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Episode 135 Transcript: Embracing Reflection for Deeper Self-Connection

Nancy: Reflection is not judgment. So this is not about judging ourselves in any way. In fact, reflection is really about being gentle with ourselves wherever we are in the process. Reflection allows us to really understand and track our own growth. And I know that personally when I’m able to reflect on where I’ve been, whether it’s in the past 24 hours, the past week, the past month, the past year, the past decade, when I’m able to look back from the vantage point of where I am now, I’m able to see patterns. I’m able to see the choices I made and the impact of my actions.

Nancy: Welcome to the Nancy Levin Show. I’m Nancy Levin, Founder of Levin Life Coach Academy, best-selling author, master coach, and your host. I help overachieving people pleasers set boundaries that stick and own self-worth, anchored in empowered action, so you can feel free. Plus, if you’re an aspiring or current coach, you are in the right place. Join me each week for coaching and compelling conversations designed to support you in the spotlight, as you take center stage of your own life. Let’s dive in. 

Welcome back to another episode of the Nancy Levin Show. I am so happy to be with you here today and if you are listening when this episode drops, today is January 1st, 2024. And I wanna share with you a ritual of self-connection that I like to do as we transition out of the previous year into the new one. And even if you’re listening to this at another time during the year, you can engage in this process. It’s not just for the beginning of a year, but I thought since it’s January 1st, we may as well begin at the beginning, so to speak. 

So let’s begin looking backward in order to move forward. What I mean is, let’s begin with reflecting on where we’ve been, what’s happened, how we feel. I begin every single one-on-one coaching session, group coaching session, training session, with a moment of reflection. So that we can track ourselves where we’ve been in order to get where we wanna go. 

So take a moment here to think about the past year and not only think with your head, but feel into the past year. What were your triumphs? What were your successes and wins? I find that so often because we have a negativity bias in our brain, as science has proven, we tend to go right to the place of what didn’t work or what needs fixing. And I’m inviting you first to look at what feels satisfying, what feels fulfilling for you? What were your wins? What were your successes? What were your triumphs? And then allow yourself to look at where you felt challenged, what perhaps didn’t go the way you wanted it to go.

Reflection is not judgment. So this is not about judging ourselves in any way. In fact, reflection is really about being gentle with ourselves wherever we are in the process. Reflection allows us to really understand and track our own growth. And I know that personally when I’m able to reflect on where I’ve been, whether it’s in the past 24 hours, the past week, the past month, the past year, the past decade, when I’m able to look back from the vantage point of where I am now, I’m able to see patterns. I’m able to see the choices I made and the impact of my actions.

So reflection allows us to see where we’ve been and allows us to sort of collect the tools that we need for moving forward. One of the most powerful tools for reflection is journaling. I have been journaling since I was 11 years old, and my journaling has taken different forms. My journaling first began as letters, essentially to my brother who had died. And it was my way of connecting with him, sharing with him what was happening for me. And very sneakily. It became the way that I was moving into awareness about myself and then my journaling over time has really been more about introspection. I have always been writing and have a Master’s Degree in Poetry. And so my natural state of writing is actually poetic in terms of fragments, in terms of just getting myself out on the page versus prose, which is the way books are written. So while I am a published author of six books about to be seven books, prose is not my natural way of writing. And so I love journaling because it is uninhibited, it is simply for me, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to have punctuation, it doesn’t have to look any certain way. It’s simply there for me to explore my thoughts, my feelings, my patterns, my lessons learned. It’s really ultimately a conversation with my inner self, a dialogue that fosters deep connection with myself. 

Now, I’m here to tell you that unless you have this deep connection with yourself, it’s going to be challenging to have the kind of relationships with others that you’re longing for. So many of us dismiss the need to feel really connected to ourselves, and instead, we put all our eggs in the basket of others. And so this is really an invitation here at the beginning of the year to embrace self connection in the form of a conversation or dialogue with your inner self. 

One of the things I love to do in my journal is get two different pens, two different colors, and with my dominant hand, I will ask myself a question. And with my non-dominant hand, I will answer it. You do not need to be ambidextrous. This is not about good penmanship. There’s something that happens when you mix it up like this, and you will very likely be surprised by how your non-dominant hand answers the question. 

As we’re exploring here, this dialogue with ourself, what we’re really doing is we’re embracing this inner voice that we all have. We have an inner voice that sometimes we call the inner critic. We have a voice that sometimes we might call the inner champion. I know the inner critic well, I use a little mantra when the inner critic comes and I simply say to myself, and I used to say this out loud, but I’ve been doing this long enough that I just now say it silently to myself.

But it’s to say, oh, there you are. I’ve been expecting you. I am turning your volume down now. We are not doing this today. So this is not about obliterating your inner critic. This is simply acknowledging, oh, there you are, I was expecting you and I’m turning your volume down. No, we’re not doing this today.

For many of us, the voice of the inner champion or the inner cheerleader needs to be cultivated. We need to learn how to celebrate ourselves first and foremost, instead of waiting or looking outside of us for validation or approval. So the more you can actually pause when something goes well, when you do something that you’re proud of, when something happens for you that feels really good, that you stop in the moment and acknowledge it, that you stop in the moment and celebrate it. 

So many of us are just in constant motion moving forward. And if you’re anything like I used to be, you might know yourself to be a people pleaser or a peacekeeper or a conflict avoider, or someone who doesn’t want to rock the boat or an over achiever, an over giver, over doer, all of those things. When we’re in that cycle of overdoing and achieving, we are constantly pushing forward. We’re constantly muscling through, and we have what essentially is called a completion barrier. We don’t actually let ourselves pause before we start something new. We just stay in the rotation of doing. And so part of celebrating your success, part of celebrating a win, is giving yourself pause to celebrate the completion before you move on to the next thing.

Nancy: Hi, it’s Nancy interrupting my own show. I’ve got a lot of exciting things coming up in 2024, including a brand new book plus a group coaching opportunity, unlike anything else I have ever offered before. To make sure you are in the know, pop on over to my website now and sign up for my free weekly newsletter at nancylevin.com/newsletter so you don’t miss a thing. Okay, back to the show! 

One of the ways that we can look at this is self-connection is really about honoring your needs, your feelings, and we can continue this inner conversation in meditation or in a walk or in the shower. You know, so many of us have this idea that let’s take journaling and meditating. That journaling has to happen at a special time with a special pen and a special notebook and a special candle, and the moon is just right in the sky, or the sun is just right on the horizon. All of that is a way to keep ourselves from journaling. So all of those things are fine, but they are a barrier to entry. 

So I journal in a notebook. I also journal on my phone in the Notes app. I also journal in a document on my laptop. They’re not all synced up, they’re not all the same thing goes in my notebook, that goes in my phone, that goes on my laptop. But they’re all opportunities for me to connect with myself at any time. 

Meditating, so many people think it has to happen first thing in the morning when you wake up. It has to happen on a special pillow. You have to have a special timer. You know all of these things. You have to sit a certain way. No, you don’t. While there might be traditional ways to sit, you can sit in a chair, you can sit up in your bed, you can sit on a cushion, you can set any kind of timer, and you can sit for five minutes, or you can sit for 30 minutes, or you can sit for an hour and you can do it in the morning. You can do it in the afternoon. You can do it in the middle of the night.

I, about eight years ago, over eight years ago, I did a silent meditation retreat in Thailand for 11 days in a monastery. And one of the greatest gifts I received during that was the knowing that I can meditate at any time of the day for any length of time. So I often, if I can’t sleep, I will sit up in bed, set my timer and meditate, and then go back to sleep. I do meditate first thing in the morning ’cause that’s what feels good for me. But you get to find and discover what feels best for you. 

Remember, this is all about honoring your needs and your wellbeing. As we’re moving into the new year, I like to always begin with crafting your vision. And your vision exists within you. Your vision is not something that you have to create. It’s not something that you have to go find out in the world. Your vision exists within you, and it is likely a little dusty and it needs someone covering. And at the beginning of the year, what a beautiful time to not only set an intention, but to really put some action behind it.

So if you’ve been listening for a while now you know that my Transformation Equation is change equals vision, plus choice plus action. And so when we’re wanting to make a change, it’s essential to have a core clear vision that we are using as the gauge for our choices and our actions. So this isn’t really just about setting an intention, it’s not about setting a goal. It’s about aligning with the desires you have and making sure that your choices and actions are in alignment with your desires. What do you want to invite into your life? 

We want to make sure that our desires are resonating with our core values and that the choices we make every single day and the actions we take every single day are in alignment because our actions and choices do one of two things only, they serve our vision or they sabotage our vision. So we wanna make sure that we are in alignment. So again, you can do this with a vision board. You can do this with a list. You can do this in a retreat that you create for yourself at home. This is something I personally love to do around the holidays. 

January 1st. It’s a perfect day. January 1st is the most perfect day, as is any day of the year to really create a retreat for yourself, a solo retreat at home. You can do it for a few hours. You can do it for the day. If you have other people that you live with, you can let them know that you’ll be doing this. If you need to get childcare, go for it. Maybe you can do a trade and you take someone’s kids for their solo retreat and vice versa. Give yourself some time to really sit with what you’re envisioning. Be in dialogue with yourself in your journal, commune with yourself, and listen to your inner voice while you’re meditating or dancing or taking a bath. All of your answers live within. 

As a coach, here’s what I know for sure. We are the experts on ourselves, and as a coach, I’m always guiding you to your own inner answers, your own inner wisdom. So this is all about cultivating a continuous ritual that you can bring into your days. 

In Levin and Life Coach Academy, I train my students and we’re always working with morning rituals of self connection and evening rituals of self connection. These do not need to be long and involved. What they do need to do is tap you into you first thing in the morning and last thing at night so that you are connected to you so that you know what you think, so that you know what’s okay and not okay for you. 

And again, it’s about this continuous practice around your evolution, nurturing the relationship with yourself. Louise Hay always used to say, “the relationship you have with yourself is the longest and most important one you’ll ever have. So better invest in this relationship sooner rather than later.” And I wanna really support you in cultivating this relationship with you. 

One of the ways I can best support you in everything we’ve been talking about today is my book, The Art of Change. It is a guided journal, Eight Weeks to Making a Meaningful Shift in Your Life. And you can grab it wherever books are sold. It is an eight week interactive guided process to support you in making the changes you wanna make so that by the time you get to the end of this year, you can look back and reflect and celebrate even more. 

Thanks so much for being here with me today. I really appreciate you listening, you tuning in and here is to a year of self-discovery, self-connection, meaning and fulfillment. Tune in next week for even more.

Thanks so much for joining me today. I invite you to head on over to nancylevin.com to check out all the goodies I have there for you. And if you’ve enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a rating and a review. I’ll meet you back here next week.