When It’s Time To Stop Trying So Hard

If we want our relationships, our work, our art, our life experience to be amazing, we will need to learn to let go of trying to “do” it right and learn how to have more fun in any and all ways possible.  I see this a lot now in my fun work.  Some have said to me how are you doing this?  What is it that you’re doing to make this happen?  I don’t want to annoy them but the truth is I’m enjoying myself and that’s why and how it’s all coming together.

I see that people are pushing and pushing to be seen, to have the best social media practices to bring visibility to themselves by networking, and emailing lists, creating videos because they’ve heard that works, or learning the latest and greatest social media sites.  To me it’s all contributing to more noise and if everyone is doing the same thing…you getting where I’m going with this?  Then you’re just like everyone else and don’t stand out at all.

I do some best practices too and I’m trying to learn a couple of social media thing-a-ma-bobbers.  But mastering all “the correct and proven steps”, well maybe that works for others, but for me, it sucks the joy right out of my fun work and then things get stuck.  So I keep it simple and just. have. fun.

pexels-photo-258330You want to know my best practices?  It’s hiking, going for a walk in the woods, painting, editing my photos, writing, hanging out with my husband, sailing, watching a great movie, reading a good book, listening to music.

It’s very old-school but if you so desire, there are best practices for everything, from social media, promoting ourselves, growing our business, even how to approach one’s spiritual practice.  I’ve heard more rules from people than I can shake a stick at.  There’s always someone to help us get caught up in doing it better, right, doing whatever it is more correctly, more successfully.

If we’re in alignment with our purpose it’s all working out fine, trust me.

My belief is from personal experience, that everything, from any particular area of our spiritual growth, meaning our work, relationships, art, everyday experiences, will all flourish and bloom in releasing our need to control or force things into place just so and instead enjoy life.

When we’re truly following our heart, we’ll be successful, however success shows up for us on our path.

This week my challenge is my beautiful website photos are cut off, in half, on a PC.  The banner photos weren’t even close to looking like the photos I took.  I went into full-out stress mode trying different aspect ratios, moving the focal point around, trying other photos, emailing my website’s customer service, and spending time on user experience on a PC laptop and a MAC laptop.

Watching myself slouch into this is not enjoyable mode I encouraged my husband to take a break with me from his projects. So we went to our favorite lunch spot, we ate outside, talked with some locals, visited a couple of art galleries, took a photo to be framed, and enjoyed a farmer’s market. e1d81-1502570672679

And when I switch to something lighter I allow for the best ideas and my creativity to blossom, and answers and solutions show up.

My intuition is assisting me all the time in learning to pay attention to how I feel in more and more moments and to strike a nice balance.  It doesn’t have to be OMG this is SO AMAAAAZINGGGG EXCITING kind of feeling because that’s impossible to maintain all the time, but sometimes it’s just a feeling of I’m in the zone, this feels nice.  And if something doesn’t feel right, I know not to push through it and keep hammering away but instead take a break and do something else.  As an ex-uber-do-er, it’s so worth it for me to practice this balance because I feel better and everything works better.  I guess you could say I’m more successful when I stop trying so hard.

My experience is if we want our relationships, our work, our art, our life experience to be even better than what we can imagine, we will need to learn to let go of trying to do it right and learn how to enjoy life in any and all ways possible.

 

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How a Horoscope Cheered Me Up

I’ve often thought that family and one very good friend believe that I became a better version of myself when I met a nice guy.  Granted, this nice guy, now my husband, is an incredibly loving and kind person.  He’s funny, creative, smart, clever, and I love him so much.  But my life did not just snap into a beautiful place when he showed up.

My suspicion was realized when a family member commented, “And then you met Dave” in the context of once I met my husband my life was all unicorns and rainbows.  Um, no.  No one can make us happy, give us peace, or a sense of purpose.  I had to change the way I thought of myself and look at where all those limiting thoughts started from.  The member of my family annoyed me (this is an understatement) because it showed he didn’t know me at all.  To think he thought it was all about finding a nice man was doubly annoying.  Wow.  But the poor guy was only going on an assumption because he didn’t know any better.  He didn’t know because the timing of me beginning to uncover my spirituality was not long after I met my husband.  And, I didn’t tell anyone about what I was doing around how I was learning to look at where my limiting beliefs started, how I was learning to look at myself and how I put myself out in the world.  This is not the kind of work everyone wants to hear about, regardless of the positive outcome.

Years ago, what I was opening to was private and also unusual so I assumed people would laugh at me or make fun of me in disbelief.  I was just beginning to nurture a small seedling of my spirituality and I didn’t want anyone stomping on it.  So I kept my experiences to myself.  I didn’t share it with even my oldest friend because we always appear to be on the opposite ends of the spectrum regarding introspection.  Instead I concentrated on my new habits, new ideas and perspectives that would change my life and I pulled back from anyone who tends towards being sarcastic, dismissive or negative about life.  It even took me a while to share some of it with the very man who is credited with changing my life.  Of course he touches my life in many beautiful ways, he’s just not responsible for me working my bum off to release my limiting beliefs and opening to something more beautiful.

So after the comment from “harmless family person”, about a week later, I’m reading the local entertainment paper and see the horoscopes.  I rarely look at horoscopes but decide to read my husband’s for fun.  We laugh because it’s so not him.

Then I start to read mine out loud and bammo it’s just how I feel!  Very specific.  As I kept reading we both laughed at how surprisingly on target it was.  I giggled so much that tears were streaming down my face.  Thank you Universe, it’s just what I needed.

The world will never fully know or appreciate the nature of your heroic journey.  Even the people who love you the most will only ever understand a portion of your epic quest to become your best self.  That’s why it’s important for you to be generous in giving yourself credit for all you have accomplished up until now and will accomplish in the future.  Take time to marvel at the majesty and miracle of the life you have created for yourself.  Celebrate the struggles you’ve weathered and the liberations you’ve initiated…

Gardening and the art of slowing down

The other day I drove home in the middle of the day with garden supplies and noticed two deer meandering on our property.  They were in no hurry and seemed pretty content.  And then I felt contentment, though I did wonder if they just munched a little on our redbud sapling.  When they heard my car come down the dirt road one looked back at me and hung out while I experienced him or her.  Moments like that make me want to shout how much I love living here.

My husband and I bought this home in 2015.  I love the huge windows, the skylights, the woods, the deer, the birds, the fox, the moon and the stars (I know you can find them anywhere), and the wind chimes I placed next to the bench I sit on.  Not so much the Copperheads but so far we haven’t seen one yet this spring.  I’m so grateful and especially for our back yard garden area project.  You know that expression “it’s about the journey”?   Well, for me that’s so true, and it’s this house and our garden area that reminds me to just enjoy every day and not worry so much about getting things done or doing more.

woods

Working in the garden, adding more shade plants, tending to what we have, is a big enough adventure for me right now.  And I get to step back and see how it all looks and how lush it’s becoming.  Actually our property behind the house needs a bit of work to match our vision for a shade garden, but we’re in no hurry.  We’ll buy more new plantings in the fall, with the exception of planting some ground cover in the next couple of weeks, before it turns blistering hot here.

The more I work outside in our yard, the more I realize that being in a hurry and busy is not path to happiness for me.  Deadlines, other’s expectations, social events, networking, even travel which I usually love, just doesn’t do it for me right now.  I need breaks and lots of them and gardening, painting, writing, feel good to me right now.  When I relax I enjoy.  The tricky part is creating a balance between creating my ideas around my work, and time for me to just sit still.  There will be a time when I’ll want to do more, just not at this time.  When I start to feel like I should be further along in with bringing my ideas to action, or utter the words “I should be…by now”, that’s a clue to switch gears and chill.  Unexpectedly, the best opportunities show up when we create a good balance between doing and being.  Maybe things will take a little longer but I’m a big believer in everything happens at the right time, in the right way anyway.

We’re all in this together

I’ve said this a million times, each of us is unique.  We grew up differently, look different from each other, sound different, dress differently, have totally different life experiences.  Our lives might look as though we’re on completely opposite ends of the spectrum.  Still, we’re all here and we’re all in this together.  diff folksEvery single one of us has a heart that at times is bursting with love or feels utterly broken or something in-between.  Each of us, at some point, want something better for ourselves.  “More” can be everything from better health, more money, healthier relationships, fulfilling work, joy, love, or an end to struggle.

As I put myself out in the world and look to create possibilities with others I’m very aware of our mutual evaluations.  Let’s go with the word evaluation rather than judgment.  We all evaluate each other.  Sometimes it’s all light and an opening is created.  Sometimes it goes the other way, for good reason or because one of us made a snappy judgment, oops I mean evaluation.  Everybody evaluates before making a decision and sometimes it’s based on going with our gut or criteria we need to meet.  I do it.  I consider my feelings around a group, cause, organization, based on their website content, or what I’ve heard about them, what their mission and vision is.  Do I align with them?  Is this something I feel strongly about?  Is there a good possibility my skills could be useful?  And then I make my decision and either reach out or not.

Sometimes, I’m just sayin’, we go overboard on keeping others out for very little reason or based on our own assumptions created by seeing through our own experiences.  I just spent three days with my best friend.  We couldn’t be more different when it comes to our personal habits, beliefs, interests, and how we approach life and interact with the world.  And yet, we’ve managed to have a relationship that’s lasted, and we’ve enjoyed and hugely benefited from, since we were three years old.  From her I’m learning about accepting others as they are and how to not care what others think.  Perhaps from me she’s learning how to stand up for her own needs and to let go of being a people-pleaser.

The way I experience life is that we’re all in this together.  It may look like we’re too different from each other to find common ground.  But that kind of thinking prevents the possibility of a beneficial connection.  And anyway, we always share similar basic needs and heartfelt desires…either in the midst of enormous struggle or when things just aren’t sitting right or if we’re fortunate enough to live joyful, creative lives.  Some of what we evaluate each other on doesn’t really matter.  It doesn’t really matter what our back story is but rather what we’ve done in spite of it, and learned from it.  It doesn’t so much matter what we look like, or where we live.  Instead, wouldn’t it be great to focus on cooperating and creating together?  To learn from each other.  To release our quick to surface dismissive thoughts and, instead, open to possibilities.  There’s no better time in the world for this than now.

Cringe and Learn

So I’m noodling around with a workshop I’ll be contributing to in a few weeks.  My section is about setting and working towards our vision of our best, pertaining to finding and aligning with our purpose.  It’s no accident that I’m leading the section where we discuss concrete steps we might take to stay in alignment with our vision.  Because this is exactly where I am in my own life.

As we align with our purpose we all need assistance.  Initially, I thought I could do it all myself.  But I need assistance with legalities, forms, and fresh eyes looking at my content, among many other things.

The perfect person always shows up at the perfect time.  Even the ones who don’t seem so perfect.  There’s all kinds of support.  Beautiful support from who I can’t so much see but I’m tremendously benefiting from as opportunities and people are sent my way.

Then there’s the support from people who unknowingly are challenging me and teaching me to stand up for myself or whatever the lesson may be.   Those are the most surprising and often uncomfortable relationships, they pop into my life for only a short time until I get what they’re showing me.  And it can take me a while to figure out what it is they’re showing me.  At first I might even go kicking and screaming into the what’s there for me to learn.  But I don’t want to speak up.   I’m comfortable with my people pleasing inauthentic behavior.  It’s more difficult to share my truth and be myself.  And I look away until it becomes so uncomfortable that I have to pay attention.  Ok, what is this about?!

All I can say is, if something doesn’t feel right, it’s a good idea to take a minute to try to figure out why because it’s there to learn from, however uncomfortable it feels.

Speaking up in the moment has always been a challenge for me, so how great is it that in moving forward into my purpose someone pops up to teach me to speak up?

For example, one person I recently hired was with the intention of receiving help to become more succinct on my website.   I soon learned our business relationship was more about teaching me to speak up for myself, though she has no idea she’s teaching me this.  This person is reminding me to pay attention to my feelings and to my intuition asking myself…does this person’s suggestions align with my vision or not?  I’m learning to manage our business agreement…are we still focused on the initial goal?  Am I getting what I paid for?

I used to fold and follow from both a lack of confidence and worry I might hurt someone’s feelings if I disagreed with them or worry they might not like me.  But things are way different now, and this is not the time to fall back into my old habits.

As I listened to our recorded meetings I was very surprised that what I was saying and projecting outwardly, was not how I really felt.   I heard myself agree when I disagreed.  I heard myself say “yeah”, “ok”, lot’s of “yups”, and “thank you’s” when instead I was feeling “no”, “why are we talking about this?”, or “I don’t feel this is working out for me”.   I was cringing when I listened to the recordings.

Turns out a little cringing was worth it because I got it.  Speaking up to get what I pay for is a valuable skill to learn as my vision grows and as I hire more people to assist me in my vision.  So a big thank you to this person and to my guides for the opportunity.  I need to bring more authenticity and confidence to my business dealings and to every relationship.

 

Standing in our own personal power

It was a simple meeting…

How was it that afterwards, when I came home and had lunch with my husband, I cried?  As I tried to express myself between tears I kept saying Why do I feel this way?  What exactly happened?  My husband was also asking, how could you get so upset over a casual meeting with someone?  I don’t know why I feel this way, I blubbered into my salad while spilling dressing all over myself.  And I really didn’t.  I needed a minute (it took a week or so).  I was so done, sniffle, sniffle.

Embracing our differences

 

This experience was not really about a disconnection with someone or an awkward meeting I’d had the best of intentions for.  This was an opportunity for me to learn something about myself.

We’d met the previous week at her event and from what we both shared there, it seemed we were on the same wavelength.  While she didn’t intend for this, I felt deflated by her first question…so tell me, I know there’s more to your story.  There isn’t really much more I thought and all of a sudden I felt ordinary around someone who clearly was exuding ‘special’ and ‘expert’ as she shared all her highly unusual metaphysical experiences.  I felt like a duck out of water and no longer stood in my personal power.

Not a fun meeting and I take complete responsibility for feeling smaller.  I compared myself to someone else and fell into an old pattern of coming up short.  Watching an old belief pop up over a simple interaction, allowing old assumptions about myself to resurface, the more constricted I felt.

If this experience taught me anything it’s that I have my own lane, to embrace it, and to confidently stand in it.

Habits That Create The Best Possibilities (for me)

Here are some things I practice to be aware of.  We all have our own ways to be at our best and attract our best possibilities and these may or may not work for you.  It’s whatever supports you and empowers you.  For me, with so many experiences that I’m having just about every day now, it’s helpful to remember and practice whatever feels right at the time.  It’s pretty ordinary yet offering a beautiful shift in my day.

  • Practicing self-kindness by doing all the things I enjoy every day such as yoga and meditation, making time for exercise, and time for art.IMG_1843I’m not at my best when I let these things slide and, at this writing, some of these have been sliding off the scale. So off I go to walk on my favorite nature trail.
  • Watching my self-talk and turning it around when it goes south
  • Being my real-deal self.  You’re great too, but I don’t want to be you.
  • Remember that it’s nearly impossible to make a difference by playing it safe, or be a people pleaser.
  • Build a small community of support and let the unsupportive relationships fade
  • Allow others to assist me and remember to ask how I can assist them
  • Cultivate lightheartedness no matter what.  Lightheartedness brings opportunities.
  • Notice when I play smaller because of fear, insecurity, or some other lower emotion.  Remember it’s not the truth, and get back to being my magnificent self.
  • Gratefulness for pretty much everything
  • Being good with sometimes feeling uncomfortably stretched, and therefore vulnerable, and standing out for unusual ideas.  It’s a game…wonder what I’ll do today that will be a stretch for me?  But this is not to be confused with pushing ahead on something that’s not in my best interest.
  • Use my imagination and imagine me already doing that which I want to do and the opportunities show up to assist me.
  • Take a stand for the seemingly impossible possibilities
  • Create incremental changes and look back once in a while just to appreciate how far I’ve come
  • Enjoy a relationship with my awesomely mind-blowing amazing guidance that’s always there within me, always encouraging, supporting, assisting, loving me
  • Be both uncomfortably stretched and happy at the same time.  See those feelings that seem to be at odds, as success.