Empowerment begins with the recognition that feeling is not the same as thinking. People often confuse the two. (I feel ________ so I must be __________). Feelings are internally driven and subjective. When feelings lead you to believe the worst in yourself, you hinder your ability to growth. Feelings are like a floating river, what you feel at any given moment is temporary and, thus, accessible to change. The present does not have to sabotage the future or define your true potential. Know that life is always changing and so are you. Learning to give yourself permission to just “be” empowers you to become.
The Blaming Finger August 29, 2011
Pointing one’s finger (not that finger) at someone is dangerous business. It personally drives me crazy. Talk about nonverbal communication! The message communicated in pointing your index finger at someone : “listen to me, I know better and pay attention.” It is a parental position and puts the listener in the role of
In the past, it has immediately raised my blood pressure and my defenses and the rest is history. But, I have grown wise. I take the person’s index finger and grab it in my hand and give it a squeeze. That usually does the trick (at least, it works with my mother).
If not, consider asking the person to turn their hand in the opposite direction so they are pointing to themselves.
Get the point.
The Boogey Man under my bed August 17, 2011
How do I know when the boogey man is under my bed?
By the knot in my stomach and the lump in my throat. By the feeling that I will burst into tears if I open my mouth and utter a word. I used to be very scared of the boogey man. Truth is, sometimes, I still am. My response has always been to take action, to mobilize. The underlying thinking, though it was not something I was conscious of, was that by fixing “it”, the feeling would go away. The problem with that thinking is the focus was on the wrong thing. “It” was the script, scenery and characters, not the underlying meaning of the story.
I am braver, wiser and stronger now. I have found the courage to look the fear in the eye, to name it and own it. I am no longer watching the play but am the main character and the producer. The truth is the boogey man lives inside me (and all of us). The difference is that I am learning to understand it, find a place for it and take control of it. I can look under my bed and make friends with the boogey man. I have even enlisted his help to learn the art of holding my feelings and letting them naturally move through me and beyond. Silly as this may sound, I can now tuck him in and go to sleep myself.
Confine or Define? August 11, 2011
From the time we are born, there are external markers that define us. Whether it is the percentile your child scores in comparison to other children by weight and height, your high school ranking, your #1 Best Sales Award Record, Top Star Athlete etc., these parameters are attached to us. They impact our self perception and our self esteem becomes wrapped up in the labels. Combine this with others’ expectations and projections, and we become locked in. Confined by our lives. Confined by the labels.
Often, we think we know the rules and are good at playing the game. For some people, something happens that catches them off guard and they are confronted with the realization that they may not want to play the same game anymore. The pleasure, rewards and gratification are no longer enough.
Through interviews with other women, I have found that this phenomenon is growing. A second life journey invites us to define and revise our life plan. What was once black and white, is now a blend of colors, inner contentment replaces external affirmation and curiosity surpasses security.
WELCOME TO THE JOURNEY
1) Finding Your Way Home by Melody Beattie
2) Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
3) The Third Chapter by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
Whoever invented worrying. WHY, WHY, WHY? August 3, 2011
Unless I am missing something, I see no real value to worrying. Coming from a Jewish family where “worrying” is part of the gene pool, I have struggled to let go of this dreadful habit.
Worrying, perhaps in very small doses, can be a motivator to take action. I get that. However, 99.9% of the time, we are worrying about something that we have no control over. This becomes magnified when the worrying is about someone else.
We must learn to give those worries right back to the owner. How else will they learn?
Typically, worrying comes from presuming the worst and expecting only the best. WRONG THINKING! We miss the mark by doing so. Instead, try assuming the best and applauding efforts regardless of the outcome. That is the way we learn best.
Are you a “worry wart” or do you know someone who is? Let’s start a conversation about this. We can all learn a lesson or two on how to break this unhealthy, unproductive habit. It’s time for a “no worry” revolution.
Life Lessons Learned in Childhood July 29, 2011
From a child’s perspective, we were simply having fun. Looking back as a grown up, early childhood games hold metaphors for life.
Remember the board game Candy Land? Just when you thought you had one more turn to win the game, you drew the final card that put you back to the beginning. Doesn’t this ring true in life? When obstacles unexpectedly jump out at us, often we feel defeated and discouraged. The key is to keep playing the game since each time offers a new outcome and a new chance to win.
As a child, I hated Tug of War. I was never very strong and always felt like the “weakest link.” The analogy to life. Don’t we often assume that the strongest, most powerful person is better than us? Reality check! Power typically means control and we can all think of people that are very “controlling.” Not our idol. Creative thinking, team spirit, effective communication, inspiring leadership, etc inevitably wins out in the end.
Lastly, there is the ole time favorite, Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Think about it. You are blindfolded and spun around. The object of the game is to randomly swing the bat, frantically hoping to hit the donkey quickly so everyone stops laughing at you. As grownups, we all have times when we feel like we are grasping in the dark. We feel alone and misunderstood. Join the party, take life a little less seriously and, remember, the candy lies only one swing away.
Who says children have squatter’s rights on these games? I think it is time to create some grownup games just for the fun of it.
WHOSE SHOES DO YOU CHOOSE? SHOES AS A METAPHOR FOR LIFE July 27, 2011
There are those shoes that we are forced to wear due to circumstances. Dress shoes fall in that category. Those are the ones that look good but are not usually comfortable. By the end of the occasion, you are dying to take them off and they inevitably leave their mark (typically in the form of a blister or calf pain). We do it again and again for the “bigger purpose” These shoes are analogous to the many roles we play and external standards imposed on us. They serve a function but require us to live with inconveniences.
Shoes such as soccer or ballet slippers help define us. These shoes are special because they represent something we love and derive self esteem from. Size changes over time but their value remains priceless– a symbol of who we dream to be.
Old worn out shoes are challenging. Though they are falling apart, we hate to part with them. This represents life transitions. Moving from one stage to anther comes with mixed feelings, the joy of moving forward and sadness of leaving something behind.
New Shoes are an interesting category. We hope, from the few short minutes trying them on in the store, that they will be comfortable from the start. Rarely is this the case. Typically, these shoes require “breaking them in.” Like in life, we must work through feelings that may hold us back. If we persevere and build resilency, changes become opportunities. Over time, we outgrow them and must move on to a new pair of shoes and the transition process begins again.