Tag Archives: presence

Self-care for coaching & for life


As work life picks up and since talk about starting a personal business began, (in addition to summer’s arrival?) self-care has been more important now, than ever.

We all know that we must take care of ourselves in order to take care of others/our business. I think to the flight attendant example, as they step kindly to the middle of the aisle  to remind us to put on our own oxygen mask before we help our children or neighbor.


We don’t need to be in a plane crash to learn and live this simple idea. We can take care of ourselves now, and we don’t have to feel guilty about it. It’s part of our responsibility to ourselves, our communities, and the world.

I feel blessed because not only does my work improve when I take care of myself, it is a requirement and demand of my job. Recently I have come to embrace that fact and take it to heart, because I have to. If I want to excel at my job and support my clients, I need to take care of myself. Period.

Coaching is not a service profession, it is a modeling profession. – Jay Perry

As the above quote mentions- my work is not about a service it is about modeling. Self-care means to be a master of my well-being. My clients grow and feed off my energy when I am well-cared for, and they experience greater and more meaningful transformation, when I take care of myself. With my coaching and yoga clients, I know that it is not the mastery of my technique that matters, but it is my presence – a way of being with people – that makes the difference. The quality of our connection plays a bigger role in the transformation process, than does the handouts/tools/information sharing that occurs. 

This realization gives me a lot of freedom because it makes me realize that it is less about my certifications/degrees/articles that I accumulate, and it is more about me just being who I am and making a genuine connection with someone. Yet at the same time, it adds the challenge of practicing presence and self-care in real life. It’s easy to conceptualize the idea – in fact it’s almost so easy its boring. But to live it is awholenother adventure…

This all came up by the way, as I toy with the idea of teaching yoga at a studio. As I find myself considering the option more seriously I realize that in order to do that I will have to take my self-care game to the next level.

Am I ready for that?

You betcha 🙂

Self-care for life – Some exercises to try:

1. Take a little assessment. On a scale of 0-10 (0 being “not so hot” and 10 being “totally rad”), how would you rate the health of your finances? Environment? Work-life? Self-care practices? Relationships? Thoughts? Energy? How can you give more attention to the areas in need? Think about it, and then do something about it (or seek support in finding the answers you need to help you do something about it).

2. Make a list of activities/ways of being that bring you pleasure and serenity. How often are you engaging in said activities? If possible find 10 things on this list that you can do to practice “self-care”. Block off time in your calendar to actually do/be them for one week. Notice how you feel after a week of taking care of yourself.

3. When you are feeling out of balance, come back to your list of self-care items and ask yourself what you really need. If possible, give yourself what you are needing – it may be on the list, it may not be. That’s okay. If you listen, you will know what to do. Sometimes we think we need a candle light bubble bath to relax, but in reality we may really just need an extra hour of sleep. Be honest.

Where has God been in your life?


Today’s guest blog comes all the way from Connecticut, from Miriam Samuelson. Read on to hear about her journey at Divinity school and what unfolds in her spiritual formation group. For those of you who haven’t taken a moment to breathe this week, it’s a good reminder to stop, reflect, and see what arises. 

During my first semester of seminary this past fall, I joined a spiritual formation group.  I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I knew it was open to all incoming students, and that we would work on spiritual issues together, so I signed up with little knowledge about how this hour and a half would be spent each week.

When I entered the small meditation room with a cluster of large chairs and six other students, the spiritual director leading our group introduced herself, and we offered our names and degree programs to one another timidly, all a bit shy about not knowing exactly why we were there.  After a brief reading, prayer, and silence, our leader asked us where God had been in our lives the last week.

Where has God been in my life? I hadn’t really thought about it, especially not this past week.  I had just moved a U-Haul 1200 miles, said goodbye to my friends and family for three years, embarked on a long distance relationship, and had suddenly started meeting new people everywhere I turned.  My head was fuzzy from trying to get back into the mode of classes and reading and paper-writing, and I had spent the morning running from class to class, trying to learn the layout of the buildings and trying to figure out who I’d already met and who I was meeting for the first time.  Taking time to think about where God was in all this transition hadn’t really crossed my mind.

candleBut as I closed my eyes in this candle-lit room, surrounded by my peers who were feeling shaky and hectic like me, I saw clearly the places where God had been in my life over the past week.  God had been present in my friends at home, who came over to my house unannounced and moved all my things into the moving truck before I could open my mouth to say they didn’t have to.  God was present in a long stretch of highway in Pennsylvania where every turn revealed fog-covered trees pierced by a red-orange sunset.  God was present in my travel companions—my dear friend and seminary roommate, his parents, and my boyfriend—all happy to share this time together and listen to one another’s stories and laughter.

Each week, this spiritual formation group would gather, and our leader asked us the same question: Where has God been in your life this week?  Some weeks we didn’t know.  Some weeks we were filled to the brim with life and spirit and experiences of God.  Other weeks we had to learn how to see God in places that we might otherwise not want to go.  Yes, God was certainly present in sunsets and laughter and friendship.  But God was also present in the death of our friends and relatives, in the quiet moment after something vulnerable was spoken, in painful memories and changing relationships.  God was present as the leaves died and crunched beneath our feet, as we talked about the fragility of our own human lives.

Where has God been in our lives? God is present in our most effervescent joy, God is present in our deepest anguish.  And how do we know this?  Because we are living incarnations of this ever-present God for one another.  And what a gift to be able to open our hearts to this and to one another as we journey together.


Miriam is a first year in the Master of Divinity program at Yale Divinity School. One day she hopes to be a Lutheran paster in the ELCA. She loves people, the natural world, and learning new things.


How often do you simply listen? by Alanna Gibbs


Ever feel like you are talking to a wall? Or caught yourself checking your phone while someone is telling you a story? If I’ve already lost you and you’re thinking about what you need to do today or what you are going to eat for lunch, then you should probably read this post. Guest blogger, Alanna Gibbs shares great wisdom on what it means to listen and challenges us to think harder on the way we approach listening. If you think you are a good listener or want to become a better listener, her message is for you.

One of the most powerful things we can do for others is to simply listen.  I was reminded recently just how difficult this task can be.

I met a friend at a coffee shop the other day to catch up on life.  We were having a great conversation and she started talking about an issue she had been dealing with.  Immediately, my mind shifted into problem solving mode.  I found myself analyzing the problem, mulling over possible solutions, weighing each option for its risk/benefit ratio – all within the confines of my own mind while I was “listening”.  Of course I offered up my solution to which she kindly said, “Yes, that is an option”.

Now mind you, this friend is a very wise, capable, and amazing woman!  She had no need for my input, nor did she ask for it.  What she wanted simply was space to discuss what she was dealing with, and more importantly, how it was impacting her.

Realizing my misstep, I quickly made a joke that acknowledged my mistake by saying “Problem solved… check” with a laugh.  She graciously laughed too.

How many times have you found yourself making the same mistake? 

To put this story into context, throughout the years I have gotten a lot of feedback that I am a good listener.  In fact, in a recent training I was in, we performed an exercise in which we evaluated each other’s listening skills.  The gentleman who observed me commented on my body language – that I leaned in slightly, that I mirrored the movement of the speaker, that my body language was open and inviting.  He commented that I made good eye contact and used just enough words to show that I was engaged and actively listening.

In all honesty, his feedback took me off guard.  Up until that point I had been completely oblivious to how I approach conversations – all I knew was that people often confided in me and commented that I am a good listener.  In those 3 minutes, he was able to mirror back to me a skill I had developed without consciousness.  And yes, I do have a mini crush on a guy who is so dang observant!  (If you are out there “call me, maybe?”)

I was doing all the right things, but I think it was more than that.

When I pause and think about what good listening really is, the word that comes to mind is attunement.

Merriman-Webster defines the word attune as:

  1. To bring into harmony
  2. To make aware or responsive

Good listening is not just about hearing someone.  It is about creating space within yourself to attune to them.  You are able to listen to all of the messages that are coming forward in the conversation when you attune to someone.  It includes the words that are spoken, and equally important, what is not said.  It includes picking up on the emotion and noticing what their body is saying to you through its posture.

When you create space within yourself to attune to the speaker, a sort of resonance develops.  It is almost palpable, they feel it and so do you!

The next time you find your mind wandering off in a conversation, remember this blog, and reel yourself back in.  Try to create space within yourself to open up and attune to the person and see what unfolds.

AlannaGibbsAlanna Gibbs is the owner of Alanna Gibbs Wellness, LLC.  She uses her ability to attune to others to really listen in her Energy Healing (Healing Touch, Therapeutic Touch, and Reiki) and Holistic Health Coaching services.  For more information on Alanna, see www.alannagibbswellness.com or find Alanna Gibbs Wellness, LLC on Facebook.