How often do you feel overwhelmed by the complexity of life… by the conflicting commitments that evolve out of the reality of the world in which you live? Is it possible to reconcile your deepest desires for an authentic, simple and abundant life with the chaos of the “universal to do list” that demands your energy: working, managing a household, raising children, taking care of your health, running errands, nurturing friendships and family relationships, community service, and time for rest and recreation?
As the time draws near for the birth of my second child, I find myself asking such questions and yearning for simplicity in all dimensions of my life. Like many of you, I also desire to live an authentic and abundant life. The question that immediately arises is: How? How can each of us pare down, clear out and commit ourselves to living a simply abundant life?
The journey begins with the asking, with living the questions, followed by listening intently to the Voice within. In this month’s Destination Healing, we explore the meaning of a simply abundant life. Then, as you envision its meaning for yourself, we will venture the big question: “How?” How do you begin to live a simply abundant life, true to what is most essential and authentic within yourself, while living in a world that is often complicated and chaotic?
In seeking answers, I encountered two phenomenal certified life and wellness coaches: Patricia “P.J.” Harder offers Life Balance Coaching at Rè Life Spa for Women located in Farmington, CT. Michele Gentile, of Long Island, is the creator of CEO of Me, Inc.!
When life is simple, it retains clarity of form and thought that is not complicated and is without embellishment. Life feels easeful, joyful and fulfilling; it is free from complexity. When you simplify your life, it does not require that you live without certain things that bring you joy or pleasure. In our society, people tend toward extremes in thought and action. The extreme of simplifying is eradicating everything in your path, without discernment. You go about ending relationships, discontinuing activities, and discarding possessions from your life without conscious consideration. Only to find, one week or six months down the road, that you really liked a certain person, treasured a particular possession, or enjoyed the activity you cast off from your life.
Simplifying is a conscious and gentle process through which you focus on what is essential, necessary and real in your life. When you simplify your life, you open space for that which is truly meaningful to you—the aspirations, activities, emotions, thoughts, people, places and material treasures that resonate with who you are, who you desire to become, and how you want to experience life. Here, in this open space, you may experience abundance.
Abundance is not about acquisitions; it is devoid of the “shoulds” that society imposes on us in terms of material wealth and possessions. An abundant life has an overflowing fullness of all that is authentically you. When you are living a life of abundance, you are engaged in a values-driven process to align yourself with your inner wisdom, power and passions. A simply abundant life is a living, breathing journey and it is the destination. How will you navigate and arrive at yours?
*Life Balance Coaching*
On a blistery March morning, while we sat cozily wrapped in the warm ambiance of the Relaxation Room at Rè Life Spa, P.J. Harder shared her coaching philosophy and described the value inherent to working with a personal life coach,
“Coaching is about witnessing and guiding a client as they create a space in which it is safe to discover and reconnect with who they really are and what they really want in their life. In fact, the power inherent in working with a coach is that she can help clients remain consciously connected to their authenticity, which allows them to focus on how they want to experience life even when, and perhaps especially when, life becomes chaotic.”
The Life Balance Coaching Process is a unique blend of experiential coaching and stress management practices. It is a transformational process for discovering a new way of being in life. It is dynamic and non-linear to honor the uniqueness and individuality of each person. The process consists of five actions that move you towards experiencing a life with greater harmony, balance and abundance—Reconnecting, Refocusing, Taking Responsibility, Rebalancing and Keep Going.
P.J. understands how easily the "universal to do list" can consume us, resulting in a feeling of disconnectedness and overwhelm. For that reason, Life Balance Coaching begins with teaching clients how to reconnect to the authentic self—the Self that exists within and beyond one’s social, familial and cultural roles and responsibilities.
“Raising awareness of what matters most allows a person to witness where his or her energy is being directed. Together, coach and client explore questions such as: Where are my thoughts and emotions taking me? Am I consciously connected to the present moment? Or, am I caught up in the past or moving too fast into the future?”
Once a person engages listening deeply to what is going on within the mind, body and spirit, they can identify what is most important to them by refocusing on what feels right—what is in alignment with their authenticity.
P.J. explained, “Refocusing aligns the heart—wherein lies a person’s true desires—and the mind—wherein lies the power to set a course of action to manifest those desires.”
Coaching moves forward at the client’s pace. According to P.J., “Taking responsibility for one’s aspirations is only successful when the client is fully engaged and committed to a process that feels right for them. When you focus on making choices from the heart, that are based on what is truly essential and important to you, you are less likely to let life’s pressures get in the way.”
Another unique aspect of Life Balance Coaching is learning the art of Rebalancing, which teaches clients how to return their mind and body to a natural rhythm that is comfortable for them. They also learn simple practices for remaining calm under pressure. Rebalancing skills help a client continue to make choices that are in alignment with what is most important and true for them. Consequently, a person is able to keep going forward with their journey.
*CEO of Me, Inc.!*
“Life becomes more simplified and meaningful when you live it according to your values, create a vision for abundance, prioritize, and follow-up with daily habits that create what you truly desire in life,” explained Michele Gentile, O.T.R., creator of CEO of Me, Inc.! Michele’s coaching services include individual and group tele-coaching from the comfort of your home. I joined Michele for a group coaching call and interview in which she shared her coaching philosophy and practices.
“My clients are looking for greater balance, ease and flow in their lives. ‘CEO of Me’ is really about becoming the creative director of your life. This program is for anyone who has the desire to foster teamwork, improve communication, enhance relationships and raise their energy as they create an authentic, fulfilling home and work life.”
The CEO of Me, Inc! techniques help a person create a system of personal leadership that utilizes all their strengths, skills, intelligence, heart and wisdom. Clients learn how to create abundance, balance, joy and ease in their lives by applying “CEO skills” such as authenticity, visioning, emotional intelligence, effective communication, innovation, self-care, leadership, and role modeling. The skills have been transformed in ways that make them more meaningful and effective for a wide variety of people—those who own businesses and those whose business it is to raise children and care for a family.
“Some clients realize that they have these skills, they just haven’t practiced them or applied them to their home life, while others are learning these skills for the first time. The process begins with an introductory call in which people learn about or reacquaint themselves with the skills. Thereafter, people who want to use these techniques for transformation in their lives can join a 4-week focus group that meets once weekly by phone. Each week, clients discuss their progress, celebrate their successes and gain clarity about any challenges they may have encountered during the previous week,” Michele explained.
During and at the conclusion of the session that I was part of, it was clear that clients really felt empowered to apply these skills within their personal, home and business lives. This can easily be attributed Michele’s ability to cultivate an energetic, supportive environment for this highly practical and effective program. The group process, which is so dynamic under Michele’s facilitation, is another key element of this unique coaching program.
Michele elaborated, “The group process allows each participant to gain an objective perspective, to tap into the resident wisdom of the group for ideas and to explore options for how to use a skill in a particular situation.”
Michele uses powerful process questions to elicit an authentic plan that will give each client positive and lasting results. She is humorous, sensitive, compassionate and honest in facilitating the group and each individual’s journey toward a more joyful, meaningful and abundant life.
“To ensure success for each participant, we work together to establish a clear vision, discover core values, and align these two. Additionally, each participant visualizes and verbalizes the vision they created, making it prominent in their thinking and in planning action steps. Together, we determine what is possible, so the client can gently move toward living their vision.”
*Coaching-Right for You*
The methods I have learned from P.J. and Michele benefit me at different times depending upon how my family, work and home life are evolving. The essential steps toward the vision I hold for my life may have to shift with the realities of my life. Consequently, I find I require different skills and processes to move me toward an easeful, joyful and simply abundant life. Having listened carefully to the Voice within, I now find that fostering teamwork, enhancing communication, practicing rebalancing methods and staying energized for my growing family are essential to creating the life I desire. You also, may find that different coaching philosophies or practices suit you at different points in your journey.
If you believe coaching could benefit you, be sure to consider the coach’s credentials and skills as well as their personal presence (see “Resources”). P.J. and Michele each have more than 20 years experience in the health, wellness and behavioral sciences plus their coaching certifications and life experience. Remember, a coach, ideally, should act as a guide to help your uncover the wisdom within you, tap into your strengths, help you ask questions and create solutions that are right for you. Like P.J. and Michele, a coach should provide unconditional support for the vision you have for your life.
Living a simply abundant life is possible. How—is up to you.
www.michelegentile.com, (631) 821-4002, Michele is a teacher, facilitator, author, business owner, wife and mother who utilizes all of what she teaches to create a balanced and exciting life, a successful business and most importantly a harmonious home.
For further reading:
These books have been empowering and inspiring along my journey, including the writing of this article. May they bring the same to you:
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach © 1995 Warner Books.
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh reprint © 1991 Pantheon Books.