Part of my day job is calling people to schedule coaching appointments. Usually people are polite and respectful, and even sometimes downright kind hearted and pleasant to talk to. Which is good news, since I’m calling them to put them on my own coaching calendar, so we’ll be talking again. It’s helpful to start the relationship off on a positive note.
But today I called a gentleman who wasn’t any of those things. Quite the opposite, really, he was quite mean and disrespectful. I asked if he wanted to set up a call, and he responded with sentences that tended to start with “you people” and “do you even realize” and so on, punctuated by sarcastic chuckling. In short, he made it personal and he wanted me to acknowledge that I was in the wrong. I was the enemy, and he was going to let me know it. Usually I am good at being able to internalize the fact that everyone is dealing with a plethora of issues that I do not know about and that are quite probably very challenging, resulting in unfriendly behavior; and hey, maybe this man was just having a tough day, or week, or year. His energy is absolutely the product of our broken culture, and at the end of the day, he needs love, too. But today when he was essentially scolding me for not being able to meet his expectations, all I could hear was “you aren’t good enough” and “this is why it’s doing me a disservice.” I felt like the bad child who doesn’t measure up, and I found myself apologizing and trying to hold back tears. Which is really interesting, as 1. I did nothing “wrong” and 2. I was quite kind, professional and offered what I had to give. He just didn’t find it acceptable. When on the call, I knew intellectually that his issues and his anger were not about me at all, but in the moment his energy triggered a response that I couldn’t control. I had to hang up the phone. Continue reading “The Other: Crumbs of Despair”
There is something magical about watching the light of a new day spread its fingers across the sky as the horizon changes from black to dusky pink to tangerine orange to glowing yellow. Maybe it’s the ancient rhythm that persists despite increasing human impact. Maybe it’s the spectacular color show that sometimes comes with it. Maybe it’s the opportunity to live another day on an incredible planet. Maybe it’s witnessing something that is infinitely bigger than we are, but of which we are still a part. It’s probably all of those things and more. Living on a small lake with a view out the kitchen to the east has afforded me plenty of opportunity to reveal in the first new colors of the day. I am grateful for the daily opportunity to put myself in the way of beauty. After all, it’s going to show up whether I notice it or not. I think it’s better to notice.
As Cheryl Strayed once wrote, quoting her mother:
There is a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.
Continue reading “Sunrise”
Act in ways that make you feel what you want to feel. ~Danielle LaPorte
I started listening to The Fire Starter Sessions a few days ago. I was already familiar with Ms. LaPorte’s take on aligning your actions with what she calls “core desired feelings,” but listening to these audio sessions has been a good reminder to actually take that advice. I spend a lot of time as a wellness coach asking about what underlays a desire to lose weight or stop smoking or get in better shape. In a corporate coaching world, sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get people to pick up the telephone for appointments, much less talk about what they truly desire for themselves. But sometimes we go there. Sometimes people are willing to look deeply into what is driving them to want something different. And it’s always a feeling. Continue reading “Fire Starters”
Here we are at the end of another December. A time for looking back over the past year and looking ahead into the new one. Some of us will indulge “one last time” before beginning a strict diet on January 1st. Some of us will set lofty goals to exercise 6 days a week at the gym that we hate. Some will get out a blank journal with the intent of getting up early everyday to write down three positive thoughts. New years resolutions come in many forms, and sometimes they even stick for awhile. Benefits have been seen by setting one’s sights on making change with the turn of the calendar year.
But. So often it’s the same old same old every year. The diet starts strong and tapers off by February. It turns out we still hate the gym enough to stay home more often than not. “Thinking positive” starts to feel like pulling the wool over our eyes and avoiding the root issue. New years resolutions come in many forms, and they also fail a large percentage of the time. They don’t do what we really want them to do. They don’t change what we want them to change.
Do we throw in the resolution towel then? Stop setting goals just to fail at them over and over again? Embrace our negative thinking since that’s what feels real?
Maybe. Actually, I propose we do all of those things. This is what I think we should do as a new year begins. Continue reading “Where the Magic Happens”
I started re-reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ book Women Who Run With the Wolves about a month ago. The very short synopsis is that it’s a conglomeration of ancient folk stories, myths and fairy tales from all over the world that illustrate the importance of holding onto the wild is present in all women (and men). The book is about the powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing that is the ‘Wild Woman’, the energy that represents the instinctual nature of women.
Reading this book is making me ask questions of my own story and the stories that dictate my way of being in my family, in my community and in the world. Some of these stories are mine. Some of them are not. Some of them are stories that have the potential to move me further into my own story, the one that is best suited to how I want to show up in life. And some of them are stories that I have let overshadow my own, even though they don’t serve what I need and have the potential to create pain and struggle. Continue reading “A Wild Calling”
This morning I woke up to the sun rising in the east into a pink haze of clouds over a lake of utter stillness. The air was colder than usual, which isn’t saying much this year, after a fall of above average temperatures. But I could see my breath and the grass by the lake was sparkling with frost, so that’s something. The water was like glass, the surface broken only by a tiny duck that had decided to stick around these parts for a little longer before heading south for the winter. As the sun’s rays gathered strength, I looked into the western sky to see the sort of vibrant blue that only shows up once in awhile, usually when I’ve gone outside on days when I think I’d rather stay in. There is something about pushing yourself to get out of your comfort zone (sometimes quite literally) that provides rewards that you otherwise wouldn’t receive, I suppose. At any rate, instead of sitting sipping coffee and scrolling through emails and messages this morning, I stood on a frosty dock and watched a duck glide over misty waters as the sun crept higher into the sky. Continue reading “Mornings of Wild Air and Fading Starlight”