Category Archives: change

Coping with Loss as We Age

Life Coaching to Help Cope with Loss Through Life

Dealing with loss with life coaching in Portland.One inevitable feature of life as we age is loss. Some losses are minor; some are massive. We lose physical characteristics, abilities, and loved ones—our hair, our bone density, our eyesight, our hearing, our best friend, our spouse. These losses can lead to grief, loneliness, and despair. We may wake up in the morning with an overwhelming sadness that starts before our conscious mind is even alert, and we’re reminded of what happened, that it wasn’t just a bad dream.


Realistic positivity means seeing and accepting what is now—both in our inner and outer worlds—and then putting our focus on what we would love. Seeing life through the lens of realistic positivity can have a massive effect on our enthusiasm for life and interest in moving forward after loss. When we accept the truth that “the only constant is change,” and that change often entails loss, we become more resilient in the face of loss. We are open to life filling the void without our intervention, and we can proactively fill it when it doesn’t.

For example, a woman I know had fantastic hearing one day, and the next day experienced the sudden and complete loss of sound in her left ear. No doctor could bring it back. She grieved her loss—an essential part of realistic positivity is accepting “what is”—and then came to appreciate how incredible the neuroplasticity of the human brain is: Her brain “rerouted” sounds to her right ear. Losing her hearing in one ear made her realize how little she appreciated it while she had it, and it taught her not to take anything seemingly so basic for granted again.

Other times, though, we must proactively replace losses when they occur.


Whether we were laid off, forced to retire, or chose to retire, the loss of a job or career can feel devastating. In the U.S., we treat our careers as almost inseparable from who we are. “What do you do for a living?” is often the first question we’re asked by new acquaintances right after “What is your name?”

I find it helpful to think of the void a loss has left as merely a space for something new and gratifying to enter our life. If we approach the loss of our career with realistic positivity, we can both accept the reality of what is—our career as we once knew it is has ended—and turn our focus to what we want and need—a drive to accomplish or experience something new, a purpose. The loss of our career leaves a space we can now fill with new ventures. We can write a book, travel to India, learn a new instrument or a new language, volunteer, or start an entirely new career—one not focused on income potential, but on passion.


When we lose someone we love, we have the opportunity to deepen our connections with those still with us or forge new ones. We gain resilience by being proactive in replacing our losses. When a loved one dies, we may lose several things at once: the person, our relationship with them, our way of being with them, their help, our plans with them, and so on. We must replace the loss not because we didn’t truly love them or don’t miss them, but because our own life is still worth being the best it can be, and to live a good life, we need good people in it.

Replacing the loss of someone we loved requires allowing ourselves to fully grieve and letting go of the expectation that we will find someone who will fill our loved one’s shoes in precisely the same way. We must examine and acknowledge our needs and be willing to reach out to others. We must also have patience and compassion for ourselves as we find our way into the future.


Loss is a gift? It is if through it we learn to value life in the present, to live and love fully, with the knowledge that we may not get another chance. Loss can help us if we recognize the lesson it teaches us—that every moment counts, material things don’t matter in the end, and we’re not defined by what we do or don’t have. Loss can be an impetus to meet new people, have fresh experiences, and explore additional ways to achieve the affirmation and love that we need. Experiencing loss also can make us more thoughtful, loving, and compassionate. By showing us what is essential, and what isn’t, loss helps us to let go of what is false and not serving us and guides us to our truest, best selves.

If you or someone you know is struggling with loss, set up a life coaching appointment at my Portland office.

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Danger of “if then” thinking

Can Life Coaching Help with ‘If Then’ Thinking?

Have you ever had the thought of “If I (fill in the blank), then (fill in in the blank)” or “once I…, then I’ll…”

Choices in life coaching Portland-If I move to another city, then I’ll be happy.

-Once I get this together, then I’ll be able to do this.

-Once I turn 50, then I’ll buy myself that car.

-Once I have enough experience then I can start that new project.

-If I ever win the lottery, then I’ll buy my dream home.

-Once I start therapy/coaching/medication, I’ll feel better.

Do any of these sound familiar? What are some other ones that you may find yourself thinking? Continue reading

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Ending therapy or coaching

When Finishing Your Therapy in Portland Oregon

At some point it is time to end the process of coaching or therapy. It may be something you bring up or your coach or therapist brings up.

Endings can be hard. My own experience and those I see in sessions is that saying goodbye is something that is not taught. So it is understandable when people avoid them. I have had people just disappear and I have no idea what happened. I have also had sweet endings where we have spent several sessions talking about the end.

When finishing your behavioral therapy in Portland Oregon.Endings can be hard, it is closing a chapter or even a book. I would encourage you to face this, as it can be quite healing to have a conscious, intentional parting. Some things to explore with ending:

  1. Ask yourself how you have handled endings in the past.
  2. What have you learned, what will you take away.
  3. Is there some sort of ritual or something that you want to take with you from this experience.
  4. Do you want to hear the coach or therapist’s view of the process
  5. Review the time together.
  6. And give feedback to the coach or therapist (both what you would consider positive and negative) as it is a process for the coach or therapist as well.

Saying goodbye doesn’t have to be hard. Think through the process with these tips and contact me today.

Photo compliments of StuartMiles at

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Ch Ch Ch Changes

“Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.”
Watch the Ted Talk here.


Can your posture or environment change you?

Try curling into yourself, bring your knees in, cross your arms, look down. Portland Oregon Cognitive TherapySit like this for a minute. How do you feel in this position? Now try stretching your arms up, standing tall, looking up. What body sensations do you notice?

Changing your posture can change how you feel, how you interact. She does a much better job at demonstrating this, watch her video to get the full scoop on it.

I what to take this somewhere else: your environment. That may be your home, your organization, your clothes in your closet or even the clothes you wear. Think about when you wear sweatpants and an oversized sweat shirt. I think cozy, comfortable, ease of movement. Now what about going on a date, what clothes do you pick out for that? And it probably depends on how you want to feel. Some women will wear sexy underwear or a camisole to feel sexy even if they are wearing not so sexy clothes.

Posture affects you. Clutter in your home affects you. What you wear affects you.

Check in with yourself when you are feeling a certain way, (Not as a fix it, I don’t believe in fixing your feelings, more as a possible shift move.) and try changing your posture or your clothes. Play with it and notice what happens.

Like I say to many of my clients, life is like a science experiment: have a hypothesis, try it out, determine the next step. Go into this not knowing, being curious, wondering what will happen. And then gather data.

If you think cognitive therapy could help you, contact me for Portland appointments.

Appreciation for use of the photo go to Serge Bertasius Photography At

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Portland Area Life Coaching for Your Daily Life

Comparison is something that often comes up everywhere. In school we are given grades, in job evaluations, in reality tv, in fashion.  How am I doing in comparison to others? It may not be a conscious thought, it may just be a judgement of what someone else is or isn’t doing. Whether you have lost someone dear to you, are in a relationship, starting a new job, continuing in one for a while, or going to the gym. We are all on our own journey. There may be similarities with others on a similar road. And it is still your own individual, unique journey that life coaching can help with.

For example if I go to the gym to build muscle, I can follow a routine that others have suggested—a friend, a youtube video, a personal trainer. This routine may have different outcomes for someone else because we eat and consume differently, have different body types,  or are different ages.

Life coaching in the Portland area.What does comparing get me? What does it get you? Perhaps feeling better or worse about myself or my situation. This leaves me in a one up or one down from others. It doesn’t leave room for seeing everyone as whole or even myself as whole. It distances me from others, it puts a wedge in the relationship, even if I haven’t talked to the person.

Stepping stone: If you are interested, notice where you compare yourself to others. Is it in a particular setting? Is there a certain judgement that comes up? Notice how you respond to the comparison and to the other person or situation. Is this something that you want to continue?

If you need help with these questions and more, contact me today to see how I can help you on your journey. 

Photo curtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at

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I am not sure if it is related to the end of summer: running hard all season or the panic before the school year starts. A topic that has been coming up a lot for both my therapy/coaching clients as well as myself is how to recharge in the midst of busyness.

More Life Coaching Tips from Portland Area Therapist

It is also interesting to note the idea of actually taking a vacation and coming back and getting Recharge with life coaching at Awakening Your Spark, Portland OR.right into the bustle of life again. Vacation seeming like a distant memory, sometimes even forgetting what it felt like to relax.

I am also thinking of a change of perspective. I can run from event to event, from errand to errand and feel stressed. I can do the same thing and breath and notice myself in time and space. Do I actually get somewhere faster if I am rushing? I have noticed for myself that I do not. What happens is that if I rush, I am ahead of myself, thinking of the next thing, of how late I am. If I take a breath, come back to the actual journey of getting somewhere, I am in the moment. I am nicer to myself and to others when I breath and come back to the moment instead of jumping ahead.

Homework, if you choose to participate: how can you create mini vacations in your day, a mini relaxation time.

Here are some ideas:

A breath. Or two. A walk. A step away from what you are doing to gain perspective. Chatting with a friend. Dancing. Singing. Self massage. Closing your eyes.

This doesn’t need to take a looooooong time; it can be a minute. Just do something.

For more information on relaxation and life coaching, contact me today.





Photo compliments of David Castillo Dominici at

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Frequency in Therapy/Coaching

I am an advocate of people empowering and listening to what they want. Here are some ideas to think about as you are thinking, “How often do I want to go in,” or “Can I cut back on my session frequency?”

What Are Your Life Coaching Goals?

What are your goals? How close are you to your goals? Have you accomplished them? What do you want to get out of your sessions? I see more frequent as powering your movement forward. So how fast do you want to move forward toward your goals?

And how intense are those goals? I am guessing if you are thinking of less frequent you are not in crisis, which is when many people want to decrease session frequency. My thoughts are that after a crisis is when you can really dig down and start working on what is really going on. You are not in crisis mode so have a different awareness; you are able to take a breath and notice.

How accountable are you to yourself? Are you able to practice the new tools or skills in that amount of time or do you wait until the night before or day of to do homework? Are you able to get the most out of the time in between?

Portland area life coaching sessions.What I have noticed is that once every week or two at the least is optimal to stay on track. Less is more of a “check in” vs digging down and making changes. And of course everyone is different, so this is not a blanket statement, just what I have observed and from talking with other people.

I would encourage you to talk to your therapist/coach about this. I don’t usually have people mention at the end of the session why they want less frequent sessions. This timing doesn’t actually allow for conversation in that session, it is a one way conversation, this is what I decided. I want you to actually have a conversation about it, bring it up earlier in the session, hear their thoughts vs just deciding because it is still a relationship and communication goes both ways.

To learn more about how a life coaching session can be a relationship for you, contact me today.

Photo compliments of Gratisography by Ryan McGuire.

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Contradiction, according to Google: “a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another.” Opposites, same source: “having a position on the other or further side of something; facing something, especially something of the same type.”

ID-10066173Sometimes we can have ideas, feelings, thoughts that feel totally at odds with each other. fFor example I can either accept the situation as it is and do nothing or reject it completely and make major changes, I can either have security or passion, I can either win or lose this argument, I can either be rigid or be in the flow. And we think, “How can these possible co-exist?” We feel stuck.

Try something out with me. In one hand put one of your statements. Feel it there. Does it have any movement, texture, color, sound? Be with it right now in this moment. Now in your other hand put the other statement. Notice the same. Now can your two hands holding these statements move and be in existence in each hand at the same time? Hold both simultaneously and notice what happens. Once you notice ease in this, perhaps have ID-100279435your two hands interact together. Move them closer together then farther apart. Have one hand try on the movement, feeling of the other hand and vice versa. Do you notice anything different in your experience of the two appearing contradictory statements?




Image curtesy of Ambro  and taesmileland from

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Living as Art

I was talking with some people recently about strengths and being a visionary and an artist. I started thinking about art: life as art, the art of living, being art. Which is where the idea for this blog came in.

ID-100203610I was thinking about what to name it. There is already an Art of Living Foundation. I settled into Living as Art. What if we are a masterpiece in the creation? We are the art. We are the focus which looks different in different light, in different settings. We are not stagnant. We are not finished. We are evolving and changing.


ID-100146460Painters can start, paint over, cover up, change what they are working on. Aren’t we doing that all the time? I have
the intention to continue looking inward at the exploration which is my life, of my patterns, of what I create in my life or not. I adjust myself, I shift from stuck to possibilities, I express.

Exploration for thisID-100209562 week is to check out what looks like an amazing example of this called Exhibit: Growth. It is interactive. Art is created from your responses. ID-10047285How awesome is that?

Photos from Free Digital Photos

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Small Changes

A recent book that I read recently that has made a huge impact on my life is, The Slight Edge. The short version is that you make small changes, that may even seem imperceptible in the grand scheme of things, on a daily basis. Every day. And he points out that often these things are easy to do and also easy not to do. By doing this over time, major change happens. And this works for something positive in life (being more social, paying off bills/debt) or something that you don’t want to happen (isolating, accruing more debt). And the other thing is that what one day seems hard will become easier the more you do it, also most likely less scary.

I think we live in a culture where instant gratification is expected. See the photo right away. Feel better right away. Get the answer right now. Which is why it can be hard to make a small change everyday where you do not see the result until much further down the road.

What is one change you want in your life? Are you willing to make one small change every day for a month and see what happens?

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