Category Archives: Taking action

“There Must Be More To You…”

The following paragraph is from one of my favorite books.

“…spiritual growth is learning to make your life work in every area, from your relationships to your career, as you put your spiritual light into everything you do, bring awareness and love to all your activities, and turn every experience into an opportunity for growth, you are being your higher self.” 

Years ago I hadn’t learned how much action, the steps, that growth takes.  I didn’t know that it takes work, awareness, looking at me and my patterns, habits, and experiences.  Instead, when I initially started opening to new ideas I was mostly just a sponge, watching others, and studying to be more like them.

I thought I only had to soak up information from reading, attending classes/workshops, and listening to spiritual leaders and then I’d have awesome mystical experiences that would knock my socks off, and result in a deeper experience of life and myself.

But no.  That’s not how it works.

And yet I persisted in looking anywhere but at myself.  I watched the “spiritual” people who not so much walk but seemed to float into rooms.  You know the ones that speak as if they’re right out of a Kripalu course catalog?   My focus was on them not me.  I assumed these beautiful ethereal individuals must have deeply meaningful lives and feelings of well-being and I wanted that because, back then, I so didn’t have that.

 

As I watched these seemingly awesome people I wondered, what was in their drinking water?  Where did they learn to speak the flowery way they did?  Their yoga poses were perfection, and their outward appearances exuded the epitome of calm, peace, and hipness.  Frankly, they annoyed the s_ _t out of me.

At some point, I tired of it all. The yoga studios and their spiritual growth workshops, the best selling books, the advice and philosophy from various leaders throughout the world. It was all well-intended but no longer attractive to me.

It was time to grow from my own experiences.  As a trusted individual pointed out to me, “…the big learning you came here for”.

 

Photo by SerrNovik/iStock / Getty Images

Sometimes I still need reminders to stand in my own power.  Just last year I had an awkward meeting that served as a friendly reminder to stop comparing!  It involved a new acquaintance who thought we’d have a lot to talk about.

How was it that after that meeting, I went home to have lunch with my husband and started to cry into my salad?  My confused husband gently asking how can you meet someone for an hour and come home crying?   That made me laugh and now I was laughing+crying+eating.

What had bugged me about that encounter was the more she shared her amazing man-person-legs-grassdramatic mystical experiences, the more I started to feel un-terrific, uninteresting, un-special, and fell right back into comparison mode.

I realized that after she shared all her numerous incredibly incredible fantastic mystical experiences, she had shared details about her life.  And I got it.  Her actual everyday life didn’t match her amazing stories at all.

She would have benefited more from compassion rather than envy.  I would have benefited from seeing the connection more clearly rather than making it about who I thought I wasn’t.

Do you ever bring yourself or anyone else up short, based on a lot of nothing?  Perhaps it’s about the size of one’s office, or the title they have, or recognition they’ve received, or vacation they’re taking.  Comparing ourselves to others, it’s not great right?  All day long we have opportunities to compare but those are the same opportunities to see non-comparatively and stay in our own power.

Cool stories or not, what matters the most to me is how I experience my life, and how good it feels.  That’s the “more” to my story because that’s what’s more important to me.

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Three Bears Experience in Finding Support

Are you someone who has made big changes in your life?  Perhaps you’re opening to consider a bigger picture and there’s not a lot of people you can talk to about your experiences?  It’s natural to want to be around others who are also in a good space.  Or perhaps you’re struggling and could really use some support right about now.

It’s clear to me who the friends, acquaintances, and others are that I want to share all, or only certain parts of me with.  So it’s very important that I make time to meet with genuinely supportive people where I can bring all of me.

Connecting with someone can make our day, whether it’s on social media, or at one of those old school networking events, or meeting someone for a deeper conversation over coffee or lunch.  However, for me social media is not my first choice to connect with someone because typing into a little box to abbreviate myself is right up there with the all to common time-weary 30-second elevator talk.

That’s why a simple casual in-person meeting the other day meant so much to me.

All I did was get together with a couple of women for conversation and it was just what I needed.

In little more than one hour we shared what we’re experiencing and traded information and ideas.  We talked about how our work is going, what we’ve been learning, where our challenges are, and how we’re figuring things out as we go.  It was fun to honestly share that I truly have no idea what I’m doing and totally figuring it out as I go and yet that seems to be working really well for me.

Finding support is a little like the Three Bears story.  As I’m out and about connecting with others, some connections are just not quite right, or too much/too little, or oh hell nopexels-photo-207891

Sometimes the best connections can come from the least likely situations.

I imagine the Universe rubbing it’s hands together knowing that I’ll be learning a lot about myself and others as I put myself out in the world more.

It worked out that I decided to meet with those two women because our connection was just right.  Maybe it worked for me because I’m learning to listen with an open mind, realize that our experiences don’t have to be similar, I no longer water myself down because it’s not really an issue if someone doesn’t “get” me or visa versa.

And I trust that the right people will show up at the right time, especially as we let go of our less supportive relationships.  We all have some of those right?   Are you letting go of the limiting relationships in your life to make room for more fun and supportive connections?

 

 

Trusting And Learning What Our Feelings Are Showing Us

How many times do you feel your feelings, and wonder what those feelings are conveying to you?  Sometimes we tend to take our feelings for granted and go all auto-pilot about them.

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To experience a deeper connection with ourselves, it’s a good idea to pay attention to both our good, and not so good feelings.  Both types of feelings are teaching us about how we’re thinking, reacting, and processing our experiences, all the way to what we’re creating as a result.

When it isn’t obvious why we’re feeling badly, we might take a minute to be aware we might just find out why we’re feeling the way we do.  The other day I was at my computer for hours and I guess I wasn’t a happy camper. I kept thinking just a little more time and I’ll be done.  I was pushing through my icky feelings.  But at some point, I felt awful and asked myself why.  And I just knew it was time to walk away and do anything else but what I had been doing.  Anything to bring a little more joy in.

And how do we cultivate bringing higher feelings in?  Being aware of what brings us joy.  We all love vacations right?   But why do we feel so good on vacation?  When we know specifically what makes us feel good we can bring more of those simple things into every day.  I can’t afford to jump on a plane every week to vacation in order to feel amazing vacation feelings.   But I can think about what it is I loved about vacation experiences, and bring more of those nice feelings into my week.  It’s about adventure, enjoying great food, inspiring views, seeing new people in a different culture, and appreciating architecture.  If I dig deeper, I also realize I love learning and connecting with people.  There’s lots of laughter because I feel relaxed and carefree since it’s about having fun.  Some of what I feel is inspiration.  I’m inspired by the buildings, food, people, and art.

So on any given day, I can be sure I’m learning, doing something that relaxes me, taking time to experience art, connect with people at a class or some other new social event.  Maybe it’s just reading my favorite design magazine on a break from work or heading off to a museum.  Perhaps it’s driving into town for lunch or trying a new restaurant.  Could be I make time for a walk in the woods.  Duh right?  But putting myself first ahead of my to-do punch list took practice at first.

For example keeping up on social media often is un-fun to me.  For now anyways.  I know now what part of my work inspires me and I’m focusing more on that part, rather than the work tasks that constrict me.  Perhaps the tasks that I really don’t enjoy doing, I can do less of, or allow someone else to handle them.  If not, I can play music while I’m tackling them and take lots of breaks.

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We can begin to see how easy it is to create opportunities that foster higher emotions.  We can learn to feel better.  This is really helpful when we encounter the inevitable smaller cracks our sidewalk so to speak.

This is important to practice regarding the bigger picture as well.  There are a lot of confusing and troubling things going on in the world right now.  It’s good for us and it’s also good for our world if we’re all living in our higher emotions rather than our lower emotions.  Takes focus, practice, and it takes kicking the attraction to negativity to the curb.  How we feel is so important to what we’re creating in every moment, even the more seemingly insignificant moments of our day.

Being aware of our feelings in an ordinary day, with ordinary experiences, and consider making even tiny changes in our thoughts and actions, can lead to creating a better experience for ourselves (and our world).

 

 

Winter nesting habits, fleece clothing, and fear

Right now my focus seems to be on baking pies, painting, and lazing around in my wonderful fleece lined yoga pants and faux fur slippers.   These yoga pants and slippers own me and I’m great with that.  I’ll take them off in April. 

Lounging around until whenever-ish, is pretty terrific.  It’s downright nurturing to just be.   However, I’m slacking around creating my ideas.  And yet, I still very much want to create those ideas.  See my dilemma?

I’ve got this.  All that’s needed is a little course correction.

When I don’t act on my good opportunities coming my way, the opportunities naturally dwindle.  And through a lack of action on my part, sometimes what is coming my way, is not really the best fit for me.  I’m certainly not giving my awesome intuitive guidance much to work with, as I let my side of the partnership laze.

It’s not as though my intuition will leave me as a result of me not taking action or following suggestions.  I’m also encouraged to create a lovely balance in my life, and that involves painting, cooking, relaxing, etc…  It’s unconditionally loving, and always supportive, assisting in every moment, no matter what.  But it is a relationship, a partnership, and my connection grows as I play and work with it, and take action around the information I receive.  We’re doing this together and, to a point, some action is required.

But there’s more.  It’s especially worth looking at why I’m not taking action.  It’s not all about the call of the wonderful winter nesting activities.   Quite honestly, there’s still a certain amount of me holding back out of fear.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of being targeted.  Fear of being seen, my beliefs known, and being ostracized for them.  Those are no small fears.  So, this is when I ask that very same guidance to assist me with releasing those fears, once I’m more clear what they’re about.  In my case, usually those fears stem from “I’m not enough”, an old core belief of mine.  They happen less and less, but can still creep up when I’m feeling that my next steps are  a little or very challenging.

And yet, these fears are a wonderful opportunity.  They’re here to show me, Hey look, here’s that thing again.  Let’s look at it, receive clarity, clear it, and move on.   There’s a process that was shown to me for doing this.  Anyone can come up with their own version to consciously become aware, look at what’s there, as a way to understand and release it.  I may start with writing down my feelings, and then move on to meditation, and visualize releasing what I can to the highest form of light.

We all have our reasons for holding back.  It’s so worth it to honestly look at why we get a little stuck now and again.  It’s nothing to worry about and we’re all totally “unstuckable”.   Asking for help is a great start and assistance will be there.  Various pieces will show up to support us, and we’ll learn about ourselves.

I woke up this morning wanting to add a post script here.  Several years ago I spent a lot of time looking at and understanding more about where my limiting core self-belief came from.  It was work. There was focus, dedication, even tenancity, courage, and self-kindness.  I’m post-scripting because by no means was I suggesting that it’s fast and easy to release this kind of self-belief, <I’m not enough, I’m unworthy>.  But years ago I did deep work in this area and I was able to see where this self-belief came from. I realized that it was never about me, and I took responsibility for allowing that belief to be carried on by me for most of my life.  Without going into every detail, I’ll just say, this work was transformational.  It’s understandable that, now and again, speckles of this belief show up.  I feel it’s a gentle reminder and opportunity to remember who I really am. These speckles show up less and less, and for me now, are easier to notice, have clarity about what’s behind the feelings, and compassionately release the old belief and embrace my truth.  

5 Things I’m Doing For Myself

1- Use only the most helpful and positive technology.  Last month I downloaded the Insight Timer, an app for meditation.  It’s become very important to me that I do some group meditations now and again.  Through the Insight Timer app, I joined a Global Meditation Group that periodically meditates for planetary peace and well-being.  Plus I’ve created a few meditation presets with and without background sound, with varying time limits.  And, I’m connecting with people all over the world.  Technology is here and I’m good with technology if we can use it to support ourselves.  https://insighttimer.com/

2-Join groups for support.  There are a few meditation groups in my area and I’ve been sitting in on their group meditations, in-person (not virtually, as with the app I just mentioned).  I found all of these meditation groups on Meetup.  And all are based on mindfulness meditation practices.  Most of these groups have someone who leads the meditation, offers a message that we can then offer our response to.  We share how we feel and, from listening, we can become more clear.  Plus, I just like the connection I feel from a group meditation.  https://www.meetup.com/

3-Play.  I just finished an art class in pastels, a new medium for me to learn.  Every time I play with art I have to learn that it’s not about striving for more talent in an effort to become an accomplished artist, but more to let go, have fun and play.  This is a good way to feel about art because it takes me away from comparisons, from negative self-talk and instead, I learn to see something beautiful in what I create.  Self-deprecation is not a friend.  Humility is an admirable characteristic, but only to a point.  I’m all in favor of looking at our art, our music, whatever our passion is, and to recognize the awesomeness of what we’re creating, regardless of how it compares to others.

Speaking of creating…

4-From dawdling to prioritizing.  When I doubt myself, get scared, I can procrastinate which way the hair blows down the back of a gnat’s ass.  However, what I really want is to continue taking steps to create my dreams and ideas.  I have a habit of first cleaning the house, then cooking, maybe paying bills, running errands, and then, if there’s time, working on my ideas.  Rather, on a good day, when I prioritize first what my passion is, I’m sending a message to both the universe and to myself that my dream is important.  The more I prioritize my dreams, the more I open to the next steps to act on my ideas.  I begin to receive assistance in all kinds of ways.  And, I’ve asked for assistance when stuck in procrastination mode.  Even as I’m dawdling, I’ll ask for assistance for moving forward, and an opportunity will show up gently encouraging me forward.

5-Practice awareness.  Becoming aware of how assistance is coming through for me.  Becoming aware of my self-talk and thoughts.  Especially becoming aware of my heart as I meditate, as I meet with someone, even as I’m out doing something as mundane as grocery shopping.  Ok, I’m human so I’m not aware all the time, but I am more and more, and it’s making a positive difference in my life from the way I hold myself to the connection I feel.  This past week, I was at a holiday party for a wonderful non-profit, and as their volunteers were being recognized, I stood there watching and thinking “May everyone feel peace, love, support, and a sense of cooperation, and collaboration”.   To me, they’ve been creating exactly that, peace, love, support, cooperation, and collaboration.  It was kind of a metta (loving kindness) meditation while standing in a room full of people.  And then a funny thing happened, my raffle ticket won the big raffle prize and I was shaken out of my reverie big time.  In the next moment I was thanking people, shaking hands, and having my photo taken and walked away with a high-end sailing jacket.  For a long minute (maybe two hours or so), I felt guilty for winning that jacket because I only volunteered one to three times for that organization.  My husband had to talk me off the ledge by reminding me it was a raffle ticket that anyone was able to win, any active volunteer like himself, or a non-volunteer, anyone who attended the party.  I kicked my guilt to the curb, allowed myself to be thankful for winning the lovely gift, shut-up, and enjoyed the moment.

One more thing, and this brings it to six, not five, but who’s counting?

6-Watch less TV!  My husband and I have really gotten into a rut of watching TV.  Granted, they’re not violent shows, but there’s usually something upsetting happening at some point.  night-television-tv-theme-machinesHere’s the deal.  My brain or body doesn’t know the difference between real life and the make-believe lives on TV.  So when I watch a TV show and get attached to the characters and the story lines, it’s like it’s really happening.  The emotions I feel, the tension in my body, are a result of watching the show.  What’s worse, later on I may still think about it as I fall asleep, or when I wake up.  That’s why I watch the news almost not at all.  It stays with me and revisits me, visually and emotionally, until I feel dis-empowered, depressed, and hopeless and then I’m no good to anyone.  It’s important to remember that everything has an energy,  and what we take into our bodies affects us visually, emotionally, and physically.  In our world, when my husband and I watch TV, one of us isn’t playing guitar, the other isn’t painting, we’re not sitting in front of the fire listening to music, or talking to each other.  TV is a time suck and we have too many interests for time sucks.  It rarely adds to my life, and it’s addictive.  pexels-photo-688019So, in an effort to get back to a good balance, we just finished eating our chili in front of the fire, and I’m now writing this post in front of the fire.  The TV is in the other room, and it’s off.

 

Our moods have a lot to do with how we are being and what we’re creating.  Can you think about how you’re supporting yourself (or not) by your patterns and habits?  It’s so worth a look.  Little steps can make a huge difference in our lives.  It’s fun to learn how we can create big change in our lives, from taking small positive steps.

 

 

Ah Networking…Parlay This…

For whatever reason I woke up in the middle of the night and entertained myself by watching the stars outside our bedroom window, reviewing my day by reliving the networking lunch I attended.  I somehow composed in my head a much funnier blog post about networking than what I’m typing here.  But how nice that I was cracking myself up last night.  Funny or not, I had an epiphany about networking, or better yet…let’s call it…reaching out and connecting with others.

Creating my own vision and ideas requires that I also create the follow-up to those ideas.  That means it’s time to leave my awesome sunny house, pull myself away from watching the bird feeder activity, shake some hands and parlay connections to speaking opportunities.  Opportunities won’t drop into my life and bite me on my cute…well, you get the idea.  I have to take some action in order for the results to meet me where I am.

Therefore, yesterday I attended the second networking event in two weeks and I haven’t done that since the days I worked in the Corporate world.  Thankfully, I’m no longer mingling and talking about how I grow a company’s ROI through my strategic marketing plans.  Now I’m talking about our humanity, something 30 years ago I never would have guessed I’d be talking about.  Something that’s not the least bit mainstream and boy did I ever feel like I stuck out at this luncheon.  After my initial Sesame Street song moment…which of these things don’t belong?, when I took a breath and chilled, I realized I’m actually really great with sticking out because I can’t make much of a contribution if I water down the thought provoking ideas I’m sharing.

As I listened to the realtors, the beauty product and healthy food supplement sellers, those in fashion, IT, photography, floral arranging, marketing, travel, fitness, various support services, I realized we’re not so different after all.  pexels-photo-70292Just like me, it seemed like every person that attended that luncheon desires a meaningful life.  They either genuinely already feel good about what their work is or want to.  Purposeful work is a heartfelt desire but often isn’t pursued for a gazillion reasons.  When I was ready to move into what I’m doing now I had to let go of don’t attract attention to you.  And here I am, an introvert networking to find public speaking opportunities where I’ll be seen and heard.  Introverted or extroverted, as we create connections we all show our vulnerabilities as we allow each other to see where we are in our personal process.  I’m sure I wasn’t the only person feeling awkward.

Ok, so in the past, networking has been nowhere near as fun as a walk in the woods, music, painting, taking photographs, or going to the dentist. But my new intention is to have fun with it because it’s about connecting with others and isn’t that what my work is all about?  And I can use networking to practice telling what I do in a New York minute (fat chance), assist someone with one of my contacts, parlay it into a newfound acquaintance, or let it lead to a sweet speaking opportunity.  I’m good now at allowing for and enjoying what’s within to assist me.  Now it’s time to get out of my own way and gratefully let it also assist, through people.