Life Coaching Resources
Over the years I have followed Pam Leo's laudable work as a teacher of parents and expectant parents. No other issue facing us today is so critical as this work of hers, on re-establishing parental bonding with our infants and children as nature intended. Indeed, our survival as a nation and as a species is dependent on this reconnection. And here is a concise, simple, eminently readable and instructive summary of the knowledge Pam has gained through these years of devoted service. I can't recommend this book highly enough and will surely promote it at every opportunity.
Joseph Chilton Pearce
Pam Leo is a founding board member of the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children (aTLC) and is one of the the primary architects of the aTLC Proclamation and Blueprint. The aTLC has generously posted a free, one-hour streaming audio interview (MP3) on their website. I was honored and delighted to have the opportunity to be the interviewer in this session with Pam. Please click the following link if you would like to hear our conversation:
Streaming Audio Interview:
Pam Leo - Introduction to Connection Parenting.
I focus on Emotional Literacy and Emotional Intelligence
and work directly with my clients in these specific areas:
In my opinion as a parenting educator, "The Continuum Concept" is one of the two most significant parenting and child-raising books written in the last century, right up there with Connection Parenting. It is far more than an instruction manual for parents, it is a way of thinking and feeling differently about what it means to be a human being in a body, in a family, in a social group, all integrated within and interacting with the natural world. Taking profound observation and instruction from indigenous peoples in their relationships with their children, Jean has captured essential aspects of what modern industrial civilization has completely missed and redefined for us the pre-requisites of the human psychobiological expectation.
Ok, so that's a lot of complicated language. What it means is that if you get this part right your child has a very good chance of growing up knowing in her bones that she is lovable, capable, worthy and welcome. And if you get this part wrong, that same child will somehow be forever diminished, less than she might otherwise have been had she gotten those early developmental dependency needs met appropriately. All I can tell you is that Pam and I taught the Continuum Concept in parallel with Connection Parenting to hundreds and hundreds of parents for years, and those children are now young adults making their way in the world. Without exception those children have grown up to be amazing, confident, kind, compassionate and capable people who are not in the least confused about who they are. That, my friend, is worth way more than the price of a couple books.
Interestingly, in my experience as a coach with clients all over the world and from many different countries, I have noticed that clients from Continuum cultures have a very different set of challenges and issues than Westerners typically do. For instance, a Continuum culture client might say, "My government won't let me grow food on my land." Whereas a Westerner from a non-Continuum culture will come to me feeling lost, like his life is being wasted because he has no sense of who he is or why he is where he is in his life. One is a challenge of doing. The other is a challenge of being and they are profoundly different in their consequences as well as their solutions.
Katie's fundamental premise is very simple: All of our suffering in life arises out of the disconnection between our thoughts and what reality actually is. These reality disconnects happen with ourselves, in our relationships, and in every aspect of our lives. All that discontent shows up because it never occurs to us to question or investigate our thoughts. They happen inside us, and of course, we naturally think they are all true and real. We consider them intangible, without consequence and never consider that there might be a relationship between what we think and how our lives show up.
Many years ago I had a conversation about the nature of the mind with a well known spiritual master in India. He said to me, "When you hold a knife to a grinding wheel, sparks are cast off by the friction between the blade and the wheel. It's the nature of friction to cause sparks. The mind is no different. Thoughts arise spontaneously as a result of the friction between the mind and the world. What is important to remember is that we have the power to choose where to put and keep our attention." I didn't really understand what he was saying to me at the time, but now, having learned Katie's Work, and having done many of these inquiries myself, I get it.
So, our thoughts arise spontaneously. We believe that our thoughts have no power beyond what we give them. Yet thoughts that we DO give power to are the source of our experience and in fact, create every aspect of our path through life. So here is the paradox: thoughts have no apparent physical reality, yet they are the means by which we manifest everything in our lives. Thus it behooves us to pay close attention to our thoughts, as the consequences for not doing so have a profound and significant impact on our lives, for better or for worse.
As a coach, I am often required to support my clients in dismantling what many coaches call the GAIL acronym: Gremlins, Assumptions, Interpretations, and Limiting Beliefs. (I personally would include Erroneous Conclusions as part of that model, so maybe that makes it GAILEC? :) These show up in the form of thoughts, always with deeply attached feelings, rising spontaneously from the negative, critical, judgemental, right/wrong part of our minds. Perhaps they came from the past, from what people around us said to us or did to us. Perhaps they came from those erroneous conclusions we arrived at in ourselves after some unhappy circumstance. In any case, these are simply thoughts that we carry, and we blindly use those thoughts to disempower ourselves and others, causing great misery in our relationships and our lives. If we examine these thoughts carefully, we can choose where to put our attention. We can discover where our thinking is consistent with what is, and where there is a disconnect. Then we can choose what thoughts to keep and what thoughts to discard.
Katie's Work addresses thought in the simplest, most elegant, and powerful way I have ever encountered. She gives us four questions and three turnarounds, and we can apply those to any thought we have. She says, "We are not necessarily looking to change or replace the thought. We are just looking to see whether the turnarounds are as true, or truer, than the original thought." Once we have done the inquiry, then we are free to choose for ourselves what to do with any particular thought. She asks a very simple question, "Does that thought bring you peace or stress?" Whenever you find or notice any thought that brings stress or pain, that's a blazing neon sign pointing to a thought in need of inquiry.
Katie has two books which I've listed below. And like many of our greatest teachers, she gives her core process away for free on her website. You can download the Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet as a pdf file (linked below) and I've also included a link to her Facilitator's Guide.
If you want to be free
Judge Your Neighbor
Write It Down
Ask Four Questions
Turn It Around
Loving What Is:
Four Questions That
Can Change Your Life
by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell
I Need Your Love - Is That True?
How to Stop Seeking Love,
Approval, and Appreciation
and Start Finding Them Instead
by Byron Katie and Michael Katz
Byron Katie's web site main page:
A friend of mine once said, "There are no inherent conflicts between any human beings. There is only undischarged distress, unmet need, and lack of resource." If we can learn to communicate effectively, conflict dissolves and we can build connections that allow us to cooperate.
We all want to be heard and understood. We all want to get our needs met. We all want to feel deeply connected to the people in our lives. One of the most challenging aspects of any relationship is learning how to be effective in our communications, so that we hear and understand others, others hear and understand us, and we can all figure out how to get our needs met.
Marshall Rosenberg has created a simple, clear process for effective communication between human beings. Whether your communication challenge is between you and a partner, you and a friend, you and your child, you and your colleagues in the workplace, or even between such apparently oppositional groups as the Palestinians and Israelis, the ideas and processes put forth in these books, tapes and workshops are astonishingly powerful.
Many of the clients I work with have communication issues at the root of their relationship challenges. As a coach, I am finding Dr. Rosengerg's process increasingly important and relevant to the work I do with them. Imagine being able to communicate with anyone in a way that is honest, respectful and authentic, and that does not contain negative judgements, implied criticism, guilt, or coercion of any kind. What kind of transformation would that ability bring to your relationships?
If you are looking to improve your communication skills and/or resolve conflict in any relationship, this web site and Dr. Rosenberg's books are the place to begin.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) is an international nonprofit organization that teaches peacemaking skills across five continents, including a number of war-torn areas such as Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, the Middle East, Colombia, Serbia, Croatia, and Northern Ireland. Their vision is a world where all people are getting their needs met and resolving their conflicts peacefully.
To learn more, please visit their web site:
Center for Nonviolent Communication.
I've been studying world religions, mysticism and spirituality my entire adult life, and in all my travels, I've had one significant observation. The ability to be present in the moment is common ground at the root of every spiritual practice throughout history, in every culture and language, East and West, old and new. Tolle gives the simplest explanation and techniques for accessing the Now that I have ever encountered.
This book and these ideas are not only relevant to me personally in my own life, but also are often essential tools for my work as a coach with my clients. Many of the challenges my clients face are questions around our nature as spiritual beings. When we learn to be present in the moment, we resolve many challenges and we open doors to many other truths.
If you haven't guessed by now, I am a dedicated reader who loves books. I've probably read two or three books a week since I was a kid. "Breaking the Rules" is one of only 5 books I have ever read where I finished the last page and immediately turned back to page one to begin again. This is a very useful and practical body of work, both for its ideas and for its process.
If you are a coach, this speaks directly to the kinds of challenges we face day to day. No matter how terrific your results in the past, it will help you be even more effective with your clients.
If you intend to become my client, this book will introduce you to another set of ideas and processes that you and I can explore together. As I said before, the more you know about the terrain we will travel, the more capable you will become to journey on your own after our work is complete.
As a coach, I frequently work with clients who are concerned about health, nutrition, weight management and exercise. The important piece to remember is that we are still biologically a Paleolithic people living in this crazy modern world. For the better part of our evolution as a species we were primarly carnivores, and as Nora says on page 7, "Studies of ancient human coprolites, or fossilized human feces, dating anywhere from three hundred thousand years ago to as recent as fifty thousand years ago, have revealed essentially a complete lack of any plant material in the diets of the subjects studied. (Bryant and Williams-Dean 1975)" In other words, it is likely we subsisted for a very significant portion of our evolution largely on the meat and fat of animals we hunted. Fat was THE prime commodity for its concentrated nutrient and energy value."
Most modern diets don't work, plain and simple, especially the modern standard American diet. The reason they don't work is that most diets are composed of large volumes of carbs from grains, sugars and starches, all of which produce an insulin-based metabolism - when we are evolved to function best when our metabolism is anchored in ketosis. We need appropriate combinations and quantities of food in each meal, and that includes primarly significant portions of healthy fats (50 to 60 percent of our daily calories), about 15 to 20 percent of our daily calories from proteins and the remainder of our caloric needs from a wide variety of non-starchy vegetables. That's it. Contrary to current food mythology and the current food pyramid (which if followed will guarantee heart disease, diabetes and cancer) there is no nutritional need for carbohydrates in our diets. If our body needs carbs or simple sugars (and it does) we can make them very efficiently inside our cells from fats.
Here's the thing to remember: When we eat carbs - grains, sugars and starches - our body thinks we are starving and stores the excess as fat. We are always hungry and always fighting with cravings. When we eat fat, our body recognizes it as the appropriate nutrient, and instead of storing fat, our body burns it as fuel. When we get sufficient fat in our food supply, our fat cells release their hoarded stores and we lose the extra weight. The findings of a recent meta-analysis of 21 studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports the revelation that not one study could associate saturated fat with increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or coronary vascular disease. What we think we know about our food and health is wrong because we've been lied to for decades.
This is an exceptional book - with information we truly need - that speaks to one of the most important aspects of living healthy, balanced lives. This is the diet that has brought me back from a lethal heart attack (as a result of being vegetarian for over 40 years) to my current robust health as a born-again carnivore.
I had been a strict vegetarian for nearly all my adult life, 42 years, and then I had a massive heart attack and died. They brought me back of course but naturally I found these circumstances to be rather puzzling. How is it that I ate a low fat, low cholesterol diet full of supposedly complex carbs that all of modern science and medicine claimed would be optimally healthful and yet I still ended up with blocked arteries and a lethal heart condition?
When you read "The Vegetarian Myth", you will, as I did, begin to understand some of the consequences of a vegetarian diet. Nobody tells you that being a vegetarian is actually terrible for your health. Nobody warns you that the danger does not come from cholesterol or saturated fat but from insulin produced in the blood stream to cope with all the carbs, starches and sugars ingested in a vegetarian diet.
Not only that, but it turns out that it is also terrible for the planet. I had no idea that agriculture is so profoundly devastating for the environment. Did you know that the agricultural practices that grow cereal grains completely destroy topsoil and actually requires the extermination (and frequently extinction) of entire ecosystems of prairies and forests? Did you know that irrigation ALWAYS leads to the permanent poisoning of the land through salinization? Did you know we are headed for a global catastrophe and mass starvation when the current factory farming food production practices fail. We have completely overshot the carrying capacity of our land base. There are just too many people and the instant the petroleum based economy goes away there will no longer be enough food for us all. And yes, we have already crossed the point of diminishing returns with peak oil. From here on out, there will continue to be less and less.
Yeah, I didn't know any of that either. "The Vegetarian Myth" is the scariest book I have read since I read "High Risk - Children Without Conscience". The good news in all of this is that Lierre Keith gives serious attention to what we can do to turn our disasterous course around and begin a relationship with our food supply that is truely sustainable. This is a remarkable book and I highly recommend it. "The Vegetarian Myth" is one book you cannot afford to miss.
Why is it that thousands of generations of our ancestors, on every continent, in every climate, living wild off the land as "primitive" hunter-gatherers, nearly always had perfect teeth, and had extremely low rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, conception or reproductive failures, or any of the other degenerative diseases that are endemic in our populations these days? Why is it that they developed all these diseases, including significant tooth decay, as soon as they abandoned their ancestral food sources and began eating our modern, civilized, refined foods? What did they know about food that we do not? What did they do well that we have dismissed, discarded, forgotten or lost?
Fallon gives us the art and the history of food and plenty of good science as well, along with the references that we can track down and read for ourselves. It's a full-spectrum nutritional cookbook that I've found to be consistent with what Nora Gedgaudas has to say. For instance, animal fats and cholesterol are vital factors in the human diet, necessary for reproduction and normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease, and optimum energy levels.
"Nourishing Traditions" is a compendium of practical information, including methods to prepare grains and many other foods so they become enzyme-rich lacto-fermented foods. We find out what is lost in pasteurization and homogenization and why whole, raw milk and the dairy products made from it provide so many nutrients necessary for health and well-being. The list goes on. Fallon covers every food group, every type of dish from soup to nuts, and every nutrient we need to stay healthy. This book is encyclopedic in scope.
Fallon explains in clear language what is done to our foods, why so much of what we eat is killing us, what we really need, and then gives us the information, methods and resources to do something about it. The modern factory-farming profit machines do not want us to know that:
If you are a coach, I highly recommend that you get these three books and apply their principles to your own life as well as with your clients. If you are thinking about becoming one of my clients, and nutrition and health is part of your agenda for working with me, get these three books and read them before you call me. You'll save yourself some coaching fees and save both of us some time if you understand these ideas before we start working together.
This is an excellent companion book for "Nourishing Traditions." Dr. Ron Schmid speaks from a similar point of view as Sally Fallon: for thousands of generations, native peoples in every environment across the globe have an accumulated cultural wisdom about food and nutrition that has been lost to us in the modern era. In fact, I bought this book because I read so many quotes from it in Fallon's book.
Part One looks at Native foods throughout history and from an anthropological perspective, and includes both research and clinical experience. Part Two looks at Native versus Modern foods and provides a guide to natural eating based on our evolutionary requirements.
As in Fallon's book, there are dramatic insights into the nutritional basis for so many of our modern day ailments. Dr. Schmid explains how a return to a traditional diet can help you reduce your risk of a heart attack by 50 percent; enhance fertility for healthy conception and support optimal fetal development; fight allergies, chronic fatigue, arthritis, skin problems and headaches; recover from colds and flu in a day or two; and increase your life expectancy.
Schmid's book is part of a collection I've built up over the last year or so, and I really wish I had this information 20 or 30 years ago. Other books in this same vein that I highly recommend are:
These are all eye-opening books, full of information that is contrary to the hard-sell marketing spin we've been trained to believe. As I've read each one, I began to put these basic principles into practice in my own life, and the benefits started showing up immediately. If you are interested, I recommend them highly to you as well. If we are working together, I'll be glad to discuss the topics presented here.
Here is a link to the Weston A. Price Foundation website, where they have hundreds of articles, links, and many other references for information about nutrition and our food supply, appropriate diet, and eating practices for vibrant health.
Success comes when you change wishing into doing!
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Rewilding - Primitive Living Skills