After much consideration ... and on the spur of the moment ... I simplified by combining all my websites including my blog. So here I am - all together - coaching, retreats, Bed and Breakfast, blogging - all of me in one place. Life is good. Daryl
In the end what matters most is ...
How well did you live
How well did you love
How well did you learn to let go”
Really, what does matter to you and what will matter to you when you reach the end of your life? If it matters then, make it matter now. People live with the awkwardness of regret lurking in the shadows. They know what matters and they know it will catch up with them AND they still resist.
In the end, there are few second chances. This isn’t meant to alarm or scare or intimidate anyone into action. It is a one of those gentle reminders that life as we know it can feel short. Losing someone we love is a painful way to be awakened to what matters. Losing our home or possessions by our own hands, by the economy or by a violent act of nature can sharply narrow our focus to what we care most about.
Letting go is probably one of the easiest ways to claim freedom and peace of mind AND one of the least chosen options. I’ve witnessed so many people take grudges to their graves. What a waste of energy and life. So how well have you learned to let go? What could you let go of today – hurt, anger, shame, fear – that would release you from a disempowered place and give you a chance to experience the magnificence of this moment?
Because in the end, that’s all that really matters.
For the umpteenth time I heard someone say “I can’t change. I’ve tried and I just don’t have what it takes.” I gave them a limp smile and thought “B*@#&%~T”. I’m thinking that when all else fails, we just default to denial. It takes the pressure off; leaves us free to keep avoiding; feels safe. And in the end, we can wave our victim flag and let the world know that it’s “not our fault”. How exhausting. How boring!
Changing is NOT the problem. Our attitude about change IS. Every excuse for change is just a finely crafted exit strategy. It might well be that change, at this moment, doesn’t fit. Fine. Own it for what it is and stop whining about it. If the changes you want are gnawing at your insides then it’s time to stop lying to yourself and hiding behind denial. Do I sound a little preachy today? Am I being loud and harsh? I hope so. I’m tired of the denial that I hide behind in my own life. Tired of watching the people around me hide behind their denial.
Yes, it can take courage to change. Yes, it can take willpower. Yes, it can take much longer than most of us would like. So what? Living with a slow, steady thumping in the depth of our souls, back of our minds, shallows of our hearts is far more detrimental to our emotional, physical and spiritual health than the effort it takes to shift gears. Time moves on whether or not we do.
I tell people all the time (probably more often than they care to hear) that if you want something in your life to be different, first SEE it differently. Change your perspective and you change the challenge/problem. Change scares people. I offer retreats that boast “Change Happens Here”. People get scared. They would rather blame and complain than actually show up in their life.
Okay, I am definitely off the radar on my passion thermometer. Do I mean every word? You betcha. Will I take this message into my own life and use it? You betcha. Do I want to hold myself accountable AND hold others accountable? You betcha.
Come out from the shadows and change what you’ve been hiding from.
Feeling tired? Fatigued? Stressed? Just plain worn down? Have you considered that maybe … just maybe … you have exhausted yourself trying to hide from your shadow? Could be.
What I’ve observed, and learned first-hand, is that the effort it takes to suppress or avoid our shadow can take it’s toll on us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Our innate fear of seeing our dark side keeps us sleeping with one eye open, hoping we won’t be ambushed. For anyone who has a tendency to beat themselves up on a regular basis the very idea of facing our shadow ignites terror. What if we go “in” and can’t get out? What if we see traits, attitudes, behaviours that we consider despicable and get completely lost in the story of how ugly we really are? What if indeed?
The biggest assumption I hear is that the shadow is all “bad”. The truth is that there is good and bad in every quality and since we have them all (yes, you read that right), the sooner we accept all that we are, the sooner we can relax with ourselves. That means owning our good, the not so good and the downright stinky stuff. AND the brilliant, the talented, the honourable which surprising as it might be, is just as nerve wracking for many people.
The Shadow offers us a powerful entry into living a “whole” life. Never has the saying “you can run but you can’t hide” been more accurate. Embracing our shadow side is a powerful way towards accepting ourselves AND others. Carl Jung, the great pioneering psychologist said “If people can be educated to see the lowly side of their own natures, it may be hoped that they will also learn to understand and to love their fellow men better. A little less hypocrisy and a little more tolerance towards oneself can only have good results in respect for our neighbor; for we are all too prone to transfer to our fellows the injustice and violence we inflict upon our own natures.”
There has probably never been a better time in history for those who want to numb themselves from any discomfort. We have tools on so many levels; so many ways to distract or avoid feeling what unsettles us. And we are told that we “shouldn’t have to be uncomfortable.” AND it is my perspective that many of us don’t even realize that what we are doing is avoiding. At least we don’t acknowledge this on a conscious level.
It’s been said that behaviours often start for one reason and then continue out of habit or without thought. For example, someone may experience something very traumatic like the death of a loved one and begin using medication to sleep. Years, even decades later, they are still taking a substance when what might need to happen is to address the pain, deal with the feelings. Overeating is one of the easiest ways of numbing ourselves from what we don’t want to feel. Unconscious eating creates a vicious cycle of self-abuse that is remarkably sensitive to the power of staying. You can’t do both.
What is really intriguing is that for so many people I’m guessing that what they are pushing back from is nowhere near as painful as they imagine. We can indeed handle much more than we sometimes give ourselves credit for. It can be so liberating to discover that what we have been terrified of feeling actually loses it’s intensity when we slow down and let it be. AND what I’ve noticed is that the inherent guilt and shame that follows a withdrawal response is more damaging than the original pain.
While it would seem logical that people would want to eliminate their obsessive or numbing actions, when confronted with the reality of what it takes, some folks back down. In that moment when you find yourself … switching to a computer card game, scouring facebook for updates, mindlessly eating from a candy dish, reaching for an alcoholic drink or getting lost in the fantasy of winning the lottery … it’s time to stop. Often, we have been so conditioned (by ourselves) in our response that we are “in it” before we know it. When we challenge that by stopping ourselves – checking in on what we are feeling and staying with it – it can feel “rough”, except when it doesn’t and we are amazed at how easy it is to shift.
Staying with what is keeps us in the present moment, keeps us here – now; keeps us awake, conscious. There is freedom, joy and peace in letting ourselves feel what we are feeling – all the way through.
Again today I was reminded that I have some unfinished business in my life. There is a woman somewhere who shares my DNA. She is my half-sister and I have very few clues to help me find her. Periodically I go looking; making phone calls; searching on line; asking questions; re-reading my father’s notes … notes from the father we share. There is so little to go on and, if I am willing to invest thousands of dollars, there are people who think they can track her down.
I haven’t seen Ann in nearly 50 years. I’m curious. How are we alike? What kind of life has she lived? Has she ever thought of us as I’ve thought of her? What kept her away? What does she remember?
Since my mother and grandmother passed in the last several months I’ve found myself wanting to connect and reconnect with the women in my family. In particular, the ones who have gone before me and shaped the path I now walk. Ann is one of them. She has lived in my heart and mind for almost five decades. I have this small photograph, some grainy images on an old home movie and just recently a picture of her parents – my father in his military uniform and a smartly dressed young woman.
What I don’t have is my sister. And since I am in the process of clearing up unfinished business, I start looking … again.
You can’t fake self-esteem. You can try … and you might fool some of the people some of the time BUT not everyone and not always.
We wear our self-esteem all over our faces, our bodies and in our voices. We shout, we cry, we whine, we whisper, we criticize, we complain, we deny, we lie. Our self-esteem enters the room just moments before we physically show up and lands before we open our mouth. The biggest smile or meanest glare can’t hide the self-loathing that we fight to conceal.
So what’s a girl/guy to do when your insides are churning with self-doubt and you desperately want to feel confident or competent or at least grounded? I’ve learned a trick that works every time. I stop whatever I’m doing and do something that I KNOW will make me feel really good about myself. There was a time when I thought that meant eating a piece of chocolate. I quickly learned that the momentary high of sugar/caffeine only sent me into a tailspin of self recrimination.
So now … I literally stop myself and do something that lightens my heart. Sometimes I take a walk. Sometimes I sit quietly outside in the fresh air. Sometimes I clean out a cupboard; vacuum the dust in the hallway, clear off my desk or eat an apple. It doesn’t have to be big and full of drama. It just has to be something that you know, on a deep soul level, will make you say “atta girl/boy”. You know what it is … so go esteem yourself!
Trust me – people will notice!
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”—Frederick Buechner
Oh how this resonates with me today. I’ve heard myself say over and over lately how busy I am. What I am certain of is that the busyness is made up of fulfilling and meaningful activities and interactions. I’ve been called to unexpected places with unexpected responsibilities under unexpected circumstances. And I love it.
Every day I find myself connecting with people and sharing the experience of life and living. I’m continually surprised at the synchronicities and the generosity of spirit that comes forth given the chance. And that’s really all any of us want – the chance to show up as our authentic selves.
So what is the hunger that my gladness is feeding? Connection. Deepak Chopra says that the world is not hungry for more “things” but rather for relationship. I agree. I see it everywhere I go. There may be the momentary distraction of stuff or human desire but it disappears when someone stops to listen. To be heard; to be seen; to be valued is what helps us know we exist for some purpose. It stirs that place in all of us that is wanting to know that we matter.
So I wonder what intersection lies ahead for you as your passion pulls you into the path of a great hunger in your world.
What does it take for you to recover when you get triggered? And how long?
I’m asking myself this question because it came up in a Leadership call this week. I got triggered and it took someone else to point it out before I could decide what to do. Talking with my coach I mused about how helpless I felt until I realized what was happening. Until it hit me, I couldn’t put two thoughts together. Instead I was flooded with emotion and at a time when I expected I would sound articulate.
It’s easier to talk about what I can do – acknowledge and be present – than to come up with a solution to how to recognize when I’m triggered. AND the fact is that the answer is so obvious. Emotion. When I feel myself slip into what I call “big” emotion that’s a signal that something has been unleashed.
For example, every time I walk down the road and smell a wood burning stove I’m triggered to feel warm and comfy. The sound of children singing “Oh Canada” can trigger tears of pride. The blessing my Grama gives at the end of every phone call and the way she says she’s proud of me triggers happiness and appreciation. So it is that I also feel triggered when someone questions my judgement, criticizes my opinion or simply comments in a way that reminds me in some way of a painful experience from my past.
I am here to state emphatically that I am not interested in keeping alive any old wounds. What I know for sure is that I don’t always see how they creep up and when I’m standing in front of a room in a lead or co-lead position, my need to recover quickly is essential.
So, in writing this message today I am getting a clear understanding that I need to be vigilant in my commitment to recovery. I need to pay attention to the “big’ emotion when it hits and stop myself from reacting. I may not be able to control what happens around me but I most certainly can control how I respond.
“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” Napoleon Hill
It was a joy to read this quote yesterday. It is what I’m doing and what I’m sometimes criticized for doing. I have a tendency to rush into things and create action where others might think some planning would be better. Sometimes they are right. Sometimes, I just need momentum.
I’ve watched dreams die because a person spent years in the development process and nothing was ever built. A colleague and I did some fabulous collaborating and learned an enormous amount about co-leading only to find ourselves without participants in our workshop. We wanted to “get it right” and forgot to trust that the tools we needed would show up.
There is a part of me that instinctively takes actions. Maybe I have less fear of failure than I think – at least in some situations.
I am helping to manage a community meeting place and even though lots of conversations have taken place I can see that we have so many gaps to fill in. And I keep pushing ahead and doing what’s in front of me with a sense that things will come together. When people ask questions about what we are up to I don’t always sound clear because frankly I don’t know for sure. I know what our intention is and that is what carries us forward. If I had not taken steps with what I had there wouldn’t be so many exciting things happening in our little community.
Maybe there is some thing that you are wanting that always seems out of reach. Change your perspective. Not only am I a Change Facilitator in the work I do with clients, I continually change my own perspectives to empower myself every day. It what works.
This Napoleon Hill quote, from a renowned source of inspiration, gives you permission to act, to call, to engage, to move. And I believe you can and will make something happen, if only you start where you are standing.