“You can’t take that pressure off just to put it on me,” Dijon. Following up on making opportunities ours, I want to send out a little reminder about guilt and letting it go. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I felt guilty not “going with the program” for a while. I needed to reconcile what I thought I needed to do with what it really was. I learned it was ok to disappoint others for the sake of honoring what I needed to do. And if someone isn’t ok with you doing what you need to do for yourself, then those aren’t the people you need in your life regardless.
In building the life we want we will constantly be faced with the choice to take steps forward toward our goals or making other people happy. But the truth is they aren’t living your life. They don’t have the map to where you’re going so why would you let them drive? And those boundaries are key. It isn’t up to them to make you follow through on their goals—that is manipulation. Your life’s purpose isn’t to fulfill other people’s goals—it is to fulfill your own.
Our lives aren’t meant to bear the burden of someone else’s goals and responsibilities. Don’t allow them to gaslight you into believing you’re bad or lazy for not putting their goals before your own. Taking the time you have to work toward your purpose is EXACTLY what you need to do. So don’t be the bearer of their outcomes or the one who takes away their sadness or even the person who becomes the reason they didn’t reach their peak. If someone puts that type of energy on you, it is more than ok to lovingly say, “no.”
I wrote last week about the opportunity I took a chance on. I had been hesitant to start it as I mentioned because it’s in a field that I never saw myself in and, quite frankly, don’t really trust. As I’ve been learning about this I see that there are different skill sets that can help me even if I didn’t think that they were for me. So much of it felt inauthentic and salesy or like a gimmick to try and sell people on a miracle cure for themselves. But the more I dig into it, the more I see that there are opportunities to apply those skills to what I love—coaching and helping people.
See, for a while I found myself trying to please again. A lot of this training involved homework of sorts and I understood the purpose behind it, but I found myself forcing time on it that I didn’t have with constraints at work and with starting my own business. I realized that I was forcing that time when I could be working on my own projects. I felt like I had been so stumped and I was shifting my own deadlines and I realized that if I can shift my time like that for someone else, I can use that to my advantage for my business. I’d rather be funding my own dream than someone else’s at this point. Again, not that the lessons aren’t valuable, I just need to prioritize.
I also learned that I can take an opportunity and make it something else. My life (our lives) aren’t about making it look like someone else’s vision. It’s about making it what works for us and using our talents and time to make a life that is authentic for ourselves. So what started with the goal of brining in extra income (which can still happen in the long term) became taking those skills to apply them to my business and to develop my talents.
This is also about boundaries. We have a finite amount of time and we don’t know what that amount is. I no longer want to repeat the patterns of asking permission, playing it someone else’s way, and waiting for someone to recognize my worth/praise me and to “let” me progress. I’m sharpening my skills and moving forward in my own way. It’s amazing how shifting perspective opens up new possibilities and new avenues to take. It’s like a giant puzzle falling into place…like someone just gave me the piece I’ve been missing.
So take the shots that you’re given. And when you have the opportunity, put your own spin on it. Make it your own—that’s what it’s all about. Don’t worry about what others think and don’t worry about living up to their expectations. What’s more, don’t worry about doing it on their timeline or in the exact way they tell you. We are meant to learn so take what lessons are meant for YOU and apply them where it works for you. You get to create your own picture taking the pieces that work for you. You are making that puzzle and when you look back on it, you will see the whole picture for what it is. Some of us are born with that vison, some of us need to take pieces one at a time and find their spot until we figure out what the rest looks like. It’s all up to you.
There’s a new skill…we no longer demand of people, telling/making them do what we want. No. We are far more insidious than that. We manipulate and drive people to become something they are not. We make them believe they want it and that they need it. We make them believe it was their idea and blame them when they wake up saying it was their choice all along. And I say no to that. I’m the kind of person who will absolutely try to brainwash you but I will brainwash you into believing that you are capable and can do anything on your own. I’m the kind of person who says the idea of a system is great as long as it works for the people and you don’t have people working for the system. But that is not the reality we live in right now. Now we are content to escape to a reality that doesn’t exist because being here is simply too painful. It is simply too much. So we sacrifice what reality IS and go for something we can imagine. We don’t have the energy to make what IS any better because we are so bogged down. The wheel is breaking my friends. And it can no longer sustain the in-between age of creating something new while maintaining the old regime. There is room for a lot in this world, but that dichotomy isn’t something it can support. We have to choose, one way or the other. We can’t have both. We have to lovingly accept what is, thank what was, and leg go of what no longer serves. Release. Allow. Breathe.
We live in this type of culture where manipulation and influencing and coercion are the norm and we wonder why we feel so drained all the time. Our energy is literally everywhere but with us. Throw in the expectation to be available 24/7 to anyone all while trying to survive in the working world and it is another unsustainable system. We have to reclaim who we are. for me that starts with boundaries. I recognize that this isn’t a way to live. I see that this isn’t the way to move forward. I see that people are breaking and having to make decisions based on their self-worth and their survival that no human should have to endure. We all deserve love and peace. That is the minimum of being human. So reclaim that energy and I’m doing that by taking my time and spending it how I want to. I’m creating the life I want by what I’m saying yes to…and what I’m saying no to. Your feelings have no bearing on what I KNOW I need for me. And my needs will ALWAYS trump your wants.
I’m not saying I’m some puritanical angel with a heart of gold blah, blah, blah. I’m saying that I wear my heart on my sleeve and what I feel is real. When I want people to succeed, I mean that. When I have an issue with someone, you will damn well feel it when I walk in the room. I’m upfront and honest and yes, it has cost me a lot, but it has also given me clarity. I’ve learned when I need to be more open. I’ve learned when I need to give people the benefit of the doubt, and yes, I’ve learned when I need to be more patient. I’ve also learned to accept that my reality is actually pretty damn good. All the bitching and whining over the years, the wasted time waiting for things to be perfect before moving, all the fights and forced stops put my life on hold for a long time and now I see where the boundary is. I used to feel empowered offering a defiant no to someone asking me to do something out of my comfort zone. Now I know when I need to look at the opportunity and offer something more from myself. All of that anger was because I used to waste my energy doing things for people hoping they would like me. It’s different when you do something because you want to.
So it is ok to set the boundary and say no to manipulation. It is ok to not follow an influencer or to even be interested in influencing anyone. It is 100% necessary to see through the staged lives we are trained to believe are normal and to see through the manipulation we are force-fed every day—I’m talking about ads and work and our government and the people trying to make a buck off of you without really offering any value. It’s time to wake up and see what our role is in this type of society. We can continue to keep our eyes closed and pretend it doesn’t impact us as we go to buy the latest cell phones or when we put in extra hours for our boss and miss another event for our kids. OR. We can stand up and say, “No thank you. I have other things to do with my time.” It’s scary to do that. But the more we normalize reality and start re-prioritizing what is important, the more we recognize that the most precious things in our lives are right in front of us, the more people will start to feel comfortable with that. It shouldn’t be a luxury to have dinner with your family. Or to go for a hike. Or to take a vacation. Or to afford some damn shoes/food/a place to live. It’s all in our hands. What are you going to choose? What are you an example of?
Today I am grateful for cleansing. I didn’t make the wisest of choices this weekend and I lovingly welcomed a relationship with hydration and cleaning this morning. I adore the cleansing power of water whether it is simply time to shower, or to deep scour the house/do the laundry, wash the dishes, or hydrating. This may seem facetious but I am completely honest—and I never take for granted having access to this resource. It absolutely saved me this morning physically and spiritually. On that topic, I began a process of letting go (again) this weekend. As we started decorating for the holidays, there were things I hadn’t used in years that I eliminated. It was time to let go of the physical clutter. It is time to be present instead of clinging to memories of times gone by. I will keep the memory with me, but I lovingly release the physical burden.
Today I am grateful for laughter and making memories. We had a wonderful day together yesterday decorating and spending time with family. I will forever cherish the time my son gets to spend with his grandparents and seeing how he lights up whether they are cuddling together on the couch or if they are taking him out—he just loves having time with them. I’m learning to get out of the way of that relationship because there is more value in the time they have together than the concerns I have about him getting overly spoiled.
Today I am grateful for new traditions. We spent the Thanksgiving holiday alone for the second year in a row. Last year felt really different—it was sad and lonely and I put together an entire meal for us. This year, we went moderate and we didn’t even have turkey. We simply spent time together, made a few of our favorite sides, reflected on being together, and enjoyed the time. We didn’t overwhelm ourselves with anything, we didn’t put on a show for anything, we didn’t do anything out of obligation. We just did what felt right for us. With this, I am grateful for our space…someday in the future when all of this calms down and we have a normal that feels normal to us, this home will host parties and we will make even more memories, laughter will fill this house, we will make it messy, we will get loud, the doors will open to new people and our loved ones, and we will all be together.
Today I am grateful for integration of lessons. I have been putting in a lot of work in the personal-development department. For a long time I thought the progress I made was something to be hard-won, achieved and then move on to the next level. I see it doesn’t work like that. There is a period in learning where you have to actually make sure you understand what you’re taking in. Until you get the lesson, you will repeat it in new ways until it sinks in. I have a bad habit of task-listing my life, trying to get through the day by marking off things I need to do, and I treated development the same way—read this book, reach out to these people, but I never learned to develop myself enough to form the relationship. It isn’t about completing anything—it’s about incorporating it.
Today I am grateful to ease the pressure I’ve put on myself. As I mentioned above, I task-list a lot of my life, trying to get through what I “need” to in order to get to what I want to. But there is no ease in that. I understand now the universe is patient—I am not. Who said I had to devour a book in a certain amount of time? Who said I couldn’t go back and re-read passages to make more sense of it? Who said I couldn’t re-read them simply because the words touched my soul? It isn’t about completing, it’s the act of doing. It’s the joy of doing. I wanted to have a certain amount done this weekend for no other reason than to say I was done. Why put that pressure on myself? Does it make it any less joyful if I finish it during the week? Life is meant to be savored, not crammed down our throats without tasting it. I used to be afraid of missing out and needing to take in as much as I could or I wouldn’t get it again. Now I see you get more out of life when you slow down and savor it and allow it to pass when it’s done. No clinging, no expectations. Just awareness and presence. You move differently that way.
Today I am grateful for my connection with the universe. Signs are happening more and more frequently and the more I let go, the more I see. When you create space for yourself to connect with who you are, to connect with those around you, you start to see a plan unfold. It is magic. It is so important to keep connected and keep our energy high because that is the meat of it. It’s in the little things—the way the light looks in your space, how you feel where you are, how you feel when you’re alone and how you feel with the people you surround yourself with. But the signs are always there and it is up to us to follow them. I’m grateful to be on board.
After yesterday’s post about following signs, I wanted to follow up with some real examples of why knowing what matters is so important. Three things happened at work recently that honestly made me question everything I’m doing…and then they made me laugh out loud. It made me realize that no matter what I do, it will NEVER be right. There will NEVER be any resolution that works for us and, quite frankly, corporate lives in a dream world. This whole leadership thing from businesses all the way through our government is a complete farce.
So, the first thing. While reviewing upcoming legislation, the presenter repeatedly alluded to the fact that this is new and that the plan as laid out will develop but it is up to us to come up with a contingency plan if what was explained doesn’t work. Talk about vague and no direction. Essentially they want us to implement the impossible without any clear guidance. It also showed the level of interpretation allowed in the healthcare industry and how we can all see the same thing differently. So how can we come to a solution if we can’t even agree on what the ask is? We can’t.
The second thing, while reviewing a policy, we started calling out things that were different from the hospital’s policy. I got angry immediately because if we have a hospital policy, I don’t feel we should use something different for our specific area. We aren’t that special or unique that we need something like that. The conversation got personal when we discussed things that people would do on a daily basis and we completely ignored the fact that we are now in the 21st century. The policy was written long enough ago that it desperately needs to be revised. Not to mention we’ve spent the last two years completely half-assing it and putting things together on the spot. Why are we trying to garner this type of control now? It’s plugging a hole to distract from the fact that the rest of the ship is falling apart.
The third thing was during our system wide meeting when they prioritized patient satisfaction over safety. This is when I laughed out loud. This group had the audacity to blatantly put in writing that we need to focus in improving patient experience scores over safety. Now, I will caveat that we are generally a safe facility, however, we are switching our focus to ensure that someone feels good over actually making them better. I mean, that is the most unrealistic thing I can imagine. You will NEVER make everyone happy and if you start telling people to switch their focus like that, I guarantee their safety will go out the window. They weren’t even thinking about what they were asking for.
So…it made me sad and angry. But also resigned. It made me realize there is nothing I can do about it. And nothing I want to try and devote my energy toward to change. All I can do is control myself and this is something I can decide to participate in or not. I can decide if this aligns with who I am and what I believe in and whether or not I will continue in that vein. It’s frustrating but it is also liberating. When you start seeing the truth and accept things as they are, you are better able to make a decision. Sometimes that decision is made for you. When the powers that be decide that how we look is more important than what we do, it’s time for a different direction. So, thank you for the lesson.
I’ve been really unsettled the last few days. There is an incredible amount of uncertainty built into what I do with work and it is getting harder and harder to make sense of it. So I’ve reached out and started a few ventures on my own and even those started to get a little sticky. The thought, “I don’t want to deal with any bullshit” kept going through my head. What I meant by that was I’m really tired of all of the catches and the red tape and the fine print that comes with living. We put that in place and it is such an unnecessary hurdle. Life doesn’t work like that, it’s a man made thing. So things started to fall apart a little bit and this time, instead of panicking, I decided to let them fall apart so they can fall where they need to be.
Right as I had the “no bullshit” thought, a giant hawk appeared on a post as I was driving home. That for me was enough motivation to believe that I am not crazy. There is indeed a lot of bullshit in the world, no one will tell you otherwise, but we get to decide what bullshit we want to deal with. Brene Brown says, “All the world is a shit sandwich, we just have to decide what kind we are willing to eat.” And that is the truth. When something is impugning your character, not your reputation, that is when it has gone too far. That is a personal level that isn’t healthy and that is a firm boundary I have. If you want to talk crap about your perception of me, go ahead. But if you insinuate that I am a certain type of person because of what I did without context, that is a problem.
Again, we know these things innately and I’ve struggled the last few weeks with feeling crazy for this. I’ve gone back and forth debating if it was my ego getting in the way again. I’ve even gone back and forth asking if there was something else I needed to be doing, what more I could be doing. And it was exhausting. I realized that physically I might be able to—I’m ok for the most part. But mentally, I feel like I’m running in a pool filled with mud. There is no rhyme or reason to figuring people out and it is a waste of energy. All we can go on is what they show us and if they are showing us that they feel a certain way, they can either address it or not. But that doesn’t mean they get to address it with other people or make you feel like crap because you can’t figure out the issue.
So follow the signs. I know I was right on track with where I want to spend my energy. I know I’m on track with feeling gaslit and that there are deliberate efforts to undermine me and make it look like I’m not doing something right. I don’t have the time to figure it out any longer. And I just don’t have the energy or quite frankly the care to do that. I will tolerate open conversation and direction, but I will not tolerate games and puzzle solving when it comes to figuring out what needs to be done. We are all adults, and that is my boundary. Speak or don’t but I won’t be responsible for a guess. Our instincts are there for a reason—trust them.
We all need reminders of what we are grateful for, and amidst the BS going on in this world, we need to bring our appreciation to the forefront and display it as much as possible. We need a flood of love and gratitude. Jay Shetty said, “Gratitude is noticing the good within you, around you, created for you.” Today is a perfect day to practice that.
I am thankful for my becoming. I have never hidden my controlling side or my anxious side or my fears…but I also never allowed myself to fully let go. As much as I reveal here and as much as I share in my life, I am still holding back. And I realized that serves no one, least of all myself. See, when you talk in vague generalities, it’s safe. The stories we share about our lives can be scary either because people don’t understand them or, more likely, because they do. The stories we share touch parts of us that we have chosen to keep hidden. But I am grateful for becoming the person who can learn to release layer after layer. I’m grateful to become the person who creates a space for people to do the same. I’m grateful to see that I can’t go back.
I am thankful for the infinite patience of the universe. I’m a smart woman—but incredibly stubborn…so that makes me kind of dumb sometimes. I often believe that people will eventually recognize what they have to do and do what’s right. Unfortunately, it takes me a long time to realize that what they think is right or what is actually right for them isn’t necessarily what I think. I also have a tendency toward control (shocking, I know) so when I am faced with a lesson I need to learn, I have a bad habit of thinking I already know the answer. I’ve been pretty independent as far as taking care of my needs and I have a role that demands I take charge but life isn’t about taking charge of others. It’s about learning to direct our own course. I am thankful the universe is like, “Ok, let’s try that again,” until I learn and move on.
I am thankful for reminders to get out of my self-pity. I suffer from anxiety and depression and anyone who has that combo knows that there are many highs and lows and it is very easy to get stuck in the sad story you tell yourself. It is also really easy to allow the feelings to win because they feel so real, it seems like that is all there is. I know deep down I am not meant to be that type of person. I am meant to live and love and help people do the same so I have been blessed with an abundance of opportunities in my life to share, to have comfort, to offer help to others, and to have enough security to put me in a position to expand how I offer help to others. It was a dangerous lack of confidence that held me back. But that is something that can be overcome. I’ve been blessed with the tools to help and that is my role.
I am thankful for my opportunities. There have been days over the last few weeks that felt so heavy that I could barely function. My mind spun so I literally forgot where I was and where I needed to be a few times. I could barely breathe or see my own feet in front of me let alone see what was hidden and unfolding at the same time. I had to stop everything I was doing. It was the reaffirmation of being on the right path several times that made me stop and simply breathe. I needed to recognize that everything coming at me wasn’t a negative thing—many of them were opportunities. The weight was heavy because I was treating it like a circus act, spinning plates, thinking I had to keep them ALL going. In reality, I just needed to take care of the ones meant for me.
I am thankful for my boundaries. The holidays for the last few years have looked different with the pandemic and this year is different for other reasons. Going through the social changes we have over the last few years has shown me where I need to set some boundaries. We have such limited time on this Earth that we need to make decisions that are right for us. It can be done lovingly and respectfully and even in that way, it can still make people uncomfortable when you’ve never set the boundary before. It doesn’t matter. You aren’t living your life for them.
When we walk in the room, we can immediately feel what is going on. Our bodies and intuition never lie to us. Like when you walk into a room and it suddenly gets really quiet we start to think that something is going on. People can tell us that isn’t true all we want, but every instinct in us will say, “No, that doesn’t sit right.” LISTEN. We are trained that politeness and deferring to other’s needs is the norm and that we are expected to do that all costs. I work in healthcare and believe me, your time means nothing to those you work for. With the exception of death or being broken and bleeding, you better be there and even if you’re incapacitated, they are still going to ask what you can do. That isn’t life. So when you know the energy is shifting and you need to hold your own, that is real.
I want to add a quick note about gaslighting here. I mentioned above that people will try to tell us that what we feel isn’t right. DO NOT allow that to talk you out of what you know inside is true. If you feel something, if you see something, if you know what is really going on, trust that with everything inside of you. We love to place blame in this society but the truth is energy is always a reciprocal. We do react out of conditioning and beliefs, but we also react in response to other people’s actions. I’m not saying we don’t have the power to decide how we react, but I am saying there is always an impetus. You are allowed to hold other people accountable for what they do.
There is a particular energy in one group I work with that is constantly chaotic and pressing and pushing and always feels unbalanced. This group often tries to make me fall into that pattern with the, “What If” game. It happened recently and I refused to play along. When I didn’t act according to their expected response, they got angry and took it higher than me. I realized they did that because I didn’t reply the way the expected me to. They wanted me to get as upset and agitated as they were. I held my ground.
We own our energy and it is up to us how we spend it. No one gets to tell us how we feel or how we react. We are expected to behave as robots and not have emotions when people do things to us yet we are supposed to ask how high when they say jump. The world doesn’t work that way my friends, and it is up to us to remind whoever we meet that it doesn’t. I get to decide how I react and where I put my focus. I will not feel bad because I have to put my energy where it serves. Life is too short to waste it doing anything other than what is necessary for us as long as do no harm to others. So keep doing it.
I got home from my 9-5 to work the rest of the day in my office. I sat and watched the weather outside from my window, seeing the snow start to fall for the first time this year. The wind howled and the trees bent, dropping leaves along with it under a blanket of grey clouds. As the weather is getting colder and the light is shifting, we know what this season is. We feel the call to go inside and think and hibernate and rest. I love my little space. This room, completely my own with all of my writing and my books and my blanket and chair, my animals curled up around me—it all feels like home. I mean, it is my home, but I’m talking about the internal comfort it gives me. The resonance with who I am.
The world changes and we move at different paces, but sitting here, knowing I am exactly where I’m meant to be is beyond special. This is where I feel grounded and clear and most empowered to simply BE. The weather can’t make up its mind because we haven’t fully transitioned to winter, but in here, I know who I am. This is my element and I love sharing that with you. When I’m in here, my 9-5 doesn’t matter. I mean, I get my work done, but it feels completely different. The same can be said about our internal state when we are in flow. When we get to that point where it all makes sense and we just go with it, we are at peace because we are at home in ourselves regardless of what goes on outside.
The card for today was about compassion and extending courtesy and grace and patience to those who are struggling. Ironically enough, I had four employees with problems today and it was a test of presence and caring and thinking outside the box. And that is my wheelhouse. I mean, I struggle with patience all the time, but working with people to make sure they are able to do their best is something I love doing. I know how challenging it is to pour from an empty cup so when I have a chance to give back, I want to do that. The world is never settled and there is always something that will go awry especially when you think you have it all figured out. In those moments we have to tap into that peace we develop for ourselves. Sometimes someone just needs to hear an outside perspective to make it all click and suddenly it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.
So the weather on this day is a good reminder to allow the changes because there are so many things we will never have any control over. It’s also a reminder to build that foundation within ourselves because that is the only thing we really have any say in. Find what gives you peace, what gives you that solid foundation of, “this is who I am” where you are unshakeable no matter what happens. The seasons always change and we can’t stop it. We just do our best to prepare and allow it. That is how we have to go through life sometimes, no matter how uncomfortable. The inside is what matters, the rest will happen regardless. So embrace it, knowing who you are.
I’ve looked at my life a lot and I see those facets that I’m still just not happy with. Those areas that linger that I want to work on and all of the times I’ve tried to be what other people wanted me to be. I look at the energy I’ve spent doing what I was told and all the times I was told I fell short instead of being appreciated for what did get done. Or worse, being reprimanded for something getting done and then being told it was wrong because it wasn’t a certain way. And I realized that it is so BORING. Being perfect, following what you’re told to do at all costs is SO boring. That isn’t living, and it certainly isn’t living the life I or we are meant to.
When I look forward in my life, I know with everything in my soul that I don’t want to look back and see that I was merely a stepping stone for someone else or a cog in the wheel. I don’t want to feel like I missed out on the joy that is living. I want to live. I want to have an impact doing what I love. I don’t want to make the perfect life, I want to make the perfect life for me. I want it to feel cool, like I’m living what I really want to do. I want to answer the question, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” with yes, it was every bit as awesome as I thought it would be. I send a message to my current staff that their lives and well-being comes first at all costs regardless of the fact that we are in an industry that makes us feel otherwise. If I am not at my best and if I am not taken care of, then I don’t have enough to give elsewhere. But that is not the world we live in for corporate purposes. So when we live in two worlds where we know what is right for us but we can’t quite escape the reality, that is when we ask ourselves what we can do…and we need to do that.
I notice too that no matter what there is always something more expected. I can give my all and be flat out exhausted at the end of the day and there will always be that, “but you didn’t do this,” or “why did you do that?” It will never be good enough for some people. You can disappoint yourself a million times and sacrifice time and energy, the real currency you won’t get back, and it will still not be enough for some. So to that I say, find a different source. When things aren’t coalescing that is when we need to pay attention. If you aren’t getting nourished at the table, find a new table.
I know when I look back at my life, this isn’t it. This isn’t the end of the story. In fact, this can be a kind of beginning. This is the beginning of what matters and letting the rest go away. This is the beginning when we realize that other people’s opinions literally count for nothing when it comes to doing what you need to do with your life. This is the beginning of standing up and doing what is right…for ourselves. Sometimes revolution starts small. It starts with realizing the façade we wear is too heavy. That feeling there is something more. This is the beginning of when we listen to what we want and follow those little things that we think are cool. Forget the rest.
**Note this was written before the most recent “Sunday Gratitude” Post.