Friday’s Focus—Admitting

The other day, Jill, a friend of my family, had called me in tears saying that she couldn’t do it anymore. She couldn’t handle the pressures of her current work situation and didn’t know what to do about it.

She had never said anything like this to me before and though we were friendly enough with each other and spoke often about what was happening in our lives there was still always that separation between us, so I was especially caught off guard by the brutal honesty of her call. She was given a three week work assignment that exposed her to levels of business dealings and decision makings she didn’t have a lot of previous experience with. I knew that on one hand she was excited at the prospect of being trusted but on the other, nervous about how it would all work out. The time came and there were the normal blips that happened and she was handling things well enough to keep things moving. But then the call came.

It was just one of those days when nothing was going right and whatever could go wrong did. Imagine weeks of Mercury Retrograde packed into a few hours! Situations and problems just exploded exponentially. The morning of the call, there were already problems brewing on the job but then, the personality of one particular employee, who was high-maintenance and had a combative nature was the factor that tipped Jill’s balance. Jill had taken this woman under her wing because she reminded Jill of her own mom, but this woman’s constant neediness and antagonistic behavior was becoming a real issue from increased confusion of early onset Alzheimer’s. Coupled with a series of problems that had come up that Thursday morning brought the frustrations of Jill’s new responsibilities to a peak. Her initial fear of not being able to do the job seemed to come to fruition and that morning brought her to the point of the phone call to me and the tears.

In truth, it was the first time that she was left with such enormous responsibility and for such a long time, and I think it would have been a challenge to many people with her experience. Listening to her talk, I didn’t judge her for how she was feeling because when I heard her say that she couldn’t do it all and didn’t know what to do or who to talk to, I heard myself in her voice and in her words and most deeply, I heard myself in her tears. How could I possibly judge her for something I knew only too well from experience, from words and tears I’ve cried myself?

I just listened and let her talk. I assured her that she was going to be alright and that all she could do, and all anyone could expect from her, was to do the best that she could. There’s no way that she would know all the answers to the situations that cropped up—how could she since she never dealt with them in that capacity before? I told her she did the right thing by walking away from an argument that was brewing. She was afraid of what she was going to say and so walked away to sit in her office to cool down and gather her thoughts. It was then that she called me. I was really surprised that it was me she reached out to, but I’m glad she did, because I completely understood every emotion she was going through.

The conversation with Jill was a good reminder about how important it is for each one of us to feel free to admit our fears and frustrations and honestly say, “I don’t know how to do this.” or “I can’t handle this.” It’s here in that mustard-seed moment that our true power comes in.

Each one of us has our own threshold of what we can handle or think we can handle and we do so in different ways. Some people dodge responsibilities when they feel they can’t handle them, others plow through them like a bull, and then there are those, who I think are the bravest of all, are honest with themselves and admit that it’s not working.

My mother used to say, “Don’t play hero,” meaning don’t be so full of bravado to think you can handle everything yourself. The real hero, as far as I’m concerned is the person who admits that they can’t do everything themselves and that they don’t know it all. And there’s no shame in that. Even just admitting it to yourself is an act of release that opens up space and energy in yourself, creating room to allow for growth.

Admitting that something is too much for you to handle is not a sign of weakness, insecurity, or immaturity as some would have you believe. I look at it as a sign of maturity, honesty, and integrity with yourself and it’s from that place, from that deep place of surrendering and acknowledging that you don’t know, don’t have all the answers, and don’t know what to do is when we grow our strongest self.

I am lucky in that I have someone in my life I have said the very same things to about situations I found myself in and I have had my days of being alone where the only thing I felt I could do was literally throw my hands in the air and cry out to an empty room, “I can’t do this!” Each time I did this, I grew. And I know Jill will too. And you, as you’re reading this thinking about your own situation that you’re wondering how you’re going to get through.

I hope this Friday’s Focus will take you to a place in yourself where you can find solace in knowing it’s okay to admit, even to yourself—when you’ve had enough and you don’t know what to do. It’s okay to admit that we don’t have all the answers. It doesn’t matter if it comes as a shout or a whisper, you’ll find that you can do whatever it is but you will do it to the best that you can and not to the expectations others had for you or the ones you may have placed on yourself.

Go and be your own hero today!

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Friday’s Focus—It’s More Than Just Making a Wish

As children, we are often asked what we want to be when we grow up and as we grow older, the question broadens into What do we want out of life? For some, the answer comes easier than others and sometimes the answer changes depending on what stage we’re in with our life.

We’re so busy thinking about the end result of who we want to be and where we want to be and what we’re going to do or buy or have once we reach our goal that oftentimes we overlook the path it takes to get us there.

For example, if you what you want is to be wealthy and have abundant amounts of money, you may end up in a business or banking career where you’ll have the money but you’re working all the time and don’t have the freedom to enjoy your wealth. You got the money you wanted but you’re not happy and you spend each day with the nagging feeling that there’s got to be more than this. The energy that was behind that end desire created a path that wasn’t exactly what you envisioned. There are many paths to get what you want out of life. The Universe has a funny way of giving us exactly what we ask for but not so much in the way we imagined it sometimes.

Right now, take a moment and think of the path you want to take to get what want out of life.  Taste it, smell it, hear it, feel it; envision each day down to the mundane tasks of the everyday minutiae down to what bank will you have your accounts in? How does your day begin and end? What kind of food will be in your refrigerator? What type of friends will you have? What does your home look like? Your office/studio?

Really put yourself into the life you want and feel yourself going through the activities. Shakti Gawain talks about creative visualization and using all of your senses to picture what it is you want, putting it into a pink bubble and releasing it into the Universe. There is energy behind our thoughts and intentions that are powerful enough to  create what we desire. Even our fears can draw what we don’t want to us by the sheer energy of the emotions behind them.

With today’s Focus, I want you to really picture what you want your path to look like. Sitting quietly or in mediation will free up your imagination and intuition and you may even discover paths you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. It’s important to sit quietly and put real energy into how you want to get to what you want out of life. Don’t just picture where you want to live but feel what’s like to walk across the room—is there carpet or hard flooring? What kind of couch are you sitting on?

You don’t need to know exactly how each step will unfold but steep yourself in the intention and the emotions behind the steps on the path and the energies will find their way to provide you with what you want. Practice already putting yourself into the life you want rather than just making a wish.

If if helps, use tools such as scrapbooking, Pinterest, or even creating a vision board and keeping it someplace where you’ll see it often. Let yourself step out of your own way and be open to possibilities you might not even be aware of yet that can turn up in a moment’s notice.

Envisioning what we wish for just a little but deeper.

Friday’s Focus—Everything Has a Heart

Hand on the doorknob, looking out the glass door, I was ready to step outside when I stopped. My eyes locked on a bug hanging onto the door frame with his (her?) 6 fuzzy legs. Its wings were folded back, and its head cocked in a way it seemed it was looking right back at me; curious or perhaps just as equally shocked, I didn’t know. There was no stinger or biting pinchers but I was afraid of what else it could do—you know, get inside the house and attack my hair or just crawl on my skin.

My gut reaction in seeing anything that flies or crawls is to kill it or flick it as far away from me as possible. I was ready to fling the door open to “send it to the light” (light-speak for killing it), when I decided to get one last look at this thing that was big enough to have its own shadow. Of course, having the glass window between us helped facilitate my newfound feelings of bravery.

So there we stood (or rather, he/she/it hung to the door and I stood), nose to wing. Its eyes were so big and round it seemed that’s all there was to its head. Its torso was narrow with an upturn at the end. The legs were long and crinked at sharp angles, ending in what looked like split feet.

I was intrigued and disgusted at the same time. After a few minutes of this science experiment, I was ready to end it and go outside once and for all. I reached for the door handle one more time, and as I took a last look at the bug, a slight movement caught my eye. Peering a bit more closely, I was shocked to realize that I could actually see this thing breathing.

Inoutinoutinoutinoutinout. Its torso pulsing with a rapid in and out movement at a rate that reminded me of a rabbit’s heartbeat.

Heartbeat? Bugs have hearts? Bugs breathe? Bugs have lungs? This was a first, I thought. I’ve dealt with my fair share of bugs in my life but I’ve never seen one breathe. Now mind you, of course, this only added to the ick factor of there being a bug large enough to see it take a breath. My mind immediately began to draw parallels to Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and Vincent Price in the classic 1958 movie, “The Fly.” Maybe it’s even one of those drones I’ve been hearing about. …?

I stepped closer to the glass again and we took each other in. I looked into his huge eyes and wondered what I looked like to him. I looked at the details of his body from the sucker-type feet that clung to the door frame to the tiny, white, hairy protrusions that sprouted in puffs all over his body.  The veining in its wings was a marvel of patterns.

To me, it was a still a bug and it was still gross and scary and big, but seeing it breathe changed the way I looked at it. I suppose, in a sense it made it more “real”. It was no longer a thing—a threat (albeit a perceived one from my end). It was a living, breathing, entity. It was a-l-i-v-e. It was created and I couldn’t bring myself to kill it. That day I understood for the first time that even bugs have hearts, and I felt a shift in my compassion with life. It became so clear that just because I was creeped out by something I didn’t understand or feared, my instinct was to destroy it before it (maybe) destroyed me.

That lesson can easily be magnified into how we are with each other. People seek out to destroy those they fear or don’t understand. So, maybe if we can remember we are all sentient beings just trying to survive in the best way we can, we can deepen our compassion and tolerance with each other and remember, that even bugs have hearts.

Now, spiders—they’re a different story!

Friday’s Focus—Landscapes

And it all comes down to this.

The grass will always grow through the cracks in the sidewalks and the vines will reclaim the landscape from the concrete and steel.

It’s all just a matter of time before there comes a balance again, when we can catch our breath as we stand between the wall and the cliff.

There is a balance that is always there, but it is not not always equal except maybe in our delusions. Even then, nothing stays the same for long. Everything changes and sometimes they can be so subtle it seems like nothing has changed at all.

And it’s then, when we look back, do we see that it wasn’t so much the situations that changed. Instead, it was us and our perception of our own landscapes of concrete and steel that changed and we saw the grass through the cracks in the sidewalks and the wildflowers in the playground.

Today’s focus is about the trust that things change whether we want them to or not. It’s our perceptions of our landscapes and the necessity of finding the stillness within that will determine whether we are gazing at weeds or wildflowers.

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