Sunday, June 28, 2009

I'm Angry

"Our feelings control us when we subvert them and are no longer aware they exist." ~Theodore Isaac Rubin, MD

I'm Angry. Yep, really angry. Seething; furious; upset; frustrated. I'm filled with disgust and disdain. These are feelings I'm not used to; nor comfortable with. Most of you know me as Little Miss Sunshine, Happy-go-lucky and Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm.

Anger scares me. I feel as though I'm ill equipped to cope with this emotion. I'm afraid it will take me over in some way. Yet, I'm not going to deny it or ignore it or push it away this time. I feel like a foreigner in new country experiencing strange customs and bizarre encounters. And I'm uncomfortable and somewhat exhilarated to see who I will be and what I will experience on this new journey.

Anger is a part of being human - one thread in the tapestry of the human experience. Of course I've known this intellectually for a long time. But have I let myself embrace my anger? No. Thanks to my own work with my coach, I'm intentionally creating a space in my life for my anger. It is taking some effort because it's so new for me to stay with it not ignore nor deny it. I'm also up against centuries' of cultural conditioning that has labeled anger; wrong, bad even evil. For women especially to feel anger not to mention express it - is still taboo.

Anger Insight #1
You don't have to actually DO anything about your anger.
Oh you may, of course:
*Take a knife to a huge watermelon
*Scream into your pillow every curse word you know
*Throw plates into your fireplace
*Listen to loud head banging music
*Dance/Thrash/Exercise it consciously through your body
*Journal with a red pen
*Watch Clint Eastwood movies

But creating a space for you to be with your anger doesn't mean you have to tell your boss off, curse out a relative or tell your lover to go to hell. All you need to do is feeeeel it and not rush past it. It won't be pleasant and that's okay, you'll survive.

That belief was one of the reasons I've kept mine at bay. I thought you had to act when you felt anger. That it required an external response in some way, a sort of "announcement." This is a misnomer. On occasion we will be called to act and express it, you betcha! And yet most times our anger will ask of us to simply give it room and time to process. So let it. Let it breath, seethe, flare and flame. Acknowledging it, allowing it and accepting it will do you a world of good. And like a storm at sea it will pass. No emotion lasts forever.

How do you do with your anger? Do you make it wrong or feel guilty or bad when it shows up? It's the bastard child, we've all been taught to disown and abandon. We shut it up and out with overeating; drinking; drugs; TV; sex and overworking. And we wonder why we have violence in our streets and our homes. To deny it causes either a slow toxicity within creating disease or an explosion of verbal or physical hostility.

In this angry mood today I rode the subway and met Deidre. We both shared our anger about the subway system and the impending fare hike; we complained about our politician's in Albany. We ranted and moaned. If I had over-heard this conversation in the past I'd have judged it as "negative" or made it wrong in some way. Meanwhile it helped us to both "clear." Feeling our feelings, and expressing them enables us all to both move forward with our day not to mention our life.

Anger awakens us. You feel alive after you've fully experienced it. And what's so amazing is that no one need know. It's yours and yours alone. Just like being in love. Or experiencing grief. Or joy. Or relief. Taste your feelings even the ones that you've denied....let them sit on your tongue and savor each one. This is what it means to be alive. What it means to be human. There's bitter and there's sweet. And they all have a place on the palate of our life.

In The Angry Book by Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin he opens with this quote from Joseph Conrad; "There is no rest for a messenger 'til the message is delivered." Allow the messages your Being needs to deliver to yourself to finally arrive. Bar none. And finally you will rest easy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing by Jed McKenna

Stake life upon truth. ~Juvenal

This book is sublime. Truth after truth after truth. Your foundations will be shook and you probably won't be happy about it; at least not initially. But truth ain't about happy; it's about truth.

Some Jems:

"Enlightenment isn't when you go there, it's when there comes here."

"You're either awake or you're not."

"I'll tell you what I wish someone had told me when I was feeling confused and alienated. I wish someone had told me that there wasn't something wrong with me and that I shouldn't be trying to make it right; that I should stop trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. I wish someone had told me that I wasn't like everyone else not because I was defective, but because I was designed for other things. Being different might seem like a curse, but the important part is that it's also a blessing. I wish someone had told me to stop trying to fix the curse part and start figuring out the blessing part."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rule #1 When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Relax

"Don't let fear undermine your chance to do that one thing you've wanted to do." ~Alan M. Webber

Yesterday afternoon I spent over three hours with the one and only Alan M. Webber. Alan is the cofounding editor of Fast Company magazine and former editorial director of the Harvard Business Review. His new book is titled, Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business without Losing Yourself. My dear friend, Alex von Bidder arranged our meeting. Alex knows that my journey as an entrepreneur challenges me at times and he knows this man is a Jedi Master.

I was a nervous wreck as I entered the lobby of his hotel. Where do I begin? How should I be? Do I ask a lot of questions? Or do I just be quiet and sit in awe? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, I'd said to myself; I'd better not blow it. Then I remembered his Rule #1: When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Relax and I started to calm down.

In this 52 potato-chip size chaptered book, Alan's Rule #1 is definitely one of the more important rules. In it, he speaks about a critical interview he is about to give when at the last minute he realizes his anxiety about how it "should go" is about to sabotage the way it "will go." In addition to each brief yet powerful vignette he concludes each chapter with a "So What?" And Rule #1's "So What?" is this:
"W. Edwards Deming is famous for his fourteen-point program which includes: "Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company." What he didn't say is that the place to start is with you. Anytime you approach a task with fear you are at least a double loser. First, you color the work with fear and increase the chances of failure. Confidence and composure trump fear every time. Second, you guarantee that you won't enjoy the experience. Whether you succeed or fail, wouldn't you like to remember the experience as one you enjoyed, not one you suffered through?"

This rings through my ear as I wait. And I promise myself that I will enjoy myself and this amazing man, and let go of how I "should be" and just be me and enjoy this time with him. And boy did I enjoy my time with him! Alan is incredibly down to earth, has an incredible wit, all in addition to being a genius. (He also does a mean imitation of Don Corleone.) He put me instantly at ease and thanks to that; I was able to learn so much. I don't know about you but the only teachers I've ever learned from in school were the ones that put me at ease and made me feel as though I was capable. That is another one of Alan's gifts; his ability to hold you as though you are capable of anything.

And as I asked him how to take my coaching to the next level and how to approach new opportunities, I felt like I was with an old friend. What's so amazing about Alan and his Rules of Thumb is that you feel his warmth and clarity. How he is in the book, is how he is in person. A combination of sage-like wisdom, great humor along with powerful story telling and coaching.

A few other favorite chapters from the book:
Rule #6 If You Want to See With Fresh Eyes, Reframe the Picture
Rule #9 Nothing Happens Until Money Changes Hands
Rule #11 We've Moved From an Either/Or Past to a Both/And Future
Rule #16 Facts are Facts; Stories Are How We Learn
Rule #21 Great Leaders Answer Tom Peters' Great Question: "How Can I Capture the World's Imagination?"
Rule #24 If You Want to Change the Game, Change the Economics of How the Game is Played
Rule #29 Words Matter
Rule #31 Everything Communicates
Rule #46 Tough Leaders Wear Their Hearts on Their Sleeves.

And then there is Rule #53 which is where Alan invites you to write your own rule. My Rule #53 is: Be Your Own Hero. And the greatest part of that rule is that being your own hero doesn't mean you can't have other heroes. Alan M. Webber is one of mine. And I've no doubt that after you read Rules of Thumb he will be yours as well.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Space Clearing Your Life

Kim's Space Clearing Altar

"It is your work to clear away the mass of encumbering material of thoughts, so that you may bring into plain view the precious thing at the center of the mass." ~Robert Collier

Some of you know that I got rid of a lot of papers of my mom back in January. I shared how letting go of them was huge for me, a physical and spiritual letting go of the past. What I didn't tell you is that there was one box of papers I couldn't and didn't let go of. It was the only one I felt unready to release for a myriad of reasons. I'm happy to report that I have finally let that box go.

A friend had suggested I do a Space Clearing in light of this release. She introduced me to Felix Conradi, a professional Space Clearer and his business, Felix was trained by the world famous Feng Shui expert, Karen Kingston. He is one of the most powerful yet gentle men that I've ever met. Felix's Space Clearing for me last Saturday was a profound experience and it continues to be so. I've been wanting to write about it but felt unable to even articulate it until now.

This was more than just a space clearing of my living space, this experience, ceremony to be more accurate, was really a psychic, emotional, spiritual and physical clearing of my life as well.

What is a Space Clearing? Feng Shui is the ancient oriental art of enhancing and harmonizing the flow of energy in your surroundings. Karen Kingston pioneered the study of a specialized branch of Feng Shui called Space Clearing. By applying these principles you enhance the flow of energy, clear "stuck" energy and create sacred space in your home and/or workplace which of course translates into your life.

Two Steps to Clear Out Clutter:

1.) What does this item do for me energetically?
Ask yourself this question about everything in your space, including pictures and furniture: "Does my energy lift or does it drop when I think about it or look at this item?" According to Karen in her book, Sacred Space with Feng Shui, Learn The Art of Space Clearing and Bring New Energy into Your Life, what usually stops people from clearing clutter is the phrase "just in case." "Just in case, I can never afford or find this again." Which really means preparing for a situation of neediness in the future, it sends a message to the Universe that you don't trust it to provide for you. If you haven't used it in a year or it pulls you down, clear it out; don't let the fact that it's an heirloom, a gift from a favorite relative or friend, stop you! Give it away, throw it away or have someone come and take it away. This will open up space literally and figuratively to allow the things you DO want in your life to show up. You must open up space so that what you want will have room to arrive. "Realize that everything you own holds your attention." Ask yourself is THAT really worthy of your attention?

2.) Give yourself space to do this
It's emotional, getting rid of old letters, photos, knick knacks, framed pictures and mementos. Sifting through will bring up lots of emotions. All of what we own reminds us of the emotions that have lived and still live within us, be it past relationships, family dynamics, regretful decisions, happy and sad events, love found and love lost. Doing this will take a lot out of you. Be gentle with yourself, and give yourself the space to feel your feelings when they show up. Do what you can, one drawer at a time if you need to break it down and do take breathers that are either hours, days or weeks long. Just keep at it until you're done.

After the ceremony, I found myself the next day clearing out even more! I was able to let go of things I thought I'd never let go of. I've released so many things including a slew of books! Now I do LOVE my books and yet I've pulled over 100 of them from my shelves and am ready to let them go. Now others will enjoy them. I also cleared out my cell phone of phone numbers and text messages whose time had come to let go of. And I deleted thousands of emails - either sent or received. What a huge relief! I can describe it as a new energy in me and in my apartment. A sense of lightness and buoyancy. All these cobwebs I didn't even know where hanging round, are now clearly GONE.

It's been quite an emotional road, I won't kid you. I still feel exhausted from the ceremony and not quite on steady ground. I'm adjusting to a large wide open sacred field that is now within me and my home. Having been away from that for what I believe has been years, at first feels overwhelming. So I'm being gentle with myself as I adjust to this new sacred space that I've created within myself and my life. I'm being careful about how I speak to myself; and what and with whom I welcome into it.

And there is more to be done. There are some files of my business that I still need to sort through and toss what is no longer necessary. But my body and spirit will tell me when it's ready to do that. And there are a couple of other boxes of old mementos, meaningful letters and pictures that I haven't had the heart to go through yet either. But this is about a new way of living and that doesn't have to happen over night.

They say that Gandhi could fit all that he owned in a shoe box. Well I might not qualify for a shoe box yet, but I'm a heck of a lot closer than I've ever been before and it feels like I've lost a thousand pounds.

Karen mentions Stuart Wilde's book, The Secrets of Life, where he has this passage, "On making life sacred": How does something become sacred? It becomes sacred by people saying, "This is sacred." There is no other way. So how do you make your life sacred? You say, "This is sacred," and you treat it that way.

Here's to your sacred space and your sacred life. Namaste.