See the world through the eyes of love!

See the world through the eyes of love!

Dear *|FNAME|*, 

These are my silly prescription sunglasses that I’ve had since April.  My intention when I ordered these was two fold; one to remind myself to see the world through the eyes of love and two, to hopefully bring a smile to anyone who is looks at me.  A heart is a universal symbol of love.  Through my heart shaped sunglasses I feel as if I’m sharing my intention of love and acceptance.  Wearing my heart glasses is just one small way that I am choosing to spread the message of love. 
During these turbulent times where the battle between love and hate is being played out in our world, and there is a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness I would like to remind you of Mahatma Ghandi’s words ‘be the change that you wish to see in the world’. 
When you model kindness, consideration, and acceptance in your daily life it not only feels good, you are teaching by example.  Another benefit is when you treat others with kindness and respect it will be reflected back to you, feeling lighter and less stressed as a result. How do you want to choose to see the world through the eyes of love?  Sometimes it takes courage. It took courage to let go of what others may think of a 50 year old woman wearing heart shaped sunglasses and allow strangers to laugh at/with me.  Thankfully the playful, loving side of me out weighed the part of me who was concerned about being looked at as foolish.
I encourage you to look for opportunities to be foolishly kind, considerate, and loving to a complete stranger. You can make a difference in someone’s life and you will instantly feel your heart grow when you do. 

Spreading Kindness,
Susie Raymond
Catalyst Life Coach, Esthetician, Reiki Teacher

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Permission to Play!

How easily do you claim time to play?  Do you incorporate play into your weekly schedule? Are you working for the weekend? Is an upcoming vacation the only thing allowing you to stay sane?   When playtime does roll around are you able to let go or does the monkey mind keep you caged in?   I’m happy to report that my chaotic life circumstances have settled, I have shifted my shit, and I am feeling a sense of balance in my life.  

Here is the funny thing, on my day off, I had a very hard time giving myself permission to play.  A gorgeous afternoon, my pool was sparkling, and yet my monkey mind kept me busy with tasks inside the house. I was stuck in my old pattern of ‘getting my chores done before I could allow myself to play.”   I know the value of balancing play with work. I gave myself permission to play for 90 minutes, and told myself I could tackle tasks afterward if needed.  I set a timer and went outside.  I checked the timer after 20 minutes, laughed at myself and went back outside. When I heard the timer beep I was happily splashing in my pool.  I turned the timer off and played the rest of the day.  

I saw and felt the benefits in just being vs. doing.  I let my monkey out of the cage and my spirit was filled up with fun, joy and sun. The act of setting the timer, temporarily soothed my mind that believed that the tasks were the priority.  The first 20 minutes I battled with myself:  “Is it okay to play?” When the 90 minutes was up I had shifted from the ‘doer’ and gave myself permission to ‘simply be.’  

Benefits of play: Play can add joy to life, relieve stress, supercharge learning, and connect you to others and the world around you. Play can energize you and will increase your capacity to navigate life’s muck.  Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable.

Fostering an attitude of play, daily, takes practice just like exercise. Remember ‘play is an attitude’ more than an event or location. It is the practice of allowing ‘you’ to be present in the moment and simply being vs. doing. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Playing can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you feel your best. Now, turn off your screen and go play, I’ll be waiting for you…

Susie Raymond, Catalyst Life Coach, Reiki Master/Teacher, Esthetician, Breathwork guide



How to navigate life's muck with grace...

In the last few weeks I have been commissioned to hold compassionate space for a number of people in my life going through major trials. As I have been called to hold others at a high level of support I recognize old unhealthy habits.  In putting others before myself I have forgotten about my own needs. Instead of judging the emotions that appear to be negative I recognize them for what they are and allow them to signal a shift.

After spending the morning supporting others I went home feeling stress, anger and frustration. With an afternoon free I decided to dedicate the second half of my day to myself. I committed to spending time outdoors and disconnecting from electronic devices. Moving from one thing to another led me to believe I had everything under control when in reality I had fallen into the chaos of everyone else’s shit and had forgotten to pause.

While re-grounding through spending time outdoors, I finally had a moment to pause and recognize how overwhelming life had been lately. The methodic practice of weeding my garden put me in a meditative place allowing me to take a step back and recognize that although I chose to support others, I must not allow their needs to come before mine.
The insight that I received:  “I’m the only one who knows what it feels like to be going through what I’m going through.  AND I’m the only one who knows what I need to take care of myself right now.”

I noticed that even though I can’t change the circumstances I can change my thought patterns. And when I change my thoughts and turn to actions of self-care my energy begins to replenish. 
Recognizing that you are in a bad place and not taking any self care action to shift your sh*t will leave you in your own pile of crap! 
Remember, you are the only one who chooses your thoughts.

Simple steps to shift your story:

  1. Awareness of emotion:  “What am I feeling?”

  2. Acknowledge the emotion: “I’m feeling angry and helpless.”

  3. Ask yourself what would I rather feel?  “I’d rather feel calm and compassionate.”

  4. What one action/thought can I take to shift from anger and helplessness? “I can stop re-playing the story in my mind that is creating this feeling because it’s keeping me stuck in the anger and helplessness.”  The awareness to stop playing the story over and over in your mind is a big step.   

  5. I can ask myself : “What one action can I take to be more compassionate right now?”

  6. Listen to the answer to the question:  “I will turn off my electronic devices, soothe myself with weeding the garden, and shifting my mind to the present task of pulling the next weed.”

  7. Commit to taking that step and witness how your emotional energy changes.

I invite you to pause right now and think of an area in your life that is causing you stress or discomfort and remember you are the only one who knows what if feels like, and you are the only one with the power to shift it with your own awareness and permission to take a step toward a different feeling.
I would love to hear your story on how you shifted your sh*t through awareness and self care.

Susie Raymond
Emotional Empowerment Life Coach, Reiki Master/Teacher, Esthetician, Breath work Teacher

How I shifted the "should" to "want"

What stops me from writing a blog and sharing a part of me? The belief that my mind/ego/lower self has created: “What do I have to share?” “Who am I to blog?” Recently I experienced my mind judging what I plan to write and shutting me down before I even began. Have you ever had a desire and then your mind talks you out of it with some dialog that boils down to “you're not good enough, who are you to go for your desire?”
I got to battle with this over the Fourth of July weekend. I was contemplating freedom and all that it means to me and at the same time I was not allowing myself to be fully free to enjoy the time off of work, the time with family, the time just hanging out in my kayak. Why? Because I had this pre-determined commitment to myself to blog weekly.  My desired commitment to share became a heavy obligation and the little voice inside my head kept saying “what are you going to share? Who will read this?  You aren’t good enough.”  I call this little voice my ‘lower self’ or my ‘ego self’.  It is not a bad thing, it is a part of each of us, it’s our human experience.  I’ve built a relationship with my ego and I dialog with it. I’ve learned to not judge it. However sometimes it gets the better of me. These thoughts stopped me from writing.
My commitment to these blog posts is to only write when I feel inspired, and my desire is to write weekly.  However my inspiration to write does not follow a calendar.  So the pressure to ‘GET ‘ER DONE’ from the ego completely blocked the inspiration of the heart. 
I got to look at how I choose to navigate that choice between “I have to write a blog.” And “I want to write a blog.” 
We all have situations in our lives of things we have to do and things we want to do. When you give yourself permission to be free, to enjoy the moment, to be present you begin to notice details in life that create a richness of life. You are nourishing yourself with a sense of freedom in your thoughts. How do you nourish the act of giving yourself permission to be present? I will answer this in my next blog post, "permission to play!"
My commitment to myself and to you regarding this blog is:  I will write only when inspired. If it feels tried or hard I will step away and trust that it will feel easy and joyful. I will trust in the timing of each of my blogs vs. a hard and fast schedule.
Think about anything that you might currently view as hard, or that you’re resisting and ask yourself the following questions…

  1. What am I currently believing about myself that is making this task hard?
  2. Is that belief really true, and what would I rather believe?
  3. What one thing could I say/think/or do for myself to help me believe the new truth?
  4. What one small step can I take to move in that direction?

I welcome any feedback or comments on these steps and how they have helped you. I have to laugh at myself. Over the weekend as I was feeling stuck, I started multiple different blogs, nothing felt right. Now I just ‘GOT ‘ER DONE’ in less than an hour.  Why, because I allowed the heart to speak without the judgment of the mind. Your heart is holding the answers.  When you feel stuck, quiet the mind and ask the heart “What is the desire?”
Sending you big blessings. May you find a moment today to simply be, and notice your heart's desire.  

Susie Raymond
Emotional Empowerment Life Coach, Reiki Master/Teacher, Esthetician, Breath work Teacher

Life feeling unpredictable? Lessons from the river....

Greetings from the river, 

I am fortunate to have a beautiful flowing river in my backyard.  A few weeks ago I took my second kayaking trip of the season.  The river was running high and the current was strong.  I was mentally and physically up for the challenge of guiding my kayak upstream.  I settled in and began to paddle with equal strength and effort on both sides of the boat. I intended to stay along the right bank where the current was lighter. However the current had a different intention for my boat.  As I paddled with focus and strength the current pulled my boat to the far left bank. 
The lesson from the river:  Sometimes life’s current is stronger than our will and intent. For example recently in my personal life, I learned a friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, another friend’s husband left a 30 year marriage, and another friend’s husband passed away at age 54. 
So I asked the river….”What do I do when the current of life becomes so unexpectedly unpredictable?” The answer was simple, “notice what you notice, be present with what is and gentle with yourself. Remember to look around, you may see a gift even in hardship.” In that moment I noticed a beautiful aroma that I had never experienced before.  I noticed some beautiful wild yellow river irises along this side of the shore.   
When life’s current takes you into scary waters; how can you use this wisdom from the river to get you back into the flow?

  1. Breathe – yes I know we all breathe all the time, however when you take time to notice your breath it will create a bridge and guide you to feeling grounded when life feels unpredictable.

  2. Be present-notice the little things with a sense of gratitude. If you are grateful for someone in your life, tell him or her.

  3.  Acknowledge emotions with gentleness and feel them. Allow yourself to be sad, angry, scared. Let go into the current of the emotion. Stuffed emotions create dams, and the emotion can become far more destructive.

  4. Nurture yourself with an activity that is soothing and the awareness that you deserve it.

  5. When your mind goes into worry and/or fear, switch it to wonder.  I wonder how this is going to work out.  This simple word switch has power to lighten the mood from fear to trust.

When I turned my boat around I had an expectation of going downstream with ease. Instead a strong upstream wind hit my face and I realized it would not be an easy float downstream. This created a perfect opportunity for me to be present and focused. Letting go of what I could not control however still moving forward with intent and will in the downsteam current of life trusting in this process with a sense of wonder.  If you find yourself in unexpected circumstances I trust that one or more of these suggestions will help you to feel grounded and centered.
Be well,
Susie Raymond, Catalyst Life Coach, Reiki Teacher, Esthetician, Breathwork guide

5 Steps to take when feeling stuck

I intend to send weekly blogs on observations and life lessons that I have learned
and continue to share with my clients through catalyst life coaching. Through my
blogs, I will share lessons on how to navigate normal human emotions to guide you
to feel grounded when things feel shaky and move you toward more joy and ease.
If you like what I have to offer you, I invite you to share it with friends via
facebook, google+, and feel free to forward this email or link to a friend.
For this first blog, I will re-iterate a lesson from the river that I wrote about
recently. So for some of you, this may be a bit like a summer re-run. However, I
have added a few action steps for you to practice as you paddle upstream. I look
forward to sharing the second lesson from the river next week.
A lesson from the river....

I live on the Milwaukee River and I chose to go on my first kayaking trip of the
season, upstream to the dam.  The water is quite high from the rain, the current
looks strong and enticing.  I mentally prepare my body prior to easing into my
boat.  I dip my paddle into the river and say hello to an old friend, marveling at
the river's changing personality with the seasons. 

I’m paddling upstream:  My mind is very focused on each stroke of my paddle,
physically working super hard, feeling my body responding to the will from my
mind, my spirit is delighted to be on the river my senses are heightened by the
force of the spring currents.  A thought flashes through my mind:  “Wow this is
hard to paddle upstream, sort of like life.”  “Sometimes you don’t have a choice
you must paddle upstream to get to your destination.”  Then my higher self-asks
:  “Really is that true?”  I challenge myself when my mind creates these
limiting beliefs.  For example the belief:  “Life is just hard and you have to work
hard to get where you want to go and you don’t have a choice.”  Really is that

I’m in my kayak relishing how alive my body feels to be working physically hard
against the current and I realize.  “No, I always have a choice.  I could have
chosen to go downstream however that would have involved a different choice of
parking a car downstream and hauling my kayak back home.”  I chose to put my
kayak in and paddle upstream.  I delight in the challenge of asking my body to
work against the current and I will savor the ease when I turn my boat
downstream for the return trip.

When life or a project feels hard and overwhelming what can you do?

1. Honor your capacity.
2. Give yourself permission to rest and refuel when you feel fatigued.
3. Ask yourself what is one small next step I can take, and take it!
4. Acknowledge yourself for taking the step. Yes, it is a good practice to pat
your self on the back.
5. Celebrate what you have done and experience the joy.

I celebrated my efforts as I turned the kayak into the flow of the current and
allowed my body to simply rest as I closed my eyes and drank in the sun and
floated with ease. Remember in all situation you too have a choice of “how” you
navigate your journey even when it feels challenging, take a step, and as you see
your vision, down steam, you will move towards it easily.

-Susie Raymond

Emotional Empowerment Life Coach, Reiki Master/Teacher, Esthetician,

Breath work Teacher