Scroll down to listen to my talk after this brief introduction:
Yesterday, I wrote a blog about saying no to the world in order to say yes to me.
What is showing up today, after surrendering my addiction to work is that anything less than a full pull back in activities will not serve me. I am being led to take an inward journey and am so grateful to finally stop and heed the call.
Yesterday morning something totally unexpected happened. It occurred before I made the decision to cancel my workshop, Don`t Retire. Re-Wire and Refire on Dec. 13th. It happened as I was driving to an 8 a.m. dentist appointment. This was before my walk along the ocean amidst gray skies and before my coaching session with Leslie. But I think it influenced my decision to step back.
This past October I gave a talk that was called, Dynamic Balance, which I taped on my Smartphone. Suddenly, while listening Leonard Cohen on my device, the song stopped and my talk just started playing! Do not ask me how. I have stopped trying to figure these things out but I still shake my head in total wonderment.
As I listened to the talk, I could hardly believe that I had written it. I do remember that I was still writing it the night before and the morning of! I also remember getting a standing ovation. But you see, this is the thing. I AM able to get things done and get them done well, but typically it`s at the last minute and I wear myself out. And what`s worse is that sometimes I do not retain the memory of it because I move straight onto the next thing!
This is not easy to admit but I have to in order to meet it full on. In fact, I didn’t even consider what I do an addiction until my friend Linda brought it up the other day. And the penny dropped. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are any 12 step programs for workaholics. I mean seriously, when would they have time to show up!
Oh my, I just said that tongue and cheek, but I decided to Google it just now and lo and behold – there IS a twelve step program. That’s awesome! I don’t have to go this alone. I have my work cut out for me. Hmmm. Maybe that word needs to be replaced with, I have my studies cut out for me. That’s a little more tenable. Whatever it is, I’m happy to have the support. Very happy. I’ve never been in a 12-step program and I know how successful they have been for many others I know personally and certainly professionally.
So, wish me luck. I’m off on a new adventure to find true balance in my life. It’s a process. I know I will want to keep you posted but if that is just more work…you may not hear for me for awhile.
In the meantime, I would like to share my talk with you: Dynamic Balance
Also, at the end of the talk, I play a beautiful song by Shaina Noll, and you can hear the audience singing along.
I hope you will play it for yourself and take the words she sings into your heart.
How Can Anyone Ever Tell You, You are Anything Less Than Beautiful
Thank you for listening or reading my blog.
I welcome your comments.
Not just about the talk. If you are like me and also have challenges with overwhelm due to overworking
feel free to post them here. Let’s have an open dialogue to help one another.
October 19, 2024 Harvest Time
The theme this month is DYNAMIC BALANCE – And today`s topic is THE HARVEST
So…it`s autumn. It’s the time of year when the seeds that we planted in the springtime bear the fruit that we harvest now. And in fact, we`re always harvesting the seeds that we sow.
We see evidence of this in our lives again and again. And when we sow love, peace, kindness and joy we receive their blessings in return. Conversely when we sow anger, jealousy, blame and fear we reap the blessings of these as well.
You may say, excuse me … what blessings could possibly be found in anger, jealousy, blame and fear? And I will say to you, The blessings of awareness, forgiveness, growth, and liberation … that eventually come to all of us…when we are ready. And sometimes, until we are ready, we repeat those patterns again and again.
We’ve all heard the expression, would you rather be right or would you rather be happy.
Of course we would rather be happy.
But then again, don’t we want to be right AND want to be happy? Happy that we are right and that the other person finally gets it. And then we are really happy!
I know. I’ve been there.
In the past – and even sometimes still, when I have felt misunderstood, I felt I need to argue my point, defend myself – do everything I could to make the other person know what I meant– that I never mean ill-harm –and they are misinterpreting me. And if they realized I was being sincere, then i could be happy.
The problem was, when they didn’t get what I meant, I’d keep on badgering them with my explanations – defending myself –at the root of it – just wanting to be heard, a deep need to be understood. And above all, meaning to do no harm. Yet my exhaustive approach of over-explaining, would inevitably make matters worse for both of us.
These days, I try to listen more and defend less. What really matters to me is the energy I bring forth in my communications with others.
I have become more conscious – wanting to be authentic rather than impose my need to be liked or needing to please or making my voice and opinion so important that I am dismissing someone else’s. Communication is a delicate balance and it becomes a dynamic balance, I feel, when all parties feel fully seen and heard.
When we truly listen. When we pause and rest inside another person’s words – not needing to jump in with our own. Knowing that what they are saying is of equal value and their stance, even if it not something that resonates true for us, is still worthy of hearing and responding to in a kind and respectful manner.
Jeff Richardson, in his book “Personal Creativity and Writing,” put it this way: “Can you remember a time when you were heard without interruption, distraction or judgment, where the quality of the other person’s attention was so complete it seemed you could feel it? Whether that person actually said anything “important” or not, if the quality of their attention was true, there was a magic and a power whereby you knew you had been touched, even transformed in a subtle and powerful way. The respect and trust of others given in silence as well as speech or presence, create building blocks of confidence and motivation.”
Over the years in the writing workshops I deliver, I have heard students comment on countless occasions that equally important as the writing is in sharing it out loud – they need to know that what they have just written will be received in a safe, non-judgmental fully supportive manner. It is in this way, they learn that their voice matters, and in time, something shifts, they strengthen. They begin to stand taller. And one day, they notice that their voice on the page has become their voice in the world
But on the outside of these safe circles, in every day life, in environments that do not support us in this way, how do we get there? If we fear that speaking our truth may inadvertently offend someone and we may be criticized, possibly even ostracized by it, do we risk saying anything at all?
For almost 2 decades I have worked as a psychotherapist, speaker, writer and workshop facilitator. I have a website. I have published a book. My voice goes far and wide.
And I can’t tell you how often, still, I shake my head and I ponder, really? Is this really me? Is the same person who spent more days and months that I care to remember unable to get out of my bed, terrified to go outside or cowering in a hospital psychiatric ward afraid of life – even enough to want to leave my precious LIFE behind.
For years I identified with my mental illness. I remember a psychiatrist when I was twenty years old and catatonic after some harrowing experiences, telling my frightened parents, that here was nothing more they could do for me.
He said that I probably used a lot of drugs while I was away in Europe and that there’s no telling if I’ll ever come out of it. He went on to tell them that I may have damaged my brain cells irreparably. He said he was sorry but they could take me home now. I knew he was lying. I never did drugs. I couldn’t defend myself then. There was a veil between me and them. I had no language. I couldn’t talk. I could hear but I couldn’t speak. But I could go home! That was all that mattered. I was never so happy in my life. I was also never so terrified. I was just condemned to a living death – to be this way forever.
Most of us have our own story where something happened and because of it, we were left feeling disempowered, vulnerable and possibly afraid to speak. And even though we may go on and have successful careers and the like, that frightened part of us may still running the show in certain relationships and elsewhere.
So yes, I don’t take for granted this me that has found her voice. Instead I wonder, how did this happen? Where did the shy, frightened little girl with virtually no self-esteem go, the one who has lived inside of me most of my life? How did I get here from there?
Well, to tell you the truth, she is still here, but thankfully, she’s mostly less afraid. And when she is, and when I am awake enough to notice and not tell her to just get a hold of herself, I summon up all the compassion I can muster to ease her aching heart because more than anything else, she deserves that. She deserves to be listened to. to be loved.
For too many years I ignored her and there was no balance – dynamic or otherwise. There was just a deafening belief that I was inherently flawed with little hope to change that.
But I did change that. I worked at it because I couldn’t continue to let my spirit die. Instead I tried to reach for the truth in what my mother often told me. Honey, she said, as long as there is life, there is hope. Know this. Please don’t give up. My mom was my champion in times like this. And little by little I realized it WAS true and that my past didn’t have to equal my future. Unless it was to harvest the good stuff.
The resourceful stuff – The part that no matter what has happened to me, I am still here to tell the story. How awesome is that! The good story. The survivor story.
And that’s not just me. That’s all of us. You me, we have survived even the things we probably never thought we could have. That we are stronger than we thought. How often do we tell THAT story though. Our success story…Not even necessarily to others. To ourselves. How often do we flood our minds with the pain of the past…instead of noticing how far we’ve come, we lament on our mistakes and how far we have yet to go.
But what if we really took stock of what our gifts and our strengths– the tools we have in our rescue kit that allow us to get from A to B when we fear there is a treacherous cavern in-between.
For me, writing has often been my way through. But why? Why does it work? There is something about the writing process itself that when I am able to surrender into it, I move underneath my critical mind to a silent place, just allowing my words to flow through me and tap into something greater than my small self. And it is here I am given clarity and wisdom. I can’t tell you how often I start off in fear and shed layers of pain onto the pages and through some kind of alchemy find myself safely on the other side of the riverbank, where newfound hope resides. Somehow, for me, when I am writing, I am aware that I am not alone…There is an omnipotent energy that is holding me.
But this is my way. And not necessarily yours. There are myriad ways to find that quiet centre that resides within our very own precious heart. The home of our Beloved – our Wise Self – the Candle in the wind…the flame that never ever, ever goes out. And maybe you reach it in meditation or a mindful walk on the breach or in the forest – somewhere your spirit feels at home.
Perhaps it’s an art from that brings you alive – painting, singing, dance. Planting your garden.
Whatever it is, I say, let’s listen to its whisper, follow it and let its love enfold us.
Because when we do, we are then given the opportunity to be transformed. Have you ever had a flash of knowing – a gut feeling a an aha moment – where nothing in your outside world has visibly changed but your perception of it has, and everything looks different and you can rest here. Or jump for joy here. I feel that with every opportunity we can to go quiet and listen to the calling of our inner voice, we are making the most authentic choice of our life. Because it is here where we get to move into the mystery of our soul’s longing and LIFE will meet us at every station along the way.
It is said that when we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity. And there are countless angels waiting in the wings ready to show us the way. We are never alone. As well, there’s a whole tribe, an energetic movement of real people, like you and me who are not willing to settle for anything less than a life of meaning, of service, of love.
And as we know from our peace song…the one that enfolds us at the end of our service every week – as we sing to the heavens…let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
We can indeed let peace and love, kindness and joy begin with us. And when we do, it’s impossible to keep it to ourselves.
It’s infectious. When a gifted artist performs before us – like Pauline did for us last night –we can`t help but offer a thunderous applause in return.
It’s human nature…born of our Divine nature, to spread the love and joy and laughter.
To pay it forward. To give of our gifts. Hugely, lovingly, heartfully. But here`s the key.
First we must give them to ourselves. We don`t have to go searching for them. Or think we have to earn them first. They are intrinsically who are.
We just need to look into our very own eyes, the window of our soul to recognize who we are. And then when we look into another person’s eyes, we see the window to their soul.
And we know that we, they are nothing less than beautiful. We are whole, complete and loveable just the way we are.
Here again is the song I played at the end.
I hope you will play it for yourself and take the words she sings straight into your heart.
Your comments are always welcome.