Book Club Night

Have you read or thought about reading Martha Beck's new book, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World? I devoured it and then went back for seconds and thirds. The book is about uncovering your true nature to let it direct your choices.  To give you a taste, you'll find these two questions on the back cover:

Question 1: How the hell did I get here?

Question 2: What the hell should I do now?

I am hosting a "Book Club Night" at my house in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 22nd to dig deeper into this book and you are invited. We will discuss and practice exercises in the book, eat yummy food, sip wine, try green smoothies and leave with goodie bags (and hopefully a peaceful, connected perspective).

More details are found here on my website. Interested? Questions? Just e-mail me.

 

What's Next For You?

In case you are subscribed to my blog, but not my newsletter, here is the February newsletter. It's chock full of practical relationship advice and new offerings including a way to figure out What's Next and a Book Club Night that includes green smoothies and goodie bags.

Life Tips for O Magazine

I'm always excited to receive an e-mail from O Magazine (who, by the way, seems to employ only very nice people). When the marketing director asked if I would like to write tips for a Phillips advertorial, of course I was in. The guidelines were: 5 tips on living a more fulfilling and thoughtful life. I tried to capture the most helpful advice I give clients and myself - little things that make a big impact.  If you have the November issue of O Magazine, you can scan the bar code (with a "QR code reader") to view & share the tips. Here they are ...

TIPS FROM CERTIFIED MARTHA BECK LIFE COACH MAURA CAPTAIN
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1. The most important question you can ask to live a fulfilling life is, what is most important to me? Who is the person I want to be? What do I want to stand for? When you figure out what you value, the parts of your life fall into place. 

2. As you go through your day, simply notice the words going through your head. Are these thoughts helping you be your best? If not, can you let them go - on balloons floating up toward the sky or waves crashing into the ocean?

3. Ground yourself in presence through your senses. Focus your attention on the sensations of a hot shower, the light in your child's eyes, the piece of chocolate in your mouth, the sound of your own breathing.

4. Let yourself feel what you feel. Resisting or distracting yourself from uncomfortable emotions is a way to get stuck. Accepting what you feel and what is going on around you is the path to positive change.

5. Practice gratitude. Even when you are struggling with a problem, say thank you because you know that you will make it through, that your deepest struggle is your greatest source of strength and confidence.

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Instant Calm

Need some instant calm as you're looking at your to-do list, or sitting in traffic, or standing in line, or working at the office & thinking about  sitting in traffic and standing in line on your way home? Here are four things you can do right now to choose peace.

Instead of being still, move your body. Shake your arms and legs and head (adapt all of these tips to your situation, depending on whether or not you are driving and how many people can see you and how much you care about other people seeing you). Fling any stress from your fingertips and, forgive the commercial sound of this,  but shake the stress right out of your hair.

Broaden your perspective by stepping outside of yourself and just observing your thoughts. See the words running through your mind.  You might want to imagine the words floating on leaves down a stream, falling as raindrops, or moving across the sky like clouds. Step out of time and think about whether or not this stress will be important 10 minutes, 10 hours, 10 or 100 years from now.

Observe the emotion you are feeling, like a curious scientist would. If it's anxiety, where do you feel the anxiety in your body? What color is it? What shape does it take? Stay with it. By becoming very familiar with uncomfortable feelings and even describing them in great detail, we diminish their impact.

Broaden and soften your attention with this sample from Open Focus, which has been shown to increase synchronous alpha brain waves:

As you are reading these words on your computer screen, be aware of the physical space between your eyes and the screen. Pause and consider that space. Then, as you continue to look at the screen, notice the space to the left and right of your computer (or paper). Widen your peripheral vision without shifting your eyes from these words. Now, as you soften your focus, allow anything in the background (things behind or next to your computer, objects on the wall, your desk) to become as important as objects in your foreground (your computer screen, your hands). Maintain this awareness for a few seconds. As you do this, add the awareness of space to your visual field. What does this mean? As you're reading, notice the space between the lines of text, the space between the words, and the space between the letters. You can expand this awareness to other senses, for instance, by being aware of the silence (space) between sounds.

You can practice Open Focus almost anywhere. Just pay attention to what is in your peripheral visual field and the space between you and the objects around you. This technique has been shown to reduce mental and physical stress and fatigue. You may even notice less eye strain and relaxed facial muscles. Sounds great to me!

Photos by Geoff Captain Studios