Los Angeles Life Coach Laura Asks: Do New Year’s Resolutions Work?

A Life Coach or Career Coach Can Make the Difference

You know the drill.  It’s the new year and you have a new resolve to lose the weight,  start exercising, quit smoking, begin meditating, etc.  Or maybe this year you’re resolved to finish the book you’ve been dabbling with, or get that promotion that’s overdue, or navigate a transition to a new, more meaningful career – one that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning.

You start off strong. This is the year you’re going to do it. After six weeks or so, you’ve built up some momentum and confidence. You’ve started to make some progress and you’re feeling good. And then March rolls around. Distractions surface. Stuff happens to usurp your time and money. It’s tax time after all.  Or maybe fear and doubt creep in. Old patterns of thinking sabotage your progress. You tell yourself this is temporary and when the weather gets warmer, you’ll re-double your efforts and start anew.

Now it’s summer and you’re back on it. The sun is out, the weather is warm and you’re feeling optimistic. You’re going to stick to it this time. You start to regain the momentum from earlier in the year. Then as the weather turns colder, stuff happens again. More distractions. Life gets increasingly hectic as the holidays approach. And when the holidays hit, you tell yourself:  “Just get through the holidays.”

You decide to table everything until the new year…and then the cycle begins again.

If all of this sounds familiar, then hiring a life coach, career coach or spiritual coach might be the way to go this year. One of the reasons why coaching works is that it’s a support structure that holds you accountable for your progress. Life coaching and career coaching (as well as other types of coaching such as spiritual, business, relationship, etc.) keeps you focused when will power waxes and wanes and distractions deter your progress. And on a deeper level, coaching works because it helps you to dissolve the soundtracks from the past which sabotage your future.  Since I began coaching in 2005, I have found that fear and doubt are the two biggest reasons why people don’t achieve their goals. Distractions are the third.

But life coaching or career coaching is not meant to be a permanent support structure.  A good life coach or career coach strives to coach you to independence – not dependence. So a skillfully trained coach works with you to create other, long-term support structures to help you not only attain your goals but sustain them, long after the coaching is over.

Resolve this year to make your resolutions work. Give yourself the support to attain and sustain your progress throughout the year so you can make 2011 the time in which you achieve the personal and professional success that has eluded you in the past.

Posted by Laura Svolos, Certified Professional Coach and Swami of Kriya Yoga specializing in life, career, relationship and spiritual/wellness coaching.

Take the first step in making your resolutions work, schedule a free consult with Coach Laura.

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There are a variety of reasons to meditate.  Some meditate for stress reduction. Others do it to improve their sleep; while others strive for more mystical benefits. But another good reason to meditate is that it is a great tool for anyone who is seeking to make a transformation.  And this is why I use it in my work as a coach and wellness teacher. With all of my coaching clients, whether they are seeking life coaching, spiritual coaching, or career change coaching, I teach them a basic, five-minute meditation practice that they can do once a day and that fits into the busiest of lifestyles. This meditation practice complements the other standard coaching techniques that I use in my work.

Meditation as a tool for career change along with other types of coaching serves dual purposes:

  • It expands the horizon of our self awareness so we become aware of beliefs and thought patterns that may be blocking us from moving forward;
  • It provides a vehicle for communicating to the subconscious mind where deeply ingrained beliefs and thought patterns are embedded.

When clients come to me for coaching – whether it’s life, spiritual, or career change coaching – they are trying to get from point A to point B.  But for some reason, they aren’t getting to point B. Though they may be 100% committed to getting to point B, they just can’t seem to get there. This is because another part of them, or another part of their consciousness, is going to point C or point D. And in some cases, it’s going nowhere at all. This subversive part of them is their subconscious mind.

As a coach, I’ll spend some time talking with my clients about why their subconscious mind is running a different program. It’s usually due to an underlying fear of some kind and a corresponding commitment. In coaching parlance, we call this a “UAC” – an Underlying Automatic Commitment. A UAC is a commitment to something that we haven’t consciously chosen. That’s why it’s underlying.  And it’s happening involuntarily, which is why it’s automatic. Furthermore, it’s overriding the conscious commitment because it’s stronger.

For instance, if a career change coaching client comes to me and says he wants to leave his corporate job and become a writer. He has a conscious commitment to becoming a writer. But he hasn’t taken the necessary step(s) to become one.  In this case, a common UAC is that he is more committed to staying safe.  A less common UAC is that he is committed to proving something about himself to be true.  For example, he may be reinforcing a belief that was instilled in him as a child which told him he wasn’t creative enough to succeed or some variation of that theme.

UACs can be tricky to uncover. Some are deeply embedded. This is where meditation serves a very useful purpose.  It expands the horizon of our self awareness – not during the meditation – but throughout the day.  As we go about our day, we become increasingly aware of the subtler streams of consciousness (our thoughts and emotions) that are flowing through us. And as a result, we uncover these UACs.

Once we discover these Underlying Automatic Commitments, it’s just a matter of shining the light of our awareness on them and then balancing them. In order to balance them, you need to speak the language of the subconscious.  This is where meditation plays a pivotal role because the subconscious is most receptive when the conscious mind is most calm.  It’s like the lines of communication are open for business.

So after clients get acclimated with the basic, five-minute practice that I teach them, and once I get to know them better and what may be blocking them, I give them a technique for speaking to their subconscious that is tailored to address their particular UAC.

This is deeply transformative work but it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it isn’t. When the conscious and subconscious minds are on the same page, transformation can happen quickly and more importantly, it will be sustained. It’s actually pretty effortless once you unlock the keys to your subconscious mind and communicate to it in a language it understands. Meditation is a great tool for doing both.

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If You Hear the Message Three Times, LISTEN
by Patricia Heller
Hampton Roads Publishing Company
283 pages
Reviewed by Coach Bradley
If You Hear the Message is a highly readable and inspiring account of Patricia Heller’s transformation of suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) to becoming a spiritual and self aware healer. She takes us on a journey from curing her ‘incurable’ illness to investigating healing hands, past life regression, shamanism, manifesting greatness, automatic writing, heart centred transformation, her inner gypsy woman and many more. The book is actually an excellent survey of the healing arts in America over the past fifteen years.

The title refers to what she calls “listening to the universe”. When you hear the same message three times, it is time to pay attention. She gives several examples of when she heard messages three times before she got it. In a heart centred transformation centre in the Arizona desert she heard the teacher tell someone to move her energy to her heart and ‘let it go’. This didn’t make any sense to her at all. The second time she was in awe standing over the Grand Canyon. She turned to her teacher and told her how it was so beautiful it hurt her heart. She was told to ‘let it go.’ She looked at him as if he was an alien. Let go of what, she thought? During a full blown attack of CFS at the centre she was again told to ‘let it go’ when the penny finally dropped. She realized that holding onto her anger was making her physically sick. She had to hear it three times before she was able to really hear it and ‘get it’. That was her last attack of CFS.

In case you are thinking there isn’t a healing art Patricia doesn’t like, rest assured that she approaches them intelligently and with a healthy skepticism that is often absent in books of this type. The road she is on is long and winding, full of insights, pot holes, blind alleys and magnificent vistas. Patricia takes us on the tour with excitement, passion and humility, without trying to make us into converts or convince us that she has found ‘the path’ to enlightenment. In a graceful and humble way, she describes what she found on her own quest for enlightenment and if there is a piece you can take away from it then she has done her job.

Readers are rewarded by Patricia’s insights and warmth; she does an excellent job of writing clearly and extracting the meaning out her experiences. I marveled at her curiosity and capacity to absorb and integrate so many different teachings and to draw important lessons from them that have relevance for a general audience. This book is especially exciting for those who are or who are thinking of going on a similar journey of self discovery.

As a coach I am constantly reminded that it is not the events that shape our lives so much as how we respond to them that is what makes us who we are. This book demonstrates how a woman with spunk, determination, courage, curiosity, a great sense of humour overcame a seemingly hopeless situation and the death of her husband to arrive in a place of wisdom, compassion and happiness.

Bradley Foster is a Gestalt-trained life and leadership coach who lives in Toronto and practices across North America.

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On Freedom

Published on October 19, 2006 by in Metaphysics, Spiritual Practice Coaching


Sometimes I get messages in my meditations that are muddled and sometimes they come in boldface, 14 point font. Yesterday was one of those days in which the message was loud and clear: “Resist nothing. Resist no-thing. When we become no thing, we can become anything. This is true freedom.”

This reminded me of an exchange I had once with a Zen Buddhist monk who asked me, “Laura, if you could be anywhere, where would you be?” I replied, “Here and now.” And then he said, “When you accept the moment, you have total freedom.”

All the spiritual teachings point to the “now.”  They say that everything we desire – peace, joy, freedom, abundance, and love – are in the present moment. So why do we resist the “now” if what we want is in the “now”? I think the answer is: desire. When we desire, we’re not here – we’re over there. Desire moves us away from the present moment. It says that what we need is in the future or in the past. 

The Buddha said that what prevented him from attaining enlightenment was that he was too determined to get it. In other words, he desired it too much.

To stay in the “now” we need to cultivate a state of being – not doing. When you accept the “now” – you are in a state of being. When you don’t accept the now, you have moved into a state of doing called resistance. The Power of Now,

The cultivation of a state of being – not doing – is a difficult concept for our culture to accept because we’re conditioned to be so achievement-oriented. We measure our success and self-worth according to what we have accomplished.  Yet, the more you are in the state of being, the more you will get done!

So how do we reconcile this wisdom with the principles of life coaching which are all about action? The trick is to have goals and to aspire towards the life that you want while maintaining contentment for the life that you have now. Without contentment, you won’t magnetize the goals because you’ll be in resistance. In the extreme, resistance takes the form of fear, depression, anxiety, among others. On a subtler level, resistance takes the form of boredom, dissatisfaction, or simply a desire for more of something. If you aren’t walking around in a state of total bliss, you’re in some state of resistance.

The irony is that in order to get what you want, you have to not want it. In other words, you can’t be in a state of want. You just need to “be.”

So go be. And be free!

(For more on this subject, I highly recommend The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Tolle is an authentic spiritual teacher and a great communicator. I like his book because it speaks the Truth while distilling principles of Eastern spiritual wisdom in a way that is accessible to a Western audience.)

Om sat tat om.

Laura (Swami Adityananda)

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The Thought You Cannot Think

Published on September 12, 2006 by in Metaphysics


Is there a thought that you cannot think? Think about it. The problem with that question is that there is no way to know. Or is there?

My teacher, Goswami Kriyananda, used to ask us this question. He taught us that the thought you cannot think represents your karma. There are many nuances to the term “karma.” Kriya Yoga defines karma as the law of causation. This means that every circumstance in your life is the product of a thought, word, or action that you have taken (either in this life or a previous one). Karma is also a proclivity to think, act, or react in a certain way to a given situation. Now, in our culture, karma gets a bad rap. It has a negative connotation. But not all karma is bad. We have both harmonious and inharmonious pieces of karma that will fire in each lifetime. For the purposes of this blog, I’m focusing on the inharmonious karma because that’s where we all get stuck.

Many of us are stuck in a pattern of thinking and thus, we find ourselves re-creating a pattern of circumstances in our lives. If this is something that you have experienced, then it means that you are repeating a thought or belief about something, someone, or yourself. It’s time to think a new thought. And if you think that thought enough times with enough intensity, you will break free from your self-imposed prison of beliefs. True freedom is the ability to create anew without any predispositions about what is or is not possible.

But many of us have a blind spot on the horizon of our self-awareness. We simply are not aware of the thought that we cannot think. This is our blind spot. This is where a good friend, teacher, or life coach can help. We can shine the light on the blind spot so you can think a new thought and thus, expand the horizon of your awareness and your reality as a result.

Now, once you have identified the thought that you cannot think, you might find yourself stuck again. You may say (and many of my clients have said this) that you simply can’t think that thought because you don’t really believe it. For example, you can’t think that you are good enough to attract a great mate; or you can’t think that you are competent enough to get a better job; or, you can’t believe that it’s possible to do what you love and make the same amount of money that you are making in your current job. The list goes on and on.

Well, I have good news. The good news is that if you think this new thought enough times, it will turn into a new belief – even if you don’t believe it. That’s because beliefs are merely thoughts that we have thought (or adopted) over and over again. There really is no truth to them. Truth is just what shows up in your reality. So there is no independent body that sanctions which beliefs are true and which aren’t. You create your truth based upon your beliefs.

So you can create a new set of circumstances in your life by creating new beliefs about yourself and what’s possible, even when you don’t really believe it. But don’t take my word for it. Try metaphysical life coaching and see what happens!

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So I’m reading a book that I’m referring to a lot in my life coaching these days. And this is a book that has elicited many “aha’s” for me, which is humbling because after all, I’m a Swami, and shouldn’t I have learned everything? I mean, do I really need to read yet another book? Well, apparently the answer is YES.

The book is Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks. And I understand the principles are similar to what’s espoused in the movie “The Secret.” Not surprisingly, both the book and the movie started showing up in my horizon of awareness at about the same time…funny how that happens…

The book outlines how to manifest your desires and more importantly, how to do it joyfully based on the “Law of Attraction” which is stated as: “That which is like unto itself is drawn.” Now this is nothing new and it’s what many of us teach in our life coaching along with other laws of the universe. But what’s so interesting about the teachings of this book is that it presents a very practical way of assessing how we’re doing with using the Law of Attraction as we strive to manifest our desired goals.

Here’s how it works…first, you use your thoughts to set the desired goal into motion. And you must continue to think those thoughts for the manifestation to occur. But you must also allow it to happen. In order to allow the desire to manifest, your vibrational frequency must match that which you want to manifest. The book uses an analogy of a radio: “In the same way that your radio tuner must be set to match the frequency of the broadcasting station you desire to hear, the vibrational frequency of your being must match the frequency of your desire.”

So, if you want peace, then you must feel peace – not just when you are imagining the goal but throughout the day. You need to be in resonance with the goal. In order to be in resonance to receive the desired result, you need to attune to it. You do that by invoking a feeling that is on the same frequency. And you invoke the feeling by thinking a thought that will elicit the feeling.

For example, if you want to manifest “joy” and “joy” is at 103.5 FM, but you are feeling “shame” or “guilt” and “guilt” is vibrating at 89.5 FM – then you are not in resonance with joy. To get there, you need to invoke a thought that will elicit a more positive feeling, which will help you move up the scale of emotion until you get to joy.

Your feelings are signposts or indicators of how you’re doing. The book calls this your “Emotional Guidance System.” What you are feeling from moment to moment indicates how close you are to manifesting your desired goal. This is because your feelings dictate your frequency of vibration and your frequency dictates what you attract due to the “Law of Attraction.”

Another major concept of Ask and It is Given is that there is this powerful, unlimited “stream of well-being” that is flowing through the universe. Again, this isn’t anything new but it’s a different way of presenting what some have called “Source” or “Brahman” or “God” or “Love.” Whatever the term, the stream of well-being is there and will always be there. And we are all connected to it. In fact, we are IT. But we don’t know it or haven’t experienced IT because we are out of tune or alignment with it.

I love when things that I read are in alignment with the mystical concepts that I studied. It just reinforces the idea that there is one body of truth and many ways to say it. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, he defines Kriya Yoga as self study, self discipline and “attunement to the indwelling Reality.”

We need to attune to the all pervasive energy (of “well-being”) that exists within us and around us by tuning our frequency to a higher vibration. And you do it through feelings. How practical!

Of course, like most of these books, the trick is in applying it. And for some, this is where “spiritual life coaching” comes into play. Many of us are stuck in the realm of theoretical understanding, or in the “mental body.” And as this book states, we need to know it by feeling it.

As I write this, I am thinking about what I am feeling. And I’m optimistic about the future. We are truly living in such an exciting time because the wisdom of the ages is becoming more and more accessible. We don’t have to trek to the Himalayas to find it; it’s at the local bookstore!

May we all be blessed with this wisdom that we will be an even greater blessing to others!

Om Sat Tat Om.

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