Monthly Archives: August 2012

I am changing the world.

I am changing the world. One gesture at a time.

For the last two years, I had one particular idea of how I would go about doing that. I would use an intervention that could impact the most people, in the shortest amount of time, to really get to what I needed to do. It felt like that made the most sense, and that the sooner and greater impact that I would have, the better.

Then, I changed my mind. Not about changing the world. Rather, about how to get to doing that.

Now in those two years, I did my share of making changes. I helped people change their own lives, and take it back to their families and communities. I changed the dynamics with the loved ones in my life, and how I viewed myself. I changed my judgments into compassion and opened my heart more. I shifted, and grew.

Now, I find that changing the world looks like what I am creating now. By taking information to others, small groups or large, and not only teaching them, but having presence and compassion for where they are at. I am discovering more than ever before, that only by listening to what people are speaking, can I really change the world.

I have to get where people are, before I can offer or suggest that there might be something even better for them.

I haven’t been so good at this part in the past, because I was totally convinced, much of the time, that the way that I thought that they should conduct their lives was the best way, and that I only wanted them to be happier. I was looking out for their best interest after all.

The big joke of that, is that I wasn’t really caring about what was best for them, if I truly didn’t “get” them and where they were at, instead of having my own agenda.

I have figured out that changing the world isn’t me changing the world to live by my rules. Changing the world means really connecting, and listening, and having deep understanding and compassion for another person’s story. Then, guiding them if they need it.

Changing the world is less about changing a policy, or a law or attitude, although those are all still really important to me. Of more importance, is that I stay present and loving about each story that I hear along the way. Only then can I truly understand the world, and what it needs.

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Goodbye, old house.

Goodbye old house.

It has been over a year since I lived there, walking freely between your rooms and feeling warm, secure and cared for. Even though I still visit you from time to time, it feels different somehow, like I don’t quite belong there anymore. Then, I realized, that I had never said farewell to you, and expressed my gratitude for all that you brought to my life.

I remember walking through your rooms, 13 years ago, wondering if you were the right place for us. Your age, and your stone foundation, as well as a kitchen that invited long conversations, told us that you were the right choice.

But, you hadn’t been lived in for a long while. Your previous owner had cared for you, perfected you, and lived within your walls for many years. When he died, you were left dormant for a long time. We wanted to help you come back to life.

It wasn’t easy, mind you. You needed lots of TLC, just to be ready for us to live there. Yet, we came to visit you, every weekend, to patch up your bad spots and clean you up, and get you ready. And, soon, you were ready, to welcome us home.

I have so many warm, cherished memories from those years. I can still hear the specific squeaks and cracks of certain stairs on your staircase; there was no coming down them softly. The windows that had years of old paint on them, because they had been fixed up so many times. The bell on the back door, so that anytime it would open, we would know it.

The old black, dial telephone that rang outside. Everyone in the neighborhood knew when we would be getting a call.

The rooms that smelled like they had been around a long time. And Elwood, your previous owner, his ghost wandering through at times, for sure, because we would hear things or smell his cigarette smoke.

And then, the yard. So many happy, fun moments in that yard; running like crazy from the bear that came across the yard; the giant turtle that crossed every year on the way to the lake; the forts built among your trees and the gardens that grew even potatoes.

I am so grateful for the years that I spent there, years raising a family and feeling contented.

I am ready now to say goodbye; and although I anticipate being in your presence many more times, I am ready to say goodbye to any part of you still being mine.

I know that you will serve others well. I know that you are reliable, capable and strong.

And, I am ready to let you go.

Like, Love, and everything in between.

So, I have recently started the endeavor of dating. Getting myself out there, meeting new people, getting connected.

It can be a pretty intimidating experience.

In the past, I have not been real savvy at dating people, at least, more than one person at a time. It felt weird, and complicated, and like it took a lot of energy and time. However, instead I would go to the other extreme, of meeting someone, feeling some type of connection, and moving in two weeks later.

The other pattern for me in the past, was presenting this illusion of who I was, or who I wanted others to see when they looked at me, versus who I really am. In those times, it is possible that I wasn’t always clear on who I was; but there were also clearly times when I knowingly put on a front of being someone I wasn’t; who laughed at jokes that were at other peoples’ expense; who said I was fine when I wasn’t.

I also never dated before as a sober person. Every person that I had relationships with, or even, just dated for a period of time, I had met in a bar, or somehow affiliated with alcohol.

So, I know this time around, the rules for me have gotta change.

First, I am sober. Everything that I experience as I go forward into dating, and ultimately, in a relationship, will be done without some chemical substance to block the sensation. That is new territory for me, and it means that I get to feel things as they really are, not as an artificial buzz.

Secondly, I have to trust my intuition when it comes to dating. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If the person doesn’t seem like my type, then to politely say no thank you. To be honest, forthright, and maintain integrity from the beginning.

And, biggest of all, is to genuinely be myself. To find love in my life, I have to be willing to be the love that I seek. I have to be open about who I am, what I desire, and all parts of self. I have to be willing to answer and ask challenging questions. I have to tell the truth. I have to be me.

This all feels strange to me, like I am living in a new land as I go on this quest. Yet, I know, that if I stand by who my true self is, I will meet the person that wants to share that with me.

Failure.

We all are going to encounter failures in this life, and most likely have already. Times when even our most well laid plans go down the tubes. Times when we have thought of every manner in which to create a success, it seems, and yet, our plans flop.

We fail. And sometimes, we fail REALLY big.

I HATE to fail. I hate to make mistakes, and I had to screw up. And, ultimately, I hate to fail at something, or have it completely not come to be, because of my choices, or lack of them, or my lack of handling situations properly. Yet, I have had many failures in my life.

I failed to maintain a lifelong love relationship.

I failed at being a life coach.

I have had many failures, mistakes, and screw ups, in my newest job position.

I failed at having myself financially sound at this point in my life.

So many things, and others that are also in my history I am sure, that if I were of the mind that my failures mean nothing, or, that I had nothing to do with them, or nothing to do as a result of them to change my life, then I would just curl up in a ball and give up on continuing.

Fortunately for me, I have a different view.

As with other life areas and realizations, the more often that I own my part, the easier it is to deal with the consequences. So, most recently, when I made the decision to leave the coaching program, I admitted failure. I said, it isn’t for me. I failed at being great. And, I stood in that, as uncomfortable as it was, and told the truth. I owned my part.

If I had walked, or ran away, from facing up to it, which I really WANTED to do, and not face up to my choice, then it would have made it very easy to make up the story of it in my head, and blame others for why I chose what I did. Instead, I got the great honor of owning my decision, standing up for it, and cleaning up all of the messes that occurred because of it.

I also believe that we learn from our failures, and we have to be willing to see what that lesson is. For me, with coaching, my lesson is that I have to be willing to stand up and stand in my truth, no matter what, and to not run away when someone may not agree or understand. I need to stand by my decisions and failures, even when it feels yucky.

Now, failure doesn’t mean berating oneself, mind you. I can admit I failed, without calling myself a jerk. And, it is quite freeing, and human, to be able to admit failure, because then, we can find humility, and see even more clearly how deeply we are connected with one another.

Whether we are talking life, love, our very dreams, we will all have failures. The magic is in finding our ownership in the failure, and getting the lesson for moving on.

Slow and Steady.

One of my totems, one of them that is always at my side, is the Turtle. Turtle medicine is perfect medicine for me to have, because it reminds me that I need to go through my life at a slow, steady pace.

For many years of my life, I have missed the details, skimmed the surface, thought that I knew all that I needed to about something, or someone, so I tuned out, stopped paying attention, and lived in a pretty arrogant place about what I knew. Or, thought I knew, as I have come to understand. The results were relationships with other people that lacked depth, because I didn’t dig for the details. It meant that I always thought that I knew all I needed to know, and didn’t bother to learn a bit more that could expand my horizons.

I have always been in such a hurry to accomplish a task, get it done, and check it off my list, that I didn’t even slow down long enough to replenish, to breathe.

To savor the moment that I was in.

There might have been an element in it, of feeling like I wanted to win the race, get to the finish, be the best. But I really think it is a deeper lesson than that for me.

For me, I think that slow and steady reminds me that there is such a richness to my life, that I have missed out on sorely, because of always moving forward at a hare’s pace, and missing out on what was right in front of me. It has diminished the quality of my life, and damaged my relationships at times with others. It also made it really easy for me to hold others in judgment, because since I knew all I thought I had to know, that meant, in my mind, my unexpanded mind, that I knew it all.

So funny!

Now, as I move forward into my life, a new chapter, new path, new beginning, I savor the details. I look forward to sitting in and enjoying each moment that enables me to get all that I can from my life, and really appreciate and take in the people around me.

So, my Turtle medicine, for me, is a constant reminder to sit on the log, relax, breathe, listen, and enjoy the moment.