NEXT037 Living Your Life Well!

Posted on : 21-08-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Heart Talks

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George Herbert said, “Living well is the best revenge” and I would say “living well is the best way to love” because if you can’t love yourself enough to live your life well then no matter how much you want to love others, there will always be that part of you that is not being loved and taken care of that will get in the way. Like pants caught in-between the car door and the seal of your car.  In one of the 12-step programs that I frequent it is often said, “put recovery first and the rest will follow”.  When I first got into this recovery group, I could not understand what the shimdiggidy they were talking about at all.  Put recovery first? That sounded way too selfish to me but what I came to understand is that before learning a way of life that has taught me how to take care of myself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually—-I was constantly putting myself first, but not in a good way. Or rather, I was putting those things that hurt me (alcohol, drugs, nicotine, caffeine, food, etc.) first before anything or anyone else.  Well how much do you think I was really able to give to others when I clearly didn’t know how to care for myself?  Yeah, not much.

Today I try to live my life well for all of the reasons I just talked about AND because not only can I be there for other people but I want to be there for other people.  I don’t live my life well today out of revenge but more out of gratitude. That and making amends to myself and others who got in harms way when my life was all about avoiding life.

Taking one simple step to living your life well can start you on the road to a freedom that is second to none.  Recovery from addictions have been many steps along my road but maybe your story doesn’t have addictions in it, maybe your story is thinking about yourself and what you really need (and want) in your life that you have been avoiding. Like how about your health?  Have you been to your doctor/dentist for an annual check-up lately? Make that appointment this week if you haven’t?

What’s one simple step you’re going to take this week to living your life well?

Joyous Dolphins Jumping Out of Water

NEXT036 Comittment to Writing

Posted on : 21-08-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Mind Fodder

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Enjoyed visiting with friends tonight and getting caught up on our lives over the past summer as well as finding out what books everyone is reading and even brought two said books home with me.  The first, is the latest Barbara Kingsolver, “The Lacuna” , always love Barbara because I know I can count on the heavy research she does for every book she writes and the second one won a National Book Award and is called “Three Junes” by Julia Glass.  The latter is a first novel by Julia Glass, which brings me to the point of this post.

Commitment.

Here I am typing through my blurry eyes because I made the commitment to blog 365 blogs in 365 days and I had not blogged today.  For an author to publish a book, much less have it win an award or become a New York Times Bestseller, it takes commitment on their part to carve out time each day to write, research, dig in to their craft.  I’m good at making some commitments, such as caring for our animals, making sure they are safe , healthy, well-fed and well-loved.  I’m committed to my husband and to our marriage.  I’m committed to helping David water all of our poor trees and shrubs on our property so that they can survive the Texas Drought of 2011. I’m committed to all sorts of things and people which is pretty much a miracle since I used to be someone who was pretty terrified of being committed to anything or anyone.  But making a commitment to writing/blogging everyday is somehow just a little bit harder because really this commitment is to myself, to write everyday no matter what.  I hope there are people reading my blog and hopefully enjoying it and taking something away, but even if there is not one person eyeballing my writing—I need to make this commitment to myself to see through my dream of someday compiling my thoughts into a book.

Right now, however, I’m making a commitment to completing this post so that I can say that I’ve done it and then go to sleep. Tomorrow, I’ll make more of an effort to write when more than two brain cells are working together at any one time!

What commitment will you make (and keep) for yourself today?

Calvin and Hobbs on writing a Ph.D. Dissertation

NEXT035 Resistance And Procrastination, Part Two*

Posted on : 19-08-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Creativity

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*Thank you Steven Pressfield. author of my “resistance is futile” Bible book, “The War of Art”.  Whenever my muses run away and leave me hollow and forlorn, all I have to do is pick up this book and open it up to the first page, okay sometimes the third or fourth page that I “hit” and there will be an inspiration for me to write about.  This time it was from the chapter, “Resistance and Procrastination, Part Two” which says:

The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off til our deathbed.

Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives.  There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance. 

This second, we can sit down and do our work.

For a writer/blogger these days, it is such a ripe environment to pull out and over the blanket of procrastination.  ugh. What an awful feeling to have that part of you that just HAS TO WRITE BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT WE ARE IS A WRITER but then that sluggish part that crawls all down into our low self-esteem to convince us that there really is no hope for us ever getting our pieces read much less published because of all the people out there who are writing and blogging and getting paid millions already! Much less that they are half my age!

Call B.S. on yourself and get to writing.  Never before has it been so easy for us to write and rewrite and revise and publish.  Just put your pen to paper or pull up WORD on your PC and get to writing.  Let whatever comes out, come out.  Somewhere in the dribble there will be a gem, I promise.  You may not recognize it immediately, but it will be there. Trust the process.

Now quit reading this and get back to work. Your audience is waiting?!

"Resistance is Futile" Borg Queen from Star Trek Enterprise

NEXT034 But Seriously Folks….

Posted on : 18-08-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Humor

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Why is it that when some of us get pushed right up to the edge of handling just about all we can in life, that’s when life get’s the funniest?   I’ve often shared with my Boarding School mates that one of the devices that helped us “survive” being sent (in most cases) to a military (for the boys) religious (not that there’s anything the matter with that) school for three years was humor.  I almost began making constant brrr brrr sounds with my fingers on my lips when my parents told me that I would be living at this school when I was fifteen.

Off and on in my life, from the most extreme cases to the not-so-extreme when I sidled right up the edge of going over because I can’t handle anything more…humor just bursts out of me.  I blame both my parents for that.  We kids often begged our mother to make those funny faces that only she could make by raising one eyebrow (ambi-brows) at a time and making her lips go sideways (both sides) at a time.  Very talented but never brought her to show off at school.  My father is hilarious both with words and actions.  And both my brothers are too.  Anyway. Being an in-the-closet-comedian, whenever something drastic would happen in my life I’d always remember that even though whatever was happening at the time could really suck, it could also be really good “material” later on.

Take an awful car wreck at 21 when I passed out at the wheel and woke up just as I was going over an overpass to fly down and land just south of the railroad tracks.  Doesn’t seem like hilarity abounding right off the bat does it?  But I can’t tell you how many laughs I’ve been able to milk out of the story when I tell about the policeman who first found me. And it’s all because of a retainer that I wore at the time that had one false tooth on it.  The policeman came upon me after I had tumbled around in the car, crawled out the back window and up the 70 foot embankment on my butt.  As you can imagine, I was covered with blood, sweat and tears as well as everything in-between.  I kept passing out off and on and woke up as the policeman crab walked over to me, jumping back and forth like a sumo wrestler on steriods.  Part of what was freaking him out was that retainer which had landed on my chest.  I’m sure in his brain, he was connecting the dots of my bleeding facial orifices and that retainer…but incorrectly.   I remember trying to calm him down by saying to him, “it’s okay, I usually don’t look like this”. True story.

I bring this up, this trying not to take ourselves and this life too seriously now because I almost choked on my spit this morning waking up to NPR hearing about the economy (AGAIN) and Afghanistan (AGAIN) as well as the local weather report of 105 degrees (AGAIN) with another bright shiny day for us to enjoy.  There’s nothing to do but laugh at the insanity of it all.  Either that or dive down to the drain in my pool and stay there forever.  And I mostly like this life, so I think I’ll find a way to weather it (pun intended) as best I can.

How about you? Are you taking yourself too seriously today?

 

NEXT033 Somewhere Between Here and There

Posted on : 17-08-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Communication

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Okay, let me get this straight. What “everyone” is saying (you know “everyone” and “the experts” and “them”….) is that in the “old days” it used to be so much better because…XYZ…and now everything is moving too fast and no one is spending time to connect with each other “like we did in the old days”….is that about what we’ve been hearing/reading/understanding about what is going on today?

I finally have been able to download a few of the episodes of “Mad Men” (which is about the slick world of advertisers, men and women of the 1950’s) and am horrified about how misogynistic it is towards women.   Even though I came along a decade later, there were still vestiges of that era that wafted its way through my growing up years.  Trust me, even in the “free love” decades of the 60’s and 70’s, people as a whole were still hiding behind their facades for the most part.   Even in the 1980’s when the world really let loose and fantastic creative ways of acting out were expressed through art, music and the way we dressed … we were all still not completely communicating with each other individually and at a group level.  We were rushing to there to get away from here.

In the 1990’s and the beginning of the 00’s, the internet and the mighty web sprouted to life.  I’ll never forget that feeling the first time I communicated with someone back and forth in real time.  It was almost sensual the level of immediate intimacy that took place.  I could definitely “feel” someone’s personality just by how they communicated with their words, because there wasn’t the distraction of the person or any of my other senses.  Just the words.

And now we find ourselves in today where most of us are interacting by at least one social networking group if not two or three or more.  I must confess that it does kind of mess with the judge in my brain when I’m walking through a University campus and see almost everyone that I come across fervently looking at their iphone while texting madly with one thumb. The one hope is that evidently hormones are stronger than any smart phone can come up with yet and so where the pheromones are flying, people are engaging in conversation and direct eye-contact.  In so many ways, our lives are so much richer today than they’ve ever been.  As a species, we humans are more able to connect with each other today on a deeper level then ever.  And therein lays the rub.  I’m learning that the human condition is such that we will always be looking for that next thing that will make our lives the best ever. I’m sure it is an evolutionary composite of our personalities. That we are always striving to improve our lives.  The trick is to remember, when we are able, to enjoy those moments of  in-between here and there.

I don’t know how you remember things, but some of my sweetest memories are what I call “postcards from the Divine”.  I will remember the color of the setting sun on clouds at 8:00pm on a summer night.  My brain recalls the warm cream/yellow of the clouds with the pinkish highlight on the sides and the brush of purple on the bottom.  I’m pretty sure that these “postcards” are what help me remember the specialness of everyday.

Remember that it only takes a moment to stand in the middle of now and open your arms up wide to accept it.  I’m a collector of these kind of postcards of yesterday and today for reviewing tomorrow.  How about you?  What postcards will you give to yourself?

 

NEXT032 When The Still Small Voice Inside Isn’t Either

Posted on : 16-08-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Business, Communication

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In coaching, religion, therapy and other self-help modalities you will often be encouraged to listen to the still small voice within you.  For many of us, to get to that still small voice is like running through the dark alleys of a very fast moving and sophisticated city (as in one of my fav sci-fi movies, “Blade Runner”).  There are other louder voices that are constantly moving us towards our fears and away from the truth that we have to navigate over and through before we can sidle up quietly to hear that still small voice within.  For many of us though, we have to simply take it on the faith of others who say they have heard (and often listen to) that still small voice—that someday we too will be able to hear it.    Loosely using the framework of the 12-steps of AA, here are some steps I’ve taken to evolve the voices to one still small voice:

  1. The first step to getting to the still small voice is to admit that there is a cacophony of noises that I’ve/you’ve/we’ve  allowed to get in the way.
  2. The second step is to believe that that is a still small voice within all of us.
  3. Reach out for help whether it be from a trusted friend, family member, clergy member, psychologist, mentor, etc. — someone who can help you navigate through the bramble.
  4. Document what you are noticing about the voice or voices in your head.  One of the Founder’s of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Richard Bandler has many books and CDs that teaches you how to work with the voices in your head that you want to transform.
  5. Find someone you trust who you can share what you’ve discovered about the voices in your head and how you want to be able to hear the still small voice within.
  6. Resolve to take consecrated action towards training your brain how to direct its attention away from the committee of unhelpful voices by focusing on the positive truths that you know.
  7. Keep asking for help in getting your thoughts in alignment with how you want your mind to be. (I don’t know about you, but I want a nice place to hang out!)

For me it has taken concentration, focus, tenacity, patience, trust, trust  and more trust to weed out the voices that no longer serve my mind.  I’m sure at some point in my life these voices probably had to be REALLY LOUD to get my attention so that I wouldn’t harm myself or others but I’ve grown up quite a lot since then and am capable and willing of taking responsibility for the thoughts that ramble through my brain.

You can do this too if you’re willing to take one small step towards trusting that it is possible for you!

 

 

NEXT031 Shake it Up!

Posted on : 15-08-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Career Stuff

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Seth Godin’s blog today was  “Dig yourself a hole”. The premise is that “focused energy and serious intent will help you to do your very best work”.  More importantly, creating a space so deep and narrow that you don’t have anyway to go except up or forward. In other words, you can’t escape.  Of course the song that immediately began playing in my head was “Shake it up” by The Cars. Shaking up the complacency, rut or routine of your life is a good thing.  You never know what will fall out or together.

It doesn’t take a huge leap to shake it up, in fact, you can shake it up in very small steps.  Here are some of my ideas:

1.) Drive a different way to work (or to run errands, visit a friend, etc.);

2.) Blast out making appointments that you’ve been putting off one right after the other. Today I took care of three doctor/dental appointments that I’ve been sitting on all summer;

3.) Clean out your files/desk…be willing to THROW  AWAY/SHRED as much as you can.  Make room for new energy coming in.

4.) If you’re not used to doing thins by yourself, go do something by yourself. Enjoy a movie or go to a museum.  Likewise, if you’re not used to doing something with someone else, invite someone to enjoy an activity with you.

5.) Think of one thing you’ve been saying that you were going to do for awhile now.  Don’t say anything more about it until you’re at least half way to completing it.

6.) Find a meeting that you can go to, listen in on, or watch that is on a subject that you know very little about but have been curious about.

7.) Quit smoking. Quit drinking. Quit over eating. Trust me, any one of these things will shake your routine up!

8.) Find a class that you can take to learn something new.  Be willing to stretch out of your comfort zone.

9.) Write or call someone and tell them thank you for something that you wanted to tell them but never find the time.

10.) Rearrange all the furniture in one room of your home.  Move plants, art, pictures, etc.  Find new ways of expressing yourself.

Remember to enjoy yourself and for heaven sake’s SHAKE IT UP!!

NEXT030 Being Curious, But In A Good Way!

Posted on : 14-08-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Mind Fodder

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One of the skills I learned from a mentor Coach years ago was to be curious about another person instead of just assuming that I knew who they were and what they were about.  I’d often heard the suggestion to be curious of others if you are shy or have a low self-esteem and find yourself alone in social gatherings. Instead of dwelling on yourself and staring at your toes, become curious of the people around you.  And there’s a way to be politely curious and a way to be obnoxious.  Genuine interest in other people will help guide you through to know when someone is happy to answer questions (why they are at the same party you are or who they know there) and when they’re not (they give you a quick answer and no eye contact….move along!).

When I first got into technical recruiting years ago, I had no experience with the industry (technical writers and editors) and had no idea what recruiting even meant.  So I became curious. Curious about what my boss wanted, curious about the terminology being used much less about the technology itself and curious about the people that we were hiring and the clients we were hiring for.  Within a short space of time, I became very good at recruiting and I believe it was my curiosity to learn that  helped me.  I went on from that job into working my way up the ladder for another consulting company who hired all kinds of high level technical software experts. We hired people from all over the United States as well as the world.  Because of that, when a new hire would come through our offices to sign paperwork, etc., I would always ask them to show me on a map where they were from.  It was very interesting to me to see where people were from who lived in Europe, India, Canada, Australia, etc. and as I got to know these consultants as friends I learned more about their cultures and how they interacted.

Tonight, I took the Paul-dog for a walk (or he took me…) and waved good evening to a gentleman walking on the cross street.  He seemed happy to meet another neighbor walking and pointed to the sky commenting very happily and very rapidly with a strong Indian accent (I couldn’t tell where he was from in India…) but I soon caught on that he was complimenting the dark rain clouds that were piling up in the north and hoping that it would bring rain soon.  I responded happily that I hoped it would too and he beamed at me shaking his head back and forth in a happy Indian way.  Our interaction made my walk!

Granted, I am not curious about everyone out there—sometimes I’d just as soon be judgmental and call it a day!  But for those social situations when I may not know anyone, being curious helps me to get out of myself and learn more about my fellows around me.

How can you be curious today?

NEXT029 Just Back Away From What’s Obsessing You

Posted on : 13-08-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Heart Talks

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A good friend with years in recovery for alcohol and addiction used to tell me, “f ya gotta gotta say it or ya gotta gotta do it, you probably shouldn’t do either”.  Her advice really helped me in many a situation when I was just bursting to react in some inappropriate way because  if I didn’t say or do that thing that I thought I had to say or do life would end as I knew it.  Over the years, I’ve learned to “process” my feelings, thoughts, and reactions with therapists, friends and family. Meditation has also helped me to learn how to “pause when agitated” until I could respond to a situation instead of have a hair trigger reaction.   What I’ve put together over the years is that when I can come from a calm place that doesn’t have that cold hard edge of obsession to it, then I can give myself a beat or two in order to make a conscious choice with my words and actions.  Skills that I just assumed that everyone else in this world naturally had, except me!  Turns out, some of us do have them  but then  a whole lot of us don’t and that’s okay as long as we are willing to learn what we need to learn.

It’s so weird how I used to try to deal with my obsessive nature.  On the one hand, I would clean my house til it shown to perfection.  That was with dogs and cats living inside with me too!  Everything was chillingly sparkling and clean but if you happened to look in my closet or in my drawers they’d probably be crammed full of stuff all in disarray.  Says a whole lot about how I was in the world—trying to look good on the outside like a duck on top of the water all the while peddling as fast as I could underneath.  Today, my house is clean but I bet there’s a cobweb or two that I may have missed.  My drawers are pretty neat and so is my closet. In fact, I try not to have anything in them that I don’t love and use regularly.  I’ve learned to let go of the obsession of perfection about things such as having all my books in my home office in some kind of order by title or author name.  Instead, I have them in places by subject and I know about where a book is depending on what it is about.  If I ever find myself obsessing over my filing or what I have in my step file on top of my desk, I know that is a sign that I’m avoiding something that I’d rather not take a closer look at and instead worry about the piping on the material of the furniture on the Titanic so to speak.

My Dad is fond of saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and I know that is a hard earned saying for him because we are so much more alike than I ever figured.  I know I got a lot of my tendencies for perfection from him but I also got the ability to let go, ride and glide through life as well.  There’s a happy balance in there somewhere and life is just so much easier to live when we’re able to back away from what we’re obsessing on.

How about you? What can you back away from today?

 

NEXT028 Go for Being Unrealistic!

Posted on : 13-08-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Business, Career Stuff, Leadership

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My good friend Kat posted an awesome video about the actor Will Smith which is very inspiring to me. Among the things Will talks about is that being unrealistic is okay if not an ideal to really go for!  As I swam my mile laps this afternoon I thought about what it meant to be unrealistic and what Will was trying to communicate to us about not setting limits on ourselves about what we can accomplish.

It occurred to me as I was swimming and thinking (135 laps gives you plenty of time to mull things over!) that I had many people to be grateful for pushing past what was unrealistic.  Take the pool I swim in for example! We bought our home 15 years ago pretty much because of the pool.  It’s not a little kidney shaped pool….it’s nice and long and conducive for swimming many laps.  I would imagine that the people who built it had to have been told how unrealistic it was to even build a pool (“you’ll never make the money back on what you put into it”….) much less the kind of pool they built for swimmers. But boy am I glad they did!

During Will Smith’s video montage he talks about working and focusing hard on what you want in your life.  As he was talking to the host he used the example of each of them getting on treadmill’s  and that either the host would get off first or Will would die trying to be the last one off.  I so understand that kind of  drive and mentality.  I couldn’t say that I’ve applied that kind of desire to my coaching in a traditional way, meaning I’m not going to bowl everyone over who I think is in my path and keeping me from being the best Coach ever.  But I do have a drive to attract a specific kind of client—the kind who has already done a lot of growth work on themselves mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically and who wants to dive in deep to get the most out of coaching they can.  In a way, my usual hard-headed, unrealistic approach to the kind of work I enjoy doing has allowed me to carve out a pretty nice life for myself.  I’m not driving around in a fancy car or wearing designer threads all the time but I am directing all my decisions and actions towards being able to live and work in a way that is more in alignment with who I am.  Let’s face it, having my dogs curled around the edge of my chair while I type this is much more preferable to me than driving to a beautiful office up in the sky everyday.  Not that I don’t appreciate the beauty and excitement of an office like that, but having my home office, dogs and sometimes husband around me stirs my creative juices like no other place I’ve ever worked.

How will you go beyond the unrealistic today?  Have you already been going for it and if you have, tell us how?!