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Newsletter April 19, 2020

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."                                         - Viktor E. Frankl

A Request with Gratitude

I am currently in a marketing workshop with Tad Hargrave of Marketing for Hippies. We are doing an exercise about identifying the risks people perceive in doing business with us that might stop them from hiring us. We were told to ask some friends and colleagues for their candid opinions on this. So, here is the question: why wouldn’t you work with someone who does what I do? What are the risks you perceive? What are you scared might happen? I’d love to hear your honest thoughts on this. You are not responsible to any reaction I might have upon hearing your words. They are grist for my mill and your effort will be greatly appreciated. In fact, for anyone who sends me an email at with a response to this question, I will happily send you a guided visualization for your use. Or, alternatively, reply through Survey Monkey here: What is it that I do? Well, there are four practices: The Way of Council; Hypnotherapy; Transpersonal Life Coaching; and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. You may wonder what brings me to these four practices as my life’s work. I see a through-line in them. With hypnotherapy, we can heal our old stories; with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction we can find the compassion for ourselves necessary to be in the place of no story; with Transpersonal Life Coaching we can be in a generative place of creating the new story, a more integrated, connected, creative and healthier story; and in council, we share the stories of past, present and emergence for ourselves, our community and for the greater good. You, the potential client, get to drop-in where it feels right for you. If you are feeling so inclined, I’d also be grateful for you to email me to say: a problem you are experiencing and the result you are craving. I am trying to find my niche.

Council: Heartfelt connection in a time of physical distancing

Weekly Community Council: Thursdays, 7 – 8. Here is the Zoom link: Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 369 839 978 Password: 424604 Heart connection with others is a resource of resilience. Video connection provides the intonation and facial cues that words and emojis in emails or texts cannot. We are not just exchanging content. We are exchanging cues. We are reaching into the ‘other’s’ nervous system to say, “I’m here. I’m present with you.”  In this time of Covid-19, for those who are alone, the isolation can be harmful to the nervous system and the body’s experience encourages negativity bias. The opportunity to connect through online council is an opportunity to co-regulate each other’s physiological and emotional state. We then feel safer and become more generous with others, more accessible.  As we move into an era of pandemics and other environmental crises, as mental health is compromised, we need each other. Stephen Porges, author of The Polyvagal Theory states that we need to turn toward each other so that the stress of crisis does not draw us away from each other and into defensiveness and the negative expression of tribalism. We need to resource ourselves in order to nourish others. We need council and other resiliency practices if we are to rise to the challenges of our time. Circles of Resilience: Skills for these times. Training in Online Facilitation.

“He who listens with his mind knows; he who listens with his heart understands.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo

Leon Berg is a founding member of the Ojai Foundation. He is a Senior Trainer for Center for Council. Leon is a joy to partner with and we are excited to offer a 6-hour training, held over four weeks (90 minutes per session) to those who would like to facilitate on-line circles with family and friends.This is the first step to a longer training in The Way of Council and Resilience Skills for bringing the practice to your community. During this 6 hour program we will cover: - Orientation to Zoom - Grounding and resilience practices (more in next level training) - Opening and closing the circle; council elements - Facilitating in virtual space - Introducing the online forms of council including use of breakout rooms - Forming prompts Leon and I want to hold the paradox of making this workshop accessible for everyone while being responsible for our financial integrity. We invite you to ask your heart to guide you to the right amount to pay for this workshop. Some will pay a little more, some a little less. Our combined gifts converge in the currency of compassion to awaken us to the enduring good for all. Contact me with your interest: or 250-597-7459. Date and time to be determined based on interest. The class is limited to twelve participants.

Adding Richness and Resilience to Life while Physically Isolated:

We are in a time of change and uncertainty. There is loss and there is anxiety over the possibilities of illness for our loved ones or ourselves or loss of income. There may be loneliness. There is also hope and steadfastness. For those of us who are not on the front lines of providing essential services (and deep blessings to these people), it may be a time of slowing down. There is an opportunity here to look at how we have been living our lives and reaffirm or discover what really matters and what really works for us. How do I want to live and how do I want to be in community? WHere can I offer service? Where can I place my compassion? Staying healthy and resilient is important in this time and here are just a few ideas toward healthy practices and reflection. 

1) Create a Healthy, Supportive Rhythm

When we feel powerless or helpless, one easy thing to do is to create a rhythm for our day. When the rhythm that we are used to suddenly changes, especially if it involves job loss, and the timeframe is uncertain there can be anxiety. I’ve seen plenty of memes about people losing their sense of time, of hours and days blending into each other. A sense of rhythm to our day can give us an anchor and a greater sense of agency in our lives. If you have children, providing rhythm for them with a sense of in-breath and out-breath as best you can helps them feel safe. This rhythm can be as simple as:

  • 7am - Wake-up

  • 8am – Breakfast

  • 9am - Meditation

  • 10am - Exercise

  • 11am - Talk to friends

  • 12.00pm - Lunch

  • 1-4pm - Learning or a home project

  • 5pm - Make & Eat Dinner

  • 7pm - Talk to close family

  • 8pm - Reading, Journaling

  • 10pm - Bed

Be sure to include food preparation, social time, exercise and outdoor time and some learning or creativity. We can get some benefit from this challenging time. Some days you may not have the energy to “do it all” and that is okay. It’s a good time to practice compassion for yourself. Isolating is exhausting, as are endless Zoom meetings. It's also important to recognize weekends because it's too easy for weeks to blur together. So, make a looser schedule for your weekends. For example, you could include:

  • Movie night with popcorn

  • A virtual meal with friends or colleagues or perhaps a game played virtually.

  • A larger project, perhaps some art, craft, gardening, or home project.

  • Singing in virtual community. See Cari Burdett at: For Wednesday evening singing:; Sundays - Register Here -

If you are still working but have moved to working from home, it is easy to blur the lines between work and caring for yourself and your family. Ritual can be a valuable ally here. If we look at the term ritual as “a tool to give us the freedom to take responsibility for the direction and purpose of our lives” then we can create a way of demarking our time at work, our time with family, and our alone time. This can be as simple as putting away work items, ringing a bell, or stepping outside to touch the ground. It is a way of saying, this is done for now. Psychology Today notes that “our task is to seize and shape this freedom—consciously, deliberately, and joyfully.” In times of uncertainty, it is important to make choices as reminders that we really are in control of our own response, if not to the circumstances themselves.

2) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Levels or Flexibility!

Building your physical strength is powerful and health-boosting. Not only is physical strength and flexibility life-affirming and good for our health but feeling more physically powerful helps us feel more empowered and less helpless in life too! This was reinforced for me last spring after being woefully unprepared for a multi-day backpacking trip with a class of 7th graders. I joined a gym for camaraderie and accountability in September and have been so grateful that I’ve made time for exercise. There are many options to boost your physical strength and health. Here are some ideas:

  • Take up a yoga practice - excellent for strength-building, flexibility - and calm! There are lots of online options. Here is one with everything from 10 minutes for beginners to an advanced practice. has more (free) yoga videos than I can count. I find her quirky and authentic.

  • If you already belong to a gym then it is likely that similar to my gym and many others, they are providing routines for you online. There are so many online fitness classes on YouTube. Here’s how Simon at Duncan's Monkey Bar Gym, speaks to motivation:

  • There are community members offering 5Rhythms and other dance forms online.

  • Walk in your neighborhood.

3) Explore your Life Vision:

"You must give birth to your images. They are the future waiting to be born…. Fear not the strangeness you feel. The future must enter you long before it happens….  Just wait for the birth for the hour of clarity"

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Rather than watching endless news streams, you can choose to focus on a bigger picture – the future that is waiting to be born. What do you want from the rest of your life? What would you be disappointed you did NOT do? Where do you envision yourself in 10 years? Having a clear vision of how you want your life to be is a powerful motivator. A vision helps us work towards our goals, take action, and make change. Here are 5 questions to ponder or journal around to go deeper:

  • What do you desire or yearn for in your life?

  • How do you want to feel?

  • What do you really, really want to be different in your life?

  • What would have happened in 3 years time such that your life is nourishing, and you feel good about yourself and your life?

  • What's your dream for this lifetime? Imagine you're 90 years old and looking back over your life; what did you do that made you deeply satisfied and happy?

TIP: Remember to think possibility not probability! Don't limit yourself and your ideas because you don't believe something is likely. Instead believe it's possible - and even if you don't get all the way there, you may get close - or even find something better along the way! And if you’d like some help with creating a vision for your life, I am offering a Life Visioning Session at a pay what you can rate. Just contact me to set this up: or 250-597-7459.

4) Be in the moment:

In THIS moment you are OK. You are safe. Take one day at a time. One hour or even one breath at a time if you need to. This tip is about being super-present, not thinking ahead or remembering the past, but practicing BEING. This is a PRACTICE - meaning you will have to do it over and over again - bringing yourself back to the NOW. Over time it gets easier, and it's a great skill to have to take back to "normal" life. So, when you notice you are worrying, feeling twitchy and want to pick up your device and find out what the "latest" is about the COVID situation, say to yourself, "It's OK. In this moment, I am safe. In this moment I am OK."  You can also add or say, "In this moment, my children/husband/family are safe." If you are interested in an online Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction eight-week course, contact me: or 250-597-7459.

5) Live Your Values

When we know our values, we understand what motivates and drives us. When we build our lives around our values, we create a life that is meaningful. Finally, when we align our actions with our values - we're being truly authentic. It's a very satisfying and fulfilling way to live. And living your values could be the single most important thing any of us can do right now. Here's an exercise you can do:

  • List your values on a piece of paper or in your journal.

  • Give each value a score ___ / 10 as to how well you are living that value in your life now (where 0 is not at all and 10 is full-out).

  • For the scores that are 8 or more - great!

  • For the scores that are 7 or less out of 10, ask yourself, "How could I express this value more in my life right now?" "What could I do differently or approach differently, so that I feel good about how I live this value in my life?"

For example: You have a value of creativity, but you're only managing to 'go through the motions' right now and your score is 4/10. Ask yourself how you could be more creative during this time - whether it is cooking, singing (see Cari Burdett link),gardening, art or writing or helping your kids do something creative, or even watching a documentary about someone creative you admire... If you do not know your values, now is a great time to learn. I am offering a free Values Kickstart Session or Values Review Session here. Just contact me to set this up: or 250-597-7459. As Viktor Frankl teaches us, our agency comes from how we respond to the circumstances of our time. Managing our fears, looking for the places to bring our gifts, and choosing our orientations are all within our control. Mother Teresa reminded us “that we belong to each other.”

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