Category Archives: Life Coach

Tourists in The Great Unknown, Unite!

Recommended Reading Soundtrack:  Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall by Coldplay

And if you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born
Then it’s time to go
And define your destination

Death Cab for Cutie, You are a Tourist

Making choices in our lives about the BIG things- our jobs, relationships, who am I going to be when I wake up in the morning (ha!)- making these choices is not a simple task. As a human, there is always fear to contend with when it comes to those “big” things. It permeates everything around us, like a perfume that has lost its luster and just stinks up the joint by making something that already doesn’t smell so good, something worse.

As I was driving through the vast expanse of New Mexico recently and getting lost in my own heart’s great expanse, I was listening to Death Cab for Cutie singing their rock’n song, “You are a Tourist.” I sang along with their metaphorical lyrics,

“And if you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born,
Then it’s time to go.”

I thought to myself, “Sure, it’s easy to say that, but to implement big change like that in our lives takes courage and faith in what our heart is telling us.” Following through with those feelings and making changes in our lives does not come without risks and what I would call “mental torture.”

door

But the thing is, compromising who we are for the sake of not wanting to deal with the “big unknown” just perpetuates our limiting belief systems about ourselves and life’s possibilities. It all comes back to the “great unknown” but there is nothing we can do about the unknown. It is what it is. And, it is easy to get caught in a vicious cycle of judging ourselves for taking that risk because we are programmed to not take the risks that usually increase our personal growth potential exponentially.

I can say this, I’ve never met a person who regretted making the decision to believe in their life’s potential as something greater. When I was driving across the great unknown from Washington DC with my Dad, I was a little scared. I had just quit my job for something “unknown.” I was moving in with 2 new roommates that I really didn’t know. And, I was moving to a state thousands of miles away from my family and friends where I also “didn’t know” anyone. A state that many American citizens still think is a foreign country (I am not kidding!).

My Dad said to me on our cross country journey (the same Dad that doesn’t even like to leave his house and hadn’t been on an airplane since I was born- 30 years prior), “How do you know everything is going to be okay?”  All I could say was, “I just know.” Sometimes, it pays to simply open that suitcase of fears we carry around with us every day, and contemplate the origin of our limiting belief systems. Because in all of our ends, our integrity and truth will never lead us astray.

Garden-State-Screencap-indie-films-1931521-1024-436A “Garden State” Moment

Tomorrow is not going to wait for us to make up our mind. No, I’m not going to quote a cheesy pop song by Roxette (still, Listen to Your Heart!). But, if you ever feel a new world burgeoning within you, just think about that moment when Andrew in the film Garden State was handed some music by Albuquerque’s The Shins. And his new friend Sam said, “You’ve got to hear this one song, it will change your life, I swear.” Although a moment like this appears to be outside of us, it is occurring within ourselves.  And it is a profound, and motivating experience to behold. This moment, if you run with it, will definitely change your perception not only about yourself and what you are capable of, but will also change your perception about the world around you. Prepare to be launched into the great unknown, only to find what you’ve known all along but were afraid to admit. You are a rock star!

One. Two. Three- GO!

Loneliness Kicked My Achy Breaky Heart

Recommended Reading Soundtrack:  Transcendental Blues by Steve Earl

When I was young, I remember being in the car with my Mom when the Hall and Oates song “Maneater” was playing on the radio. I was singing along, “Whoa, here she comes. Watch out boy, she’ll ‘chew your BUTT.” Laughter ensued by my mom, of course. If you don’t know that song (and I definitely wouldn’t hold it against you if you haven’t!), there is a reason as to why that was so funny.

Yes, my ears and brain had a few wires crossed and I actually confused the word “butt” with “up.” Oh, the sound of melancholy 80s pop love songs- the turmoil of Madonna in her song “Crazy for You.” Picture me in the back seat of our white Dodge Minivan, afraid at the humble age of 12 of the prospect of being alone for the rest of my life. Alone, alone, ALONE. Really!?

When I started thinking about what my greatest teacher in life has been, my heart met my mind in front of the great Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. All kind of directions were popping up, but I was led to an unexpected place within myself. The thoughts opened the door to the root of my life’s greatest fear, and greatest teacher- the fear of being alone, abandoned, all by my lonesome with my own “Achy Breaky Heart.” The fact that I can’t stand country music makes the fear that much more substantiated.

ive-finally-stopped-running-away-from-golden-hawn

Loneliness, once my mind’s arch enemy, has become my best friend. Without it I could never have seen the truth of who I am- like a mirror on display simultaneously within me and outside of me. It has taught me time and again the opposite- that I am never alone as I exist in everything I feel, perceive around me.

Once, when I was confronting all the reasons I believed no one would want me and I would die as Bridget Jones’ version of a lonely old “spinster,” and eventually be eaten by wild dogs, I was bluntly asked, “Are you crazy?” He continued, this stranger that was deeply involved in one of the most difficult confession sessions I had ever completed, “Why would you ever believe those things about yourself?”

That question turned out to be one that I am grateful for every day. This fear of being alone has led me on a journey of inner knowing, a “wild goose chase” if you will, that I never thought was possible. Through all the “crazy,” the tears, the crippling mental self flagellation, I have come out to the world with the understanding that it was only me, myself and I that could attempt to isolate myself from my truth and the people that operate within it.

reflectionoflightWhat is my truth? That in every laugh, impulsive reaction of every person I find annoying, adore, or look up to- there I am. No, I don’t have multiple personality disorder, but what I do have is a case of being human. The most difficult and awesome part of the experience is that all I see in others is a simple reflection of me.

In the end of the film, While You Were Sleeping, when Bullock’s character Lucy confesses she really is not the fiancé of the man she is about to marry, she explains to mother, father, grandmother, godfather, and sister, that she simply fell in love with not just her fiancé, but ALL of them. And just like that, she was never alone again. Through the fear of my greatest teacher (and many Cure songs of course) I have found a path to loving and appreciating all parts of myself within everyone I encounter. And I am ever abundantly more in love with all aspects of being human, every day.

I AM Napoleon Dynamite

Okay, maybe I am really not Napoleon Dynamite in form- but in a lot of ways inside, I am.  Time and again, I am humbled through the recognition that I AM everything I see in others…even an odd dude who draws magical animals like “ligers” and some how musters the courage to do an awesome dance to “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai on stage in front of a crowd of some of the most potentially judgmental people around, high school students!    Like Will states to Marcus in the film About a Boy before he steps on stage with a tambourine and sings “Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack, “It’s social suicide!”

Mis-perception Blues

This past week, I’ve had a case of the “mis-perception blues,” so to speak.  So I’ve been looking outside myself for some inspiration to reflect back to my skewed inner world.  As I was running I just thought about the legendary Napoleon Dynamite who embraced nerdiness and the desire to help a friend win the school election no matter the potential consequences.  And so, this is my monthly outing of myself as a total nerd that sometimes rocks out to Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself” in my bedroom- alone.

Every once in awhile we are pushed to do some soul searching on our own negative qualities as we feel overwhelmed by others that assert themselves into our lives.  The ego part of me wanted to just bow out, curl up in my pajamas and eat cheese puffs while talking to the psychic network.  Fortunately, I chose to confront the inner demon head on and readjust my camera lens in an effort to make some changes in my life.

Winona Ryder's character in film Reality Bites, couching it.
Winona Ryder’s character in film Reality Bites, couching it.

Instead of hiding, I’m recognizing that I’ve had a problem with thinking that what I am able to give to others will determine how they will perceive me and give me approval.  For me moving forward, relationships, whether they are friendships, business partners, or family,  are based on good boundaries and simply liking and respecting one another.  And like Napoleon Dynamite, I can get up on that stage with my puffy black high tops (well, more like platform sandals) and my “Vote for Pedro” t-shirt and ROCK OUT!  Thank you audience in advance for applauding and not throwing bottles at my head.

 

Finding the Value in the Undervalued

It’s New Year’s. I’m celebrating with friends in DC. My DJ husband is spinning records, doing his usual ignore while drinking a bottle of Jack.

turning_midnight

It turns midnight. I’m alone. Another man makes eye contact, and kisses my cheek. I realize I don’t value myself. Another negative self-perception to confront.

value_myself

It’s Hip to Be A Square

“School should be a place for children to learn and grow, not where they end up bullied for simply being themselves.” Susan Rowher, Guest Blogger, LA Times

Listening Soundtrack: Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World, Israel ‘IZ’ Kamakawiwo’ole

Do you remember when Sesame Street took the cheesy pop song by Huey Lewis in the News (I know I am putting myself at risk by denoting this song as “cheesy,” please- have mercy on me!) “It’s Hip to be Square” and magically turned it into “It’s Hip to be A Square”? Love it! And so it goes- this is the perfect song to relate to this blog post regarding all the awesome “squares” in the world. This one goes out to you!

Last week I was driving to work in the early morning, crossing a beautifully tree lined river where tiny green leaves were slowly making their way to the new day sunlight, when I heard a discussion on the radio about a boy being bullied in school for his choice of a My Little Pony backpack (old news to some- but I can’t get it out of my head!). If you have heard this story- I’ll be brief! The school decided that the way to allay the bullying was to have the young boy not bring his choice of backpack to school any longer. Keep in mind that the boy was already being bullied prior to the backpack incident. The mother in her efforts to seek help went to the media with the story.

selfacceptanceWe Are The Champions, My Friends

How many of us have been just like this young boy in life, modifying the truth of who we are just to appease the grumpalumps that don’t agree with what we chose to wear or the music we enjoy as a way to avoid disapproval? The answer? Everyone. Let’s think…”Revenge of the Nerds” anyone? I mean, who didn’t feel exhilarated and teary eyed at the end of the film when Queen’s “We Are The Champions” was played as Anthony Edwards and all his nerd friends stood up for themselves? Go Booger!

The LA Times published an opinion piece recently about not only this incident, but a girl in Virginia who also was recently told by a school that she didn’t dress feminine enough and if she didn’t change her choice of clothing their school was not the right place for them.   Really?! I was a tomboy when I was younger, I had a mullet, buck teeth and played with GI Joes. I’m pretty girlie as an adult. In the end, is deliberately making someone feel like an outcast really accomplishing anything?

In the opinion piece, guest blogger Susan Rowher stated in the opening (and fantastic) quote, “School should be a place for children to learn and grow, not where they end up bullied for simply being themselves.” To elaborate on this point, I feel like life should also be that way, no matter how old you are or where you are working, living.

What We Think We Know

In a way it is almost surreal that human beings would attach so much meaning to a backpack’s theme that they would actually harass them, even physically hurt them. Why do clothes, physical objects, carry so much meaning for us as a society that people actually feel threatened by them? When will a backpack just be a backpack? When will a word that is directed at us just be a word, rather than an internal jail sentence for life? Why do people feel so threatened by something that is different from what they think they know?

It’s Our Choice

The mind is a magician in a pretty big and diverse world. It likes to play games so we continue to engage in its game. It is programmed to perpetuate a belief that we are not connected to one another. And it in turn has the potential within all of us to create suffering. The suffering is not only for others, we experience it as well. The diamond in the ruff of this life is that we actually have a choice about what thoughts we are going to align ourselves with, and we can think about which ones will continue to just make us and others feel badly.

WorldPeaceThroughInnerPeace

“Don’t should on yourself.”

When I look back at my life, there are times where I have regretted hurting others, and also feel regret for doing something that caused another to want to hurt me. But regret will get us nowhere and as my coaching teacher Debbie Ford used to say, “Don’t should on yourself.” Our life is a treasure to behold, as well as everyone else’s life. If we can just remember this even with a part of our day we can begin to bring change into this world and help people feel better.

In life we will encounter a lot of tough decisions on the way, especially if we have kids and they are hurting inside. Today, I was getting caught up on one of my favorite shows, Parenthood. In the show Max, who is a teen with Asperger’s, is coping with someone peeing in his canteen on a school trip. At the end, his parents finally surrendered to Max’s desire to not go back to that school anymore where the administrators felt they couldn’t do anything to appease the bullying and live life on his terms rather than be harassed for being different. I wish we could all just give one another a hug and go surfing with great music playing in the background like they did in the show right now, but I know that is not really going to happen. So, in my imagination I am doing just that and hoping that we all can forgive one another and remember that same internal spark of light that exists within every one of us no matter our different circumstances.

If it has to start somewhere, let it start with us. It is hip to be A square!

 

Through the Foggy Looking Glass

Recommended listening soundtrack:  “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor  on Begin to Hope

Upon awakening the other morning, I looked underneath the blinds framing my bedroom window and found myself face to face with a thick fog obscuring my view.

Or so I thought.

As I started to walk away, all these fear based thoughts started going through my head.  How will I get to work in fog as thick as “pea soup”- or “peanut butter” as Yukon Cornelius argued in the ever so famous claymation Rudolph Christmas special with our favorite misfit elf, Hermey.

“You eat what you like, and I’ll eat what I like.”

I then proceeded to walk through my living room only to find the mountain view as clear as I had ever seen it with an added spark from the morning sunlight.  All I could ask myself in my own sleepy fog was, “how on earth could there be peanut butter thick fog (I prefer Yukon’s choice) on one side of my home and no fog on the other?”

Chaco_Canyon_Pueblo_Bonito_doorways_NPSOh, wait!  I realized then that the humidifier in my bedroom fogged up my window glass on the inside, and the foggy world I thought existed on the other side of the glass, only existed from my side.  In that moment, all I could do was laugh at how much my foggy window was emulating my life.  All you have to do is mix in your experiences and how they have molded an inner landscape unlike no other, and you find yourself observing through your own foggy glass.  I create my own obscurations and sometimes I just cannot see clearly through them.

Filtered or Unfiltered?

There are certain foods that are processed and you can enjoy them either filtered, or unfiltered.  Wine is one of them!  Whether filtered or unfiltered, each has a different taste and/or a different appearance.  In the same light, our experiences can act like those particles in unfiltered wine that can make or break our relationships with others.  I ask myself, can I trust what I am perceiving and hearing from another person?  Or do I need to take the time to reflect regularly on where inside myself I am creating a perception of the person in front of me?  Is it a filtered or unfiltered perspective?

This week has been overwhelming with some tough decisions and experiences that forced me to look within myself deeply about human accountability and how our choices can really mold the life we experience.  I have found myself agonizing over the fate of another, and releasing that agony in a newly discovered, greater wisdom within my heart.  If I could take anything from my foggy experience, it is that each of us is gifted with a journey in life that is tailor made to our purpose, and what we want to learn on a deeper level.  The only thing I can do is trust that their view through the looking glass, this human experience, will continue to be clarified in their connection to others.

red-heart-tree“But the eyes are blind.  One must look with the heart.” ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPERY

For myself, I hope that the fog I create in this life becomes thinner and thinner as I continue to strive to remain  more filtered in perceptions.  If I can continuously see others and their experiences as something I can explore and gain a deeper understanding of their reality, I can in essence live a more helpful, peaceful life.

The other morning the fog initially seemed so powerful, but with one change in direction I realized it was not even real!  Little did I know when I was a young child that the words of a cartoon gold prospector in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer would come back to remind me that it is true- we all see the world in our own way but it is how we meet in the middle that will help us solve our dilemmas and remain dear, dear friends.