True Acknowledgements, 3 words

For a moment, just pause.

STOP and reflect

When was the last time you really acknowledged someone for who they are? Not their accomplishments, but just for who they are in their truest essence.

Now, think... When was the last time someone did this for you?

The other day it hit me... We rarely do this for each other. We often forget the power of a few simple words like "you are strong or brave or gracious" - instead we use fillers like "good job on that project or congratulations on that promotion" or we simply don't say anything as we feel too uncomfortable and vulnerable to do so.

My invitation to you:

Acknowledge someone today, tomorrow and the day after - keep going.

Notice what happens within them and within you.

You get to be a catalyst of change! You get to model what you want to see more of…

It's YOUR JOB!

All it requires is for you to slow down enough to fully notice the people around you:

Who are they being in the world?

Open your mouth, use 3 words: “You are xxx.”

This requires vulnerability, bravery and effort - just like anything else - the more you do it, the easier it will become.

What are you waiting for?

How many people can you touch today? Tomorrow? This week?

Blessings, Peace & Love. Happy Thanksgiving,

~ Marie

The road to happiness...

In my coaching work, a pretty standard, yet profound question I ask is:

“What do you REALLY want?” – and the answer I often receive is “I just want to be happy.”  So what is happiness, really? What does make us happy? And how do we know when we have reached a state of happiness?

As humans we are conditioned from a young age to think “when I reach that next point, when I receive that promotion, when I make x amount of dollars, when I lose the extra 8 lbs. – THEN I will be happy."

But all positive psychology research points us in another direction:

That we must CHOOSE happiness, optimism and gratitude.

And that once we do so, the success that we often strive for, will follow.

I recently heard Harvard trained Positive Psychology researcher, Shawn Achor, quote the ancient Greeks: “Happiness is the joy we feel striving for our potential” – in other words – happiness is in the process, it’s in the journey.

Our minds are quite sophisticated and sneaky… when we reach our goals (that we believe will be the doorway to happiness) our minds will automatically create the next thing to work towards. Therefore our definition of success cannot be tied to our happiness as we are always naturally in transition.

What do you imagine that true happiness would look like for you? What would be different?

For the next 21 days, I encourage you to join me in a gratitude challenge!

Every day, write down 3 things that you are grateful for. 3 new things each day. It can be as simple as “the sunshine on my face” – “the roses in my garden” – “my cup of morning coffee” – there are no rules, just whatever comes to your mind as you focus on cultivating gratitude.

In 21 days, I invite you to reach out to me to let me know how you feel. Let’s me know what’s changed for you, if anything?

Have fun with it!

Xo, Marie 

 

Failures are just stepping-stones...

Let me start off by saying that this is a journey. Not an easy one that is.

I remember sitting in my 2nd grade classroom and I was asked to read aloud. This was a nightmare for me. I had to reveal to my fellow students that I wasn’t the best reader in the world (duh, I was in the 2nd grade!) and I must have refused because not long after this I was sent to a special ed teacher as my teacher thought that maybe I couldn’t read at all. She suspected that I was dyslexic. This was not true, but what was true, was that I felt so uncomfortable with not being able to do it perfectly.

This and many other similar scenarios haunted me for years.

Not being GREAT at EVERYTHING wasn’t good enough.

This led me to believe that not trying often was better than trying and failing. It wasn’t until I was much older that I could put this into a different perspective.

I didn’t see life inside the box, I saw life outside the box. I still do.

So many kids feel like I did. We are not taught nor do we teach our younger generation that failing actually means steps towards success. Failing is ok because in the failing lies the best and most profound opportunities for learning.

Life is a long line of failures. And great successes.

We choose where we place our attention and we choose the significance of our failures and our successes.

My longing for you is that you look at what you do well and place your focus there. When you fail, choose to “fail forward” – fall and fail – but don’t fall backwards. Failures are just stepping-stones on your journey.

You don’t have to be perfect nor do you have to do everything perfectly.

The way I see this is that the world needs the real you. The imperfectly perfect YOU.

The world doesn’t need billions of people who think alike, look alike and act alike.

No, we don’t need that!

We need creative, unique, critical minds that are taught to learn from their shortcomings and celebrate it as part of them as whole humans.

Be & Love Yourself!

Love & Light, 

Marie 

 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness; a strong, powerful word.

Today is a day where we celebrate a man who was a great leader, activist, pastor & speaker, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Browsing through his words of wisdom, I came across one quote, perhaps simple, but one that holds so much truth.

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”

Dr. King was a true example of this, he lead with kindness & forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a conscious choice that we must make every day, even when we don’t feel like it. We must choose to see the glass half full instead of half empty. When we are able to forgive we can see the bigger picture. I have a strong belief - and many of you may disagree here! - That (almost) everything happens for a reason. We are granted experiences in life that we must learn from and grow from. Learning to forgive is one of those many life lessons.

I myself have had to learn & choose forgiveness. 

When we feel that our hearts have been violated, our natural tendency is to close up, to not trust. To protect ourselves from the dangers that can be inflicted upon us by others.

But here is the thing… there is power in forgiveness. When we forgive, we release energy. We set something or someone free.

Most importantly we set ourselves free.

Love, Light & Gratitude,

Marie 

 

Energy... a beautiful rainbow.

I recently received a question from a fellow coach:

“How do you know who inspire you?"

This really got me thinking, because how do we pinpoint who we are attracted to? And what is “that thing” which draw us closer to certain people?

I think the answer is simple. To me, it’s all about energy.

Energy is what makes up the world.

Energy is like Rays of light. Rays of connection. Rays of love. Rays of warmth.

When meeting new people, I believe energy is “that thing” to draw us closer or to pull us apart.

Do you know the feeling of meeting someone with a great sense of humor, kind eyes or an inviting smile?

What makes you want to initiate contact?

My guess is it’s probably ENERGY… your intuition telling you there is something there for you to explore.

I like to think of energy like shades of color – a beautiful rainbow – there is a shade of your energy that matches a shade of their energy. Often there is a subconscious alignment; a feeling of ease or excitement. Some of the shades match up: a soft blue will pair beautifully with lilac or bright red and orange will be the perfect match. 

Next time you have the opportunity to interact with strangers, be mindful of this. Ask yourself: “What is “that thing” for me?”

In connection to this, I also want to touch on something else that is indeed a reality when talking about energy.

There is also “bad” energy… or at least energy that just doesn’t match yours. We should be aware of this, tune in, and look for the shades – and don’t waste your time if your intuition tells you it isn’t worth exploring.

As the year is coming to an end, my hope for all of us is that we can keep this close to our hearts - and step into a place of intuition and trust within ourselves.

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

With Love, 

Marie 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saying No...

This week I found myself inspired by one particular theme:

The ability to say no.

Lately I have been listening (obsessively) to my new favorite podcast on NPR “Dear Sugars” with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond. On one episode they interviewed Oprah on this topic, and she shared with the listeners how learning to say no had helped her develop a stronger sense of self.  

What often happens for so many of us is that we put ourselves last – and believe me, I know this, because I am a major people pleaser. We worry about doing good for others before doing good for ourselves… and that doesn’t really work too well, does it!?

In connection to this I think of a message we have all heard before take-off on an airplane: “Please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others” – and yes, even children.

Because in order for us to show up fully alive, we must understand the importance of setting boundaries for ourselves.

We must understand that we are valuable. We are precious. We deserve to take care of ourselves – because, really: who else will? If we are always saying yes to the wrong things, we just end up frustrated, angry and drained. The time we spend doing the things we don’t want to be doing, could have been well spent on something else.

So when we chose to say no to something or someone, we are also saying yes to something else… Perhaps that’s yes to more time for self-care; that extra hour of sleep you had been dreaming of or a walk on the beach - or simply just time to take care of chores that will make your life run more smoothly…

Whatever it may be, know that YOU deserve that time.

I invite you to make a list:

On one side write down the things you must say no to.

And then on the other side write down the things that you WANT to say yes to, now that you have chosen to say no in other areas.

I know this takes practice, and for most of us, it doesn’t come easily… I believe this is a process of baby steps - the more we say no to the things that we don’t want to do, the more we can say yes when we really mean YES.

Identifying why you are doing something is a good first step. Are you saying yes because you truly care for a particular cause or person, or are you just saying yes because you feel "pressured" or perhaps afraid of what the other person will think of you when you say no…? Take a moment to identify what's at the heart of it for you.  

Earlier today I talked to my parents in Denmark, I excitedly told them about my week and my idea for this blogpost. My dad shared with me a story about the world’s oldest blogger, a Swedish lady named Dagny Carlsson, 104 years old. Very intrigued by the pieces my dad shared, I did a little research on her. As a young woman she had never learned to say no: she had experienced an abusive childhood and later an abusive marriage. One day she realized that the life she was living was not the life she knew she was meant for - and she finally, perhaps for the first time ever - said no. With that came new opportunities, a new marriage later in life (she refers to her, now late, husband as a dancing god) - and with her awakened sense of curiosity she learned about computers at the ripe age of 99. By the age of 100 she was officially the world’s oldest blogger.

Dagny chose to say no to circumstances and a life that no longer served her, and she said yes to a life of joy & fulfillment. A life on her terms. And thereby proved that this is an option available to all of us throughout life, regardless of age.

I find that rather encouraging and, I hope you will too.

Love & Light,

Marie 

 

Holiday Thoughts!

This week is a week of giving thanks. A time to connect with your loved ones, a time to count your blessings and return to the essence of why we are all here: To be of service to one another. To give and receive love and kindness.

But somehow there is also a different truth connected to The Holidays. For myself, I know this to be a time of old stories surfacing. There is no other time of the year than this that puts us right back into the mind of our 12 year old selves. 

In the mind of my 12 year old self, I had so many expectations about what I wanted The Holidays to look like. To feel like. To sound like.

Mostly, it turned out to be nothing like I had expected it to be.

Family dynamics tend to show during The Holidays... and quite frankly it can be stressful knowing how to navigate this web of dynamics. And I say web, because much like a spider web, this has a tendency to make us feel like we are caught in a sticky mess... And often we feel as if we can't break free from this. 

For many of us, this time is also connected to anxiety. For some, this can almost manifest itself physically. We feel tired, drained and ill even before it all has begun. 

What if this year could be different for you? 

If you could set an intention for yourself for this Holiday season, what would it be? What would be the new lens through which you would experience this? 

By doing this, YOU get to choose how to feel and how YOU will show up. 

Here are a few helpful tips for you as you enter into tomorrow and the next month of parties, family gatherings and commitments.

- Identify your current Perspective from which you view The Holidays (Perhaps your Perspective is 'stressful', 'anxious' or 'torn').

- Now think of a few other Perspectives that would better serve you (It could be your favorite beach, the Perspective of a laughing child or your favorite color). 

- Ask yourself: Who am I in these Perspectives?

- What's different 'here' as I think of The Holidays?

- What does my body feel like here? (Thoughts could be: Here I am kinder to myself and others. Here I feel more relaxed when I think of The Holidays. Here I notice my breath being deeper etc.).  

- Then choose your new perspective to stand in. From here, ask yourself: Who will I be? What will I do/say differently this season? 

All of this might sound abstract, or to some, silly. But it works. 

So when you feel the old stories and anxiety surfacing again: Pause! And THEN really breathe and lean into this new place in your mind.

Repeat as many times as necessary. 

I wish you and your families love, light and kindness on this Thanksgiving. 

May your hearts be blessed and your bellies be full. 

Warmly, 

Marie 

Am I overly procrastinating?

This last month has been a big hard-to-define blur to me.

Know that feeling?

I have had a constant feeling of ‘procrastinating’ – like I’m at a standstill – I know where I need to go, I know what I need to do, but can’t find my way there.

I’m in the middle of certification, my grandfather died and I went home for a week+, we have had house guests and I just can’t seem to find my ‘groove’ again. 

I think a perfect metaphor would be a maze. I’m in the maze and can’t find my way out. Of course there’s a way, of course there is. I can almost smell it, see it, sense it – but I just can’t get there.

Yesterday I decided to look into the science behind this as I thought maybe there is something deeper to this feeling… perhaps a link between creativity and procrastination.

Sure enough, I came across a TED Talk by professor of psychology Adam Grant, and his studies show that people who moderately procrastinate are 16% more creative than pre-crastinators (his term for the opposite).

In fact some of the greatest originals of all times – Edison, Bach, and Mozart e.g. - were procrastinators, according to Professor Grant. And in their times of procrastination new ideas were born, lots of them. Some worked, most didn’t - but they never quit.

These days I tend to daydream A LOT... am I overly procrastinating, or am I just practicing the moderate ‘16% version’?

Well, I can’t stop obsessing over our upcoming Mexican vacation, though it's still 4 months out. It’s the kind of trip that my husband and I never got to take after our wedding. I also think about starting a family and buying a house. I imagine what I want my coaching practice to look like, feel like and what I’ll be doing there. What kind of clients I’ll be working with, the seminars I’ll be speaking at, the workshops I’ll be hosting. This is a vision that’s shaping up in my mind – it’s beautiful – it’s rich, yet I can’t stop beating myself up over how much more productive I “should” be.

I find myself going in circles and in that head space I’m not the nicest and easiest to myself. You been there too?

Why don’t we give ourselves some leeway and allow ourselves to step into this seemingly gray zone. It involves stumbling, fumbling and moments of feeling unsure of one self, and yet a lot of goodness can happen here.

To me, this seems to be the beauty of 'moderate procrastination'.

Sending Sunshine,

Marie

 

 

Working the dough by the grace of God...

These past few weeks have been emotional for me to say the least.

My grandfather’s health was declining and it was becoming evident that he didn’t have much time left. I received disheartening news:

And there I was 3705.4 miles away – just to be exact – and it is during times like this where I feel far, far away from my roots.

I was following the process of my grandfather, the old baker, slipping further and further away. I of course could not physically be present for this – so saying goodbye was something I did in my heart knowing that he was ready to be at peace.

Finally on a Friday he slipped away into the land of Gods, spirits or who knows where. I’m hoping it’s a place of happiness, butter cookies, love and delicious pastries.

I was, again, confronted with the reality of living on the other side of the world. Living in a place that I now call “home”, yet I also have another “home”, my home country, Denmark.

I jumped on a plane to participate in the funeral and family gatherings as the thought of not participating just didn’t sit well with me.

I was reminded of the importance of family – of coming together to celebrate - whether it be a new life or the end of a life.

Being there with my family reconnected me to what I truly believe is most vital:

Family, Love & Connection – and I was honored to be reminded of my roots – of the legacy that my grandfather and late grandmother left behind.

During the service the minister talked about how my grandparents had created a home full of love, diversity, adventure and acceptance. A home that welcomed artists, the homeless, and the wealthy – no one was too big, too small, too important or not important enough to be welcomed with open arms and hearts.

I have many fond memories of my grandfather – most of which revolve around bread and pastries. Every Tuesday afternoon he would pick my sister and me up from school and per our request we would make homemade pizzas. I vividly remember his big hands working the dough – his hands were abnormally big – almost like backhoe shovels. Yet, his attention to detail (also the very refined!) was impeccable.

As I reflect upon my grandfather’s life and career I believe the most central part of his life was his profession. He shared the business with my grandmother and honestly I believe they had one simple hope and goal with their business:

To bring people together through bread, pastries and cakes.

Think of every country you have ever visited… What’s a place we always turn to for comfort in taste and smells? The Bakery! It’s a central part of so many cultures – it’s universal. It has no language. No color. No religion.

During my grandfather’s last days he asked my mother “Can you please help me cross over…? I don’t have an agreement worked out with God”.

I don’t think he had a problem though. In my opinion my grandfather served *God* every day through his profession. He was a baker by the grace of God. He was not a religious man, however, he always pointed out that the only profession mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer was his.

I cried when I heard that he had passed away at 88. That night I had a dream which made me wake up smiling:

I dreamt that granddad crossed over, gently flying away… on a puff pastry.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Compelling Future.

Sometimes we need to do little, just reflect.

I would invite you to make today such a day. 

Find a comfortable place to sit down, a chair, the couch or even the floor. 

Feel your body grounded in the seat from your feet all the way up your legs, spine and to the top of your head. Breathe and notice the sensations in your body as you continue to breathe - and reflect on the following questions:

- What are your dreams for the next 3 years? Please do not get practical here, this is a space of allowing your mind to create the most compelling vision for you. 

- What's there?

- What do you see, sense and notice? 

Choose one area of your vision that speaks to you the most e.g. your romantic relationship, business, health or finances. 

- Who are you being in this area of your life? Where are you? 

Perhaps in a new office surrounded by a team of employees, in a brand new beautiful home surrounded by loved ones or on a beach with your spouse. 

- What's different for you? 

Lastly, what will you do to get one step closer to your vision?

Although we do not have the power to foresee every bump and obstacle ahead, I believe that by creating a vision we train our minds in a way that strengthens and prepares us for the challenges we might meet on the journey to living our vision. 

I can attest to the fact that the road can be bumpy, but those challenges are - in a way - part of the vision as you push through them and in the end you come out stronger, more resilient and much wiser. 

You might say "but I don't know what my vision is"... In that case I will 'push back' and say that I believe you do.

One of the tenets in Co-active coaching is that all people are naturally creative, resourceful and whole. The challenge lies in mobilizing whatever courage it takes to put these natural resources to work. 

You have everything required to make your vision a reality. 

With Love, 

Marie 

 

 

 

 

  

Surround yourself with goodness, Sista.

As I reflect on topics for the blog, I try to gather and pull inspiration from my own personal life.

A topic that has been present for me lately is the importance of female friendships – the importance of who we surround ourselves with and how those relationships affect our lives.

I like to think of my friends as sisters. I have a sister and she can never be replaced, but holding my girlfriends as “sisters” helps me to recognize that we are part of something greater than ourselves: a sisterhood where we do our best to hold each other up.

For me personally, these positive relationships feed my soul, inspire and empower me and this is crucial for my existence. I recently re-listened to a conversation on “The next generation of women” between former First Lady Michelle Obama and my ultimate female inspiration, Oprah Winfrey.

There were so many nuggets of wisdom in this interview that I had missed the first time around - Michelle said something that truly resonated with me: “Surround yourself with goodness”.

I have come to realize that when we are determined to do our inner work, when we know our own worth and value, then we give off a certain energetic vibration and in return we attract likeminded people. We reap what we sow.

It’s our obligation – and privilege – to find those people, and make room for those positive connections that are of true value to our mutual existence and wellbeing.

All relationships are different. As an adult I have really come to understand and treasure the diversity of my female friendships and I love how every single friendship and connection serve me in different ways. In return, I also know that I fulfill a variety of roles for my friends.

Surround yourself with goodness, be the best sister you can be for others.

Expect nothing less in return.

Warmly, 

Marie 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purposeful Living...

A few days ago I asked my husband if he had thoughts on topics for the blog or any pieces of inspiration for me. He answered 'purpose' – how to live and act from a place of being connected to your purpose and the higher meaning of your life. 

'Intention' – 'meaning' – 'purpose' –  

These are all terms that I often hear in my realm of work. 

But how do we apply this? 

I went on to ask my Mother – a clinical psychologist – if she would define this for me.

“Meaningful living” was the term she used and her words of wisdom were simple:

That there is no protocol or formula to a meaningful life. However, it is what we as humans strive for.

My Mother, Kirsten, said that she believes that we first and foremost must stay engaged and remember to not take life too seriously: have fun, laugh and enjoy!  

She believes that by staying engaged we will find purpose and meaning in the little joys and tasks of life...

As a business owner you might find meaning in spending 15 hours a day growing your business, or as a mother taking a nap with your baby might be the most meaningful moment of your day – whatever it may be – look for the meaning and you will find it! 

She also mentioned the word 'service' – this came as no surprise as my Mother is one of the most giving, generous and service-oriented people I know. Sometimes, especially during hardship, she believes that if we focus outward and keep an intention of being of service, we can end up with newfound wisdom and meaning.

Intent, purpose and meaning is different for all of us. As long as we do what we do with kindness, compassion and engagement – all seasons of life can be meaningful. It doesn’t mean that every minute of every day will feel as if it makes sense – but if we focus on the bigger vision – ultimately we will find the meaning.

I believe there are several valuable questions to ask yourself in order to feel connected to your purpose.

Who am I?

What do I want from life?

How can I be of service to others?

AND REMEMBER there are no right or wrong answers. Our Life Purpose will change, develop and grow just as we do as individuals. 

Life is nothing but endless seasons: winter, spring, summer & fall. Every season is different. 

Xo, Marie 

Owning my pride...

You have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world
— Oprah Winfrey

This may be my most vulnerable post thus far. 

Last week I had my bi-weekly coaching session with my own coach, Erin. The topic of our conversation shifted – and we ended up discussing 'pride' in connection to “not walking the straight path”. Erin challenged me to write about 'owning my pride'. I felt my heart skip a beat in that moment, but accepted the challenge with great anticipation and a bit of nerves.

So what does ‘owning my pride’ mean and how is life different once you do so?

Well… For me, owning my story and being proud has been, and continues to be, a journey.

I was born an “old soul”. The day I was born my grandmother looked at mom and said “I think she has been here before” – that innate wisdom and knowing, I believe has always been a part of me, my story - and as a result - my path.

I was also always extremely restless.

Looking back at the course of my childhood, adolescence and now adult life – I realize that I have always been searching. I know now that I have been searching for purpose. Once I stepped into a more genuine version of myself, one that is in alignment with my purpose that became clearer to me.

I am a firm believer that there are no wrong paths. I believe our job on earth is to be curious, chase the signs of the universe and to not be afraid. There were many times where I felt lost, off path and purpose, but I always believed that I would end up in the right direction as long as I stayed open, and willing to learn from the mistakes I made along the way. This I am proud of.

There is so much wisdom to be extracted from all experiences, especially those that are difficult. This is where the most sacred learning takes place.

I have failed many times, but now looking back I know that I failed because I wasn’t where I was meant to be.

I started Culinary School and I was fortunate enough to have some incredible experiences. I lived in France for a while and worked under a renowned female chef. Here I developed my eye for detail, I learned that running your own business requires hard work, drive and an immense amount of dedication. Later I came to The US where I worked in a fine dining establishment driven and inspired by the 4 New England seasons, finesse & presentation - classic dishes served in deconstructed and modernized ways. Throughout my years of working behind the line I became more disciplined in my way of working – I learned to perform knowing you have a deadline ahead – all skills that serve me well today. I also learned that my heart was pulling me in a different direction: the direction of my husband. Although being a chef was not my purpose on earth, I took away so much knowledge, wisdom and many skills. This is wouldn’t trade for anything.

All of this brought me to my next phase of business: culinary walking tours. First as an employee and later as a business owner. My greatest takeaway from my time doing tours was the gift of connection, public speaking and ultimately the epiphany that I wanted to become a Life Coach. To use my story as a platform to inspire others to live out their dreams and connect with their purpose.

My point of all of this is that I am proud to say that I have not walked the straight path and because of that I now have wisdom, strength, resilience and pride that is unique to me.

I am a coach, a blogger, a thinker, a communicator, a catalyst & guide, a cook, a traveler, an expat, a wife, a daughter, a sister and friend – all of this I am proud of. Life is multidimensional. So are we as humans. No degree, job title, school or the place you live will define you as a whole person. 

Your story is your strength. 

With Love, 

Marie 

 

 

 

 

 

Vulnerability & Connection - "hand in hand"

This past week I spent a lot of time contemplating and reflecting on what to write for the next post. I wanted to have it ready for Wednesday morning as I usually do, but this week that just didn’t happen for various reasons. Guilt kicked in and I was hard on myself for a moment, frustrated that I had not been able to live up to my own expectations. I had to remind myself that writing is a creative process and the process is different each and every time. 

Most days I listen to podcasts, interviews, YouTube videos – something of inspiration and value in connection to my work as a coach. This week I went back to a theme that has been on my mind a lot lately – “Vulnerability”. Brene Brown – author, speaker and research professor at the University of Houston - came to my mind as she is masterful on this particular topic. Another source of inspiration that I thought of was business man Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World and also star of CNBC’s show “The Profit”. Earlier this summer I witnessed him live at a seminar in Boston. I had no expectations going into it, but his message resonated - that forging those valuable and sustainable connections we all need totally hinges on our willingness to share our vulnerability. 

He shared a very real and raw story from his past – and in an instant he was connecting with the audience. He had the courage to be vulnerable and he proved right there in front of 10.000 people that connection stems from vulnerability. Out of all the speakers – including Tony Robbins – he was by far the most willing to let the audience see him in his true essence.

This week I was interviewed for a podcast (more details to follow soon). The theme around the podcast is that we as humans use a lot of “filters” to hide behind. I shared my story and I centered it on “not walking the straight path”. I had done some thinking on this prior to the interview, but most of the questions and my answers reflected that moment in time.

I heard myself say “courage is vulnerability and vulnerability is courage” – the two go “hand in hand” and simply cannot exist without the other.

In order for us to connect with people – whether it be in our personal lives or in business – we must allow ourselves to open up, to share our stories, to show the world all of the uniqueness of who we truly are.

It seems to me that fear is the filter that gets in our way. The filter we hide behind.

Love & Light, 

Marie 

 

 

 

 

The Naysayers!

How do we deal with the naysayers? The people who try to crush our dreams and discourage us from pursuing what's in our hearts. 

This is a phenomenon that is familiar to all of us. 

I recall being a young girl with one BIG dream, to move to America one day. I remember it like it was yesterday, the day I stepped onto american ground for the first at 14 years old. Something "clicked" - I had found that place that I would one day call home. 

I knew this at 14 and that feeling never left me. I have many times tried to describe 'this feeling' and what it was that I found, and still to this day find to be so fascinating about this place. I know it now, it's freedom. Freedom to dream big. Freedom to be unapologetic about who I am.  

As my dream grew stronger, so did the presence of the naysayers. 

If you are an artist, an entrepreneur, a dreamer, a visionary of sorts - then you will at some point encounter the "naysayers". The spectrum is wide, some will believe you are utterly insane and others will be quiet, but show you in their tone and demeanor that they do not support and believe what's in your heart.

As I have grown older and wiser (or so I would like to think!) - I have come to the conclusion that the naysayers are triggered by other peoples courage to dream. To fail and rise again. To not put fear first, but to hold their dreams and visions as sacred. 

Often we as humans tend to project our fears upon others. Perhaps it's fear of the unknown, fear of failure or fear of being true to ourselves. 

I have - almost always - trusted my intuition and I have made many decisions that to the outside world seemed "not thought through" or too risky. To me they never were... Every decision and every experience were stepping-stones, all pieces of this puzzle that has made up my life. 

Over time I have realized that the naysayers will not go away and will not stop projecting their fears upon you. But you have the ability to choose how to respond to them and also the ability to control who you welcome into your universe. 

When this comes up for you, I think an important question to ask yourself is "Who is this person to me - and 'should' I listen to his/her opinion"? 

I strongly believe that the next step is to look at your relationships and ask yourself: "Who do I turn to for honest support"? - "Who will cheer me on and also help me to put my decisions into perspective"? 

YOU have the power of choosing who you will share what with. 

Don't ever stop dreaming big. If you fail, it is just another opportunity for you to rise up again even stronger. 

Warmly, 

Marie

 

 

 

The beauty of slowing down...

What does 'slowing down' actually mean and how can we benefit from it? 

We live in a society where we are put under a microscope - we tend to compare ourselves with our peers and we are always held to high standards. If we appear to be busy, it must equal success and happiness. But is that really true? Or perhaps just an illusion we have created? 

I find that society will hold us as "lazy" if we are not constantly working and 'on the go'.

What if we were to reverse the two? 

I believe that slowing down can actually re-energize us, bring us new perspective, and it just may be, that we would be much more creative and productive as a result.

I vividly remember my transition into American culture. I say this still with gratitude in my heart as I am - and most likely will forever be - an “American” girl. One of the first things I remember making notice of is how fast paced life is… Produce more, make more money, there is always a task ahead of you still waiting to be completed. Having coffee with a friend takes 45 minutes and not 3 hours. This was quite the transition for a European girl who likes to savor all the little joys of life.

But if our minds are always preoccupied with tasks and there is no space for reflection and 'being' - then I believe we will easily fail to listen and to be present in our own lives.

In the process of becoming a coach I have found myself feeling more productive and focused. However, a lot less stressed than previously.  This continues to be a joyous process for me as it’s no secret that I can be scattered and easily get distracted.

To me a big part of being coached and coaching others is learning to slow down and be fully present with another human being. Learning to really listen, also to the words unspoken. Just one of the many benefits from coaching in my opinion. 

So what can you do to slow down?

Here we can of course talk about meditation, yoga and mindfulness – but how about keeping it simple and connecting to what matters most to you. Let’s connect you to your core values! What do you enjoy? What’s important to you? 

Here are a few examples for me:

Freedom - Variety - Connection

I love to travel and take getaways - this always makes me feel connected to all the values I treasure – just as I love to make a change of scenery in my daily life by taking a drive without having a destination, going to dinner in another town or at a new restaurant or spending evenings at the beach. Being outside in nature is also a simple way to connect with my freedom value - it can be as easy as going for a run, taking a walk or doing a guided meditation in my yard. I love hosting dinner parties for friends and having date nights with my husband – both great ways to honor the importance of connection.

I challenge you to set aside time every day to honor some of Your Values:

It can be 20 minutes or two hours. It doesn’t matter much. Taking the time to enjoy the beauty of your life and honoring what’s important to you, that to me, is what’s at the core of slowing down.

I hope that in the process you will begin to feel more energized by tapping into this source – and feel more connected to yourself and your life. Life is not happening to us, but for us.

Love & Light,

Marie

 

 

 

 

 

Listening to your heart...

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
— Albert Einstein

I believe that most of us know the feeling of being torn between intellect and intuition. 

In the coaching world we often refer to this intuition and inner wisdom as our "captain" or "inner leader" - the voice within you that ultimately knows what's best for you. The positive voice that guides you to your fullest expression of yourself. 

Sadly, so many of us have been conditioned to look outward and not inward for wisdom and answers. 

I firmly believe that we all embody innate wisdom. For some of us, the channel to the wisdom might come more freely than for others. It has never left us and will never leave us. 

Often times we ignore what our "inner leader" is telling us as the "inner leader" is the purest reflection of our heart. Listening to what our heart is telling us can be scary. For many people, it's too far outside of their comfort zones... But what would happen if we started to listen? 

I find that the body is a great first place to look. What is your body trying to tell you when making a decision? What are you sensing?

I invite you to reflect on the following: 

- What would be different in your life if you started trusting your "inner leader"? 

- What's the worst that could happen? 

- What about this is important to you? 

If we try to intellectualize and over evaluate/analyze when making decisions then I'm afraid that we will miss out on some of the most precious and exciting opportunities. Open up your heart - and you will see that new things will begin to unfold right there in front of you.

Warmly, Marie 

 

Let's get started!

The blog is intended as a place where you can go to read some of my daily reflections. I hope that some of it - or all of it - will resonate with you, inspire you or simply remind you that you are not alone with your thoughts and feelings. 

These past years have been quite the roller coaster ride for me. I have gone through lots of trials and tribulations, many ups and downs. 

Back in the fall of 2015, I found myself in the thick of things. I was running a business I no longer enjoyed, where I wasn't being compensated for my time and where I didn't feel like I was fully living my purpose (not that I had all that much clarity around my life purpose at that time, but anyway - you sort of get the point). My husband had made a shift in his career and was struggling with the change, we were running short on money - and suddenly I felt like everything was crashing down in front of my eyes. 

Have you been there too? 

I had to dig deep to learn from this... I came to the conclusion that I had been asking the Universe the wrong questions all along. I was asking questions like "Why me?" - "Why is this happening?" & "Will we ever be ok?". Instead of asking questions and using affirmations such as "What's the good in this?", "What can we learn from this?" - "We will be great" & "This too shall pass". 

I had become my thoughts. I was anxious, nervous and sad. Uncertainty was constantly present for me, and maybe for the first time ever, I was longing for certainty. 

I started working with a coach and in the process I started learning more about myself and the areas of my life I had been avoiding. One day she said to me "It sounds like you value certainty over variety and freedom" (some of my top values). 

I knew that wasn't me, even just hearing the words made me feel like I wanted to prove her wrong. In some odd way, it provoked me to think: "No, this is not true about myself, and I will NOT allow for others to perceive me in such a way". 

I slowly started shifting my questions, and in the process I was reminded that all bad things always come to an end. 

These past years I have gone from feeling lost and unclear about my life purpose to now feeling many steps closer to living my vision - a vision I had only dared to dream. Actually, I'm humbled to be reminded that all challenges are presented to us for a reason. If we look closely we can find something valuable, a lesson we must learn or a new take-away from all of life's encounters. Sometimes, being uncomfortable will push us closer to our dream, as we are forced to make changes and take steps towards change.