Category Archives: awareness

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.   There are best practices for everything, from social media, promoting ourselves, growing our business, even our spiritual practice.  There’s always someone to help us get caught up in doing it better, right, doing whatever it is more correctly, more successfully.  It’s all good, but take a minute and breathe.

I believe, from personal experience, that everything, from any particular area of our spiritual growth through our work, relationships, art, everyday experiences, will all flourish and bloom in releasing our need to control or force things into place just so.

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

pexels-photo-258330We can cultivate a wonderful balance in life of work and play.  Many have mastered work equals play.  And, this works great until we think we need more knowledge, to be more perfect, in order to be more successful, or we run into a challenge.

 

This week my challenge is my beautiful SaraDoolittle.com website photos are cut off on a PC.   I’ve now spent hours trying to crop them, trying different aspect ratios, moving the focal point around, trying other photos, emailing my website’s customer service (they’re very nice), and spending hours on user experience with my husband on his PC laptop and me on my MAC laptop.   Ugh.  This was not fun, at all.  Frustrating and time-consuming.

So what to do when it all starts to feel less than fun and more like a grueling task and my mood goes to hell in a hand basket?   I take breaks.

 

Yesterday we walked away from house projects and website projects.  We went to our favorite baked potato restaurant, visited a couple of art galleries, took a photo to be framed, and enjoyed a farmer’s market.  It can be just a few minutes or several hours, whatever it is will assist us more than pushing through a challenge.  Why?  When we have fun, loosen up, we allow for the best ideas and solutions to come to us.

So I pay attention to how I feel when I’m in task/work mode except for when I don’t 🙂   When I do walk my talk, I ask myself how I feel.  How is my level of energy?  It doesn’t have to be OMG this is SO AMAAAAZINGGGG EXCITING kind of energy, but rather just a feeling of hey, I’m enjoying this.  I love what I’m doing right now.  Or, just I’m in the zone, this feels nice.

It’s good to know how to practice self-kindness and assist ourselves and enjoy being more.  I’m still practicing this.  As an ex-“uber-doer”, it’s so worth it to practice this balance.

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, the 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.

Aligning With Our Purpose – It Isn’t Possible…

…to make a mistake.  All it takes is a dance.  To realize our dreams takes perseverance, action, letting go of total control, and experiencing joy.  It isn’t an intimidating dance, just a series of steps.  When I dance I have some unique moves, especially when driving.  In the car I sing and dance but I still hold back when I pull up to traffic lights.

My desire is to take those joyful feelings when I dance and sing in my car, and to also feel them in everything I do.  And, from what I’ve experienced, aligning with our purpose takes a good amount of lightheartedness.  We create our best expression of ourselves by aligning with that which brings us joy.

Do you believe you need to learn more, figure it all out before taking steps, or be more perfect first?  You know yourself better than anyone.  Sometimes there’s a handy dandy excuse to play smaller and hold back.  But sometimes you may want to wait for a good reason.  But there’s probably some step you can take.  It’s only for you to know.  All the friends, family, self-help gurus, coaches, counselors, advisors, leaders, will not know you like you know you.  You can run your considerations by those you trust, but at the end of the day, it’s how you feel.  Learning to read how we feel and making decisions from our own feelings is a good place to be.  You’ll figure it out, it’s you learning you.  You can’t make a mistake.

There’s lots of thoughts and feelings that help light the way.  CreateLearning to pay attention to them is very helpful.  If there’s excitement around the action you’re taking, that’s awesome.  From your actions, you’ll receive what you need, even if it’s not necessarily what you think you need.  Making decisions out of fear or worry, doesn’t result in the most terrific of possibilities.  However, feeling genuinely excited and joyful, creates our best opportunities.  We might even find our best opportunities challenge us…in a good way.

My analyzing and perfecting sucked the joy out of a moment faster than I could sneeze.  I had to learn what living joyfully meant.  Duh right?  I was waiting for it to happen as a result of doing certain things. I learned it’s about cultivating a lighter state of mind, anytime.

Seems to me we have more than one purpose in our lifetime, some we share with all of humanity, plus those that are unique to each of us.  Perhaps one of the purposes we share with humanity is learning to release our heaviness and to live more joyfully.  Also seems like a good path towards experiencing unconditional love.  Cultivating lightheartedness.

TMI

When I share with people that I give talks, I also share that I’m nervous about public speaking.  Totally TMI right?  However, even Adele tells people she’s scared when she sings to crowds, sometimes she tells the crowds just before she begins another song.  “I love you but you really really scare me”, is what I remember she said.

But I’m not Adele.  Publicly saying I’m nervous, especially while delivering my 30-second elevator speech, isn’t a winning strategy for attracting people to hire me.  You’d never know, at one time, I used to work in advertising.  Note to self:  must self-promote better.

I have other fears…like Copperhead snakes.  Yikes, they are a bad ass snake.  They don’t slither away from us, they hunker down, appearing to be a confident and secure snake…a good role model for the rest of their peeps.   Because we have a lot of them on our property, I wear my gardening boots to prevent a nasty problem.  Eazy peazy right?   But…being seen by ooodles of people?   Not so eazy peazy.  Sometimes I’m not as bad ass as I’d like to be.  microphoneEveryone knows that many people are nervous about public speaking.  That doesn’t help me!  And that very unhelpful factoid doesn’t mean that particular fear isn’t something for me to look at.  For me, it’s about how I feel about myself.   That I am not enough and I’m afraid you’ll see that too Way more challenging than dealing with Copperheads. 

But over the years, I worked on I’m not enough.  I learned to be more aware of what I was thinking about myself and the words I chose.  Over the years, I released many negative beliefs about myself, replacing them with way healthier ones.  But never skipping the valuable, but sometimes highly uncomfortable step, of looking inside of me to understand where all that came from, how it started, and why I kept believing it.  The more I understood, the more I let go of one limiting belief at a time.  If I do say so, the result was totally worth it.

If this fear is showing up again at this time, it’s because I’m stepping up to bigger opportunities and allowing more of me to be seen.  However, the art of looking and releasing is way easier and faster now, because I know to always look inside of me and to learn from that place.  Throughout the remainder of my life, I plan on acting on many of my dreams.  And if I’m not good enough shows up again?…  I keep looking until those beliefs completely disappear.