Lead Your Life

Leadership, Awareness, and Growth

The Duck and her iPhone Quagmire August 2, 2017

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duck

This morning, my walk took me along a lake that appeared to be an endless landscape as the fog was obscuring the shore.  The geese and ducks floated while a resident loon soared across the horizon.

I considered a photograph, and it occurred to me that you cannot capture the mystical.  It extends beyond sight; reaching into the sound of silence, the smell of earth, and the touch of dew heavy air.  And it is changing; ever so subtly, but always changing.  It refuses to be contained to a single sensory dimension or moment in time.

The mystical lives in the present moment fully.  It is part physical, part energetic, and entirely magical.  The desire to contain it is a human one.  The duck is not thinking; “I wish the iPhone camera was more sophisticated.”  The duck is just being the duck in the midst of the mystical moment.  I wonder if we humans perplex the duck or if she watches us encountering the mystical & quietly whispers to us….

Just Be.

 

Are you lying your way to success? July 25, 2017

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They say there are no coincidences, and thus my ears perk up when I encounter the convergence of two ideas.

I stumbled across a study showing that people who demonstrate higher degrees of self-deception are more successful in the world.  Participants were asked a series of embarrassing questions written to reveal the dark side within us.   Those who lied reported being happier and feeling more successful in their pursuits.  This went beyond how they felt as they also earned more in their respective roles.

This study converged with a Buddhist principle I studied on self-compassion without self-deception.  The belief that if we drench honesty in compassion, we might live a more authentic, loving life.  Pema Chodron said “the definition of self confidence is self gentleness.”

If this is true, what do we make of the first study?  Have we, as a society, become so inept at self-compassion that self-deception is required to carve a happy productive life?  Have we replaced radical acceptance with deceit as a survival skill?

What if we could accept with compassion the whole truth of who we are without self-loathing?  What if we were amused by our flaws and forgiving of our failures?  What if we met weakness with a heart of curiosity versus a mindset of judgement?   Could this impact our joy?  Our authenticity? Our results?  And what if it had only one impact:  self love.  Would that be enough?

 

Unending rain July 11, 2017

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rainy day

I’ve always marveled at our nature mirrors our life.  Rainy days are the perfect illustration.   Sometimes life seems so sunny & bright with all the pieces aligned & in flow. Our energy boundless & our ideas as expansive as the blue sky.

And sometimes it pours.   It’s in those moments when it’s gloomily overcast & it would the sun is never again coming out that we have a choice.  We can wallow in the darkness & tell ourselves woe is me stories or we can practice patient strength.  With a deep breath & a lift of our heart, we can radiate the joy and possibility that appears cloud covered; digging deep to ride the ebb and flow of what is external to us.

And even then, sometimes the rain just keeps coming.   A dreary moment becomes a dreary season, and still the choice stands in front of us.  Will we see the beauty?  Will we see the gift of the rain?  Will we honor natural cycles in our life without being a victim to them? Will we believe in the possibility of tomorrow’s rising sun and parting clouds?  Choose to bask.

 

Get off the “keep going” wagon June 20, 2017

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divine spark

When we lose our connection with what lights us up or we discover our actions misaligned with our intention, it’s time for a self-audit pause.    That sounds easy, but it is in these moments that our mind screams “Keep Going.”

Here’s a simple method to self-audit:

  • Get quiet: create time to sit with your breath; landing the inhale on your heart  and releasing thought with the exhale.
  • Connect: this can be prayer, loving kindness practice, or just heart-centered breathing.
  • Believe:  Your spirit is the house of your divine spark (aka: higher purpose), and your inner wisdom knows this spark intimately.  Beyond words, you hold the truth of your purpose.  Trust it.
  • Gut Check: Not sure?  Ask yourself this simple question:  “If my life aligned with my divine spark 80% of the time, I would lay my head down at night and say, ‘Yes!  This is inspired living for me.’”
  • Drop it: What is contrary in your life?  It takes a bit of courage to let the rest of it drop away, but it is so worth it.
  • Move with purpose: As you leave the space of audit and back into action of daily life, stay awake.  Make the shift.

Be committed to your own path.  We have only this one precious life.

 

Life laughs at the leashes we tether June 14, 2017

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Laugh Out Loud At Yourself

We are in the midst of a relocation, and our moving company was supposed to arrive on Thursday of last week.  I handled the reschedule to Monday like a pro; especially given I had been sleeping on an air mattress for a week.

Friday evening arrives, and I begin my much anticipated weekend meditation training; the perfect way to spend my birthday.  As I drove home Friday after our evening session, blissed out and committed to noble silence, I noticed a flurry of messages on my phone.

The movers were now arriving the following day at 8AM.  Good Golly.  Forced to cancel my meditation weekend as my husband was still in Ohio, I spent my weekend  sorting, stacking, unpacking, folding, moving, placing, donating…. you get the point.

I had a moment of meltdown in which I left a desperate voicemail for my husband that never again in our life would we move with one person on the receiving end.  A twinge of bitterness sunk in as he was enjoying a golf trip with friends, and I found myself grousing around in a “woe is me,” and “why am I always on the work end of the stick?”

And then it struck me.  Yoga.  This is where our practice begins; off our mat when the temperature dial turns up.

These moments are a fabulous reminder that life laughs at the leashes we try to put on it.  Control is an illusion, and the real trick is to stay connected with flow and peace even when the waters are choppy and unpredictable.

 

 

Celebrate Not Knowing June 9, 2017

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celebrate

The other day I was speaking with someone who expressed remorse they hadn’t discovered their purpose. They were unable to see anything unique about who they are and what they offer beyond the ordinary.

The human quandary, yes?  We all struggle with varying frequency of self-doubt.  In those moments, we can either dive headfirst into that vat of despair or consider truth:  that at the moment of our birth, we were placed on this planet for a divine reason.  A purpose that only we are wired to create.  Truly Extraordinary.

As it is my birthday today, I am reflecting on my endless gratitude for the opportunity of this lifetime.  While I may lack clarity on its total purpose, I can trust that it is blossoming before me.  All I have to do is notice.

Discovering and embracing our highest self & work is the journey of a lifetime.  And yet, our entire life is right now in this moment.  So for now, take a deep breath, honor the beauty of who you are, and celebrate that you are unlike any other human being ever created.   And be open to possibility.

 

Pure Pleasure May 28, 2017

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Today I walked my childhood neighborhood.  I allowed my legs to stretch to the streets that were most familiar to me; remembering my secret hiding spots, the corner I crashed my bike, and the field of many kickball games.  My warmest memories were the treasured spots of playing freely without rules, structure, or consideration of time.  I smiled as I honored those places where I twirled cartwheels, flew from swings, and roller skated at top speed hanging onto the backs of bikes.

I am not one to dwell in the past, but there are lessons snuggled in history; reminders of the captivation of play, the magic of unstructured summer days, the connection of deep friendships cultivated while skipping through yards.  Nothing linear, nothing timed, no desired outcome.  Just pure pleasure.

There is no shortage of opportunity to be productive, and the world will rain accolades on your achievements.  But don’t forget to move your body in all directions for no reason other than bliss.  Drive the curvy road to work, flip a cart-wheel while taking the dogs out, & skip the online trolling to play euchre with your kids.  Embrace Play.

For when we fast forward 10 years, we’ll remember those goofy moments.

And of course, go forth and live your purpose.  Take risks, try big, work hard.  Pursue productivity, results, achievements.  Step into discomfort, fail, and try again.  But don’t forget to invite play into your life, because without fun, joy, and sparkles, what is the point of achievement?