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The Siren Call of Doing it All

The Siren Call of Doing it All

“How do I fit everything I want to accomplish into this lifetime?” I asked for that question. Well, not for that one specifically, but when I had a whim to ask my Facebook family what they’d like for me to address in my next newsletter, this is the challenge that the higher power that likes to play a practical joke on me now and again thought I needed to be hit with. So for Susan, who says that this question is one she thinks about all the time, and for myself and for you, I’ll do my best to meet that challenge. It seemed to me that there are two variables we need to examine – “want” and “this lifetime.” Because “want” is a really big word, encompassing desires that range from “I want to get the yard mowed this weekend” to “I want to make a lasting impact on the huge number of people who feel alone and unappreciated in this world.” So when we ask how to accomplish everything we want to accomplish in this one lifetime that we are aware of living, the easy answer is, “want less.” But that isn’t my answer. That is an answer of limitation and we aren’t going to accept that. So what about that other variable, “this lifetime?” We cannot know the size of that one, it’s possible now to live an active life well past 100 years of age, and it’s also possible to die unexpectedly without reaching another birthday.  Since we cannot measure the time of this lifetime, it becomes tempting to look at other limitations, like energy, physical...
How to See Someone’s True Colors – Shine a Little Light

How to See Someone’s True Colors – Shine a Little Light

It was Mother’s Day morning. A cool, lazy day shaping up to be sunny later on, when a lesson landed on my lawn. Our year-old puppy found it first. I let him out to do what he does, smiling to watch him. He’s a gangly teenager now, looking more like a half-grown wolf than the baby bear we named him for. He ambled out on long legs and huge paws, his shepherd ears moving forward and back like satellite dishes, taking in the morning sounds. Mishka’s never in a hurry to do his business and come back in, so when he nosed curiously at a spot in the grass I thought it was just a delay tactic. He cocked his head to one side, glanced up at me, then wandered away still sniffing. But he came back to that spot, still looking curious, and looking at me again and dancing a bit from side to side. I knew I’d better go see what he was excited about. In the grass was a half-feathered baby bird. My first thought was that it was dead. But sensing my presence it lifted its head, opened an impossibly large, bright yellow beak, and demanded to be fed. The rest of the day was a scramble from computer (Google is your friend in times like these) to digging in the dirt. Baby birds need worms, about every 20 minutes. And they need to be kept warm. And they need water. And they need their mommy and daddy, but we followed the suggestions given by internet experts to try to entice the parents back to...
Leading With My Left

Leading With My Left

What happens when you ignore a “pattern interrupt?” When that pattern interrupt is your body trying to tell you that something is amiss (I wrote about the pattern interrupt we call pain in the last post) you end up learning a few more lessons. As I mentioned in that post, the last 18 months have offered many personal and professional challenges. I got sick, I published one book and completed another. I lost some friends, I gained some amazing but challenging clients. I had pain… I kept working. None of those things are unconnected, of course. While many of my friends and clients either have published books or have a goal of doing so, I had never considered myself a Writer (a writer, sure, but that was just a job requirement - to be a Writer with a Capital W meant something different to me) nor did I aspire to be one. Publishing a book put me far too much in the public eye for me to feel safe. So I got sick. Losing friends is hard, even when you understand what’s happening. This was harder. Because these were friends I never expected to lose. I asked myself what I was doing to attract this kind of treatment. And the answer came from an unexpected corner. On a whim, and because she came recommended by Kimberly Schneider whom I respect and admire without reservation, I had an Akashic Reading with Heather Gray. I keep an open mind about spiritual and energy readings. I know that the connection exists and that it can be navigated, I also know that some people who...
What is Your Pain Inviting You to Do?

What is Your Pain Inviting You to Do?

You’ve probably heard of ‘pattern interrupts.” If not, no worries. It’s not a complicated concept. You use pattern interrupts every day, and probably never notice. Let’s say you have a pattern of chewing your thumbnail when you’re working on a difficult problem. So you put a bandage on that thumb so you’ll notice when you’re about to chew the nail. Boom! That interrupts your pattern, makes you aware of what you’re doing, and (theoretically at least) trains you out of that pattern. Or you notice you’re in a downward spiral of overwhelm and frustration. So you take a deep breath, go for a walk, call a buddy, whatever stops that pattern. That’s a pattern interrupt. But here’s the trick with pattern interrupts – you have to realize you’re in a pattern that needs interrupting! We all have patterns. And, believe it or not, every one of those patterns served us well in some way at some time. That’s why we kept them. Chewing on a thumbnail is a common self-soothing pattern. So is snacking, and playing solitaire and scanning Facebook for the latest “What kind of ______ are you?” quiz. Even that spiral of overwhelm and frustration, while not productive in the long run, can bring on bursts of energy, garner sympathy and support, or just make us feel a little less guilty for sticking our heads under our pillow and refusing to get out of bed for a day! Some patterns have been reinforced by outside conditioning. Like the pattern of just pushing through when we’re exhausted. Or caring for the needs of others while refusing to acknowledge...
How Big is Big Enough?

How Big is Big Enough?

Know what would make me SCREAM? Not this little guy, he’s actually really cute. (Although I suppose even I would be pretty surprised to find him curled up with the other pets one morning - and I LIKE dragons!) If I hear one more person say “If your dreams/goals/vision doesn’t scare you half to death it’s because it isn’t big enough.” THAT would make me scream. Not because there’s no truth in it. But because, like so many axioms, it’s only the tip of the truth iceberg. Here’s what happens, especially about this time of the year. People get on the goal wagon, they start writing out their New Year’s resolutions, their vision, their aspirations, and they get excited. Then they see or hear someone they respect very highly suggesting, in a no-excuses kind of way, that if they aren’t terrified they aren’t dreaming big enough. Well there goes the excitement. Now all those beautiful dreams start looking kind of drab. They figure they’d better start expanding their vision because they aren’t scared enough yet. And guess what. They expand and expand until they feel properly terrified. And  they do nothing. Know why? Because it isn’t the VISION that should frighten us. The vision should excite us, it should drive us CRAZY with excitement. We should want to step into that vision so badly that we can almost see it, taste it, touch it. The fear that indicates you’re dreaming big enough (and dreaming true) isn’t associated with the vision. It’s associated with the process or the result - maybe both. Like this scenario: You’re madly in love with...
If it Glitters Call it Gold

If it Glitters Call it Gold

It’s always amazing (and a little amusing) to me, when I’m in the middle of writing a few chapters on something, and suddenly I see examples of it everywhere I look. I was helping a friend with a yard sale, and we’d just decided that the mandolin that she’d brought back from England should go inside since the skies were threatening rain.  She already had an offer on it from a shop that specialized in resale musical instruments so it wasn’t something she was particularly concerned about selling. It had no more gone back in its case and into the house than a visitor asked, “Do you happen to have any musical instruments?” When the older gentleman heard a description of the mandolin he wanted to see it, so she brought it out for his inspection. It wasn’t clear where it was made, or when. No mass market stamps gave it away. So they chatted back and forth about possibilities and, in the course of the conversation, my friend said, “Well, you know those stories you hear about someone buying some old violin and finding out that it’s a Stradivarius or something.” The gentleman bristled, “Those are all just stories,” he asserted. “Never happens.” I’d just been writing on our desire to believe in absolutes. Words like “never,” or “always” or “just” or “only.” Absolutes suggest that there is only one possibility, one option, one outcome, one idea worth believing, worth pursing, worth even speaking aloud. I call them the “Abusive Absolutes,” and if you visit this space regularly, subscribe to this blog, or buy my next book, you’ll be hearing more about...