Archive for April, 2010

BREATHE!!!!! (you’re kidding me, right?)

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Today while I was out doing my walking meditation, I had a moment where I suddenly saw myself right after I had gotten really good news. I suddenly felt as though I could breathe after holding my breath or a long, long time.

(Interestingly, the accompanying emotions weren’t joy and celebratory. They were relief. And then focus.)

Why do we hold our breath?

Well, what came forward for me, when I was thinking about it, was that it’s hard work sticking to your agenda. It’s difficult and sometimes exhausting when a person is standing in their integrity against all comers. It is easier to let doubt, fear, anxiety, anger and judgment in.

But do those choices help to support the person’s agenda?

And I am not saying be inflexible. We all know that standing in your truth, your integrity does not mean not bending or attacking someone elses stance. It simply means knowing yourself, and having inner knowing about what is right for you and staying true to it. Bend a little when necessary. Learn to lean in order to get out of the way of outraged fortune.

And fortune and others will be outraged. We as humans have an innate need to be part of a tribe. And when we make choices which others don’t get, or which the perceive undermine their choices, they will react in ways both subtle and overt in an attempt to get you, or in this case me, to line up with them. It threatens their world view when someone stands their ground in any way. It completely blows their mind when it is in a loving way.

Imagine that! Being true to yourself, and not making someone else wrong! Very cool.

What does this have to do with breathing, you might ask? Well, in my experience, even when I am incredibly centered, totally in faith and trust that things are going exactly how they are supposed to be going and that I am taking the steps which will net me what I am trying to catch, there is a continual bombardment from outside sources. And let’s be honest, how easy is it to breathe when the air is full of smoke and dust? It is only when the smoke clears that I am able to see what has manifested, come forward, and then choose to breathe.

What is going on in your world that has you holding your breathe?

Things to think about. Until next time.


Choosing one thing to be good at. . .

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

My son and I were having a conversation recently. He is a second year student at Aberdeen University and is studying English Literature with an eye towards Folklore, Myth and Legend. His long term desire is to be a writer, and with that in mind, he studies creative writing every summer at UCLA.

In addition to his Lit classes, he is taking history, archeology, sociology and a plethora of other classes which interest him. I feel that this is right and proper, as it allows him to have a greater knowledge of both the world and human history, but will assist him in crafting a better story.

I mentioned to him that I felt that it was good for him to have one thing which he was good at and his response was, I thought part of the fun of pursuing a degree in the arts was that I could study everything!

Well, yes and no. The key is to become good at the one thing and really hone that skill, while continuing to expand and explore other things. In Justin’s case, it is writing.

Remember my friend Monica? Monica is an artist. She is also a mom. Monica was a professional dancer, works with clay, water colours and welding. Before she became a full time, stay at home Mom, she was an Assistant. She has many things which she does and which she is good at, but nothing which she does which she is an expert. This is her downfall.

You see, while she knows a lot about many things, she has not taken the time and energy to hone in on one skill or set of skills. Whether that is one art form, or being the best Assistant on the planet, or even being the best Mom. This has lead to some frustration on her part, and an interruption of the truth of not being good enough.

And there is some truth in the statement that her painting / sculpture / admin work is not “good enough” to give her the type of monetary feed back she is looking for at this time. Nor is being a Mom. (I’ll blog about our getting our identity from outside ourselves including our children, later.) So she continues to beat herself up, instead of choosing one area of her life where she is going to focus and work to become the est she can be. And just enjoy the rest.

As a Coach, I help my clients to see what is at the core of their desires. We then create a real life, physical world agenda with goals and benchmarks. This allows the client to see their progress, re-evaluating their goals and to check to see where they need to correct their direction – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually – to better support their agenda.

Monica may or may not ever get this. Justin, on the other hand, seems to understand that while he can study everything in a very magpie way – it’s a family trait – he also needs to hone his craft as a writer. Once he gets one form of writing down, he can expand stylistically. But writing is his main skill.

What is your main skill? And, if you aren’t already, what plan do you need to put in place so that you become the expert at it?

Things to think about. Until next time.


Rediscovering my voice

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I have been blogging fairly religiously over the past few weeks. Really, I have! I sit down, I write, I have a clear idea of what I am want to talk about, the direction I want to go. 700 words later, I lean back and take a look at what I have written and. . .


Who has written this drivel?? That whiny piece? Where is my voice?

Much as we, as human beings and individuals like to think that we are unpredictable and possibly a little dangerous, the truth is that we create patterns. We do this in where we go, how we speak, the choices we make on a daily basis. We develop a comfort zone. When we are willing to look at ourselves and our patterns, we can generally see where a shift has occurred. Many times these shifts are subtle. Sometimes, not so much. When I noticed that I had lost my “voice,” after taking the appropriate time – for me – to be grumpy and fight it, I sat down and took the time to look at what was going on in my life, what patterns were either being reinforced or challenged that I was reacting that I felt that I had lost my “voice.”

Now, if we are working with metaphors, this was an opportunity for me to look at patterns where I had, in the past, not spoke my truth, sublimated my voice, my feelings, in a situation. To take responsibility for those actions and reactions and to make other choices in the future.

Now, sometimes these choices are to simply not hang out with the people who act in a way which provokes my loosing my voice. If this is possible, it is valid. If it is not possible, then it I have other choices to make. If this is a reoccurring pattern which has deep roots in the past, such as a belief that I have chosen to buy into which is no longer serving me, I have the choice to take the time to separate the belief from the situation and then rewire is and realign my world view in connection to this situation.

As a Coach, I would suggest to my clients when something like this shows up in their lives, that they take the time to look at the patterns which are showing up. What has changed? What challenges them? Where are they not trusting themselves? Have they worked on shifting things and this pattern, in my case my lose of my voice, is part of the excavation of of some core issues which are being brought to light in order to be reconciled and to grow beyond them.

Free form writing, making conscious choices when I recognize myself falling into a pattern, choosing to simply accept that the choice no longer supports my goals and moving forward in a way which is not reactionary, but better supports what I am trying to achieve, all help to shift old patterns.

By the same token, sometimes, simply recognizing where these old ideas come from, understanding their genesis and being able to acknowledge that they are no longer getting them where they want to go, is all a Client needs to shift out of an old pattern.

Yes, there are feelings attendant to these patterns. There are even feelings about what we are supposed to feel when we let go of these patterns. There are judgments – or as Albert Ellis, the founder of Rational Emotive Therapy would say, irrational beliefs – attached to even our letting go of old patterns and beliefs. It is in the recognition and letting go of these patterns which allow the Client to shift their world view and become “free” from those judgments, patterns and irrational beliefs which are not allowing them to move forward in their goals.

Is this easy? It can be as easy or difficult as the Client decides that it needs to be. But once the Client has cleared the pattern, they are able to take the first steps to moving forward with ease, grace and enthusiasm.

And sometimes, they find their voice.

Things to think about. Until next time.


Business arrangements or how marriage is a corporation

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

There are few things which I have agreed are truisms. The sun raises in the East and sets in the West, we draw to us what we focus on, and asking a fish what water is like probably not going to get you a lot of information. Because what does a does a fish know about anything BUT being in water?

Here is another one which many people will find controversial, is that the Universe sees marriage as a business agreement, children as assets / investments of that business and families as corporations. In setting up these businesses, we make agreements and form alliances which hopefully support our long term goals as both individuals and couples and family units, including financial, physical, spiritual, emotional and mental.

The problem comes in when one of these is out of balance for one member of the business or the other. What is your part of the agreement? Let me give you an example: Several years ago I was reading cards at a party. As you have seen from earlier blogs, this is something which I do for fun and to help keep my intuitive senses challenged. The3 party was a bridal shower. The bride and I slipped away at the end of the party and I read her palm and her cards without an audience. Looking at her cards, I asked her what her concern was. She readily admitted that she had been thrown for a lop when her fiance had asked her to sign a pre-nuptial agreement. Now, I don’t have any real issues with pre-nups. If written well, they protect both parties and are usually quiet reasonable. Also, most courts will throw them out if the marriage lasts more then 5 years.

The problem? The bride was a doctor who had been supporting the Groom for the last 3 years while he was working on becoming a Television writer. He had a small trust fund via his Entertainment Industry family, just enough to pay the rent, but not enough to really live on. He had just finished a contract writing 2 episodes of a series which had only run 9 episodes. Suddenly, he was asking his fiance to sign away all her rights to any money he earned from anything which he wrote during their marriage if they were to get divorced. Ever. Does anyone else see the inequity here?

When we fall in love and get married, many times we are not looking at what we are doing from a practical point of view. While I don’t believe that arranged marriages are a solution, I do believe that if more people spent more time communicating what they want and discovering who they are and who the other person is before taking the plunge, there would be a lower divorce rate.

Statistically, from what I have been given to understand, the two main reasons sighted for divorce is financial and sexual incompatibility or conflict. While we huff and we puff about this, about what should be, this is an unfortunate truth. Even I have been in relationships which have ended in large part because of money issues including my partners feeling that I was not financially contributing enough. (Truth was, there would never have been enough money for him. It had nothing to do with me.)

So how do you avoid this? Or at least mitigate some of the fall out? First of all, honesty with both yourself. Even prior to finding a potential partner. What do you want in a partner? What characteristics, what should they bring to the table? What will you bring to the table? Who do you want to be in this business? And what do you want the business to be? Traditional? Adventurous? Are you looking for a partner who will be the rock so that you can be outrageous and creative? Or are you looking for someone who is less grounded than you to help lift you out of the rut you fall into upon occasion?

And what are you willing to sacrifice for this? Are you honest about your own strengths and weaknesses and in what areas are you willing to improve? Or are you?

Much like a business, how you set up your business plan to start with is key to getting the business off the ground to start with. Once you have a clear business plan in place, then it is time to start working on finding the right partner, which is why being clear is so important.

But what about love, you ask. All of the above can be done from a very loving place and in a very loving way. In fact, even in a real business, coming from a heart centered place is being proven to be one of the best business models out there. John Hope Bryant wrote a great book called Love Leadership which points out that if you lead from love and respect, you inspire loyalty, attracts good people, confers peace of mind and lies at the core of wealth. He also points out that vulnerability is an asset, because when you are vulnerable, you are open and that allows others to be comfortable being open while they are with you, creating bonds and trust and deepening the potential for the relationship. The head of the program at USM will tell you that perfect vulnerability is prefect protection.

But what does this have to do with Executive Coaching, you may ask? Remember, in the Coaching model, everything which shows up in one area of your life will show up in others. How did you set up your business? What is your relationship with your Assistant? Are your subordinates assets and investments in the future of the company? Who is your partner? Are you open and vulnerable with them? Coming from a place of loving and authenticity? Have you looked at what you bring to the table in those relationships? Are you potentially the ‘problem’? What is your responsibility?

As for the woman who was asked to sign the pre-nup. I advised her to get a lawyer. She was a Doctor, after all, and while she might never make the kind of money a television writer made, her fiance might not either. She would outline her terms as well, then sit down and find out what is really going on. And then decide if this is what she really wanted.

Things to think about. Until next time.