Side Stories and Alternate Messages

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The last few weeks have proven draining—or at least, I have allowed myself to be taken by the overwhelm of what is happening.  We’ve had some high points to celebrate but the lows and frustrations have interspersed those moments nearly as quickly.  So today, I am simply giving up.  There is truly nothing else in my power that I can do to change the current state of events—so I am not going to push.  My will and no amount of me forcing is going to change what is happening.  It is just one of those things.

Initially I felt helpless and frustrated because I am always looking for something to be doing.  I am always looking for some action that can be taken, so when I feel I am out of options, it feels more like being up against a wall than an accomplished, “I’ve done all I can.”  And that is something that hurts me.  Perhaps it is ego seeking control and lashing out at not being fulfilled, but this time, instead of anger, I feel tired.

The truth is, this scenario is completely out of my hands so I am trying to see the lesson here—and to accept that what I thought was the initial lesson may not have been the message meant for me.  Perhaps there is something greater I was meant to learn.

For today I am going to rest.  I have felt the weight and pressing need to rest a lot lately so that is all I can do.  I turned to my cards and I drew, “You don’t have to fear your fear.  It can redirect you to love.” Gabby Bernstein, Super Attractor.  One of the pages I follow also discussed priorities and focus so maybe the areas I was working on aren’t what needed attention right now.  The bottom line in all of what I am feeling is that it will pass and I can still make the best of this.  I am so blessed and there are still many other things I can do with my time to move forward in other arenas.  That is where I can focus my attention.

For me accepting lessons like this is challenging.  It’s one of those moments when you know you’ve done everything right, everything within your power, and sometimes you just watch it slip away.  So I need to redirect and focusing on what I have to be grateful for is key right now.  And it’s a chance to practice getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.  I’m not saying I like it, but I know it has some value.  Taking it all in, resting, and integrating the lesson all have their time and place—and this is one of those moments.  It doesn’t always have to be movement and force, and resting doesn’t mean “doing nothing”.  I am recuperating, I am healing, and I am learning.

Imagined Pressure

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Billing regulations in healthcare change all the time.  Most organizations have been working on a project that would impact billing requirements effective January of 2021.  It’s nothing new for organizations to be a little behind the ball in catching up with those requirements (and we were no exception) so we had been collectively stressing out over the last few months as we’ve been trying to implement and test this so we didn’t see a financial hit next year.  It was announced today that they wouldn’t be putting it into effect until 2022.  The enormous relief could be felt as the weight fell off of the building’s shoulders.

Good Lord, the unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves.  We create these arbitrary deadlines for even more arbitrary reasons and essentially make ourselves sick to complete a task at an imaginary point in time.  For what?  We don’t only do this with business either—we do it in our own lives.  “I have to lose 20 pounds by next month so I’ll look good enough for xyz,” or “I have to know what I want to do with the rest of my life by the time I’m 18 so I can study in college and pretend I know what I’m doing by 22.” Sound familiar?

Perhaps it’s the natural push of time that drives us to fit as much as we can in while we can but I find it more likely that we are pretty masochistic creatures.  We TORTURE ourselves constantly for no other reason than we create standards that no one can really meet and we didn’t meet them.  I mean, kudos to us for having imagination and high hopes, but damn.  We know how to make ourselves miserable.  It’s almost laughable.  Every scenario we have been in where we felt absolutely distraught was at least, in some part, our own doing.  I’m not talking deaths of loved ones or any type of grave illness, of course not, but the drama.  Whew do we love the drama.

Maybe life was too simple and too plain and maybe we got bored and decided that the commercial way of living was more fun.  And it is too a degree.  There’s a thrill in the chase of something we want.  However, we let the distraction get to us and then the game became a way of life as we took it more and more seriously.  Then it began to take over life.  Now life is precious second to our businesses and we are the commodities.  All of this derived from choices we made.

If I’ve learned anything from the work I’ve done for nearly 20 years, it’s that choice is everything.  It’s as simple and as difficult as making a different choice.  We all want the power and the perks but we don’t want the accountability of what comes with the unknown—and the natural world just doesn’t work that way.  But the risk is worth it.  We can sit here and create a false sense of pressure on ourselves (which will feel all too real to our brains) or we can begin to re-evaluate.  And I feel the rumblings now as the voices of those unheard for too long are finally and blessedly growing loud enough to be heard by all.  The revolution is in redefining the way we roll—and the role we choose play.  Enough people stop playing the game and we can create some new rules, or at least make room for new players to spice up the field.

Let’s start by being a little gentler on ourselves.  Be kinder to our hearts and minds.  Let’s cultivate some peace in our own worlds and start to spread that to others.  When the mind slows down enough more solutions become clear.  We all get clear enough we can start creating more questions to tackle together.  And with more questions, we look at things differently and maybe change some perspectives.  How revolutionary.

Our Training

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During the course of working to sell our home (which is still in process) the weird idiosyncrasies of human nature continue to show through.  We still live here—it’s my husband, myself, and our 3 year old plus our cats and dogs.  We had to remove nearly everything from our home.  It’s a shell of what it was.  And I mean, I get it to a degree.  You’re not showing people how you live, you’re showing how they could fit themselves in the space.  But I can’t help but feel like it’s so unrealistic.  It’s a show.  There are 3 people and assorted animals living in this house and we are expected to erase ourselves from the space.

So I started thinking bigger picture and realized that we have a tendency to train each other to erase ourselves to make other people happy.  We’ve made it so that disagreeing is disagreeable and argumentative.  We’ve made the “right” thing to be quiet, to go along, and to agree.  And we’ve lost ourselves along the way.

I started thinking about families and how we all break down to some level of dysfunction eventually.  Competition breaks out with those you are supposed to be safest with and with those you are supposed to trust. Where we are meant to find peace and safety we find a messed up blend of love and hostility.  It’s messed up because we start in this world by learning we can’t trust who we are supposed to innately trust.  Those meant to protect us.  I know this isn’t the case for all but it is more common than not.  And we are trained to compete because that is how we feel we have to survive.

If we stopped long enough to question this madness, we’d realize that we have far more in common with everyone than not.  We are all just trying to survive in a broken system.  We learn to fight each other and compete with each other rather than realizing the game is rigged.  So the game starts with mistrust of those around us, and very quickly we learn to mistrust ourselves as well.  We are trained to project an image to make people see us a certain way.  This current generation especially is growing up in the fake it til you make it/perception is reality culture of life in 140 characters or less and the perfect photoshopped image.

I question what would happen if we all said fuck it and retrained ourselves to have real conversations, not manipulative attempts to be perceived a certain way.  Because the reality is Toto can pull the curtain back at any time and there you are, exposed with your hands on the lever.  And then you lose our credibility and all trust because we’re so shocked that you lied.  We learned early on that “control”  got us what we wanted; show just enough to get your hook in and never show them the rest.  We believe the point is to get likes, get clicks, get sales, get things, get rich.  So show them the persona.

I feel like it would be so much easier to be real.  Not in the sense that vulnerability is easy but in the sense that the weight is lifted.  Imagine the weight you would lose revealing the real you.  It’s like losing a whole person.  Because it really is losing a person: the person you created for other people to see.

Let’s teach growth, honesty, and authenticity over greed, manipulation, and control.  We’re so hungry for power and attention and energy but we never execute the immense power we have over ourselves.  Because we are taught to give our power away—play nice, be quiet, let others solve our conflicts, avoid conflict at all cost while expecting others to give us their power.  We need to learn to get comfortable with the uncomfortable reality over the image that doesn’t exist.

We can learn to reclaim it all.  Teach each other to communicate rather than stifle.  Learn to get comfortable with humanity in all its messiness.  Accept over and over again what is.  Normalize it and embrace it.  Stop teaching each other that having opinions is offensive and educate people that treating others like garbage is offensive so we can work together.  And I refuse to continue the ludicrous notion that my existence is offensive. Nor is anyone else’s. We need to restore our humanity. My own little revolution: the toothpaste stays in the bathroom.

Sunday Gratitude

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I am so grateful for time with my son.  We haven’t been feeling well the last few days so I have gotten an entire weekend of downtime with him—and it felt wonderful.  I have been incredibly worked up and anxious for the last few weeks to the point of not knowing how to slow my mind down so my body did it for me.  Sometimes the body knows how to take care of what the mind is asking for.

I am grateful for my body.  This illness came out of nowhere but I feel remarkably good after being down for one day.  Granted I was down hard…I don’t think I moved from the couch more than three or four times and I napped and I also fell asleep by 8pm.  My body knew what to do—simply stop.

I am grateful for perspective.  There is a lot going on…and there is a lot that I am trying to control.  There is a lot that I am learning that I have no choice but to let go of.  I need to just let go.  I am working on it every day.  A little bit more, every day.  And sometimes the perspective is that when you think you have let go, you might need to let go some more.

I am grateful for creativity.  I’m working on getting back in touch with myself.  I tend to fixate on things I’m “supposed” to be doing or if I’m in the middle of something that’s all I focus on.  I struggle to go with it.  But I’m being reminded that I have to practice mindfulness and be present.  The best way to do that is to get creative and have fun again.

I am grateful to constantly be learning.  I’m seeing how much pressure I put on my life—and on those around me.  And I’m learning that I need to relax that as well.  I put an incredible amount of pressure for things to be perfect and it seems like I need to care a little less.  Done is better than perfect and most of the time that is enough.  Unrealistic expectations of things causes more issues.

I am grateful to open my life up to new possibilities.  One thing that has become clear this year is that some plans are pointless.  The niceties we create in this life are pointless.  This year has shown an incredible amount of stripping away of the pretty little lies we layer ourselves in—and it has been amazing.  It feels more authentic.

Motivation Follow Up

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In 2009, I was in my mid-twenties and newly married and looking to find myself in every way.  My relationship was nearly a decade old but my marriage was in its infancy, I was at a job for nearly a decade, and I didn’t know what to do.  I had chosen things that defined me early (my marriage and career) because that is what I thought I had to do but I wanted so much more.  I didn’t go away to college after getting my associate’s degree because I had no idea what I wanted to do—so I stuck with what I knew.  After so many years of the same thing at such a young age, I craved more.

I read Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” shortly after it came out in 2009.  Her work is her journey through a year of trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her life.  She discusses the restlessness of having what she was supposed to want but still feeling lack.  While reading this book, i understood that sometimes you can outwardly appear to have it together, you can have what you are supposed to want but it still isn’t enough.  More importantly, that doesn’t make you a bad person.  It’s a wonderful motivation to find your purpose.

The reason I talk about this is because I have found myself repeating this cycle for another decade.  Perhaps that is just my time frame (or I’m incredibly stubborn and it takes me that long to understand anything) but I’m at the point where I feel this push again.  This time around, after another 10 years, I have paid attention to my pattern and taken to looking at what it is in me that needs to shift.  It’s not necessarily a matter of motivation, it’s a matter of follow through.

In Rubin’s work she discusses commitment to the things we want to achieve.  More than that, after all of this time, I have learned that it is taking right action toward the things we are committed to that bring it to fruition.  We have the ability to make this life whatever we want it to be—and that is a magical gift.  To be able to take the world in its raw form and turn it into the life we envision.  We have limitless potential.  We have power in choice.  And it is accountable choice that moves you forward.

How we make ourselves accountable is a personal choice but we can’t expect to see things through if we don’t see them through.  Changing our mindset is difficult and that is something I want to tackle in myself.  Perhaps this time it is simply answering the call.  It isn’t letting it fall to the wayside.  It isn’t letting it take a back burner when other things seem to take precedence.  It is always finding a way to get it done, somehow.  It’s accepting that it may not look how you envisioned it, but you still have to act on it and see it through.

It’s ok to slow down as needed, but don’t allow yourself to stop because you feel like you’ve gotten where you were told to be.  Because you got what you were told was enough.  It’s ok, it’s necessary to find that motivation inside of you.  So if it feels wrong, if it feels like there is something else you need to do, then go do it.  More to come.

Motivation-Recognizing Personal Accountability

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I know I need to do more.  I am happy with the progress I have made but the work that has gone into preparing my house for sale has shown me that I need to reprioritize my time.  I NEED to make more time for the things I love.  I’m not really a dirty person but I let laziness take over far too often.  When you live in a small space, things that usually need to be done monthly need to be done weekly, things that need to be done weekly really have to be done daily, and things that need to be done daily sometimes need to be done multiple times a day.  That is not how I want to spend my time.  So I let a lot slide.

While I work hard, I often allow myself to poop out sooner than is needed.  I let myself believe that my 9-5 is “enough” for the day so I go too easy on myself in the evening.  Yes, I have a toddler, a husband, and animals that also need my attention, but there are things that I love and need to do—for myself.  I let those fall to the wayside because they aren’t providing my income right now.

If I want to progress to where I want to be, I know I need to become more strategic and organized with my time.  I need to take more steps to develop my vision.  It’s simply a matter of focus and commitment.  I am serious and dedicated, but I need to take additional action—more correct action to get where I want to be.  And more planned action to get it all done.  The concept of work harder not smarter definitely applies here.

There is a lot I need to teach myself about where I’m going so I need to stop saying no to the opportunities that are going to teach me about where I want to be.  I’m a stubborn person so I want to do a lot on my own—and I struggle with trusting people so forming relationships and sharing my vision with them makes me feel vulnerable.  Saying yes to things will either connect me with the people I need in my life or it will teach me what I need to know to get it done.

I’ve been planning on revisiting the work I did with B-School because I have a greater understanding of it now.  So  maybe it isn’t that I need to do more but that I need to take the right steps. Again, work smarter not harder.

The Impact of Self-Love

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“When you stop expecting you from people, you stop getting hurt” Morgan Richard Olivier.  TRUTH.  The Buddha said that the cause of all suffering was desire.  So we can essentially say that when we have a desire from people to behave a certain way, or an expectation of people to behave a certain way we suffer.  This is so important in our discussion about breaking down our current paradigms.  We live with the unspoken expectation that people will meet our expectations at all times.  That other people will be what we want them to be.  Whether it is friendships or romantic relationships or even with family or work, we often have unspoken beliefs and demands about how people will fulfill our needs.

When we really look at our lives, how often do you identify that you were hurt or let down by other people?  How often do you feel anger or disappointment that something didn’t go your way?

The greatest form of self-love is to allow people to simply be who they are.  The aggravation and frustration and hurt go away the instant we allow people to move as they need to.  The power of that feeling is amplified as we learn to go the way we need to as well.

It is also the greatest act of compassion we can show to others.  The world as it is now runs on the idea that we need to behave and be a certain way to fit in.  And the idea that we need to fit in somewhere that is already described, defined, and desirable.  While we envy those who have carved their own path, we are told we aren’t supposed to do that for ourselves.  So allowing people to explore and discover who they are really allows them to find and express themselves as they are.  That is when the magic happens.

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for synchronicity.  We instinctually know when it is time to move forward but have been trained to deny this knowledge in favor of playing it “safe”.  It may feel comfortable to stay with the known but we find ourselves outside of our comfort zones and when we ask for something the universe delivers as long as it was meant for us.  When it is time to follow the new path we are pushed to that point and we need to take the leap—sometimes before we feel ready.  When those moments come, LEAP.

A great example of synchronicity:  I took two days off of work to clean and prep the house and I lost it early morning on the second day.  I was trying to clean the stove and burst into tears realizing that the oven door wasn’t coming clean and that my husband wasn’t home to help me—and we still had almost half the house to finish.  I called him begging him to come home so we could meet our deadline to have pictures taken that night, and he couldn’t make it. Right at that moment, I got a text from our realtor asking if we were still good for that night.  I sobbed even harder because the weight immediately dropped off of my shoulders as I apologized and asked to move the appointment to the next morning.  It all worked out.  My sister then came over that afternoon and took my son and her daughter out for a walk and right after they left, the mortgage company called with our new approval.  We were able to finalize all financial details while she had him out and finish the house for photos.

Today I am grateful for clarity.  As my family prepares to move we are clearing and packing and arranging.  While this is a huge undertaking (and emotionally exhausting) it is also an opportunity to make decisions about our lives.  The people we are becoming and the life we are building may not contain the same things that were important to us when we arrived here.  Moving is also moving forward, moving to the next level and with that we are making new choices about what we want our life to look like.  We are working through what is important to us in the next phase and releasing the rest.

Today I am grateful for intention.  Following synchronicity and clarity, the universe responds to intention.  We set the intention to get a bigger space and to dive into new possibilities and we took the aligned steps to make that happen.  Things haven’t happened exactly how I envisioned them, but the timing of everything that happened was beyond coincidence.

Today I am grateful for my gratitude practice.  Chaos easily enters our lives (whether by choice or natural circumstances—sometimes both at once) so taking the time to feel and express the gratitude for what we have built is incredibly important.

Today I am grateful for my partner.  My husband has always been a wonderful man but initially struggled to be a partner.  As we embark on this new level together, I am seeing his evolution and his desires change and he has become the person he wanted to be.  All of that potential hidden by fear held him back and now he has released those blocks.  The universe flows in the second we decide who we want to become and it is amazing to be on the receiving end, to know that my efforts are reciprocated.

Today I am grateful for potential.  The possibilities of what we can do with our lives is endless.  We can literally make anything we imagine come to fruition.  Potential has always thrilled me—it excites me to picture what could be.  Vision is even more exciting when you start working toward what you see.  I consider it a privilege and a gift to work with the universe on creating and fulfilling our potential.

Today I am grateful for some down time.  I’ve been working incredibly hard over the last four days and I am thrilled to not meal prep for a weekend, to not have anywhere in particular to be, to not have to finish anything by today.  We were still able to get a lot done (shopping, finalizing documents, etc.) but the pressure was off as we took these additional things off of our list. There is value in rest and it’s easy to forget that.  I am happy to have the privilege to take advantage of that rest.