The Grieving Loss of Being Ghosted

The Psychological Effects Drawn from an Inability to Have a Hard Conversation.

In the digital age of swiping left or right to filter through our likes and dislikes ghosting has become commonplace. A term used when someone decides after a couple of months of dating or being friends to stop replying to you. They just delete you from their life with no explanation. It’s harsh, it’s rude, and it indicated a lack of skill to handle a confrontation. 

If you’ve ever been ghosted you know terrible it feels. Sure it’s the easy route for the ghoster, but it is done without any consideration for the thoughts and feelings of the other individual being ghosted.  Zero thought about the panic and worry it brings into the receiver’s life. They think they’ve done something wrong, and are offered no explanation. This leads to over annalizing the situation and reaching out to no avail, maybe too much. They are seeking closure and approval from someone who has no social skills on how to handle a hard conversation. 

Ghosting has been linked to suicide and depression. The ghoster has created an unhealthy problem in someone out of their own inability to communicate. 

Ghosting is Passive Aggressive

Ending any relationship is tough. Even when both parties know it’s time, having that conversation is challenging. The idea to just disappear from someone’s life is a cop-out and we all know it. The other person deserves closure. 

As a society, we are not accustomed to being uncomfortable. We don’t like to work hard for the things we want, like a great job, a happy relationship, a beautiful home. We want what we want now and see everything (and worse!) everyone as disposable. So when situations come up where we are forced to face the music of our life it’s easier to just run away. 

This is always an option. But know it’s the option of those who have determined that others’ lives, feelings, and emotions are not worthy of closure. A ghoster is telling you that they are not capable, and it has little if anything to do with the receiver. 

Getting Comfortable with Hard Conversations

If you want any kind of long-term success in your life you must get comfortable with hard conversations. 

If you want to be seen and loved then you must be willing to be seen and loved. 

This takes you being open to vulnerability and trusting that others can handle those hard moments too. Walking away from a relationship, a job, a friend, without any explanation is a deeper reflection on you. And you are willingly leaving the other open to hard emotional doubt. 

Simon Sinek talks about how we are raising a generation of humans who have been taught to value money over people. How we are sending them into the workplace with no communication skills that all leaders need to succeed. Skills like the ability to have a hard conversation instead of walking away. 

Anybody you know who has good friends, a happy marriage, or a job they love got there because they stuck with it, and chose to work through hard moments. 

I’m not talking about staying with an abuser or making things work at a toxic job or with a toxic human. I’m talking about showing respect for another being. 

You Are Not Alone

The first time I heard the term “ghosted” a flood of emotion came over me. I finally understood what I was going through when a long-time friend disappeared from my life. I found myself focusing on what I could have done or said to deserve this odd form of abuse. I questioned whether I deserved it and settled on that I did. I let their silence eat away at my self-worth and started to see myself as less than. I ended up giving this person free rent in my mind until they became a central part of my daily spiral about why I wasn’t good enough.

I was confused, sad, angry, and powerless. 

I felt like a friend had died, yet I continued to see them living their best life on social media. I had to work through this grief. Coming to realize that the real grief was that I gave my power to an old relationship instead of fueling my energy towards all the good that surrounded me. 

Working through emotions

The hardest part for me was that this was someone I trusted and loved for many years. I was hurt that they thought I wasn’t mature enough to handle a conversation they didn’t want to have. It took me years to see that it was them who couldn’t handle saying goodbye, not me. 

If you have been ghosted you understand how this can trigger your own personal beliefs about worth and can leave you seeking acceptance from someone proven to be unworthy of your time and attention. 

Ghosting has deep-rooted effects on how we function as a society and what is considered natural and normal. It is up to us to have the courage to have these hard conversations so we can recognize when relationships, jobs, and friends, are worthy of our time and attention. Having hard conversations benefits everyone. It gives everyone an opportunity to grow and learn. Ghosting does none of that and leaves everyone involved feeling unfulfilled. 

Knowing Your Worth

Being ghosted by someone I love sucked.  But ultimately it taught me a lot about self-worth. I am capable of hard conversations, and I love myself enough to know that anyone who sees me as disposable has no room in my life. 

You are worthy of healthy positive relationships too. I don’t care how long someone has been in your life. If they treat you as an option to be ghosted then you deserve better. 

You have the choice in every moment to take the coward’s way out or do what’s right and embrace those hard moments. For they are what define you as a person of worth. You have so much potential inside of you that shouldn’t be wasted on questioning what you will never know from a ghoster. Move along, and find those who want to dig deep into the soil of life and live with meaning. One that is messy with love, vulnerability, and trust. 

Breathing Through the Emotions

Breathwork is my tool for success. I can handle hard moments because I’ve learned to step back and breathe. Give yourself an opportunity to pause and be the moment. Don’t hit delete on another human. Take a deep breath and state your truth. It will do wonders for your confidence. 

And to the ghosters of the world, I encourage you to try again. To do better. To expect more of yourself and the relationships you foster. For how you treat another says more about you than it does about them.

Walking Toward the Light!

Moving Energy from Fear to Love

Fear is hardwired into modern society. From the time we are walking, we have been told no roughly 400 times a day! This alone sets our brain up to live in a way of fear. Most of us don’t even know that there is another way to live. 

You can choose to live your life from a place of love and you don’t need to wait for a disaster to hit to do it. Health scares are among the top reasons people chose to live differently, but you don’t need to wait for a health crisis to revolutionize your life. 

Take control of your life before tragedy hits 

Wake up and stop walking the path of fear. If you are staying in a job or hanging on to a relationship out of fear I am pleading with you to stop. 

I understand why you’re doing it, but we all know where these roads lead.

What lights you up? Not what you think should light you up. Many of us choose a career or a partner because of fear, and we are never taught anything different.

I was at the park last week and a little girl was showing her mom a stick arrangement she had made in the mud. Her mom was taking a picture of her daughter next to it when the little girl proclaimed with a twirl, “I’m going to be an artist!”

The mom, without hesitation, responded, “Not unless you’re married to a doctor honey. You don’t want to be poor do you?”

Even as I write this I’m getting teary-eyed. What if the next Picasso just got buried in that mud. A part of my heart did. A part of all of us does. 

  • When you were first called ugly your thoughts on comparison started. 
  • When you were first told you were fat, body dysmorphia began. 
  • When you were first called dumb, you began to question your self-worth.

Even the mom, who wants the best for her little girl, is placing her fears onto her daughter. 

But there is another way! 

The fear you feel about being alone, or unloved, or not enough can be transformed into something beautiful by choosing to walk the path of love. 

  • You don’t have to push your body too hard at the gym to punish yourself for eating unhealthy the day before.
  • You don’t have to stay in that toxic relationship because it’s going to be hard to leave and risk being alone.
  • You don’t have to put up with an unhealthy work environment because the money is good.
  • You don’t have to sacrifice your happiness out of fear. 

All of the things you’re currently doing out of fear can go away when you decide to change the energy around them. When you decide to transform your mind to a new philosophy and move from fear to love, the energy you carry around things will change.

It starts with awareness.

Once you are aware of your fear-based thoughts the energy around them begins to change. Once acknowledged, it is no longer hidden away in the dark. Light brings a different energy and sometimes becoming aware is the transformation. 

Other times, it takes more work. 

Awareness is the first key. But the thing with awareness is that once you are aware of a problem you must make the choice to do something about it. This is where so many people give up. Choosing to take ownership of our lives is challenging. It’s easy to live a small miserable life. Just look around, we all do it in some ways and we reflect it in each other. 

We tell each other stories like…

  • Relationships are hard
  • I don’t get along with women/men
  • At least I have a job
  • I earned this cheesecake

Only you can hold yourself accountable. 

As Seth Godin likes to say, “Putting yourself on the hook.”

Part of changing your energy around fear is choosing something different than the day before. This is where things get sticky. 

It’s time to own your role in your current circumstance and choose a different path. This might look like switching your internal dialog to…

  • I choose to eat healthy because I love my body.
  • I choose to accept my family for who they are because I love them and trust them to walk their own path towards love.
  • I choose to get up early and meditate because it clears my head for a busy day.
  • I choose to wait for Mr. Right instead of settling for the wrong person. 

Take Back Your Power

No one is going to go to the gym or eat healthy for you. You must choose to walk the path to self-love and begin these healthy rituals on your own. It will take some work, but once you see how good you can feel it will get easier. 

Now that you feel better you start to look back and wonder why you ever let yourself feel so bad. Energy attracts energy, so the road of fear you were walking comes to a crossroads with love and now you can start living in this new path. The way you were meant to live; in love. 

A whole new world will open up to you once you decide that you are worth living in alignment with love. Love is our natural state. Just look at any baby and you can see the trust and love. They don’t question the way they look, or their intelligence, they just live in the energy of love and let their needs be met. 

You can too. 

Sure being an adult takes more than crying to get our needs met, but that’s the joy. Taking responsibility can feel overwhelming but how do you feel now? Is living in fear serving you? Or are you just surviving? What energy are you bringing into your life? And what energy would you like to attract? 

You have the power in you to make that shift now! And it begins with awareness. Meet me on the path to love. There are others here, like us, encouraging and helpful and unlearning their fear-based mindset so we can light up the world together. 

Finding Joy in the Mundane

Everyday Solutions to Create a More Joyful Life

Finding joy is something we all want more of in our lives. From day to day it’s easy to find ourselves falling into a routine that no longer excites us. Driving the same route to work day after day gets boring and mundane. We forget to observe the beautiful arching birch trees that line our path or even notice the mountain range that peeks out on a nice sunny day. By taking time to notice these simple pleasures you have the power to turn the mundane into the extraordinary. 

Here are 5 ways you can use your ordinary routine to find joy.

  1. Stop Waiting to be Happy

Sometimes it seems as though we are waiting for something to be happy about. We forget that every moment is an opportunity to be happy. 

Negative thoughts breed more negative thoughts, so we begin to replace joy with anger. 

We all know that person who can be in a room full of laughter and be pissed off in the corner. You might even try to include this person and they just attempt to bring you down with their negative take on the situation. They have decided that they need a reason to be happy. How can they possibly be happy when…

  • They have back pain
  • Their marriage fell apart
  • They have cancer
  • They lost their job

Whatever negative thoughts they focus on quite literally steal their happiness; they’re unaware of all the joy that surrounds them.

We’ve all been guilty of this on some level. We’ve let our ego keep us focused on what we don’t have. But the reality is that you can begin to feel happier, more productive, and successful right now just by focusing on what you do have. Your thinking changes your perspective which is awesome! It means you can start creating joy in your life right now just by deciding to.

  1. Appreciate the Little Things

My honey-bunny cooks dinner for me almost every night. It’s not something that has ever been discussed or talked about. He’s just the family cook. After 13 years together I’ve gotten used to being spoiled and forget how nice it is that I don’t need to think about dinner night after night. He carries that burden for us. I will note that both he and I enjoy his cooking much more than we like mine, but that doesn’t mean his seamless effort should go without thanks. 

Maybe you too are enjoying the efforts of someone lightening your load. Or maybe it’s taking time to appreciate all of the conveniences of modern-day life –Things that are done for us without us even realizing. 

  • Doors slide open for you as you approach
  • Traffic lights keep us running on a smooth schedule
  • Your cell phone carries all the information you could ever need
  • Your refrigerator that keeps your food from spoiling
  • Hot water when you take a shower

Start a list of the little things in your life that deserve appreciation and start thanking people and things for helping support you through this journey.

  1. Take Care of Yourself

I don’t know what it is about self-care that people are so resistant to. The guilt that comes along with a spa day is sometimes more stressful than worth it. The fact of the matter is that when you take care of yourself you have more to give out to those around you. Motivational speaker Lisa Nichols has a quote I love… 

“Your job is to fill your own cup, so it overflows. Then you can serve others, joyfully, from your saucer”

The idea is to fill your own cup first.

If you struggle with self-care I suggest making a list of all the things you have to do and then deciding what on the list is major and what is minor. Then you can clear space in your mind for indulging in an afternoon off instead of spending the whole time thinking about the laundry or cleaning the bathroom. 

  1. Don’t Worry so Much

I know this is a tough one. How can you stop yourself from worrying about all the things? Practice, that’s how. If you’re stuck in traffic and keep looking from the road to the time and with each passing minute you’re worried about how late you will be to work, or dinner, or the kids’ activities, you can’t help but worry. In an era of cell phones, you can let people know you’re running late. 

It really is that simple. 

What tends to happen though is even after you’ve let everyone know what’s happening you are still fixated on getting there on time. 

What if you start training yourself to give over to the moment? 

Calls have been made and you will arrive when you arrive. Imagine yourself showing up calm and ready instead of late and frazzled. If you start to train yourself to worry less you will find yourself worrying less. Then when you’re running late you can know this is not a personal reflection on who you are as a person, but a circumstance you are in. 

  1. Practice Breathwork!

A daily practice of functional breathing is simple…not easy. Taking 5 minutes to sit yourself down and focus on nothing but your breath helps pull your mind out of the body. This offers you a break from the daily lists and scenarios that swirl around in your head. For 5 minutes you have the opportunity to just feel your body expand and contract. 

In five minutes you can turn your whole day around. By rebalancing your nervous system you are able to remain calm and in the flow of life even when things get hectic. And when you are coming from a calm place it’s easier to notice the joy that surrounds you. It also helps you build a better relationship with your body and intuition. 

When life feels mundane, learn to look for joy. True happiness lies here in our everyday experiences. 

I’m not suggesting that every moment needs to be happy and joyful, but I am saying that joy surrounds you at any given moment. 

Even when life feels like a pressure cooker there are lessons to be learned and reasons to find joy. It’s all a matter of how we choose to view the situation. 

I hope this list offers you an opening to joy the next time you find yourself stuck in the endless mundane of your everyday life. 

Breaking the Habit of Hesitation

Release the Idea of Needing Motivation, and Start Taking Action Today!

Many aspiring entrepreneurs constantly live in a state of limbo. They have great ideas, but they’re not quite sure if they should pursue them or not because it could be too risky. The thought of taking the leap into something new is paralyzing to some people– and for good reason! It can be an intimidating task, which is why I’m here to tell you that there’s no need to hesitate anymore. 

You don’t have to keep waiting around for someone else to invest in your idea; just take action and start making things happen. If you’re uncomfortable then you are on the right track. If this sounds like you then this blog post is perfect because it’s time we break the habit of hesitation once and for all.

It’s easy to look at someone you admire who has success and start to believe that they possess something you don’t. That success came easy to them or that they are full of motivation. You’ve bought into this idea that at some point you too will have the courage and confidence to pursue your dreams. 

You know how it goes… 

  • Once I have more money I will do it.
  • Once I lose weight I will start.
  • Once the kids are out of the house I can focus on myself.
  • Once I get that promotion things will change.

These hesitations are keeping you stuck. I know because I’ve been there too, and I know that someday will never come unless you decide to make it happen. 

Right now.

Where you are.

With what you have.

Begin Today!

I have a lifelong friend who is such an inspiration. She’s a single mom who started her custom clothing line while living in a 500 square-foot studio apartment. She’d always wanted to go for it, but the time was never right. Stuck at home with an infant and in a place of needing to figure it out, she went all in. 

Today she has a successful clothing line making custom clothes exclusively for the wives, girlfriends, parents, and children of professional athletes. A niche industry that caters to helping family members stand out in the stadium on game day. 

She created a market out of need and found success when she let hesitation go. 

She was not confident when she was setting up her printer between the baby’s crib and the small kitchen surface she had. But she decided to go for it and it completely changed her life. 

Hesitation Brings Doubt

Somewhere along the line, we decided it was more comfortable to stay stuck dreaming about our future lives than actually taking the steps to create that dream life. We started relying on the voice of hesitation. Our brains are designed to protect us from danger and anything unknown is a potential threat. Hesitation is our reasoning mind thinking it’s keeping us safe. But in order to start that business, be that partner, follow that dream, you are going to have to spend a little time in uncertainty.

Mel Robbin’s book, “The 5 Second Rule”, talks about this. She says it’s responsible for changing the course of her life. She says “If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it.” She suggests when you have an idea you give yourself 5 seconds to act on it. Literally doing a 5-4-3-2-1 countdown to propel you into action. 

When you think about all the things you’re going to do tomorrow it’s easy. Your mind is motivated to say…

  • I’m going to get up early and meditate tomorrow
  • I’m going to start eating healthily tomorrow
  • I’m starting my gym routine tomorrow
  • I’m starting to put pen to paper on my book tomorrow

And you really mean it! You’re seriously ready. But then the next day you just aren’t motivated to do it. You’ve already hesitated on the idea, what’s one more day? You can always start tomorrow. And it’s true, you can always start tomorrow, but if you’re waiting for motivation or courage, or confidence to get started then you will never begin.

As amazing as your ideas are, nothing happens if you don’t get yourself up and moving. 

You’re never going to feel like doing the scary stuff–the stuff that requires learning new skills that intimidate you like taking control of your finances or learning the dynamics of solid SEO skills. You will always only feel motivated to do the things that are easy and that feel good. But I’m sorry to tell you that is not the way to success. 

Successful people show up and do the work even when they aren’t motivated or sure what will happen. They understand that it’s more important to be consistent than to be motivated or confident. They just keep on keepin on.

Breathwork for Hesitation

When you feel a strong urge to move on something and hesitate, your brain starts to rationalize all the reasons why you are right for hesitating. You can train yourself to act by utilizing Mel Robbins 5 Second rule, or you can turn to your breath. 

Whenever I have a big decision to make I sit down on my mat and breathe. I ask for clarity and do alternate nostril breathing, balancing out the two hemispheres of my brain so I can get in tune with my inner knowing. Using that knowledge–that gut feeling that my heart is leading me to do–I can easily begin down a road without hesitation. Now having a foundation of trust within my heart. 

Intuitively I always know which way I want to go, but when I hesitate doubt will have me sitting in limbo for far too long. Alternate nostril breathing has helped push that mind-chatter out, leaving me clear and concise on the direction I need to go. 

Alternate Nostril Breathing

  • Find a comfortable seat on a meditation pillow.
  • Be sure you are sitting with a nice straight spine, shoulders rolled back and down, with your chin slightly tucked. 
  • Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath.
  • Ask yourself: Why am I hesitating on this decision?
  • Place your right hand in a pranayama mudra (fancy hand placement) by tucking your first two fingers into the palm of your hand, allowing the ring and pinky to remain as straight as possible. 
  • Bring your right thumb up to plug your right nostril and inhale for 4 seconds starting through the left nostril only. 
  • Use your ring and pinky figures to pinch the left nostril as you hold your breath.
  • Release your thumb from the right side and exhale for 4 seconds. 
  • Stay here and inhale into your right nostril for 4 seconds.
  • Pinch your thumb to your right nostril while holding your breath.
  • Release your ring and pinky fingers and exhale 4 seconds out of your left nostril.
  • You have completed 1 full round. 
  • Repeat these steps for 5-10 more rounds to find balance and clarity.

However you decide to work on your habit of hesitation is fine. We all have different ways of moving into clarity. The reality is that there is more information in this world and choices to be made than you have time for. So decide what is the right path for you and then get out of your way so you can do the work. 

Doubt will always be there, but it doesn’t need to be behind the wheel. Take control of your life by moving into a place of action and see how quickly things begin to change. 

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know how alternate nostril breathing is working for your decision-making or what other tips and tricks you use to help beat the hesitation within you. 

Shifting Your Lens Towards Gratitude

A Month-Long Approach in Focusing on the Positive

It’s natural of us to get wrapped into the messiness of life. The stress of our everyday routine can be overwhelming and often demanding of our attention. November is the national month of gratitude, perfect as we gear up for Thanksgiving and all the chaos of the holidays. A perfect time to reflect on all that the year has given us. Gratitude invites us back to the present moment. An offering of peace that is found in the simple pleasure of the present moment. For it is in the present moment that we are whole. 

Practicing gratitude is an offering to ourselves and a blessing to those around us. It helps us see the world through gentle eyes and with an open heart. Bringing in new perspectives of the churning thoughts that consume our every day and revealing a fresh take on old lingering problems. 

Struggle and Heartbreak

We all go through times of struggle and heartbreak. Yet even in those low moments, we can find something to be grateful for. You must decide to see the good. A practice of deep gratitude doesn’t cancel out what’s challenging in our lives, but it does help us see the good. It’s all about the lens we focus on. 

It’s easy in today’s world to see how divided we’ve become. Almost every issue we hear about on the news is polarized by strong opinions. Us vs. them is the current mindset, and we have become used to a society that pulls others down instead of lifting others up. 

One of the great sages of our time, Fred Rogers, reminds us… 

“Imagine what real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”

When you offer a kind thought, word, or deed out into the world it lifts us all up. 

  • You are lifted by the practice of doing.
  • Others are lifted in the gift of being seen, hear, felt, loved.

A practice in gratitude raises your energy. Others begin to take note and say…”What are they doing differently? And how can I create that in my own life.”

The Secret to Happiness

Skeptics everywhere like to put simple things like gratitude aside. Turning their focus towards more complex formulas needed towards building a happy life. Some will even argue that taking a pill is the answer to a more balanced fulfilled life. Yet study after study has shown a link between well-being and gratitude. 

It’s important for all of us to remember that the stories and situations in our lives are just that. Stories. We determine the weight to which we give them. More often than not the weight of the world isn’t on our shoulders, but in our minds. 

Gratitude shifts us out of those spirals, and into more balanced practices. Shifting your lens is sometimes all it takes to help you out of an uncomfortable situation. 

Author, Gretchen Rubin proves this in her book, “The Happiness Project”. In it, she takes you with her on a journey through a year into daily practices designed to generate more happiness in her life. What did she find? That as energy shifts, more abundance appeared in her life. Simple things like singing in the morning, a gratitude journal, and being more present in the daily moments turned her into a New York Times Bestselling Author. 

My Gratitude Offering

As I embark on this new journey of bringing my breath coach business online, I decided to jump on the Gratitude bandwagon this November by offering a weekly talk about gratitude. Each Thursday at 7pm I will go live on Facebook. For 20 minutes we will dive into that week’s topic for grace and pair it with a breathing practice linked to a gratitude mantra. 

Join me on Breath Mindset on November 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th (Yes, on Thanksgiving) at 7pm. Listen, Breathe, ask questions, and raise your energy through the power of gratitude. 

Topics to be discussed

Week 1 – Thank you!

Giving thanks is what gratitude is all about. In the first week of lives, we will have a short chat about the power of saying thank you. You will leave with a list of “easy for you” opportunities to say thank you and we will pair it with a quick breathing exercise in thanks.

Week 2 – Everyday Life

Because so much of our daily routines are done automatically we might be looking over the brilliance of the view from our backyard, or the hot water in our showers. This week we will talk about finding gratitude in our everyday routines and ways to help keep us present in the mundane. 

Week 3 – Laughter

We are busy and with all that running around we forget to enjoy the moments. One of the fastest ways to find yourself immersed in a moment is through laughter. When was the last time you belly laughed? Perhaps you’re taking things too seriously and need to utilize that laughter lens to help you lighten up. Week 3 we will chat tools and tips towards bringing a sense of play into your daily routine.

Week 4 – Family

On Thanksgiving Day we will talk about family. The family you’re with, the family you’ve lost, and the family you could do without. Every family is a mixed bag of comfort and irritation. This week we will breathe through some shifts to make time with family the most enjoyable, even when Aunt Sue and Grandma Ray engage in their yearly holiday blow-out. 

Join the Conversation

Whether you can join me live, or prefer to watch the replays, November is a great time to reflect on all we have to be grateful for. For instance, being able to chat with readers like you from all over the globe. Thank you internet!

You are one Pinterest search away from an endless stream of gratitude challenges. Join in and become an observer in your own experience. Even if it feels silly, engage in a new way of thinking or develop your practice even more. 

Now more than ever a kind word and an open heart are needed. 

Drop me a message and share what you are doing to bring gratitude into your life. 

Everybody Wears the Mask to Camouflage Their Identity

This Halloween Try Taking Off Your Mask, Not Putting Another One On.

Halloween is just around the corner and children of all ages are planning out their costumes. From princesses to zombies and all the creativity that pours into stepping out in the perfect costume begins. Excitement is in the air as we collectively decide to take off our daily masks in exchange for a little dress-up. Where did our oppression with Halloween come from? And what is it about dressing up as someone (or something) different that puts us in such a good mood?

Halloween might have been born out of the idea of scaring off bad spirits, but today we celebrate to escape the identity that confines us. 

Over the past year and a half, we’ve become accustomed to wearing a mask in our daily lives. Both figuratively and literally. Hiding from each other and ourselves. Pretending everything is okay when really we are cracking at the seams. 

Emotional Masks

Siloed away from society we started to hide behind our own emotional masks out of fear that life as we knew it had ended. Collectively we started baking bread and enjoying strolls through the neighborhood as we longed for the community of people we had become accustomed to complaining about. 

Isolated and online we continue to feel fear as the media drives a divide further and further into modern culture. Without seeing our neighbors and friends we let divisive comments tear us apart. Families are not speaking, friendships have been lost, and still, we wear our emotional masks that everything is okay. Surrounding ourselves with others who echo our thoughts so we can feel less alone in our separation and seen by others to validate our own existence. 

We have become so insecure about life as we know it that we have given our power away.

Every time we turn around another bomb has been dropped in our laps that has us continuing to question what the hell is going on! This leaves us unsure, so we… 

  • Hide behind our fear
  • Hide behind our anger
  • Hide behind our anxiety
  • Hide behind our stress
  • Hide behind our loneliness

We hide behind comfortable masks so we feel less alone. Becoming accustomed to pretending everything is okay when really we know it’s not. 

The more isolated our lives become in a physical way the more we pretend.

What masks do you wear?

Masks are a natural coping mechanism. They help us feel less like an imposter in our own lives. 

  • Admitting that your marriage is on the rocks is scary, but pretending everything is okay is comfortable.
  • Admitting you need help is scary, acting as though everything is fine is comfortable.
  • Admitting you hate your job is scary, showing up every day and doing it anyway is comfortable.
  • Cutting ties with a toxic relationship is scary, putting up with the abuse is comfortable.
  • Taking responsibility for your health is scary, sleeping in is comfortable.
  • Admitting you have a drug or alcohol problem is scary, numbing the pain is comfortable.

We have spent so much time in our heads building up these walls to protect our thinking that we forget that there is a world of support around us. 

We fear the discomfort of being seen so we continue to wear masks. Afraid of what the world will think if we took off the masks we wear and let our true selves be seen. 

We cannot grow unless we are willing to be seen. Until you can shed the mask that holds your perfect life together and let your true self be seen you will never feel free. Always confined to the balmy air of a mask.

Halloween is an opportunity to try on a new mask and explore in a safe way. What if you allowed yourself this freedom year-round?

Taking off the Mask of Uncertainty

You have so much potential inside that you have disconnected from. You have lost your identity to an idea and now the mask is hard to remove. Being seen is scary, and you will get pushback and might even be judged. But your life, your skills, your creativity, your spirit, can’t grow until you take off that mask and step into uncertainty. 

The masks you wear are stealing your potential and adding to your anxiety and stress. Removing the mask, although scary, offers a certain amount of relief. It’s exhausting hiding behind an idea of who you are or what your life should be. 

The more masks you wear the harder it is to breathe. And if you aren’t breathing properly true healing cannot happen. 

Deciding to breathe through uncertainty is showing ourselves and others that we are worthy of growth and being seen. 

Watching children on Halloween is fun because they are at play. Able to take off the mask when the evening is done and let their true selves be seen. What is stopping you from doing the same thing? 

Ask yourself…

  • What am I gaining from continuing to wear the masks of my life?
  • What am I missing out on by wearing these masks?
  • What would happen if I decided to take this mask off?
  • How would I benefit from removing my mask?
  • What am I willing to give up so I can be free of this burden?
  • What am I risking if I choose to be seen?
  • How uncomfortable am I willing to let myself be in order to live without this mask?

Asking these types of questions helps us to realize the power of these masks and the challenges you will face once they are removed. 

Be Uncomfortable

I love Halloween, but some of the costumes and movies designed around this holiday make me uncomfortable. Like going to a haunted house. Not a fun activity for me because they make me super uncomfortable. I can rationalize that it’s all fake and the clown chasing me with a chainsaw is really zero threat to my life, but in the moment it can feel like it does.

What I’m saying is you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable in order to grow. All the dangers and roadblocks in your head are often nothing more than that, a thought in your head. 

When you decide to be seen, to ask for help, to reach out, to make a change it will be uncomfortable. You will feel like grabbing that mask and putting it back on, but it will be at the risk of your own health and happiness. 

This Halloween instead of trying on a new mask, try instead to set down one of your old ones. And when the world scares you, instead of reaching for that old familiar mask, shock everyone by standing firm without one. 

5 Reasons Why Stepping Outside will Improve Your Health

Fall is the Perfect Time to Step Outside and Breathe in the Fresh Air

Something about being in nature helps us to slow down and appreciate our surroundings. Generally, we all feel good after a nice walk in the woods or a stroll through a city park. Spending time outside has plenty of benefits. It can help you destress and slow down both mentally and physically. Being in nature is a perfect place to work on mindfulness and conscious breathing. Mother Earth is a great teacher in the art of living more purposefully and in tune with our surroundings. 

A quick walk or drive to a park bench is sometimes all we need to shift our whole day. Take the time to breathe deeply and let go of any stress or anxiety building inside. 

Five minutes of breathing in nature is a natural reboot to your nervous system. This can improve your overall wellness. Your mental, emotional, and physical health all benefit from time spent outdoors. 

Any time of year is a good time of year for you to unplug and get outside. The turning of the leaves and the crisp autumn air make this time of year my favorite time to get outside and breathe. Regardless of what time of year you like to get outside, Here are 5 reasons why taking time to consciously breathe in nature is good for your health.

  1. Clean Your Lungs

Finding a place to sit amongst the trees and do breathwork is not only soul cleansing, it’s lung cleansing too! Getting away from the harsh chemicals that plague our air and stepping back in time to sit with the trees is powerful. Consciously breathing in fresh air improves the quality of the air you’re bringing into your lungs because you begin to breathe slower and deeper. Your lungs dilate more from the increased amount of oxygen and a cleansing effect takes place. With every exhale you are releasing toxins naturally and replacing them with the fresh air of your surroundings. 

  1. Digestion Aid

All that increased oxygen is going to benefit your overall health. Your digestive system is one of those areas most benefited from fresh air. An increased flow of oxygen helps you to digest your food more effectively. Slow, mindful breathing takes you out of a constant state of fight or flight. When you’re in a fight or flight state your body is too busy trying to protect itself from unseen danger to work on proper digestion. Time spent in nature can have calming effects that move you into the rest and digest state of your nervous system, allowing you to properly digest your food. 

  1. Improved Blood Pressure

The balance between your nervous system acting from the parasympathetic (rest and digest) state and the fresh air in your environment both help improve your blood pressure and lower your heart rate. Heart rate variability (HRV) is something we all need to pay better attention to. HRV is the measurement of time between heartbeats. This number is helpful in bringing awareness to how your breath affects your nervous system. Knowing this number can help you find healthy ways to respond to stress. For instance, getting into nature and breathing. 

  1. Strengthen Your Immune System

Our white blood cells function properly when they receive the proper amount of air and good quality of air. Breathing fresh air deep into the lungs is helping the exchange between O2 (oxygen) and CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) work more efficiently. Helping your Immune system to fight off and kill bacteria and germs that enter the body. 

  1. Clarity of Mind

The more oxygen you get helps increase the amount of blood flow to your brain. That paired with the natural calming that occurs in nature helps you to think clearer. More serotonin is produced so you feel good, and we all make better choices from a relaxed, happy place. Once you return to your life indoors you will feel more focused, have more energy, and concentration. 

And So Much More!

Getting outside to breathe is a healthy way to stay connected to our magnificent earth and give yourself some time to slow down and take it all in. Bad breathing habits are born from a lack of attention placed on how we move and show up in our bodies. Getting outside is a great way to work through those tough days. A 5-minute break to consciously breathe in nature helps you feel refreshed and allows you to come back to your daily activities with a sharper, more relaxed mind. 

Don’t let stress take you out of a state of peace. Try deep diaphragmatic breathing and reset your day. 

Beginners guide to breathing in Nature

  • Get outside! 
  • Find a park bench, or a rock, or the grass. Whatever space feels welcoming to you. A place you will feel comfortable letting yourself relax for a few minutes. 
  • Get comfortable either….
    • Sitting on a bench with your feet hip-width distance apart
    • Sitting on the ground in a meditation seat (either cross-legged or hips to heels)
    • Laying down in a meadow
  • Place one hand over your heart and the other on your belly. 
  • Close or soften your eyes and bring your attention to your breath
  • Start to bring your breath fully into your belly on your next inhale, allowing your hand to gently move up and down with the inhales and the exhales.
  • Take a couple rounds to naturally elongate the breath deep into the belly.
  • Then begin a rhythm of breathing in this way (belly breathing) 
    • Inhaling for 4 seconds
    • Exhaling for 4 seconds
  • Take time to connect to a count that works best for you and slows you down. 
  • Do 10 rounds in this way
  • Blink your eyes open and take in your surroundings
  • Continuing to breathe deeply, consciously take note of the fresh air entering your body on each inhale.
  • Give gratitude to the moment and space
  • Mindfully get up from your seat and continue your walk from a deep place of connection with your breath and environment. 

How You Become Addicted to a Life You Don’t Even Like

You know that friend who is constantly complaining about her partner? Or that coworker who always points out what is wrong with management? Always complaining, but never doing anything about it. Do you ever wonder why they put up with all the hassle? It could be that they have become addicted to their problems. We see it so often: people addicted to a life they don’t even like.

We are constantly living by a set of daily rituals: things we do every day that trigger different emotional responses within us. We have conditioned ourselves into the state of our lives. When you decide to change the way you feel about something it threatens a whole host of responses you’ve been relying on for years. This is challenging and takes work that many of us have decided is too hard. Many would rather stay trapped in a life or situation they don’t even like and that often lead to major health concerns. 

Dr. Joe Dispenza is one of my favorites. In his book, “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”, he goes into the science behind our bodies being the subconscious mind. The idea is that all of our thoughts and memories are stored in the body. So the thoughts you think signal the body in different ways, creating emotions and reactions related to those memories. Essentially, those negative thoughts create a negative reality. 

In order to change the life you live you must change your thoughts by breaking down old belief patterns. 

This is tricky. We store memories because they have an effect on us. Sometimes going as far back as childhood trauma. Memories and reactions are stored to help keep us safe. And, sometimes they keep us looped into negative thinking patterns. 

All of us have been through some sort of trauma in our lives. These scars literally change the way our brains work. The good news here is that the brain is pliable. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to modify its connections to rewire itself. Meaning you can reprogram your thoughts and beliefs into the life of your dreams. Knowing this, why is it that so many would choose to stay stuck in a life they don’t even like?

The Devil You Know

Our identity is at stake when we change. Change means taking responsibility for ourselves. Change is uncomfortable. Our human nature is to mold in with our environment. If complaining has been your way, then who are you without it? And when you are programmed to see the negative how can you evolve into seeing inspiration?

All of this means taking a look at how you’ve played a role in where you currently are in your life. It’s choosing to no longer be a victim to your current circumstances and quit the blame game. 

  • It’s not what your partner is doing to you. 
  • It’s not that your boss hates you. 
  • It’s not the break up that left you high and dry.
  • It’s not your family.
  • It’s not your finances.

It’s deciding to own what you can change instead of continuing to focus on what you don’t want.

Thoughts Become Things

If you are constantly complaining about your life then you start to look for signs in the world that prove your thoughts are right. Your body has a reaction and the emotional triggers are hit. The trick is to start to generate new thoughts in line with where you want your life to go. Just scroll social media and you will find everyone proofing that their beliefs on a subject are correct based on an article or shared post. We look for these confirmations and then get a hit of dopamine when it is reflected. 

Knowing this, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to focus on things you do want to show up in your life? Can you imagine the shifts that would begin to take place if you started acting like you loved your life? What if you spoke only positively about your partner? How would that change your life?

Dr. Joe talks in the book about how our body doesn’t know the difference between a thought you’re having and what’s actually happening. Think about it…Have you ever played out a scenario in your head with so much emotion that you got angry? Or started crying? Your body experiences that as though that event was actually happening. 

If you are constantly playing out a scenario that happened last week, last month, last year, 5-10 years ago, your body doesn’t know that it’s not physically happening. Your body assumes that this mind-induced trauma is happening now and fires off the same wiring that is keeping you stuck, and mad, and frustrated with your current life. 

Remember that the brain is pliable though. It can be molded into observing the changes you wish to see. 

This means that right now you can begin to think yourself into a life you love. 

You just need to start showing up differently in your life. Begin to visualize your life as something you love. Why not love your life? What do you have to lose? 

At first, it will feel forced or fake, and that’s okay. Your body is just not used to these new experiences and thoughts. You might find yourself sliding back into a negative conversation about a coworker because that is the familiar past. But the past is past, and every time you notice this happening and redirect your energy back to the life you love, it’s a win. Soon you will begin to fire new networks in your brain that signal and connect you to a more positive state of being. 

More Than Just Positive Thinking

This is hard work and it takes more than just thinking positively. You must commit to change and refuse to be a victim of your own life. As Dr. Joe likes to say, “Moving from thinking, to doing, to being.” Simply act on your positive thoughts into action in order for your life to become what you want it to be. 

Thinking negatively makes you feel depressed and worthless. Your set of old patterns has you stuck doing activities or hanging out with people who you have outgrown or who are unhealthy. You are caught in your own routine of thoughts and feelings and this perpetuates the same reality you have been complaining about. You must choose different thoughts and then be ready to act on them. 

I know this is super scary. So take it slow. Begin with observing your thoughts. Where does your mind go naturally in any situation? Take note and then reflect on how it feels in your body. Ask yourself if there might be another way to look at it. 

Once you get this down it’s time to align your thoughts with the way you want to feel. Your thoughts and feelings must align in order for this to work. For instance, let’s say you are headed to Thanksgiving dinner and you just know your cousin is going to say something to set you off. You expect it. So naturally when it happens boom! You are triggered and the old patterns move along.

Now imagine you are headed to Thanksgiving dinner and you focus your thoughts on how nice it was to see your cousin. You can visualize the two of you laughing or hugging or connecting in the way you want to connect. Then when they start in on the old pattern you are aware of your trigger and can choose to not react. Perhaps even laughing at the comment. Agreeing “Yes I can be like that sometimes.” What a difference that would make. You cannot change the people around you, but you can change how you choose to react to them. 

Conditioning

Life is full of ups and downs and things are always going to come up that are uncomfortable. If you decide you want to thrive in challenging moments, you have to do the work now so you are prepared. It’s daily choices that create your conditioning. You can decide to not let external realities determine your internal state. 

You can begin to condition the body to support ideas, emotions, feelings, and events that you want to see in your life. At this very moment, you can choose to be grateful despite your chronic back pain. Start associating your thoughts and feelings with the life of your dreams. You can train your mind into expecting good things to happen and feeling them now in your body. Remember, the body doesn’t know the difference between a thought or a real event. And what you send out is what you get back. 

Whether you believe you can or can’t you are right

Whatever is coming up in your life is something you are perpetuating by your thoughts. 

  • Are you always short on cash?
  • Are you always in dead-end relationships?
  • Are you always late?
  • Do you always miss the fun?

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can overcome your programming by continuing to tell the brain how you want to feel. When you find yourself in these old loops, start testing your new skill out, and don’t stop until it feels right and natural in your body.

  • I always have enough
  • My relationships fill me with love
  • I have perfect timing
  • The fun happens when I’m around

It’s the principle of cause and effect. As you think about how you want to feel…you begin to feel the way you think. You are a magnet. And you are attracting to yourself all the things you are constantly thinking about. So stop telling yourself that you are lazy, dumb, depressed, and start acting how you want to feel. 

We can’t think greater than we feel

So stop conditioning yourself into the role of a victim. If you stay there too long your body is going to react. The longer you dwell in self-pity the harder it will be to change. If you need help, get it. Then start owning your life, and step into a life that you love. 

Fall Into Yourself This Autumn

Time to Slow Down and Reflect

Did you know that your lungs are associated with sadness and grief? According to Chinese Medicine, each of your organs is connected to an emotion. Although sorrow comes in many forms, all sadness and grief can be associated with change. 

Change in…

  • Relationships
  • Status
  • Lifestyle
  • Employment

When you are grieving or sad these emotions are held in your lungs, making them weak. In steps the large intestine, associated with letting go. Together these two organs can help you process hard emotions and breathe through the process of letting them go. 

Fall seems the appropriate time for this internal reflection. We see the rich beauty of nature showcasing how lovely the process can be. Trees spend their summer pushing nutrients out to their leaves and producing fruit. As the season turns to Fall the trees begin to slow their output of nutrients to the leaves, focusing more on what’s happening internally, their leaves turn and eventually fall.

So too must we do this internal reflection: Using nature as our reminder of how nice it is to let go. Knowing that the fall of this year’s leaves is not the end of the tree, but rather just part of the process of growth and renewal. 

You can support your lungs and large intestines by slowing down. Allowing yourself to feel the deep, hard emotions with the knowledge that it is completely normal. Understanding that these emotions are not who you are and don’t need to control your life. These emotions are a gift that holds a candle to where we need to reflect and let go.

Whether your grief or sadness is small or big it’s important to give yourself space to allow and reflect. Processing these emotions is a way to help you let go of them. 

Start externally. Take time to de-clutter your home or workspace. Get rid of those old clothes that don’t fit. Create space for the new and unexpected to grow. 

When you are feeling any kind of sorrow your breath naturally becomes more shallow. You begin to take quick short breaths high into your ribcage. Just think of the last time you cried. You can almost feel yourself breathing in this manner. Not good. 

It’s natural for our bodies to do this, but unnatural for us to stay in this panicked and high-intensity breath pattern. When you are working through hard emotions and letting go, this is bound to be the case. 

A great way to slow the breath is by following your breath in for 4 counts and out for 8. Or whatever number works for you. The point is to breathe out longer than you are breathing in. 

Letting go is how you heal. Use your lungs as the medicine to heal your sorrow. 

Healing allows you to let go of the dismissive. Taking the time to look inside takes self-compassion. How often have we been told that we must serve others? That the needs of everyone else should come before our own healing? This leads to more sadness, grief, and overwhelm.

Fall is an opportunity to go deep within and find acceptance of yourself. Advocating for your needs, and holding to your boundaries. 

Deep healing is about embracing your own sensitivity. Letting go is about letting other people’s energy and emotions be just that. You are not in charge of how anyone else feels, you are only responsible for your own feelings. And you cannot give out if you yourself are not full. Over-giving without analyzing and reflecting on what you need to let go of leads to mental illness and leaves you feeling sick and powerless. 

Fall is a reminder that you are not broken when all your leaves begin to fall. Emotions are yours for a reason. They are meant to guide you and remind you that you are in fact still human. Emotions are what they are. 

  • You’re the one who assigns meaning to them. 
  • You’re the one giving them power. 
  • You’re the one that builds a story of who you are or are not around them. 
  • You’re the one who associates them to a person or trait.
  • You’re the one that determines how they affect your life.

Emotions are a gift. They help you understand and hear signals from your body. They are here to give you depth and connect you to your body and experiences. 

Fall teaches us to find balance within. Your nervous system is constantly seeking balance and your lungs are the highway to that balance. 

We have fallen out of balance because so many of us are afraid to connect to our emotional bodies. We have become accustomed to feeling out of balance thinking it’s an easier road than looking at hard felt emotions. Emotions that lay dormant in our lungs. 

When you decide to consciously breathe deeply into your body, you start a conversation back to self. Breathing deep into your lungs unclogs passageways that have been burdened with grief and begins to shake them loose. Allowing you the insight to start to redirect the energy in a more mindful way. Breathing through the mud can be scary and revealing, but isn’t that also a part of fall? It isn’t until the tree lets go and sits barren through the winter that we can see the life of spring appear on its branches. 

4×8 Breathing Practice

  • Find a comfortable seat or feel free to do it while lying in bed. If you are in a chair be sure your back is free from any support and your feet are firmly planted on the ground. 
  • Let your spine be long but not rigid. 
  • Soften your gaze and bring your focus to your breath.
  • Taking a moment to settle in by focusing on your natural inhales and exhales.
  • After a couple rounds begin to control the flow by inhaling to the count of 4.
  • Slowly exhale through a controlled count of 8. The goal is to be empty as you hit 8 and not before. Completely clearing out old stagnant air from your lungs. 
  • Repeat breathing in for 4 and out for 8 for 10 rounds.
  • Noticing your mind slow as your thoughts stay centered around the steady slow flow of air moving in and out.

The Connection Between Breathwork & Cold Exposure

Reset Your Nervous System by Doing This Chilling Practice

If you’re paying attention to the breathwork community at all then you’ve no doubt heard of Wim Hof. Better known as the Ice Man, this multiple world record winner has a passion for life and turned his own healing into a powerful method used around the world today. 

If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to boost your immune system, then look no further than this chilling therapy technique. 

The Wim Hof Method (WHM) uses cold exposure to trigger your sympathetic nervous system. Then you use your breath to calm it back into a parasympathetic state. While your mind races your blood slows. The temperature drop in the body puts your nervous system on high alert; focusing on your breath, you learn to control the experience. Once out of the cold your body starts pushing blood out to the extremities and inflammation is reduced. 

The release of adrenalin has been a huge draw for admirers worldwide who are also finding relief from auto-immune disorders, inflammation, injury, and blood circulation. 

An experience that sounds uncomfortable becomes euphoric through your own self-regulation. 

Controlling your core temperature and your breath helps drop you out of the constant mind-chatter we find ourselves in and into our bodies that we are all so disconnected from. 

Why You Should Do It

By exposing yourself to this extreme discomfort for a short amount of time other things begin to shift inside. 

  • You find that using your breath to calm yourself under this immediate threat helps you strengthen your ability to handle stressful situations. 
  • You find your endurance and patience are more accessible through breathwork used to calm the mind. 
  • You find your body temperature is more regulated and that a sudden shift in temperature doesn’t feel so scary anymore. 

The results: more energy and lower stress the natural way. Something pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to hear, but it’s true. Popping a pill for discomfort in our mind and body is sometimes necessary and helpful, but if you’re looking for long-term support– the more natural way– this approach helps you connect to a deeper mind-body connection. Drugs separate us from our bodies. They don’t take away the pain, they disconnect you from it. This detachment only leads to more detachment and more pain down the road. 

A year ago I finally took the leap. After months of avoiding The Hof-Man, thinking no way and that he was too macho for my taste, I gave in and I haven’t looked back since. 

You might be wondering, What does the WHM look like? Here’s a simple breakdown of what to expect. 

Breathing

1. Get comfortable – you can either perform the method in a seated or lying position. If you’re new to breathwork I recommend lying down. Be sure your head is flat, with no pillow or support so you can breathe fully.

2. Perform 30-50 deep breaths. Inhale and exhale through the mouth. Inhale as far as possible, and then release the air without exhaling fully. Don’t take a pause between the inhales and the exhales. This might cause a tingling sensation; that’s normal.

3. After the last deep inhale, exhale all the air out and hold your breath with no air in your lungs, for 1 minute, or until you experience the gasp reflex. 

4. Take a deep breath, inhaling fully, and hold your breath again, but this time only for 15-30 seconds.

5. Repeat the first four steps 2-4 times.

6. After that you will return to your normal breath and start meditating on it. Try for at least five minutes focusing your attention on your breath. 

Cold Therapy

Your breath is now warmed up and you are ready to go. 

You can start training at home in your shower. I like to get in and get the water going at a comfortable temp first. Then I go from cold to hot for 20 seconds each. At least 3 rounds. 

You are in control here so you can start with just exposing a leg at a time, then your arms, and build up to full immersion. 

Or you can just go for it.

I am not great at cold showers and prefer the full immersion of an ice bath or a nice alpine lake. This version doesn’t allow for any cheating on my part and I’m all in. 

You will most likely find the initial shock to cause some hyperventilation to occur. Here’s where you focus back on deep breaths. Allow your body to shake and concentrate on calming your core. 

It takes practice to get out of your head, but the deeper your breath the calmer your mind will become. 

By doing this you are strengthening the small muscles around your veins. When these muscles are working your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood around your body. 

We all know that our true character comes through in times of stress and discomfort. And we humans do not like to be exposed and vulnerable, yet it is inevitable for growth to accrue. The WHM is one way to train yourself to be ready for these life stressors and help you to grow with more ease because you are comfortable in the discomfort.

The renewed sense of empowerment you get every time you get out of the cold is also good for your self-esteem. Again and again, you prove that you can do hard things, and stay in control when things get tough. 

I suggest heading over to youtube and check out one of Wim’s videos. He is dynamic and crazy, and you can’t help but love the guy. 

Give it a go, and when you’re ready to try an ice bath let me know and I’ll put you on my waiting list for my next Breath, Mindset, & Cold Exposure Workshop.

Note: for safety, don’t perform this technique while driving or in the bath (or anywhere else you might pass out). Also, consult a doctor if you’re pregnant or have another medical condition, to check if this approach is suitable.