Center Yourself

 Photo by  Jordan Steranka  on  Unsplash

To be self-centered is generally considered to be a negative thing and with synonyms like egotistical and self-absorbed it's no wonder. But what might it mean to center yourself in your life? Does being self-centered have to mean selfish? 

Definition of self-centered
1 : independent of outside force or influence : self-sufficient
2 : concerned solely with one’s own desires, needs, or interests
— self-centeredly adverb
— self-centeredness noun
— Merriam-Webster

As a recovering people pleaser I would like to challenge that notion and offer that placing yourself at the center of your life doesn't have to mean that you are solely concerned with yourself. It can also mean you are aware of yourself and choosing to put your oxygen mask on first. It is about having a sense of agency. Being Self centered allows you to get clear on what matters most to you so you can align with your values. It allows you to recognize and hear your voice clearly over the din of the collective which allows you to make conscious choices. 

Centering yourself in your life is similar to the mast of the sailboat. It is placed at the center of the boat for a reason. If it was put it at the front or side it would be unbalanced and easily capsized. 

Being centered allows you to keep your sights on the horizon while still being a good host to the others onboard, riding the high seas of life with you.

Center yourSELF first so you are better able to experience your life fully while also showing up and supporting others.

Go Rogue. Be Remarkable.

 Photo by  Jamie Street  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

go rogue: To cease to follow orders; to act on one's own, usually against expectation or instruction. To pursue one's own interests.

re·mark·a·ble

adjective

1. notably or conspicuously unusual; extraordinary:

2. worthy of notice or attention.

My coach asked me what broke my heart. Simply put it is whenever a living being is deprived of the fullest experience and expression of their life. Many of the systems, circumstances that inform our lives would prefer us to stay small, keep it simple, walking the well-worn path and that we not ask too many questions. When people go out of bounds flags are thrown and whistles are blown.

Going rogue challenges the status quo. You are a remarkable human being! Unique and here for a purpose. Sit with that for a long moment. You are REMARKABLE! 

Now for a follow up question. Are you acting like it? If not, what needs to change?

What would living the fullest experience and expression of YOUR life look like? 

Unapologetically You!

 Photo by  John Baker  on  Unsplash

Photo by John Baker on Unsplash

When I was a teenager a friend of mine had a dog. I think her name was Molly? As a sort of party trick my friend would look into her eyes and say really sweetly, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." She would stare up at him with the most loving expression. Then he would say, "I'm NOT sorry" and she would lose her ever-loving mind. Barking and spinning in circles.

Her seemingly righteous indignation was the embodiment of a twisted internal relationship I had with anger and apology. If you bumped into me I would immediately apologize. It was pure reaction I didn't have to think about it. The kids I hung out with would get so annoyed. Whenever I apologized they would roll their eyes and say, "Ugh! Stop saying you're sorry!" and I would immediately apologize for my apologizing. I don't know when this emotional nervous tic or why began. I suspect my desire for peace meant that I would do whatever it took to keep calm seas. Confrontation unsettled me. I want to go back to my younger self and give her a big hug and then tell her to please snap out of it already!

Thankfully I did. Though it took conscious, consistent effort to break the habit. Substituting 'Pardon Me' for those times when I bumped into someone or genuinely felt an apology was needed when I did something thoughtless. Apologies are great for acknowledging our behavior and making amends. They are not great when we are apologizing for taking up space. We don't owe anyone an apology for being.

You are here. You get to be here. No good comes out of shrinking ourselves or trying to be less than to accommodate other people. If you feel yourself wanting to play small ask why. 

A simple tool I use when I am around people and in situations is to check in with my body. I treat it as if it were a phone battery. Do I feel like I am plugged in, being charged up or does it feel like I am being drained and losing bars?

 

A Squirrel in Underpants

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The other day I was standing in the doorway of my office staring at the back wall. A wall on which I had painstakingly arranged 30 framed photographs to make it look pleasant and professional. It was technically fine, but something was off for me. In fact it occurred to me that since I had done it I spent less time in the office. Choosing to take my client calls in other rooms and working in coffee shops around town. It just didn't really feel like me. I flashed to my old corporate desk which looked like one a 5th grader and aspiring life coach (totally me) would set up. There were always random toys, quotes, even a squirrel wearing underpants that I was especially fond of, gifted to me by a friend who just gets me. I was a grown, professional woman and yet that desk spoke to the part of me that wanted to celebrate play, irreverence and joy. While I took my work seriously those elements made sitting down in a row of uniform desks more bearable. I could do serious work while staying connected to myself. It wasn't superficial. It spoke to something deeper.

We can often leave the qualities we enjoy most in ourselves behind when we undertake the "serious work" of Adulting. While certainly what lights me up is not necessarily going to light you up. That's okay. What's important is that we are lit up and not letting others define how we are supposed to show up. 

Without a plan I removed all the frames and then started putting up images, cards, quotes, colors, rigging small toys in ridiculous ways. It happened so easily. I was in The Zone that athletes refer to all without having to get winded or sweaty.

The flow state as described by Wikipedia, “In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time.
— Wikipedia

 

So what is my point in sharing this? Certainly not to give decorating tips, but rather because I think it serves as a reminder that when we can embrace ourselves more fully, especially the quirky bits we connect to our essence and can do even more in our lives.

When you try to be the same as everyone else, it’s boring. When you try to fit a mold, you become forgettable. When you try to be “normal,” you become dull. Just be yourself, because no one is like you. If you’re a little weird, own it. The right people will like you for it.
— Vanessa Van Edwards, Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

My Yogi teabag wisdom from this morning was, "The purpose of life is to know yourself and love yourself and trust yourself and be yourself."  

Here's to full permission to show up fully, in your own fabulous, unique and perfectly imperfect ways.

Befriending Fear

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Photo by SHTTEFAN on Unsplash

I had an epiphany. Well, it didn't start off quite that breezy. It began with my waking up in the middle of the night because it felt like something was sitting on my chest. It took a hot disoriented minute to realize I was in the grip of an anxiety attack. Since I normally sleep like the dead this was deeply disturbing. The short of it was that there was something I was not dealing with that needed attention and my approach thus far had been to ignore it and wait for it to resolve itself. This approach was clearly not working. In fact it was becoming larger and more unwieldy the longer I ignored it. It was Fear that shook me awake in the wee hours and it was doing me a massive favor.

It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

What if we stopped trying to distance ourselves from Fear and instead tried viewing it as a practical old friend and valuable resource? Now I don't think anyone should have to listen to a belligerent, surly voice that hurls judgements and criticism. That is something else entirely. Shame is not the same as Fear and does not make for great conversation.

What was most notable for me is that even in the midst of the anxiety I didn't feel judged. It was just a clear, measured message of this can not go on and you need to start looking at it in order to find a solution. Turns out there was a solution, a relatively simple one if I had only looked more closely. While that might not always be the case I am so grateful for the pointing. Sometimes our best lessons are the most uncomfortable. My avoidant behavior had not been serving me so Fear stepped in, casting light on the shadows by opening a window. 

In coaching we often label limiting beliefs as inner gremlins. It allows us to personify the ways we hold ourselves back, making them seem less vague. Fear is often lumped into that category but I want to take a moment to advocate for it because it gets a bad rap. What if Fear, concerned for our safety, just wanted to talk things through first so we knew what we were getting into? What if it is exactly what we need to push off against in order to get ourselves unstuck and move in the direction we most want to go? 

What might your Fear be trying to show you?  

 

 

Less Really Is More

 Photo by  Uroš Jovičić  on  Unsplash

Last year it started to feel like I was going through the motions in my daily life. With clients I could easily drop in and be present but everywhere else it felt like time was slipping away in a blur of tasks and routines. Tried to multi-task wherever I could. When walking Leo I would also listen to podcasts, during breakfast I’d check email, and post on social media. Truth was that on those morning walks I was constantly rewinding the podcast to catch what I’d just missed or tripping over uneven sidewalks and tree roots because I wasn’t looking where I was going. Annoying at best, risking bodily harm at worst. Breakfast happened but I didn't taste much.

One of the practices I highlight with clients is to create rituals around things that feel routine. Turning the rote into something special and memorable only requires attention and intention. I decided to apply that practice more broadly by experimenting with only doing one thing a time. So began my month of mono-tasking. It seemed pretty straightforward though I was skeptical that I would get much done. What I’ve discovered has been nothing short of life-changing. Not hyperbole.

What does it look like to only do one thing at a time? When I drink my coffee that is all I am doing. Sitting at my breakfast table, looking out the window, listening to the birds, watching the sky. When I read I only read what is in front of me. No frenetic moving back and forth between the 50 open browser tabs. Now when I eat there are no distractions of books, phones or television. When I walk, I walk. No podcasts playing or phone conversations. It is just me, the dog and the natural world. 

Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment.
— Deepak Chopra

What was initially supposed to be an exercise has heightened everything. Explained to a friend over tea that it feels a bit like I am high while fully sober. Everything seems sharper. I am present. Fully present. Where before when I would grab a snack I chose what my mind wanted and then would eat it while doing something else so didn't notice much beyond the thinking. Now I find myself reaching for crudités over chips almost every time. Because when I'm not distracted by other things I can tell what my body actually wants and needs. 

There have been surprising unexpected benefits like weight loss, getting better sleep and having more free time. Initially thought I would have less time but the opposite has been true. I get way more done because I am focused, less distracted. Also I am reading books again – from start to finish. It's magic. I thought my brain was broken as I had been struggling to drop into one and stay there. 

If you are curious you can start with one thing or if you are feeling saucy do what I did and go all in. Either way I think you'll find it well worth your time. Would love to hear what you discover so report back in the comments or send me a note.

On Being Seen

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We all want to be seen, we all want to know that we matter. And the most you can ever do for somebody is to show up and allow them to know that they have been seen and heard by you.
— Oprah from The Wisdom of Sunday's

The other day when checking out at the grocery store, making small talk I mentioned to the clerk that I worked from home. She asked what I did and when I said I was a life coach her face brightened and she looked directly at me. She said she wanted to write children's books. There was no hesitation. She went on to say she was taking classes, learning everything she could. She was resolute. I said keep writing, then write some more and thanked her for the books that will surely be coming. This exchange took all of two minutes. When I took my bags I felt lighter and more connected. How often do we allow transactions to be merely transactional? What if they could be so much more? Because they can. All we have to do is be open to them.

It is easy, even commonplace to be annoyed at all the anonymous people ahead of you. Which implies you are behind somehow. Behind them. Behind schedule. They are in the way instead of with you in a shared experience.

Do you remember this short film that brought David Foster Wallace's beautiful 'This is Water' piece to life? 

Now I want to make sure that every day I connect with someone new in some way. Perhaps I learn their name and something about them? Perhaps it is something else. The intention is deeper connection. Discovering that my desire for a sense of community is less about finding one and more about building one person by person. We are all connected in our humanness and taking a moment to stop and really see one another is just one way to experience it.

'Tis the season. The season to run around preparing, purchasing, trying to get it all done in time. Heads down focused on the tasks at hand. Eyes on the phones clutched in those same hands. Our phones allow us feel connected to all the things and all the people all the time. Lately though I've been thinking more and more about the people around me. The people in my periphery when my attention is elsewhere and with whom I am not obviously connected and yet aren't we though?

What might you discover about another human being today? A name? A dream yet to be realized? Their eye color? A book that made them laugh out loud? Donating our time is a wonderful way to give of ourselves yet know that making a difference in someone's life does not require you add anything to your swollen calendar. All that is required is looking up and being curious. 

If you take an extra moment to notice the eye color of the person across from you whether they are taking your coffee order or sitting at your table it is like a concentrated dose of being seen. It feels electric because seeing eye to eye creates a powerful connection. Even in our most intimate relations we can forget to look closely. To really see. To bear witness to them in our rush. We are rushing to start or finish and yet there is something else available. And it only takes a moment.

How might you open for more connection in your day?

What If You Do Know?

 Photo by  Bryan Minear  on  Unsplash

Photo by Bryan Minear on Unsplash

“Practice listening to your intuition, your inner voice; ask questions; be curious; see what you see; hear what you hear; and then act upon what you know to be true. These intuitive powers were given to your soul at birth.” 
— Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Somedays it feels like we are expected to know all the things happening around us and in the world at large. Which could be why we try to ingest the glut that is our news feeds. Trying to keep up and know all the things is exhausting. When it comes to our personal lives it is easy to start crowdsourcing, search engining, reading other people's accounts of their things before we even check in with ourselves to see how we might feel about things. 

My superpower used to be being able to walk into a room and know what was needed. My focus was on making sure everyone else was happy first. I mean every. single. one. So while I was focused so intently outside myself I was ignoring my own needs and desires which were getting lost in the din. Over time we risk losing faith in our ability to make decisions on our own. 

Remember in The Runaway Bride (riiiight...me neither) when she didn't know how she liked her eggs? She’d become so accustomed to going along with what was put in front of her she didn’t know her preferences. Being mindful of others or sourcing is not inherently wrong. It can help us to feel less alone while we search for our own answers. The point here is to go inward first. Because the more we search for a consensus or experts outside of ourselves the more likely we will lose our voices. We can become overwhelmed by choices, inadvertently making other people the authorities.

How often do you answer, "I don't know" to questions asked when you are feeling stuck? I have a simple tool I use with clients that is both amazing and perhaps a smidge annoying. When I hear "I don't know" I ask, "What if you do know?" In my experience every. single. time. that is immediately followed by an answer.

There is a voice, an inner knowing, that resides inside each of us. An internal super computer that has been collecting data since the very beginning, tracking our moves, preferences, delights and disappointments. It has been privy to our every happening. We just need to give ourselves permission to stop and listen.

Many of us are terrified of making mistakes. With so many options, opinions readily available it can easily cause analysis paralysis. Yet our mistakes can be some of the most valuable learnings. We can't skip the work and no one knows us better than we know ourselves. Others can offer guidance and opinions but at the end of the day the decision should be our own. That is how we ensure we walk our path and not someone else's.

What is it that you don't know right now? Now what if you did? 

The Longest Day

Sitting in the sweetest coffee shop contemplating the energy of the summer solstice today. A "wide open" aperture allows all the light in. Living from this place of opening to the light especially when there are dark days is an empowering one. I looked down and saw this sweet knothole in the wood by my table. The Universe was offering me a visual aid.

Today is our longest of the year. May you soak in the fullness of your life today. Let the lightness of being fill you while also slowing you down to savor and appreciate it. The slowness of summer days brings to mind playing in the sprinklers, lolling about on the grass, swinging in hammocks and forgoing shoes whenever possible.

Plant a Kiss

How many more times, then, do I get to look at a tree?” she asked. “Let’s just say it’s 12,395. Absolutely, that’s a lot, but it’s not infinite, and I’m thinking anything less than infinite is too small a number and not satisfactory. At the very least, I want to look at trees a million more times. Is that too much to ask?
— Amy Krouse Rosenthal

How do you properly honor someone who made an indelible mark on your life and yet you’ve never met them outside of their art? Amy Krouse Rosenthal was a woman who shared so generously of herself that I felt like I knew her. Like, knew her knew her. Thankfully the beautiful Sherry Belul created the Plant a Kiss kindness project in Amy's honor.

Today I ran around a rainy Portland hiding notes at bus shelters, under trees, next to dog bowls and under a condiment holder with her messages "Make the most of your time here" and "Peace means no one is worried about anyone else's cookie...In this moment we are all quietly content with the cookies we have" the latter were left at a Max stop and bus shelter along with a box of cookies. All the notes were sealed with Plan Be. 

I went to Powell's Books to buy some of her children's books with the intention of taking them to a children's hospital. More on that in a moment. Earlier in the week, I'd hoped to find a yellow umbrella which was from her Beckoning of Lovely meetups in Chicago but sadly hadn't come across any.  As I waited at the register I glanced over and there was a small rack of umbrellas and wouldn't you know there was one single, bright, perfectly yellow umbrella waiting for me. Thanks, Amy! As I was driving around the thought popped into my head that the books wanted to go to a family. As I rounded the turn I spotted 2 little girls running ahead of their mother who was pushing a stroller with a third child. Of course! I had left notes inside each book to remind the young reader that they were so very special and loved. That there was one book for each of the children confirmed that they were absolutely the family who were supposed to receive them.

Amy's memoirs Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal: not exactly a memoir are two wonderful windows into her world. If you have not yet read them I say drop all the things and make some time for them. 

I've decided to hold onto the yellow umbrella for awhile longer so it can serve as a reminder to approach every day with wonder, curiosity, and generosity. ATM: Always Trust Magic. Until I feel the pull that it is time to pass it along.

Thank you for the gift of you, Amy Krouse Rosenthal! You will live on in the magic and memory.

Here is a StoryCorps Extra she recorded with her daughter Paris in July of last year. They had just learned her cancer had returned and it was touching, tender and a beautiful exchange of love.

Let's follow Amy's lead and be sure to make the most of our time here. Look at trees, share the love, beckon the lovely and always, always trust magic.

 

The Space Between

LIMINAL. Oh how I love this word. The Oxford Dictionary defines liminal as an adjective used to describe a transitional or initial stage of a process; occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.

This liminal space is the coaching arena. Where the work of setting your course and taking stock can be done. It is the Now. That space between what you have already experienced and what is yet to come. For some, it may feel like an island respite while for others it is the distance between trapeze bars with no net below. In the Co-Active® Coaching model one of the contexts we work with is 'deepen the learning and forward the action.' This is about allowing things to settle so we can truly be with what was and is, before taking our next steps.

How do you feel when you look at an empty canvas or blank page? Are you lit up by what is possible or do you feel paralyzed or uninspired? I have been in this liminal space many times and yet each time has been different – perhaps because each time I have been different. Age and circumstance inform this space and if your gremlins happen to be DJ'ing the affair it can quickly become a dissonant disco.

Following your bliss is not self-indulgent, but vital; your whole physical system knows that this is the way to be alive in this world and the way to give to the world the very best that you have to offer. There IS a track just waiting for each of us and once on it, doors will open that were not open before and would not open for anyone else.
— Joseph Campbell

Coaching allows us to stand together in this middle place of Now and intentionally design what could be next for you. While you can’t predict or choreograph life events outside your purview you can decide how you want to respond to them. When you make choices that are aligned with your core values you will be connected with your inner wisdom and from there you will be setting out on your unique path.

So if you find yourself in this space I recommend taking some time to simply be with what is. This is not about finding fault or criticizing, but rather gently noticing what has served you well and what in retrospect you might do differently in the future. 

Here are three tools I use when I find myself or clients lingering in the liminal space:

Tune In  

Spend some time noticing how you are feeling. You can do check-ins throughout the day where you simply note your physical energy and body's alignment. Notice when you feel constricted or expansive. Who is around, what are you doing? Are your shoulders relaxed or is there tension? Your body is your emotional first responder. Listen to what it is telling you. 

Get Curious

If you are unsure of what your next steps might be put on your Sherlock cap (flaps up) and start sleuthing. Who do you admire and why? What books are stacked on your nightstand? What subject do you never seem to tire of? Have any people, places or topics popped up on your radar and then inexplicably kept showing up? Do any themes emerge? The brilliant Elizabeth Gilbert gave a lovely Super Soul Session The Flight of the Hummingbird that speaks to the act and art of getting curious in our lives.

Ground in Gratitude

Sit down and make a list of everything you are grateful for in your life.  Melody Beattie says that gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. It is easy to take the bird in the hand for granted. Our society likes us to keep our eyes on the horizon for the next next's and yet we have so many gifts in our daily lives. Even on a seemingly terrible day we can appreciate a hot shower, clean clothes, family and friends who love us. Sometimes it is the little things that can surprise us by meaning the most.

Taking stock of where you are and, where you have been are the prequels to figuring out where you want to go.  Be present with what is, notice how you are feeling. If you are struggling with the imagining or perhaps you already know, but need help bringing it to life I'll happily meet you there.

What threshold will you step over? 

Pleasure Principle

Had been struggling with my meditation practice. Although that is not a wholly accurate depiction because in order to struggle with something it has to be present. Mine was a phantom practice. The idea of time and space devoted solely to quiet with a gentle noticing of thoughts passing while bringing attention back to the breath. That was the dream. Dreamy. So very dreamy. And there I was drifting off to sleep again. 

Imaging myself like this.

In reality was more like this.

Recently a friend of mine recommend the book, Meditation Secrets for Women: Discovering Your Passion, Pleasure, and Inner PeaceIt offers that women's meditation needs could be different than men's and if we lean into those needs it can make finding pleasure in the meditation experience much more accessible. It invites us to get in touch with our body’s natural rhythms and gifts instead of trying to deny or quiet them.

Now when sitting I have permission to notice the cool sensation of morning air on my skin, the tightness in my neck (from sharing a bed with a beast who must dream he is a crossbeam), feeling my lungs expand as I draw in breath and then following the release. This brings me deeper into my awareness of my body and breath and the hamster wheel of my mind slows. I sink into the space of presence and Voila! I be mediating. Slowing down not only quiets my thoughts, but it allows me to appreciate the rich sensory experience of it.

In Freudian psychoanalysis, the Pleasure Principle is the instinctual seeking of pleasure and avoiding of pain in order to satisfy biological and psychological needs. If seeking pleasure is a manufacturer built in for us humans what happens when we find it? When we have that delicious bite in our mouth is our utensil already preparing the next one? What is that about? Fear of scarcity? Focus on completion? Not focusing at all? Am I scrolling through a feed? Distraction is becoming the norm. So much information coming at us from our technology and times. We are busy and that busyness serves as blinders to our surroundings. Our auto-pilots get us from our beds to our baristas and we miss all the beauty in between. 

My hairdresser described how she was in her car when another car slammed into the side of her's. The young girl who hit her, understandably upset, said she was distracted and just didn't see her. Didn't see what was right in front of her. I don't say that with judgment or surprise. If we aren't paying attention we can't really see. 

What if we tried to slow down a bit more today? What if each bite was treated like the only bite? What if we were able to notice the smells and sounds while we walk, the faces of the people we pass, the colors on our plates, the firmness, support of the seats we occupy? Can we meditate on the pleasures of life as sensory experiences? Let's practice!

The Helpers

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.
— Mister Rogers

We have brilliant, brave, amazing, heart-centered, engaged and energized helpers of the highest order. The influx of information, opinion, facts and otherwise is enough to make most of us wanna pull the covers over our head. Thankfully we also have people who are using their platforms to unite us, steadily serving, showing up, not giving in while the alarm bells sound. I can not thank you/them enough. Just doing the next right thing and showing us what we can do to participate. Chop wood, carry water, call your representatives, find organizations that need extra support right now, step out of your comfort zone, listen to hear and not to respond, don't interrupt assuming you know, let people speak even if you do, take many deep breaths and long walks through neighborhoods and in nature. Look up, look around.

We are not on opposite sides. We are all seeing what is in front of us, choosing our perspectives. Remember there is much more that connects us than divides us. I am choosing to feel the love and look to the supporting forces today. We might not agree on policy or principle, but I know that we all want to feel safe and loved and be seen and heard and be part of a strong fabric that can support our families, friends, and future. I choose that today. 

Mission Critical

     Photo by Christopher Sardegna

 

Photo by Christopher Sardegna

What is life for? It is for you.
— Abraham Maslow

One of the exercises from 5: Where Will You Be Five Years From Today? was to write my mission statement. This felt lofty. I certainly understood the value when one is building a business, but this was personal and I wasn't sure what creating one would offer me. 

A life coach by trade which finds me frequently kicking my own tires and checking under the proverbial hood because I love the act and art of inquiry. This one got me thinking which of course was the point and brought me from the general to the particular. It flowed easily and still feels resonant. Offering it here to give it air and hold accountability for me and to serve as an invitation for you to explore what yours might be. 

My mission is to co-create a kinder, loving, more compassionately connected world where people are curious about one another and share their stories, celebrate their differences, make eye contact, give longer hugs, laugh often, where intuition is a respected rudder, play is encouraged and authenticity embraced.

What about you? What is your mission statement?  

Just ask yourself, “What is my calling, my life’s aim? What inspires me the most? What activity or service is my core values urging me to pursue?
— Dan Zadra

 

Would love if you cared to share in the comments below.

It’s not you. It’s me.

 Saturday night was a full moon of the Blue Moon variety. Full moons are a great time to acknowledge and release what no longer serves us. There are many things I want to release in order to make room for what I want to create both in my life and my work. While it felt cathartic to write them down and burn them in our fireplace, there was an elephant in the room and it wasn’t going to step into the fireplace on it’s own.  As an analogue spirited gal (Luddite-lite) I do okay living in a digital world, but have noticed I've gotten further away from the things I used to love and that connect me to me. Things like writing and being able to read actual books cover to cover.  I parted ways with cable 15 years ago because the commercials and the 24 hour new cycle left me depleted and sad. Yet over the years, like a frog in the proverbial pot, I’ve found those familiar feelings are creeping back when I am on Facebook. So something has to change and it looks it'll have to be me.   Having just finished the Whole30 program, which was a 30 day reset for my body, it occurred to me I can do the same for Social Media*. Facebook is akin to brain sugar to me and can leave me feeling strung out and twitchy. So I am staging an intervention for myself.  I share this not to speak ill of a medium that has offered up connection and access. Rather I feel like declaring it here, while not remarkable, will help hold me accountable. Facebook serves a great many people and can facilitate really lovely things. I meant it when I said it was me.   *Exception is Instagram (@honey.trabitz) as I enjoy the photos and because it is covered in puppies.   

Saturday night was a full moon of the Blue Moon variety. Full moons are a great time to acknowledge and release what no longer serves us. There are many things I want to release in order to make room for what I want to create both in my life and my work. While it felt cathartic to write them down and burn them in our fireplace, there was an elephant in the room and it wasn’t going to step into the fireplace on it’s own.

As an analogue spirited gal (Luddite-lite) I do okay living in a digital world, but have noticed I've gotten further away from the things I used to love and that connect me to me. Things like writing and being able to read actual books cover to cover.

I parted ways with cable 15 years ago because the commercials and the 24 hour new cycle left me depleted and sad. Yet over the years, like a frog in the proverbial pot, I’ve found those familiar feelings are creeping back when I am on Facebook. So something has to change and it looks it'll have to be me. 

Having just finished the Whole30 program, which was a 30 day reset for my body, it occurred to me I can do the same for Social Media*. Facebook is akin to brain sugar to me and can leave me feeling strung out and twitchy. So I am staging an intervention for myself.

I share this not to speak ill of a medium that has offered up connection and access. Rather I feel like declaring it here, while not remarkable, will help hold me accountable. Facebook serves a great many people and can facilitate really lovely things. I meant it when I said it was me. 

*Exception is Instagram (@honey.trabitz) as I enjoy the photos and because it is covered in puppies.

 

Center of the Cinnamon Roll

A friend once told me about a brunch she attended where they had ordered a cinnamon roll to share with the table. One of the gals reached over and took the center piece for herself. I think I audibly gasped when I heard this. Could not imagine what possessed this woman to assume that was okay. I have shared this story with others searching for the wisdom and why of it. Some people said good for her taking what she wants and others felt similarly horrified at her brazenness.  It has taken awhile, but I've since realized it was actually not about the woman or her motivations, but rather what it brought up for me. I’ve read the airplane placard about putting one’s oxygen mask on first countless times and can accept the sound reasoning of such a thing. Have blessedly never been tested and while I would hope that I c/would follow instructions it has generally not been my orientation in life. Neither for the proverbial placing my mask on first or claiming the soft gooey center of the roll. I saw doing for self as selfish. Blessedly I no longer subscribe to this thinking, but how far does the pendulum swing?

I find the heart of my coaching work is helping my clients discover what they value and using those values as a rudder as they set off down their respective rivers or rapids depending on the day. Without fail it is soon illuminated that they also need to find their value separate from “other.” We are a society of hungry ghosts in varying degrees. Gaping maws looking for our next fix. 

While this inquiry is not entirely about the cinnamon roll it is also not not about the cinnamon roll. That I was writing this in a cafe that served cinnamon rolls it seemed fitting, nay required for research, that I order one. One where I can have the center to myself. Thing is it was way too sweet. Made me think I'd rather share it. After much swirling I’ve come back around to the important of sharing our centers. Perhaps it's not about scoring the best part of a thing, but rather the shared experiences. I say this not to mute or condemn individual striving or achievement. Or suggest the exactitude of measuring out portions so everyone has exactly the same as the way, but what about also celebrating the communal. For me it was about not wanting to elbow or knee my way through or to a thing. It was likely more about being considered the "good girl" and demurring so others could have and then privately feeling shocked that they took what I offered up. Notable exceptions are beating a crowd to the bathroom in public spaces, but I come by that honestly as I am my father’s daughter and we do not generally handle lines well. 

Somewhere between taking/going after what we want and knowing that it is not necessarily the thing of a thing that fills us up.

I do not have the answers and am just being with the inquiry today.

The Great Escape

 photo by  Paula Borowska

What is your greatest fear?

Mine? Definitely being locked up for mistaken identity. So maybe watching Making a Murderer through my fingers was not the best decision last night? (I mean. I can't even.)

In truth I had a bit of that in my past life. Feeling like an impostor about to be discovered, called out for playing a part. Keeping my head down, ticking boxes, connecting dots, staying inside the lines, not rocking boats…er…I could go on, but you’re sharp and no doubt have long since picked up what I am putting down. That too can be it’s own sort of prison. 

Now as a coach I get to go deep to the heart of the "What if…?" with my clients. We discover what's possible on the other side of that safe, possibly stuck place. 

This article grabbed me today because it asks a big question“…are you ready to step into your future?” 

Well, are you?

Stepping through, over, around, inevitably leads to transformation and sometimes sweet dance moves, but more importantly is a brave and bold act. It says you aren't willing to settle. Sure you can remain in place and still arrive in your tomorrow by lather, rinse and repeating your safe and same, but is it truly a future of your making? Is it what you really want? 

I believe you are here to do big things. The big and unique to only you sort of big things. That gal next to you on the bus or the fella at the other table they each have their own big unique things to do, but what about you? Are you ready? 

Like James Van Praagh (a survival evidence medium – see big and unique to him) points out, “We have all been placed on this earth to discover our own path, and we will never be happy if we live someone else's idea of life.” Word to the third, JVP!

Sidebar: Is it just me or does he look like a happier Stacy Keach? Keach once said, “Where were they when the Russians went down?” In it’s own way profound and super meaningful. 

I so get it! It is tempting to want to fall into lock step with the Jones's or try to Keep up with a Kardashian. You listen to Play it Safe on a loop while following “their” lead right into the safety of little boxes, on the hillsides and then there you are. Carefully curated social media feeds are making everyone cross-eyed so we don’t really see each other or ourselves. 

Coaching is an opportunity to get quiet and clear and do it in a super creative, engaging and safe (though decidedly unsafe to your old habits and limiting beliefs) way. You learn to distinguish your unique voice over the din. Really taking the time to answer the brilliant Mary Oliver's question in The Summer Day, “…what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Who has your answers? Um, that’d be you! Only you know your secret wishes or how you truly want to feel in your life. So why a coach? Why me? Working together you will get a fierce advocate, sounding board, accountability partner and cheerleader all rolled into one. We are partners in this work. And it is work. Your life work. 

I know I want to live in a world where people are living their lives in a way that lights them up. That kind of living is contagious and next thing you know we are Hands Across America (hand sanitizers at the ready because cold/flu season) because I believe that when we show up, get curious, and work together truly amazing things can happen.

It’s January, there’s a new moon, are you’re ready for something more? Let’s set up a :30 complimentary session, get to know each other and ask "What if….?" together. 

Here’s to dwelling in possibility in 2016!

In a Word

As I was asleep a bit (read: well) before midnight reached Pacific Standard Time I missed seeing the wee Baby New Year toddle in, fresh new calendar page clutched in their chubby little fist, but I woke up feeling the effect of this blank page, clean slate. It is the first day of January and we have all been issued a fresh start because that is the way the Gregorian calendar turns. 

2016 what ever will we do together? Assuming we are lucky enough to get to spend all 366 (hello leap year) of your 24 hour days together how will we fill them? My practice the last 3 years was to have a word to serve as my stake for what I wanted to invite in and this year is no different. This year I plan to use VIBRANT as my rudder and will very much welcome a year full of energy and enthusiasm.

So while I muster up the energy and enthusiasm for making tea and doing last night's dishes I will also wonder what word you will choose for your next very special year. The lovely Susannah Conway has a gorgeous and free course for this if you are interested in such things. 

Forest for the Trees

I am living the dream. My dream anyway. Home is a cabin in the woods away from the busy doing of city life. No more diesel buses rumbling or drunken packs of howling young men stumbling in checkered shirts and fleeces outside my window. Yet it is not like I imagined it would be. 

I did not rise early this morning to sip hot water with lemon, there was no bowing to my meditation cushion (there is no meditation cushion), my dog is not curled up by the roaring fire and I am not sitting with a contented, all knowing smile feeling connected to all that is (insert requisite eye roll here).

Instead I can be found wearing a hat and gloves inside because my cabin is cold, like olive oil is a solid in the cupboard cold, twitching because ticks and Googling symptoms of Lyme disease because I pull 100's off Leo whose happiness is dependent on tearing through the woods like a crazed wildebeest on his twice sometimes thrice daily walks. My fireplace is basically decorative even though I fill it with logs and poke at it every 15 min. My DVD fire implied as much heat and needed less tending. My books remain in stacks unread and as I said nothing is as I imagined it would be. 

So what is the lesson in this? Be careful what you wish for? Wherever you go, there you are? (Why do these all end in prepositions? Googled and discovered this is no longer a thing).

While my realized dream may not look like I imagined, truth be told if it had I'd surely be bored out of my decorative gourd. Instead I've learned quite a bit about myself in this A-frame house atop a mountain. Have learned to listen. Learning my body's wisdom is as valuable if not more than my mind's. That the beauty of this adulting human thing is that we all have choices available and can choose again and differently. That as the brilliant Joseph Campbell said, “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.” That we can learn as much if not more from what doesn't work for us as what does. That there is beauty in the breakdown. That when you "arrive" then that part of the journey is over.

So as I huddle in front of my faux-ish fire and contemplate my word, my rudder, for 2016 I will also think of and thank all that has shown up in 2015 – the love and lessons and then I will let go. I will smile a contented smile and go back to stroking the pages of my Kinfolk Home (read: House Porn) dreaming of warm mountain homes with sweet dogs curled up by a roaring fire.

What will you invite in for 2016?