Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, just post-divorce, I decided to jump into the bizarre world of online dating. For those of you who have tried it, you know just as well as I do that if it didn't make for such great stories, it just wouldn't be worth it at all. But I digress . . .
At the time, I truly wanted to see if I "still had it". AND . . . I also had big fears surrounding rejection so decided to approach the process as a social experiment with a new mantra: "Zero Expectations = Zero Disappointments". And for the most part it actually worked for a while! If you text someone with no expectation that they'll text you back . . . no disappointment. If you reach out to someone through the dating site and they don't respond? No worries . . . NEXT! You can distill it down pretty far, but at some point the truth is that good manners are good manners, and it is OK to have expectations that if someone says they'll call you, or meet you for dinner - that they won't stand you up. I actually don't even know if that falls into the "expectation" definition . . . those are just basic social skills that everyone should know by the time they are out of well . . . college? :) After a few months of behaving in a way that was really designed to protect my heart, it just felt soul-sucking to not have any expectations, so I adjusted my mantra and put the experiment behind me.
Expectations of any size can be funny things though, and a wise friend once said to me "Expectations are just Future Resentments." GOSH isn't that true? And whether you realize it or not, if you're carrying around a bunch of resentments (based on dashed expectations or anything else), the truth is that you're probably not living your best life.
For today I want you to think about expectations . . . do you have certain expectations of yourself and others? Do you have moments when you think perhaps you're not meeting expectations that others have set for you? What about resentments . . . how do those show up in your life? (see previous post about letting things go . . . ahem.) Think about these questions, and make a list of any expectations and evaluate how they are serving you. Could you move through life more gracefully in a state of accepting rather than expecting? My guess is yes - I'd love to hear what you think.
Until next week . . .
Love & Light,
I recently had the good fortune of being able to spend several hours with my friend Elizabeth who was visiting from Rhode Island. The visit itself was rather magical - solely based on the fact that we both just threw it out there to the Universe that if it worked out to see each other that would be great, and if not - c'est la vie . . . and with that non-attachment to the outcome, we DID have a chance to connect and it was fabulous!
One of the many things we talked about that night was Fear . . . and in particular the way Elizabeth Gilbert talks about being fearless in her book Big Magic. She says, "If your goal in life is to become fearless, then I believe you're already on the wrong path, because the only truly fearless people I've ever met were straight-up sociopaths and a few exceptionally reckless three-year-olds - and those aren't good role models for anyone." <--- And for the most part I agree with that!
What was eating at my friends' heart was a piece of beloved art in her studio - that says "Fearless" - and the idea that now she might have to get rid of it.
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I'd like to take a moment here to share something from my last job - where I trained and implemented medical software. My customers were clinics who were either moving from a paper-based chart environment to an electronic one (Electronic Medical Records), or from an existing electronic system that just wasn't working for them any more. In either case, without fail there was always some misconception about how much paper was and wasn't going to be generated from the electronic system. I cannot tell you how many times providers would say "Isn't this supposed to be a paperless system?", to which we would always respond, "Paper-LESS, not Paper-FREE!".
(and now back to our regularly scheduled programming . . .)
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So right there on the sidewalk on the way to dinner I turned to Elizabeth and said, "It's Fear-LESS, not Fear-FREE!" And that my friends really is what it's all about!!
Your exercise for today is to think of something you really want to do that feels unattainable (or crazy!), and the associated fear surrounding just GOING for it! In your journal, break that goal down into smaller pieces, and then break those smaller pieces into further smaller pieces. And then do it again. We call these Turtle Steps! I remember Martha Beck saying once that one of her Turtle Steps was to write an email, but she didn't SEND it until several days later because that just felt too big. That's a great example of what I mean - make those steps small!
Once you've gotten the BIG thing broken down into many SMALL things - try doing the first one, and then the next, and then the next. Pretty soon you'll be on your way! And my guess is that while it might still feel a little scary . . . overall you'll probably be fearing-LESS.
Wishing you a fabulous week. . . I'll see you back here next Sunday for some more meditative goodness!
Love and Light,
One of my favorite coaching exercises (a la Martha Beck) is called the Body Compass. As I've mentioned before our minds can spin tales for us all the live long day - which we can choose to believe or not - but our bodies will never lie to us. If you pay attention, your body is an amazing indicator of whether you are making the best choices for YOU!
What I've found in my practice is that many of my clients have been doing so much for other people in their lives for SO long (partners, children, co-workers, etc.), that without even knowing it they have landed in a place where feeling is a totally foreign concept. So then what?
I have discovered that doing body awareness work in the form of guided meditation, along with assigning a practice of daily reflections, is a great way to bring them back to themselves . . . and to feeling their way back to what they most desire!
Do you have a Daily Spiritual Practice? Some of my favorite books that provide short daily reflections are:
If you've been feeling depleted, short on energy, and unable to FEEL (because you are over-do-ing for others!), your homework this week is to create a Daily Spiritual Practice. It could be reading a page each day from one of the books listed above, or another one of your choice. Perhaps ten minutes of meditation or yoga each morning will help? Think of taking this Sunday Meditation and spreading the love across your whole week. Yah . . . that's what I'm talking about.
Love and Light,
At the end of 2014 I got a bee in my bonnet in the form of a huge urge to start cleaning and clearing my space. I started on my own, and then jumped into Kate Northrup's "Feng Shui for Financial Freedom", (which has some great advice!), and also had Marie Kondo's "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" on hand to remind me to keep in my home only those things that brought me JOY.
My totally non-scientific (though apparently proven time and again) theory on the topic is this:
When you let go of things that aren't serving your highest good - material possessions, relationships, behavior patterns, etc. - it makes room energetically for something new.
How cool is THAT?!
At the time I was de-cluttering my life on multiple levels. I had just broken up with my boyfriend, decided it was time to go through the bank statements in my kitchen cupboards (that had landed there when I moved into my place in a bit of whirlwind years earlier), and to clear out the boxes and boxes of STUFF that were taking up precious storage space in my urban town-home.
It was all fueled by the thought that if I could just let go of what wasn't serving me, I could make room for what I wanted in my life . Let go of the boyfriend? Make room for a new relationship. Let go of all the crap in my closets? Make room for only exactly what I wanted in my home. Let go of bad behavior? That always seems to be a work in process - but really it makes room for having high-quality people in my life who reflect the good behaviors I want to cultivate. Ultimately nothing bad can come of clearing and cleaning your life - material possessions and otherwise.
This weeks homework is to take inventory of things you are holding onto (either passively or for dear-life), and think about how you might let some of them go. Make a list in your journal, and then work through it at a pace that feels just outside your comfort zone. If you need some guidance on material things - Kondo's book is a great place to start.
As for me? I am spending my weekend putting together bags of things that need to go to Goodwill. Clothes that don't fit, books I won't read again, and toys my kids are too big to play with. They will all bring someone else joy - and I can make better use of the energetic space it is creating for something amazing in my life.
I am clearing the way for new things of all kinds - and am so excited for what's in store.
Love & Light,
P.S. I did let my boyfriend go. And after four months apart there was room to re-evaluate and create something completely new together. It's ALL good!
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In Life Coach Training one of the first things we learn is about dissolving limiting beliefs, or the negative thoughts we believe about ourselves or others. And while that might sound easy "on paper", it has taken lots of practice and I know there is still room for me to improve and really understand this meditative practice. (If you're interested in learning more, check out The Work by Byron Katie. She is a genius!)
The bottom line is that we are not our thoughts - and even when we stubbornly believe a thought to be true, often applying the principles of The Work can shake that thought loose and prove that it's not actually true, and just our mind trying to tell us a story. If you've ever been plagued by a particular belief (about yourself or someone else), you will understand that this practice has the potential to be very powerful!
And since this week's Meditation is all about thoughts . . . here are some cool things I learned this week:
This weeks prompt is two parts (again!): What is one of your recurring negative thoughts about yourself . . . a "greatest hit" if you will? and What can I do this week to help put that thought to rest?*
Take some time to meditate on these questions - in a comfy chair with your favorite journal and pen, or while you exercise or get crafty . . . wherever is best to nurture yourself for 15-30 minutes.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I'll see you back here next week for another Sunday Meditation.
*If you're looking for some homework, one of the best (& silliest!) ways to put a negative thought in its' place is to write a song about it . . . I challenge you! Maybe I'll even do it too - come back next week to see the results.
Meet me here on Saturdays for some weekly vibes - honoring the week that has past, and clearing the way for what's new. Gather your journal and favorite pen, along with a hot cup of coffee/tea/chai - and settle in for 30 minutes dedicated to YOU.
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