The Other: Crumbs of Despair

The Other: Crumbs of Despair

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”

A Journey into the Wild Feminine

A Journey into the Wild Feminine

The Art of Living Wild is a six week journey into what it means to embody one’s wild feminine nature. It is a journey for those who are interested in living an authentic life; a life that is rooted deeply in nature and in the soul.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves, writes:

Where does wild woman live? At the bottom of the well, in the headwaters, in the ether before time. She lives in the tear and in the ocean. She lives in the cambria of trees, which pings as it grows. She is from the future and from the beginning of time.

The wild woman, that is the say, all that is natural, wild and free, is found within every women on this earth. Wild woman is never far away, but it can be easy to forget about her. We forget about…

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A Wild Calling

A Wild Calling

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”

Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps

Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps

Stress.  It’s something that every living being experiences.  From animals to plants to humans, stress is a part of life on this planet.  A zebra experiences stress when a lion springs from the bushes: that rush of adrenaline and cortisol that fuel the instinct to flee keeps the zebra alive for another day.  A plant in the garden experiences stress when the weather is hot and windy or cold and too damp: the resiliency that is built due to these conditions helps the plant to thrive when conditions evolve.  Much like in the zebra’s story, a human can experience stress when life is physically threatened whether that threat comes via a gunman, a grizzly bear or an icy road.  The heart races, palms get sweaty and all we can think about is the crisis at hand.  We react. And that reaction to a life or death threat is necessary for survival in such cases.

However, in our modern societies today, we generally experience significantly less life or death stress than our hunter/gatherer ancestors did.  For most of us, stress arises when we perceive a situation to be stressful and when we let our perception hijack our response.  There are challenges galore in a human life – that goes without saying.  Schedules are tight, communications with loved ones or colleagues or neighbors are strained or non-existent, traffic is bad and there are too many bills to pay.  But are they life or death situations?  Usually not.  Yet they often trigger the same fear or stress response:  Our hearts race, palms get sweaty and all we can think about is the crisis at hand.  We react.  But in this case, our reaction is not helping us to survive: in fact, it might even be causing damage to our health in the form of elevated blood pressure, chronic tension headaches or inability to get quality sleep. In today’s modern culture, particularly in the corporate workforce, values of more, better, faster have invited everything from chronic stress to burnout to a general disliking of Mondays. When we view the world as an emergency room, our stress levels soar.  But when we can really see what’s going on, we regain a sense of control and peace. Continue reading “Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps”

Weaving With Invisible Thread

Weaving With Invisible Thread

The first person I called after four weeks of training to be a corporate health coach was a gentleman named *Charlie.  The appointment was at 7pm on a Tuesday in April, and I had literally all day to prepare and worry about how it would go.  When the witching hour finally rolled around, I dialed the phone, had my paper at the ready to take notes and half hoped that he wouldn’t answer.  He did answer, and at the end of the conversation, he had a goal to play basketball once a week and eat one less serving of pasta when spaghetti was on the table for dinner.  (No easy feat when one is Italian and spaghetti rules the meal plan.)  And I knew that he had a six year old daughter going through treatment for leukemia and that he felt powerless in the face of something so important that was outside of his control.  In twenty minutes I learned what made this person who I’d probably never meet get up in the morning and what drove him to take care of himself.  I learned about some of his challenges, and I learned of his struggles to stay on track.  I asked him what his vision of a healthy life was, and he told me it was to be his best self so he could give his daughter the dad she deserved.  Most of his story I’ll never know, and he didn’t have to tell me the parts that he did.  But he chose to share, and I chose to listen, and now our stories will forever be intertwined. Continue reading “Weaving With Invisible Thread”

Earth Day, 2014

Earth Day, 2014

The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are biological kin, not resources; or if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity — then we will treat each other with greater respect. Thus is the challenge, to look at the [story of] our world from a different perspective.

-David Suzuki

You might say that the story we are in right now on Earth is one that sees the planet as a resource – a thing to be used – complete with a hierarchy of power with the richest of humans at the very top. You might say, as Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee does, that “We are the inheritors of this culture {story} that has banished the relationship to the sacred from the Earth.”

How do we shift our thinking into an awareness that breaks free from our conditioning and our fear of doing things in a radically different way? How do we tell a new story?

Earth Day, 2014. How will you celebrate?

-Pray, if praying resonates with you, for the health and healing of the earth. Without ceasing.

-Enjoy time outside regularly, in gratitude for what the earth provides.

-Switch from conventional light bulbs to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)

-Use a reusable canvas bag when shopping. Skip the plastic produce bags, too.

-Start a compost pile. Plant a garden. Frequent the farmer’s market.

– Carpool, ride your bike to work, or telecommute 1-2 days per week.

– Meet your neighbors. Share things with them. Chances are, they’re nice and value similar things.

-Plant one native berry-bearing shrub or tree to provide food for birds.

-Buy local, even if it’s not convenient and costs more.

-Join a CSA (community supported agriculture)

-Limit showers to 5 minutes.

-Turn off the car when waiting to pick up the kids or when at the bank drive through.

-Make 15% more of your purchases from providers that commit to fair trade and/or organic practices.

-Commit to buying nothing one month. Maybe longer. Maybe as a part of a group.

-When replacing appliances, install energy efficient models. Or ditch the dryer and get a clothesline.

– Invest in solar hot water or electricity for your home. Or subscribe to a solar garden, like the one in Minneapolis.

– Give up plastic. For good.

We can tell a new story. Part of it is already being written as you read these words. What is your next chapter going to say?

Read the full post at enough.