Letting Go of the Lie

Posted Thursday, April 23, 2015

I will be happy  when fill in the blank. 

Everyone has their answer. Some of us are run by it more than others but we all have a version of this in our heads. 

I will be happy when I have enough money in the bank to pay for college.
I will be happy when I live in a warm climate.
I will be happy when I am closer to my family.
I will be happy when I have a life partner.
I will be happy when I no longer have my current life partner.
I will be happy when I feel safe.
I will be happy when _______________.

What's your _____________? I can tell you that when I went to a talk last summer and the speaker asked this question, my initial response was--hmmm, I'm good. I'm happy now. I know (with my head) that there is nothing that can make me happy except myself. He pushed us a little more. If the answer to this question has been driving your life since you were a kid--what would it be? What have I been putting my emotional energy towards? What in your life have you been using to make yourself happy--at least historically--if not in this moment?

I then stepped back and looked at my life. Since I was a teenager I had made finding and keeping a woman in my life my highest priority. Not just finding one and keeping one, but feeling "in love" all the time with a woman had been my highest emotional priority.

This thought hit me like a ton of bricks. I found my (fill in the blank).

I will be happy when a woman finally loves me. Really loves me.  Read More »

Love 101

Posted Thursday, April 09, 2015

Years ago I thought I knew what love was. I loved my children. I loved their mother. I loved God.

Then I went to therapy.  And then I started coach training. And leadership training.

And I read some books on love, and God, and other stuff. I was wrong. I didn't know the first thing about loving. So I've decided to give it a try. Again. And again.  So this is what I think I know now:

Love just is. We are all capable of loving at all times. It is doing or being what is best for the object of your love. I'll say that again, it is doing or being what is best for the object of your love. This includes yourself. It has no conditions. It is not a feeling, although it often is accompanied by feelings. 

If it did have an opposite, it would be control.  You can't control love. It's always a surprise. There was a time in my life when I was obsessed with everyone who loved me doing exactly what I thought they should always be doing for me. That meant that the people closest to me lived under a constant judgement cycle of whether they were doing a good enough job at loving me. It got to the point where some of them just gave up. I don't blame them.  

The real heartbreak is my kids, especially my oldest because she bore the brunt of my controlling nature. It was actually in a therapy session when my oldest was around 7 years old that I realized that I was not the amazing "best dad" that I had always thought of myself as. Truth was, I was using my children to feed my ego--to feed my love need. I was absolutely disgusted with myself.  

So I committed myself to real love. No bullshit authentic love. And I didn't get it right. Just better. Sometimes.  Read More »

Practice Makes People

Posted Thursday, March 19, 2015

My clients are often wondering—what answers do I have for them. I get it. We see someone farther down a path than ourselves and we want to know how they got there. It’s something we are all seduced by.

I used to carry a backpack around with me with 5-6 books. I did this for years. They were all great books helping me with my spiritual journey or how to be a better leader. I wanted to figure it out. I wanted to have the answers to what would make me the best version of me that I could be. As soon as I came to the place where I thought I had something figured out, I used the books to help others learn—that’s why I carried them around—so I could share the passages with others.

One of my friends suggested that maybe my attachment to the answers was an addiction of some sort and maybe I should try to go a few weeks without reading anything. 

I was terrified of the idea. I couldn’t imagine going anywhere without my backpack and certainly not willingly.

That’s when I knew that my friend was right. I needed to stop and see the impact.

So I did. I took a summer off. No books. No listening to talks or messages on how to live properly or be an amazing leader.

When we want to live differently or change things about ourselves, gathering information, talking to friends, and generally DOING things have their place. They build the muscles of knowledge and community. These are called practices of ENGAGEMENT. 

Far more difficult and counter-cultural are practices of DISENGAGEMENT. Some of these are rest, solitude, silence, meditation, and fasting. These practices build muscles of trust, peace, and love—especially self-love. 

My practice of disengagement was a book fast and it was hard but I learned some things about myself. 

  • I’m more than the information that I know. 
  • My friends want to be with me even if I don’t have an amazing insight to share.
  • I have a lot more to learn about what's inside me than I can imagine.

What about you? What practices of disengagement are you using? I challenge you to take a nap in the middle of your day, or spend an afternoon alone, or practice not speaking for a full day. See what happens. Let me know.

Practice makes people. Who are you practicing to become?  Read More »

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