WRITE013 Money Can’t Buy It

Posted on : 20-12-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Featured, Heart Talks

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Well, of course, there is a lot money can buy.  In most cases, money can put a roof over our head, food in our bellies, clothes on our backs and some mode of transportation or access to it.  If you live in an informational advanced society then money can buy you all kinds of things beyond the bare necessities.  What money can’t buy is love.  Truly, real love.  You know the kind, the friend or loved one who is there by your side with good humor and cheer during both the good and the bad times.  All the money in the world can’t keep you alive if you’ve got an untreatable catastrophic illness.  Money can’t take away a broken heart…although it may be able to mask it for a time.

It’s always fascinated me what we people do with our money.  Just this week a coaching friend told a story of a client he had who was making half a million dollars a year and wanted to expand her business to three times that much over the next year.  During the interview process he discovered that the reason she wanted to make three times as much money was because she was unable to make ends meet with $500, 000 a year.  Further exploration discovered that she spent over $2000 a month on several storage facilities for her shoes.  And no, his client was not Imelda Marcos.  He then told his client that before he could work with her, she would need to sell all her shoes and close her storage accounts. She fired him and then after six months of hemming and hawing around about what he told her she would need to do….she did it and hired him.   Her problem was not that she did not have enough money and her solution was not to make three times as much but rather for her to go to the core of her sick thinking around money and things and get in front of that first.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to work with some wonderful people who own a lovely store which attracts many wealthy and sublime clientele.  What’s been fascinating for me to experience is people buying beautiful (and sometimes) expensive things for themselves and/or their loved ones.  You get a sense of the pleasure they find in being able to spend the favors of their hard-earned rewards.  Of course it is the holiday season with many coming through to spend the most they will all year long.  We witness this kind of thing happening all over the country and world for that matter but I’m getting a very different sense of the season and all it entails in this unique store setting which is set apart from the big box stores and malls.  The money exchanged feels more respected and cared for rather than desperate and impulsive.  I get a sense that this relationship with money is something that can’t be bought.  Oh sure, many of the clients are very wealthy but more than a few have set their sights and goals on specific items they enjoy in the store and look forward to purchasing them for well-thought out reasons this time of year.  The money they spend is not instead of helping out in philanthropic ways but is in addition to.

I’ve lived in all kinds of environments from very wealthy with cooks, gardeners, china and place-settings to having only bags of potatoes to eat, one room and lousy gas heaters.  What I’m re-learning these days is that, that sense of esteem, peace and enjoyment of life is not something that money can buy.  I’ve had the same sense of loss, discouragement and very low-self esteem living in renovated castles and sleeping on hand-made mattresses  as I have sleeping in a very old one-roomed efficiency on a used mattress and box spring and very old sheets.  And, conversely, have had the same kind of joy riding Thoroughbred Polo horses wildly across acres and acres of blowing fields of grasses and flowers at the base of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming as I have walking the rim of the Ft. Davis State Park in Texas.

The joy that comes from inside can’t be bought.

How will you spend your inner beauty today?

WRITE012 Reaching For The Divine

Posted on : 17-12-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Featured, Heart Talks

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In two of the world faiths that I study, Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship and the Bahai Faith the Unity of Mankind is often encouraged as well as the connection between the East and the West (India/Iran and the U.S.).  From both of these traditions, I have “heard” the call for us to reach out to the Divine (God) and really ask for that connection.   It may seem like an easy thing to do for some people who have never questioned or pondered what they believe, but for those of us who question, becoming vulnerable within ourselves to reach towards something/someone when all we have to go on is faith….can be very difficult.

And that’s just for those of us who don’t have all kinds of accessory problems with being human and living such as mental illness, dysfunctional families, addictions, catastrophic illness in ourselves or a loved one etc.   That may leave about two people out of the 7 billion of us on this planet who are able to fully give their attention towards finding the Divine (God) without any distractions.

So what about those of us who remain?  How do we handle big situations that occur in our community such as the shootings recently at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut? What is it that needs to be looked at more closely in order for us to heal the limping elephant in the middle of the United States?  Sure, we can look at gun control and have conversations about what laws can be put into place so that mentally disturbed people can be found out before they are able to purchase weapons of destruction.  But how are “we” going to know who is mentally disturbed and what being mentally disturbed means if we aren’t willing to look within our own lives, at ourselves and the people around us to admit that there just might be a bit of insanity in all of us?   Much less reach for the Divine (God).

For me, admitting I am powerless over addictions, people, places, mental illness is hand-in-hand with coming to believe there is something (the Divine/God) that can restore me to sanity. But first, I have to surrender to the reality of what “is”.   As a nation, I feel the United States is such a long way off from surrendering to the idea that some (many) of the things (overlooking extreme violence in film and videos etc.) are either a symptom of something much more wrong with us as a people than we care to know about or its too painful for us to let go of the curtain that hides the great and powerful Oz.  As in the Wizard of Oz, there is no great wizard that can grant us our wishes, our gifts are inside for us to find and realize.

Trying to reconcile the incredible distrust I have with politicians and big business in general with the belief that, as a group, our nation has the amazing capacity to unite together and leap towards goodness more than any other civilized nation in history,  considering where we come from (prisoners, refugees, etc.) is so complex. Where do we begin? Where do I begin?  How can I best live my values and help the people and community where I live (as well as myself)?

If ever there was a time for us to “wake up” it is now and as the great Sufi poet Rumi said, “do not go back to sleep” instead we’ve been giving another huge wake-up call to surrender our illusions and reach out for the Divine.


WRITE011 You’ve Got to Laugh a Little..

Posted on : 09-12-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Featured, Heart Talks

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You’ve got to laugh a little, cry a little, until the clouds roll by a little cuz that’s the glory of life (no, I know it’s supposed to be love but for the sake of this blog…).  Went out this evening to celebrate with my littlest bro and his wife for her birthday.  After dinner, we drove down the the infamous 37th Street in Austin where our Hyde Park brethren and sisters usually go all out decorating up their homes, yards and even motorcycles with Christmas lights. They haven’t all kicked into the season just yet, but there were some good ones to enjoy.   Then we meandered up 15th Street to Old Enfield and took in some of the sites there.

On the way home, my sister-in-law wanted to share with us the great idea for a job/career that my brother could do and we knew it would be something good by the way he had started trying to get her to quiet down.  As it turned out, there was a happy little jingle that went with it that she sang and then I sang it too, only I got the major point of the jingle all wrong which put us all into laughing fits.  And of course, no laughing fit party is complete unless you keep doing that thing that made the group laugh in the first place, again, only while laughing.  My stomach still hurts, but boy do I feel good.


Last week I was inspired to create a video that could be acted out by me, my husband and a good friend.  The net-net is to make the viewer laugh at whatever monster is in the middle of their life sucking that is all the air out of it. Like in the movie, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” when little 6-year old Hushpuppy faces the mighty Aurochs who have escaped from the melting ice caps.  In the end she faces them and they bow down to her with respect for her courage.  That’s what it takes for us to be able to laugh in spite of the beasts in our lives.  So that maybe then we can make them a kind of friend…sort of.

So just remember in this life, sometimes we do get to cry a lot but we also got to laugh, just a little.

WRITE010 Finding Hope Out of the Most Unlikely Places

Posted on : 08-12-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Featured, Humor, Mind Fodder

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A couple of days ago I was driving down the highway in a rush to get by Starbuck’s before my next meeting across town and an El Camino up ahead caught my eye not so much because I hadn’t seen one in at least a handful of years but rather because it was in pretty much mint condition.  And then I noticed the driver, he had long grey hair pulled back in a ponytail and a mustache under his nose.  I noticed that up on his reviewer mirror hung a handicapped tag.  I’m not quite sure if I fantasized that he resembled Sam Elliott’s “The Stranger” from the Big Lebowski or if he actually did have the countenance of him, so for the sake of this blog we’ll pretend that he was.

The main point of this whole memory is that of all the things at 3pm on a consistently sunny day that could make me feel hopeful, this aging baby boomer with his gray pony tail and El Camino did just that.  The hope swam up at me out of a swarm of realizing that in a world of 7 billion people, and 311,591,917 of those people living in the good ole USA, seems like most people have become the cookie cutter image of the cookie cutter box stores with very little unique qualities evident to the outside world.  Of course, you and I both know that we’re all unique; however, many of us have just gotten really good at hiding ourselves under the shell of sameness like a million tiny crabs scuttling along the beach.

Oh sure, you could argue that this pony-tailed boomer also came out of a generation of many of us following the same trip, but jimminy when you consider all the changes that we boomers have undergone and endured since the high-flying times of the 60’s and 70’s, well, those of us that have held on to our threads and ways give me heart.  I think it’s because of what I’ve experienced that goes with all of that.  The awareness and consciousness of the people and the world around them/us as well as the curiosity to still ask questions.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now that although there are some differences between the aging hippies today and the 20-somethings, they all speak the same language.  If ever there was a time in history when we needed inter-generational communication and connection, it is now. And if ever there was a time when this was possible, it is now.   The old can help the young and the young can help the old.  And I suspect that they would find each other very interesting.    I’m an interviewer in the core of my being, so I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many people from both of these generations and so there’s some meat behind my words. There’s substance in them thar hills of wishful thinking.

So next time you just happen to glance over and see someone who is an aging flower child remember, “The Dude Abides”….

WRITE009 It’s the Most Depressing Time of the Year

Posted on : 05-12-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Creativity, Featured, Humor

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To be sung to “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” of course. Not to make light of depression, for I have suffered and recovered from it for many years…..and sometimes the only way I can surface out of denial is through the shroud of very dark humor.  Mind you dark humor is not instead of meeting with your doctor, therapist, clergy-person or guru but rather something that can roll you up and out of the black tar pit of despair through if not a few chuckles then at least a  harrumph or two.

For instance, one of my favorite holiday cartoons is Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Which, by the way, although I loved the cartoon, the part where the scary abominable snow man was introduced always terrified me.  Well, thanks to friend comedian Rob Nash, I now have a whole different way I can think of the holidaze and the hustle-bustle of this time of year:

In case some of you out there missed the reference, this is a pun on the movie Silence of the Lambs.   Humor can get us laughing when it catches us off-guard.  And I don’t know about you, but in my past depression could also sneak up on me and catch me off-guard and before I knew it I’d be feeling hopeless because something benign as the oatmeal being almost at the end of the big container or that the expresso didn’t foam when I made it.  Forget about the big earth crashing horrors of living that can come up, it’d be the little things that would start signalling to me that I needed to reach out and ask for some help, such as upping my meds, or making a phone call and just taking care of bidness.  But, only you fellow depressants understand that feeling such as being in a state of mind when you could compete with a sloth for the center of gravity on the floor, gathering yourself up to get help can feel like swimming in molasses.  That’s why I’m reminding you about humor and that it can help us to get up and moving.

Seriously, I’ve spent hours on YouTube listening to some of my favorite comedians, like Louis CK … til I find those fellow humans that understand what it’s like to see and feel the under belly of life.  Here’s Maria Bumford talking about the Crazy Office Myth.

You’re right of course, being depressed is no laughing matter BUTTTTTTT, laughter can help us realize that we’re not alone and there are probably more of us out there like each other than some would care to admit.  For the record, I’m glad you’re out there!  Now, go find something or someone to laugh at and get some help. One of us surely needs it!

WRITE008 Courage to Change (the things that we can…)

Posted on : 03-12-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Featured, Heart Talks


Of course asking for the courage to change the things we can is really asking for the courage to change ourselves. Sure, we can persuade, cajole even try to manipulate, control and worse someone else but in the end its ourselves that we can only change (thought, word, deed).

Coming down to the end of a Leadership and Professional Development class where we’re using the book, “Level Three Leadership: Getting Below the Surface“, Fifth Edition by James G. Clawson.  I’ve been studying for the final exam and breezing through the last chapters that will be on the test but found myself actually getting distracted by the text in the chapter about “Leading Change”.  It talks about stuff that those of us who have been in the business world for awhile know such as that “Over the course of our lives, we become comfortable with a certain set of behaviors….”  And that “In business, many managers, especially Industrial Age managers, ascribe to the maxim “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and see in stable, historically routines a way of generating steady cash flows, building leverage, managing margins and realizing returns of past investments.”

But then the chapter delves into something that takes several pages to explain and that is about “disconfirming data”.  This is first introduced to us when talking about our comfort zone and baseline behavior.  That “if after long periods of receiving confirming data about our baseline behavior, we get some discomfirming data, we face a choice about what to do.” Clawson talks about how “Disconfirming data are a challenge to our self-concept, because they say that what we just did doesn’t work anymore”.   He goes on to expound on the acceptance process of the discomfirning data and that breaking out of our comfort zone and trying to do difficult sometimes painful new things is what M. Scott Peck was talking about in his book, “The Road Less Traveled”. Basically, what he is saying is we humans do not usually want to break out of our comfort zone unless we absolutely have to do so and usually it is because the pain is so great that we are willing to do something different.

Clawson goes on to discussing the building of a Change Team, Designing and Leading Change Experiments as well as Relentlessly Reinforcing Results with the New Vision.   The  net-net is that what businesses do that realize they must embrace the discomfirming data and change is to find lots and lots of support to help them through the change process from the very leaders who will be championing the changes to take place, to hiring outside resources who can come in with an objective eye and compassionate heart to see what is not working and what can work to instigating lots of positive reinforcement for everyone who is trying something new.

You can take a cue from these businesses and realize that asking for and finding the courage to change for yourself is something you do not have to do on your own. Whether it is stretching your belief system to think about faith in something bigger than yourself to finding friends who you can ask (and give) support when needed.  It’s out there when we’re willing to open up our minds (and hearts) and do some footwork to find the support systems we need to make the changes.  Little plug in here for coaching.  This is the kind of thing that I do as a Coach (support people in making a change in their lives) and many other great Coaches do out here in the world for others.

One last tip.  Clawson notes the work of Robert Maurer, “who argues that most change efforts fail because we try to do too much at once.  Maurer argues that in managing individual change, we should begin with tiny, incremental changes that are not threatening or difficult in any way.  When we choose bigger steps, he says, our natural, innate flight-or-fight response system kicks in and we are likely to relapse. On the other hand, when we begin with things that are utterly nonthreatening we can easily get some small wins, and these gradually build to the point where we can do more.”

Now for those of us whose change may be something like putting down the drink, drug, food, nicotine, sex or some other form of addiction that is a big change to make….but….it’s been many of our experiences who have done just that, that when we ask for the courage to change, we are given the courage to change.  Then we cash in on our willingness to change what we can where we can and take the action steps to help us get there.

What would you like the courage to change today?

WRITE007 Be Willing To Wait For The Answer or Direction

Posted on : 01-12-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Choices, Featured

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Obviously, the first step is to be willing.  Willing to turn over whatever that thing, person, place or idea is that you may be in a tangle about.  Then there is that in-between space where we become willing to wait for the answer to our question about that thing.  Oh yeah, the waiting.  Hmmm.  I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have my prayers/questions/wishes answered in my time, not God/the Divine/Spirit/the Force/Good Orderly Direction’s time…..

This morning, I had the opportunity to wax philosophical about making a decision to turn my will and life over to something bigger than myself with a group of friends.  Oh, I shared how much that concept has worked for me in the past and how, even now when finding a way to earn income is proving to take just a bit longer than I had wishes, I was still able to turn the results of this over and to trust the process.  Then I left this Saturday morning group of friends to join another good friend to take a Hula Hoop Class and on the way stopped to grab some coffee for the commute.  Ten minutes later I had my Venti delicious and got in my car to take off for the class and my car was dead.  Silent. Nothing clicking nor whirring.  By the way, we had just dropped another $300 to get a switch fixed this past week.   Considering this baby has over 174K on it in mileage, its hung in there pretty darn well for us.  But needless to say, the moment didn’t fly right over my head that life was giving me the opportunity to “WALK MY TALK!”.  In other words, when life is life and deals you crap, you don’t have to act out or imbibe to numb your negative reaction. It’s not personal, it just feels like it is.

I have to out myself by admitting to you that a few hot little words did fly out of my mouth when I called my husband to tell him the news and ask for his help.  For about three minutes there I felt pretty desolate and then my friend generously offered to come help me with her Triple A membership and to tell my husband to stay at home and not worry about me and the car, she would help me.  While I was waiting for her, something told me to go lift my hood up and just look at the innards of the car. So I did, touching this wire and that (no, I promise you that I know very little about the mechanics of a car). But, when I got back into the car and turned the switch for the hell of it, of course you know that car started.  Because we now had a couple of hours to burn, my friend and I decided to meet for coffee at one of our favorite haunts that we hadn’t been to in awhile.

After our coffee and chat I felt like the angels had deigned that my car shouldn’t start so that I could be there for my friend as a listening ear.  But the morning wasn’t finished delivering its messages.  We had walked over to one of our favorite art and gift stores in Austin just to look at their beautiful art and gifts.   We ended up having a lovely discussion with the owners about life etc..  On the way home I called another good friend to share with her the events of the morning and when I mentioned the nice store owners who I met through my friend, well….turns out…she had just “met” one of couple who told her that she was searching for someone who could help her with her store.  Sooooooooooo. Hmmmmm. Wonder if all that happened this morning so that I could meet her, so that she could know about me so that maybe, I can help her with her store?  I don’t know.  We’ll find out next week when our mutual friend returns to the store to make a decision about a purchase and relays the connection between me, her and our other friend and that maybe just maybe I’m that person she is looking for….

A + B = C

Whatever happens, I’m glad my brain works out seemingly poopy and depressing situations like my car not working this morning and the disappointment of our missed class to instead seeing that there may be unseen forces working to open the doors of opportunity for us when we’re willing to wait for the answer.

If nothing else, my reflection of the experience creates a much prettier piece of artwork then the trash I could have created!


“Insanity with Style”