If Bill Gates says so…

Brrrrrr. It’s freezing cold here with  lots of snow, school closing, and howling winds. Hello February.

Just because it’s dark and cold and the big gift giving holidays have passed,  you don’t have to stop giving or receiving gifts. February is really an excellent time to be extra friendly to yourself.

Start with a gift from you to you. How about permission to drop, “I should be able to do this alone?” If you don’t believe me, check out this 1.25 minute video of Bill Gates  telling you the very same thing 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLF90uwII1k&feature=youtu.be

Then get a gift from me too:  Permission Granted: Move Into Change With Your Own Approval here.

And another one, this lovely poem…

All I live for is now
All I stand for is where and how
All I wish for are magic moments

As I sail through change
My resolve remains the same
What I chose are magic moments

Because ships are safe in the harbour
But that is not what ships are made for
The mind could stretch much further
But it seems that is not what our minds are trained for

We call for random order
You can’t control Mother nature’s daughter

Ships are safe in the harbour
But that is not what ships are built for

The witch hunter roams
The scary thing is that he’s not alone
He’s trying to down my magic moments

As we sail through change
Ride the wind of a silent rage
And sing laments of magic moments

– unknown

Don’t be shy! If you like this, share it. Comment if you have something to say. I would love it. Thanks!

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There Will Be Failure

You’re going to fail. I will too. During this winter holiday season we will all fail in some way or other, at least once. We’ll say the wrong thing, omit a present, eat poorly, rush ourselves and our loved-ones, maybe snarl at someone just doing his job, or worse, snap at someone close to us. Most of all, we’ll forget that we have control over how we react and a choice about how we manage moment to moment. (For tips about how to Turn Your Day Around in 180 Seconds, you can get the Move Into Change newsletter here.)

Failure is real and, though we might not realize it, we’re successful because we fail not in spite of it. We fail continually during each and every day. When something doesn’t work out (a form of failure) we adjust (a form of success) until we transform a small mistake or an epic fail into a different success. Ryan Babineaux (Fail Fast, Fail Often) calls this process “failing forward,” a term I’ve come to adore.

So what of the failures you’ll inevitably encounter during the next few weeks? How can you take some control over the sense of overwhelm that causes you to miss opportunities? How can you strengthen your relationships? How do you ease the stress that causes you to make a default choice instead of acting on a deeper commitment to yourself?

You can begin by understanding more about the value of failure (look for future posts).

And, you can pause to bring some compassion to yourself for your mistake.

It’s possible to pause any situation you’re in. It’s possible to take a mere 5 minutes to check – in with yourself so you don’t check-out by responding more like a puppet than the terrific person you are.

Often it’s at this time of year that you wish you had already built stronger  resilience so you’d have something to rely on now, when you need it most. If you’ve already been practicing, the holiday season can make it more challenging to carve out 30 minutes to meditate or an hour to exercise amidst all the shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, socializing and traveling.

It’s never to late to start to develop your Pause Ability. You don’t need a guru, fancy equipment, or find non-existent hours to devote to it.

And, with the gift of the pause, there will be success.

New In 2015 INTRODUCING! The Pause Ability Place.

I’d love to hear about the miniscule and gigantic ways a simple pause helped you. Or, if you use PauseAbilities, tell me about that. I’ll share your stories in future newsletters (with your permission, of course). If you aren’t receiving the newsletter yet, you can see a sample or sign up and get started on making change in your life with my complimentary workbook, “Permission Granted: Move Into Change With Your Own Approval,” here.

A story from my life to start us off …
The other day, I was organizing my office closet. It was going pretty well. There were problems and re-adjustments that flowed so quickly from one to the next the process felt almost effortless. Then, there was that moment… half of my files, books, coaching materials and office supplies were still piled up outside the closet and the closet was full. Ugh. After too many tries, I still couldn’t figure out how to make it all fit. Frustrated, I was tempted to walk away or shove it all in  and slam the door (not gently).

cartoon-lady-closet1-246x300

Instead, I paused. I noticed the tightness in my chest & shoulders and the tizzy I was in. I could hardly sense my legs because there was so much going on in my mind; “Look at the mess, I’ll never find a place for everything. What possessed me to start this project today?!” I needed grounding. I took out my phone and following the prompts from PauseAbility #3, I felt some relief. I realized I was trying to squeeze an idea from my frustrated mind, and within the space of the pause, a new idea came to me. Ah, much better.

Here’s another…

I am holding this space for you to reply to me and share your story that will appear in our Pause Ability Place coming in 2015. With the next story be yours?

Warmly,

Judy

 

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Puppet or Pause Ability?

116663554-mannequin-style-string-puppet-or-marionette-gettyimagesLast night I was watching How to Get Away With Murder when I needed a drink. I pressed the pause button on the remote and made the trek upstairs to the kitchen. After sipping some water, I sat back down to witness Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) careen between being a terrifying control freak and a horrible hot mess of a brilliant woman.

 

I felt great. I was more comfortable and noticeably more alert because I had paused. Davis’s character was still being pulled apart by her emotions. Poor Annalise …

 

We’re all familiar with pausing a show or a song to run to the bathroom or get a snack. That’s all it takes to to get what we need. It’s pretty easy, right?

 

Most pauses take a mere 3 – 5 minutes. Pauses that give us time for something other than a snack, like interrupting an emotional explosion (remember counting to 10?) or before we’re about to make a presentation or enter a social setting like a party, also take little time. But they tend to be something we only occasionally remember to do.

 

Mostly we shift quickly from one thing to the next without a moments pause. We barely register our full reaction before it’s off to the races. When we do remember to pause, we usually don’t take complete advantage of it, either.

 

Fly on the wall at Erin’s office just the other day:

Erin gets on the phone with her client, Michael, a few seconds after having an unpleasant interaction with a co-worker. Michael doesn’t t know anything about this situation but within the first few seconds he reacts to her tone of voice. She seems to be in a negative mood and distracted (which she is). He wonders if he’s done something to annoy her. Michael questions whether Erin is truly ready to give him the attention he had paid for.         Uh oh!

If you knew Erin, you’d know that she is smart, good at her job, committed to her clients, caring in her relationships, and well meaning. Erin is also a busy person. Being the mature woman that she is, Erin most likely noticed her upset. Perhaps she felt “frustration.” She probably said something to herself like “Grrr, better pull myself together, I have a call in 2 minutes, can’t deal with this now, it’s too big…” She may not have noticed her jaw clench and her breathing tighten. She certainly thought she could push the annoyance aside and get going on the next agenda item.

 

The thing is, all that pushing aside has an effect. Often it affects us in the moment, as in Erin’s first few minutes with Michael. Too frequently, the accumulation of countless unacknowledged reactions in our day leaves us drained, fatigued, short tempered and/or vaguely anxious.

 

Have you had an experience like Erin’s or have you had thoughts like these?

“But if I stop, even for just a few minutes, I might collapse and not start back up again, ever!”

 “I’ll pause after I finish this, and that, and that. Then I’ll be able to take care of me and it. ”

 “I’ll take go back and revisit it after I’ve crossed everything off my list for the day.”

 “What will a few minutes do? I have to focus on what’s important! I need to bear down.”

 

I have said these same words or a version of them. So have my clients.

 

It’s easy to get caught in believing that ignoring our selves won’t matter, or that we’ll catch up with our inner life later. It can also be a challenge to trust that pausing will make a big enough difference for us to be willing to do it.

 

It matters.

Think about how many times in your day you transition from one thing to the next. Not one, not two, could be fifty, could be hundreds. If we are carrying unacknowledged sensations from just a third of those moments with us, we are unlikely to be our best. And, that’s an understatement! By the end of the day or even earlier, we are very likely to be drained and scattered. We might observe ourselves numbing out with TV, food, or silly FB quizzes if we weren’t so busy trying to get away from ourselves.

 

Not only does our go- go life drain us of vital life energy, it robs us of knowing the best of ourselves. It impacts on work, personal relationships and our fundamental feeling of being at home within ourselves, something we rarely take the time to nourish.

 

If we begin to become aware of what’s happening inside us, we can then make choices about how to work with it. It allows us to regulate impulses, thoughts, emotions and behaviors at the micro level. With each pause we strengthen our ability to make a new choice, to allow a fresher perspective to bubble up.

 

It’s as if the pause opens the door for new possibilities to occur to us. And the ability to do that gives us the strength to pause more.

 

But, if we continue to go through life unaware, we’re more like puppets, individuals who allow life to happen to us.

 

The pause allows us to check in for a moment with who we are. The pause sets the stage for us to align who we really are with what we do. 

 9019737-hand-cutting-the-strings-of-a-puppet-giving-it-freedomThe pause cuts the puppet strings for a moment.

 

Now we have a pause, which opens up possibilities and then becomes a skill, an ability… a Pause Ability!

Thanks for coming with me this far. There’s more to come when I share one best way to pause.

If you liked this, share it!

Warmly

Judy

Sign up for the MoveIntoChange informative and non-annoying newsletter here.

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Why You Need a Vision

featureThat’s what goals are for.

Are you confused about the difference?  A big vision is the starting point for change.  A big vision give us something to reach for. Hint:  If it’s something that feels just enough beyond your reach that it’s a tad scary, it’s a sign that you’re on the right track.

Goals ground us in the practical, in what specific parts of our vision will look like in real time, real life, in our real life. A big vision without goals is like dreaming of cooking the best meal ever without deciding what will be on the menu. It would be the folks at NASA imagining a man on the moon and leaving it at that. However, goals that don’t come out of a big vision exist in a type of limbo, purpose-less, limited, and therefore much harder to act on with authentic enthusiasm.

Why have a big vision anyway?

Humans won’t create something we can’t imagine. We’re designed that way.

We’re actually using aspects of visioning all the time. When we go shopping we may have an idea  – not always fully formed – of what we want. The feeling of, “I’ll know it when I see it,” tells us we trust visioning, that we know a real item can get very close to matching this unclear picture we already have. Or you may say, ” I want a bladdedy bah coat with boop bap beep on it, in cocoa brown,” giving rise to a picture of your coat while you describe it. That image may even look like something you’ve seen already, but not quite.  For some of us, this happens so quickly or under the surface that we hardly notice it while others use this function of our brain more consciously, more easily, more often.

If visioning is done well, it taps into our subconscious, into our emotions, our values – the roots of our drive and motivation. A big vision galvanizes us. We’re energized and alert.

Conjuring an image is one aspect of visioning, but not the whole enchilada (did you picture an enchilada when you read that?). A big vision needs to tap into meaning for us, and that usually translates to us seeing how what we want benefits someone else, or something larger than ourselves. Somehow connecting our personal agenda with  “the better angels of our nature” grows passion, which is another word for drive. With a fully fleshed out vision, the urge to go forward increases exponentially.

After that, come the goals.

Visioning answers the questions What if ? and Why? Goals answer the questions, What? and When?

What’s easiest for you, visioning or setting goals?

Don’t forget to leave a comment and share with your friends! Would you like tips and tools for self coaching?  Sign up for the Move Into Change FREE non-annoying newsletter here.

Today!

Today

My friend Carol, who’s absence is an ache in my heart, loved the word RESPECT.  Carol played seriously and learned playfully, continually calling on me to Re-Spect or “look again” during countless staff development days when I was her teaching colleague.

What does it mean to look again? It means that there’s always an opportunity to become more there for what’s here.. for a moment, for a person, for a situation, for a problem, for a feeling.

It means that what we thought was true about that moment, that person, this problem, that situation, this feeling, might have something else that’s true about it, too. Or, our interpretation might morph into one entirely different from what we thought at first pass.

Looking again might require a quick shift, a question, a breath between thought and action – or pause. Or, it might require a longer commitment to practices that help us suspend judgment so we can listen more closely to deeper truths… whatever they might be.

Looking again might apply to worrying, or some other habitual thought process like judging others, or some other default mode we use to comfort ourselves or to numb our wounded hearts. Each time we look again we add another droplet, our droplet, to the greater lake of humanity, becoming more…

Yesterday,  I was watching an older man with a very young girl in the pool. The older man was gruffly exhorting the 5-year old to swim faster and farther. To my horror, as the girl swam closer and closer to him, the man put his hand out and pushed her tiny head underwater and then stepped backwards, waiting calmly for her to resurface and swim an even greater distance.

I blazed with indignation on the girl’s behalf. I pretty near vibrated off the chaise with self-righteous parenting and teaching knowledge. Luckily, I knew to say nothing.

Moments later Dmitri was sitting next to me telling me his story. This child is his joy,  his grasp at a life beyond grief after the loss of his first- born adult child who died in an accident one week before college graduation. This little girl loves to swim and Dmitri makes time every day to play in the pool with her, sometimes twice a day. He adopted her recently. Dmitri loves her with his whole old-school heart. Well, crack mine open.

If you struggle with not enough time, now is the perfect moment to look again. What do you think about time? Does it rule you? Do you allow the unimportant to derail you? What’s really important to you, anyhow? Do you believe you have to manage time by doing 5 things at once, or by berating yourself for not getting through #99 in your To Do list?

How willing are you to look-again at what gets in the way of being in time, in sync, with your priorities, the true ones?

We all have the same amount of time each day – everyone one of us, the Dalai Lama, Oprah, the bus driver, the hoodied guy at library searching online for jobs, the jogging mom balancing a latte while pushing a double-wide stroller, and the twenty-something on her way to work at Walmart headquarters.

So today, what will you re-pect? Will it be you?

 

 

Wednesday Words: Deviate Baby

crapsdiceroll It’s possible that life could get better by chance…it could happen, it sometimes does. But to paraphrase Jim Rohn, it’s more likely that life, your life, my life, will get better by change, not chance.

And, if you’re like me, the phrase “Get out of your comfort zone” feels a bit stale  (wise as this advice might be). Instead, think about the shift a small deviation can bring. Want something specific in your life to be different than it has been? Ask yourself, “What’s normal for me?” and then deviate.

Neuroscience tells us something fascinating about our brains; while one system craves routine and “normalcy,” the other thrives on variety and change. No wonder we strive to get into a groove and then before we know it that system becomes a numbing rut!

When I moved our entire household for the second time in four months, I couldn’t help but notice how essential it was to establish routines. You know, for those areas of life where going on automatic makes it possible to think about something beyond “Where’d I put the spoons?” At the same time,  it was delightful to see our stuff in new places and to register the absence of the usual. Fresh sights, sounds and smells made me more alert and I could be a smidge more present to my immediate surroundings.

You don’t have to move to experience small changes lthat remind you of your vitality.Tiny deviations, a new route to work, wearing your watch on the other wrist, saying “No” when you’d normally say “Yes,”  or, saying  “Yes,” when you’d habitually say, “No” can wake you up.  You shift perspective.  Loosened up and re-connected you just may feel emboldened to discover a different response to a persistent problem, or even go for that new form of exercise, eating habit, meditation practice, job, or who knows…

Invite some playfulness and creativity into this practice- nothing more needed than what you can already muster – and take a look at at what you can tweak this week. Post your ideas here!

Enjoy!

Judy

Sample Move Into Change Newsletter here.

Wednesday Words: Too Short For Shoulds

  • too short

Our inner score-keeper keeps track of how often and how well we live up to its demands. It’s favorite word is “should.”

  • I should exercise.
  • I should be nicer, kinder, more accepting.
  • I should eat healthier food.
  • I should read these types of books.
  • I should watch these types of movies.
  • I should be the kind of person who wants to read those books and sees those movies.
  • I should be more assertive, confident, proactive.
  • I should be grateful for what I have.
  • I should work harder, smarter, and more productively.
  • I should have better relationships with my family.
  • I should be more successful than I am.
  •  I’m not keeping score, should I?
  • I should obey the voice that tells me what I “should” do and then I’ll be…

When was the last time obeying a “should” truly gave you the sense of well-being you thought you’d get when you cajoled (coerced, convinced) yourself to do the thing you “should” do – which, let’s be honest – isn’t very often?

Never? Or, not for very long until exhaustion, apathy, resentment, rebellion, or avoidance show up. That’s because when we “should” ourselves we are aligning with only one part of ourselves. That part is prone to black and white thinking. Its solutions to our problems are usually pat prescriptions.

The “should” voice is likely an external judgment we internalized long ago and because it’s old, it lacks the nuance and flexibility of mature creative thinking (despite logical sounding adult vocabulary).

Have you noticed that when you succeed at doing  the “should,” you may experience momentary relief and then there’s a sense of hollowness. You feel empty because the “should” had no real meaning for moving your life forward now.  You may not even realize your predicament because, before you know it, more “shoulds” jump into the void.

Since it’s always asking you to keep up (because you lack whatever it’s telling you to do) keeping score can only lead to anxiety and more negative thoughts. Never enough…not good enough, if only I could get myself to do this I’d be a ___ person.

The trick is to recognize “shoulds” for what they are; only one part of many ways we talk to ourselves. No more true or right about us than any other part. We don’t have to believe it. When we are aligned with the score-keeper, when we see it as the whole truth and nothing but the truth, we do believe it and that’s where the struggle begins.

Clues that we’re aligned with the “should”:

  • Obviously, the word “should” as in, I should stop saying “should” – don’t fall for that one.
  • We get excited at the idea that finally, this time, we’ll be able to live up to the expectations.
  • We are feeling shame and this offers us the way out – but it doesn’t really protect us.
  • We don’t want to do it, whatever it is.
  • Or, we are avoiding or resisting the very thing we want to do.
  • We are worried that if we don’t listen something bad will happen, like we’ll become lazy, dishonest, a homicidal maniac, a bag lady, unlikeable, immoral, or unworthy.

We can’t banish “shoulds.”  We can learn to recognize when we’ve bought into the score-keeping attitudes. We can spend time watching our thinking so we can see that we’re more than those thoughts. We can sense in our bodies that we are more, much more than any set of rules.

We can tap into life, which is too short to waste on trying to appease the score-keeper.

Wednesday Words: Water Yourself

Right to growIf you’ve been reading this blog for a while or are getting my Move Into Change newsletters, you already know how much I adore Cheryl Strayed. This quote comes from Tiny Beautiful Things, a small book whose outsized compassion and powerful writing knocks me out every time. It’s a must.

The above quote reminds me of two foundational aspects of personal growth that I forget to talk about sometimes.

1) The right to grow is in our very nature. We often think that we have to prove to someone that we have it – but we don’t. A gazillion years ago, Byron Katie  told me that if I thought of myself as the tree outside my window, it would be simple to understand my own worth and then get out of my own way. I never forgot it.

Now I know  she meant that to participate in and contribute to the ongoing creation of life as it moves forward from moment to moments is our birthright. Trees don’t question it, so maybe we don’t need to, either.

2) The moment when I recognized that I wasn’t showing up in my own life was the precise moment II began to grow up. Don’t ask me how old I was…

Recognizing that we all must do this for ourselves is basic, yet so many of us resist.  Looking for others to do for us that which we refuse to do for ourselves leads only to disappointment, anxiety, isolation and a a profound sense of loss. Attempting to teach other people (like our children) how to do this is futile unless we live it first. By the way, all things I llearned the hard way.

Do not misunderstand, I don’t mean that we shouldn’t ask for help or trust others to support us. If we lack the core ability to show up for our real needs, it doesn’t matter how many people love us (or how much external pampering we give ourselves),  we’ve left the person who really matters (us) by the side of the road. And nothing, can make up for that.

So, grow yourself and don’t forget that you can carry the water.

watering