Lead Your Life

Leadership, Awareness, and Growth

To Give Joy November 7, 2017

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Disclaimer:  Huge fan of conscious joy.

  • Question:  What in the world is that?
  • Answer:  Conscious joy is joy by choice in all moments.
  • Question:  How about authenticity?  How about allowing ourselves to feel deeply? to mourn and grieve?  To express our anger and sadness?

The word joy roots from the word REJOICE.  Rejoice is defined as “To Give Joy.”

When life gives you lemons, .make lemonade.  Yes, and…..

Can we experience deep, unwavering joy regardless of what’s rocking our world?  Can we be so deeply connected to our truth, to our divinity, & to our blessings that our challenges are continuously calibrated to their appropriate magnitude:  in existence but not in dominance of?

In a nutshell:  Can we authentically experience pain while simultaneously holding space for joy?  

In my life, I’ve had experiences that seem planetary systems away from joy, and yet, I’m learning that it is possible to stay in my heart space and rejoice through these painful, finite moments.  Sometimes, the holding of both comes with ease and sometimes not.  Sometimes it would seem I just can’t.  At least I can’t today.  And, I’m open to the possibility that through growth & intention, I could be someday.

What is your experience?

 

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I’m not stressed…. November 2, 2017

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stress

Stress is a creeper in our lives.  We are so busy “doing” that we don’t notice all of that “getting it done” is coming from a place of fight or flight.  When (if) we stop, we finally notice that we are worn out, exhausted, sleeping poorly, and anxious.

So what to do?  We feel more stressed trying to solve stress because we know what to do, and with best intentions, most of us aren’t doing it.  No bubble baths, daily meditation, counting our breath.  No funny movies to replace the news (facebook), no earlier bed time, and no daily yoga.  So, we keep “doing”, busily checking off the to-do’s on our list all the while giving ourselves a failing grade (judgement) on our self-care habits.

Sounds like a fabulous way to treat the person with whom we have our most intimate relationship, huh?

I’m an advocate for all the “things” we can do to reduce stress with a particular affinity for breath work and a physical yoga practice.  These are miracle workers in my life, and there is something even simpler that requires no extra time or special outfit.

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to
choose one thought over another.
-William James

Where we place our attention expands.  For most of us lowly curious-about but not yet enlightened souls, our thoughts bubble up without us noticing.  This idea of choosing our thoughts seems almost laughable as our thoughts are grooved deeply into our subconsciousness and then, via bullet train, blast through to our consciousness.

What we can do is observe the thoughts upon arrival at the station, and then decide which to leave on the train, which to reshape, and which to embrace.  Sometimes the thought is deeply seeded, negative and easily refutable.

Think the “big story” in your life: I’m not good enough, I’m not smart, I’m too fat…..  These stories require intentional abandonment moment by moment and replacement with soul speak.  I am enough exactly as I am, I love myself as I am.”  Thich Nhat Hanh teaches to say “Dear One, I am here for you.”

Sometimes the thought is about the daily happenings, our perceptions of others, or our ruminations on the past and future.  Think “I can’t believe he said that, and she thinks I’m….”

I practice reframing these thoughts into questions.  How true is that?  What am I making that mean?  How can I contribute to something better in this situation?

There is one tool that can be used in almost all situations:  gratitude.  When your mind is swimming, just begin speaking aloud your blessings.  There’s something powerful about hearing your voice say thank you over and over that quiets the mind, expands the heart, and drains the negativity.

 

 

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.

 

No SMART Goals? June 7, 2016

I will admit – I am a goal junkie.  It’s borderline problematic as I am a bit too enthusiastic about creating outcomes I can measure, and sigh….  picking a deadline that inspires me to rattle and roll.

It’s taken me the better part of my life (4.5 decades in exactly 3 days) to realize; however, that achievement and success are the best of friends but they are from different families of origin.  In fact, much like you can live a fulfilled life during long absences from your best friend, so can success when achievement is on an Alaskan Cruise.  And yes… I know that achievement cannot actually board a cruise ship but this sounds much more elegant than saying “when achievement succumbs to failure’s sword.”

Imagine a day of complete and utter failure.  Every goal missed.  Every attempt thwarted.  Can you count this one as a success?

I believe yes, if you have appropriately tuned your definition of success.

To me, success lives at the intersection of authenticity, purpose, and contribution.  It’s the YES! when I can audit my outcome and know that I made a meaningful impact to the vision by stretching myself, challenging the status quo, and giving the best I have to offer without compromising my spirit. 

And “tuning” your success radar is more than pretty descriptive words that intellectualize the concept.  It requires that we drop this definition into our heart and soul; feeling it deeply.  That we are inspired by the intent & fulfilled by the effort.  If these two conditions exist, the outcome is whipped cream and a cherry.

I am not excusing poor results.  I am simply suggesting that there is more to success than results.  If we have truly aligned our efforts with our passion and talent, the results come.  However, we are successful because we lived & worked from a place of authenticity, courageous effort, and a willingness to try again even when facing the sword of failure.

PS… In a world that launches fireworks for first place and gives everyone a snow cone win or lose, taking time to teach our children the true definition of success has never been more important.

 

Be careful what you claim June 2, 2016

Yesterday, a lovely woman said to me, “My anxiety is very bad right now.”

Seems harmless enough, yes?  And anxiety (or fear or depression or any other feeling that drains your energy) is not bad.  There is no shame in a racing heart or heaviness of mood.  In fact, if we believe that the world moves in harmonized order, we accept that day is followed by night and winter follows summer & fall.  If we believe that the universe modulates itself; gently flowing across a continuum of expressions, we can trust that our own emotional continuum is as natural as the movement of the planets.

Darkness in our life is a great teacher; giving us the sacred opportunity to turn inward to quiet space & deep knowing so that we may see again the magnificence of what we cannot intellectualize.  So that we may, perhaps even because we’ve run out of options, trust the divine.

One of my favorite teachings is this:  “Suffering happens when we make the impermanent permanent.”

In the moment, we experience life.  We feel sadness, joy, impatience, peace.  And then that moment passes, and we are presented with a new moment in which we can be fully present or we can stay locked in the past.  When we stay locked, our bodies are alone in the present moment because our minds are still reliving what has already ended.

Thoughts are sticky.   It takes intention to clear our minds of what was to make room for what is.  Negative emotions are even stickier.  They love to cling & grasp to your consciousness.  They can become so familiar that we develop a relationship with them; hence labeling something as “MY anxiety.”   And when we claim it as ours, it becomes part of us in a permanent, deeply integrated way.

See the difference between:  “I am currently feeling sad” versus “My depression is rearing its head.”  I believe we should welcome a full rainbow of emotions; learning from each one, feeling life deeply, and being willing to honor the light and the dark.  This is wholehearted living.  Just stay awake to what you identify as part of your DNA.  Let the impermanent be impermanent & celebrate the natural ebb and flow of your life.

 

 

What’s your PB? May 10, 2016

When you perform, how do you measure success?  By what’s expected of you?  A number set by someone else?  A comparison of yourself against your peers?

My son, Jack, recently ran his 200 meter junior high track event & was over the moon with his results.  Did he set a school record?  Beat the field?  Hit his coach’s number?  Nope. Nope. and Nope.  In fact, he finished in last place; over 10 seconds behind the first place runner.  So why the exuberance?

Jack ran his personal best time (which he affectionately calls his PB).  He knew he placed last, and still, he was completely content with his result because it was his best effort.  You see, Jack has a neurological “hitch” that compromises his motor coordination and muscle control among other things.  As a result, physical achievements expected of kids his age come slowly & painstakingly to him.

Wisdom like Jack’s is rare.  Jack understands his reality & refuses to be stopped by it.  He isn’t a pitbull – he simply keeps trying hard, accepts himself as he is and as he isn’t, and enjoys the process.  In fact, Jack rarely gets frustrated with what is.

I learn a lot from the way he leads his life.  I learn that, even in the midst of challenge, joy is an option.  I learn that, even when you pale in comparison to the field, steadfast commitment to your own progress is still success.  And I learn that accepting our weaknesses with as much tolerance as we embrace our strengths makes us a fabulous team member, exemplary role model, and happy person to our core.

Jack is the most humble person I know.  And yet, every time I tell him how awesome he is, he says “I know.”  Matter of fact.  Yes – I know I’m awesome just as I am and just as I am not.  May we all embrace our own brand of awesome; creating success against our own benchmarks and dropping the need to “be something” for someone else.

 

The Artist Otherwise Known As…. April 22, 2016

Prince: Industry Icon, Music Maverick, Record Label Titan, Artist Advocate.

This week, the death of Prince saddened an entire world.  To quote Whoopi Goldberg, “this is what it sounds like when doves cry.”  (also uttered by my equally poetic husband).

His life is worthy of examination if you are a pursuer of greatness.  So what was his magic equation?  Talent paired with enough good luck doesn’t cut it for a multi-decade ride as a living legend, influencer, and trailblazer.

PASSION:  Prince lived his life with laser focus on his passion.  The result?  Prolific music, discovery of modern talent, precise delivery of electrifying live shows, the ability to shape shift with changing times, and an output level that would take most people twice as long.

DISCIPLINE:  Most of us think about time as a limited asset; a constraining factor to achievement.  But if your achievements take half the time as others, you’ve doubled time. Not literally but practically.  Clearly, his volume of work alone is a phenomenal study in “time management;” turning the idea of time as a ticking time bomb limiting our potential on its head.

COURAGE:  Prince took a  stand against an industry he viewed as corrupt – not just for his own gain but for the benefit of well & little known artists everywhere.  He surfaced up and coming stars, he took risks on stage.  He stayed true to his essence without regard of criticism or judgement.  It’s so easy to allow the opinions & ramblings of others to sway us from our path; to create confusion, self-judgement, and doubt.  It takes something to continue to pioneer new paths in the midst of the world’s debilitating chatter.

ENERGY:  Prince’s professional life – big, bold, extroverted, performing in the public eye on a grand stage – was balanced by his personal life.  He was grounded in his faith, lived quietly, and understood that peak performance required healthy choices every day.  If you want your star to shine for decades, you must care and feed your light.

Prince had an unbelievably unique gift but doesn’t everyone?  Perhaps not all of us have that type of natural talent, but we all have the “right gifts” to make a meaningful impact on the world.   The question is:  Do we have the right thinking and right actions to ignite our contribution?