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Archive for the ‘Choice’ Category

A fair number of people have mentioned that I tend to do things ‘outside’ the box.  One person just this week suggested that I had a bit of a rebel streak.  I’m certain they meant it as a compliment; at least I hope so because that is exactly how I took it.

For whatever reason, as a kid and even as a teenager I rarely judged what I was doing as good or bad, or for that matter if others were good or bad.

That lack of awareness (and yes, at the time that is what it was) that I ‘should’ be weighing things in such a way took me pretty far.  I never really got pigeon-holed into one group of friends, or by one way of thinking or doing.  Which meant I also got to experience many different facets of life.

I am so grateful for that.  All those experiences opened my eyes to so much and many different ways of thinking and doing.  I believe this is why people sometimes view how I live as slightly out side of what is “normal”.

what is normal?Ugh what is normal anyway?  Who gets to really decide that?  I love the quote that says “normal is an illusion – what is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly”.  That’s often how I feel, not that I’m outside of normal…just that I appreciate my own sense of normal.

Perhaps we’d be better to use the word traditional?  Goodness knows I gave a few people heart attacks when I decided to move across the country and in less than 1 month was on the road to my new adventure.  Yup, sold my house, gave away tons of my things and just went for it.  Not the tradition in my family most certainly!

I knew my path led elsewhere and I was going to damn well figure out where that was.

Was I judged for this abrupt left turn?  Oh yes.  Did I care?  Not really.

Now that I’m building my career as an Empowerment and Transitional Coach, I’m seeing a lot of that stuff come up again.  Why would I leave teaching to do this?  What they are really saying is why would I risk this?  Risk is bad right?  <– just another judgment!,

The thing I’ve realized is when we judge things as good or bad, normal or weird…or whatever we only limit ourselves.  I’m not talking about when we have to decide for ourselves which direction to go. That’s different from judging.  That’s simply weighing our options to make a choice.

If I had bought into the judgments about moving from being a teacher to coaching, I’d have limited my own growth.  It’s my strong belief that we all have stepping-stones that contain lessons we need to learn.  Perhaps my passion for coaching and taking my message to the world now is simply because I’ve learned all I can from teaching.  My next step is Coaching.  That same passion that drove me and sustained me to be a teacher is now there for coaching.  I cannot ignore that.

I don’t understand how anyone can do that, although I do know that many do.

Once we make that choice we often start judging ourselves around it.  Imagine if we could just experience life and all it has to offer – including those who are so different from us – without having to label them?

I find it rather fascinating that one of the things I’ve heard about people who love their pets is one of the reasons they love them and feel so at ease is because a cat or dog or horse never judge them; not for a bad hair day, clothes, tears or doing a silly happy dance.  And yet, we haven’t figured that out for our people relationships? Hmmm.  mother-teresa-quotes

If we could finally realize the power in that then we’d be able to see more of the beauty in the souls of others.  I think we’d attempt more and do more and in truth – we’d live more.

My motto – life is short, eat dessert first!  It simply means to do what matters and what you love first!  If someone is judging your actions it really says more about where they are in their life than about where you are.  Love yourself and follow your passions.

Can you think of places you hold back in your life because you feel that you may be judged?  Or are you judging yourself?

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Sometimes we get to decide to make a change, sometimes change gets to ‘surprise’ us. Interestingly enough the strain on us often isn’t much different as we try to come to grips with what’s happening.

There is a perception out there in the big world that change is bad. That bad things happen when things change. Even when change is for the better we talk about having to ‘let go’ and ‘move on’ with such a sad feeling.

I’ve been the victim of unexpected change (so to speak) myself. Many times over but some things certainly stand out. I’ve also been the agent of change in my life and realize that even that isn’t easy.

The thing about change is it isn’t comfortable and it takes effort and energy – even when it’s something we really want. I’m sure I’m not the only one that gets really excited about some new project or and then gets those nervous butterflies just before taking that first step? You know where your inner voice says “whoa there, you crazy?”

Why is that? What is it about change that makes us resist it so much? Be it a small blip or a sea of change – what’s the real problem? After all it hasn’t killed us yet right?Jim_Rohn_Quote_Change

Change at its basic level brings with it a sense of chaos, of lack of control. We humans love to think that we are in control of everything that’s going on in our lives. Aren’t we cute that way?

Change shakes up that feeling of control and understanding. I mean if life is a game we play (of sorts) change is someone modifying the rules without telling us what they are and still expecting us to play and win.

No matter it’s going to happen and continue to happen to us, for us and around us. We will continue to create change for ourselves and learn and grow. For some people it’s an effort they don’t want to make but I think the Universe only gives you so long to start making the changes for yourself before it does it for you to move you along in your life.

That is what we do and how life it set up right?  It’s also how we get stuck isn’t it?

I think we have to learn to flip our view of change; embrace not knowing and be curious about the chaos rather than fear it.  We need to step up and simply accept change for what it is – a part of life, hidden opportunities and possibilities.  Stare that change right in the face and move with it rather than fight it.  We have to start remembering that life gets better with change if we let it.

When we get to move on we can choose how to respond to that.  Have you ever heard the Dr. Seuss quote “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”?

My acceptance of the lesson on change came when I was struggling to deal with the after effects of my car accident and having to realize that I would never be the same person. In the later stages of healing I had someone ask the question “couldn’t that be a good thing?” I never realized that this struggle, the changes could be a gift that I simply needed to accept.

Things had changed. I had changed.  There is no doubt to that.  I was already on a path to where I am today but in fact, I was resisting it.  I wanted to move but was stuck in so many levels of fear and confusion over the how and the what and of course…the why.

This accident forced me to face many of the things I thought were holding me back.  At some point, I realized that even though it was a very difficult time and it brought about many unexpected, painful changes – it also brought opportunity.  It brought me to a place where I could step into my own light.  I healed more than just my physical body through this and I think the Universe felt the need to push me forward.  So while I don’t love thinking about what happened and how painful it was, I do often feel a sense of gratitude because it brought me so far and gave me as much as it took away.

Life is short and too many of us live as if we have another back up one stored away somewhere.  We don’t.  I firmly believe that when we learn to embrace the chaos in change and show up with love we will finally move forward into the life we really want to be living.

Learn to breathe, give yourself some time to adjust and keep dreaming your dreams.

 

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There is an interesting concepts being talked about these days and it centers around a lack of leadership; in the country, the government, our companies etc.

Let’s start this by clarifying what I mean. There is a definite difference between a leader and a figurehead. This is most easily shown and understood I think if we start by looking at an organization.

I’m sure we’ve all been in a position to have some experience with a person who is in a high level position that should require them to be a strong leader; but they are not. I know I’ve wondered how the heck some people rise up to slide into these positions, but that’s another whole set of blog posts!

You see, there is a huge difference in someone who is a leader and someone who is simply taking up space in the boardroom.

A figurehead fills a seat, perhaps they are good at getting some paperwork done, finding ‘projects’ to do and what have you. They may even motivate their staff from time to time by – and I quote – “lighting a fire under their butts”. Fear based motivation does work; sort of. I’ve covered that in previous posts but suffice to say it’s not long-lasting and the results are lower than if the motivation was intrinsic.

A true leader – well they don’t even have to be the top dog in an organization.  The real leader in any situation is simply the person who has the most influence, regardless of  what their actual title or position is in a company.

Now I’m sure you’re saying that’s all very well and good, but what’s the point right?  This blog isn’t about leadership in organizations now is it?

The point is we can use that comparison to learn something about how we are handling our own personal lives.

No matter what you do, how you do it or where you are in life you are the leader in your own life.  The question only remains around what kind of leader you are and how well you do it.

You make the choices, the decisions and decide the path that your life will take.  The question is how much influence are you putting out there on your life?  Or are you allowing others influence to be the main determiner?

While there is nothing wrong with learning from others, or getting advice we must be careful to view these folks as advisors to our own choices rather than assume they know what’s best for us and thought-leadersimply become the ‘yes’ men.

We should be exacting the most influence upon our own life.  Otherwise we’re really acting more like the figurehead in a business who motivates from fear, isn’t confident that they know best and who must micro-manage everything in order to avoid actually DOING anything of any real consequence.  They just look like the boss…but in reality…not so much.

So perhaps it’s time to start deciding who’s running this life.  This is what is meant by taking back your power…it means being the true leader in your life.  Knowing where you want to take things based on your mission, values and goals.  It means knowing that you know exactly what is best for you and being okay with taking those risks.  It means listening but ultimately knowing that this life is yours and yours alone.

When you trust that you do have the answers; when your find the courage to listen to that intuitive voice and follow your own light you will find amazing things happen.

Stand up tall, take a breath and know that you already are an amazing leader and person.  You got yourself this far…now step up and take it further!  Trust yourself and Be YOU.

 

 

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Never apologize for how you feel right here in this moment.  Good advice I think. 

This doesn’t mean you need to be a jerk about it or even that you’re in the ‘right’.  It also doesn’t provide you with special privileges.  You may learn something that changes how you feel or what you believe to be true.  Heck you might even finally realize that you are wrong about something.

That’s not the point.

If you are doing the best you can to understand something and be as empathetic as you can, there is no point in assuming that your feelings are anything other than what they are.

Apologising for that would be like saying your sorry for who you are.  neversaysorry

Of course the flip side to this is to be mindful enough to maintain an open heart and mind, so that you can learn and grow and not be stuck feeling righteous in your personal feelings.

The bit that many forget is two-fold.  First, yes you most certainly are entitled to feel how  you feel be it angry, happy, silly or whatever.  That said, you also must accept that so is every one else – no exceptions.  You don’t have to understand their feelings or agree with them in order to accept them for what they are; that isn’t always your place. 

The other bit that many forget is that empathy is a skill that needs practice.  We have yet to develop the ability to read each others minds and so being aware that others may feel differently and listening (and asking) is a huge part of being a compassionate and loving person.

We all want to connect in some way and feel understood.  It’s human nature. The best way to begin getting that, is to start GIVING that. 

Acceptance, empathy and compassion sound so simple on paper, but they can be much  harder to put into practice when we encounter difficult people.  When we are able to do this however, we bring peace to our lives rather than adding to the chaos and bitterness that so many drag with them on  daily basis. 

I have seen such a difference in my own relationships and dealings when I approach angry or upset people with a different attitude.  When I don’t allow myself to defend my thoughts and emotions and instead attempt to understand theirs. 

It’s amazing. 

Of course this doesn’t mean I’ll agree with them or they will change either.  Think on this though..the end result is still the same. No one agrees (or maybe they do) but there is much calmer process to get there.  I mean…why stress myself out if nothing is going to change anyway?  Besides I have found I get much better results when there is an attempt at compassion for the other person (no matter how distasteful the encounter might be at first).  You may never change your opinion or thoughts but it saves you a lot of extra heartache.

You may not be able to control how you feel about certain things but you can choose how you react to them.  Your emotions are just that…emotions.  You should never feel bad about feeling them.  And while they might guide you, they should never rule over you.

Your reactions to your emotions should fit the person you are choosing to become. 

 

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Ooh..I haven’t had a good rant for a while.

I’m not sure what’s been going on lately, but boy I’m getting tired of people who act like they are a victim in order to be horrible to others.  Justifying your crappy behaviour by acting like you have it so hard or that you are so much better or smarter or whatever and are trying to ‘help’  doesn’t make it any better.  It just doesn’t.

I know, I know…some of you might be saying “that’s what you see if you spend enough time on the internet”.  I wish it was just some crazy post on the net.  While that might be true I haven’t seen this many people unable to ‘hear’ themselves for some time both on and off line.

The nice girl part of me wants to apologise for this rant but I’m not going to.  It’s probably going to stir up some uncomfortable feelings for a few people and that’s good in my opinion. All I ask is that you try to hear the message.  

I’m fed up with folks who call out others for ‘picking on them’ and in the same breath try to knock down someone else.  Really?  Listen to your self!  I’ve had too many examples of this lately I don’t even know where to start.  

I suppose a perfect example of this is what a few of my friends have posted on Facebook.  Fox had some of its newscasters bash and mock Wiccan and Pagan religion.  (You can see the video here) In the same breath the female reporter complains that she isn’t supposed to say Merry Christmas and infers at the plight of Christians.   Sigh.   I have to say I was aghast that these people were not taken to task by the network, but more importantly I was flabbergasted that they couldn’t see the conflict in what they were saying. 

Or the case of listening to some adults make fun of a woman and her child because their clothes were worn and outdated.  I kid you not.  And in the same breath these women complain that they have such a hard time keeping up with their own childrens’ clothing wants.  I’m pretty sure they saw me looking at them in confusion.  Guess who is making that trendy clothing thing an issue?  

And this sort of thing has happened a fair bit lately.  Or maybe I’m just aware of it?  I’m not sure, but it’s really bugging me.

You know it’s like when people say ‘No offense but…” and then they are really offensive?  But think it’s okay because they qualified it with ‘no offense’.   For the record…It Isn’t Okay!

Aggg!  I get so frustrated when I see people so afraid that they might be diminished if someone else is able to hold their own differeing thoughts, opinions and beliefs.  Truly if yours are so shaky they can’t handle it perhaps you need to look at that.  If you feel so afraid to be the real you that you must cover it all up with “I’m a victim” and nastiness perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror and decide what it is you want to see.

Reminds me of the kid who isn’t winning and so takes his ball and goes home in a huff.   Belief systems, opinions, ideas are not about winning

Or the adult who says “but I only stated the truth” when saying something that is out of line or harsh and un-needed.  Please, there is truth and there is pointedly trying to seem better than everyone and make someone feel like crap.  Yes you are entitled to your opinion…but you can keep it to yourself.  My grandmother used to say be kind or be quiet.

To tear down another person does not elevate you.   It never has and never will.   Be it about what someone is wearing, their faith, their job or whatever.  Listen to what you are saying!

You know you can either give someone and hand up if you have the resources, or you can give them a push up if you only have love to offer.  Both of those things lift everyone up and the world gets better.  Rip them down and the word of hurt you are creating is the same one you have to live in.  Choose.

Ending rant here.   

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I hear a lot of new clients or friends who get upset when I talk about being in control of your own life.  Like, really upset.

In fact, one person very recently called me out on it pretty harshly.  I’m okay with that.  I’ve found the blessing in this. When someone calls you out on your beliefs it can cause you to really look deeply at them and in this case bring about a strengthening of them and a deeper understanding.

The problem is one I totally get …because they are right.  Completely right.  You see, they were upset because I said that people create their life with their actions and thoughts.  This person slammed down the point that life happens and we can’t control what others do to us and around us.  “Look all the people who lost their houses, jobs and had their life crumble” He said.  “You’re blaming THEM?” 

Ouch. He was angry at me with righteous indignation on his part with the understanding that he had.  I kind of admired him for that actually.  A real stand-up guy if you think about it.

However, there was a part of this idea that he was missing

While he was totally right – we can’t often control the experiences we have in life.  We might lose our job and income through no fault of our own.  Accidents happen (tell me about it!) that can destroy our life as we know it, and so on.  However, we can control how we experience those circumstances.  We ultimately choose our reactions.  Oh sure sometimes we have immediate reactions that are based more on baser emotions, but we can calm ourselves or feed that fire.

I know people who allow petty annoyances to create a huge amount of chaos in their life.  I also know people who have had great tragedy befall them who have chosen to create something positive out of it. 

You can choose to let life happen TO you, or you can take the controls and begin to create a life that reflects who you are and who you want to be.

So let me be clear here.  You may not be able to control WHAT experiences you have in life – but you can control HOW you experience them. 

In this coming New Year I want you to consider that. This is a fresh year that can allow us a perfect time to begin to make shifts to bring about a happier, more vibrant life.  Will you join me in taking the controls back in your life?  I think it’s time we all understand we are responsible for our own happiness and quite capable of creating it.

 

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(I know this is a bit early but the message is timely and important to hear – thanks for your understanding of my little deviation from my regular Tues/Fri post)

That title is no mistake. I am asking you to let go of some of your own crap and simply be present, not A present, to your family this year.

Too often we get caught up in all there is to do at this time of year. I am as guilty of it as anyone.  I love to host dinners and parties for my loved ones but once the day came I was a freakin mess!

No kidding.

It was stress.  It made me grumpy and frustrated and annoyed with those who were messing stuff up.  Not the guests…people who were ‘helping me.  And then guess what? I’d get ticked off that I was doing all the work and everyone had disappeared.  Well, looking back I dont’ think I’d want to be with me either.  I wasn’t exactly very jolly.  This was a pattern of behaviour I had learned from watching my parent.  I didn’t much like it as a kid, and I didn’t like it in ME as an adult

So I spent some time looking deeper within myself to figure out what the problem really was.  vic017

Self Worth.

Shoot, that thing is everywhere isn’t it?

Truth is I had learned somewhere along the line that things needed to be perfect for everyone else or I felt that I’d be deemed ‘unworthy’. 

Not an easy truth to throw out with the trash. It sort of permeated every part of my life.  Still, I had to start somewhere right? The holidays were a huge source of this stress so it seem brilliant to begin there.

So I stopped trying to be perfect.  Okay..mostly.  But I can deal with the fall out much better if I’m not and I did let go of the control I felt before.  In doing so I allowed myself to be present in the moments I was missing out on before.

The holidays are NOT about busting your budgets, running yourself ragged or wearing yourself out.  No one should be feeling that way unless they are getting paid a HUGE salary.  Last I checked I didn’t get a dime for making all that food or searching out and buying all those gifts or even gift wrapping them.

Those things should be done with love and laughter.  Share the load.  You deserve to be immersed in the joyful celebrations too.  So I say gather everyone up and let them know you expect some pitching in.  I always recommend letting them know what jobs need to be done and asking which they are signing up for rather than assigning duties. 

Put on some rocking Christmas tunes, (try Grooveshark and everyone can pick a few!)  sing a long while you wash the pots and clean up the wrapping paper.  Have some FUN.  Then when all the chores are done be sure to have another type of gathering. Once full of love, gratitude and celebration.

A gratitude circle is a wonderful way to end the day.  I actually used to do this to promote harmony in my classroom.   Each person says something they are grateful for about another person.  In the family I think it would be lovely to have them say what they are grateful for with each member.  Bit of advice though; let them know in advance because putting someone on the spot is just hard on many folks.  I would allow notes even!

My big point is this…the holidays create so many joyous and warm memories that we can hold onto in tougher times.  Be mindful to be part of creating those memories. Slow the day down and be present in the moments that matter.

Many Blessing for Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah and all the other beautiful celebration going on you may be part of .

Warm hot chocolate hugs,

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