Action

Now is the time

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I’m sure by now you’ve been inundated with YEAR END posts. It’s coming! The end of 2019! And the start of not only a new year but a new DECADE!

!!!!!!

What do you want it be BRING you?

What do you want it to TAKE AWAY?

What NEW HABIT will you form?

What OLD HABIT will you drop?

What NEW VISION will you call forth?

What INNER SUPER POWER will you harness?

What NEW CAPE will you don??

What are you ready to say YES to??

What will you finally say NO to??

OKAY OKAY CAN’T A GAL JUST SIP HER COFFEE IN PEACE?

🙂

Actually, I’m FULLY involved in all of the above–taking stock, taking heart, taking notes, taking a fresh look inside to see what it is I REALLY want to create for myself.

I have my systems (I LOVE SYSTEMS!). I have my Commit30 planner, my Goal Tracker sheet, my laminated list of daily activities that matter to me, my new #365 challenge. I’m excited about it all.

But not because it’s going to make me okay. I’m already okay (as are you) right NOW as I sit on the couch writing this.

None of my systems are going to turn me into a more worthwhile person.

I’m worthwhile just because I am. Worthiness comes with the bod pod. If you are currently inhabiting a body, you are worthwhile. Period.

But I will say this–

We are all here to bring ourselves to the world, however large or small our worlds are.

We are here now. We will never be here again.

We are here to evolve.

We are here to contribute.

January 1st, 2020 is about to happen. It’s an arbitrary marker but it can be useful. It can be a reset. Not a DO OR DIE DATE. Not as a way to set ourselves up to fail and therefore cement the notion that we are doomed and fatally flawed and why even bother…

No!

January 1st can be a fresh page in the typewriter.

Yes. It’s not completely blank. It comes with a history, a backstory. Things happened. He hurt you. She let you down. Opportunities came and left and you weren’t able (FOR WHATEVER REASON) to reach out and grab them, or hold on or stick with them.

It didn’t turn out the way you hoped or thought it might or were promised it would.

I GET IT.

All of that is true.

AND.

It is also only part of the story.

Think of it like words written in invisible ink. They are there, but it’s also possible to write new words on the very same page.

I’m not being a pollyanna.

I’m being a possibilitarian.

The best part? You don’t have to be ready or confident or clear or focused or steady.

You can be not ready and insecure and foggy and scattered and quaking in your boots. (Those words just correspond to feeling states which are actually molecules moving at different speeds in your body!)

Try loving it. It means you are alive. One day you will not be and when that day comes, you will feel no things. Eek. I prefer stage fright to no things. Don’t you?

Love it like this: Say, I’m lost and I love that.

I’m scared and I love that.

I’m heartbroken and I love that.

I’m out of ideas and I love that.

I’m fat and I love that.

I’m furious and I love that.

I feel nothing and I love that.

Love that blank/not blank piece of paper.

Crank it into the typewriter.

It’s sort of exciting, right?

What if everything that happened has led you to this moment? I mean, it has. It (whatever it was) happened. And now it is this moment.

(By the way, I think it’s important to say that I am NOT an “everything happens for a reason” sort of a gal. I am a ‘freedom is possible no matter what shit has hit the fan” sort of a gal.

Freedom.

What if now is the time for you to step closer to your own personal freedom?

What if now is the time for you to be truly, deeply, and unabashedly you?

What if you’re ready, even if you don’t feel ready?

What if your version of ready feels PROFOUNDLY UNREADY?

What if you can go into this new year with full permission to bring ALL YOUR HUMANITY–your fear, doubt, grief, confusion, hurt, hope, love, envy, rage, beauty, yearning, joy, power, grit, weakness, brilliance, inspiration, determination, apathy, your fuck-ups, your badassery, your WONDER.

That’s a story I want to read!

Lastly, THANK YOU.

Thank you, Dear Reader, for reading. Thank you for being part of my community. I hope that you’ll stick with me in 2020 as I have some new things percolating. But if you don’t, know that you being here has mattered to me. I am grateful. 🙂

Blessings.

Action

STOP

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Martha Beck is a big believer in teeny tiny turtle steps. This, she says, is the most powerful way to transform. “If you’re not getting there fast enough,” she’s been known to say, ” take smaller steps.”

This is exactly the opposite of what every thing in me is saying when I feel behind.

When I feel behind, I want to hurry, race, make up for lost time.

I feel tense, annoyed, worried, competitive, self-recriminating.

I feel that something’s gone wrong. I ought to be farther ahead, farther along.

Or I feel that the truth of my inadequacy has been revealed. See, I can’t do it. I’m not (fill in the blank) material. OR, I may have been (fill in the blank) material had I started months or years or decades ago.

I don’t know about you, but when I feel behind and tense, I’m far less effective and efficient. I get clumsy. I drop things and forget things and bump into things. I shut my finger in the door or slam my leg into my dresser drawer that I’ve not closed all the way because I guess I’m trying to make up for lost time?

It’s not rational.

Even though everything in me is railing against the idea, what I need to do is STOP.

MOMENTARILY.

And breathe.

All of modern neuroscience tells us that ten deep breaths can change our brain state.

Actually change it. Measurably.

Now, the only other thing I feel less like doing when I feel behind (besides slowing down) is breathing.

It can be incredibly annoying to be told to breathe when I’m tense. Even when it’s said in good faith. Suddenly I’m like, WHY DON’T YOU BREATHE IF YOU LOVE IT SO MUCH.

But really, being reminded to stop and breathe is no different than someone letting me know the door I’m trying to push open is a pull door.

Oh.

When we change our brain state, we change our emotional state which changes the way we feel which then changes how we act and interact with the world.

It’s amazing. And simple. And free.

There’s not one product you need to try or one pound you need to lose or one make-up product you need to own.

Air is free and every human model comes with a built-in breathing program.

So, next time you feel behind, try stopping long enough to take 10 deep breathes. On average, that’s 4 breaths per minute–a total of less than 3 minutes.

Three minutes.

Seems too easy. Change your life in three minutes a day! But what if it’s true?

What have you got to lose? Just three minutes, it seems.

🙂

Body Compass

You don’t have to get rid of anything

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Despite what Marie Kondo says, you don’t have to get rid of anything.

Isn’t that a relief?

You CAN, if you want.

You can get rid of that old pair of undies with the stretched out elastic or that brand new sweater you bought that’s too itchy or that old tube of lipstick that you’ve been digging into with your fingernail.

You can get rid of that routine that your best friend swears by even though it never really felt right to you, or that plan about what this new year will bring or that SUPER old misunderstanding about who you need to be in order for other people to like you.

Or you can keep it all, keep everything that you have in this moment–the imperfect clothing, the chipped dishes, the self-critical thought, and keep going after what you want, one little foot in front of the other. Like my friend who dashed about all day, hither and yon, without realizing she had an old pair of undies bunched up in the leg of her pants.

lol.

I love that.

See, one of the most radical, liberating, and encouraging things I’ve heard this entire decade is There is no ideal state.

We don’t need to get rid of anything before we take a step closer to what matters.

We don’t need to attain a particular feeling state in order to act on our own behalf.

We don’t need to solve the insecurity or doubt. We don’t need to irradicate the disappointment, regret, or fear. We don’t need to soothe the nerves or the worry, the sadness or the jittery distraction that bubbles up.

We don’t need to get rid of anything and replace it with being PSYCHED or PUMPED or TOTALLY JAZZED.

I mean, if we are those things, okay.

But if we’re not? Okay.

Imagine how liberating it would be to let whatever is there, be there, to recognize it as energy, to notice it, acknowledge it, even announce it and have that announcement be greeted with: okay. To know it doesn’t have to mean anything about what’s next, what’s possible, and what’s really true.

Imagine not needing to manipulate it, fix it, heal it, or hide it before you give yourself permission to bring your big, beautiful, messy self to the world.

Mindset

Start Fresh

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Regardless of how you feel about year-end taking of stock or setting of goals or making of resolutions, it’s natural to look back and ahead at this time of year.

So, my Dear Reader, what if you did it in a whole new way?

What if, instead of using any ‘evidence’ of how you fell short this year, you wipe the slate clean. sweep away all the expectations and pressures and preconceived notions of where you thought you HAD to be at this point and instead, start fresh.

Right now.

Today.

The truth is, there’s no way to have known where you’d be at this point until now, until you actually got here.

Who knew what this year would bring?

What new challenges or changes?

And, who could know who you would be at this point?

You get to be where you are. You get to WHOLLY and COMPLETELY inhabit the truth of the you in this moment.

It’s SO MUCH BETTER than any other YOU you might think you ought to be. Why? Because this you is what’s real. And the world needs the real you.

So, right now, today, set a timer for 3 minutes and write, without stopping or censuring or worrying about grammar, spelling, punctuation or being realistic or letting anyone down or proving anything to anyone. Don’t think about the PLAN for HOW to pull it off.

Just ask yourself these two questions and write the answer that comes from your heart:

• What is trying to come through me?
• What do I need to let go of to allow this ‘bigger’, freer, truer me to emerge?

Tell me how it goes! I’m going to be doing it, too. 🙂

❤️

Courage

Get in the Inspiration Business

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What business do you want to be in?

The money-making business?

The influence-gaining business?

The play-it-safe business?

The go-with-the-flow business?

I’m 60 years old and I’m still figuring out what I want to do with my life but I’m clear that the business I want to be in has nothing to do with the trade or the product or the field or the fame and has everything to do with Inspiration.

I want to be in the Inspiration Reclamation Business.

Inspiration comes from the latin word inspirare meaning to breath in.

Yes. That’s what I want.

I want to breath in. I want to experience the space that creates, the vitality that comes from feeling a sudden hit of possibility and permission and pathway.

It can come from something I see or hear or read. It can come from a dream, a work of art, a conversation, the natural world. It can come from pain or pleasure, tragedy or triumph. It can come from anywhere that holds a kernel of truth.

Inspiration is personal. It comes in many forms. But for all, it brings a clarity and ENERGY that propels, that energizes, that frees us from the constraints of fear and doubt just enough to get us into action.

And taking action is KEY.

The power is in the DOING.

So my Dear Reader, what will it take to get you in the Inspiration Reclamation Business?

What fills you up?

You may not know. That’s okay, Start where you are. Begin to notice. It may come to you as a POW or a flash or it may come as a tiny nudge.

Inspiration is in you. It IS you. It’s the very breath of life.

Take notes.

Take heart.

Take flight.

Action

Sing it

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I like when I discover I’m more than I thought I was.

It can happen by accident or by grace or after a period of hard, hard work.

It can happen by pushing through or letting go, dropping down or leaping off into the unknown.

It can happen through gritted teeth or with a thrown-back head, after tears or a burst of laughter, after climbing, pulling, dragging, rolling, sliding, spinning my wheels or dancing with abandon.

It can happen in a group or when I’m alone.

Sometimes there’s a coach or a teacher who keeps sending me back for a redo, a rewrite–Forget it, I think, This is too hard, and then I find that loose floorboard and underneath, a gem.

It’s the feeling I get when I’m painting and suddenly, I’m being painted. It happened when I painted this lady. I was painting and unpainting at the same time, adding and subtracting, wetting and wiping.

I think that’s what we are here for–that discovery of our creative capacity. It can be an idea, a vision, a thought. It can be a meal, the way we rearrange the living room. It can be our work, our calling, or the words that come out of nowhere that comfort someone dear to us, or the silence we let happen that create the space needed to hold the enormity of someone’s sorrow.

We are here for that.

So today, Dear Reader, if you’re wondering about who you are, I’m here to tell you it’s bigger than you think.

I don’t mean big as in FLASHY or FAMOUS or some IMPROVED VERSION of your current self as in thinner, richer, more organized. I mean, your soul.

It’s waiting just on the other side of what your mind thinks it knows, waiting, waiting, waiting, without urgency or fear or a personal OPINION about whatever’s going on.

It’s like air, in, out, and then SWOOSH, it suddenly fills you with the truth of your song.

Sing it.

Body Compass

Rhino Wisdom

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Okay. I’m going to get a little woo-woo on you so, fair warning.

I took a Shamanism workshop a few years ago taught by the wonderful Sarah Seidelmann who, if you didn’t know, is Maria Bamford’s sister (and Maria, if you didn’t know, is one of my all-time favorite comediennes). It was just icing when I discovered that these two wildly interesting women are sibs.

I’d never taken a shamanism workshop before. I have my healthy skepticism but I also have my open mind. I mean, what do we know, really? Not much, honestly. We don’t know how the mind works or why we need sleep or what we are doing here or how big this universe is or how it got here or why we sometimes know what someone is about to say before they say it.

One of the exercises was to find our spirit animals. Mine, it turns out, is a white rhinoceros.

!!

Not a graceful giselle or wily fox or magnificent owl. A rhino.

I found her while lying flat on my back in a darkened room as Sarah rhythmically beat her drum and spoke in a stream of confident, soft words. I won’t tell you the whole thing, I’ll just say, at one point I was in a big meadow standing in front of an enormous white rhinoceros and I said, Are you my spirit animal? And it was clear, she was.

She was huge, warm, strong, rough, kind. I mean, nothing anyone would ever fuck with but not a bully, you know? Mostly, she WAS what she was and she was fine with it.

I lay on the ground next to her. There were animals all around us, moving like a stampede but not out of anger or fear, just out of their natural WILDNESS and I knew I was there not to BRACE, but to ALLOW.

I asked, (as directed), if she had a message for me. Rush for no man.

That was it.

At first I was a little disappointed. That’s it? No nugget of wisdom for the world or my life? But then I realized it was the perfect thing for me–simple and profound.

Because, you see (and I don’t know if you’ll relate at all?) I do rush. A lot. I don’t mean to. But I often “come to” while in the middle of some task–folding the laundry, washing the dishes, packing a bag to set out somewhere, to realize that I’m tense, racing, as if I’m trying to make up for lost time.

(Cue sound of someone panting.)

This or that took longer than I thought it would and this or that feels perilously close to not getting done or this or that feels out of reach now because I wasn’t able to whip everything/one into shape in just the right way and even though I’m not in a PANIC, there is a low grade agitation or impatience or unrest.

And then sometimes I remember: Rush for no man and I shed a layer of tension.

There’s no where to GET TO.

We are, if I may say so, already there. Where? Right where we are, at this moment, sitting or standing or walking, or driving–we are where we are and that’s okay because, well, it IS the truth of the moment.

We don’t need to hurry up or catch up or prove anything or make up for anything or be in a different place.

Where we are, what you are, who you are, with everything you don’t know or haven’t healed or can’t yet forgive, IS your gift.

So, Dear Reader, be like a rhinoceros.

Be what you are, right where you are, and know that is enough.

Action

Focus on your WHY

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I did a presentation of Part 2 of my solo show last week. On the ride there, I started feeling nervous, so instead of focusing on how I would do or whether I was ‘ready’, I pulled into a rest area and recorded my WHY.

I asked myself:

Why am I doing this?
Because I want to finish what I started.

And why did I start it?
Because I wanted to make meaning out of a particular part of my experience as a mother. I wanted to (hopefully) communicate something true about the human experience.

And why do it in front of an audience?
Because I wanted to practice a greater sense of presence, to remember that the power is in the ALIVENESS of expressing the truth of whatever I’m feeling in the moment, to know that what is there, whatever is it, is okay. I don’t need to hide or fix or manipulate anything.

And why else?
Because I know there is energy in every feeling–the snarl of anxiety or the frazzle of fear, the knot of anger or dread, and when I decide a feeling is wrong or dangerous, I block myself off from the energy contained within that feeling. And when I do that, I disconnect from my spontaneity which makes me self-conscious which further disconnects me from, frankly, my life force. And who wants to feel that, or SEE that?

And why else?
Because I know that seeing someone tell the truth frees us all to more easily tell our truth. It’s a positive feedback loop.

Oh look—she’s scared but doing it anyway. Oh look, she hasn’t gotten it all figured out, all cleaned up and polished, but she’s doing it anyway. Maybe I can too?

Right?

Dare to believe that you know enough, have enough, and are enough to do the thing you want to do.

And on your way there, if you get tripped up by the HOW (How will I pull this off? How will it work out? How will I figure out x, y, z?), ask yourself WHY instead.

If the answer is something like any of these:

Because I feel drawn to it, even though it seems out of reach.

Because I really want to, even though I am full of fear and self-doubt.

Because I yearn to, even though it doesn’t make sense.

Because I can’t stop thinking about it.

Because when I heard s- and-so was doing it, I felt a pang of envy and disappointment.

Because I really want to have done it.

THOSE ARE ALL VALID ANSWERS.

Saying YES to your WHY will instantly connect you to your vitality. I promise you.

But don’t take my word for it. Try it and tell me what you discover. I’d love to know!

Self-compassion

Knots & Tangles

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Grow through what you go through. 

My son has Aspergers. Have I mentioned? We found out when he was 4. He’s now 18.

The diagnosis explained a lot of what was wildly perplexing and challenging and exhausting and also wonderful those first years.

It opened up a whole new journey for me–how to meet his needs while also tending to my own, though figuring out what he needed was giving me what I needed because showing up for him was/is one of my core values.

You see, once I became a mom? There was no extracting the mom me from me. I was this new person–Kyra/Mom, a being who had creative needs WHOLY unrelated to my role as a mother (as they existed before he did) but ones that now were informed by the me I now was.

Is this coming across?

Anyway…

I like to figure things out.  I like to tease things apart, poke at the threads, pull on them, find the end, sort, see what goes with what. It’s especially satisfying to find threads that belong together, that make sense, to tie them up and weave them together.

I have a percolating mind and a lot of energy and stamina and optimism, which I think you need to figure things out because you’ve got to believe there is a solution, an answer, or many answers, in order to keep going while not GRIPPING so tightly to that notion, newly discovered things can’t enter.

I can be AT something for a long, long time which has been described as “dedicated” and “committed” and also “irritating” and “controlling” and “argumentative.”

🙂

I prefer the Buddhist’s way of looking at this: it’s not ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but rather a quality that can either SERVE ME or NOT, depending on the situation.

As a mom, it’s done both–mostly the former but sometimes, the latter.

Why? Because my prime directive was/is to protect my son and protection is impossible.

I don’t mean to imply that we, as parents and humans, are to throw up our hands and let the wolves come raise (or devour) our children. We are here to show up and do our best, to reach deep down, even when we’re up against it, even when we’ve got nothing left, to find that thing we didn’t know was there.

I want to keep him safe but I’m not in charge of that. Safety, it turns out, comes not from having all the answers and preparing for all possible outcomes but from embracing uncertainty because there is no life without uncertainty, there just isn’t.

We simply aren’t in charge of everything. Or everyone. Or, it seems, ANYONE except for ourselves and even that can be a tall order at times.

Not every tangle can be untangled.

Not everything can be tied up.

And not everything makes sense.

Peace doesn’t come from eliminating all the knots but from finding a way to live more loosely within them.

Personally, I hate this. I PREFER to figure things out and get that glorious AHA moment. I like systems, feeling informed, prepared, confident in the future, especially when it comes to the most important stuff like the safety and happiness of those I love.

I can’t tell you how many times, after reading and researching and training and brainstorming, I have brought all my insight, instinct, and information to a situation, just dragged it all in there, breathless and passionate and SURE, and it hasn’t worked.

I  want to say, No no no no! You don’t understand! THIS IS HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO GO! WHY ARE YOU NOT ALL COOPERATING? WHY IS THIS NOT WORKING? Especially when what’s at stake feels spectacularly monumental & foundational to my son’s safety.

But there is no ‘supposed to go’ in this life.

Making meaning involves a process of identifying what matters, moving toward that thing as creatively as possible, while also cultivating space for all the shit that happens when you meet the world with all her unpredictability and complexity and chaos.

So what’s a human to do?

Own our desire, our curiosity, our plans along with all our tangles that may never unwind or completely make sense and gather the humans that see you and get you because they too are poking and pulling at their own beautiful, maddening knots.

Uncategorized

Who am I?

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After loading the car with groceries in the Trader Joe’s parking lot the other day, I pushed the empty cart to the curb and left it there. 90% of the time (okay, maybe 82?), I return the cart but I was in a rush and after making sure it was stable and not careening toward another car, I opened my car door to get in when I heard:
 
THAT’S GOING TO HURT MY CAR. AND IT’S A VERY EXPENSIVE CAR!
 
I turned around to see a mother and her twenty something-year-old daughter, glaring at me.

I looked at the cart, a good 2 feet from her car, not moving an inch. 
 
I don’t see how that will hurt your car. 
 
Just put it back. You’re healthy enough. Don’t be so lazy. 
 
You don’t have to be so rude. 
 
You don’t have to be so selfish and stubborn!!
 
That’s when I got in my car, shut the door and started to drive away. And that’s when they got my cart and wheeled it toward me. 
 
I stopped the car. They continued to wheel it in front of me, making a big show of returning it, slowly, preventing me from moving, saying more things to me that I couldn’t hear because my window was closed. 
 
Now. 
 
I told this story to a few people in that, CAN YOU BELIEVE THOSE PEOPLE way. Why did they have to be so aggressive? Why the name-calling? Why did they have to mention that their car was ‘very expensive’? Should I only take care with fancy-pants cars?
 
Even as I was retelling it, there was a part of me that was done. It was over. It wasn’t a big deal. Who knows what was going on in their lives. Even if nothing stressful was, didn’t I want to contribute to a kinder, more compassionate world? And wasn’t this exactly an opportunity, and a pretty lite one at that, to practice?  
 
What if I got curious? Not fake–I’ll pretend I’m the enlightened one, smile and talk in a soft voice—curious. I mean, truly curious. 
 
A gazillion years ago, my college botany professor asked us if we knew how leaves change color. We didn’t. They’re dying, she said. 

Shorter days and cooler temperatures means a decline in chlorophyll production. Chlorophyll, needed for the process of photosynthesis, gives the leaves their green color. As it dissipates, other pigments (there all along) combine with various factors to create the vibrant display of reds, oranges, yellows, and even purples.
 
The whole process is a beautiful (if overused?) metaphor for letting go but also for discovering something that could only be revealed by letting the more common, typical thing falling away. 
 
The moment when I stop talking so others have the space to share. 
 
The moment when my regular route is blocked by construction which forces me on a whole new path. 
 
The moment when my knee-jerk defensive response just feels wrong, tired, like the brittle leaves of winter ready to drop.

It’s not: From now on, I’ll NEVER leave a cart in the lot or I’ll NEVER put one back again! Or, People are assholes or I should have just returned it, to save the peace.

And it’s not even, From now on, I vow to drop the defensive shield that gets instantly erected when I feel wrongly accused of something.

I think it’s: What might arise if I simply turned my attention to NOTICING the shield?

Who am I, anyway? Am I the person who did or didn’t do the right thing with the cart or did or didn’t do or say the right thing in RESPONSE to the people who got upset about the cart?

Or am I something else more vibrant and alive underneath all that, witnessing the whole thing and waiting to emerge?