjoyable. When we allow and surrender, it is effortless and the path is shown to us. Moreover, you get to see what is on the path! Today, I saw the beauty that surrounded me and was so in tune with the music of the water. In the past, I would have been all consumed with controlling, resisting and being afraid that I would have missed all that nature had to offer.

I am grateful to have the ability to change my perspective whenever I get into a funk. Nature definitely helps me during those times. Movement, dancing and music are the other powerful agents that help me get out of my head, create a new perspective and land in my heart and soul.

No matter what life throws at you or whatever funk you find yourself in, you have the power to choose a different perspective. Which perspective do you choose today? I choose the one that empowers me and reminds me of all the things to be grateful for.

BE THE TUBE!

With Love and Gratitude,

Sonia

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Buy yourself flowers and chocolates! Not any chocolates……YOUR FAVORITES! Don’t
wait for someone else to do it for you. Many years ago, I decided that I loved having
fresh flowers in my house. I was not going to wait for the ONE DAY out of the year
when my husband was most likely to come home with a new orchid for me. I decided to
buy myself flowers and have done for years on a bi-weekly basis. It is very rare that
you walk into my house and not see a vase full of fresh flowers. It just puts a smile on
my face.

Valentine’s Day is coming up and for some of you, it’s just another day. For others, it
has soooo much meaning! I remember being in my 20’s and feeling devastated that I
did not receive any flowers or chocolates at my office. I would see deliveries come in
for others and think, “what is so wrong with me that no one sending me anything?” If I
was in a relationship at the time, I would have such high expectations of what that day
was suppose to be like and all that I envisioned my boyfriend “should” do for me!
Now that I’m older, Valentine’s Day does not have hold the same meaning anymore. It is
no longer a disappointment whether I am acknowledged that day or not. What does it
mean to you? Ask yourself these questions:

If I am in a committed and loving relationship, do I expect my partner to lavish me
with gifts or acts of kindness on Valentine’s Day?

If my expectations are not met, what do I make it mean about myself? What is your story?
(i.e. I’m unlovable, I’m unworthy, I don’t matter, I am not deserving, I’m invisible, I’m not good
enough, etc.) If you responded with any of the above, take the one statement that has the most
charge and then ask, “How and where do I treat myself in an unworthy way?” Make a
list of 3 things you do to yourself that feed into that story. Replace those 3 things or
behaviors with 3 self-love behaviors. Self-love can mean so many things. Acts of self-love are
different for everyone. Pick your top 3 and put them on your calendar during the month of
February and plan out how YOU want your Valentine’s Day to look like. Send yourself the
perfect card!!!! If your partner has never gotten it right on this day, just the way you would
like it, S-P-E-L-L I-T O-U-T for him or her! Unless you have major psychic abilities, he or
she CANNOT READ YOUR MIND!!! Ask for what you want and need. It does not have
to be an expensive gift. Acts of kindness or written words of love have much more
value.

AMP up the self-love in February but don’t let it stop here. Let this be the beginning of a
beautiful and loving relationship with yourself. After all, once you can have an amazing
relationship with yourself, you can have amazing relationships with others. Quick
story…..years ago, I felt like if I did not take some “me” time, I would have a nervous
breakdown. My kids were small at the time. My husband agreed to take them away on
vacation while I spent 2 1/2 days nourishing myself. I stayed on the beach, went to
yoga, had a massage and ayuvedic treatments, watched movies I WANTED to see at
night and ate foods that I LOVE but never have because the rest of my family does not
like them. I remember calling a girlfriend of mine and telling her all that I was doing.
She said, “It sounds like you are having a love affair with yourself!” “YES”, I said. “That
is exactly right.” What would the perfect love affair with yourself look like to you.
By the way, coming to a JourneyDance class or any conscious movement class in
your area would be one of the best self-love gifts you could give yourself this month.
Check out the schedule below.

Have a beautiful month and look forward to hearing about all the self-love you’ll be
giving yourself. Please go on FB and share what you did!!!!

Sending you all lots of love and a big hug!!!

Love,

Sonia

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New beginnings can be exciting or stressful. For many, the new year can be motivating, a new opportunity to finally reach certain goals and create that vision you have desired for so long of how you want your life to look like. For many others, the new year can be fearful, depressing and anxiety producing. Even though 2015 looked very promising a year ago, some of you will review the last 12 months with disappointment and feeling of having been defeated once again. Therefore, it can be daunting to imagine that 2016 will be any different. This will definitely zap your confidence away before you can even start imagining an amazing new year.

We don’t want that! So, let’s start 2016 differently. There are several things you can do to start this new year differently and feeling confident. First, you want to set yourself up to win and succeed. Before you even write down any goals, you want to review 2015 and change your perspective on it. If you had a great year, that is fabulous and you want to celebrate yourself for it. You can write a list of all the things you accomplished or feel good about that happened in 2015 and acknowledge yourself for having created your goals by celebrating. Do something special for yourself that means a lot to you or that is fun. It could be getting a massage, buying yourself a gift, going to a special restaurant, dancing with your favorite music or sending yourself a congratulation card! Remember that things you can acknowledge yourself for can include having reached a goal, having changed a behavior for the better, having improved your way of thinking, having lessen the negative internal dialogue, being more loving towards yourself or others, or having implemented more self-care. When creating your celebration, be creative and make it fun for YOU!

If 2015 was not so great, you want to review the year without beating yourself up. Write a minimum of 10 things you accomplished or feel grateful for. Look at all the things you can acknowledge yourself for that happened during the last 12 months. I promise there will be more than 10 but write at least 10 of them. Once you have made your list, write a letter of forgiveness to yourself for all the things you are still beating yourself up for or that you didn’t accomplish. Think of things you might feel shameful about, guilty about, or anything that you use against yourself to make yourself wrong or not good enough. Pretend that you are a child who did not get all the support, resources and love you needed in 2015 and write a letter from the perspective of a wise and loving parent, teacher or grand-parent. Have the wise adult tell the child that she did not have what was needed to create all of her goals or vision and that she is completely forgiven. Let the child know how loved and capable she is and that you, as the wise and loving adult, will be there for her in 2016 to support her the best way possible.

Once you have changed your perspective on 2015, and have forgiven yourself, you can now begin to create a new vision for 2016. In order to set yourself up to win and succeed, write down your goals by asking yourself the following questions:

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I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before, “Do not judge a book by its cover”. In one week, I have had three people tell me how healthy and great I look…..on the outside. I could say that I am good at fooling people as to what is really going on inside my physical body. This is one of the challenges people who live with MS (multiple sclerosis) have. More often than not, people do not know someone has MS unless they see some external sign such as limping, walking with a cane, dragging of the leg, lost of balance, or apparent brain fog. Trust me, no one with MS wants to be noticed for that.

When I tell people about all the symptoms I have to manage, they are shocked because they can’t visually see any of them. I even had someone say to me, “I don’t know what they told you you have, but you have more energy than most people I know.” I definitely have those moments where I am high energy, talk your ears off or dance my feet off, but I also have many moments where I can barely function. I can’t even put food on the table for my family because I’ve been hit with a bout of fatigue. The MS fatigue is not the typical midday tired feeling that many people get. It’s like being in a boxing fight where you have given everything you have and keep fighting because you want to win. But then comes that one blow to knock you out and you can’t get up from the canvas. The judge has counted down and announced you to be defeated.

I am not used to being knocked out. I trained in karate for eight years and earned a black belt.

I loved competing and usually came home with a trophy or medal. I still have the attitude of fighting hard, not giving up and powering through pain or tough times, but also, I have had to allow myself to feel defeated and weak. Notice, I said, allow myself to FEEL! Not become or be defeated or weak. All of us feel less than at some point or another, but we resist it. When you can allow yourself to feel the uncomfortable, the negative emotions, and know they will come and go like the waves in the ocean, it’s a lot easier. The perception we hold on those emotions and what we make it mean is what creates the most pain and suffering.

When I first found out I had MS, I fought through those many days of feeling like I couldn’t go on but kept going. One day, I had such bad fatigue and I needed to pick up my daughter and take her to gymnastics. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, and that day, no one could do it for me. I decided to stop at a gas station and buy a Red Bull. I had not had one of those in 17 years or so. Because I eat so healthy and do not like to put any chemicals in my body, getting a Red Bull was pure desperation on my part. I’ve never been a drug addict, but in that moment, I felt like what I think a heroine addict might feel like. I wanted something, just this once, to take my fatigue away and the emotional pain of feeling so incapable. I felt like I would have taken anything in that moment that would have given me that end result.

I was able to take my daughter to where she needed to go, but as soon as I got home, I slept for one hour. Can you imagine sleeping after drinking a ton of caffeine, taurine and B-12 vitamins? That is the difference between MS fatigue and just being tired. I’ve learned to slow down, take naps and be ok with not doing all that I set out to accomplish in one given day. I am one of the lucky ones who can take those naps when necessary, however, not everyone has that luxury.

Most people with MS do not do well when exposed to heat. Whether being outside in the hot sun or raising their body temperature through exercise affects any and all symptoms they have. For example, when I am outside in the heat, which is hard to me to avoid since I live in South FL, I start losing my balance and my eyesight is greatly affected. In addition, I sometimes have difficulty breathing and get burning sensations in my feet and legs. I have never ran a marathon, but running a few errands in South Florida can feel that way to me except that I don’t get the exhilarated satisfaction of having accomplished such a feat.

I don’t write blogs often, but I write when I feel compelled to share something that might give someone new awareness. The purpose of this blog is to educate those who don’t know a lot about MS and it’s also a great reminder to everyone to take back your projections, especially when you think the grass is greener on the other side! My grass may look green, but it’s often just an illusion. Comparing or thinking others are better off than you are is the biggest trap I know that will rob you of your self confidence and ability to keep you from being all of who you are capable of being. Water your own lawn and see how green you can make it!

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I was out picking blackberries yesterday and noticed how difficult it is to get to the big juicy berries without getting pricked by the thorns that the blackberry plants seems to proudly use as their protection. There are so many of them. There were times they had a hold of my shirt, pants and arm and I had to just pull hard to get out. It felt like I had 10 cats all over me using their claws to hang on to dear life!

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There are blackberries everywhere on the mountain where I spend my summers. So here are these plants filled with healthy berries rich in antioxidants and I am so excited but dislike the process. I began to look at the difficulty involved with picking them as a metaphor to life. As I was trying to get to the biggest and juiciest berry, I had to really maneuver with skills to avoid the thorns. It involved patience which is not my forte, especially when it comes to having something readily accessible and given as a gift from mother nature. All I thought about was how I wanted to fill up the container I brought so I can show off my pickings upon my return. I grew up in a part of Canada where blueberries grew wild all over……THOSE are my favorites! In addition, there’s NO THORNS involved! So, put me in a patch of wild blueberries and I feel like a kid in a candy store! Blackberries don’t have the same feeling because of the work involved and fear of getting pricked or captured by the thorns. However, they are still appealing enough for me to go through the pain of getting to them.

In life, there are people or situations that can feel the same. They feel like the thorns that are not pleasant to deal with in order to get to the outcome we want. How do we go about getting around the thorns without being uncomfortable or getting hurt? We can approach it in many ways. We can pick the berries that are on the outside of the bush and stay safe. Our other choice is to step out of our comfort zone by going in deeper into the plants where we might feel the prick of the thorns or have the thorns leave marks on our skin. The route with a bit of pain often gives us a much greater reward. How to you go after what you want? The safe way or the challenging way?

My experience of picking blackberries showed me that going deep into the plants, even though I was a bit fearful and uncomfortable, led me to the outcome I wanted which was to bring back the berries that were the sweetest. As I mentioned earlier, it required patience and maneuvering skills. I had to take my time, observe the way the branches were falling and slowly maneuver my hand so that it would not be stopped on its path by the thorns protecting the berries. I also thought as to why do these plants have thorns? Why do they need protection? I know that bears don’t let the thorns get in the way. I was a little resistant to mother nature as to the need for the thorns since the berries would fall to the ground anyways once over ripe and if not picked and eaten, would just dry up in the sun or return to the earth’s soil. So, why have thorns? Well, it’s not for me to question mother nature and just like in life, many of the thorns we encounter, we resist. It is the resistance of them that keeps us from getting to what we want. I decided to accept the beauty of the thorns and let them be a life lesson.

If there is something you want in your life, it probably means there are many challenges in getting it or else you would already have it. Do you let the thorns get in the way? Do you let lack of patience or skill get in the way? Or do you let fear get in the way? Good things sometimes come easy but great things require us to step out of our comfort zone, practice patience and acquire whatever skill we need to get there. By skill, I don’t necessarily mean going back to school, although it could mean that for you, but a life skill such as patience, stillness, moving slower and not being impulsive, or allowing yourself to feel a bit of the pain that comes with the challenge. Trust me, the thorns did get me but it didn’t stop me from getting the berries.

What do you allow to stop you in your life from getting to the berries? How much power do you give the thorns?

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Would being consistent at one thing boost your self confidence?

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In the world of medicine, mechanics, and technology, it seems like if we know the cause of a failed system, we can figure out how to fix it. I am not an expert in those areas, but from my own personal experiences, I know that when there’s been something wrong with my car and my computer, the experts always find the cause and fix the issue. As for medical issues, that is not always so clear cut. Medicine is often a rule out game. However, there are many things in medicine that have a solution when the cause is known.

What about self confidence? Self confidence is a feeling and a belief. It is not a mechanical part, however, if you know the cause of why it might be lacking, then why can’t you fix it? When it comes to human behaviors, emotions and perception, it’s not always that simple, or is it? I have noticed that many of my clients lack self confidence in one or more areas of their lives. If only they were consistent with a particular behavior or practice, they would boost their self confidence in no time and dramatically change their lives. The lack of consistency seems to be the main issue. That in itself can eat away at self confidence. Therefore, consistency is the mechanical part that is needed to fix the problem. Don’t you wish you had a consistency button or a consistency part that could be wired into your brain? You could just push it and just like a computer, when pushed, it would turn on. Unfortunately, we, humans are not designed that way.

So how do you activate this consistency button to boost your self confidence? Take the following steps and keep it simple.

1. Pick one thing, ONE THING ONLY, that you want to be consistent at (i.e. exercising, eating healthy, getting more sleep, meditating, spending time with loved one, writing, etc.)

2. Write down how this would change your life if you were to be consistent in this area for 21 days. Write out all the positive ways it would affect you or those around you. Be specific in how it would make you feel. Read it everyday! That means being consistent! Put it somewhere you will see it. Use large bright colored sticky notes and place it where you can’t miss it!

3. Create a consistency button out of paper or other materials and decorate it. Place it somewhere you can push it everyday.
Ask someone to hold you accountable. Don’t pick someone who is going to criticize you or make you feel bad if you miss a day. Pick someone who you know would lovingly support you in accomplishing this goal. You can ask them to check in with you daily via phone call, text, or email. You can ask someone to be your partner and do the activity together.

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4. You can set reminders on your smart phone or other items to remind you of your goal.

5. Lastly, if none of these work for you, I suggest you hire a coach.

6. Acknowledge yourself at the end of the day and set up a reward for being consistent that you can earn after being consistent for 3 days or more.

Good luck and let me know how you do!!! Would love to hear results of your consistency!

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WHAT KIND OF PRISON DOES SHAME AND GUILT KEEP YOU IN?

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Shame and guilt, these two emotions will rob you of all your confidence. You cannot feel confident when you feel shame or guilt. Those 2 emotions will keep you in the prison you have created in your mind. There is no escaping except to forgive yourself.

Forgiveness is the key to your freedom and regaining confidence. Someone shared with me a story about their friend who just got out of prison. He was incarcerated for 8 years for a crime that definitely required punishment. Now that he is out, he is trying to put his life back together, be a valuable member of society and be honest with himself and others. From what he said, he has embraced his darkness. He is no longer hiding it so that it doesn’t act out……because that is what the shadow does. If you deny, ignore, or shut away a dark part of yourself, it will come out at some point to cause you or others pain. He understands and described his past actions as evil. As a result, he hated himself for it. Time will tell if he has truly embraced his dark shadows. However, the one thing he shared was that he no longer hates himself.

That made me ponder. I thought it was fabulous that he doesn’t hate himself anymore even though I personally hate the crime he committed. Nonetheless, if he continued to hate himself, he would still be in prison. Not one with barbed wire and walls, but one of shame and guilt. You cannot be a valuable member of society if you live in the pool of shame and guilt. That pool only makes you drown in your smallness. It keeps you from sharing your gift with the world as everyone is unique and has something to share. In addition, it makes it hard to love. We cannot love others if we can’t love ourselves. We cannot love ourselves when we are filled with shame and guilt.

I have observed that most people have a much easier time forgiving others than themselves. However, forgiving yourself when something in your life has caused you shame and/or guilt, is absolutely necessary to swim forward and out of the pool! Maybe you like treading water, but it gets exhausting and you can’t do it forever.

Take some time this week to see if shame and/or guilt live in your thoughts and body. If you find some, take the time to journal. First, write about why you feel those emotions. Put it all out there on paper and because you have such shame around it, burn it after so that no one ever has to find it or read it. Once you have acknowledged it, then write a letter to the shame and guilt and tell those emotions why you don’t need them anymore and how they are robbing you of the life you want and deserve. Lastly, write a letter of forgiveness to yourself. If you cannot do that, write a letter of forgiveness to yourself from someone else’s perspective. What would your best friend say to you? Pick someone who believes in you and write it from their perspective of how you should be forgiven.

Have a forgiving week!

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Year 2015 is here!

Do you want 2015 to be YOUR year?

I love new beginnings and letting go of the past.

However, new beginnings can also create anxiety, overwhelmingness, and fear.

So many of us make new year resolutions, vision maps, set goals and make promises to ourselves that this is going to be the year! Several days, weeks, or months go by and we feel disappointed, depressed, unmotivated or defeated.

I believe it’s easy to envision and set goals. The challenging part is following through.

You might feel excited and believe that you will manifest your desires.

However, that little voice in your head says, “Are you really going to do it this year? You know, you won’t. You’ve tried in the past and it hasn’...

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If you want to be happy, feel alive and realize your dreams, you have to take risks and be willing to be vulnerable.

Do you want to get off on a good start this coming new year? Isn’t it time you actually create what you truly desire? Gift yourself the gift of hiring a coach to support you, guide you and hold you accountable for 2014. Make it a year where you will look back at the resolutions you wrote and say “YEAH, I did it!”

You know Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity……”doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

DONT BE INSANE THIS COMING YEAR!

The first 5 people to inquire about transformational coaching will receive a free 30 minute coaching session and 50% off your first 2 months of coaching . This is my gift to you!

YOU DESERVE IT!

With Love and Gratitude,

Sonia Hankin, LMHC, CMIC

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