Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Popularity Contest

I lost that by a landslide this past week. Folks were not a fan of what I had to say, though it was the truth. A truth that I had taken time to carefully mold and shape so that it would land with ease within their minds and hearts. The majority had none of it and instead attacked me personally and directly for simply stating a fact, seeing no need to craft their words with the finesse which I sought. I kept hearing Billy Joel sing about the loneliness of honesty.

I knew before I made my declaration that I was entering stormy waters but after careful thought chose to dive in anyway. Why? Because it seemed important and because it involved children. It mattered to me because in time the children would be the ones to ultimately pay the price, and through no fault of their own. So I stood up and others tried to knock me down.

I won’t pretend it felt great. Hiding behind the skirt of the internet some people can be vicious. Nor will I proclaim that I am so virtuous that I didn’t want to lash back with what I found to be very fitting, insightful and witty comments to the absurdity I faced. My desire to remain neutral and not personal faded a bit each time someone slung words my way.

I knew I was being offered a lesson, one of the hardest ones we humans face- not getting caught up in what our fellow humans might think of us. So how exactly did I accomplish that? Not perfectly, that’s for sure, but that was not my goal. My goal was to bring myself back to center and my place of power each time I began to flounder. I dug deep in my toolbox and practiced what I know to be tried and true.

1-I vented. Getting it out of our head is the first healthy step to moving forward but it is imperative that we don’t stop there or else it’s all just a bitch session with no end. When we don’t move beyond this we keep ourselves trapped as a victim.

2-I focused on the minority of the “responders” that did support me, though their numbers were few.

3-I chose my battles. Some people were so invested in proving me wrong that I could have gone back and forth with them for days, and so I chose to remain mum and in my mind agreed to disagree. Other times I stood up for myself in an assertive fashion by simply responding that they had the right to their thoughts but they were not free to attack me, as I had not done so to anyone else.

4-I reminded myself that those that had a thing or two to say to me knew me not at all and intentionally concentrated on the people around me that do love me.

5-I listened to Mother Universe as quotes appeared in my day. Quotes such as: “It’s easy to stand with the crowd. It takes courage to stand alone.” Who actually said it, Mahatma Gandhi or Rumi, seems to be up for debate but I felt more secure with those wise words than with what was being offered to me via my social media responses.

6-I took a step back and tried to see it from the others’ perspective. I attempted to understand what had gotten them so riled up. I asked myself and those close to me if I could or should have done something different, while holding the space of being open to feedback instead of defensive. I stated, “I’m willing to learn.”  

7-I utilized a technique called Tapping to calm my racing thoughts.

8-My mind continually wanted to replay the events. It was then that I would say in response- No mind, we’re not going there. Let’s pay attention to and feel the beauty that surrounds us instead.

9-I reminded myself that it was not the crisis it felt like.

10-And I did it all again and again.

As the dust settled I wondered whether it was worth it and if I would do it all again. The answer, is yes. I concluded that the only thing I could have done differently was to say nothing at all, but I would not have felt happy with myself if I had chosen that route. I am here for a purpose and a cause and this situation fell under that umbrella. So I did what I came to do- which does not include being popular.

I share this all with you so that you too might know how best to handle the criticisms and judgments of our fellow human beings. And I tell you that I could have done none of this if I hadn’t taken the time to know myself and my truth personally. What I did, through the years and this past week, is what we are all being called to do. I share my path with you in hopes that you shall begin, or continue, on yours.

Be well and happy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cloaked in Anger

Anger is a natural human emotion, though often judged as belonging to the out of control. It only becomes out of control when we refuse to listen to its words. So, I’m sending you an invitation to meet your anger and chat a bit. It has a lot to teach you. No doubt it has many unkind and hurtful things to spew- let it out. A healthy expression might be to write it out, shout it out when you’re all alone or punch it out onto your sofa. Most importantly do not censor what it has come to say.

When both you and the anger feel spent I’d like to you to search for what now lies exposed. What other feeling was hiding below the animosity? More often than not they are the emotions that create a sense of vulnerability, those that don’t roar with the magnitude of our dear friend anger. Feelings such as: loneliness, sadness, grief, hurt, abandoned, unappreciated and unloved. The feelings that make us cry and the ones society tells us are another sign of weakness. Often shielded by anger we find a broken heart.  

It is in the process of personal growth that we must give voice to our anger and appreciation for what it has come to share but it is also a vital step to dig deeper, because the anger is only on the surface of that which seeks healing. When we don’t just skim the surface what we discover is the material rich with our needs, truth and voice. My last piece of advice, fear not any of this because the beauty that awaits- is you.

Be well and happy.

Monday, May 2, 2016

All or None

That is how so many of us approach our lives. We invest ourselves wholeheartedly in either avoidance or immersion after identifying a project or issue that we deem attention worthy or in need of repair. For most, their whole lives are spent solely in the land of All or None as a standardized method of operation for any and all functions. Personally, I’ve preferred the immersion technique. But it doesn’t matter which way you swing, neither is a healthy approach. So what is?

It’s the place that stands smack dab in the middle of All or None, and it is known as ‘Some’. Some doesn’t receive much credit in our harried world. It seems to imply that we made a half ass attempt. “Faster, harder, longer and more, more, more!” says the world. And like a good soldier, we obey. Then we come crashing down, our resentment at an all-time high while our energy is at its all-time low. In that space we pull a pillow over our eyes and tell everyone and everything, including our own selves, “No more. I can’t and I won’t.” Both extremes are caustic and do little to nurture us, those in our life or the world at large.

What Some allows is balance. It’s the place where we can set healthy boundaries and investments of our time. It permits us to say, “I love you but I will not sacrifice myself in the process because I know I must tend to my well-being also.” Some reminds us that to-do lists aren’t to be avoided nor are they the strict script of what we are meant to accomplish in our lives. When we strive towards personal growth Some says, “All in due time and only one step at a time.” Some creates the space to breathe as it lacks the external and internal pressures of All or None.

Some is full of possibilities- as in somewhere, sometime, someday, someplace, someone and something. It tells us that we have a choice and the world is full of wonder, not dogma. Some isn’t just the middle ground, it is also the higher one as it elevates our awareness so that we might make conscious rather than reactive choices. Some can be our center.

I encourage you to explore what areas in your life are calling for you to put Some into play. Give yourself permission, in some area of your life, to partake in the slow and steady pace Some has to offer.

Be well and happy.