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Archive for the ‘Uncommon Living’ Category

Sometimes it doesn't go according to plan

June 8th, 2010

Actually, that should be the extent of my post because that is about where I am today.

It’s just not going according to plan – even with all the flex I built into the plan.

This use to freak me out (and truth be told, I freaked out just a bit over the past 24 hours). I used to pass judgment on myself and create never-ending nightmare scenarios in my head about how awful it was all going to turn out.

I don’t do that any more.

I do stress myself beyond the point of reason but fortunately there are people in my life who cut that pretty short. They won’t allow me to churn in my unreasonable thinking for very long. They are bright shiny spots in my life.

So now what do I do when it doesn’t go according to plan?

Well, first I say it out loud. “This is not going according to plan. And I won’t die because of it.”

Then I tell people who need to know that the plan needs modifying. Like I need to say to you, my tribe, that registration for my live event won’t open on Thursday because there are some key details that I am waiting for.

Then I let myself off the hook. Cuz, like I said, I won’t die and, as best I can tell, neither will anyone else.

And that’s where I am today.

Where are you?

Who the Frak is "Everybody"?

May 25th, 2010

Apparently I have an intimate relationship with “Everybody”. I can read their minds. I scurry to please them. I hover over the publish button, worrying about how they will respond to whatever I am posting. I fear them.

“What will Everybody think?”

“What will Everybody say?”

“What if Everybody hates me?”

“What would make Everybody love me?”

“What if Nobody (just another word for Everybody) likes it or me?”

Yeah – I’m twisted like that.

Pretty powerful group, this “everybody” who resides in my head. If I allow them, they will control my every move.

Fortunately, I had a pretty amazing teacher who gave me some insights around Everybody. Her name is Martha Beck. (I was lucky enough to be personally trained by her a life coach – AMAZING experience. But I digress.) And I would like to share a few of her thoughts on managing Everybody.

So, let’s use my Burn The Ships post as an example. Writing and hovering over the Publish button brought out every fear I had about Everybody. What would they think? Would they still respect me in the morning? Would they laugh at me? All that mess.

So here are the questions Martha taught me to ask:

– Can you name five specific people who would agree with Everybody?

– If yes, do you even like these people?

– If yes, will the people who love really care about the opinion of these people?

– If yes, are these people actually people you want in your space anyway?

-If yes, are there an equal number of specific people who would disagree with everybody?

– In the end, and if there really are 5 people – and I usually struggle to come up with who they are – do I care about what they think enough to let them control me?

Now, I will confess that the fear does not magically and completely leave me once I run through answering all these questions. BUT, it does shrink the size of my fear – and of Everybody – considerably.

What about you? How do you deal with Everybody?

P.S. Don’t forget – the first Ustream Tribal Meeting is tonight (Tuesday) at 10p EST. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/escaping-mediocrity.

If I Were a Snail

May 19th, 2010

an essay by The Young Turk

If I were a snail I would be a pond snail. I would swim fairly slow. I would be very useless.  My shell would be made out of calcium. I would play. We would play with another snail. We would play.  I would leave a trail of slime. I would love being a snail.

I would have one foot.

I would have fun.

Also I would play snail ball.

Spirit Sleuthing is No Place for the Mediocre

May 13th, 2010

A guest post by Sally G.

This post has a theme song. 🙂

People Are Strange by Echo and the Bunnymen: http://tinysong.com/sECk

I gave myself a new title yesterday – Spirit Sleuth. From this point onward, I will observe everything around me as a Detective who is trying to solve a case. Everything that happens will hold within it a clue. Everyone who crosses my path will have something to do with the truth that I search. Nice to know that my English Major background will finally be put to good use!

When I brought in the mail, I was excited to see my woman’s magazine had been delivered. I always look forward to reading through it at night with a hot cup of tea – my reward for a day that I’ve at last put behind me. I then decided to see it as a Spirit Sleuth would see it ~ what message for me lay somewhere on its cover?

Strong, Sexy, Stylish leaped off the page. It was in reference to the actress featured inside the issue – but it got me to thinking: if someone were to run a feature story about me, what three adjectives would they deem appropriate to scream from the page? And more importantly, what three adjectives would I desire to sum me up succinctly in a nano-second?

Dull, Forgettable, Strange. Hmmmm, not very flattering – and it would be the last time anyone ever featured me in their magazine, that’s for sure.

Who spends money to read about Dull, Forgettable and Strange?

I’m going to make an executive decision here and forget about how others might define me. After all, that’s been my ‘problem’ all along, hasn’t it? Letting others define me and then living up to those expectations regardless of how well the adjectives fit?

I’m going to create myself as I’d like to be seen.

Spiritualists do that – they create themselves in the grandest version of the greatest vision that they can imagine. And I’ve decided that I am a Spiritualist – at least, I’m practicing to be one because I do believe it to be the most effective way to eventually replace my false Self with my authentic Self.

The vision I’ve been holding of me walking up to a closed door, opening it, throwing my arms around the Authentic Me that’s waiting there and crying, “Oh thank heavens I’ve finally found you – we can be one at last and the role playing will end forever!” isn’t really working for me. And I’m quite enjoying this idea of myself as a Spirit Sleuth – so, yes – I’m going to create three adjectives to describe me the way I would like to be seen, which is probably how I actually am, I just haven’t fully found the confidence to act on that yet.

Fascinating, Funny, Fluid

I probably didn’t have to use alliteration just because the magazine did – but I actually like this. If people knew what went on in this head of mine in the time it takes to blink, they might actually deem me fascinating. And I do have a different way of looking at the world – and I may also be the only person on the planet who has a fear of closed doors, so – Fascinating stays.

I also consider myself to be quite hilarious – I truly do crack myself up on quite a regular basis. Yes, not everyone seems to be on my wavelength and I do have a wit that requires you to pay attention to everything said up to my hilarious outburst because I do tend to play off what is being discussed and spin it into the humorous. But people who are capable of doing all that do tend to laugh too. And more than once people have looked at me differently and said, “Wow, you’re funny.” – like THAT was beyond imagining until just moments before. So, Funny stays too.

Besides, this ability I have to see a different spin on something being discussed really helps me with my present missive as a Spirit Sleuth – from what I can gather so far, you really have to look for what’s not there and in the looking for what’s not there, it suddenly becomes visible to the point that the entire event or exchange is completely about what was not even noticeable at first, leaving you to wonder how you ever missed it in the first place.

Which leads me to my final adjective: Fluid

If I do anything well, it’s going with the flow. I mean, I’m learning to do that well now – I wasn’t always fluid, I was more on the other end of the spectrum – very rigid. However, if you’re going to dedicate your days to looking for things that aren’t there and then affixing meaning to those things that only you see, and only you see them because only you are looking for them – then being rigid is only going to hold you back.

Fluidity, however, allows me to be involved in an interaction, oblivious to the clue it holds until I suddenly remember that I’m a Spirit Sleuth – and I then continue on as though I am still oblivious (because not to do so would probably completely freak out the other person or people in the exchange) but the whole time I’m really looking for the underlying meaning that could really change everything if I can find it, interpret it and then act upon it in kind.

It is not lost on me that this blog post could be entered as evidence in a future law suit launched to challenge my sanity.

Not that anyone would have any reason to do that – but if they did, I could see this working against me. Unless the lawyer was a Spirit Sleuth too. What are the odds of that though –- I’ve heard they don’t even have souls.

Spirit Sleuthing is definitely no place for the Mediocre. And it can be lonely at times. What do you say – will you join me in my work?

Sally G. is a self-professed work-in-progress who has chosen to keep the aspects of herself that work ~ releasing old habits, labels and tendencies that do not. Chanting the mantra “Self-Actualization ain’t no place for sissies” ~ she fully supports, encourages and inspires all the courageous travellers she meets along the way. Sally’s reflections, humour and insight are on full display on her blog site and on Twitter

Today is "No Phone Zone" Day

April 30th, 2010

This is going to be hard. I am a serious multi-tasker and I make a TON of phone calls in the car.  But I also know that cell phone use for calls and for texting while driving is creating serious safety issues.  Of course I just think it’s the other guy who’s the problem, not me.

That’s what we ALL think.

So today, I am going to be part of the solution. I’m joining Oprah’s No Phone Zone Movement that is launching today. My phone is going in the glove box when I get in the car so I’m not tempted to answer it or even check it while I am driving.

Need some statistics to convince you that our cell phones and driving don’t mix? Here you go:

  • Every single time someone takes their eyes or their focus off the road – even for just a few seconds – they put their lives and the lives of others in danger.  Distracted driving is unsafe, irresponsible and in a split second, its consequences can be devastating. ~ U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood
  • New research findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that show nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million were injured.
  • On any given day in 2008, more than 800,000 vehicles were driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.
  • Across the board, federal researchers who have directly observed drivers of all ages found that more and more people are using a variety of hand-held devices while driving – not just cell phones, but also iPods, video games, Blackberrys and GPS systems.
  • In particular, cell phone use for talking and texting is now more prevalent on our nation’s roads, rail systems and waterways, carrying a dangerous potential for accidents.

For our safety and the safety of those we love, we’ve all got to be part of the solution. Here’s what you can do:

1. Put your cell phone in the glove box while you are driving. Get temptation out of reach!

2. Check out the No Phone Zone Causes Page = www.causes.com/nophonezone

3. Sign the No Phone Zone Pledge – http://apps.facebook.com/causes/petitions/455

Let’s help safety on the road escape mediocrity today, ok?!

The Official 2010 GET RID OF IT Challenge

April 22nd, 2010

Ok – it’s official. Getting rid of crap seems to be something everyone is interested in doing. (See Tuesday’s Crap Attack post for more info).  And if we are all interested in doing it but we aren’t actually engaged in doing it, perhaps we could use a little extra motivational push!

And here’s the thing. Not one of us can escape mediocrity if we are carting around loads of stuff. Even if it is stuffed into the basement, the fact that this stuff exists occupies bandwidth like a program running in the background of your computer.

So, I’ve decided to make the a Tribe Project/Challenge and I invite everyone to join in.

Here’s how it will work:

-I will regularly check in and update this post from now until Monday and share what I have gathered up and what has actually left my house.

-Other members of the tribe can do the same in the comments section.

-We also all need encouragement and cheering on when tackling projects like this so let’s root for each other as we make progress.

This is going to be fun!

Crap Attack or I Have Entirely Too Much Crap

April 20th, 2010

I have entirely too much stuff.

There are lots of reasons for this state of affairs.

1) I am a child of a child of the depression so I learned not to throw anything away.

2) When my dad died, I inherited both his house packed to the brim with stuff as well as my grandmother’s house packed to the brim with stuff.

3) I like cool stuff. Especially if I think I might be able to use it/wear it someday.

But the situation has gotten out of control. I have clothes I haven’t worn in years (and am not likely to anytime in the near future. I have lamps, rugs and knick-knacks that don’t really suit my style. And I have more books than I will ever be able to read or re-read.

The weight of all of this stuff is starting to strangle me. And it keeps me from being nimble. I mean, how can I trap of mediocrity if I am trapped by stuff?

So, starting today – I am pitching out with a heavy hand.  Here are my criteria:

1) Do I love it?

2) Do I use it?

3) Do I want it?

4) Do I need it?

5) It is worth trading my lightness of foot for it?

Now in the interest is transparency, I’ve reached this place before. Sick to death of my stuff and vowing to get rid of it. But my attempts in the past have been measly really. And last night I hit on why that is.

For some reason giving stuff to the Salvation Army so that it can be re-sold just doesn’t do it for me. There are people in my city who don’t even have the cash or the wherewithall to shop there. And beside, I shop there – and I am not exactly in need. So collecting my donations have been half-hearted at best.

Then I remembered something. There is a place that people go, sometimes in the middle of the night, and arrive with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing. Women, children, even men come to this place and need the very basics immediately. The items that are weighing me down would be a godsend to them. Just the motivation I need.

What is this place, you might be wondering? My local domestic violence shelter.

And if the stuff I complain about, put off decisions about and generally feel encumbered by can give someone a boost toward freedom, I AM IN!

So, starting today, I am cleaning out with a vengeance. All it took was the right connection in my brain.

So, I have three questions for you:

1) Are you encumbered by too much stuff?

2) Are you willing to let go of any of it?

3) Is there someone who would could really USE the things that are just taking up space around you?

P.S. Martha Beck always talks about how our houses is a metaphor for our lives. GULP! I don’t want a life crammed with stuff that weighs me down!

Nap Time For Grown-ups

April 15th, 2010

I love naps. I can think of nothing more decadent and more re-charging that catching a snooze in the middle of the day. On the weekends our entire schedule is built around the whole house taking at least a one hour nap each day. It’s serious business around here.

And, at the request of @WarrenWhitlock, I am going to share with you a) why I believe naps are critical and b) some of my best tips for getting the most from your nap time.

So first, why do I thinks naps are so crucial?

1) We live in a rush-rush-rush, over-stimulating, sleep-deprived world. In fact we kind of glorify how fast we can do something and how little sleep we did it on. This is physically and emotionally unsustainable. Your body will rebel. You will get sick. You will run out of steam. You will b e an emotional mess. It’s just a matter of time.

2) We MUST give ourselves the gift of re-charging. Even if we love what we do, we can’t push ourselves on a indefinite adrenline-fed frenzy. Our brains, that organ we depend on to produce our brilliant work, simply cannot fire on all cylinders without rest. It’s like asking your body to run a marathon while eating one meal a day.

3) Our brains and our subconscious produce fascinating ideas and connections when they are at rest but not in full REM sleep. (REM sleep produces great stuff too – it’s just a different kind of great stuff.)

There are tons of really good reasons for taking a nap. And the media has caught on because I’ve seen articles and shows everywhere talking about how sleep-deprived culture really needs to take another look at napping.  In the comments I hope you will leave your best reason for napping – that will be fun to read!!

So, we know rest and re-charge is critical but lots of people say “I just can’t nap!”. Sometimes napping involves actually sleep occurring and sometimes it is just a chance for our brains to rest, dance around a flit from topic to topic. The point is that we set aside a time (about 20 minutes to start) and a place (more on that in a minute) to let ourselves sink into resting.

Here are some of my best ideas for for creating a naptastic nap. 🙂

1) Cool, semi dark room. Even in the winter I like to have a slow fan going. In the summer, a fan makes the covers feel that much better.

2) Your favorite pillow. You have one – I know you do. So make sure it is your napping pillow.

3) A blanket. No need to unmake the bed (assuming you made it), but covers are critical.

4) Take off your shoes, belt – anything that feels constraining. You can’t get comfy if you can’t wiggle your toes.

5) Turn off your cell phone and unplug the house phone. Trust me. Nothing will happen that you can’t handle 20 minutes from now.

6) It goes without saying that you are napping in a different room from your laptop, right?

7) Set your alarm. this will keep you from stressing out about oversleeping if you do actually fall asleep.  Again 20-45 minutes is about as long as a nap should last. Any longer and you may have trouble shaking the cobwebs out of your brain for the rest of the day.

Then again, I learned a lot about napping from a great boss I had in Washington, D.C. After lunch each day, he told me to hold his calls, he closed his office door, and laid down on the floor for 45 minutes falling fast asleep. Find what works for you.

So I am anxious to know your thoughts about napping. Do you nap? Do you resist napping? Do you have nips for creating a great nap environment?!  Please share – you know that is my favorite part. 🙂

Photo:

The Magical Pause Button

April 13th, 2010

So yesterday pretty much the entire world was annoying me. Everywhere I turned it seemed I was dealing with an idiot or someone mean or someone who just didn’t get it. And I kept getting crabbier and crabbier and crabbier. Just ask my family members who had to deal with me.

And then – it hit me. If the entire world is irritating, chance are it isn’t the world who has the problem. It’s me.

<SMACK>

One of the great double-edged swords of living this conscious life is that I have to take responsibility for creating my own reality. Having to do that sucks sometimes because, boy, is it easier – and way more palatable – to play the victim and blame everyone else.  It also feels really good, at least for a little while.

But, in the end, it all comes down to me and catching myself in this cycle of pissiness.  And I am going to share a tool with you that I learned long ago that helps me derail bad moods, poor knee jerk reactions, and any other bad behavior that a moment of thought would have prevented.

It’s called the Pause Button.

Just like the pause button on your remote, hitting it stops the action. Why is this a good thing? Because stopping the action give me a chance to breathe, to reflect, to make better choices about how I am thinking and how I am acting.

I remember when I learned about this concept ( I was a grown woman), it was startling to me. “You mean I don’t HAVE to react immediately? You mean my auto-response may not be the best response? You mean I have a CHOICE?”  (Read those words with an indignant tone and you’ll get the drift of my thinking at the time.)

Here’s what I can tell you, though. I have never once regretted hitting the pause button. Not one time. But there have been PLENTY of times when I regretted not hitting it to give myself a chance to breathe, collect my thoughts and proceed in a proactive not reactive way.

So the next time you feel grumpy, reactive, indignant, urgent, angry, try hitting the Pause Button as fast as you possibly can. You be glad you gave yourself the gift of some breathing room.

As for me – well, thankfully I hit the pause button, checked in with @ElizabethPW and @AllisonNazarian, got myself collected and realized that an attitude adjustment on my part would miraculously shift my perception of the world.

P.S. Last of my shameless slef-promotion plugs for a while: You still have time to shift your business into high gear, build a strong foundation and put yourself on the map by joining my eight week coaching program that starts tomorrow (Wednesday), April 14. http://bit.ly/RearInGear

Don't You Forget About Me

March 29th, 2010

And here is a song dedicated to you – my tribe:

Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds http://tinysong.com/6Wee