Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mary Oliver, Poet & Liberator

I can't wait to get my hands on the new Mary Oliver book of poems called Evidence. She is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE poets.

The Journey by Ms. Oliver helped me to peel myself away from my mother. Her care taking was beyond my ability and in spite of the many long years of it -my guilt over her entry into a nursing home was legion. This poem gave me the courage to do what I knew I had to do. It helped facilitate my freedom.


One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Is a MFA better than an MBA?

According to Daniel Pink it is! In his book A Whole New Mind, Why Right-brainers Will Rule the Future, he speaks about how left brain skills are continuing to be outsourced while the right brain skills are becoming more and more sought after. Want an example? A North London football club has its own poet in residence.

Here are the three questions that he suggests we ask ourselves and our organizations:

1. Can someone overseas do it cheaper?
2. Can a computer do it faster?
3. Is what I'm offering in demand in an age of abundance?

He says that if your answer to 1 or 2 is yes or your answer to 3 is no, then their's deep trouble up ahead.

His book has opened the door on so much for me personally, I highly recommend it.

For more about Daniel Pink visit: www.danielpink.com

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Where the Hell is Frank...er I mean Matt?

I know this video has been circulating for a while but I want to dedicate this to my friend Frank who has courageously said, SAYONARA to the corporate world and is about to embark on a four month trip around the world. In honor of his courage and integrity I salute him! And look forward to asking Where the Hell is Frank? for the next four months!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jospeh Campbell Part 3 of 3

The place I love to focus on in my coaching is to help folks see that the map of the Hero's Journey is there for them to use to help them navigate the things that show up in their life. It's discussed in the Power of Myth but truly delved into in Campbell's other masterpiece, The Hero With a Thousand Faces.

In it he discusses the Adventure of the Hero. There are three main parts: Departure, Initiation, Return.

Within every Hero's Departure these occur in one way or another:
1. The Call to Adventure
2. Refusal or Heeding of the Call
3. Supernatural Aid
4. The Crossing of the Threshold
5. The Belly of the Whale

Then in the Initiation these:
1. The Road of Trials
2. The Meeting with the Goddess
3. Woman as the Temptress
4. Atonement with the Father
5. Apotheosis
6. The Ultimate Boon

And in the Return:
1. Refusal of the Return
2. The Magic Flight
3. Rescue from Without
4. The Crossing of the Return Threshold
5. Master of the Two Worlds
6. Freedom to Live

Now of course some of these show up in different styles and experiences but these are the general outline all the hero's of time have found themselves in.

I believe that sometimes there are years spent on a Hero Journey's AND sometimes we can experience a journey in days, if not hours. Some of our journey's are epic and some are minor. But they are all important.

Here is what I want you to know. You can refuse the Call. You can turn away from it, at least temporarily. And no one might even know that you refused it. Or perhaps you were talked out of it by someone (most likely someone who ignored their own.) But here is the thing, one day you will have to heed it, all of us will. So the sooner you heed it, the sooner you will live the kind of life you've dreamed of. A life that is full of possibility and transformation.

You are who you've been waiting for. The Hero is you, isn't it time you save yourself?


Friday, March 27, 2009

More JC

I remember the first time I watched Bill Moyers interview Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth on PBS in 1988. I was mesmerized. Every story he told drew me in deeper and deeper. My family and I went right out and bought the cassette tapes of the interview and listened to those 6 hours of his interviews again and again. It was imaginative, eye opening and empowering.

I felt affirmed actually. I didn't know that was what it was doing for me at the time but now I am old enough to realize affirmation was one of the gifts the interviews gave me.

My yearnings to follow my own path were being validated by the stories Mr. Campbell told. And the frustration one has setting out on that lone path, was also addressed. He was telling MY story! And YOURS. This is why it became such a hit. He was addressing all of OUR stories. Yes of course it was a different wardrobe, set, cast of characters, a different landscape but the journey from fear to power is always the same.

Finding out that not only was this call I was hearing real and important to listen to, I discovered that other hero's had been called before and also were afraid to heed it. The feeling of having company was a relief. Instead of feeling like some odd-ball freak, I learned that I had some damn good company. And Luke Skywalker was the least among them! Also there was a map. There were particular markers that were the same for every hero - and now I had been given that map. And everyone knows when you are lost you want either a guide or a map to show you the way. With JC's Power of Myth - I was given both.

Part III tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Joseph Campbell!

"Your bliss can guide you to that transcendent mystery, because bliss is the welling up of the energy of the transcendent wisdom within you. So when the bliss cuts off, you know that you've cut off the welling up; try to find it again. And that will be your Hermes guide, the dog that can follow the invisible trail for you. And that's the way it is. One works out one's own myth that way." ~Joseph Campbell, from Pathways to Bliss

This man! Joseph Campbell! Well, where to begin? This might just have to be my first in a series of blog postings. I don't know how to express just how much this man and his work on mythology has had on my life, my coaching and my healing. His work has been so incredibly life changing for me that I feel as though words might not adequately express what his writings have done for me not to mention his legions of fans. And the best part is that he has impacted people who don't even know him by name. That's right. Want an example? Star Wars. Ever heard of that? Then, guess what? YOU have been a beneficiary of HIM.

As simple as his writings are, they leave you with an essence of wholeness in their wake. His writings transcend the day to day. And it's all because he is one helluva story teller. And who among us all doesn't like an incredible story!? In my new most favorite book in the world, A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, he speaks of Mr. Campbell: "In his 1949 book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell argued that all myths-across time and across cultures-contain the same basic ingredients and follow the same general recipe. There are never any new stories, he said-just the same stories retold. And the one overarching story, the blueprint for tales since humankind's earliest days, is the "hero's journey." The hero's journey has three main parts: Departure, Initiation, and Return. The hero hears the call, refuses it at first, and then crosses the threshold into a new world. During Initiation, he faces challenges and stares into the abyss. But along the way-usually with the help of mentors who give the hero a divine gift-he transforms and becomes at one with his new self. Then he returns, becoming the master of two worlds, committed to improving each. This structure underlies Christ, Homer's Odyssey, the story of Buddha, Muhammad, the legend of King Arthur, the story of Sacagawea, Huckleberry Finn, Star Wars, The Matrix and Campbell would have argued, just about every other epic tale."

Part Two of Three tomorrow!
(That's right, yesterday's posting was done with no relation to JC's birthday today so technically today is Part One.)

For more information on the late great Joseph Campbell please visit: http://www.jcf.org/

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Hero's Adventure

Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the enter of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world. ~Joseph Campbell

Today a conversation with my coach about my Hero's Journey took a surprising turn. And the first thing that I thought of afterward was this quote. When we travel on our Adventure - we will at times be so certain that we are there for one reason and yet hero's journey after hero's journey shows us that it rarely is the case. What we had thought was_____turns out to not be what we thought at all. The good news, as Campbell says, is that we do not have to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. What honorable company we keep when we walk our Hero's Adventure!

Are you walking yours?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy

This four minute monologue is both profound and hysterical. Can't find that every day!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thank God for Strangers

For the Sake of Strangers by Dorianne Laux
No matter what the grief, its weight,
we are obliged to carry it.
We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength
that pushes us through crowds.
And then the young boy gives me directions
so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open,
waits patiently for my empty body to pass through.
All day it continues, each kindness
reaching toward another- a stranger
singing to no one as I pass on the path, trees
offering their blossoms, a retarded child
who lifts his almond eyes and smiles.
Somehow they always find me, seem even
to be waiting, determined to keep me
from myself, from the thing that calls to me
as it must have once called to them –
this temptation to step off the edge
and fall weightless, away from the world.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be

Paul Arden is the author of this blog's title. This book shoots straight from the hip, is clever, and leaves you with a feeling of "I should have known this!" And it's a FAST read. Some excerpts:

When it can't be done do it. If you don't do it, it doesn't exist.
A NEW idea can be either unfamiliar, or silly or both. It can't be judged by description. It needs to be done (made) to exist.

It is unlikely that anyone will sanction the cost of something they don't understand, therefore you have no choice but to do it yourself. At whatever cost. You may have to beg, steal and borrow to get it done. But that's for you to work out how you do it. It's exciting. It's difficult and it's fun. If it was easy anyone could do it.

The film Citizen Kane is a very good example. It was stolen not sanctioned. Orson Welles could not find any backers, but he did raise a small sum for casting. He begged, borrowed and cajoled people into building sets and shooting full-blown screen testes which eventually formed a third of the film.
IT EXISTED. Backers could see that they were getting. He got the money.

Without him doing it when it supposedly couldn't be done, it would be another in the endless list of ideas that never happened.

The PEROSN Who Doesn't Make Mistakes Is Unlikely to Make Anything

Benjamin Franklin said, I haven't failed, "I've had 10,000 ideas that didn't work."

Thomas Edison said, "Of the 200 light bulbs that didn't work, every failure told me something that I was able to incorporate into the next attempt."

Theater director Joan Littlewood said, "If we don't get lost, we'll never find a new route."

All of them understood that failures and false starts are a precondition of success.

At the last company I worked for you would not be fired for being wrong, but you would be fired for not having initiative. It had a positive attitude to mistakes. It was a great company. Failure was a major contributor to its success.

What would it be like if you approached tomorrow with these two attitudes? Doing the impossible and happy when you made mistakes. What could you apply this to? Your career? Your relationships? Actually what couldn't you apply this to?

* Excerpts from It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be, by Paul Arden

(#18 of 100 in 100 Blog Posting Challenge)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Looking Glass

My mother was my Catechism teacher when I was a young girl. One day in class she announced that at our next meeting, she would be showing us God's most precious gift. All the kids after class asked me how the heck did my mother get a hold of such a thing. I was as baffled as them. I had no idea and in spite of my pleading through out the week to please please pleeeease, tell me what it was, she refused and insisted I wait along with the rest of my classmates until the following class.

The day finally arrived and in the apartment we lived in we had a very long hallway in which each of us were instructed to walk down it, one at a time. When I arrived she asked me to close my eyes and when I opened them I would be looking at God's most precious gift. Excitedly I closed them, and opened them up to see my own reflection in a mirror. And she said in a solemn voice, "Take a close look, for what you see is God's most precious gift." I remember being speechless. Staggered even. It was a profound moment for me - as I believe it was for the rest of my class. Each child came back utterly silent and sat still until every one had completed that journey down the hall. We were at most 12 years old, but this profound message wasn't lost on a single one of us.

Early this morning I thought I would share in the blog posting today, an exercise that I had heard about and started but didn't continue. It was to say I love you to yourself every time you looked in a mirror. For either an entire week, month etc. Those who did it reported extraordinary results. I started it a few weeks ago and found it more challenging than I expected and at some point "forgot" about it. Until this morning. I didn't have time to write my posting this morning, so figured I would let the day guide me as to what to write.

Interestingly enought, tonight I had plans to attend a Wiccian ceremony for women to honor and welcome in the Spring Equinox. We also would be welcoming in the Goddess, Artha, the mother of fire and light, who comes to ask us to acknowledge the Goddess within. After walking through a Labyrinth we were then asked to look in a mirror to see and acknowledge the Goddess within.

I thought it so serendipitous that I would walk into this very ceremony tonight hours after feeling called to write about the I love you mirror exercise. And as I sat in front of the mirror this night looking through my tears for the Goddess within me not only was I blessed to see her if only for a flash, but I was also brought back to my 12 year old self in front of that mirror my mother held up to me so many years ago with it's powerful message.

Would you be willing to look in your mirror today and tell yourself that you are God's most precious gift? Would you be willing to look in the mirror and see your God/Goddess with in? Would you be willing to tell yourself that you love you? If your response is yes, to even one of these, then realize you and your journey here, won't ever be the same. Namaste.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson

Friday, March 20, 2009

Give it if you got it, Get if you don't

If I ever find truth I'm gonna let you know
If I ever find faith I'm gonna sit in every bit of its afterglow
If I ever find a way to bring love here today
You better bet your life that this is what I'll say
Give it if you've got it
Get it if you don't

Take my hand in the meantime
And let's walk into the sunshine
Everybody got something that they want to sing about, laugh about, cry about
It's true
For me it's you

Give it away, give it away, give it away
If it's something that you got layin' round your house
Man let me tell ya if ain't a kiss
It's something you'll never miss
Give it to somebody that don't have a thing layin' round like a prayer or a sweet sound
Give it if you've got it
Get it if you don't

Take my hand in the meantime
Let's walk into the sunshine
Everybody got something that they want to sing about, laugh about, cry about
It's true
For me it's you

Give it to somebody that don't have a thing
Ain't got socials to dis or a love song to sing - no
Get yourself on the right track
Let somebody ride your back for a while

If I ever find truth I'm gonna let you know
You better bet your life
if this is what I'm gonna say
just give it away
You can't take it where you're goin anyway

Take my hand in the meantime
And let's walk into the sunshine
Everybody got something they want to sing about, laugh about cry about it's true
For me it's you

This song by Train, captures the essence of what friendship does. The thing about friendship is that it isn't the place where people are always raising the bar for you or asking you to strive. Of course on occasion it happens but it isn't the standard. Friendship is the place where they accept you as you ARE and it's enough, in fact it's more than enough. True friendship is the place that feels like a well-worn pair of jeans. It doesn't mean true friends won't on occasion kick your ass however for the most part it's like coming home. The place where you can exhale.

I am the first to suggest folks have themselves a coach, mastermind team or as Keith Ferrazzi's advocates, a lifeline so you are "called forth." But we all need to have those friends in our life who will let us "sing, laugh, and cry."

I am so blessed, because I've always had incredible friends. They have loved me unconditionally in more ways then I ever knew was even possible to be loved. They have accepted my shortcomings, odd behaviours and peccadillo's with aplomb. They have given me loyalty worthy of royalty, rained generosity upon me, guided me with the wisdom of Solomon, shown me acceptance as though they were a parent and held me as though I were a sibling.

The value they bring to life is legion. Thanks to them, we are able to get out of bed on hard days, or shift out of a dark funk in the blink of an eye. Thanks to friendship we can find the strength we didn't know we had. True friends make us take a second look at ourselves and remind us when we forget - that there must be something there, if indeed this wonderful person chooses to have us in their life.

If right now you're feeling like you don't have these kind of pivotal relationships then like the songs says "Get it if you don't." How?

BE A FRIEND. The next time someone needs to talk, listen without solving anything. Be still and present and give them empathy. Soon enough you will find your life being showered with new friends. It does start with us, accept and love those in your circles for who they are NOW and not who they should BECOME. Love them in their fraility, confusion, uncertainity, insecurity and frustration.

Just take their hand and walk with them in the sunshine. And it will be enough, I promise you.
(#16 of the 100 Blog Posting Challenge)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rule #6

Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: "Peter," he says, "kindly remember Rule Number 6," whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws. The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by an hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: "Marie, please remember Rule Number 6." Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology. When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: "My dear friend, I've seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?" "Very simple," replies the resident prime minister. "Rule Number 6 is 'Don't take yourself so damn seriously.'" "Ah," says his visitor, "that is a fine rule." After a moment of pondering, he inquires, "And what, may I ask, are the other rules?"

"There aren't any."

Ain't that a gem? Sometimes I do take myself too damn seriously. I am stressed lately because business is slow. I've had to get creative and s-t-r-e-t-c-h myself in ways unexpected. One of the things that usually goes right out the window when I start to get uptight is my sense of humor. And that is so tragic because I really do have an excellent sense of humor! The bottom line is I need to remember that no matter what is going on: I'M ALIVE & I'M HEALTHY. And to not take myself or the sitch I'm in so seriously. That reminds me of this quote I heard the other day from a fomer POW: "Any day you wake up and you have a doorknob on your side of the door is a good day."

Like Julian of Norwich says, All will be well. All will be well and all manner of things will be well.

Rule #6 is from one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS, The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander. This book will make you feel good no matter what life is dishing you. And I've no doubt what life is dishing you right now is more challenging than usual. Every chapter will give you a paradigm shift that will blow your socks off. I read it about a year ago and find it showing up again recently in my life. Maybe that is the Universe's way of telling me to re-read it.

It's profound without being "heavy" or "deep." It will provide laughter and turn lightbulb's on. It will shift something within your spirit that will wake you up, turn you on and clear your line of vision in a whole new way.

Remember Rule #6.
(#15 of the 100 Blog Posting Challenge)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Hero Dog - It's About Taking the Time to Have Someone's Back

I know that it's so much easier to think about helping others when you have some extra. Be it time or money. It's normal. First let me get myself set up and then my house will be in order and THEN I'll have some "extra" for those around me. And I really want to clarify that I am not making anyone wrong for thinking this way. But since very little is ever black and white in this world, I was struck how sometimes self regard is all but thrown out the window for another especially after re-viewing this video.

I watched it again yesterday and realized for the first time that this Hero Dog - was "without" in as many ways as the dog struck down. This Hero Dog - was a stray - he wouldn't have been there in the first place if he had a home and owners who cared for him. He was on his own and still found himself risking all for another that he technically had no connection to at least in the way some folks would view it.

It reminded me of the experiment Malcolm Gladwell referenced in the Tipping Point. In this study, students at a Presbyterian theological seminary were asked to prepare a short talk on a biblical theme, then walk over to a nearby building to present it. “Along the way to the presentation, each student ran into a man slumped in an alley, head down, eyes closed, coughing and groaning. The question was, who would stop and help?” There were three variables measured in the experiment: the reason those students were studying theology in the first place, the topic they’d been asked to prepare, and the time they thought they had to get from one building to the next, to give their talk. Who stopped to help the man in trouble? Most people guess that the students who were entering the ministry to help people would stop . . . or that students who were on their way to speak about the Parable of the Good Samaritan (!) would stop. In fact, the study showed that only thing that mattered was whether the student was in a rush. 90 percent of the students who’d been told they were late ignored the man in trouble and went on their way. Of the group who knew they had time to spare, 63 percent stopped.*

Now those who didn't stop weren't "bad" or "wrong" in any way. But it is a place to look and get curious. What is it that we are all rushing to? What is it we are all really here for? What does it take to stop and really see what's important?

Every time we step out our door, every day -we take a risk. And it's so easy to not make it back to the place we started from in the morning, we all know that. Are we only here to walk out the front door and walk back in? I think not.

Thanks to this video this morning, I found myself in a conversation with a man I probably wouldn't have been in a conversation with under normal circumstances. We were both from different worlds, dare I say different castes (because really who are we kidding - we all know damn well that like it or not, we do seem to have that horrible system here even if we denounce it - we have the tendency to stay "within" our types. Be it race, ethnicity, gender, financial, or age. )

He started to lose his balance on the subway and I went to grab his over sized jacket to steady him from falling. Now I like to think that I would have done this regardless of this video and yet who knows! We both nervously laughed afterward and then I told him how I had just watched this video this morning and thought to myself, I think I'm being trumped by a doggie. And I don't like that! Stopping him from falling seemed to fall way short of what I had just witnessed a little dog do. We both spoke about how brave this dog was and how we both were unsure if we would have had the courage to have done it ourselves. He said he would look for the clip on You Tube when he got home later. And I swear every one around us was going to as well! We had a bit of a captive audience, these two people with nothing seemingly in common. It was a good subway ride! Not only for me and him but for everyone around us!

Yes, a dog is teaching me. And that's fine by me. I'm listening.

PS Keep in mind he isn't using his teeth - he is using his two front paws to drag him with.

(* from the Tipping Point) (#14 of 100 Blog Postings in 100 Day's Challenge)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cutting Some Slack on the Paddy's Day Cross-Town

Well St. Patrick’s Day in New York this year might have been more of a zoo then normal today since this city is full to the brim with more than its fair share of stress. And who can blame folks for wanting to wipe it all away for a few hours or for a full day with some hooch when jobs are hard to come by and bills are stacking up. Revelry is a break from fear and the mundane. We all need the luck o’ the Irish right now, that’s for sure. But maybe more than luck we need to give each other the benefit of the doubt and cut each other a bit of slack.

On the cross-town bus today we had a heck of a detour due to the Parade. The bus was crowed and when I sat down, I noticed across from me this man’s bag accidentally knock into a ladies leg as he sat down next to her. She scowled at him and he seemed to apologize but she kept scowling and I kept trying to figure out what she was so mad at him for. In between her scowls she was working furiously on her blackberry. Her whole body posture and face, all of her being was stressing over whatever it was she was reading and responding to. I kept glancing at the man to see what it was that he was doing to cause her to keep looking up at him and give him the evil eye, but I couldn’t figure it out. Then it hit me. He was learning disabled. And I thought my goodness she took what happened with this guy personally and meanwhile the guy wasn’t intending any harm – he is just not aware. I thought gosh – how easy it is to presume someone is being rude to us when maybe they’re just oblivious. And then I started to get angry at her for being so hard on this simpleton.

This guy had no idea and yet she was making his actions “mean” to her that she was being dismissed in some way, disrespected even. And I thought my goodness that is the last thing this guy intends; he just doesn’t have a clue.

A few stops later he got off and as riders do we looked at each other and I said quietly, I think he was learning disabled. And she snapped back, “Yea, but did you smell his breath?! I just said no I didn’t and tried to smile at her.

Okay so here we have a guy learning disabled who has had a few too many. But I betcha, if she wasn’t in the stress of her situation on her blackberry, she probably wouldn’t have been that angry. If she could have seen his face, a sort of innocent wide-eyed look I imagine Lenny had from Of Mice & Men, she would have cut him some slack, whether drunk or not.

But her situation kept her from doing so. And that happens sometimes. Sometimes we are just too caught up in our own stuff to cut slack to those around us. Especially if we are in a bad place, we start seeing bad around us.
So I thought well how about I cut HER some slack. She is clearly having a hard day herself, and she just had to deal with her leg getting knocked with a bag and then smell a distillery on a stranger’s breath.

That’s when I realized my getting mad at her was just like her getting mad at him. She didn’t mean it, just like he didn’t mean it. And so I thought this is where I can do something to stop the pattern. Just give her a break.

What if the next time someone doesn’t hold the door for you – you imagine they just had their girlfriend break up with them. Or when someone jumps in front of you to sit down on the last subway seat you imagine that maybe they are so exhausted because they’re working three jobs to make ends meet. Or the guy who hits you with his bag has no idea that it even happened. Or the lady who is giving dirty looks is getting reamed at virtually by her boss.

Let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt, and maybe when we need it ourselves we’ll find it. (#13 of 100 postings in 100 days.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Well Said

I must learn to love the fool in me—the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility and dignity but for my fool. ~ Theodore I. Rubin

Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be and he will become what he should be. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it. ~W. Somerset Maugham

I beg you...to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without ever noticing it, live your way in the answer. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Listen to me there is not a gesture, even the most insignificant, that can't change the world. You see every detail, every gesture as slight as it may be reveals an infinity of truths and thus has endless repercussion and grandiose effects. You only have to piss in the sea to make the ocean rise. Don't they say the beating of a butterfly's wings over the Atlantic can cause a hurricane in the Pacific? So feel free sometimes to do something stupid, random and ludicrous. That stupid, random & ludicrous act can upset the order of the world. ~Happenstance

You are what you love, not what loves you. ~The Orchid Thief

Follow your bliss, find where it is and don't be afraid to follow it. ~Joseph Campbell

You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body. ~CS Lewis

(#12 of the 100 posts challenge)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One Red Gerbera

I have a lot of work to do today. I'm tired and would rather relax and catch up on Lost episodes. I got up early and realized to get through what lie ahead I needed to do some "nice" things for myself to make it bearable. First stop, Tal Bagels. I love their flat bagles and having one always is a treat since I usually avoid these kind of carbs. Next I knew that if I made my desk more cheerful it would be less dreadsome to sit at it all day, so I set my Ipod up right next to me so I could keep it playing only on my fav songs (my friend Gina's good advice.) But my favorite gesture is the one red gerbera daisy I have sitting next to me. Such a simple gesture to have one live flower here in her little bud vase but what a difference it makes. She is blood red, very large, and stands here proud and beautiful. Every time I start to get frustrated I look at her beauty and escape for a minute. And the final gesture will be the reward of a nice long hot bath after all is complete.

What are you doing for yourself to acknowledge all your work and effort? When was the last time you bought yourself a flower, never mind a bouquet? When did you buy yourself a sweet tasty cupcake (w/ no guilt) and not share it with a single soul? When was the last time you gave yourself the afternoon off and visited a favorite bookstore or museum?
Maybe you can't afford those gorgeous Louboutin shoes, or take that trip to St. John, or go on that Golf outing. But you can give to yourself in small but meaningful ways. Take the time, make the space for it. Especially in this current environment. We all could use a break! We all need some R&R. Be it even an hour to nap, read, watch bad TV or walk on the river. Be good to yourself, someone has to be. (Posting #11 in the 100 posts in 100 days challenge)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dead by Midnight

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. ~Og Mandino

I read this quote the other day and started it immediately. The friend I was disappointed in, over something small, when they called me I imagined that if they were to be dead by midnight would that small infraction really matter to me? A resounding NO is what came up. And as they spoke my anger melted away.
As I started to treat everyone as though they would be "dead by midnight" more kindess showed up in more places around me.
The "I don't care" cashier at the CVS. "Dead by midnight." Now I'm extending her a smile and even trying to make her laugh. (She does.)
The "wide-open leg sitter" on the subway, a young tough guy. "Dead by midnight." Would you be willing to let me sit there next to you? Not only does he nod but he moves his legs! A miracle.
The "never smiles" bagel clerk. "Dead by midnight." Would you like some coffee or juice too Miss? In two years I've never heard this man speak to anyone! Only takes the money and nods. WTH?
I found this very powerful. Would you be willing to try it for an hour, a day? Tell me what happens for you.

Friday, March 13, 2009


These are some of the more profound writings of Rusty Berkus that have served me on this journey so far. I hope they serve you as well.

*Wherever you are in this moment, is exactly where you are supposed to be, no matter how things may seem to appear.
*There is no prescribed Way for everyone. There is just your Way for NOW- until you choose another.
*There is no one to compare yourself to, and no one to compete with. There never was. When the Rose and the Lotus are side by side, is one more beautiful than the other?
*When you awaken to who and what you are, everyone automatically awakens to who and what you are, without a word spoken.
*Did you know that you could experience love, pain, joy, anger, death, and rebirth all at the same time and still be perfectly sane?
*All earthly pain is due to our inability to release what needs to be free.
*If you know you are not your sports car, your grades or your children's grades, your color, your degrees or your spouse's degrees, your age, your titles or your family's titles, your body, your possessions or your parents' possessions- Congratulations. You are Home again.
*The dignity the world awards you is in exact proportion to the dignity you award yourself.
*There is a peaceful place inside that welcomes you. A space so safe, so still, that there is no forward or backward-only the eternal flow of Now. Enter this radiance where the truth of your being resides, and remember who you are.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


15 minutes of Validation:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On Pain by Kahlil Gibran

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Human Being or Human Doing

I’m struggling with my BEingness. Actually I’ve struggled with my BEingness my whole life. I’m a doer. I’ve been my whole life. It comes to me as natural as breathing. I’ve a lot of interests and I’ve a lot of hunger for information. I am an investigator – a “systems” girl. I’m fascinated by how, us humans tick. And I like to problem solve. If you’re stuck in the middle of four tall brick walls – I’m your gal! I’ll find a way out for you.

All of this I’ve come to realize uses my energy and others. And since I’m the kind of gal who swoops up everyone else’s energy very easily you can imagine at the end of a day how dry the gas tank is. But that usually doesn’t stop me, because I learned how to run on the fumes.

For the past two years I’ve consistently been told by the Universe, through people and whispers to slow down and BE. To breathe, and BE still, BE quiet and wait. And now I think I’ve finally heard it. (Did I mention I don’t know when to say when?)

Wait. REALLY wait? How do I do that? This is one of the most challenging things in the world for me to do. Intentional waiting. And yet that is exactly what the Universe now is pounding over my head. In every direction, and with every guide. The word on the street: WAIT and with it be quiet.

So share with me dear reader your suggestions on how you wait and BE still.

Monday, March 9, 2009

How’s Your Listening?

In Nonviolent Communication they advocate “Empathic Listening.” What is that? It is a “compassionate connection with what others are presently experiencing. It requires one of the most precious gifts we can give to another and that is our full presence. It is our postponing these: giving advice, reassurance, corrections, explanations, or searching for solutions until the other person confirms that what was communicated has been accurately and compassionately received.”

These examples below are some common responses that PREVENT us from being present and connecting empathically with another:

Advising: “I think you should_____”, “How come you didn’t____?”
One-upping: “That’s nothing; wait until you hear what happened to me.”
Educating: “This could turn into a very positive experience for you if you just ______.”
Consoling: “It wasn’t your fault; you did the best you could.”
Storytelling: “That reminds me of the time______.”
Shutting down: “Cheer up. Don’t feel so bad.”
Sympathizing: “Oh, you poor thing_____.”
Interrogating: “When did this begin”?
Explaining: “I would have called but ______.”
Correcting: “That’s not how it happened.”

All of these responses take us away from being “with” the person in what they are experiencing. Hearing what’s “alive in them.”

If you want to connect to someone after they have expressed something, NVC advises that we ask these questions “Are you feeling _______? Because you are needing _______?”
And this only after the other person has fully expressed themselves and what happened for them. Otherwise they may feel rushed or that we are in a hurry to be free or to fix their problem.

For more on Nonviolent Communication visit these sites:www.cnvc.org
and www.nonviolentcommunication.com

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It’s a Wonderful Life

I was reminded today of this movie and its important message that our life, in spite of how insignificant it may feel at times, touches countless people in ways we can’t even imagine.

In this film, the main character is about to kill himself thinking that his family and his company would be better off if he were dead. He gets an amazing opportunity to see how things would have been had he never been born.

It is a dark vision to behold and it shows us the many seemingly insignificant actions and impact our life has in small and huge ways on the other lives around us. It reminds us that throughout our life our simple “living” and our mere existence has a powerful domino effect upon all of those around us. Even those who are only casually in our world or in it only briefly.

During this rainstorm of scarcity energy that is in the air right now – I invite you to lean into the abundance you have experienced. First see if you can find one person from your day today or this week that did even a minor gesture but it had a positive impact on you. Then I will ask you to consider something you did today or this week that may have been minor like giving up your seat to someone on the bus and imagine how even that small gesture may have positively impacted them. Second, reach back to your childhood and see if you remember a positive action of another’s that had an impact on you that you still remember with a smile and the something that you did way back when that you can see now probably did have a positive impact on another.

I believe that we are all connected and I believe that what we do to one, we do to all -including ourselves. You are here for a reason. Believe that. Your life, no matter what you may think of it, is making a difference on every life it encounters. What is possible for you if you truly stepped into this belief? What would change? What might you take on in your life with this belief? You see, you really have had a wonderful life, do take some time to be with that truth.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.


I am fortunate to have first read this about 7 years ago. It packs a wallop for me every time I read it. When I start to doubt, this fills me with hope. When I get scared, it fills me with courage. When I feel lonely it fills me with love. What does it do for you?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lost, Better Late than Never

I don’t watch television. I haven’t in about 7 years. Due to this I had only heard a fleetingly bit about the TV show Lost. And then the Universe had me meet Marc Oromaner the author of The Myth of Lost. http://www.amazon.com/Myth-Lost-Solving-Mysteries-Understanding/dp/0595484565 Marc came to one of my Joseph Campbell workshops a few months ago and cast a spell over me to watch it. His description of it was unlike any I had ever heard of for a Television show.

Marc’s insistence that this show was mythological in every way and his assurance that within the first three episodes I would agree intrigued me.

Lost is the kind of show that you must watch from the beginning and it is the most addictive show, I’ve seen. Why is it addictive? Because you know all the characters really well already, thus you’re invested in what happens to each of them. How do you know them if you’ve never watched the show? Because they are you and me. They are your parents and your neighbors, your co-workers and your lovers.

It is like watching the collective unconscious play out while watching your own personal unconscious reveal itself. I have found messages for me and my life in some unexpected ways while watching this show. I have also found more empathy for others realizing that each human we meet has a “back story” we can’t even begin to imagine.

As Marc says in his book, in spite of our all being lost at one time or another, we are all connected and here to improve ourselves and help others do the same. Life, just like Lost, leaves us every day with more questions than with answers. We are all living and loving and suffering in the paradox of what our island aka our life presents to us. Watching this show has made me pay closer attention to the signs around me and become more aware of how those in my life assist me in improving myself AND how I assist them.

This show will make you realize once and for all how NOT alone you are. And it will give you the gift of gratitude. For as challenging as my life has been or can be I’m reminded when watching other lives with their personal journey, that I still chose my life over theirs any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

This show is as close to a Walkabout as you can have without having to leave your couch. Go get Lost and find yourself.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Run to the Roar

This blog posting here on 3/5/09 is my YES to fellow Greenlighter Scott Sonnon's challenge to post a hundred blog postings in a 100 days. Short term goal: finally have my ebook. Long term goal: Develop my brand. Scott is my Accountability Partner AKA Lifeline (discussed in Keith Ferrazzi's new book Who's Got Your Back.) I would love your advice and input thru this journey! Please share!

Who is Scott Sonnon: www.YourPainFreeMobility.com
What is a Greenlighter: www.GreenlightCommunity.com

"Emotions are physical. Our bodies are the only place they can ever be found." ~Raphael Cushnir

Now that we are in our third month of the New Year most of us have fallen off our New Year's Resolution wagon. Usually this experience has a one-two punch. We haven't stuck to our much desired resolution and then the salt gets poured in the wound because we are furious with ourselves for not having the willpower to stick with it.

Thanks to Raphael Cushnir I want to suggest that more powerful than will power is emotional connection. In Mr. Cushnir's new book, The One Thing Holding You Back, we learn that when we engage in willpower we have two sides fighting against each other. The part that still wants to say... eat chocolate cake and the other part of us that does not. He suggests that willpower might work for a time, but usually there is a pushback that will ultimately occur in which the defeated part will express itself.

He speaks about our learning to connect to the emotions that are occurring in us when have a behavior we might call compulsive (or even addictive) shows up. He suggests that if we are not self-opposed we will have a better time sustaining our new behavior. Learning to NOT make ourselves wrong for the experience in the first place, is step one in our emotional connecting to what is going on for us.

He suggests a 2 X 2 approach. First 2: Place the mind's attention on emotional sensation in our body. Keep the attention there until is dissipates. Second 2: Slow down. Get microscopic.

Cushnir shows us that in our avoidance of uncomfortable feelings (sometime very uncomfortable feelings) that come up for us we inadvertently keep repeating the same old unsuccessful patterns again and again because we never fully connect to the emotions that need to be felt and he says that if we finally allow them to be experienced we will set ourselves free of them once and for all. The discomfort they bring us instinctively makes us shy away and he suggests if we can stay in that initial discomfort even a minute or two at a time, we will eventually break free of their powerful grip.

It makes me think of the story Run to the Roar. When lions are about to attack a prey they surround it by placing the youngest most agile lion opposite their oldest lion who has the most intimidating roar. When the prey hears the roar they run opposite it -right toward the young swift lion instead of the old man of the group.

As Cushnir says this is simple but not easy. So here is my suggestion, ask yourself what emotion/s do you always avoid? Give yourself privacy and space before and after this exercise because what might come up might be more than you expect. Allow the emotion/s to surface even if it is just for a minute or two at a time. BE WITH IT using the 2 X 2 process. Watch what happens, neutrally; don't make it "mean" anything, the less descriptive words the better.

Now you might need to repeat this process, especially for those with emotions that have been buried for years. They will take more time. But giving them space to be felt will mean they won't hold you back any more. This month's quote, We seek the teeth to match our wounds, comes from Cushnir's book because he says we must allow these wounds to heal so that we won't seek those same teeth any longer. Be gentle with yourself and respect your body/mind/spirit's ability to do this. Do this at your own pace. But do do it. It's time for you to not be held back. And the only way out is through. Run to your roar.

For More on Raphael Cushnir read: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/raphael-cushnir/our-economic-crisis-is-an_b_171989.html