Lessons in Receiving from 2016

It has been quite the year of going inward and being IN the experience of transition.  I have been abundantly grateful for all of the lessons and grief that have accompanied this year and there is one recent lesson that I would love to share with you.

The word that I chose to work with for 2016 was receive. The lessons came and went in subtle ways throughout the year but as the year had been coming to a close there was still more to learn and the lessons came at me hard.

Sometimes we think we have re-written an old belief or a story when in actuality we have only shifted part of it.  I am not one to receive well or to ask for help but I knew that needed to change, so I convinced myself that receiving and asking for help was important and a beautiful practice.  That part worked but what I didn’t do was address my underlying story of WHY I had trouble receiving and asking for help and that led me to months of playing the part of the damsel in distress and not honoring my power.  

 
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I asked the universe to help me master receiving and it obliged with lessons and opportunities that forced me to receive help. I knew that I had to accept help but because I didn’t transmute this story I made myself small and weak, walking around with a woe is me attitude.  When I look at the language that I used and the stories that I told to express myself it was that of a damsel in distress 100%. Looking back, I can see that I went to great lengths to prove this story true by lying to myself and then those that I loved.  Of course, this all came from an unconscious place that I can only see now looking back. I knew something was off with me and that I needed to come back into alignment somehow but it took a dear sister calling me out and when she did it blew my mind in the most beautiful way.  

I began to ask myself thoughtful questions and thankfully I had dug in with myself and happened to have a call with my coach the next day.  As a coach, I believe that it is highly important to live the lessons and to have a coach guiding me as I process my own lessons. She knows how I work so when I shared my processing from the night before she was able to help me go deeper and really shed this archetype that I had clung to for the past few months.  Let me tell you, it felt like I had lost 20 pounds.  I felt brand new and refreshed. We cleared the old story and I stepped into reverence.  AHHH that word feels so delicious.

I love how my lessons around receiving brought me to my next word, reverence, to feel into for 2017!

 
 

Finding Love Notes + End of the Year Gratitude

Hello Beauties, 

I have spent the last six months deep in the transition of moving my life to Asheville.  I feel brand new in so many ways.  It is as if I have been through several death and rebirth cycles within this short time.  This last cycle really lit a fire under my ass to start showing up in service in a new way. 

This past Saturday I magically activated my new home in Asheville with a solo cocao ceremony.  It was a beautiful evening of dance, cards, tears, reflection, gratitude and a little bit of dreaming.  I went through the tiny folded up pieces of paper in my gratitude jar one by one and it filled me with great joy and I could fully feel how abundant my life is by reviewing these beautiful pieces of evidence.  

I also found a love note that I wrote to myself after my first retreat experience and I would like to share it here with you now. 

These words that I wrote years ago after my first retreat and sister circle are just as powerful today as they were when I wrote them to myself.  

My actions step for you today is to take a moment to reflect on the lessons of 2016 and all that you have to be grateful for.  I bet there is more than you think.  Then get your favorite colorful markers and pen and write yourself a love letter about those beautiful lessons and gratitudes from your year.  What do you want yourself to remember about 2016 a year from now?  Write it to yourself and then seal the envelope with a kiss and put it somewhere special until next year.  

Go ahead and set a reminder on your calendar with the location of your love letter and set aside enough time to make opening your letter a sacred moment just for you.

This is a magical time of year but it is also one where it is easy to get caught up in what we have left to to do rather than remebering everything that we actually accomplished.


YOU got this! You are safe, you are loved, felt, seen, and held. It's okay! You dont' need a script or have it all figured out! TRUST your intuition!

Wrapping you all up in love and wishing you a beautiful December,

Ava

30 Days of Devotional Dance

In 30 days I have come so far!  It is one thing to dance for myself and sharing it in small moments here and there but this was sharing myself in a whole new way.  There was much resistance and fear. I was sharing something so intimate, personal, and sacred out for the world to see… feeling bare, naked and vulnerable.  Four seconds of video was terrifying and I was judging everything.   I was worried about not being enough, of being too much, of being too sexy and looking like I needed attention… So many things… So many judgements. But I realized that this is who I am and I can’t control how others choose to see me.  So instead of watering myself down I am choosing to be me at a 10.

I am a master at wearing a cloak to protect myself and can make myself nearly invisible.  I only remove it bit by bit and for certain people that I feel safe to reveal my true self.  Over the past 30 days of removing the cloak, and not just to my friends but to everyone, a story from my childhood revealed itself… That others will look down on me for doing well and being happy and loved (I am ready to release this one).

As a little girl, I was very fortunate as I had many family and friends that adored me.  However, there were some that didn't seem to like this and would refer to me as princess but not in a good way.  At that time, I didn’t understand but I was taught to be polite and to make everyone feel loved and comfortable.  I began shrinking myself down so that I would go unnoticed and not make anyone feel uncomfortable. It was through my 30 days of devotional dance that light was finally put on this story and that healing could begin.

We all question our worthiness at time… “Am I enough?” I hold this story as well but on the flip side “am I too much?”. Facing my own judgement and anticipating that of others came full force with doing 30 days of devotional dance and with that came resistance to dancing at all, let alone posting anything.  In the beginning my videos were short and generally in the dark.  I pushed myself to the light and eventually the videos got longer.  I found myself posting even when it wasn’t “perfect.”  There are videos where I fall, I stop and laugh, there are ones with unflattering angles.  It forced me to stop taking myself so seriously and to see the beauty in the imperfection.  Interestingly, I learned that people seemed to prefer the videos I made when I was feeling the most resistant.  

It's been an interesting journey of exploration, play, laughter, resistance, unfolding, and really finding myself in a new whole new way.  In 30 days, I showed my heart, my soul, and my sensual and feminine essence.  I have made videos with laughter, posted even when my foot was sick led, when I fell, wearing frumpy pjs jumping around with my niece. Instead of fear, now, I post with grace and playful laughter.  I feel more free!

Scary. Freeing. Letting go of perfection. Awakening. Blossoming. Playful. Funny. Laughter

The Missing Piece in a Gratitude Practice

Many years ago I was introduced to the concept of doing 30 day trials by reading Steve Pavlina’s blog.  I began doing them myself to experiment with different lifestyle changes that I was interested in at the time.  Then I started incorporating them into my dance classes.  I had a strong desire to connect more with my students, to get them more connected to themselves, each other, the music, and to their movement and these 30 day trial where very impactful in that mission. 

Today, we think of them more as monthly themes and there is a flow that has been established.  In September, we start with water.  We notice and chart what our current intake is and then we up it to support our bodies since that is our tool in dance. Often, I have many students who end up dropping soda and it is a beautiful result :)

In October, we set our intentions for the year; declaring how we want to feel and how we are going to show up in class.  I like it better than goal setting because that feels too linked to success and failure but if we can focus on how we want to feel and then come up with actions to get there it feels juicy.  My favorite question is to ask how they want to show up because it puts the responsibility in their hands.  They have the choice to walk into class letting their bad day take over class or they can show up present and ready to live within the movement.  

This month is gratitude but I really encourage my students to continue this practice throughout the year. In week one, we talk about what gratitude means and their homework is to find quotes that resonate with them around gratitude and share why with the class.  Week two, we start a nightly practice of writing down what we are grateful for in a journal and we share some of those moments in class.  In week three, we talk about how we can show our gratitude to others and their homework is to express their gratitude throughout their week in various ways. In week four, we honor the work that we have done around gratitude and talk about how we can continue practicing gratitude for the rest of the year. 

I personally love seeing that so many people have a gratitude practice on social media throughout the month but I think there is a big piece that we are missing.  That piece is expressing our gratitude.  Saying a simple thank you, leaving notes, or doing an act for someone else in return (look up love languages).  It is a powerful practice to write down what we are thankful for but it is that much more powerful when we take the time to acknowledge those that bring joy to our lives.  

What are you grateful for today and how are you going to express your gratitude?

h-h
Ava

Making Commitment feel less icky...

A year ago I was teaching dance, coaching, and working a full time corporate job.  I made the leap and quit corporate to take on coaching full time and teach more.  Before my journey to full time coaching, I took 3 months to travel and fully embrace freedom.  I had such an amazing time flowing through my day with no hard commitments.  It was fabulous until I missed calls and didn’t show up for the people that I love and had committed my time to.  That really hit me because one of my stories is that people don’t show up for me.  I was appalled at myself for dropping the ball so easily.  This was difficult to navigate because with my newfound freedom, I saw commitment as a prison but I also had this deep desire to show up… I just wanted to show up from a place of flow and ease rather than obligation.

Thankfully, my last stop for the summer was in Asheville for a retreat as part of the 12-month mentorship program that I am in.  There my coach and the other women attending helped me shift this (THANK YOU Sisterhood!!) My mentor offered me the word devotion and asked me how it felt.  Transmuting commitment to devotion changed everything for me.  I am a person that desires deep and meaningful connection, a person who desires for there to be meaning and ideally love behind all actions.  So devotion is the perfect word for me to access.  To me the difference is that commitment comes from a place of obligation and devotion comes from a place of love.  Obligation feels icky to me and often leads to resentment but now I am able to fully show up grateful and full of love.

I am really good at holding space and listening but something I need to work on is using my voice and awakening it.  One of the ways that I am working on this is to periscope (@avadinolfi) for 50 days.

This terrifies me and I have a lot of resistance… It also feels like a commitment sometimes but it is not.  Rather, it is an action step of how I am showing my devotion to awakening my voice.  I am deeply devoted to this and am therefore able to honor this action step. 

Devotion allows me to still live through freedom and flow while also allowing me deep connection and a calling to show up.

 

Is there a word or a belief that is making you feel trapped?

How can you transmute it?

 

h-h <3 Ava

Do you want it badly enough?

I used to scoff when someone would indicate that I didn’t want dance bad enough;  who were they?  They didn’t know how I felt or what I wanted. As a dance instructor and as someone who loves dance but is multi-passionate, I have several things to say to this.  You know how when people talk about falling in love and just knowing?  It is kind of the same thing; the only problem is that you don’t know until you KNOW.  Which leads me to a completely different thread on decision making click here to read this post on how to know you are making the right choice.

  1.  When you want something enough you make it a priority
  2. As a teacher/outsider you can see the drive… everyone shows it differently and sometimes we need to reevaluate how we are communicating our passion.

Dance wasn’t my be all end all and if it were I would have done whatever was necessary and not let other things get in my way.  I was led down a different path that led me to discover coaching and I know now more than ever that the saying is true and that if you want something enough that you 100% go after it.  When we are this passionate about something we don’t let our fears get in the way because the fear of not living our passion far outweighs any fear that might stand in the way.

What do you do when you come up against a teacher, a mentor, or even colleague asking you if you want it bad enough or commenting that maybe you don’t? 1.  Look at how you show your feelings in general.  Are you someone who comes off as indifferent?  Do you keep your feelings and ideas inside and to yourself?  Are you someone that shows your emotions/feelings physically? Sometimes it is just a matter of identifying that you are a person who doesn’t show your drive/motivation/ passion in your face and body language.  If that is the case then it is totally okay but it is good to be able to outwardly show how we feel sometimes.  It matters and it really matters if dance is your thing because that is how we show how we are feeling.  As a teacher, I want it all for my students and I will that drive and passion for them as much as I can but at the end of the day it is on them.  I can’t do it for them… they have to want it enough!

Maybe you just haven’t figured it out yet… maybe you are also multi-passionate and don’t know how to bring that together into one focus.

If you want some help figuring this out then I would love to chat with you.  Shoot me an email and lets setup a time support@avaadinolfi.com

How to Choose?

When something is right the answer is easy… The difficulty is in sifting through all of the things that are not right for you. 

I have a couple of things to say about decision making and the 1st is go with your gut!  This sounds easy in theory but proves a little more difficult in practice.  The truth is that you don’t know until you know!! Read it again… You don’t know until you know.  What I mean by that is that, if you are constantly questioning, trying to force something, trying to figure out which path is right then you probably haven’t come across the right person, place or thing.  Decisions, big or small, when you come across the right answer you just know… you will feel it in your body.

So in times of worry or confusion the best answer is to wait or keep looking.  The things that are supposed to be in your life will be found in some way or another.  Now that doesn’t mean that you should not take action in your life because taking action is so huge but I’m saying not to force something into your life just for the sake of making a decision that you “think” you “need” to make. Don’t worry if you choose wrong the 1st time the universe will make sure you get the message/lesson… it will come at you again, again, and again, and again until you finally get it.

For example, my client was offered a free and beautiful place to stay in Italy for a week.  He just needed money for the plane trip. Days later he found almost exactly the money needed to go but he started thinking his money would be better spent on something “practical” like bills or saving for a rainy day.  Then he had someone working on something in his apt and the 1st words out of the guys mouth after he had been there sometime indicated that one needs to get out and explore the world. I feel like there was another synchronicity that happened in this situation but either way the universe was screaming at him to go to Italy :)

Decision making a lot of times come down to trust!  Trusting yourself, the universe and really everyone else.  I can tell I am not trusting myself when I start asking the advice of a ton of people about a decision I need to make.  That usually is a sign that I need to take a step back and get grounded and that the right answer probably isn’t in front of me.

Below are some small action steps to consider:

  1. Get some movement in:  Yoga, dance, walk or bike ride in nature
  2. Take 10 deep breaths with your hands on your belly.  Notice and feel how your body moves when you inhale and exhale.
  3. Write down an example of a decision you made in the past and how it played out. How did you feel leading up to the decision?  How did it turn out?  What are you going to do differently next time you make a decision?

 

Trust * Breathe * Listen to Your Gut

Now What?!

Everyone has a different path and I honestly have no idea how I got stuck in a 40 hour a week office job.  It was never part of the plan and it didn’t even exist in the sketch.  I took a job to help with grad school that I actually enjoyed but some how that turned into a full-time secretary position that then turned into 2 yrs as a corporate analyst.  With each job I found fulfillment because I love learning new things, but once the routine set in, I got bored and resentful of all of the time 9 to 5 was sucking out of my life. When I talk to my friends or my clients about living their life’s passion it usually doesn’t involve slaving away at a desk 40+ hours a week.  Let me be clear that I am not dogging this way of living and I know that there are many people who love their 9 to 5 jobs and find a lot of value in these types of jobs.  I am simply saying that it isn’t for everyone… well most people.

The idea of having a job other than 9 to 5 or one that doesn’t fit on the list of “acceptable” jobs, freaks people out.  We are told from a young age that we can be whatever we want and so as children we begin to dream and dream big!  (As a child, I declared that I wanted to be an archeologist.) They tell us we can be anything, but as we grow older.  Maybe it is our parents, maybe its society, or maybe its our friends.  We slowly get the message that we are SUPPOSED to go to college and get a job (of course by job they mean something practical that will pay the bills).  I actually don’t really feel like I was ever pushed to go to college, but I just always thought it was what I was supposed to do and what was expected of me.  Doing anything else seemed really risky and scary and why take the risk when I really don’t know what I want anyways.  At the time, I knew that I loved dance and my boyfriend (mental note:  attempt to not make choices based on relationships) and that was about it.  But just because I loved dance didn’t mean that my path was to be a professional dancer.  At the time, money and resources seemed scarce for a big change that I didn’t feel fully supported and ready for. I wish I had known then how many ways that dance could and can be part of my life. The point is that there is often a lack of support when we have a dream outside of what the general population deems an acceptable means of acquiring income.  You hear things like “that’s why they call it work” or “how are you going to support yourself?” When I finally took the leap to really become a life coach, it was so scary to tell people because I knew that a lot of people wouldn’t understand. Even though some really have trouble with it I was luckily met with a lot of support and love!

I think two things happen when we come across someone who has trouble supporting us in our creative endeavors. The first being that by going for our passion we are challenging their view of the world and saying “yes, dreams are actually possible and there is a world outside of having a stable job in a cubicle.”  The second being that they are genuinely scared for you and maybe even misplacing their own fears onto you, forgetting that you are your own person with your own choices. Don’t go ditching the people in your life that don’t support your dreams right away.  Rather, give them space and go find some people who are all for it and will stand by your side!

 

Dream Big * Connect with other Dreamers * Break Boundaries