Posted Friday, May 25, 2012
I don't know Einat. Never had a conversation with her. Wouldn't be able to tell you a thing about her. But I saw her. I felt her. I wrote a poem about her.
You see, we're trying something new over at The Poet's Way. We thought it would be a powerful way for the community to interact if we asked whoever wanted to—to put up 10 words that describe themselves. No other instructions. Just 10 words.
Einat jumped in. She put up her ten words: Standing still cause if I move I'd feel. (Actually 8 words) So, I saw what I saw in those words. I wrote a poem. Read More »
Posted Friday, May 18, 2012
These are the words of my client. All this "BE-ing" stuff is just so boring.
She's trying so hard. Trying to learn how to "BE." I must be doing something wrong, she thinks, because it's so much work to get there and when she does—it's just plain boring. Why bother?
Here's a truth. If you are struggling—it isn't being.
Maybe you've had this issue. Your friends—your neighbors—your co-workers suggest to you that life isn't about the DOING—it's about the BEING. So you try. You decide to embrace this new way of life. You take yoga or qigong classes and learn what it is like to be totally present with your body. You go on silent retreats to discover what being with your own thoughts will bring you. You meditate in the morning—every day—in order to center yourself and experience your day from a place of fullness and presence.
And this is exactly what many of us need to incorporate BE-ing into our lives. Some of us though—don't see the point. We struggle to quiet ourselves and then find no value once we are there. What's wrong with this picture? Read More »
Posted Thursday, April 26, 2012
You could hear a pin drop. The once lively discussion that the group of us were having moved to reality and we all sat with his words.
There was no judgement. We ALL knew exactly what he was talking about.
You see, there is real life going on all around us and somewhere along the way we were taught that avoiding truth and avoiding our feelings will keep us safe. Really? Do you feel safe? Do you feel at ease?
This is a big deal. There are people in intense pain at every turn. We self-medicate with TV, with food, with alcohol, and prescription drugs. We also do it in more outwardly "healthy" ways like exercise and work.
I feel deeply for my friend. He doesn't want to be alone. He's willing to endure misery in order to ensure that he doesn't have to be alone. At least he has the courage to admit it. To admit that it's his choice—he knows that it's a fool's bargain—but it's his bargain and the only one he knows how to make right now. We've all been there. I would venture to guess that we are all there right now—one way or another.
So what do we do now? Read More »
Posted Friday, January 27, 2012
I'm into authenticity. Obviously.
Authenticity is one of those things though. It's like the idea of having a home cooked dinner with the family and eating around the dinner table. Everyone agrees that this is how we should eat and how families should be. The problem with it is that it seems so damn impractical 80% of the time. So as a culture we eat more in cars than we do around a dinner table. YIKES!
The same is true with authenticity. We all agree that the truth is better than lies. We all agree that we we should be ourselves and not what other people want us to be. Here we are again though—80% of the time it just seems so impractical. What if I don't get promoted? What if I don't get hired? What if I hurt someone's feelings? What if my friends who seem to like me leave when they find out the truth?
So we lie.
Or we stretch the truth.
Or we hide parts of ourselves.
We certainly don't live our truth fully, out loud, every day.
Read More »
Posted Monday, January 16, 2012
So…I'm a recovering achiever. You know the type. The kid that sits in the front row in every class in high school and college. The adult that goes shopping for the perfect shirts and ties for work so the boss is impressed. The never miss a deadline type—even if it means staying up until 3am and getting up at 4am to get back to work. Some of you might have called me a kiss up. Whatever—I got A's and I got promoted.
I still think sitting in the front row is a good idea. I've got a kid in high school and a kid in college and I would definitely encourage them to sit as close to the front as possible. Why? Because when you sit in the front row you A) have to pay attention and B) you get a much better idea of what is most important to the teacher; we all know that only part of doing well in school is knowing the material—to get A's, you have to know what matters to the teacher.
Somewhere along the way though—I decided that sitting in the front row wasn't giving me everything I wanted in life. It certainly gave me nice paychecks. I got to drive a nice car, live in a nice neighborhood, have nice friends, go to a nice health club. All so very NICE.
The new question. The one that kept me up at night was this: What was it all costing? Read More »
Posted Monday, January 09, 2012
Today is January 9th and it still hasn't gotten that cold here in the Chicago area. We've had a few mornings with some slight flurries and some temperatures in the low teens—but frankly not that many. I am still running in shorts several times per week and haven't seen a reason to switch to tights yet. What a gift.
This, however, might be a problem. Winter—snow—AND—cold—is important. Important for the trees. Important for the pollen count next summer. Important for creating a great deal of snow melt for the spring. Winter strengthens our world—makes it more resilient to disease. Winter kills off bacteria. Winter enhances the circle of life and participates in evolution by killing off the weakest of the animals—leaving the strongest and smartest to survive and create another generation.
Winter is a good metaphor for life. It represents death and dying in our lives. Death is needed.
No matter what anyone says, no one enjoys the pain and discomfort of howling wind and bitter cold. We enjoy the fireplace when we get back to the house—but the cold seeps into our marrow and makes us cold at our core. Getting let go by the company you trusted with your future is like that. Failing miserably while chasing your dreams is like that. Hearing the doctor tell you that you have cancer is like that. Discovering your children are into drugs is like that. Divorce is like that. Losing a parent is like that.
So now what? Winter is coming—if it isn't already here for you. How do you respond to winter? How do you respond to not being in control. How do you respond to the depth of emptiness that comes when you realize that you can't make it better? You can't fix it?
Read More »
Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Imagine you in your home, winding down from a long day and the door bell rings. You open the door and there is a solitary unicorn standing there. You are understandably surprised. You are shocked when the unicorn starts speaking to you and in english says, "Get on! Let's go for a ride!"
What's your response? Of course you are going to get on the unicorn. You are either in a dream or it's a chance of a lifetime—so no matter what—you are going to go for a ride.
Is there anything magical in your life? Anything that has you in awe? Is there anywhere in your life where you experience unbridled joy?
Read More »
Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Things are rarely as they seem.
As I looked across the table from this amazing woman just a few days ago—that is the thought that kept knocking around in my head. Her co-workers surely believe that she is on top of things and her supervisors definitely think so as they promote her again and again. There is no doubt that she makes an impact. No doubt that she is worth every penny they are paying her.
On the flip side though—the stuff that matters to her. The stuff for which she would give up her salary and lifestyle to make safe and get in order—is far from perfect. How do we get here? How do we end the insanity.
She offered her strategy during this time—her strategy is to "surrender to imperfection."
Hmmm! That's awesome!
Sorta like the opposite of Lexus' "The relentless pursuit of perfection." Read More »
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2011
How are things? I mean really how are things? Today, in this moment?
If you are like most of us, you are waiting for something out in the future for things to be OK. Are you waiting for your relationship with your spouse or partner to get better? Waiting for your kids to get out of the phase that they are in? Waiting for your slightly injured knee to improve?
This is real stuff. Marriages are sometimes tough. Raising kids is tough. Our bodies seem to betray us when we need the stress relief of exercise the most. So what do we do? We push through it. We hear that voice inside our heads that tells us to "stop whining and get moving. Deal with it!"
I'm here to offer a different perspective. There is so much to discover in those places of toughness—I wonder if we don't miss out on the living available to us by pushing through it. By coping. What if we stopped in those moments and asked the questions beneath the surface? What if we asked ourselves some whopper questions in the areas where we are waiting for things to get better and stayed with the questions long enough to experience ourselves and our lives? Read More »
Posted Tuesday, October 04, 2011
It's 9 days ago. I'm lying face down on a tattoo parlor table. The pain is beyond what I imagined. It's not stopping. I tell myself it will be over soon. Soon is taking quite a while. Each branch of the tree has to be traced and filled in. The leaves need to be added--each leaf another needle. Eventually, I embrace the pain. I stop cringing. I lean into it. It becomes the metaphor for why I'm here--1000 miles from home, alone, getting a tattoo of a tree on my back.
I'm here because my friends loved me and believed in me and sent me to a world class leadership program. I'm alone because I must be, and I'm getting a tree on my back because the tree is the symbol of my true life.
Beauty and pain are inextricably linked. Authenticity--what my new tattoo represents--is not possible without pain.
So, many years ago I set clear intentions for my life: I want my insides to match my outsides. I want to be real. I want to live authentically. I knew at the time that this was not an easy task. I knew it would cost me things to live out those intentions. Mostly I knew that I would have to drastically change for those intentions to turn into reality.
Today--I turn 40.
Read More »