Since my last post on loneliness, I decided to take a small action in breaking out of my “home comfort zone”. As it sounds, I spend a lot of time at home working and living without a lot of face time with other folks. Like many people, making the effort to get out there and […]
Friends, I hope you enjoy this post from blogger friend Dwight. It is harder to make friends sometimes as we get older. But so very necessary for a good and well-balanced life. I appreciate Dwight’s vulnerability and bravery here.
How comfortable are you when you do not yet know the eventual outcome of a particular decision or choice you have made in life?
You know it was something you wanted to do, for multiple reasons, and yet it did not turn out exactly as you had planned. For some reason though, you trust that is is still the direction you are meant to follow, and that each bend in the road helps you master new a set of skills for the next part of the journey.
Unsettling for a while though, isn’t it?
Especially when all of the advice you are getting leads you back to the place you left. It is well-meaning advice, but it simply does not satisfy the place in your heart that yearns for growth in a different direction.
So you politely thank people for their advice, which may be based on their own fears about their situations more than an accurate assessment of yours. Then you continue doing what you know you must do, following the intuition that will lead you to the next right thing. It is not for the faint of heart, this uncertainty. And yet it can open us up to the types of growth we are meant to experience.
When the doors start to open and your path becomes more clear, you again begin to trust that inner compass. You know that you can choose to remain in your wholeness, and approach your life with presence and lightness every day. And all of these gifts and lessons travel with you to the next place where you will face new trials, and traverse new territory.
Uncertainty can feel uncomfortable. But ultimately knowing that you have the resourcefulness and resilience to meet the next challenge with grace, or at least with a willing and curious spirit, can make all the difference.
Keep your heart open to those moments of knowing, even when your inner critic starts voicing the doubts that others may speak openly. This is that nexus where your vulnerability joins with courage (thank you, Brené Brown). This is where the magic happens.
I kept my word and took a couple days off writing recently. Well, I managed Saturday and Monday. Apparently I cannot resist writing *something* like a haiku on the weekends, even when I was determined to take a break. There really is something to a daily habit that is kind of irresistible.
Yesterday I shared a post from a favorite blogger, and I think I will do that a bit more during the holiday season. I am trying to get organized to keep that information and schedule it out in advance, which is fortunately easy to do on the “old” WordPress editor to which I managed to down-grade.
Lately I have been binge-listening to a podcast show that I really enjoy, called the Pivot Podcast by Jenny Blake. I actually discovered the book while I was in an AirBnB in October, and it felt like the perfect read for my business transition. When I realized Jenny had a podcast, I also checked it out. She introduced me to Penny Pierce, who wrote The Intuitive Way, which is also precious wisdom.
I have been musing on why I cannot get enough of Jenny. I realize it is partly her voice, and the sincerity and openness with which she approaches her craft. Most of her shows are interviews of authors, but a few are solo riffs. She is a public speaker and does keynote addresses, so obviously she has practiced. But I find it easier to connect with authors who are willing to risk the relatively more “vulnerable” practice of using their voices as well as their written words. Also, she is about a decade younger than me, and the wisdom beyond her years amazes me.
It makes me consider whether I want to experiment with such a medium someday, even though I know there’s a crowded media market. It is interesting how podcasts are democratizing a “radio” market, somewhat like blogs democratized the written media market.
I typically like to listen while I’m in my car running errands. I’m a fan public radio and I support my local station each month. But with the news the way it is, I stopped listening daily after Trump was elected. I just couldn’t absorb it all the time. I switched to podcasts so I could “curate” my listening experience a bit more. This post reminded me to update my Audiophiles page. If you are traveling for the holidays and looking for some audio companionship on your journey, check it out. Cheers!
Once in a while I find myself tempted to tell other people how they should live. I get all “judgy” about what they should do, or what I would do in their situation. You don’t do that, do you?
Oh, who am I kidding? Many of us spend our lives judging other people. This is human, perhaps. I must extend myself compassion for the tendency to insert my opinion into other people’s business. One of my favorite wise teachers, Brené Brown, talks about how good it can feel to judge other people. It’s like a pig rolling in mud, she explains in one of her audio books. “Doesn’t it just feel so good?”
Our need to judge and criticize other people comes from our desire to mask some type of shame about the way we feel about ourselves. If we feel bad about our inability to keep our space clean at home, it is SO easy to become judgmental about some other person’s difficulty. We think: “Sheesh, how can they live like that? Do they have a hoarding disorder? Narcissism? (insert criticism here)” We may be bad, but at least we feel we are better than someone else.
While I feel embarrassed to admit how often I judge people, I want to come clean here for the sake of exploring this tendency and understanding what this judgment says about me.
When I first learned to meditate, I was astonished at the thoughts that seemed to flow rather continuously through my fevered brain. Now I react with more curiosity rather than with admonishment or shame. Thoughts appear. Then we react to them, or just observe them and let them go. It takes a lot of practice not to judge ourselves, or judge and evaluate our thoughts, but just to observe them with curiosity instead. I am far from perfect at this, and I’ve been practicing for 556 days in a row.
I realize that holding space for people, particularly those that you love, or those who can easily push your buttons, can be a sacred act of mindfulness as well. It is difficult to withhold judgment and just meet people where they are. It requires great compassion and self-awareness of our own internal critic and the ways in which we constantly compare ourselves to others.
In the case of family, friends or people we care about, sometimes we long to give advice to “help”. But often our best option is to listen, to care and to ask if we can be of service, rather than to offer unsolicited advice how to solve the problem.
If we simply tell people what to do, they often sense our judgment and discomfort. If our advice comes from a place of love and compassion, they may be able to hear it. If not, I think it is best for us to “clean up” our thoughts before launching into our opinions about the issue. Often we gossip to others about what these people should do instead of confronting the issue directly. That is not a good idea either.
Adults can behave however they wish, and we cannot control them. This is a radical idea for some of us. But we can only control our own thoughts and emotions. Trying to control other people is typically a recipe for disaster. While we can sometimes have a positive influence, typically we must lead by example rather than judging, condemning and shaming.
This is a lesson I write to remind myself. I have learned and re-learned it many times. When I focus on things I can control, my own actions and results (and generally the preceding thoughts and emotions), I have more peace, freedom and equanimity.
Today I will tell my team about my career decision news. My director scheduled a mandatory conference call so I could tell them in my own words what I intend to do, and that I will leave the company in early August.
It is interesting that my subconscious was working on this task as I slept last night. I had a “naked dream” last night. I was the only one without clothing, but somehow I did not feel at all self-conscious. I am choosing to interpret this to mean that, though I am making a somewhat vulnerable choice and I am totally exposing my goals, dreams and plans before they are fully baked, I am ready.
In reflecting this morning in my journal about the message I hope to deliver, I started realizing that it boils down to this: I want to reinforce the idea that they are a “small and mighty” team. But I also want to model courageous change. Instead of leaving them feeling abandoned, I want them to realize how strong they are and how resilient. While I worried plenty about who would “protect them” if I left, I now know everything will be fine.
Sometimes our fears of being who we are get in the way of taking our next steps for development. Speaking personally, I know how vulnerable it is to admit a dream to someone else, knowing they may not understand. They may tell us: you’re crazy! They may induce doubt that are dreams are worth pursuing, or fear that we may fail.
But being who we are, and exposing that truth about what we desire is fundamental to our longing as human beings. I think Glennon Melton Doyle said this in a conversation to Liz Gilbert during a podcast. Her desire was to be known for herself, for the truth of who she is.
My dream this morning helped me realize that I am the one who needs to accept myself as I am. Whether others do or not is really irrelevant. But at the same time, it is being my best, brave, true self that may help them do the same.
May you feel free to be who you are and live your dreams and desires.