Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Yesterday I wrote about the Survival Cycle, and if you’re human, you’ve been in this cycle. It’s a part of having a mind and living this life. Everyone steps into the Survival Cycle in some aspect of his or her life every now and again. The problems with the Survival Cycle happen when it’s the only cycle you know. If you stay in this cycle too long you can fall into hate and resentment or worse apathetic depression. If the past equals the future and you aren’t living in your life, what’s the point? This is a dangerous place to live and it’s important to recognize the cycle before apathy sets in.

So, what is on the other side of the Survival Cycle?

If the Survival cycle is habit driven and past focused then the counterpart, in my mind, is living each day while making your life and circumstances better and better. I call this the Fulfillment cycle.

So, what are the characteristics of the Fulfillment Cycle?fulfillment_Cycle

 Present -> This is the act of noticing what is happening in your life, right now. What do you feel, what are your senses telling you? Being present is the act of stepping out of the story in your head and seeing what is happening right this minute.

Compassion -> If you are fully engaged in your day, you are more capable of knowing what’s happening around you and being compassionate with yourself, your circumstances and others. You’re less likely to project a story and more likely to take in what is actually happening. “Oh, that kid is crying in the store and that mom is drawing a great boundary.”   “I didn’t get enough sleep last night and I’m being a bit forgetful and short tempered, I need to take care of myself.”

Balance -> By seeing the world around you more clearly and by breathing into compassion for yourself and others, there is a settling and relaxation that occurs. You see where you currently are in your day, your relationship, and your life. In this place you feel an openness and freedom.

Power -> When you are in the moment and feeling open, you feel the power to take control of your actions. “Yes, I’m tired AND I don’t have to react to other people negatively.” “I can create what I want for myself.” “I will tell people ‘no’ and be kind doing it.” “I can smile at that mother and child who are having a tough day.”

Possibility -> When you feel compassion and power, all of a sudden there are more possibilities you can grab a hold of, options you can take, and ways of being that can change your direction.

Belief -> All of these possibilities start to show you that you are not your past. You start to see your value, what you WANT to be, and where you can grow and build new things. Your beliefs become more forward thinking. You aren’t stuck; you are building your life.

Decision -> With possibility and the belief that new things are possible, you feel empowered to make new (sometimes bold, sometimes baby step) decisions. These decisions slowly build, and you start to notice how the world and others show up for you differently. You are creating new circumstances!

Excitement -> Decisions don’t always work out. However, with the knowledge of possibility and your expanding belief in your growth, your excitement builds. Decisions aren’t right or wrong; they turn into learning experiences and stepping-stones to what you want and who you are becoming.

From excitement the cycle continues on again.

So how do you get into the Fulfillment Cycle?

For me, the Fulfillment Cycle is created by what I call the PLAY Mindset™…

I know, “play” can be a word that gives a motivated or stressed out person pause. I mean, who has time to play when there is so much that needs to be done?

Stick with me here. When I say PLAY I’m not talking about recreation or leisure, and I’m not talking directly about playful action. I’m talking about a set of skills we’ve always had, that as adults we abandon for stress and worry. I’m talking about a purposeful mindset that supports a person in creating success AND fulfillment. It’s my way of getting out of the Survival Cycle and into a purposeful, meaningful Fulfillment Cycle.

Stay tuned for more on the PLAY Mindset™ and the tools that help create Fulfillment…

 

Do you ever feel like you are in this cycle?Survival_cycle

Auto-pilot -> having the same thoughts, feelings and actions that have really become habitual. Some patterns you chose others are unconscious.

Fear -> a feeling that something is off and it’s unknown so you can’t do anything about it and no one else seems to be doing anything about it either… Is my relationship ok? Will I be fired or laid off from work? Am I a good parent?

Blame -> since you don’t know, it’s easy to move to blame. Blaming others, blaming circumstances, blaming your self for not being better or smarter.

Victim -> When you feel fear and start to blame, where else can you go but to a place of the victim. Why won’t someone help me? I have to do everything alone. I am alone. The world is against me.

Closed-off -> So when there isn’t anyone on your team it’s time to protect yourself and build walls for protection.

Dwell -> in a closed-off position, without any real feedback, but your own auto-pilot story, you dwell on what’s NOT working and who’s to blame, creating even more worry and stress

Drift -> since the focus is on the past and you are running on auto pilot you tend to drift through your days. Flowing on the current of your current circumstances whether they are good or bad.

Anxiety -> since you are focused on the past and drifting through your present circumstances, the future very much looks like the past or even worse than where you are currently. What if you lose that job? And then the cycle continues.

Can you see the cycle in an aspect of your life (big or small, one area or many areas)?

This is why we like Vacations… Auto-pilot must go offline and something shifts even if only for a moment or during vacation.

What if there were a tool, that each individual possesses and can cultivate, to break the cycle?

If this is a Survival cycle, what does a Fulfillment cycle look like?

stay tuned…

Thank you Gretchen Rubin!

I have been struggling, truly struggling, with getting things done and figuring out what motivates and drives me to get things done. I once wrote in a private blog, “It’s a decision to do! Nothing more. Nothing less.” I went on to say that if I wanted to change my diet or drink more water, I didn’t have to throw out my junk food or rearrange my family’s diet – I just did it. It’s the decision. In those moments when I make the decision I feel unstoppable.

Here’s the thing. There are times when I can’t make myself do stuff. I say I need to do something and then I go take a nap or I clean the house. I refuse to hold myself to the work. I struggle and more importantly I suffer. Nothing gets done and all of a sudden I hate myself.

So I try something else.

Maybe if I get someone to hold me accountable I can get myself to follow through. NOPE. That fails, too. It’s awful! The “have to” gets in my way. I start, but just fizzle and I fizzle quickly. And then, I Suffer.

What the hell is wrong with me? I know I can motivate. I know I can do crazy things and be disciplined and drive and make things happen. Why can I do grand things sometimes and at other times I can’t make myself do stuff and other people can’t make me or inspire me either? Even being contrarian doesn’t work for me. If someone says “I bet you can’t!”, I shrug it off and don’t really care.

DAMN IT! What will inspire me to “DO”? This has been my curse.

Until yesterday.

I was listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast and he was interviewing Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen explained there are four tendencies that form out of the question, “How do I respond to expectations?” It turns out that this simple word, expectation, is THE player in what gets people to “DO”. I was interested but not overly so.

Towards the end of the podcast Gretchen came back around to tendencies and asked Tim what he thought his tendency was. Tim is a Questioner and as they discussed the traits in detail I finally understood my husband! I was so excited, while I walked around the lake listening to the podcast, that I actually clapped my hands when they said something that totally explained who he was. I was blown away. I’ve never come across such an on point personality trait description.   I had fallen down the rabbit hole!

Sadly, the only tendency they didn’t discuss was the Rebel and I had a feeling I was one. So, as I often do, I Googled the Rebel tendency and downloaded the book on Audible.

As I learned about the Rebel I started to become super excited to have this awareness of my tendency and at the same time I was terrified. This description of a Rebel from Gretchen’s book really rang true for me: “You can’t make me and neither can I”.rebel

What was I suppose to do with that? I told my husband about our tendencies, from my limited understanding, and his response to mine was, “wow, that sounds really childish.” My heart was broken and I told him so. He wasn’t attacking me but he was saying exactly what I tell myself in my head every time someone tells/asks me to do stuff. First, I react internally with “Well since you want me to, I won’t.” and then another part of me kicks in and says “That’s crazy, you sound like a 5 year old.” And the dissonance begins.

Of course my husband’s compassion kicked in and we started to look for solutions. He wants my success and fulfillment as much as I do. “Maybe if you look for something you want out of the experience?” he said, “like when I wash dishes I think of how much I like the warm water on my hands.”

My husband is so wise. As I listened to the Audible version of The Four Tendencies today that’s pretty much the lynch pin for a Rebel. I have to do it because I want to do it. It has to come from me, but in a way that is a want, not an internal expectation. If I expect myself to do something, I rebel against myself. I know it’s crazy, but it’s true.

I could go on and on about this, but for now I want to learn more about how our reaction to expectations affects our actions. I believe this idea and the four tendencies Gretchen Rubin describes are a powerful framework for self understanding. To find out your tendency go to gretchenrubin.com.

So once again, thank you Gretchen! You have no idea the clarity you have brought to my thoughts, feelings and daily life. I feel empowered and creative and I really owe it all to your understanding of expectations and the fact that you’ve shared it with the world.

“You can’t spell rebel without the BE!” I love it!

 

You’ve possibly heard that once you start going for what you want, the universe starts giving you insight, help and direction along the way. 

Or if you don’t believe the universe is helping you, then run with the science that your RAS (Reticular Activating System) starts filtering the things you see.  You start noticing more of the things that will get you where you want to be, or to what you want to get.

Example:
If you want to buy a new white Jeep Wrangler, you will start seeing them everywhere you go.  Jeeps will just pop up.  It’s not that there are more Jeeps on the road all of a sudden, its just that your RAS isn’t deleting the data before that data is conscious anymore.  You want a Jeep and the brain says “well, we’ll give you all the information that shows up about Jeeps.”

Me personally, I like the sound of the universe or a muse helping me out.  It keeps me humble. You choose what works for you.

Anyway, I was scheduling an appointment with a colleague to talk about a new fun project and my auto-correct changed “my meetup” to “mutt meetup“.  During my hiking meetup (the one I texted about in the previous sentence), I mentioned my auto-correct and my hiking buddy and I  started riffing about what a “mutt meetup” could possibly be.

First it was a meetup for those dog obstacle courses you see on t.v. sometimes.  You know where the dogs run through tunnels and weaves through sticks and over teeter-totters while the human directs them in the fastest manner possible.  You’ve seen these, right?

Well of course, me being a movement freak, I added that people would also be doing the course with their pet and sense it’s a Mutt meetup there would be no skill required.  That’s right, the humans have to crawl through the tunnel and weave through sticks and balance over teeter-totters.  Can you imagine it?  How much fun would that be?   I imagine lots of laughs and comradery, while getting exercise with your pets.

But that wasn’t the end of it. We kept going.

Next, it was timed

Then it was, maybe I would need to invite a dog obstacle course trainer to the meetup. Because people might want their dogs to actually weave through the poles

Then it was oh and we need to get people moving better so they don’t get hurt. So there’s another adventure to play with.

And then…

It was crazy all of the ideas that popped up from a random auto-correct, and it was so much fun to let the ideas run wild.

So here is the point to this crazy aside.  Are you trusting that maybe, just maybe the universe sometimes uses auto-correct to send you ideas?  Maybe?

If so, you may never look at auto-correct the same again.

You’re welcome!

Control
Verb
a) to exercise restraining or directing influence over.
b) to have power over

We take the word control for granted most of the time.  We believe we control our time, our work, the direction of our lives.  At times we attempt to control other people, our children and circumstance.  We use terms and phrases like quality control, control variables, controllers, and self control as ways we can express how we exert power over things.

On an unconscious level control, or perceived control, can play into how we feel about our life and the world.  Take expectations for example, the energy associated with the word expectation, added to this unconscious idea of control, can make us feel like victims of circumstance.  The very word expectation implies that we have control not only of ourselves, but of other people, environments and circumstances.  It makes us believe that a plan will always go perfectly, and when it doesn’t we are frustrated at best or compete failures at worst. With expectations we either get what we plan and move on ignoring our great luck, or the day is a complete wash (disaster) because it didn’t work out as we expected.

A better choice when planning and executing is to have the energy of intentions instead of expectations.  Intentions give us a map to follow to get to a goal, but unlike expectations, detours are allowed.   When we do things from an  energy of intention we are super happy when things work out perfectly.  With intentions we know we only have control over ourselves and that many variables must fall into place to be successful. When things don’t work out perfectly, we are open to modifications to reach our end goal and we are entertained by the adventure.  With intentions we really enjoy and appreciate when things work out perfectly and when they don’t we enjoy the ride.  In making this small choice of energy (intention over Expectation) we find more satisfaction with our day and our choices.

Real life example:

I was getting some family and professional photos taken with my horses and I decided it would be fun to get a photo of me meditating on the butt of a free (no ropes, no saddle, no nothing for control) horse.

The Goal: photo, horse free in the pasture, me on horses butt cross legged, meditating.

If I use expectation: I’m assuming control of the environment, the horse (who I remind you I want completely free), the photographer, the weather, other horses, my hair, my clean cloths… you get the point.  I may even think that, since I’ve trained my horse well and I’m a good rider and the photographer is a professional we can pull this off fairly quickly.  I may expect I jump on and BAM picture perfect.

I may even test to make sure my horse will let me sit on her butt.  If the test works my expectations might be even higher.

This, perfect, picture was taken while I was testing to see if it was even possible.
Thank goodness I’m not an expectation girl.

Things of course don’t always go as planned with horses, I think they enjoy playing with us if we have expectations (yes, I’m anthropomorphizing my horse).  Expectations are a bad plan especially with so many variables including a very playful and mischievous horse.

Luckily I went in with intentions, not expectations.  Here is what happened.

First few attempts she wouldn’t stand still.  So I moved to physical control.

Of course when I let her go she walked off

That’s cool, I can flow with that.  And we got a great picture when she stopped, except….

Horse butt in the background.  Grrr. 

So I went back to basics.  I wasn’t going to try and control her as much.  I was going to put her in an area I liked and wiggle on her back, while she is free until she stands still.

 

This worked because this is what she knows.  It’s how I trained her in the first place

 

And finally, with patience and humor we get the perfect shot.

Here is the takeaway.  We can’t control everything, nor should we try. We can only control ourselves and the way we decide to be in our world.  We can make plans, they can be really good and sometimes they work out perfectly!  Instead of expecting perfect to happen,  really celebrate and enjoy those times. If you think about it, those perfect plans are really hard to create.  Go into your plans with a sense of adventure, with intentions, and enjoy the ride as you create the, sometimes winding, path to your goals.  By controlling what you can, and enjoying the rest you won’t feel like the victim you will have control where it matters most.  In YOU.

Special thanks to Kim Beer at Midnight Productions, inc. For taking all of these really fun photos!

No… really, I am!

Sometimes it doesn’t come across that way. Friends and close introvertacquaintances often assume I am an extrovert.   This is a fair assumption because I’m very playful and outgoing and express extroverted quality in 2 main areas of my life.   The first is with those I am really close to. I’m playful in a very physical and childlike manner. I like to jump and dance and move and get other people to do it with me. Once you know me, and we find common ground I allow my authentic side to emerge.

The other area where I appear extroverted is when I’m in a leadership role. When I feel very comfortable in an environment or I’m running an event, I open up and work very hard to include everyone and make him or her feel at home.

You see, as an introvert, when I’m new to a situation or I’m the student I sit back, I observe and I attempt to be fairly invisible (although animals still feel my playfulness and want it to come out, but that’s another story). Being an introvert I know what it feels like to be outside looking in, to feel alone in a crowd, to feel lost and overwhelmed.  So when I am the leader I make sure to engage and make everyone feel at home, and help them feel safe, heard and connected.

That said, when an event or my “playtime” is done, I just need quiet. I need to shut down and recharge. I don’t want to go out all night; I definitely don’t want to be in environments where I have to yell to communicate. This is mainly because I’m physically incapable of the yelling part. My voice goes up an octave in pitch, but the volume is consistent.   Also, I love a deep conversation, and I find that talking and listening is difficult in a loud environment and this leaves the topics of conversation to general for my taste. Not to mention, if I’ve been going all day I’m physically and mentally done by evening. Nothing personal, it’s just the way it is.

So, for those that know me and even for those that are just meeting me, I know that I come across, quite often as extroverted. I’m high energy and a very positive person but I still need to recharge now and then. You may see me one day acting very quiet, contemplative and passive. Don’t worry, more then likely I’m not sad and nothing is wrong. I’m probably very happy, it’s just that I need some down time. I need to observe and listen and not bounce. Why?

Well…. because I really am an introvert!

Wild Weather

Posted: February 28, 2015 in Life
Tags: , ,
Stormy beach

Wild beach day

For the last day or 2 we have been having on again off again snow. I love snowstorms, especially when there are huge snowflakes. I love all wild weather! I’m not quite sure why I love this weather but I always have. Perhaps because my spirit is somewhat chaotic and the wild weather is something I connect with. I love to walk, and be out in heavy snow

storms. When I’m on the beach I love when the weather is overcast and rainy. I revel in waves and uneasy surf. When Colorado had its 500-year flood I was out and about driving and exploring the chaos. You can read more about that adventure here.

I may have gotten this love of wild weather from my mother. We always go out together and explore. I remember when I was a teenager we, my mother and I, were watching it rain the heaviest rain I had ever seen. We were both gazing out of the window fascinated by the power and we were imagining that there was a tornado somewhere. Sometime later we received a phone call from one of my aunts asking if we were safe. She told us that a tornado did touch down in our town and hit the cemetery. We were out the door to explore almost instantly. We love it. In another life we may have been storm chasers as a profession.

I remember another time when I was a young child that we had a huge blizzard maybe the Colorado blizzard of ’82. No, that was over Christmas. I think that year we powered through the blizzard on Christmas day to go to my aunts house for our traditional get together (just the 2 families). No storm ever stopped my family. On another occasion, maybe ’83, after the storm had passed we went out and built snow forts and my uncle came over with his 3 wheeler and we powered through the snow and he would run into drifts and stop then he would throw me into the snow drift and watch me disappear. We played this game for, what seemed to me, most of the day. I would have kept going but at some point he decided I was frozen and we went home. We may have gone back out, but I don’t remember.

As I write all of these events I’m starting to realize my draw to this kind of weather. For my family it’s always been fun and a way to connect. We have always been happy in this type of weather and it has always been a powerful feeling to be out. When the weather was sending others in, we were always headed out. Love, connection, playfulness, and adventure, that’s what I feel in this weather.

Snow play

What are you doing

During the Colorado flood in 2013 my son was with my mom and me as we powered around. At the time he was 3 and now and then he talks about “the big water”. I don’t think it scared him, since it didn’t scare us and we were having a great time trying to find a road that wasn’t closed so we could go home. He may have gotten bored as we spent hours out driving around. He was such a trooper.

As I sit here writing this post the snow has subsided. It’s still snowing but the flakes are small again, not as powerful as before. I still love the beautiful stillness but it doesn’t call me out the way more extreme weather does. As time goes on I hope that I’m able to pass this love of wild weather onto my son. At this point I think it’s very possible since my husband isn’t dissuaded by weather either.

As a family, our motto seems to be:

Big snow? Let’s hit the slopes!

OR

Bad weather?   Well the office will be quiet and I should get a lot done.

Not much stops us from getting out and living. The more chaotic the weather the more we seem to do.