Pressure and Immense Change

wise-quote Wow, what a tough week. Or, perhaps a long week may be more accurate. I suppose however you deal with the time stretching on endlessly determines the extent of the hardship. I know that several people I have spoken to this week have expressed the same feelings of carrying the weight of a whole lot of change. Not just with the election affecting what feels like the entire world, but with the grey weather and subsequent lack of vitamin D and the women’s march on today and whatever additional personal growth or change you’re experiencing….

Whew.

It’s a lot. There are a lot of things that happen and that are happening that seem out of anyone’s control.

I mean, a march today for women’s rights? In 2017? It seems almost unfathomable.

Yet here we are.

I know that the past month I have had to take steps back many times to re collect my thoughts and emotions during the days that I felt particularly out of control and out of my element, unsure as to how I may be able to navigate the rest of that day….and the day after that.

Change is difficult. It is scary.

It takes a whole lot of strength to cultivate courage when you feel like you are a pressure cooker that has been turned up high, steam flying everywhere and you’re whistling to high heaven about to explode…

But, in these moments, I find myself taking comfort in the fact that so many amazing things take shape when we are in the midst of the unknown.

Pressure creates beauty and pain is optional.

 

 

 

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Value, Value, Value!

value-yourself  At the moment, I am in a career modification process (or rather “life changing process”) and although my current environment requires a greater deal of self care and attention to myself at the moment, it has enhanced the parts of myself that glow and grow out of expressions of creativity as well as re emphasizing and re discovering the value of, well….

Myself.

The last email I received from a potential employer completely reminded myself that however much I need the work, it is NOT

NOT

NOT

…Worth selling myself short and forgetting what I can ask for.

Company culture.

Their social responsibilities.

How they manage work life balance for their employees.

What makes them tick…at the heart of it all?

That requirement for a University degree? it is NOT always a requirement. Never be afraid to push the boundaries,”acceptable” questions and rules and all of the scripts that recruitment and career have somehow managed to place on us.

Never be afraid to feel “less than.”

Because you’re not.

The worst you can hear is no.

And then you move on.

You are worth the questions.

You are worth the money.

I have never shied away from the fact that rather than finish University at a rather prestigious school, I dropped out to pursue a career at a young age and now focus on continuous, part time studies to keep my skill set up to date.

We all operate on self imposed scripts. I know I do. I am suppose to be woman A. I should have B and C. I should have completed D. I find these definitions of who I “should” be are the most dangerous to my self esteem and the picture I have of myself.

But, I don’t want safe and secure all of the time.

I don’t want well travelled.

I want never traversed. I want messy and emotionally fulfilling and everything that innovation is born from.

This time has also allowed the right opportunities, money and recruiters to float my way regardless and helped me realize my self worth as crazy as that sounds.

The older I get, the less patience I have for the SCRIPT.

The more need I have for AUTHENTICITY. For passion and for GRIT.

The closer I follow my business role models (Sheryl Sandberg, Simon Sinek…)

The closer I listen to experience and tune out the book other people attempt to write.

I don’t and don’t desire, to fit between the perfectly placed pages.

What scripts are you working on cancelling out in your own life?

 

 

 

For Those of Us That Have Lost

untitled.png I originally had the idea to log on tonight and write about the reality that is anxiety (I mean, really…Christmas!? the ambiverts most hair raising time of the year…I’m in and I’m out…I’m not a jerk, really….I’m just finished with you and want to go home to Netflix and a cup of tea…I’m bored…I’m happy…I’m bored…..karaoke…yea!! :-)….karaoke sucks….oh God…hands sweating as we speak!…you get the drift)

That’s next post. This post I wanted to discuss the darker side of the holidays that a handful of us face whether it is Christmas, Easter or our birthdays.

Oh, our birthdays….

We are the people facing the holidays without a parent. Or both parents. Or a child we lost. Or a best friend…a sibling. In my case my dad. My dad who taught me to skate, who I ran long distance with…who I cried for if he worked too late to put me to bed in the evenings as a little girl.

The first man who told me to stand up for what was right. Who pushed me to go beyond what I believed in. Who never raised his voice in all the years I was growing up.

There tends to be the awkward silence when someone that barely knows me asks about my plans, family…when I fail to mention dinner with my dad or cleverly brush over the enquires as to “what that side of my family does for the holidays” We notice the look in other people’s eyes when they share our pain and our confusion as to how to navigate this particular line of questioning.

We always notice a comrade without saying a word though, don’t we?

The slight tug in our hearts when we only have one dinner to plan and the loss feels like a heavy blade slicing through our hearts.

When our partner will never get to see the other side of where we came from.

We love the holidays….look forward to them even! The friends… the family… the food the laughs. So many laughs.

But still, two years later….the void. In ten years….still the void.

This pain is not the same as being estranged from family. It is not the same as being in a row and letting your ego take over for the evening. Because dear readers, I happen to be partially estranged from some of my family and I can attest.

It is not the same.

The choice to be separated from our loved one is stripped from us prematurely. We can’t wake up in the middle of the night and chastise ourselves and pick up the phone. We can’t make amends or hear I love you back.

What I can tell you, is that at some point this Christmas we will feel like checking out. One party will push our emotions just a tad too far. We will need to find solace with a glass of wine, alone, for 30 minutes. Maybe we will cry. But we will be fine.

We will feel the ghosts of our memories in the laughter.

We are not being antisocial. We are not being moody. We are simply remembering. We are longing in the midst of the celebrations, as beautiful as they are.

Because we know what it feels like to cherish the moment.

We might not have the energy or the emotional stamina to explain.

Please forgive us.

And, dear reader, the one who has lost…whoever you are and whoever you have lost…I want to remind you that we are in this together. The holiday will pass.

But in the meantime, soak up all the wonderful laughs and pictures and hugs. Embrace the people that are still here, remember how lucky you are.

Because we know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of Disengagement

freedom Disengagement.

No, not employee disengagement.  We are not discussing the tribulations of the uninterested worker intent on squandering his or her 8 hours on the job. We are talking about the art of being able to effectively and positively break away from what is ailing us without actually breaking loose. Sound complicated?

The good news is that it isn’t.

It never fails that once this word is uttered, people instinctively get rattled. It comes off as disinterested, unappealing and even scary. It makes you sound as if you are running away and not facing up to your fears, sort of like a scared child.

However, that is so far from the truth.

Disengagement is about honoring your attachments and keeping them stronger. It is also about honoring the relationships of the other parties and keeping those intact in the most healthy and nurturing ways available.

When we get into a confrontation or simple disagreement, we tend to get defensive. You know the feeling….your blood pressure rises, your heart rate speeds up…no matter what the person says you’re too far gone and the situation is not looking like it is getting better.

The anger and the ego are all working together to create the perfect storm. And sometimes, as much as we know we are walking an unforgiving tightrope, we just keep barreling ahead….

Disengagement allows us to take a small, even miniscule, step backwards.

It gives us a second to remember that we are not this moment. That this moment will pass.

It allows us to take a deep breathe and swallow our next words and save a thousand moments of regret and possibly anguish. We are not running and we are not burying our face in our hands.

We are saving the moment.

We are decompressing.

We are being kind to ourselves.

What are your thoughts on disengagement and the overall pros of it? Have you mastered the art or are you in the process of being a trainee?

 

 

 

 

Blame and That Pesky Thing Called Personal Responsibility!

quote-if-you-own-this-story-you-get-to-write-the-ending-brene-brown-49-47-43 Last week I found myself waking up too late to get a start to my day. The WORST.

My absolute pet peeve.

My calendar had my day mapped out perfectly, as my natural perfectionist tendencies tend to dictate. Be at my little café by ten, work on said networking until 12 and then finish some other odd and end project details. Finish my day by 4 pm to get to the gym early enough to avoid the after work rush. Needless to say…the day started late. I got up later than expected after my boyfriend decided to set the alarm later and grab a half an hour of extra sleep rather than get up to make coffee.

I am pretty sure I agreed to this terrifying turn of events when consulted….

Anyhow, I nervously consulted my phone. Chewing my bottom lip, I rearranged the time slots for all of my self scheduled tasks for the day.

It was Monday.

I could feel the anxiety brewing…

And as I hopped in the shower, I found myself, for the briefest of moments, blaming the person who re set the alarm.

I mean….realistically, no one else is as fanatical about my schedule or the strict adherence to it as I am.

Running to the subway later that same day, I came across a Brene Brown video that made me quietly chuckle. It spoke directly to my day and was a great reminder about the need to take responsibility for our own setbacks. Brene states “Blame is the discharging of discomfort and pain. It has an inverse relationship with accountability”

So, what did I do after being reminded to get my shit together and not fall prey to re set alarm clocks?

Had another coffee and put in some extra hours at the computer 😉

Do you recall the last time you found it easier to blame someone else for your short comings rather than admit your own fault?

 

 

Kaleidoscope

kaleidoscope-series-number-7-alec-drake.jpg  A kaleidoscope is an optical instrument, typically a cylinder with mirrors containing loose, colored objects such as beads or pebbles and bits of glass. As the viewer looks into one end, light entering the other end creates a colorful pattern, due to repeated reflection in the mirrors.” -Wikipedia

Last week my therapist, with whom I have enjoyed over a year of good natured…and very nurturing….dialogue, recommended another author, speaker and accomplished Phd named Brene Brown to me. Brene speaks openly and fluidly on vulnerability, shame and the importance of allowing our cracks and difficulties to play a larger part into who we are and what we are. She has a fun, enthusiastic way of explaining issues that shape us.

Her talks remind me of the analogy I use of changes and parts of ourselves coming together to form a whole….but they constantly shift and change….all of them beautiful in unique ways…just like a kaleidoscope. I had a kaleidoscope as a child, and boy, was that thing cool. The most interesting thing about a kaleidoscope is that it shifts and changes…and no matter which way you turn it you get the most beautiful colors and designs.

brene-qoute

It reminds me of people. We have such a tendency to view the “cracks” in ourselves, our life plans, and our self imposed “story” as things that need to be filled, like a builder pouring a home foundation. Afraid the cracks will weaken support of the home and render the finished product unfit for habitation.

All of our colors, whether big and bold or light and soft, are beautiful. It is time to stop hiding from our cracks and embrace them. As we shift and change along our journey we slowly learn that the colors of our lives are comprised of all of our experiences….and that is what makes the evolving product so appealing.

Do you agree?

Do you see the changes in your life as colors that shift and change but still look beautiful no matter the circumstance?

 

 

 

 

When Everything Falls Apart

letting_go_of_balloons__no__02_by_redandbluecrayons-d5cjc9p

“Were we penetrated by the arrows, or did we turn them into flowers?” -Pema Chodron, American Tibetan Monk, Author and Spiritual Teacher (When Things Fall Apart, Heart Advice for Difficult Times)

Today things fell apart.

Or rather, fell together. Or more accurately…fell. The first thing I craved was getting my thoughts down on (digital) paper and pouring a coffee and then taking a few deep breathes in and out.

The good news is, that today broke a week of writers block. The bad news? Things fell.

The past few months of intensive therapy and relaxation techniques and yoga and mindfulness created a response so unlike what would have transpired a year ago. A year ago if something fell I may have plummeted into an anxiety attack, had a hard time breathing and imminent thoughts of my cat and I living on the street would have induced hyperventilation. My first thoughts would have been that this was happening to me….that control was spiraling out of my grasp…instead….

I regained mental control and reminded myself that things happen for me. Sound complicated and difficult to grasp? It was for me too. Type A Maggie historically has a hard time with this. But, even today, as I wrestle with this concept, the book I reach for is by my beloved Pema Chodron. When Things Fall Apart. I have read and re read this book in every one of life’s tumultuous moments.

I reach for it today.

I find the passage that I need…

The klesha mara is characterized by strong emotions. A simple feeling will arise, and instead of letting it be there, we panic. We begin to weave our thoughts into a story line, which gives rise to bigger emotions. Instead of just sitting in some kind of openness with our uncomfortable feeling, we bring out the bellows and fan away at it. With our thoughts and emotions, we keep it inflamed, hot; we wont let it go. When everything falls apart we feel uncertainty, disappointment, shock, embarrassment…what’s left is a mind that is clear, unbiased and fresh”

th295dfcww

I felt calm and slowed the dazzling array of story lines that were playing. I took out the trash, so to say.

I dumped it on the curb.

Tomorrow the sun will rise.

It is in times of fear that we have the opportunity to show the world what we are made of.

What are your thoughts? Does falling apart scare you or motivate you?

 

 

 

 

No One (Really) Gives 100%

do-your-best If anyone hasn’t gathered at this point, I am a full fledged fan of Tony Robbins. The inspiration he provides is awe inspiring.

Recently, I stumbled upon a podcast of his, that included an interview with one of the greatest sports coaches of all time, basketball coach  John Wooden. Nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood, as head coach at UCLA, he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12 year period, including a record seven in a row. I was lucky enough to get to listen to John’s advice on success.

His story included a conversation he had earlier on in his career when he asked another coach what his idea of effective motivation was when getting his team motivated to win. The coach replied something along the lines of “I tell my players that they need to give 110% at the next game!” John said he remembers replying that that is truly incredible, he wished he could get his players to give even 100%…that he wished it were even possible to ask that of them! This caused some confusion on the part of the other coach.

His philosophy was and still is, that no one gives 100%…how can someone give 100%…that’s all they have…that’s the absolute best! Human beings are not perfect creatures. We simply do not have 100% to give out to someone else. The most he ever asked his players to give was their best. And, subsequently, that is what he consistently received.

I realized how much that resonated with me. Everyday we are asked by our bosses and people that care to “give it everything you have! 100%!” We wear the demand as badges of honor….not realizing that we are multifaceted human beings….we have a ton of energy to excrete!…we have multiple, exciting and stimulating places to pour it into! Just a few days ago, someone sent out an email to which I was a participant and it said just that…it went the extra “110%” and as I read it, I chuckled to myself. I knew that the best I could give was the best.

As we deplete our internal resources to one demanding or needy source based solely on what society deems “necessary”….we forget the other, loving and essential parts of ourselves and our lives. It is a truly outdated and ineffective way to live.

Do you ever feel that you are asked to give too much to a single cause?

 

 

 

 

 

Courage

 

courage Recently, I began contemplating what defined how courageous someone is. I wondered what choices I have made in my life that other people would classify as “courageous.” I had always associated being courageous with forging ahead and completing something that made me queasy, poked at my anxiety or made me want to run in the opposite direction. But I take courage one step further. I associate my courageous acts as events that have changed who I am as a person. Events that have shaped my values and what direction I choose to move in my life.

When I was in my early twenties, the world I thought I knew fell apart and I remember thinking that just getting up every morning was a feat of tumultuous proportions. That time was an act of courage. Over the last ten years, things like my conquering heights and making career changes no longer even seemed courageous.

But, of course they are! Little things are just as significant as big things. Everything is intertwined.

This began a quest to look deeper into the power I held over my life and to seek out life coaching. That led me to the discovery of more like minded people breeding like minded ideas. I found Billy Anderson, Founder of the Courage Crusade,  through a  work conference and our messages and line of thought merged paths. Over the past two or three weeks, Billy has graciously agreed to lend his thoughts on courage:

The truth about Courage and Fear
The worst definition of courage I have ever seen is this: “The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.”
Tsk tsk. It’s this kind of thinking that makes people underestimate the courage they already have and stops them from becoming more courageous. Courage can NOT exist without fear. If you’re not scared while you do something, you’re not being courageous. I consider myself to be one of the most courageous people I’ve ever met, which simply means I’m scared more often than most people are! In fact, I’m scared all the time because I choose to be courageous.
Billy’s words made me contemplate not only the fact that fear is such a useful catalyst to courage, but that it doesn’t matter what other people think of your courageous acts.
Only you know what makes you courageous and everyone’s courage is different.
What do you feel the nature of your courage is? What drives you to reach farther and try harder?
To find out more about Billy read below!

founder When I was 5 years old my mom heard me crying in my room. She asked what was wrong and I said “You’re born, you live for a while, and then you die. What’s the point?”

It took me years to answer that question. Now I help other people figure out their “point” and live a life that’s true to them.

But years ago, I felt stuck. Stuck in a career that looked good on paper but didn’t fulfill me. I dreaded Mondays and couldn’t wait for Fridays. However, I wasn’t willing to accept that my life had to be like this.

I finally found the courage to stop doing what the world told me I “should” do. Instead, I defined my own version of success and I went after it. I left my successful advertising career – people thought I was nuts. I moved to the woods and led Outward Bound trips, while leading volunteer projects in Central America and the South Pacific during the winter.

Now I live a life that’s true to me while making a positive difference in the world, as the founder of The Courage Crusade.

I also find time to get WAY out of my comfort zone so I can grow my courage “muscle”. I’ve jumped out of an airplane exactly 101 times. I’ve traveled to over 30 countries. I’ve trekked in the Himalayas, Run with the Bulls in Spain, and swam with sharks in Thailand. I’ve been a sugar-cane farmer in Costa Rica, an apple picker in New Zealand, and a fundraising director for an international charity.

I know what makes me tick. I set goals and I achieve them. I understand the importance of courage in not allowing my fears to hold me back. In fact, I’m scared of the exact same things you are: failure, looking stupid, not being liked.

Your version of success may be completely different than mine, and that’s fine. I’m here to help you define what yours looks like and then make it a reality.

Billy Anderson

 
Check out my book here, “Your Comfort Zone Is Killing You”
 
Billy Anderson, Founder
the courage crusade

 

 

 

 

The Only Moment Is Now..

live-quietly-in-the-moment-and-see-the-yogananda The past two days I have been staying in Ottawa on a conference for work. I have finally been fortunate enough to see the parliament buildings and view one of the prettiest places in Canada. I have spent the last two days listening to lectures on Canadian and global history. I have also noticed the weight placed on the importance of remembering our past….

I am, by my own admission, a person who tends to consider the future far too much. In the past, it was even worse than it is now. I used to not only create anxiety over what may happen, but ruminate on the past. Wonder what happened….why I made such an impulsive and ill informed choice and how I could have been so miss informed. I was stuck in a never ending cycle of conjuring up all of the mistakes that I ever made and questioning how I got there. Then the future….holy hell….now look what I have done! I have really done it now. All chance of happiness and broken cycles never to be seen.

Today I sat listening to a well educated, well informed professor of History give a 45 minute lecture on the past…for once, as I sat there, I thought to myself, why? Why spend so much time focused on the past….what makes it so interesting…and in living so much in the past how much of what is currently happening to us are we missing? It was the first time in a long time that my attention was drawn to what I unconsciously do all the time…and how I am finally feeling free enough to break the habit.

I am clearly not going to break the habit overnight….part of my nature is planning, being prepared and taking precaution. And I am ok with that. But the not living for this moment is not ok. The world around me is just too beautiful to miss.

Because this moment is pretty fantastic 🙂