Do you Buffer?

I didn’t even know what buffering was. I thought people who engaged in buffering were people who had unhealthy addictions to things like drinking, drugs or pornography. It wasn’t until I learned more about this topic that I realized everybody, no matter how self-controlled or healthy, engages in buffering at times, and the impact it has on our overall well-being.

What is buffering you ask? It is trying to escape an internal feeling with something external.

Some examples of buffering behaviors that are more commonly acceptable and even encouraged among single women who love Jesus are: eating, working, exercising, instagramming/facebooking/pinning, gaming, male attention getting, netflixing, shopping, reading/podcasting, cleaning, being too busy, ok a lot of those are made up words but you get it.

Wait a minute, I do all of those…. I’m not saying you should not be doing the things listed above. What is key is that we notice why we are doing them. Are you doing them to escape a negative emotion? Do you hang up the phone from a hard conversation and immediately scrub the apartment from floor to ceiling? You may be cleaning to avoid the feelings of discomfort, but really you are just practicing not feeling the negative emotion and escaping from it with a buffer of choice. You get good at doing that, and you reinforce the concept of: do something to feel better, which over time, can cause you to lose the natural pleasure from everyday life as we chase for more pleasure to avoid the negative feelings.

I lived there, completely unaware of what I was doing. Then when I realized it, my awareness became full on. I thought eating ice cream or grabbing a snack or coffee was just a part of my life, but what I began to realize is that they were my life. I was so used to eating away my emotions it had become a full-on habit. I was getting most of my joy from it. The joy I was getting from relationships, and even simple pleasure was really not available because the “good” feelings came with the food. It was really out of control, but I didn’t even know it.

So how do you know if you are doing this too? Pay attention to yourself. Feel your feeling by naming the emotion, acknowledge it and sit with it. Rather than avoiding it or distracting yourself from it, or pretending it is not there. Lean into it, welcome it.

So, plans get cancelled and you are now all alone, all of the sudden you are hit with an emotion.

Do this:

1. Name the emotion.

“Rejection, this is rejection.

I like to talk to it and say, “Hello their rejection, I see you, I feel you.”

2. Be curious with it and describe it completely.

“You make my chest heavy and my heart rate rise. I also feel you in my stomach. You make me queasy and not hungry. You are red and hot and you move slow through me.”

This step is important because you need to connect with what emotions feel like to YOU as we are all different. It also gives you practice with noticing and allowing feelings again.

3. Connect it to the thoughts that are causing it.

“I know you’re here because I just got off the phone and plans for tonight are cancelled. I am alone and I feel rejection.  My mind is running wild about what it might mean. I’m subconsciously thinking that I am not wanted, that I did something wrong, that others don’t want to be around me, that I am weird, that I am not enough, if I was enough, I would not be alone all the time.”

Wow! Look what was under all that. I am amazed at what my brain throws at me. Once you have stopped and acknowledged the thoughts that are connected to the feelings and you still want to eat, then eat, but know your why. Know you are choosing to buffer to feel better. Whatever is there connect it to the thought and the feeling and begin to create an awareness, this is key.

I do this, and practice this regularly, and what is amazing is that once I have given my negative emotion some attention it is like it lets up. It sometimes likes to come up again, but typically it is less powerful. And feelings I have been trying so hard to avoid, once I do this, I am not afraid of them anymore. Rejection, I can do that, failure, got you, disappointment, bring it on!

Added benefit to all of this was, I was exchanging false pleasure for long term health. But I don’t have to do that anymore.  I can eat and have the appropriate amount of pleasure and feel truly healthy. The pleasure I have from taking care of myself and fueling myself has increased and the pleasure I get from sugar has drastically decreased. I never thought that was possible. I remember one day thinking I will struggle with my weight for the rest of my life, because I have just been born with a strong desire for sweets. There must be something wrong with me. You may feel that way too. You may think I will never be able to kick this pornography habit, or Netflix habit, or exercising habit. But, now I know there is another way.  And it all began with awareness and that is available for you too; name it, be curious, connect thoughts to feelings and slowly you too can take back control of your buffers.

I can’t wait for you to experience this too!

Angie Woods

 

Feelings part 3: The 50-50 experience.

Did you know that here on Earth we will have negative feelings 50% of the time and positive feelings 50% of the time? That is a part of the human experience. This is what we get here on Earth. Best news ever, in heaven we only experience 100% positive emotions. We live in a constant utopia, nothing negative, that is mind blowing.

Now that I know this, it compels me to get good at feeling the negative emotions. God clearly wanted them a part of our earthly experience. And after much thought, I wouldn’t want to get rid of the negative emotions. Some of those emotions serve me really well.  Feeling sad when a death occurs, or when a friend is moving is a negative emotion I want to feel. In the negative emotions, when I feel rejected, alone, scared, and disappointed, I run to God.

So, how do we get good at the negative emotions. Don’t fear them. Don’t run, or hide from them. Understand that this is part of the human experience. So, when I feel negative emotions, I welcome them in. I open myself up to why I am having them. Why is my mind going there, choosing to think something that feels negative? Do I want to feel this way.

I have learned that I create some unnecessary suffering for myself.

I recently was talking to someone and they pointed something out to me and immediately I made what they said feel painful. I made their words mean I was stupid, didn’t know what I was doing, inadequate. So now I ask myself “why do I want to make it mean that? Why do I want to feel bad?” It was tied to one thought. “They don’t think I know what I am doing.” That thought immediately began to bring up all this negative for me. But once I was able to see underneath the negative, I was able to see that I didn’t have to think about it that way. I could choose to think about it totally different.

That person is trying to help me. They are wanting it to be helpful. They are sharing an observation with me. They were not judging me. I was judging me.  Being curious helped me to uncover that I was choosing to feel that way. I was choosing to make it negative and I didn’t have to.

Some of the negative feelings will come about and we want them and some we create and don’t have to. Are you creating unnecessary suffering? Are you making your life feel negative more than 50% of the time? I was, and I am so glad I have learned to stop it.

If anything in this jumps out to you and you think; WOW, I would love to put these into practice and Angie can help me, then what are you waiting for? Click on the Let’s Talk button and hop on a free 30-minute mini-session and see if coaching is right for you.

Working on feeling right with ya,

Angie

Feelings part 2

There are only 2 types of feelings, positive and negative feelings and both are created by our thoughts. Sometimes when I work with a client, they may not be able to tell me what they are feeling and sometimes we start with are you opened or closed. But what is so funny to me is that the only way we know what one feeling feels like is because we know the other side of that feeling. For instance, have you ever been sick, like for more than 3 days sick? You know what healthy feels like after 3 days of sick. But when you have been healthy for years you begin to not know what healthy feels like. Without unhappiness, happiness can’t exist. That is how the world works, and because of that, we can accept both sides of the feelings. I can handle sadness, because I have experienced happy. I love to feel excited, because I know what nervous feels like. I can’t have one without the other.

Also, there is a degree of intensity to each feeling, like; fear that then turns into terror, or surprise that turns to amazement.

That happens by you thinking that thought more, and then adding other thoughts, that also make you feel that same feeling. I like to practice thinking a thought that gets me excited, and spend more time thinking about it, and adding more thoughts that get me excited, and it intensifies for me. For instance, we are headed to the beach soon and the more I think thoughts of anticipation, the more excited I become. I start thinking about all the things we will do at the beach and my excitement grows. I am in control of the intensity of the feeling. If I want to feel really excited, I focus my thoughts towards, “I can’t wait to be at the beach, we are going to have so much fun, etc…” Sometimes I just walk around saying, “We’re going to the beach!”  All of these thoughts get me anticipating the event with excitement. Do you want to know how to feel dread?  Think about all the things you have to do to get to the beach, all the packing, all the driving, all the…. You get my point. I am in control of my feelings. I can make them more intense or less intense based on my THOUGHTS. I can choose which feelings I want to have, and practice those thoughts more and more. Believe me, I LOVE being excited so I am practicing all of those thoughts, even as I begin to pack or clean beach toys, with sand from over a year ago.

I dare you to practice thinking thoughts on purpose that get you feeling a certain way and then intensify them based on adding more thoughts that make you feel that feeling even more. You may be surprised at how fun this is.

Feeling right along with ya,

Angie

FEELINGS; they aren’t so bad after all

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I guess I didn’t know that, and when I was learning this I think I felt a little behind, like ‘why didn’t someone teach me this in grade school?’  So, I am on a mission to inform people much earlier than I learned this concept. I guess I thought feelings, or emotions, just came on, and really were a force to be reckoned with.  Positive emotions, like happy, just came to me and put me in a great mood. The negative feelings were harder to deal with. Like, when I am on my period I deal with anger, frustration, and hormones. When I liked a guy, I felt I had to deal with all the feelings that came with it; which typically made me extra vulnerable to jealousy, tears, and self-loathing. I guess my definition would be something that hits you upside your head and you must terrain as best you can. The positive ones were easy to deal with, and the negative ones—not so much. That sounded like a rationale definition.

Really…’just vibrations in your body.’ When you say it like that it seems so harmless, right? And those vibrations just come from a thought in your brain. We did an exercise in my coaching class and we partnered up and pretended there was a green Martian with us to learn all about feelings. We were asked to pick one negative feeling and think thoughts that made us feel that way; all while describing to the Martian where the feeling was in our body. This exercise was really mind blowing because you know what happened... When I started to describe the feeling, it didn’t have as much power—it felt like it slowly faded. As I described where it was in my body; what it felt like, what color it would be, if it was moving or standing still, it was like I was honoring it in my body and then letting it go. I so often avoid feeling something because I am afraid of what it will feel like. For example, I don’t like to feel uncomfortable and to avoid that I chose a more powerful feeling like anger, or frustration to not have to feel uncomfortable. That was so interesting to me, that if I would just honor my negative feelings, give it the time and attention it needs, it wouldn’t be so negative in my life. I tend to compound the negative by trying to avoid one feeling, and just act out of a different more powerful feeling. Because being angry and frustrated gets me much farther than uncomfortable, right? No.

So now that we know feelings are just vibrations that come from thoughts, what do we do? We should practice them. Like really see what feeling you have—how it feels and what thought is creating that feeling. Funny thing is you have lots of thoughts going on, so take a deep breath. See what feeling is in your body, explain it to the green Martian, and then see if you can find what one thought is making you feel that way. This is a great practice for AWARENESS. Knowing what feelings we have on a regular basis can help us understand ourselves better, and can help us see if we want to have those feelings.  Often we are unaware of how we feel, and just try and make it through our days. Maybe that is just me. 😊 Check out the post tomorrow to learn about the two sides of feelings, and how to increase, or decrease the intensity.

Do you know how to take your thoughts captive?

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Being able to take the paper filled with all my thoughts from my thought download (check last weeks blog) and knowing what to do with them has been life changing for me. I have learned how to TAKE MY   THOUGHTS CAPTIVE.

This is the self-coaching model that Brooke Castillo teaches at the Life Coaching School. Learning how to self-coach is what has unlocked so much for me. I can take a thought and see what feeling that thought creates.

From that feeling I can see what actions I am taking. And from those actions I can see my current results. Wow! So, a simple thought like “I don’t know how to make friends in this new town” creates a feeling of inadequacy. From inadequacy, I take a lot of inaction, not initiating conversations or not asking people to coffee or hang out; which then results in me being unable to make new friends. That creates more evidence to back my belief of I don’t know how to make friends in this new town. The cycle never ends, I just keep proving that to myself over and over.

But just changing that thought a little can make a huge shift in what actions I do take. Just thinking I am becoming someone who knows how to make friends in this new town, or asking myself how would someone make friends in a new town and answering that with something more than I don’t know. These thoughts are what create a different feeling than inadequate.

How do I want to feel about making new friends? I want to feel confident, capable and like new friends are for me in this place. When I feel those things, I take a lot more action than just being passive. When I believe there are new friends for me here in this place my brain goes to work confirming that belief and typically, I see new friendships sparking up all around me.

It all happens with a new thought. Seeing the old thought that I believed to be true (I don’t know how to make friends in this new town) and examining it and realizing that thought is keeping me stuck, is key. Then I can begin to shift to the new thought, feel confident and start taking action from there. This practice is something you can do with any of your thoughts from your thought download.

And if you try and it doesn’t quite work, then it’s ok, I can help you. That is where coaching comes in. I can walk you through the model and help you gain clarity on what your thought is creating and what new thought you could think instead. Want some help? Hit the Let’s Talk button and schedule a free mini-session today.

The Thought Download

The power of a blank piece of paper-the thought download

When I wake up, I take a look at a blank piece of paper. It is a powerful tool for me to take what is in my mind, all the stuff, and put it down on paper. I need this. I have so much going on that I am unaware of some detrimental thoughts that are unknowingly pulling me away from who I want to be, who God is wooing me to be.

It is in the process of filling the blank piece of paper with my thoughts that I am able to have awareness. I write things down that I didn’t even know I was thinking. I write and write and write. Sometimes I will set a timer and just go for as long as I have time for. This has been a practice that I have been doing for about a year and when I do it, I am so glad I did. I feel known. I feel like I see me. 
I am able to give myself the time and space that I offer so many others throughout my day. I love asking friends, “Hi… how are you, what have you been thinking about lately?” So, to stop and give myself my own time and attention and say, “Hi, how are you, what have you been thinking about lately?” And then to truly listen and become aware of it. It is like GOLD. 
I feel myself relax into being seen and known and then I am able to spend time with God without the jumble in my head. I am clear and open and in touch with my thoughts. For far too long I was not even AWARE of me. I was continually pushing myself down and trying to cram God over it. I knew there were things that I was dealing with I just didn’t know what.

Now I see where I am, and I am able to see the thoughts that are creating negativity, unnecessary suffering, and the actions that I am taking that is creating a me, that I don’t want to be. 
God is so good to meet me, all of me. My thoughts and concerns. My questions and my dreams. My struggles and my victories. Yet, I need to have an awareness of myself so I can fully come to Him with all of me. He longs to transform my mind (Romans 12) and that takes me doing the work of unpacking what is truly there. 
So, grab a piece of blank paper, and dump it all out. If the idea of a blank piece of paper is too hard I created a downloadable thought prompter.  Check it out here:

Single Ladies Summer Thrive Guide

The Single Ladies Summer Thrive Guide:

There are many things that come up during the summer that can affect single ladies in a way that can be defeating. I want to tackle some of those with you. I talk about swimsuits, weddings, family vacations, evenings spent alone, and goals. I give you a new way to think about things, and some great questions to ask yourself.

Get this free guide today, and start implementing these practical tips.

Your future self will thank you!

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What is a Life Coach anyway?

I have started telling people that I am a certified life coach and immediately the next question is… what is a life coach? That is a great question, most commonly, Life Coaches work with people who want to go from one place in their life to the next.  It is different than therapy, but I would say it is very much future focused.

Where do you want to go? What areas in your life are points of pain that we can work through and move you forward. I will try, and explain it with a metaphor for clarity.

If you wanted to learn to play volleyball and you really had no idea how to play, you might take a class or lesson to learn the basics. Once you got pretty good, if you really wanted to pursue volleyball seriously you might hire a coach to work with you more closely one on one and help you really take things to the next level. That coach would be me. Except the sport isn’t volleyball, it is life.

Every aspect of our life can be complicated; from relationships, to our health. And let me tell you something… it ALL BEGINS IN YOUR MIND. Everything in your life is coming from your thoughts. So, as your life coach I really help you investigate your thoughts. I give you very basic and simple tools that you can practice on your own; and when we get together we dive deep to uncover thoughts that maybe you didn’t even know were there, or were keeping you stuck. Sometimes this can seem overwhelming, but once my clients see what they are creating in their mind, they are able to have tremendous growth as they take ownership of every aspect of their life.

With Steward your Story, I’m working with single women who love Jesus. They are women who are just like you, or your close friends. Ordinary women who are going through life being human, and doing the best they can. They come to me because they recognize that they need someone to help them on their journey. They need someone who has been in their shoes, and can relate; but can push, challenge, and walk with them through their growth.

How does it work?

I do all my coaching over Zoom, or the phone. Almost all of my clients don’t live close enough to meet up in person. I have been amazed at what seeing someone on Zoom does, because we connect all over the world. As my clients’ experience breakthroughs, I see it in their whole demeanor, or if on the phone, I hear a shift in their voice. It’s as if they moved a notch on the compass of their life, and the trajectory has shifted. I have started sessions with someone in tears and totally downcast, and left with their head up, confident to implement some empowering tools that week.

I have a 12-week group coaching program called Steward your Story—Starting this September. Everyone starts out learning the tools that are critical if you want to feel better, be more effective, and/or start focusing on what you want in the future.  The 12-week program, consisting of one group coaching session per week, will change you. Permanently. I like to tell people that once they know these tools, they can’t un-know them and it will truly change the way you view your life, your relationships, and your day-to-day activities. I also offer one-on-one coaching for those looking for a more personal deep dive.

My goal is to empower women to experience God in a different way; as they see, hear, and even encounter His Word differently. They can do this after they have learned to take their thoughts captive and have tools to renew their mind.

What made you choose to do this and what did you have to do in order to get started?

The short version is that I was coached, and didn’t really know it. A year, or so after that experience my heart kept returning to the memory of my life before being coached, and my life after. It was a huge turning point for me. It was the day I stopped living at the effect of my life and I started to own it, or steward my story. I was curious about life coaching, and what it took to become certified. Then began my journey with the podcast: The Life Coaching School and Brooke Castillo.

As I listened to the podcast, and began implementing the tools into my daily life, change was happening. I was learning to self-coach, and was thinking differently over all. As I began to research other options for certification, I felt a pull to this one because of the self-coaching model, and the reality that I can use it as I coach people and then really teach my clients how to use it in their own life. I knew that it was possible because I was doing it in my life, and getting results. My life was changing and for the better.

I was beginning to see God changing me, and revealing to me areas of my life that needed some help. I got coached by a certified coach from the Life Coach School and that experience solidified it for me. I wanted to become a coach and I wanted to have the skills the Life Coach School taught. It was just a matter of when I could get certified.

Through my certification, and much dialogue with God, my eyes were opened to how He was using these tools to reinforce everything He was teaching me. Each week God was planting nuggets of truth throughout what I was learning from Scripture, devotions, bible reading & church, and life coach certification. God was allowing me to see how He had led me to this point, and how together He and I can bring this to others.

Needless to say, since passing my certification at the school I have felt on fire about sharing these tools with others. I chose to focus my business on single women who love Jesus because I wish I had these tools during those chapters of my story. When I was single, I was in full-time ministry, and though everything was “good,” and I was “fine” in that season; I thought true happiness was on the other side of marriage and kiddos. Once I did have marriage, and kids, there was a wake-up call for me. I was not happy at all, actually I was pretty miserable. Now I can see that loving the story God has given me was available to me during my single chapters just as much as it is now in the chapters with a husband, and kiddos.

I want to help single women understand how to love whatever season they are in.

Also, I love single women. Every time I meet someone in their 20s/30s, and I find out they are single—my heart leaps. I almost always say girl, “I know where you are, I was there too.”  I have so many things to say to them; but really, I want to say, “I SEE YOU!”

So, what is the ultimate way to see someone—build an entire business around them. Make them your people, and serve them every way the Lord leads you to. That is where I am and I am beyond excited to do this. I want to be your life coach. I want to guide you as you Steward your Story.  

With you,

Angie Woods

 

Stewarding your Story Galatians 6:4-5

As I listened to Katherine Wolf on a panel at the 2019 IF: Gathering, it was like God was using her as a megaphone to me. “How do you balance it all?” They asked her. And in her very own beautiful way, Katherine shared this: “Galatians 6:2 states, ”Bear each other’s burdens.” Galatians 6:9 states, “Do not grow weary in doing good.” And smack dab in the middle of them, Galatians 6:4-5 states, “Take responsibility for doing the creative best with your own life.” That is the key to balancing it all. God knew we needed help in this area and he used Paul’s words to walk us through that process. He says to us, “I am giving you a story and I want you to steward it.”

Katherine simplified balance for me in such clear terms. The only way we can carry each other’s burdens and not grow weary is to own our life…steward our story.  What if I took that responsibility seriously? What if I did my creative best with my own life? I stopped and pondered that for quite a while. See when I heard this, I was almost completely certified as a life coach and had just figured out the group of women the Lord was calling me to work with. In the business world they call it your niche. My niche had been clearly pointed out to me by God and He was calling me to single women who love Him. And essentially, I was saying to God, “I want to bear these women’s burdens and I do NOT want to grow weary.” I have done full time ministry before and I grew very weary… kind of burnt out.  The Lord wanted to make a few things clear to me.

1.    There is a way to bear one another’s burdens without growing weary. 

It was like He was saying to me, “You can do this. This is possible. You can bear others burdens; everyone from your friends, to your clients, and even strangers I bring into your path. This is NOT too much for you. I want you to see that here in Galatians. And also, the women I am calling you to serve, they need to know this too.”

2.    God walked me through the how of stewarding my story.

God had essentially been taking me on a journey and it was at that moment during the conference that I heard Him say to me, “I have been showing you how to own your life. I have taught you how to stop living at the effect of life around you and I have taught you how to embrace it and truly take responsibility for the current results you have in your life. I have given you tools and the time to uncover what is going on with your beliefs and your current behaviors that are keeping you in certain places in your life.” See, with each week of life coach certification it was like He was peeling back another layer of me that I had become to survive and just try and make it. As each layer was coming off, I was beginning to see what I had been doing. What I had been creating with the way I was looking at my story. I was beginning to have mind shifts and take back parts of me and begin to ask God what He wanted with each part of my story. So, unbeknownst to me, he was walking me through the how of stewarding your story (Galatians 6:4).

3.    He wants me to equip YOU with the how

He was doing all of this for me so that I could teach others how. God was saying to me “Equip them.” Be an example. Let your story intersect with theirs and let me use your life as a part of their story.  Remember, your life is not yours anyways. I have blessed your story beyond anything you can comprehend or imagine. It was like He was saying to me, “Listen, I have taught you some tools and now I want to use you to get these tools to others. I want you to be my mouthpiece about it. I want you to teach women just like you how to LOVE the season of life they are in and equip them so they can LOVE where I have them. Some of them don’t love it and some of them are surviving, some of them are bearing each other’s burdens to the point of burn out. I want to help them. Some are getting burned, by the church, by their friends, by the institution of marriage. Some of them are angry with me and feel alone. Some of them are hurting. Some of them are lost, or stuck and I see them. I want you to see them and I want you to walk with them and train them as they get what it looks like to steward their story.”

What I have come to learn is that my story is beautiful, it is telling His most amazing story. It isn’t my story, it’s His. My job is to steward His story in my life well. My story is connected to EVERYTHING God is doing in the world. He longs to be glorified in my story and He wants me to enjoy Him while He is writing it. And get this… He wants the same for you!

If this stirs something within you, my next post explains more about life coaching, what it is, and how God led me to it. 

With you,

Angie Woods