Creating Your Thriving Life
January 9, 2019
Playlists of our Life
What if? What if everything is energy? What if music is energy? What music comprises the playlists of your life? What music cradles you, sits with you in your deepest sadness, dances with you in joy-filled moments, and inspires you to move? What were the playlists of key moments in your life ~ your childhood, key relationships, major triumphs and losses? What music draws you back to those moments regardless of how much time has passed? What music helps you experience, feel, and release energy within you?
Try to Remember carries me back to a sweet and ordinary evening when I was about five and my dad danced with me as he sang the lyric "Try to remember the kind of September…" He told me he loved that song because I was born in September. Many years later, his heart took its final beat as Sinead O'Connor sang the Prayer of St. Francis. In a perfectly imperfect way, he aspired to live the message of that prayer. On the other end of the energy spectrum, Shut Up and Dance with Me is a favorite on my workout playlist taking me back to one of last year's magic moments - dancing with my cousins and their kids at a family wedding as they spun me around the dance floor in my wheelchair. Finally, Scars to Your Beautiful is also on my workout playlist, inspiring me to share my heart's love, compassion, and light with a soul sister who is healing from body issues wounds. Music is the energy connecting us to our life's journeys and reminds us of our inherent connections and shared heart.
How could music help you thrive? What playlists could you make to inspire you to realize your highest vision and goals this year? What is the song you need most today? What song could help you connect with someone about whom you are thinking and sending care? What song could your heart carry to someone who has passed?
I invite you to use consciously music to feed your body, mind, and spirit. Create playlists for any key intention you desire to create and for poignant experiences in your life. Doesn't your life deserve an amazing soundtrack?
Check out my Thriving No Matter What Facebook page for a link to a song on my workout playlist. Check back on the FB page for more music to support your thriving!
January 7, 2019
This entry appears also on my Facebook page, Thriving No Matter What. It describes my previous year and return to coaching. Future posts will provide inspiration as you create your thriving life!
Leaving the Breakdown Lane
This Facebook community is called Thriving No Matter What. Perhaps some of you wondered where the facilitator of this group has been for almost a year! Truth is I've spent much of the last year experiencing the "What" and to a large degree disconnected from the "Thriving No Matter" part. I titled this last year, Stuck in the Breakdown Lane, on an extended pause from life's highway. Of course, time marched on and a pause is not like the one on your remote control. I'll share a bit of this journey in case you can resonate and benefit from knowing Thriving No Matter What does not mean always progressing and developing in the ways you might wish. Progress and development may just come in ways you don't wish but might need and from which you can, ultimately, benefit.
The reader's digest version of the key events revolved around loss and letting go. In January I realized living with Multiple Sclerosis for many years taxed my energy and movement ability to the point where I couldn't continue trying to work full time. Working full time, frankly, hadn't worked in four years. I retired fully from my role as a professional counselor and retained a very small private coaching client base. I rented out my office and applied for disability, which I was awarded. About midyear, my partner Elaine recognized my limited walking ability was declining and our home would not be feasible much longer. We sold our beloved home, bought a 1-story away from our heart-favorite community, and moved - all in one month. We were surrounded by amazing friends who helped us pack and unpack, settling us into our new house quickly. Within one month, I went from a walker to a wheelchair.
Those were the key outer events of loss; then began the journey of inner loss. Spending most of my days in front of the TV, I sank into the grief of losing my career, identity, financial stability, walking ability, and home within a community in which we loved to live and work. The breakdown lane lived up to its name. I put on weight, showered just often enough, and didn't really care what I ate. I withdrew and isolated, feeling helpless, powerless, useless, directionless, and sorry for myself. My friends hung in there with me, accepting where I was and providing love. Elaine witnessed my stuckness and loved me anyway, something which cannot have been much fun for her.
Curiously, like a pregnancy, this lasted about nine months. I fashioned a womb in which I would create either an empty existence or create a new life. Either way, I was the creator. It was around my birthday that I decided I did not prefer the breakdown-lane life I created for myself, and it was time to bring into being something different. I learned both deep and real wisdom from that desolate time, and I remembered I had both the creative power and the responsibility to forge what I desired! As I turned 49 and began this my 50th year, I chose to rebirth myself. The energy began to shift, lighten; and I could see myself firing up my engine, looking in the mirror, and hitting the accelerator to pull back onto life's highway.
In the closing day of 2018 and the first days of 2019, I reemerge into my new life. I completed in Brendon and Denise Burchard's 7-day Transformation Week online experience, envisioned and drafted my annual goals and plan, and have begun implementing them. The highlights include committing to create my optimal health, letting go of attachment to what that must look like. Whether walking or rolling, I commit to understanding and nurturing my body. I commit to learning and cultivating a vibrant whole life, and I commit to contributing to our world. I will create a life coaching practice that balanced my energy and serves others in their journeys to thriving. Posting on Thriving No Matter What is one step in my annual plan. My mission is to help each of us remember who we really are - unique expressions of divine light - and to express that light to empower one another and the world to heal and shine! The challenges of our world can and will be resolved when we each wake up to our strength and potential and when we support one another to rise and transform our lives and the world.
I had to lose connection with my mission and purpose for a while, to descend into my own abyss, so I could accept both what my body was experiencing and needing. Also, needed to create what I did not prefer so I could reconnect with both a life I desired and my ability and responsibility to create it. I had to dis-empower myself so that I could choose to em-power myself in a deeper way.
Perhaps you connect with losing yourself during your life journey and what that feels like. If you are on such a journey or if you desire support in creating your own unique, thriving life, I am here. I am committing to creating regular posts on Thriving No Matter What, my Blog on The Gloaming at Santa Fe, and offering individual coaching on a limited basis in person in Santa Fe or virtually.
Older Posts - Formerly named The Arena Blog
September 13, 2017 Pleading for a Reason
I spoke recently with a gentlemen whose eyes pleaded for a reason to continue living. Have you ever felt so lost or disconnected, or even dis-oriented, from your sense of purpose or direction? Where do you look for it? In what do you seek it? Our culture, for example, encourages us - particularly men - to find our sense of purpose in what we accomplish, what we do, know, and produce. Increasingly women face the challenge of juggling these expectations along with nurturing relationships - whether personal or professional. In other words, do you tend to look outside yourself for your reason, your sense of purpose and direction?
If your orientation is external for your sense of purpose and value, what impact does that have on your life pace? Who determines your sense of worth? Ever find yourself mired down in endless to-do lists, feeling overwhelmed and like you're barely staying afloat? If I just finish this one more project, this one more task, I'll feel better, you race ahead desperately. Has this ever led to your traveling down a bumpy path of guilt, shame, self-blame, and self-judgment when you just can't keep up? It's like your quality of life feels just beyond your grip no matter how fast you try to catch it. Whew!
What if you were dis-oriented? Instead of looking outside, what if your source of purpose, direction, and value was internal? What if you discovered - at your essence - you are well, whole, and your gift to this world is in how you move through your days and not what you accomplish? What if you discovered there is a whole universe that has your back? What if, seemingly ironically, discovering you always were enough and your compass is inside - not outside - inspires you to co-create, with that universe that has your back, a life that is you sharing your unique self with the world?
How might that alter how you feel about yourself, your place in the world, and your pace? How might you see differently the items on your to-do list? Just consider it; what do you have to lose?
May 29, 2017 We are Different; We are One
I feel both amused and perplexed by the curiosity surrounding the friendship between Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Antonin Scalia. Throughout their shared time on the bench, often they argued opposing positions on key issues. In a recent interview with The Aspen Institute (https://www.aspeninstitute.org/videos/watch-supreme-court-justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-discuss-new-book/), the moderator explored with Justice Ginsburg their relationship as if it was an endangered species. Her response shed light on what is not really a secret; perhaps we’ve just forgotten the wisdom. Their differences never divided them. Rather their shared personal and professional interests nurtured their connection, creating a secure context in which they could argue their individual opinions. Their relationship was the focus of a comic opera Scalia/Ginsburg (http://www.derrickwang.com/scalia-ginsburg). Ginsburg referred to a scene in the opera to explain how their relationship succeeded. When questioned why she should want to help Justice Scalia, given he was her enemy, the Ginsburg character replied, “He is not my enemy. He is my friend.” The Ginsburg and Scalia characters sang a duet entitled “We are different. We are one”…one in their shared love for the Constitution and the institution they served.
Do you or your colleagues experience times of disconnection, particularly over such things as different positions, power imbalances, beliefs, or agendas? Have those chasms grown and appear too broad to bridge? What have been the impacts of these divisions on you personally and professionally, on your organization, and how your organization is perceived by others? Have you felt the harsh disconnected energy within your communities, our government, nation, or world? Do you notice yourself increasingly anxious, fearful, angry, or overwhelmed? Do you see enemy on a face that could be a friend? Does connection – professional and personal – seem to be like an endangered species?
Pause for a moment, and shift focus from the chasm within the divide to the common qualities held by all sides. Risk even briefly seeing how an enemy could be a friend. Look beyond dissimilarities to recognize shared values, common interests, the wisdom all sides bring to the table to expand each side’s understanding of the big picture. Notice the sublime and the simple commonalities. Justices Ginsburg shared a love for the Constitution, the law, as well as mutual respect, collegiality, humor, family, and the opera. What could it look like if you bridged the divides most significant to you right now? Whether members of the same team or diverse organizations, what are you willing to do to eliminate the chasms that hold you back from achieving your highest potential and most significant contributions to our world? How are you willing to support bringing collegiality and true connection back from the brink of extinction? After all, we are different; yet we are one.
April 20, 2017 Entering the Arena
I’m grateful to scholar and researcher Brene Brown for introducing me to President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 Citizenship in a Republic Speech. In the most recognized passage, President Roosevelt remarked:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. (Roosevelt, T. (1910). Citizenship in a Republic. Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April, 23.)
The places of our collective life – our work, the marketplace, businesses, organizations, militaries, communities, governments, schools, churches etc. – these are our arenas. In these places we struggle, fail, and triumph; we support and critique one another; we strive to contribute our unique abilities for pay, but more richly for meaning. When we at last fall, each hopes our life served a purpose. In some small way, at least, we hope the footprint we left behind has improved the lives of those who walked alongside us.
I felt inspired to name this blog The Arena because it is for those in the arena I wish to serve, particularly in organizations. Not satisfied to be the critic who merely points out flaws, I dedicate my skills, experience, and talent - integrated from diverse contexts - in service of those who seek to strengthen collective endeavors. In this blog I’ll offer brief reflections inspired from current events. May they shed light on your journey.