Standing in the way of…

Images come to my mind of physical obstacles that block our pathways. Trains, rocks, dead-ends, buildings, cement barriers, dams and any other structure making the linear path seemingly impossible.

In myself, friends, family and clients, the type of obstacles most detrimental to well-being, success and happiness are emotional blocks; the way we stand in our own way.

We cannot understand why we can’t get from point A to B. We say we want a better life, a promotion, love, to get along with others and fertilize our happiness. Instead, we are bolloxed by our own story. The “can’t” list grows bigger and yes…my favorite saying comes to mind: “You are stuck in a box”.

I have a client who wants to move to anther country and teach English.

She says she wants to save money to make her transition easier, but at least once or twice a month she finds herself buying items at discount stores that she doesn’t really need. She stands in her own way. We have spent time on this subject and I have asked her to “pause” when she gets caught up in the “urge” to shop. Breathe and see how she feels, asking herself if she really needs this new item. Why does she want to sabotage her own success, when she can see herself living in this other country? Because a part of her doesn’t feel worthy of her goal and it stands in her way. When you think big, it is scary. You have to believe you deserve it more than you don’t. Small keeps us safe and you don’t have to question your value. Small is where you beat yourself up for all the BIG stuff you are basically saying “no” to having in your life.

I know someone who has a job in which he works strictly for the paycheck. He has bigger dreams than this 9-6 p.m. obligation, in fact his dreams have nothing to do with his job. He finds his free time to entertain his creativity, severely limited. In fact, I had asked him to write the post on this subject. His big heart wanted to, but his brain said there was no time.

He is starting to feel depressed about his plight. He can’t seem to figure out the best course of action, because his fears are much greater than his resolve for happiness. He is afraid he will end up in poverty or at the very least struggling financially where he to lose his job. It is a very real concern, but one that shouldn’t hold him back from carving out time to be creative and work toward his “real” dreams.

In his case, the feeling of boredom, disassociation and listlessness concerning his job bleed into his free time. On top of that he now has a co-worker who has decided to create an additional stress in his work environment, which gives him even greater anxiety with his job. The day job affects all areas of his life. What’s the answer? He has to “get out of his own way”.

Instead of finding himself tugged under the train, he has to connect with that place inside of him that wants this other life. The place buried under the layers of responsibility, fear, unworthiness and anything else which keeps him in his comfortable yet unfulfilling corner of his life.

He has to step into discomfort. Maybe he could make a commitment to spending 30 minutes or an hour a day being creative toward his dream? It is easy to do once you take the first step, but first you have to get out of your own way. Instead, of filling his plate in his free time with things meant to bring momentary gratification or escape from the dreariness of his job, he needs to invest in his own happiness and do something which makes HIM uncomfortable. It may even give him anxiety, because also buried in there is a sense of expectation. He will have an expectation of himself to be creative so that whatever he makes will have to live up to his standard of excellence. Will he get out of his way? Last time I checked, he made a decision to spend time each day opening himself up to his greater dreams….interestingly enough, he is starting to relax, enjoying his time on and off the job, and spending more time having FUN!

We stand in our own way when we say we want to lose weight, but continue to overeat (Overeating–calories in, calories out… too many different schools of thought to name here on what is healthy).

When an individual overeats she is stuffing feelings. She is trying to fill what is not fulfilled in her life. When I am stuck in a process, I too, find myself wandering over to the refrigerator…mindlessly, not even aware of my actions, in a sort of haze as I wake up to realize I am looking for a feeling of satisfaction, which never comes through eating in this manner.

Standing in your own way with LOVE is another man-made obstacle. Love has no boundaries, yet most people place “limitations” on this particular subject. People all require love, but as much as they want it, they may run from it, because it requires vulnerability and getting out of your own way of protecting yourself from getting hurt.

It appears a person usually comes equipped with a long list of expectations a partner MUST live up to, so the individual doesn’t have to wake with disappointment continuously. And of course when we are focusing with what is wrong with someone else, we are not focusing on “ourselves”. We once again stand in our own way in love. At the end of the day or in the middle of a dispute, you need to ask yourself is it more important to win the argument, stop dating someone who doesn’t fulfill your list 24/7, punish another human and stand in the way of what you really want? Could you pause for a second and do what feels difficult, asking yourself, “What is the goal? Being alone and self righteous?” Or do you want to extend yourself beyond your comfort zone and say “love” is the winner? And be open and vulnerable to what that means?

I have to say that “love” rules for me every time I take a step out of my own tunnel vision–as in “getting out of my own way”, I want love to be the winner.

It creates a huge sucking up within myself; processing my old feelings of it being weak to communicate or back off the desire to be righteous or punish another, and INSTEAD ask myself, “Do I love this person? Do I want to do whatever I can in a healthy way to keep this relationship in my life?” And I find myself answering “yes”, it is important to me. I then ask myself what is the most loving thing to do? What I find is then I must walk on a bed of nails. I communicate what is true for me even if it ruffles his feathers. I end up finding the balance of not destroying the relationship,while being vulnerable, honest and loving to curtail an old pattern once again. It is not easy and thankfully he is a kind and patient man. It really is nice to say, it is a relief to get the hell out of my own way!

Action Jackson: the list to having a GROOVY time

As I wind down from my out of the ordinary busy week-end and look at my billowing inbox, I realize my post on “60 things in my heart” will now be expanded beyond my heart and everyone who shared their heart with me.

I am excited to write this upcoming post, which will take a bigger commitment than a few hours of writing and may turn into a series. As I reflect on this week-end, the word “ACTION” comes to mind. It is all about lighting a flame under your gluteus and making a change, any change, in your day.

I had a client today who is almost 70. She is making and taking the biggest risk in her life! She freakin’ rocks, because every time we meet she has moved further into her heart and out of her head. She knows her dream. And as I eloquently stated at one point, “F*** the dream, make it a reality”, she has used it as her mantra. She actually mentioned that I should use this mantra as the title of my upcoming book. We’ll see.

As I work with clients, I learn in my own life where I tend to jump in the box; where it is safe, warm and cozy in my mind, but in reality makes me feel a low level of discomfort and a lot of discontent. No matter what is going on for you… meaning; whatever problems you want to solve, changes you want to make or fight against in your life; or decisions hanging in the balance; the place to resolve them is not IN YOUR HEAD.

It’s all about ACTION Jackson! When you take action, change happens, opportunities come up and as you move through your life things will fall into place. It’s true. Get on outta your head and do something, anything today and you will break the chain. The chain of patterns, beliefs, routine and discarded dreams/goals.

Here’s what I propose: take ACTION everyday.

It doesn’t matter if you’re clear, foggy or completely without a clue as to what you really want in your life…its a matter of doing something. You can figure out what works for you and what doesn’t along the way.

I WOULD LOVE IT, REALLY LOVE IT….if some folks out there take action in their life NOW and keep me posted on the action they take each day. I have started a list below of actions I take, to change it up big and small…in addition are a few I have heard from others that are great game changers.

1. If you have a TON of self-discipline about your morning routine, as in, you never vary it…completely change it up for one day. Do something completely out of the ordinary or at least change your cereal, me I’ll take Count Chocula over the flax seed protein cereal I had last week.

2. Everytime you are interested in saying “NO” to something “out of habit”, say “yes”.

3. If you put your right shoe on first, today, put on your left shoe first or wear two different shoes and see what happens.

4. Talk to a total stranger about something that has meaning, you may be surprised to hear something you needed or you have a gift for them. This happens to me ALL the time.

5. Put it OUT there. Start telling other people your dream goal. Or tell them an immediate goal, now. See how you are aided. (I am going to do a series “Coach in a Box” that will be a downloadable video from my website; wouldn’t you know it the minute I said I needed help to anyone with ears, people started showing up to help me. In fact, today a videographer was in the place I work out of shooting a video for a co-worker on Yoga at Work)….so shout it out, drop notes everywhere, like bird seed and see miracles land in your lap!

6. Get on the internet, do research on a subject that you have passion about and then reach out to experts in the field. Watch what happens!

7. If you always do the elliptical at the gym, get on the treadmill.

8. If you spend your time gossiping about other people, share your own secrets instead…watch how people treat you, it will be amazing!

9. Smile at every person you see on the street.

10. Make a list of every passionate idea you have and do “one” thing toward any of them TODAY.

11. Join a group or find a class on something you have never tried, but have wanted to do, forever!

12. Get creative, we are all artists….choose a medium which makes you feel alive. It may take a few tries, but the more you open up in this way, the more ideas about all areas of your life will manifest.

13. Make a mistake, make 20!

14. Start a food fight. Really. I have done this for years with my kids….so, if you find a public food fight unseemly, start a private one.

15. Take one expectation that someone has of you, that makes you feel bound and chained to some obligation YOU don’t want and say “no”. You can just say “no”.

16. Play a childhood game…candyland, hopscotch or how about cross-fire, anyone remember that one?

17. Give yourself permission to do whatever you want, whatever it is that the mood strikes you for one day and see how you feel….no guilt, this is getting approval from the most important person in the world, “YOU”.

18. Love people and tell them, make sure those who you love, know it, Share what you love most about them! Why they have a special place in your heart; elaborate, write a poem or a song….treat em’ to a foot massage or a pat on the back. Share YOUR love, you will never feel so groovy as when you are sharing the “love”.

19. Go somewhere you have never been, even if it is to the 7-Eleven across town. And while you are at it, change your commute today–take a different road, maybe even change the time and keep your eyes OPEN…see what is around you in the present moment.

20. Pet a dog if you are afraid of them; can’t stand cats, pick one up and let him use you as a scratching post (okay make sure his nails aren’t really sharp first)….whatever you have a FEAR of…walk right up to the cavern of FIRE and DO SOMETHING anyways….you may find that you still have that courage in ya and that big bad fear ain’t gonna keep you from LIVIN’ LARGE!

Okay, I can continue this list, but those are some great starters….please let me know if you are taking ACTION in your life and HOW…share, share, share…. either here or email me at Tracy@13degreez.com

Thank you…

Drama Momma is not a Llama

One fascinating fact I have come across is many people who state they run from drama, actually create it.

When you meet someone that you may have an interest in dating, they may flat out tell you they can’t handle any drama. And that the people in their past created so much of it they are not sure how they survived.

Or what about when you meet a new friend who says all of her friendships always end up in disaster, but she has no idea “why”.

There is probably more than one contributing factor as to why this person seems to be a magnet to the misbehavior of others.

People who specialize in vagueness, not clarity; ambiguity, not certainty; and create expectations only to consistently dodge out of the promise…are indeed the match to the flame, the kickstarter for drama.

They are controlling their own demise in self-sabotage, but looking for a scapegoat for their own unworthiness. As a coach, when I listen to people talk about a current situation, there is always a lack of clarity as to where the seed of all this drama was born.

In matters of the heart, a person who possesses a lack of courage in following through with promises, standing behind what is true in their heart for their mate or showing up at all, has allowed experiences based on their own limited belief to run the show. Hence drama is created. Fear plays the lead role.

And what these individuals do is create “drama” as a distraction. There is a tremendous amount of emotional cowardice in creating drama and stating your innocence in participating in its creation.

When individuals intellectualize an emotional situation, they are trying to gain control of their emotional state as well as the other person. They want to possess the winning hand. Its funny, but they never end up fulfilled; they remain empty.

These people are so afraid of losing themselves, being vulnerable, honest and somehow possibly repeating a past experience that they stuff their emotions in a box and create drama.

There are many who acquire those “specialties”. In a relationship with this person, whether it is romantic, professional or friendship—there is no security and a lot is assumed, if no one is asking questions. The person on the receiving end of being intellectualized and therefore made to feel inferior or wrong usually walks on eggshells. Afraid to ask what they need to know… And even when questions are asked straight answers by the individual may be avoided. So, it leaves a lot of room for interpretation as to how someone feels for you or even what he or she wants from you.

I have worked for people like this, where you never know where you stand or they create a dramatic situation, so you won’t notice what they are or are not contributing. I have also been in relationships of all sorts with people like this and at one time in my life, I was this person.

Depending on how attached you are to someone who has declared themselves a drama-free zone, you may find yourself increasingly on edge as no intelligible words have been spoken to give you any clear idea as to where you stand.

You may then create an ideal “fictional” scenario to fill in the cracks that are apparently turning into large gaping holes. Just so you don’t create any “drama”. No one wants to be the person who creates drama once it has been stated as “prohibited” in a relationship.

Who wants to be the fool? Well, I’d rather be the fool who has tried to communicate what is true rather than hiding behind a wall of intellectual malarkey.

The problem for drama-starters is that they have to make a decision to change their existence. No one can do it for them, no matter how much you complain, feed the drama or withdraw—your actions and words make no difference to this person.

They have to walk on their own hot coals. Decide they have worth and value. In essence, the receiver of the cold intellect is seen as having more value than the drama-starter. Unfortunately, for the drama starter there is no awareness as to the scenario in which they need to feel superior to the poor emotional fool, so instead they keep perpetuating a vicious cycle.

And the question they ask of you and you ask of yourself is “Wow, what is wrong with you?” As though you have failed some important test.

People keep moving in and out of the drama starter’s life without them having any sort of grasp on what they do to cause this to happen.

Or if they have a clue, there may be pleasure attached to thinking they are safe once they create the environment for drama and watch the other party go up in flames.

They can then have an excuse to move on just as empty, and unfulfilled as before, yet blaming others thinking they are pathetic for their inability to be intellectual or hold it together. They may even think the other should have had more patience and given them time to come around.

None of us are Job, you can’t sign up to be anyone’s whipping post.

You can still love these people, work with them and even have them as friends if you choose. You can make a decision not to punish yourself or them.

Communicate with these individuals from an honest and vulnerable place.  Sounds counter-intuitive, right? It’s not.  Honesty and vulnerability are actually the only TRUE strength we possess… the most authentic place inside of us. In other words, no one can argue with how you feel…because it just “is”. And in expressing this, it almost doesn’t matter what the answer is from the drama starter.

Love is a constant, truly unchangeable. These drama starters may like you or love you, but are so afraid of the power you would wield if you knew that truth, that they will continue to show up as though they don’t care.

You can accept this person is unwilling to face their own fears and be emotionally stunted from their own choice, but you do not have to stick around or be subjected to being made to feel the fool.

Standing for yourself in truth is the kindest act you can provide in this situation, regardless of the consequences…. because you can never control the outcome no matter what you do. And if you are labeled a “Drama Queen” by this person, who cares?

You set boundaries with these individuals. If they don’t respect the boundaries, you can remind them…and you can also take action for yourself. You can make a decision to not allow this treatment in your life. It is not against the person, it is placing boundaries about “treatment”, showing kindness to yourself and not punishment. It keeps you from being the victim.

Always be clear with yourself, what you can handle and why. Why would you stay in any situation with a person like this in your life? Maybe it is your boss and you can’t afford to leave the job? Maybe it is your husband, wife or life-long best friend and you are stuck as to what to do—hoping it will change? Maybe it is your lover, your soulmate and geez, wouldn’t it be great f they would just trust you instead of withdrawing? It’s not you they don’t trust, it is themselves.

Staying or leaving is up to you, but no matter what you decide—remember don’t do anything out of punishment. When you punish another, you punish yourself. You can physically feel the discomfort when we act against, only keep your light shining and you will attract others who come from the same place you do…. in any area of your life. Like attracts like.

And thus, once in awhile the drama starters come to a realization about how they create the drama, how disconnected, lonely and numb they are and reach out… the question is then, will anyone be standing in front of them to hold their hand as they come back to life? Seems like they always do in the movies.

And to be honest, I can recall intellectualizing another person whether they were my mate or employee as a way to feel superior….as though they were the crazy one and I was okay. Wow…what a great way to end up alone. And because I wanted to experience “life”, wake up each day without anxiety, suffering and a feeling of numbness; I made a decision to join the living and walk on my own hot coals.

It definitely beats living in my own box. Even when others admired me and told me I had it sooo together, I was cold and disconnected. It took my own desire to FEEL, to want dreams coming true in my life and not live in a low grade depression to finally transform from fear to love.

So my advice, love all, let go and if you know someone like I used to be….you never know they could surprise you one day, but don’t sacrifice yourself to being part of their drama. Declare your boundaries, live your life and watch what comes to you.

If you would like more information, check out my website or Facebook page. And please share your comments on drama here.

A Good Day!

I decided early in the morning yesterday, I would declare it a “Good Day”!

How many ways can a day show up as “good”? I guess it depends on how many ways I allow it.

Yesterday, the only expectation was good.

I was not attached to a specific outcome to have my 16 hours awarded as “good”.

Good is subjective; being open to it and aware of even the smallest goodness… makes a difference.

The day started with me on the elliptical at the crack of dawn. At first it was filled with bodies; “no personal space” (I like when I’m on the end machine and no one comes to the one next to me) and about 10 minutes later freedom!

And then I spoke too soon.

In the empty gym, someone decided that they would choose the one right next to me. And my ongoing saga of personal space in a gym continues…. as I find the humor in myself.

Later in the morning, I met a woman who trained as a coach, and has worked with several coaches in the past. She wants to be a resource for sending me referrals.

There was definitely synchronicity involved in our inspired meeting.

The day was good as it went on, nothing out of the ordinary like a pot of gold on my doorstep, but the surprises were welcome.

When I came to the office at Que Linda there was lovely energy and lunch waiting for me…unexpected and good.

As the day went on, an old client came in to find a book for the next leg of his journey. He seemed like a completely different person in perspective and the lightness in how he carried himself.

I love seeing people grow and become more content as they discover who they are and own it.

In the later afternoon, I provided a reading for a young woman who is about to go to India for 6 months. It was spur of the moment and as usual provides me with a perspective and connection.  And I was able to provide her with insight, and peace to the anxiety she had about taking the leap into the unknown.

My clairvoyant readings have become quite astounding in terms of what information I receive and offer to a client. Always emotional, tears and laughter, but people feel at peace and fulfilled. My ability to pick up energy of those who have passed on has also grown, although that was never an intention for me.

On another note, having to do with my “good” day; I have been inspired recently to paint.

I have always expressed myself creatively in the past. I had my own company years ago, which provided marketing and graphic design. Painting and sculpture on the other hand, were more of a private passion rather than something I share with others.

Over the week-end, I had shown a client a picture of one of my paintings.

She is an artist who has sold some of her own beautiful watercolor artwork in a variety of formats. (And through the work we are doing together is now inspired to do it again towards a “leap of faith” in where she wants to go with her life.)

She loved my art! Wow! I was blown away, it was like the Red Sea parted and a miracle took place!

In a sense it had, but it happened when I decided to take my parachute off weeks ago; when I decided to go full board into investing in just me and my endeavors for my business.

Not only that everyone I showed the picture of my painting to had the same response, but another person I know believes she has a buyer for this painting! Yes!!! 

I have allowed creativity 24/7. When I chose me; I chose fulfillment, success and happiness!

My creativity is fluid and a constant flow I am no longer choosing to stifle it in any part of my life.

My clients also benefit as they see my life opening in such fantastic ways.

Truly I am blessed as I write my book, blog, bring new clients into my coaching practice, learn web design, paint, contribute my marketing skills to the location I have my office and open to all sorts of possibilities personally.

My segue away from the events of yesterday was to illustrate how I ended my day yesterday.

I spent the evening, painting; when I look at my paintings, I have a different perspective. I see the value and the beauty. Just like when I look inside of myself.

I hope you had a good day too.

I would love to hear about your days.  Please write.  Have a “good” day!

Compassion is

When I was younger I held the belief that the world was black and white, right or wrong–I rarely questioned this concept. As I have gotten older, I came to realize things are never what they seem to the naked eye and shades of grey rule my existence far more than anything concrete and un-changeable.

I find forgiveness to be easier as I have gotten older too; there isn’t a person on Earth, that I expend energy holding a grudge toward in any capacity of my life. I may have momentary flashes of anger toward a person, though it will usually lead me to introspection and a different perception.

I am not usually motivated to be right; I’d rather be happy. I am motivated through a sense of connection, creation, love, passion and compassion.

I try to stay away from being self-righteous, although it can creep up on a person. The realization that you are on your high horse can be a rude awakening, it takes a heck of a lot of energy to stay in the saddle of self-righteous thoughts and behaviors. And catching yourself in the act can be the wake up call to unhitch the saddle and start walking toward compassion.

There have been times I have built a case against someone. I’ve done it when I’ve been hurt, feel misused, angry or allow myself to be victimized in some way. Examining “why” will lead to change. That is why many of us would rather suffer in the pain, then have the scary specter of the “unknown”. You know… being compelled to take action; create change. We’d rather suck it up. Instead of being there for ourselves, compassionate to our feelings, we toss our feelings aside. The frightening thought that we may have to say something uncomfortable to another who has hurt or offended us in some way, becomes cause for alarm. It scares people!! What if someone doesn’t like us, because we stood up for ourselves? 

It seems to be the way in my life, when it rains it pours (the pitter patter of the Universe waking me up with a 2×4). From family members to friends and clients, I was recently faced with this situation in every area of my life. I realized I had been pretty flexible or unclear with my boundaries, accommodating some at my expense. I decided I could continue each situation and let it go (actually we don’t let it go, we just stuff it in an overstuffed sock drawer in our mind to burst out later when it happens again) or I needed to practice authenticity and compassion.

Communication is the connection; if your relationship cannot withstand honest dialogue, it is probably sinking in quicksand. There are seemingly a lot of unsaid things beneath the surface. It means no real intimacy, truth, respect or friendship when you pretend it is all okay. Again, sucking it up and acting like everything is hunky dory is a huge disservice to all people involved. It continues the vicious cycle of resentment, anger and pain, ugh!! I practice compassion instead. I refuse to pile on the baggage of fear.

For me, each situation provided a different opportunity. The communication was not similar, but the consistency of honesty and compassion were the foundation. Each situation yielded distinct results. I came to new realizations and I am happy. It was scary as I navigated my way to find words, because I was intimidated by what could happen–I took the risk all in the name of COMPASSION. Not just compassion for me, but for others. If I would’ve sucked it up, I would have made the other person suffer in the long run too, because I would’ve been adding ingredients to a “stew” of resentment. Lucky me, now I get to celebrate the freedom in feeling light, allowing me to make clear-hearted decisions rather than block-headed ones. : )

I know many people who suffer from not being compassionate toward themselves. It can be difficult to break patterns. It is hard to set boundaries, especially when you believe your equipped with supernatural power to make others happy. Or maybe you are always the person to accomodate another’s schedule while disregarding your own. Maybe it comes down to making others like you, love you or think you are the bee’s knees. You may have a need and are compelled to be of service to others. Maybe you say “yes” when you mean “no”, or maybe you’ve allowed yourself to be a dumping ground for other people and allow them to unload their issues on you and blame you, if you protest. I have heard these statements from many personally, professionally and from myself in the past.

It is easy to become self-righteous and indignant when you feel you are giving too much. It always comes back to the same thing, giving with no strings attached from the bottom of your heart and not to be IN CONTROL, liked, approved of or validated. If you are depleted, then STOP–back up, danger Will Robinson! Have compassion for the person you will end up resenting because you’ve kept a scorecard and for you, because it takes a lot of energy to keep the score.

Compassion gives you a kinder, gentler, more genuine way to go through life. It is the way to peace for us all. Joy breeds joy and a heart unencumbered by resentment, leads to deeper connections, happiness and opportunity for the positive to come knocking on your door.

Picture is Quan Yin (Guanyin) Goddess of Compassion.

Moods of a Mirror

At times we get so caught up being busy with what is going on in life that we forget about ourselves. We lose connection with how we feel in the moment, and what we need. We forget to stop to take a breather and give to US. Many times we get caught up with what everyone else needs, as we leave ourselves simmering on the back burner.

Love is always there. It never disappears, it just seems there can be thick woolly layers in-between, where we can’t feel it peacefully existing inside for ourselves and others. A myriad of emotions can block the feeling of love. Distraction distances us, such as when I get caught up in what is going on; whether I am knee deep in work, walking my daughter around her new campus or paying bills; “I” am not in the picture frame.

In that moment, my focus is all outward. There is no focus inward.

Often, I feel some heavy feeling, something causing a nagging feeling of discomfort and it finally makes me realize that I am disconnected. So, I stop what I am doing for a second and ask myself “How am I feeling?” The more often I check in with myself, the more it brings me back to being in the moment and grounded in myself. Instead, of putting the feelings aside…I let them come up for a visit, so they move on and then I can continue my day in a much happier space.

I give my clients a 2 part exercise in awareness and getting in touch with themselves.

In the first part I ask them to stop and ask “how are you feeling” several times a day. Many have never connected to their emotions and don’t know what to expect; even though there has been initial reluctance from some of them, the results have been amazing!

Many people are afraid to feel their real feelings, because they think it will overtake them and ruin their mood, heck I’ve had clients tell me it could ruin their whole day! They believe their negative feelings will consume them and they will become incoherent, catatonic or hysterical. I ask,  What is the mood you are in when you don’t allow yourself to feel your feelings? A false sense of contentment? Or an on-going sadness or anxiety greeting you as you wake and yet, you are so used to it that it feels normal everyday?

The second part is to check in and develop an awareness of being in their body as they walk, drive, and go about their day. Most of us distract ourselves with things like the radio when we drive or thinking of our to-do list as we walk, sit and even try to fall asleep. If you start to pay attention to being in your body and what you are experiencing in the moment, you will immediately feel calmer and more connected.

Pushing down feelings, prolongs the agony and in the long run promotes all sorts of emotional and physical ailments. Stress, anxiety, depression are a few, not to mention the studies done regarding the links of your emotional state to cancer and other diseases.

We do things to distract ourselves from what we are really feeling in many ways from shopping, eating, drinking, sleeping, burying ourselves in work and the list continues… And/or we compartmentalize emotions and situations….and “say” nothing to anyone to avoid confrontation or opinions or CHANGE.

Mmmm….it is easier to be kind to oneself. Kindness consists of allowing. Allowing emotions, feelings, communication that is meant to be honest and informative from our most authentic self.

Kindness is in how we treat ourselves. Bestowing kindness on myself by taking care of me, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Kindness is what I like to fill up my glass with each day. When I am kind to others, I feel good. The mirror is always reflected back.

When I punish others, I punish myself. I know that if I am punishing someone, I may feel good for a minute or two…but then, the guilt starts and the second-guessing and the remorse….and then I feel worse than I did to start.

So, I ask…why make yourself feel bad? Instead hug yourself, look in mirror and smile! Take time out to sit and stare at the sky day or night; write a poem, eat dessert….if you are depriving yourself of pleasure…..bring it on, give yourself pleasure!!! Pleasure without guilt. Pleasure because you deserve it, because you exist. You are worth it!

Should, must and have to

It’s been a very busy past few days and I haven’t been able to sit down and write here. I will be posting about my “believing project” later on today. I have one participant and am hoping for another….and now we are at 362 days on the belief project (YAY!). And believing has already shown up as manifesting for the two of us.

Anywho— this post is about  “should, must and have to”, just a few words really. I do my best in keeping those words out of my vocabulary, thoughts or expectations in life.

“Should, must and have to”, have me stop in my tracks and ask the following: What do I want to do? Why am I feeling I should do “fill in the blank”? What will happen if I don’t do what I should do, think or feel?  What happens if I am honest with myself or others?

There are so few things that actually qualify as “must do’s”, unless they are truly for “me”. I matter. I hope most people in my life “want” me to show up, not show up because I “have to”…seems a lousy way to “appear” to get your way.

Now when it comes to a goal I have whether it is cleaning my house, building a business or going out with someone…those still come from a “want”. When someone tells me I MUST believe something, the buck stops right there—reality is based on “one’s” own perception, not someone else’s idea.

I MUST earn a living, true….yet, can’t it be enjoyable and something I LOVE and WANT to do? Heck yeah!!! I feel blessed to wake up and do both coaching and marketing most days of the week. I feel like a kid in a candy store!

If you are doing a job you abhor, it is your own fear and limitation which keep you in that place. Not to be blunt or unkind, but that is a choice you make to stay stuck. The comfort of what you know (even if you are unhappy) vs. the unknown and the discomfort which comes with it….many people would rather keep the music inside of them, then to go through the fear and live it! Whatever you let hold you in a “should”, is something to be examined.

Oftentimes people do what another expects of them, because they fear hurting that person’s feelings or because they are afraid of being judged as a bad person or some other negative judgment. Take the whole judgment out of the equation and be honest, you may find the other party respects you for it! Most people don’t want to feel they have forced someone to do something, we want to believe they show up in a genuine way.

I realize we all ask for advice at different times. Sometimes for corroboration of what we believe or cuz we feel stuck or we just can’t see the light. A person who has a well-developed sense of themselves, will consider what is stated and see how the advice fits into their world.

On the other hand, a person who doesn’t feel good about themselves, feels they make bad decisions AND will feel even worse about themselves if they don’t take the advice given; creates an inner judge.

In turn, the words “should, must or have to” are grasped onto as to feel okay, liked or believe you are finally doing the right thing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t buy you the ticket to happiness. It brings guilt, a feeling of helplessness, being conflicted and confused,  and questioning your own ability to make good decisions, you feel worse. There is not another person on the planet who’s advice you “should” take, unless you “want” to, because it feels right for you. That is a choice. A person giving the advice, doesn’t wake up and put your shoes on everyday, only you do.

Learning to trust your own knowledge of what you “should” do plays into a much bigger picture, again it comes from what you want for your goals in life.

If I want to buy a new car and I know saving money will help me to achieve that goal, then I may say: “I should save this money instead of splurging on this pair of shoes.” In light of the bigger goal, the overall “want”, may create a “should” toward the bigger picture.

Of course, if you constantly state what you “want” in your life and do the opposite, then one has to ask what is really wanted and why the self sabotage in getting to the goal?

Letting go of the ties that bind us to the “shoulds” creates a space, it gives freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom to live and breathe as one wishes to do so in this fantastic journey called life.

“Choices” the first post

We are a compendium of exquisite qualities that create the entire contents of each of us human beings.

Inside of us, we are well-done and rare; black and white, yin and yang, rough and smooth, pretty and ugly, light and dark–we are everything in this world and its opposite.

Yep, us humans are a contradiction in terms of what makes up the “whole” of us. You can’t pretend certain qualities of you can be ignored or disowned. It  is a difficult feat to continually perform every night in the crowd-pleaser revue as the lead actor , what do you do for an encore?

Many people are not even conscious of the energy involved in hiding the less appealing parts of themselves, so that they will be liked and accepted by others. It really doesn’t work for many reasons. In dismissing certain elements of yourself for ones that seem more positive, you aim for perfection, an impossible goal. And no matter how hard you try to possess only pristine characteristics, you probably won’t gain many fans. On top of it, you experience a lack of fulfillment and a deep degree of unhappiness. It would seem to be WAY, WAY easier to accept all of you–every nook and cranny of your being. Acceptance leads to falling deeper in love with yourself. It can be easier said than done when it comes to breaking old habits, which keep our authentic self from being seen by others.

As you may already know, we bond with people over their imperfections rather than their perfection. We share a common humanity and it is good to recognize in each other what exactly makes us so human.

I stopped making most of my choices based on what I thought would please other people a long time ago.

Once in a while, I catch myself making a choice having nothing to do with my happiness, in fact I may disregard my feelings entirely. But my perception requires me to believe in making this choice, because I will make another person happy. Funny, how setting out to make someone else happy, usually backfires–the other person doesn’t fully appreciate the effort or they aren’t doing anything to feed their own happy wagon, so its like feeding a black hole–its never enough! When I’ve made a choice that isn’t in my own truth, I try not to make myself feel worse by criticizing myself. I try to be kind to “myself” and realize I made an error or mistake in judging the personal cost to me. And usually, if given another opportunity, I will make a different choice, one that is from a more honest place inside of me. If I stay the course from my heart, my own truth, the part of me not attached to an outcome or manipulation…I am happier no matter what the result.

I know for me, it is a constant reminder to remain aware of my thoughts. I have to remain very cognizant of the words/actions that I take in making decisions, from big to small…they all count. It is a diligent effort with a HUGE payoff. Seems like hard work? Well, it is and it isn’t. Instead of giving that same amount of  energy to repetitive or negative thoughts and patterns, which keep me stuck; I instead, take that same energy and apply it to awareness.

I pay attention to what I do and how I feel doing it! 

It allows me to change my mind about what I was intending to do, by making completely different choices.

Let’s say I am tired from working all week and I really wanna stay home, watch a movie and go to sleep. Sounds good, and it’s easy, right? Yeah, well I may as well call it a lifetime and take the next train out of here, especially if I do this every single week. Now, the new choice entails me stepping out of my comfort zone. Instead of staying home every Friday night, because it is easy, I decide to attend a party one night .The party includes many lovely people I really love and an opportunity to connect with them, laughing and having fun! It seems it would be an obvious decision to make, friends and love vs. staleness (although I’d be a well-rested curmudgeon), but not in this case. Why? Because I am conditioned to automatically say “no”, to stepping out of my comfort zone. “Me” go out when I prefer to just go to bed, that can be a hard habit to break, especially when I am not even conscious that I may be avoiding something by not going out and engaging with others. It’s one of my favorite quandaries. And the one which requires me to be very mindful, applying a deeper degree of awareness, because it is insidious….

It’s very clear that I’ve spent years saying “no” to something, because I know from a past experience what “may” happen. Even though, we can never be sure that the past would indicate what will take place in the present. I know that I prefer the safe and comfortable route, regardless if it makes me unhappy. That good ol’ tried and true is the path to staleness and boredom. Now when I catch myself saying “no” automatically to something; I stop myself and ask “why not?” What is the worst thing that may happen if I say “yes”?   So, I blurt out a “yes” strap on my astro-pack, fasten my seatbelt , let go of the outcome and enjoy the ride. I’ve learned there are so many experiences I miss out on by saying “no” and the more I say “yes” and trust that all will be okay…the happier I am and the more I appreciate my growing ability to act in my own best interest! Plus–it OPENS up so many opportunities that I would have missed had I stuck to the standard answer of “no”. Another little goody is that I may have great fun in the “present”, which may alter my perception of the same “event” in the past that really sucked. Choices is where it is at…we always have em’ and we can always change our mind (at least 90% of the time).

My next post on choices will cover the times we believe we don’t have a choice in a situation….and like I said, we always have a choice.

To suffer is human?

Is suffering a necessary quality of being alive? Do we create much of our own suffering based on what we think we deserve?

I used to believe I had to be punished or suffer to achieve a goal. In my “unquestioned” belief system there needed to be a massive payment for achievement. If I didn’t suffer, more than likely I never noticed what I had gained at the time. If it came easy, how could it be worthy? And if I didn’t practically break myself in two to have what I wanted, then I believed I would not deserve what I desired….I needed to suffer enough. I usually felt I had to come from behind to win the race, the relationship or the real estate. It didn’t matter the situation, there just needed to be the appropriate amount of anguish associated with “winning” the prize.

Pain is not optional. Suffering is optional.

Suffering is never fulfilling, it may be comfortable and even familiar (as all old unhealthy patterns are just that–they prolong the pain). It is up to each one of us if we want to put ourselves through the gut and heart wrenching travels of bondage to pain. It is a choice. The deal is when you “resist” what “is“, you create suffering. It means, when you experience something that causes you pain, either you accept it or resist it…the decision is yours as to which is your mode of operation.

Most pain comes to us through things that are out of our personal control. So, if we have no control over certain events, why do we think by suffering we somehow win control of our circumstances? Whenever we have created a story for ourselves of what we believe reality is and what we hope it to be in the future, many times it will lead us to the doorway to disappointment. Sometimes things don’t go as planned–in fact most of the time there is a curve ball or some unforeseen obstacle or dead end we never anticipated. Or maybe we did anticipate that which we were involved in creating would bring us pain on purpose (welcome to self sabotage 101–the subject of other postings to come), maybe we felt undeserving of anything less than suffering in our life, in fact maybe we relish the suffering, because we know it so well.

It’s all about our beliefs and perceptions that create a disparity between truth and fantasy in how we approach our own reality. See life as it is, tell yourself the truth, don’t try to shield the pain–it just creates suffering. Doesn’t it seem a bit kinder and more compassionate, if we can feel our pain and embrace the emotions; while telling ourselves this to shall pass(and it will)? Instead of continuing to beat ourselves up with “shoulda’s, coulda’s and woulda’s”? And on top of it believe that nothing better will ever replace what we lost?

Giving yourself a hug, a bath, an ice-cream cone, a good laugh or some other act of kindness that you would offer to a friend who was in pain, seem like a much more loving gesture to offer to yourself? I vote “YES” as my answer….stop the suffering and feel the pain!  And in it, you feel the joy that is always present as you realize that indeed everything changes, including how you feel right in this moment.

I began to notice at one point in my life when I was battling reality and refusing to see things as they really were, that I would physically feel as if I was in a “fight”. I could feel the resistance in my body. When I accepted that life was different in this moment than I wanted it to be, I could feel my body relax. Even if I was not particularly thrilled with my situation and I was experiencing some pain, it took away my being stuck in the depths of suffering when I stopped resisting the here and now. I stopped telling myself this shouldn’t be happening to me, because as I knew deep down inside, it WAS happening! And even better, being human means that everyone here on this planet experiences pain too–so I should just join the party and know we all share that in our humanity. It’s a part of life. And wow, why did I feel like it was being done to me (And yes, victimhood will be another whimsical topic of another post : ) ) and that I must suffer, because why? Why? Well there is a list, just like Santa had his list of who was “naughty and nice” I had my  OWN list of all things that made me  believe I was undeserving, not good enough, bad ,un-talented, wrong, unloveable and the list goes on…and on. In a sense it was an indulgence, an entitlement to say my pain was worse than your pain….see, see me suffer?

Who wants to out-suffer and outdo the shackles of long term suffering more than the rest of the world? Not I…I prefer FUN and lotsa happiness, so I took responsibility for my experience, began to really appreciate what I do have in my life and I let go of what I couldn’t/can’t control. I dropped a ton of old negative beliefs about myself and my life, which all in turn changed my perception. Change your beliefs, your perceptions or maybe just your sunglasses and stop resisting, accept “what is” and miracles can happen. Suffering is a choice, so my friend, make a different choice. YES!!

An excerpt from a book I read, got me thinking

I found this excerpt interesting; when I read it—I did EXACTLY what the author expected. Although, I wonder if it is truly my reality or not, at least in how he explains. Or if the reality is when someone tells us NOT to do something, it illicits a rebellious response of “well, why not?” and then we barrel through and do it anyway!! Please let me know your thoughts after you read it.

“Don’t, Not and No”

Don’t think of the statue of liberty in New York. I know that you just did! Your unconcious and conscious mind automatically filter out the words don’t, not and no. When you use these words you are actually internalizing in your mind the exact thing you are being told not to. For example, if I said “Do not think of a snowstorm,” I guarantee you would start thinking of a snowstorm immediately. Even though the instruction was not to do something, your unconcious mind edited out that part of the instruction. There are other common expressions that give more attention and energy to what you DON’T want. Have you heard yourself use any of these statements?

Don’t get madI’m not blaming

Don’t hesitate to call me

Don’t be fooled

Don’t worry

I don’t want this to hurt

Don’t litter

Don’t smoke

I’m not judging

Don’t panicNo rush, no worry

Don’t look now

Don’t run with scissors

Don’t forget

I don’t want my clients to cancel

Don’t be late

Don’t slam the door

Don’t eat dessert

The book goes on to say that attraction works the same way your mind does: it hears what you DON’T want. It means you are giving attention and energy to what you don’t want. And so what can you do? What is a new choice when you realize you are unconciously falling into a pattern of “don’t, no or not”…..ask yourself, “So, what do I want?”

I do believe when you ask yourself what you want, you now give yourself freedom and choice where you may not have been aware of it in the moment of anger, frustration or even slight irritation. I know when I ask this question of myself, I feel better immediately–lighter, happier and more open. I’d be curious to hear feedback on any or all of this post.