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Believe Coaching Purpose Teacher Life

Organized.

Nature’s first law is order. Without order, you are cruising toward chaos. In chaos, you stifle or completely crush the amazing experience you are on this earth to have.

I’m not self or professionally diagnosed OCD… far from it. Trust, there are disorganized piles and areas in our home. Also trust that I know those areas are not performing at their best, but I give myself some grace and know that I can do it all… just not all at once. Work in progress.

Speaking of work, I work my teaching job, my businesses and coordinate Rabbit Rescue with epic organization. It might look messy in the middle at some points—long-time readers may recall the struggle of the messy desk. I have it under control now. It took working with a coach to get that in order, WELL WORTH IT!

People often marvel at how I organize and how I manage, produce and batch activities. We all have our strengths and we contribute best to the world when we refine and use those strengths! Today, I’m sharing with you some of the tools that I use to stay in order. Please know that grabbing these things does not translate to change in your personal or professional world. You have to find what works for you… and I’d love to help you figure that out!

But in the meantime, here are four things I use every day:

  1. Lined Post-its

As much as I’m cool with mess, I like lines to write on. I often write across several lines or hold the sticky note on an angle but I like that the lines are there. Top tip: when making lists, keep them to 3-5 tasks. Lists of 75 things to do are just overwhelming. Do it. Ditch it. Delegate it.

  1. Pencils

Basic, I know, but I like being able to erase and I like that pencil comes from the earth… gets me rooted. When I’m firing off something quick, I gravitate toward a mechanical pencil. When I’m journaling or outlining a talk, I like a good old-fashioned wood pencil, Ticonderoga brand whenever possible. An ample eraser is a must.

  1. Markers

A fine point Bic Marking or Intensity gets me going. I set my calendar for the week on Sundays, usually right after I’m done writing to you and I use this collection of markers. I’m not a strict color-coder but I like having the variety to make even the mundane pop.

  1. Timer

Time management is a misleading term. We can’t manage time; it flows on its own! But we can manage activity. Without the timer, I’ll scroll and waste time! While it’s good to wander sometimes, we have some epic work to do, saving bunny lives and upgrading human lives. I use the timer to keep me focused when answering emails or scheduling social media posts. I let creative time flow without a cap but I always set the timer when I’m getting stuff done!

 

I’d love to know what you use to keep it all together and organized! Comment or send me an email: believeinbunnies@gmail.com

If you’re ready to find what works for you, I’m poised to help you. Schedule a call today!

Much love!

Click here

 

 

 

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Bunnies Energy Purpose

Hoppy 8th Birthday Peanut!

Our little monster turned 8 this past week. He may be cruising into his senior years, but he hasn’t slowed down a bit! He runs his laps around the couch, often to evade me. He chews holes in the corners of the couch cushions. He’s still working on remodeling the molding between the living room and entrance way.

And I love him more and more every day.

He’ll probably never be a snuggle bunny. Most rabbits aren’t, despite their stuffed animal-esque appearance. But Peanut has mellowed a bit in his advancing age. I get bitten far less often than before. I must admit, even when the bites were more frequent, they were never unprovoked. He never attacks without cause, unless of course you’re an aromatic piece of hay or frond of parsley.

Peanut has been spending a lot more time on the couch than he used to. When he perches on the arm rest, I do get a little nervous… but he gets his balance talent from me and his explorative nature from the Bunny Daddy.

We didn’t do much to celebrate his 8th birthday in particular because we’ve learned to celebrate every single day, not just the designated occasions.

When we lost his brother Tater Tot, two years ago this Tuesday (wow that was alliterative), I became very resentful and mad at myself for every moment I spent looking at my dumb phone rather than paying attention to Tater. I regretted every second that I spend engaged in something inane when I could have been snuggling the Tot. I can’t get that time back.

In the heartbreak, I gained understanding and awareness. From that awareness, I make an effort to be more present with Peanut and with everyone in my life. It’s a practice, not a perfect. I sometimes find myself caught up in the inconsequential, the mindless scrolling more often than I like, but I realign quickly and forgive myself.

Now, if you’ll forgive me, I have an 8-year-old fluffy bunny to attend to. Much love.

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Believe Coaching Energy Purpose

Want & Feel

I’m going to push you today.

I was on a call with my coach on Friday and she presented us with an idea that has been swirling around my head ever since:

Are you doing what you want or are you doing what you feel like?

Follow me here… because those two things often aren’t the same, particularly if you’re not getting the results you want in your personal or professional life.

You want toned abs. You feel like lying on the couch and watching season 5 of Schitt’s Creek again. So you lie on the couch. You tear up when David and Patrick get engaged. You look down at your belly and the thoughts flood in: I’ll never have the body I want. I can’t. I won’t. I don’t. I’m so lazy. I’m so this, that, whatever. Maybe the thoughts go into outside blame: this diet/exercise program doesn’t work. I don’t have time. I don’t have help.

And so it goes.

But in reality, dear ones, the external factors are controlled by you. You chose to do what you felt like rather than take a step toward what you say you want. No judgment. Nothing “wrong” with that… just getting aware.

I’ll run another scenario for you: You want more organization in your home. You feel like you have to go to your friend’s whatever party. And you don’t feel like paying someone to help you get organized.

So you chose to spend your time at and your money on what you think you should (or shouldn’t) and, again, you don’t get what you want.

One more scenario. I’m trying to connect with all of you here.

You want a romantic relationship. You don’t feel like meeting new people. You don’t feel like “putting yourself out there.”

Another week/month/year goes by. You don’t get what you think you want because you’re choosing to do what you feel like rather than go toward what you want.

 

And I get it. A lot of the things that we want are big, scary, out of our comfort zones, require us to stretch and change… so we sit in the pocket of what we feel like rather than aligning what we feel and what we want to achieve.

A lot of these things that we want require or simply come to us with more ease if we ask for or pay for help, but we feel like we shouldn’t be vulnerable or shouldn’t spend our money this way.

I said I was going to push you today, so here it goes. Today, just get aware of what you want, what you feel and what you’re doing. You don’t have to make a change, unless you’re called to do so. Just examine it today.

I suspect there are some really bright light bulbs going off for you.

If you’ve gained any awareness today, email me: believeinbunnies@gmail.com

I’d love to hear your stories!

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Believe Bunnies Coaching Energy Purpose Rescue Teacher Life

I’m Not Busy

Don’t get me wrong—there’s lots of activity happening at headquarters but I do not feel busy.

Last week, a dear friend posted a graphic on Facebook, prompting scrollers to describe her life using only GIFs. I have a GIF obsession, so of course I was into this. For this friend, I posted a Green Acres GIF (don’t be surprised that those are sparse) because she’s a Glamazon who lives on a farm.

Several dozens of us reposted the graphic for ourselves. I was having a Valerie Cherish moment, so I picked GIFs from The Comeback for most. Then I waited for mine to roll in.

Of course, most featured rabbits (side note: that overly populated “rabbit island” in Japan isn’t cute to me—those poor rabbits have no care, no food and no shelter. But I know your intention in posting that one wasn’t bad!) and some others featured a theme of Zen, rainbows, unicorns and yoga mats. Then, there were the ones that got me: the ones that looked or even said chaos or chaotic.

Radical honesty: my life does not feel chaotic from the inside. And I sincerely hope I don’t portray that it is chaotic or unmanageable.

I used to feel tired all the time. I used to feel like I had no time for anything, like I was always busy, like there wasn’t enough time in a week to do what I had to do in a day. Ironically, that was when I was working one job, living with my family and not volunteering. I perceived my daily life as one of overwhelm and exhaustion. It didn’t help that I was hanging around with a lot of people who spun that same story in their lives, doing little more than just getting by, complaining the whole way through.

Now, I don’t feel busy because I am clear on what I am doing, why I am doing it and I am faithfully judicious with my time. Time hasn’t changed. I’ve learned to manage my activities. My Green Acres Glamazon is the one who taught me that you can’t manage time but you can manage activity. But even before I knew it in those terms, I was making it happen. The key, for me, is routine and consistency. It’s setting up systems to make it all work with efficacy and ease. I now work that same job, run two businesses, volunteer daily, co-manage a household and sleep 8+ hours a night. I don’t say this to impress you; I say this to impress upon you that you can feel at ease and get it all done. Manage the activity. The time is going to flow on its own.

A typical weekday looks like this for me:

4:30 am: Meditate, write, reflect, sometimes yoga

5:15 am: Get ready for work

6:45 am -2:30 pm: Work the day job

3:30 pm: Reflect, regroup, straighten up the house

4:30 – 7:30 pm: Volunteer work, business work

8:00 pm: Sweet dreams, babies.

 

With routine, I can get everything done and feel a flow, feel at ease. There are days that vary from the quick list above, for sure. Things come up but since I have a solid routine that works for me (my way is not for everyone!) I’m able to manage special events, the unexpected or whatever else life can throw at us.

I know many of you, dear readers, are still retching at the thought of getting up at a time that begins with a 4, unless it’s to catch an early flight somewhere. You don’t have to follow my way! This is what works for me. I am far less effective at anything I attempt to do, particularly writing and “brain work” in the evening. Remember there’s nothing wrong or weird about being a night owl or an early bird. Know thyself and soar.

I promise that there’s little chaos, and when it does creep in, I know how to breathe, step away and manage it. You too can feel at ease and feel like you’re getting it all done, whether you do one thing or all the things. Overwhelm and exhaustion does not have to be your story any longer.

 

Ready to set up your routine? I’m here.

Click here

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Believe Energy

Keeping it Light

I was on the phone with my dear friend D the other night and she passed a comment marveling about how much television I manage to watch, all while working a full-time job, managing a non-profit, running two businesses and sleeping 8-12 hours a night.

I laughed… but it’s true. The secret is that I rarely sit and just watch TV. There’s just always a television show, radio show, podcast or music playing in the background of all I do. The background noise keeps me focused. It’s not a technique I recommend for anyone—in fact it would be incredible distracting and counterproductive for most people.

The only time it’s silent in our house is when I’m writing (like right now), when I’m reading or when I’m not home. Even the musician in the family can handle silence better than I can. I only need or even want silence when I’m focusing or channeling. Otherwise, I’ve conditioned myself to need to tune out the background. Ironic because I grew up in a house with only 2 other people (my parents) and even my dorm life in college wasn’t the rockin’ scene of an 80’s movie, set on a big campus.

In honor of keeping it light… and hey, sometimes a distraction is welcome… I’ll share with you today what’s making all the noise around here!

Music: I’m in love with the new Slipknot album. And then I’ll spin some disco classics. Is eclectic the correct term… or just random?

Radio/Podcasts: I’m an avid listener of The Jason Ellis Show on Sirius but PLEASE… it’s not for everyone and definitely not rated PG. Just skip it. If you like this blog, you probably won’t like Ellis. Podcast-wise, I cannot get enough of What’s the Tee? with RuPaul and Michelle Visage and The Tully Show.

Television: Ahhhh the guiltiest pleasure, the greatest source of distraction for humankind until the advent of multiplayer video games and social media… The Office and Schitt’s Creek are basically on a loop in this house, like Sex and the City and My So-Called Life were back in my dorm room. I’m also background-watching classic Dynasty (although it was hard to get through some of the early episodes for me; the Stephen/Blake dynamic broke my heart), The Good Place and Cougar Town. I wasn’t kidding that I keep it light. Oh… and that’s an Amazon Prime, a Netflix and a Hulu. Look at me keeping it balanced!

 

But seriously, go read a book, outside if you can. It’s so much better for you. Much love.

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Coaching Healing Purpose Teacher Life

Back to Ms. B

Summer Denise is a legend in her own mind.

I go back to work Tuesday and by Wednesday afternoon, it will feel like we never left… but for the first time in my recollection, I really feel restored, renewed and rested. Yes, it is possible to have two months off from the day job and feel like you haven’t had a break (I’m sure those with human children are nodding emphatically). For me, achieving this restored feeling is all about mindset—deciding in July that I had to slow down, committing to myself to be here now and not barreling into the next project, launch or endeavor! I spent a lot of this summer glued to the couch and more time on the yoga mat than I expected… pleasantly surprised with myself.

In the spirit of transitioning from Summer Denise to Ms. Bertolotti, I want to share with you some of the ways I keep it festive through the school year.

  • Seasons & Episodes: Yeah, it’s weird, but follow me here. You know I love a good metaphor. I count the years and days of school as seasons and episodes. This silly tradition started when I was working towards tenure, as a way to cope with the pressure. I thought of myself as a guest star on a show, probably a long-running soap opera. I had a contract for 183 episodes each season and it was my job to rock the role so well that my character would become a series regular and star. It worked. I’m entering into Season 15 this week!

 

  • It’s not a classroom; it’s a disco: There is always music playing in my classroom, just like there is always music playing in our house. In the morning before the first bell, I listen to whatever I’m in the mood for, usually something heavy. Once the din of 7:28 am sounds, every day has a theme, as follows:
    • Hair Metal Mondays
    • 80s Tuesdays
    • 90s Wednesdays
    • Guilty Pleasures Thursdays
    • Disco Fridays

I’m revamping the playlists, so please share your song suggestions. And yes, I dance in the hallways. Judge all you want… or join in the fun.

 

  • First Day Massage: I book a massage for 4 pm on the first day of classes. I started this tradition in Season 1. If I have a tough day, I know there’s relaxation coming. If I have a great day, this is the perfect cherry on top.

 

Okay, loyal readers, it’s back to my book and my lounge chair for two more days. May the spirit of Summer Denise flourish… see you in 10 months! Cheers to Season 15!

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Believe Coaching Energy Purpose Teacher Life Young Living

Eternal Summer

A teacher friend once said to me that July is like a month of Saturdays and August is like a month of Sundays. Now, that way of thinking only fits if you subscribe to the paradigm that Sundays are days that should be part relaxation and part dread for Monday and the week to come. I get it. I don’t completely relate but I get it. It’s easy to slip into the anxiety of watching the summer days dwindle off of the calendar, pressuring yourself to make the days count, having your own version of Costanza’s “Summer of George” (I can’t remember how that turned out for him, but judging by most of those Seinfeld follies, it was probably a fail and thus a poor example… but you get me).

Behold: 3 Ways to Convert your August into an Eternal Summer

  1. Get outside

Duh… sounds so basic but you know you’re not doing it enough! Depending on your climate, summer is the traditional time of beautiful weather and more sunshine. Science tells us that sunshine makes us happy! If you don’t believe science, try it for yourself. Get off of the couch. Leave the phone on the couch. Get outside. Walk around the block. Sit outside. Fine… take your phone with you and make your calls from outside. Take every chance you can to get out there and change up the same places you do your “stuff.”

If you’re objecting because of bugs or other outdoor annoyances, I have you covered. Go ahead… click this.

  1. Slow down

Stop trying to cram in so many errands, appointments, social events, family things, friend things… stop. Just stop. You know you can’t do it all in any other season—why are you putting this kind of stress on Summer You?! Make a list; then Triple D that list: Do it. Ditch it. Delegate it.

Commit to doing less so you can enjoy and be present with what you are doing. I catch myself often leaving the present to think about all of the stuff I should be, could be, need to be doing… and I miss out on so much of this precious season with that stinkin’ thinkin’!

Take one thing off of the calendar. Schedule some of those appointments for September or October (yes, schedule it now so it’s done and off of your mind—but don’t force yourself to do it all in August). And remember it’s okay to do nothing… just try to do nothing outside if you can!

  1. Do what you loved as a kid in summer!

You were a kid once. I might not have known you then, but I know you were. Close those beautiful eyes for a moment and think back to what brought you the most joy as kid in the summer. Watch those movies of Summer Little You play in your head. Let the emotions flow, if they come up. Feel the feelings of doing those treasured summertime things. Feel the warm breeze. Hear the giggles. Taste the treats.

Now flutter those gorgeous lashes open and smile. This week, or at least before August is over, recreate that beautiful memory! Maybe you can’t go to the exact place. Maybe the same people aren’t around anymore. But you absolutely can get into that spirit.

If you have human children, make them a part of it. Don’t get sad or frustrated if they don’t love whatever it is in the same way that you did as a child. Even if they aren’t into it, they will catch the spirit from you. They will, either now or in the future, appreciate the moment, the joy they see from you.

Yes… you can run through a sprinkler. I don’t care how old you are. If you don’t have a sprinkler, you better pull the car over next time you drive past sprinklers that are turned on. Toss a towel in the car today, just in case the opportunity arises.

 

Summertime vibes are a feeling, like all vibes are. Feeling, vibration, frequency is accessible to us wherever, whenever. Make August eternal… if that’s what you’d like. If you get outside, slow down and revisit at least the mindset if not the activity of something that made summer special to you in the past, you will reap the benefits of the sunny season long after the calendar changes.

Much love.

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Coaching Purpose

Adulting: Insurance?!

Adulting… you probably saw 10 memes about adulting already today. We laugh about it, sometimes lament about it… but adulting is what we are “supposed to” be doing (I write this just feet away from my guinea pigs, so at least we can say we have our own brands of adulting).

Of the many things that people feel confused about when it comes to adulting is insurance: what to get, how to get it, even what it truly is! So, my loyal readers, I present to you some insights from one of the leading insurance executives on Long Island, Ashley Smit of Borg Insurance Group. Take it away, Ashley:

Someone once asked what I did for a living and I replied I am an insurance broker, and they said they were so sorry for me. In turn I was taken back because I love what I do. The thrill of helping someone save a ton of money while securing the right coverage is a thrill for me. Or helping someone understand the complexities of insurance while purchasing their first home.

When it comes to insurance, everyone is always an expert at the price. Generally, all customers care about is getting the cheapest policy possible. However, price is not something you should base your whole decision on. You want to make sure you have the right coverage. I always recommend purchasing an umbrella policy. This is one of the most overlooked policies. This policy protects your assets. An umbrella policy provides additional liability coverage beyond your underlying home, auto, or boat policies. For example, let’s say someone trips and falls at your home and sues you for $1 million. Your homeowner’s policy most likely has a $500,000 limit. Once that is exhausted the umbrella policy steps in to provide an additional $1M in liability.

Another commonly overlooked coverage is flood insurance. Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the U.S. Everyone is in a flood zone no matter where your home is located. It just depends whether your home is in a low risk or a high-risk zone. Flood insurance is NOT covered on a homeowner’s policy. It is a separate policy. A flood policy covers damage to your building and contents from overflow of water, but also damage from heavy rainfall. For low risk zones, an average policy costs around $500 for the year.

Have you ever filed a claim without really understanding the process? While a homeowner’s policy may cover relatively minor expenses, it is really intended for catastrophic losses. So while a claim may be filed, it may not always be wise to file it. Also, it does not make sense to file a claim if the deductible is more than the cost of simply making the repair. Insurance carriers review the CLUE report (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) which keeps a record of all claims made against a property. Always call your broker first to seek their advice whether or not to put the claim in. Anytime you call the company direct, you are filing the claim.

Feel free to contact me with any questions! AshleyS@borgborg.com

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Believe Bunnies Coaching Energy Purpose

Instinct & Acceptance

My coach’s coach says, “Your spiritual DNA is perfect.” He’s talking about you. And you. And every being.

On that note, I’m thinking about instinct and acceptance.

When Tater Tot was alive, he loved to snuggle, to dill eat and to rip up the living room carpet. He would tear out the fibers one by one, leaving a neat pile of carpet adjacent to a hole, like his wild relatives must do to grass and plants. Thankfully, Tater did not ingest those fibers. Thankfully, our landlord did not charge us to replace the carpet when we moved out, although it certainly needed to be ripped up (finish Tater’s job!) and replaced.

One of his smaller projects

Our little Tater Tot did not tear holes of various shapes and sizes in our brown and tan carpet to misbehave. He wasn’t trying to ruin or even redecorate our living room. He was operating on instinct, flowing from his perfect spiritual DNA.

Occasionally frustrated and always amazed at how he would find the one place we didn’t cover with cardboard or at just how much he could dig and tear in the 15 seconds I left the room, I found acceptance at our little guy’s instinct. He was operating in the way he was programmed. I’m sure he would have preferred some herbs to tear and eat. He accepted the carpet as the best his environment would provide for him. I accepted that his instinct was perfect. Sure, we tried to recondition him with lots of toys, a dig box, blankets… but little man just needed to rip up carpet.

And so it goes.

Interestingly, when we moved to our current home, Tater Tot did not rip one fiber out of the new rug. The couch, however, became the target. He began to chew a hole in the back corner of the couch, a legacy project his brother Peanut has continued.

Legacy Project

Our companion animals are unapologetically themselves. Their design, although different from ours, is still perfect. They are driven by instinct. How many times have you ignored “your gut” when it turns out that you knew what to do all along? How many times have you changed an answer on a test, hesitated at an opportunity, sensed that you shouldn’t make a turn… then ignored that knowing, that urge, that nagging? And now you look back…

You can’t change your past decisions but you can decide today to accept your instinct as truth. Channel your inner Tater Tot… just be prepared to replace the rug.

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Believe Bunnies Purpose

Mother’s Day Tribute

Hoppy Mother’s Day! Enjoy this classic Mother’s Day story from the Believe In Bunnies archives…

My mother never let me have pets other than betta fish.  My betta Bonus lived 5 or 6 years and traveled back and forth from Connecticut to home on every college break.  I was never much of an animal person anyway.  After college, but still living home, I asked if I could get a rabbit.  For no known reason, I decided I wanted one.  Mom said no.  She said, when you have your own house, you can have whatever you want.

I never, and I mean never, have wanted human children.  When certain people hear that, they flick back with trite retorts like, “You will someday” and “You’ll change your mind when you’re with the right person.”  Mmm hmmmm.  Socrates said, “Know thyself” and I always have when it comes to this topic.  And I know human children are not for me.  When I met my “right person,” it was maybe our second or third date when the topic of pet rabbits came up.  We both wanted one yet never had one.  So, in my own way I guess, I did become a mother when I met the right person.

To me, being a mom or serving in any loving role is about spiritual connection.  The labels of mother, father, grandchild, uncle, what-have-you are all human constructs.  On the level of the soul, in our truth, the labels don’t exist.  Love is love.  Care is care.  Compassion is compassion.  Connection is connection.

Judge all you want, but my love for my boys Peanut and Tater Tot and the love I see my fellow bunny moms, dads and volunteers give to these four-legged angels is the truth.  If you need to label it, the connection is as maternal or paternal as a human-human relationship.  Just like I don’t have the desire for human children, not everyone with a pet wants or will reach or can reach the connection.  Those are the people who indiscriminately or circumstantially give up their pets.  But that’s a topic for another day.

So Mom, thank you for not letting me have a rabbit when I wasn’t ready.  You are a phenomenal mother (obviously, look at what you made!) and you knew yourself and knew me enough to know that pet-parenting was not appropriate at that time.  When the time was right and I became a bunny-mom, you embraced your grandbunnies more than I even expected, since you aren’t necessarily an animal person.  But I know you admire and respect the love I have for my boys and the compassion I channel for all of Long Island’s domestic rabbits through rescue work.

Happy Mother’s Day, whether your children hop, bark, talk… whether they live with you, live with another family, live in a rescue or shelter… they are your children, if you feel the love and connection in your soul.

Special shout out to the foster moms out there—you are love.

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