Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Inspiration or Obligation...

Isn't it interesting how we take on other people's anxiety as our own? I had an experience recently where a friend planned on moving in with her boyfriend. She showed me a building where her cats were going to stay, separate from her boyfriend's house. I instantly felt negative about her move, as her cats were a big part of her life and their living outside was not something I thought she wanted. When I shared my concern with her she smiled and explained that I must have been picking up on her anxiety about the move. She explained it wasn't her boyfriend that was against the cats being in the house (he actually looked forward to their addition), it was that she was anxious about inhabiting his space.

We behave in ways that we believe will make other people feel better, but in doing so we jeopardize our own well-being. Taking action from a state of inspiration rather than from a place of obligation is makes all the difference between living an authentic versus insincere life.

Give only when it feels good to do so. 

If taking action feels good - do it - and if it doesn't, wait. The inspiration to act will come at just the time, at just the right moment. When you give when it feels inspiring to do so, you will flow seamlessly with the stream of life, or closer to do so anyway. It seems inspiration hasn't quite hit me yet, so I guess I'll take my own advice and wait...    

A Walk in the Woods

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Song Speaks...

Soon-to-be tomato
I've been waking up way too early lately and I like it. It's a time and space for me only. I don't have to answer to anyone, or be anything I don't want to be. I just get to be. It's a long, deep inhale and exhale where I oxygenate my soul.
My favorite and latest emergence.

Also, I've noticed songs playing in my head. Sometimes they are quiet and barely audible, and sometimes, like yesterday morning, a song will overtake me, make me to stop what I'm doing, and ask me to find the meaning it holds, which at that time was "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips. After I wrote the lyrics on a white board, I took a step back and read them aloud. It was surprising how spot on they were with what I needed in that moment; reassurance.  
This morning's song was Salt-N-Pepa's "Let's Talk About Sex." Its rhythmic cadence transported me back in time to the backseat of my friend's mom's convertible. With the top down and wind blowing through my hair, I sang the risque lyrics at the top of my lungs, something I would have never been allowed to do in my parent's presence. This moment, unknown to me at the time, was a a pivotal one. I now see it as a step towards breaking protective cocoon of childhood and replacing it with the uncertainty of adolescence. And all that from a song.   

Monday, June 2, 2014

Gardening as Art...

Green, for now

There is such a delicacy to a garden when it's first planted. Cats, not only my three but the neighborhood felines as well, deposit their goods and uproot my tender seeds leaving them defenseless and lifeless.

The pea at right has made it past imminent danger and grips tightly to its metal post, and to my delight has upped its chances of survival, despite my youngest and most violent kitty lurking in the background.

At times any cat, mole, insect or crazed weather pattern overwhelms me to the point I consider fencing, netting, and/or insect repellent to keep my dear ones safe. But when I sit and look at my fear objectively I realize the problem has little to do with my garden and more to do with a desire to control the uncontrollable.

My garden also reflects an unconscious need for success, not that that's a bad thing, but when that need makes the experience stressful and the gardening  process takes on a less than enjoyable tone, I take notice.

Whether you're a parent raising a child, an artist painting a piece, or a creator envisioning a dream, any project at some point, to some degree takes on a life of its own between preparation, maintenance, and tending to. Its failure or success, despite what you may or may not do, is out of your hands. The balance between control and letting go is a fine one, but when you find it the art of living is at your fingertips.

Enjoy the view...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

If Only For a Moment..

The greatest thing we can do at any given moment is to let go. To let go and allow the things before us to be just as they are. To allow spilled milk to merely be a liquid on a surface, nothing more. If only for a moment, rip up your mental to-do list because this moment is not for learning or for doing or for planning, it is solely for you.  Sit back and breathe a deep breath in, and observe what's in front of you. Connect to who you are, and give yourself a break, if only for a moment, from the details of your life.

There is a deep satisfaction when you say to yourself: enough is enough, I choose to flow with the stream of life, and want to feel, if only for a moment, the exhilaration and freedom of allowing that stream to take me where it will. This moment isn't about what's right or wrong; it's about my knowing I'm doing the best that I can, and if only for this moment, may I accept it for what it is so that I may truly embody peace.   

Thursday, April 3, 2014

En Route...

As it sometimes happens, I was seated next to an especially chatty man on my flight from Seattle to Salt Lake City. At the end of the flight he leans over and asks me if he had talked my ear off. I shook my head no, even though technically he had, as I secretly enjoyed the craziness of his life story. For starters, I learned he was a Mormon missionary in Chile during a hostile political coup in 1972. He saw trucks full of dead bodies and even participated in a revolt. One of his daughters was kidnapped, while another daughter had beaten Lymphoma cancer and she, along with the rest of her siblings - four sisters and one brother - ran a marathon in Ireland which raised $26,000 to aid in fighting the disease. Once the plane landed and we parted ways, he turned to me and said, "You come visit me and my wife in southern Utah now! I know ya'd like her. She talks to trees and reads books just like you." We laughed and resumed our diverging destinations.

I'm currently in the middle of a three hour layover. A young woman with long iron curled hair, a buckskinleather jacket and high heels is sitting next to me. She is fumbling through her bag, uttering words of frustration in a manner and volume that suggests an invitation to curious enough onlookers to engage her in conversation. My hunch was confirmed when my simply looking in her direction was all the opening she needed in order to share the following unsolicited information with me. She explains how she failed to bring the correct charging cord, and that one of her nails, "which I just got done yesterday," chipped. I reply, "Wow. Sounds pretty rough?" in an attempt diffuse her razzed state. Instead, she pauses, fixes me with a curious, sideways look, not dissimilar from an excitedly attentive though unsure dog, and says, "Yeah, it's because of manicurist incompetence."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cold as Ice...

Last night, while visiting with a friend, the topic of comfort came up. We discussed how efficient and comfortable our lives are and how it might not necessarily always be a good thing. Henry explained how taking a daily cold shower decreases stress and lowers a person's body temperature. He explained that Russians believe lowering one's body temperature by one degree can equate to ten more years of life.  

I remembered our conversation just as I went to step into the shower today. Instead of turning the nozzle left like I normally do, I turned it right instead. Since there was no need to wait for the water to heat up, I took a deep breath and stepped in. The initial discomfort was so great I only wet my hair for a few seconds before moving my body as far away from the shower head as possible. I used the dripping water from my hair to wet the rest of my body in order to soap up. When it was time to rinse, my desire to make the water warm was so strong, but I decided against it in an effort to follow through with giving the Russian theory a fair shake.

It's been forty-five minutes since my shower and I'm still cold and I want to put a coat on. However, utilizing a mind over matter technique, I found that despite being uncomfortable, I feel refreshed and focused. I guess there's truth to, "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" because even though it felt like I was dying, I'm still here to tell the tale. 

Here's to crazy Russians and cold showers!     

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Stay the Course...

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill

Early on I was taught that if you commit to something, you had to see it through. One of my first head-on experiences with this was after I joined the high school basketball team. A few weeks of unbearable practices had me wanting to quit. I asked my dad what I should do and he explained how important commitments are, not only to the person keeping the commitment but to anyone else involved. Although his answer didn't get me off the team, I ultimately knew he was right and kept going.
I suppose if I hadn't had such a great coach in my past, or experienced the feeling when a challenge is overcome, I may not have the willpower and resiliency I do today. In the future, I know there will be times when I'll be faced with the desire to give up, however, in the same moment, I'll remember my commitment and keep going. 

"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek." - Mario Andretti  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Boom Boom Boom...

My Puritan-esque introduction to the birds and bees; my mom uncomfortably walking into my room, handing me an outdated book, then wordlessly leaving my room, made the topic of sex a very difficult road to travel throughout my life. Until now.

Sexuality used to be a little mouse in the corner, out of my grasp, however, I am at a point where I want to claim my sexuality, but my initial reaction is fear due to seeing it as a larger than life project. I think, just like anything else, the key is taking it one step at a time, one day at a time. And, even though I may be conservative with my words, this is a big step for me and I'm boldly going where I've never gone before.

“The greatest feminists have also been the greatest lovers. I'm thinking not only of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley, but of Anais Nin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and of course Sappho. You cannot divide creative juices from human juices. And as long as juicy women are equated with bad women, we will err on the side of being bad.” 
― Erica Jong

Enjoy the ride!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

On the Road Again...

In less than four days I leave for another adventure on the road. This time a 26- foot-long school bus will be my humble abode. I don't know many of the trip's details, other than I will be with my friend Peter (purple hat), and that we will be wading through rivers, taking dips in hot springs, and riding bikes on the Venice Beach boardwalk.

There is nothing like the feeling a blank slate of possibilities invokes. Nothing.

I'll leave you with a thought from Jurassic Park author, Michael Crichton, "Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am. There is no mystery about why this should be so. Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of food, your closet full of your clothes -  with all this taken away, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That's not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating."  
My soon-to-be bed.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Trust is Difficult but Necessary...

Trust means relying on a person's integrity, strength, and ability. As for me, my trust is shaken due to a recent purchase via the internet. The details are as follows: The Ebay seller said she would ship the item as soon as my funds cleared. I was hoping to receive said item prior to leaving for California, but learned my method of payment would take a week or longer, not in time, so I used a credit card to expedite the process. I then called to stop the initial check, but when I learned it would cost $35 to do so, I decided to email the seller to notify her of the double payment and ask that she send the check back to me.

I have yet to hear from the seller, despite my subsequent emails, and find myself caught up in what if and maybe scenarios. Maybe I should have paid the $35? What if the seller spent the money on a cruise? Maybe I'm too trusting? Or, just maybe I should take my own advice from my "Feeling Goal Time" post and let go of the details, accept the situation, and allow it to unfold how it will. Yeah, that's what I'll do...  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Stand For Something...

The conscious life is lived with an open mind and it asks for nothing less than all of you. It catches the imagination on fire, while illuminating a path of passion. And as for fear? Fear only serves to inhibit the road to awareness and what is truly possible.

"Come to the edge...We might fall. Come to the edge...It's too high. COME TO THE EDGE...And they came...and he pushed...and they flew!" - Christopher Logue

The conscious life will never give you more than you can handle, but the positive aspects it brings will be more than you ever thought possible. If, in each and every moment, we work to connect to our highest good while focusing and responding to positive aspects in the world around us, we will then create a truly worthwhile existence. ~The Psyhologist's Philosophy

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Write Now...

Since my first journal, fit with lock and key when I was 5 years old, writing has been a part of my life. I currently have a stack of journals 15 deep on the hallway bookshelf and contained in those pages are moments of extreme pain and unrestrained joy. The words from my past remind me that the passage of time creates distance, and in that, lies healing.  
The article "Five Ways Writing Can Save Your Life," explains how the components of self-discovery, reflection, meditation, imagination and action are at the core of the writing experience. I can say from experience, as I near the end of my third month writing daily, the act of taking thoughts and emotions and translating them into words is a truly satisfying experience. I've learned there is no wrong answer, that the only expectations that exist are ones I set for myself, and it's better to try and fail than to do nothing at all. 

I'm glad I enjoy writing because as intimidating as 279 more days of blogging seems, I know taking it a day at a time will make the process go smoothly. 

Well, that's all for this evening. Good night, and if you too decide you may want to start a journal remember: "Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards." -Robert Heinlein

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Unmask Thyself...

I've been told twice now about Phoenix Jones, the real life martial artist and superhero of Seattle who is part of a citizen patrol group that prevents crime. My childlike wonder came out at the prospect of bad guys being punished and banished from the streets. A little introspection about the man behind the mask makes me see a man with a big ego who seeks to avenge the bullies from his past by perpetuating the same cycle he believes he is ending.

There is a saying that goes, "don't fight fire with fire." So, if you don't like something, don't add more of what you don't like to it. It seems very backwards to right wrongs with more wrongs. When I heard Phoenix Jones was a martial artist, that about did me in. It appears he may need a refresher course in the philosophy of what makes a true martial artist: 

~One of the most priceless gifts of martial arts practice is to get to know yourself internally and externally.
~Our main goal is to use the body to reach and learn to master the mind. Once you have mastered your mind you will have no desire to ever fight.
~In real martial arts, even when faced with the situation, you can stay calm and centered.
~Through practice we become aware of what we think and why. What shapes our values and beliefs, then we can step back and look at it with more of a pure mind.
~Consistent effort over time is needed to achieve greatness in anything. 

Lastly, a conscious life is lived not behind a mask, but with eyes and a heart wide open ready to give one's strengths where they can best be served. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Feeling Goal Time...

Details. Details. Details. You see, lately all I've been thinking about are details, and I could not be more bogged down. Sure, I understand the need for an engineer to get the specks correct on a 747 airplane, or for James Bond to dismantle bombs just right, but that level of scrupulousness in every day life is just plain crazy talk. A few detailed-crazed-characters come to mind; the overbearing parent, the controlling friend, and the addicted lover, each of which make reoccurring appearances in our lives. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff  is a book I don't even need to read because the title taught me everything I need to know.

How I Roll...
The trick is to let go of the details and to set a feeling goal. For example, my goal in writing this blog is to feel relaxed and at ease. Even while writing this very sentence I noticed myself becoming self-conscious and then slightly anxious about what I was writing. Then I remembered my feeling goal so I relaxed and let go of the self imposed pressure. I don't know if it will work for you, but try it and let me know what you think. Til next time, flow on.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Who I Am...

One of the hardest things I've yet to admit is I am loved. For some reason that sentence scared the shit out of me writing it. I struggle with what part of me is lovable, especially when I know how easy it is to find the parts of me that are perhaps not so lovable. 

At times, people become a mirror in which I look to to find myself in, and if I know someone is struggling, I tend to think perhaps I should be too. This may sound silly and possibly insecure, but that's the way it goes when you look to others for your self worth. 

At this point in my journey I'm more concerned with pleasing myself, and I have enough experience to know when I focus on what I want everything else will line up. 

Lastly, I want to thank those of you who told/tell me you read my blog daily. There were days I wanted to give up, and if it weren't for the fact that you were out there reading this, I don't know if I'd be as sane as I am.

 So.... thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

No Fear...

Writing this blog every-single-day is a struggle. Sometimes I don't know what to write about and sometimes, even when I do, I second guess what I write. I also get confused to whom I'm writing; myself or other people and believe that is what keeps me from being more vulnerable. I took a big step towards letting my inner self out when I put myself center stage in front of my writer's group (pictured below).

You see the guy sitting highest in his chair? That's Henry. He's reading a passage from his love squared (not love triangle) novella. He spoke right before Alisse sang a song (she's not visible in this photo), we all clapped in rhythm to. Megan, the woman to the left of Henry, shared her fear that no one would read what she put up on the message board, and of course we promised we would. When it was my turn to share, the group facilitator Robert (to the right of Henry) and India (far left) pushed me to share more from my perspective and thought I should try to relate to the reader more.

Although, I appreciate their feedback and heard what they had to say, I still am unsure how to apply their advice. I assume as long as I continue the path I'm on I will find out.

As for the group, their "been there done that" attitude let's me know that I'm not alone on this journey and for that I am grateful. That's all for now.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Eye of the Tiger...

Our perspective or, more precisely, our point of view is the sum of all our life experiences until now. Since no two people have the same life experience, perception of reality differs from person to person. This is what is meant by "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" in that the senses of the mind, cognition and understanding determine one's vantage point.

Depending on the person's perspective - fearful or secure, hostile or peaceful, hopeful or pessimistic - it will dominate the way they perceive reality. However contrasting another's perspective may be to your own, it is not your job to change them, nor is it your job to convince them to think or feel like you. Rather it is your responsibility to accept others as they are, to deepen your compassion for them and then return to your inner peace, knowing that all is truly well.   
"The good you find in others, is in you too.
The faults you find in others, are your faults as well.
After all, to recognize something you must know it.
The possibilities you see in others, are possible for you as well.
The beauty you see around you is your beauty.
The world around you is a reflection, a mirror
showing you the person you are. 
To change the world, you must change yourself."

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Lost Centipede...

I remember when I was young I would dream about being a private investigator; stealthily catching bad guys in dark alleys. Then, when I was a teenager, I wanted to be an accountant until my dad told me I'd pull my hair out by the time I was 30. I like my hair so I decided that wasn't the profession for me. The question of what I want to be when I grow up, despite having a successful career and a master's degree, is something I still don't know the answer to.

I admire Vincent Van Gogh's passion and commitment to painting. Despite dying poor and having only sold one painting in his lifetime he said, "I can't change the fact that my paintings won't sell. But the time will come when people will recognize that they are worth more than the value of the paints used in the picture."   

In past times I've tended to look to others for approval with choices I made, not knowing if I was on the "right" path. But, much like Van Gogh, I realize it's not about right or wrong, lucrative or not, socially acceptable or shunned, it's about passion, love and a life lived, not deferred for acceptance. When it's all said and done, wouldn't you rather be regret-free and happy?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Into the Cave..

Sometimes it feels as though the weight of the world is too much and getting out of bed to meet the day seems like a chore. When I hear a story of a young girl dying in a car crash or observe a once loving and supportive relationship turn bitter or listen to people's pessimistic beliefs about the state of the world, it sometimes almost cripples me. Even though I know there is a great amount of good in the world, the dark side of humanity is oppressive at times. That being said, in order to get past the pain, we need to connect with ourselves in the way only a good friend can do.

When we make ourselves a priority we set aside time for self reflection. We quiet the mind and turn our internal radio station to silence. From this space we soften ourselves to receive healing in the only place where healing ever exists, in the now.

Not a progressive and fatal neurological disease, not losing a home to a fire, nor any
other challenges put in the path of these two along the way could divide them. They
are the epitome of strength and resilience. They are the true American love story.  
We then are able to let go of the need to control the world, its lightness and darkness and accept it, in all its glory, just as it is. In the words of Joseph Campbell, "We are not on a journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dinner Is Served...

What keeps you from loving another person? Did they do something to hurt you? Do they not look how you want them to look? Do they act in some way that is inappropriate to you? Whatever the excuse or justification may be, remember that you, and you alone, are the only one who has the power to withhold love from others, as well as from yourself.

There comes a point after adolescence and the teenage years when each of us is confronted with adulthood. In order to make the transition to a more mature existence, one must make peace with their past, along with full acceptance of themselves as the ultimate authority.

Picture for a moment if you will writing down on a recipe card the ingredients which go into making you, you. Nothing is left out - personality traits, accomplishments, losses, traumatic experiences - it all gets written down. Separately, the ingredients may not seem that tasty, but when you combine them all together, a delicious meal is made.

"To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections." - Sandra Bierig
People have often asked me whether what I know about love has spoiled it for me. And I just simply say, 'Hardly.' You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, and then when you sit down and eat that cake, you can still feel that joy.

People have often asked me whether what I know about love has spoiled it for me. And I just simply say, 'Hardly.' You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, and then when you sit down and eat that cake, you can still feel that joy.

People have often asked me whether what I know about love has spoiled it for me. And I just simply say, 'Hardly.' You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, and then when you sit down and eat that cake, you can still feel that joy.

People have often asked me whether what I know about love has spoiled it for me. And I just simply say, 'Hardly.' You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, and then when you sit down and eat that cake, you can still feel that joy.


Now, get to work making a scrumptious dish...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Detach From Attachment...

Each day I learn something new. Some days the lessons are easy, whereas other days the lessons pull the rug out from underneath me, leaving me lost and confused. When I look back at my most difficult moments, it’s always been attachment that has caused me the greatest amount of pain.

In Buddhism, non-attachment is taught to decrease suffering. This process is a never-ending journey and one that requires continual questioning. A good question to ask yourself is “What in this moment am I attached to that is causing me pain?” Sometimes it’s the loss of a loved one, your health, or a belief system but whatever the cause may be, attachment only makes the experience worse.   

Our egos are a powerful force that takes over the mind and won't let go. Eckhart Tolle says, ”The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate from the situation, which is always neutral. It is as it is.” 


Monday, March 17, 2014

One Step at a Time...

I love Jim Henson's movie The Labyrinth. The scene that stands out more to me than anything else is when the main characters - a young girl, a large monster, and a little man riding a dog - need to cross "the bog of eternal stench." After a discussion about fear and uncertainty, the large monster lifts his head to the sky and bellows a long, low tone. All of a sudden large boulders roll to form a path where there once wasn't one, leading a trail over the smelly bog. As they walk, each step is matched with another stone positioning itself into place, at just the right moment.

Uncertainty is intimidating at times, however, trusting in the unlimited possibilities that lie before you, will help make the journey an effortless one. 

From the book Stop Drifting, Start Rowing: One Woman's Search for Happiness and Meaning Alone on the Pacific, the author, Roz Savage's explains, "It felt as if everything that had happened so far in my life had been leading me to this point, preparing me for this task, and that I was uniquely equipped to pursue this quest. It was a perfect collision of personality, past experience, purpose, and timing."

Our questions may not always be answered how and when we want them to, but that's no reason to concede. Trust the answers are on their way and then, the next step will most likely appear.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dedicated In Love...

Leonard Knight. His name may not be one you've heard before, but once you've heard his words, you will never forget him. "I don't go to church, I just love and want to join the world in love."

This man's lifelong work building Salvation Mountain, deemed by The Folk Art Society as one of the six folk-art sites in the world worthy of "preservation and protection" was entered into the Congressional Record, in 2002. His work, made popular in the movie "Into the Wild" directed by Sean Penn, made him somewhat of a local hero in this "godforsaken" and desolate desert area due to his 30 years of craftsmanship and (over 100,000 gallons of paint).

It's been over a year ago since my time living in Slab City, and experiencing Salvation Mountain on my way into town or to bathe at the local hot spring. A friend who currently lives on a school bus converted home in the area, spoke to me just this morning about the "grandest celebration of music and dancing" he'd ever seen. He shared that in the middle of the celebration a group of locals took Leonard Knight's ashes, who died a month prior, and spread them on the very mountain he dedicated his life to.

For one man to dedicate over 30 years of his life, day in and day out to something bigger than himself, with the sole desire to spread love, is one of the most incredible things I have ever heard. May his story provide you a torch to light the paths of others to love as he loved. Maybe it's building a mountain or maybe it's simply loving a friend, family member, or partner a little more each day, but wherever you are pulled, take Leonard's example and do it with all your heart.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

No Apologies ...

If you only get one spin you get in this life, quit apologizing. Apologies, whether forced or otherwise, stem from emotional guilt and are used like get out of jail free cards, cashed in only to serve an unconscious selfish need.

Unfortunately life doesn't hand out do-overs, which means each of us is left with a portion of internal regret over past mistakes made. However difficult regret is to bear, if you are in fact truly sorry, then you will move forward with the knowledge from the experience and the wisdom of how to act in the future.
For the next time, think about possible outcomes of your decisions and how they will impact those around you. You aren't expected to be perfect, nor should you expect others to be perfect either. If together everyone works at being a little more thoughtful, a little more honest, and a little more loving in each and every moment, we will have a renewed trust in those around us, so there will be no need for sorry.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Quicksand of Life

How do you draw the line between what is and isn't your business with regards to other people? Do you use a magnifying glass to peer into the lives of those around you or do you prefer to sit back on a mountain top and watch from above? It appears the extent to which we get involved in other people’s lives (of which we have little control over) provides a glimpse into our own psyche and discomfort with uncertainty.

What do you know about quicksand? Thanks to Hollywood, most of us think it's a very quick and dramatic process. However, the part that's misrepresented is a less than exciting reality; remain very still, make small, slow movements, arms spread, and the individual floats to the surface rather than a precipitous sinking. (If you’re at all interested, this is due to our body’s density being greater than that of sand.)

To decrease the quicksand-like drama in our own lives, there needs to be a more evolved approach in the way we view human behavior. Although common sense, reason, justice, logic, and fairness are wonderful governing bodies to turn to when trying to understand the world we live in, they should not be the end all be all. Situations aren't always black or white, nor will a one size fits all response be the best way to handle them. Therefore, in order to understand and better deal with these situations with a new, more objective viewpoint, there needs to be a letting go of the old rules. Or, more precisely, when confronted with a sticky situation, stop flailing and just float...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Play Ball...

On a fly ball in baseball, the general rule of thumb is for the outfielder to make their first move a backwards step. This action leaves the fielder more prepared to handle deeply hit balls. This also happens to be a good idea when dealing with people, too.

Remember this important fact: no two people are the same. This truth means conflicts will always exist in every facet of life, no exceptions. To take the first step back and handle conflicts effectively, we must hold or pause momentarily to gain composure. The act of holding allows enough time for the premature, impulsive decision making to pass so that it can be replaced with a more rational, levelheaded approach.

"Knowing how the environment is pulling your strings and playing you is critical to making responsive rather than reactive moves." ― Ronald A. Heifetz 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Shiver Me Timbers...

Abandon ship
There is the moment in the movie Titanic, after the ship hits an iceberg, the captain calls for a reversal in the engines. If you've seen the movie, you know that the engines don’t automatically change the boat's direction; there is a slowing of the forward movement until it pauses at neutral, and only then do they begin to turn in the opposite direction.
Change direction

Similarly, the beliefs you hold have a certain momentum attached to them. When, for instance, you think the thought I am a worthless person enough times, the thought gets strengthened to the point it becomes a belief, and then you're headed directly for a large iceberg. Listen closely to the definition of "belief": a psychological state in which an individual holds a premise to be true. This definition says nothing about the belief being true, rather that the belief seems true because the individual thinks it so.

Just like changing the physical body from a beer gut to a six-pack is not possible overnight, so too does a un-mentally fit individual need to hit the affirmations deck or do appreciation exercises to get started. Caring that you feel good in single moment may sound crazy, but if you don't shoot for the moon and miss, how will you ever land among the stars?  

Now, get to work!