Monday, May 18, 2009

Movin' The Operation

Hello all!

I have been trying to come up with a way to combine everything I love into one concept and have decided to start yet another blog.

This is it, though! This blog combines my love for art and creativity, spirituality, helping people, delicious food, and travel into one happy little package.

Recipes for Creativity showcases all the things I love with the intention of helping people find joy and get a good laugh at the same time.

Thanks for reading and please, visit my new blog!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

You Are Responsible For You

Just a reminder: you are not responsible for other people's feelings. Or for fixing other people. Or for making sure they live their best lives. Or making them happy. Those things are their job. We are all responsible for ourselves, people!

I suffer from this disease just like most (okay, all) of my coaching clients. Today I was inspired to write about this subject again because it's come up twice this week alone, with two different people I'm coaching.

One of my clients is a man in his 30's who is somewhat recently divorced. He'd like to get back out there in the dating world, but is really, really stuck on the idea that he must never, ever do anything to hurt any woman he dates. I laughed out loud when he told me this gem! (Don't worry, he took that well.) There is absolutely no way on God's green earth you're going to be able to be in any relationship, especially a romance, where the other person isn't going to get hurt. Unless the other person is Jesus. Or Buddha. Or Mother Theresa.

Seriously, you could forget that it was your girlfriend's cat's birthday and she could be hurt, or you could tell your boyfriend you didn't like his shirt and he could take it personally. Your only job in the relationship is to set boundaries for yourself, respect your partner's boundaries, and work on improving YOU. Be kind, be gentle, compromise, be understanding, but remember, you love and take care of yourself first and foremost.

My client argues with me on that last point, fearing that if he cares for himself first he'll become cold and callous, leaving broken hearts strewn about the highways and byways across the nation. I disagree. If he fills himself up with love and sets good boundaries, he won't hurt another person intentionally; he'll be too filled up with love for himself and his partner for that to happen.

The other situation where this came up this week was slightly different. One of my other clients, a wonderful woman who is around 50, would like to close down her business. In fact, the thought of keeping it open makes her feel like she's is being choked. However, her mind keeps telling her things like, "I have to stay open, these people need me" and "I can't close down, I'll let people down". Yikes!

I asked her why she thought these people needed her, and she said "because the Universe brought them to me, and I've been working with some of them for almost ten years." Like me, she's a big believer in the Law of Attraction and the idea that the Universe will bring you what you attract, so I asked her if she thought she was the only person the Universe would ever provide to these clients of hers, the only person who could help them in the whole wide world. When she looked at it that way, it became clear to her that her worries were silly, she was trying to play God, and trying to take responsibility for these people's lives, when they are in charge of their own destinies.

I also asked her if she saw that her staying in this career, where her energy is being drained, is going to do more harm, not good, for her clients. Her energy will be much better used in a new career where she feels alive and like the Universe is on her side. She completely agreed. By the end of the session she saw clearly how she was trying to make all of her clients happy, and the guilt she felt about leaving them was the only thing keeping her in her business. I now have the confidence that she'll face her fears about being responsible for her clients and the outcome of their lives head on and will be doing something new and wonderful by the end of the summer.

Are you taking responsibility for making someone else happy? How about, just for today, you practice only taking responsibility for yourself and your feelings, and see how it feels!

Be Joyful!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Your Giant List

The following is a list of things I'd like to get done, preferably in the next 16 to 22 minutes:
  • Read the growing pile of extremely interesting-looking books that is currently residing on the floor next to my couch (including The Power of Now, A New Earth, The Conscious Heart, The Lightworker's Way, The Artist's Way, The Vein of Gold, and My Stroke of Insight)
  • Redesign my website to reflect new testimonials I've received, updated packages I'm offering, and lots of other things I can't think of right now
  • Come up with a new format for my blog that includes ALL of the things I love and am interested in sharing, such as healthy baking and cooking, coaching, art, travel, and humor, and deciding the best way to present this new format
  • Increase my blog readership
  • Blog
  • Take a nap
  • Take a shower
  • Do my upper body strength training
  • Watch a couple DVDs I have lying around
  • Finish my vision board
  • Send a follow up email to two clients
  • Prepare materials for an upcoming event at which I'll be showcasing my mad coaching skills
  • Pet my cats
  • Plan a beach vacation
  • Rewrite my "endgame" (where I write what I imagine my life to be in three to five years)
  • Reorganize the shelves next to my desk
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Clean the kitchen floor
  • Eat something chocolate
  • Become enlightened
Does your To Do list ever end up like that? Obviously there is way, way too much stuff on it, and trying to tackle everything on the list in one day, or even in one month, is extremely overwhelming. And what do I (and you too, admit it!) do when I'm overwhelmed? NOTHING! Okay, maybe I'd be able to check off "nap" and "eat chocolate" from the list while under the extreme stress of trying to make myself succeed at everything in the world rightthissecond, but other than that, not much is going to get done.

So what's the best way to check off the things on my list? I'll let you know when I figure it out.

Kidding!

First, read over the list. Okay, read it again, but this time look at each item and see how your body reacts to it. For me, the list of books I want to read makes me feel excited...until I realize just how much information that really is! So I have to break it down into chunks: some of the books are on loan from the library, so I'm going to make them a priority. Also, if I start reading a particular book and it doesn't speak to me, I'm going to let it go. I want to read all this stuff to help me with my journey and so I can gain valuable information to share with others. If it doesn't resonate with me, it won't stick to my brain, so there's no point in continuing with it.

The second item on my list, about my website, makes me feel all "shackles on" when I look at each and every single thing that needs to get done. In this case, I need to break what I want to get down into small, manageable "turtle steps", taking one at a time, even if it's only one per week!

Increasing my blog readership is an on-going process, so that will also be taken in turtle steps. The things that stick out on my list that I really want to do today are: take a shower, send my follow up emails, pet my cats, dream about a beach vacation (but no need to plan it in its entirety!), and eat chocolate. I guarantee you I will not be cleaning my kitchen floor today!

Look at your list. You probably have some things on your list that you "have" to do, right? I'll let it go that you're using victim language (for now) and just give you the best advice I can: use the three B's.

Can you buy it (or barter it)? For instance, if you don't want to cook dinner tonight and it's making you miserable, can you bring home takeout?

Can you bag it? Do you really, really have to make it to the lecture on reproductive cell spawning that your husband is giving tonight?

Can you better it? Maybe after you finish that report on double dutch and its environmental impact you can skip out of work ten minutes early and get a massage or glass of wine to reward yourself.

As for me, I'm going to check "blog" off my list and reward myself with some chocolate.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Your Job Description

Today I was coaching someone who wants to make a career change. Besides the advice I've given before about The Happy Basket exercise and thinking about what she loved to do as a kid that made time fly, I told her to go to a place where she could imagine what having her dream career would feel like. Not what she'd be doing, specifically, just how good it would feel. Something about actually feeling what a new life would be like gets us to a different part of ourselves, I believe, to where we can start to access the greatness in ourselves.

At the end of our session she said, "If you get any ideas about what job I should be doing, let me know." Now, we talked about things she loves to do, just haven't put any cold, hard ideas down on paper. When I was sending her a follow-up email, I got the idea that she's searching for something that doesn't exist. Yet.

If I was to have looked for my job as a listing in the newspaper or on one of those lists of careers you get from the high school guidance counselor, I never would have found it. In fact, I'm still defining the boundaries of my profession, because I love to do lots and lots of things and keep trying to tweak what I do to include as many things that bring me joy as possible.

As such, I instructed her to write her own job title, job description, and job duties. You know when you see those formal job listings and they say things like:

Job Title: Consumer Information Systems Analyst Coordinator

Job Description: Report information from Consumer data bases into System X filing box while maintaining spotless shoes and perfect spine alignment

Job Duties: Finish as much work as possible during 16 hour days while assisting all other departments with their assignments, re-designing coffee machine dispensary, and hopping up and down on one foot.

Scary, boring, and vague, right? What if you could write your OWN job description? How fun would that be? You can put whatever you want on it, including things that you can't believe anyone will possible pay you for, like life coaching. Oh wait, people DO pay for that - but it didn't even exist as a profession 15 years ago!

Go do it, I know you're bored at work, so write up your own perfect career!

Be Joyful!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wild Child Vs. Dictator

Hi all. Or as they say in the south, Hi Y'all.

This morning I didn't know what to do with myself, so I started watching a set of DVD's that a fellow life coach sent me. As usual, they are so very interesting to me because they cover a topic that feeds my mild obsession, Martha Beck and her techniques for finding the best life for ourselves.

This set of discs is a film of a workshop she held after she released her most recent book, Steering By Starlight, and it's wonderful listening to her talk in further detail about the book.

I watched a little over an hour of it and then was struck with what I wanted to write about on this blog today. She gave a meditation method that allows us to access what she calls the "stargazer" part of our brain - The Watcher aspect that I blogged about recently. And, surprise, surprise, the phrase "may you be well, may you be happy, may you be free from suffering" makes an appearance in this particular meditation.

Here's the idea: think about something you're fighting with in your head. It could be that you want to lose weight, to stop worrying about your relationship, to change your career, to be a better person, to be more creative, to have more money. Whatever it is that is plaguing your thoughts, put that thought into your head.

Next, hold out your right hand. Seriously. Now, picture a teeny little two-inch version of yourself in your hand. This little version of you is wearing a military uniform and brandishing a weapon, and is yelling and screaming at you about what you need to do. "Stop eating that cheesecake! Stop worrying about your boyfriend! Make more money, now!" This part of you is called the dictator. The dictator just wants you to be your best, but the yelling and screaming isn't helping much, is it?

Hold your left hand up as well. Picture another two-inch version of yourself, this time it's your "wild child", and this version of you is wearing leaves and rags and sticks and is also angry, because it doesn't know what it's supposed to do and, as a result of all the screaming from dictator, is going super crazy. Perhaps the wild child is eating an entire barnyard, staying in a job just to spite the dictator, or absolutely refusing to move from the couch.

These two forces are pushing against each other, and this is why you're not able to make the changes you keep wanting to change...how can you?

Here's the meditation part: you're going to access a third part of your brain, the part that can see these other two sides of you, but that can remove itself from their argument. First, turn to the dictator. Send him or her loving kindness in the form of these words, "may you be well, may you be happy, may you be free from suffering". Keep going until you feel at peace with the dictator.

Repeat the same steps with the wild child aspect of you, continuing to repeat the phrase "may you be well, may you be happy, may you be free from suffering" until there is a sense of calm.

At this point you should feel much better about the issue that's been bugging you. I just took a pause from writing this blog to try this myself. My dictator was screaming to me about being more productive, improving my website, having more products to sell on my website, and that I should be making more money. My wild child was mostly just tearing at her hair and staring blankly. After doing the exercise I feel much, much more relaxed and peaceful. Give it a whirl.

Be Joyful!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

WIGs

Today I'm going to talk to you about Wildly Improbable Goals, or "WIG"s. As usual, I'm stealing this from my homey, Martha Beck.

I know I've talked about the Law of Attraction before and I think this goes together with that concept. The reason I'm writing about this today is because it works. Or I'm pretty sure it works, it seems to be working for me.

Here's the deal: What do you want to have in your life? Do you want to go to Europe? Get a new bike? Make $100 extra dollars this month? Buy a new house?

Pick something that you feel really good about - something that feels within the realm of possibility. I'm not going to tell you to set yourself up with a WIG like making 2.5 million dollars in the next 30 days selling boot legged copies of a Backstreet Boys concert from 1999 from the back of your pickup truck, because it ain't gonna happen. I'm talking something realistic, but maybe just slightly beyond what you normally would stretch for.

I currently have a couple that I'm working on. One is about increasing the traffic to my blogs, and one is about getting three new clients this month (one down, two to go!). You have to think of things you want that make you feel EXCITED; things you really want.

Once you come up with a couple things, write down the WIG on the top of a sheet of paper. Below the WIG write the steps you'd need to take to achieve this goal. For instance, with increasing my blogging traffic I listed things like
  • Find more relevant blogs to comment on
  • Comment everyday on other blogs
  • Get blog listed in as many places as possible
  • Blog often
  • Mention blog on Facebook
  • Read up on getting your blog read
After making a basic list such as this, you need to break down these steps into teeny, tiny, minuscule steps that you KNOW you can get done.

Read up on getting your blog read
  • Research online sites for articles on getting my blog read
  • Read articles that seem pertinent
  • Bookmark online articles to revisit info frequently
  • Follow through with suggestions listed
I could go on and on, these steps can get really, really specific. The idea is to make the steps to the goal seem manageable, even if the goal is bigger than what you normally have reached for.

I think there is another really important element to this whole process - your belief in it. First of all, it has to be something you genuinely want, something you get that open, excited feeling about. Second, you have to believe you can have it. You have to stay open to the idea that this really can happen. Third, I think you have to believe you deserve it. Maybe that's just me, but I doubt I'm the only one who thinks things like "I don't deserve to make more money" or some other story along that same theme.

Put your heart into it. Pick things you truly desire that make you feel free and alive, and go for it! Believe in yourself, in your goals, and they'll come to you.

Be Joyful!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cliffhanger

No clue people, no clue. I just don't know what to write about today. I feel like my life is flowing along, but the only things I can tell you right now are that routine feels pretty good, going outside in the sunshine is the best, enjoy flowers and flowering trees at every opportunity you have, and spend as much time with loved ones (even your pets) as you can.

But, since I'd like to write about something besides that, I'm going to use the "open a book and point at something and see if it's relevant to life coaching" method. Of course, I'm using The Power of Now for this experiment, not The Devil Wears Prada, which I read last week. Probably wouldn't have the same good advice. Here we go... Okay, this is really the paragraph I opened to and pointed to:

Everything that exists has Being, has God-essence, has some degree of consciousness. Even a stone has rudimentary consciousness; otherwise, it would not be, and its atoms and molecules would disperse. Everything is alive. The sun, the earth, plants, animals, humans - all are expressions of consciousness in varying degrees, consciousness manifesting as form.
Then it says some other stuff, but gets to this other paragraph:

Consciousness takes on the disguises of forms until they reach such complexity that it completely loses itself in them. In present-day humans, consciousness is completely identified with its disguise. It only knows itself as a form and therefore lives in fear of the annihilation of its physical or psychological form. This is the egoic mind, and something had gone very wrong somewhere along the line of evolution. But even this is part of lila, the divine game. Finally, the pressure of suffering created by this apparent dysfunction forces conform: It regains self-consciousness, but it is at a far deeper level than when it lost it.


And lastly, tying into my mentioning the watcher mind last week:

Can you now see the deeper and wider significance of becoming present as the watcher of your mind? Whenever you watch the mind, you withdraw consciousness from mind forms, which then becomes what we call the watcher or witness. Consequently, the watcher - pure consciousness beyond form - becomes stronger, and the mental formations become weaker. When we talk about watching the mind we are personalizing an event that is truly of cosmic significance: through you, consciousness is awakening out of its dream of identification with form and withdrawing form from form. This foreshadows, but is already part of, an event that is probably still in the distant future as far as chronological time is concerned. The event is called - the end of the world.

Phew, cliff hanger, right? Perhaps I'll do some more reading out of this particular text and share more with you tomorrow, once I get my mind wrapped around it.

Even though I strive to help others, to heal others, to bring joy to other's lives, sometimes this spiritual stuff, ways to live, things I want to achieve, seems too big. Too much, almost, for me to grasp. And now is a good time to remind myself that it's a journey and everyone, including spiritual masters and teachers, don't always feel as connected as they'd like to.

And with that,

Be Joyful!