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Remembering What Matters

Tuesday, 15. April 2014 18:12

Swallowtail Butterfly share flowersIt’s a year after the Boston Marathon bombings, and as I listen to the stories of those who have lost limbs and loved ones, I find myself deeply moved and weepy.  How lucky am I to have these two legs, these two arms and my loved ones present and accounted for?  And it occurs to me how I often forget to appreciate these simple blessings daily.

What courage it takes to accept and rebuild your life, once something in it has been changed forever – something over which you had absolutely no control.   And yet, I know that many trauma survivors not only survive; they thrive.  They find new meaning and purpose, they love harder, appreciate more and live fully.  On this day of remembering, I am inspired and commit myself to living and loving with the wholeness of my being. I am grateful for the courage of those who have gone before me to show me how, and to help me to never forget that it is the only thing that truly matters.

Category:Self Actualization, Spirituality, Uncategorized | Comments (1) | Author:

Success? What is it?

Tuesday, 25. March 2014 15:24

I happened upon an NPR Ted Talk with Alain de Botton, author of  “Status Anxiety” that truly spoke to me and made me ask myself, am I doing what I love and do I feel successful?

This particular quote from de Botton summed up the heart of the matter:

“So what I want to argue for is not that we should give up on our ideas of success, but we should make sure that they are our own. We should focus in on our ideas and make sure that we own them, that we are truly the authors of our own ambitions because it’s bad enough not getting what you want; but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want, and find out at the end of the journey that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along. So by all means, success – yes. But let’s accept the strangeness of some of our ideas. Let’s probe away at our notions of success. Let’s make sure our ideas of success are truly our own.”

I am hoping that you are making your life and your success your own.  You can listen to  the original interview with  Alain de Botton on NPR  and read more about my personal journey toward “success” at  The Project U. blog.

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Because Each of Us Matters

Tuesday, 19. November 2013 15:02

Swallowtail Butterfly share flowersHave you ever thought about who makes up your “we”? Is it your family, your partner, your political party, or your work associates?  Or maybe it’s the human race, or all the creatures of the earth?  Perhaps your answer changes depending on the issue at stake.

The way you navigate between the needs of I, you and we in your life can be tricky. How do you meet your needs and the needs of others when they compete? For example, if your “I “ almost always comes second to your service to others in your life, how does that feel for you?  Alternatively, how does it feel if you almost always seek to meet your own needs before considering the needs of others?

Say these definitions to yourself:

Loving only you is self-less;

Loving only me is selfish and

Loving me and you is self–full.

And these:

Each of us is responsible for meeting our own needs; and

Your needs and my needs matter equally, not more or less.

How was that for you?

I find it empowering to know that our needs matter equally and that I can trust you to take care of yourself. It means I can care about others (you and we) in my life without abandoning me. It enhances my respect for both of us.

I can always choose to consider our needs together in my solution set.  That’s not an obligation, it’s a choice, and that encourages me to discover creative solutions that solve problems in ways that benefit more of us.

In this context, one of my favorite questions is this:

“What choices bring more love and abundance to me, to you and to us?”

Finding your way to meet the needs of I, with you and we, may fill a lifetime.  Hopefully, each of us seeks a balance that not only nurtures us, but also allows us to contribute to our community and to our world in meaningful ways.   Because each of us matters – and how we live this consciousness makes all the difference.

 

 

 

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Reconciliation and Healing

Monday, 2. September 2013 13:01

I so loved this post, entitled Reconciliation by blogger and yogi Jennifer Pastiloff. I wanted to share (what was for me) the most resonant piece of the essay.

How does the heart reconcile? Does it?

We move on. We get up and go and come home and pour a glass of wine or not, but we never fully get over things. What does getting over even mean? It sounds like some kind of vengeful expression that they would make a movie out of like Die Hard. Getting Over It Part 7.

I am going to get one over on you. I am getting over. It suggests that there is something underfoot, something to be trampled on and overcome.

My heart does not want to overcome or trample on my losses but rather assimilate them into my life so I can function like a “normal” adult with responsibilities and schedules. Right now, I stay in pajamas and write unless I have to go and teach, and I worry about things like having a girl because how do you even braid hair? I worry about having children. Period.

How do you make a diorama? How do you do algebra? What if I don’t want to watch their soccer practice? 

What is a normal adult? Is there such a thing?

I am a woman of a certain age. (Yes, yes, in comparison, I may be very young. I am sure some of you reading are rolling your eyes and saying, “Girl, you are so young.”) Not in baby-making years. I am not at all. Trust me on this. I am young at heart and maybe young looking, but when it comes to ovaries and eggs, I am meh at best.

Do I need to reconcile all my losses before I bring life into the world? Do I need to do the proverbial getting my sh*t together before I make a move?

(What do I do? Who do I ask?)

I have always fantasized about having someone who would give me answers, which is why it was especially devastating that my father died so young because, although I am sure his answers would be fifty percent bullshit, I would take them as The Word, happily and without question. (I would!)

Here I am a teacher and a leader, and I am still searching for someone to tell me what to do.

As I have written about before, one of the worst things for me is deciding what to eat. Recently, in Bali, I went out to eat with someone who takes my yoga classes, and I couldn’t decide what I wanted. I hemmed and hawed and changed my order. I fretted.

She said something to the effect of I have never seen that side of you.

What side? The pressure I feel to be somebody that always inspires, that always knows what to do and what to order and what to eat. I don’t even know if I want a baby, and I am in my late thirties.

So yes, there is this side of me. The side of me that doesn’t know. Who has lost a lot. Who has anxiety, still, yes. Who, sometimes, doesn’t leave her house and who would prefer to write than do or teach yoga and who tends to take things too personally and drinks too much coffee and gets stuck in the past and novels, too.

I have reconciled those things for the most part (some I’d like to keep). But the questions are looming.

I am not looking for answers necessarily.

I think life exists in the questions.

I am looking to never stop asking the questions. To always look and uncover and dig and smell and retrieve and throw back. If I stop asking the questions, I die.

It may take a while for my body to die, but my mind and soul and all other parts of me will wither away immediately if the questions stop. The heart can never reconcile all of it until it stops beating.

I think that is why that line chokes me up. I know the truth behind it.

How shall the heart be reconciled to its feast of losses? It doesn’t.

Some turn to legend, some to fact, some to dust, and, the rest, well, the rest you bury inside of you and reach for it when you are drowning, knowing it will be there. And it will.

Visit Jennifer’s amazing site here: http://www.jenniferpastiloff.com  To read the post  in its entirety, click here.  

 

 

 

Category:Relationships, Self Actualization, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Wellness | Comment (0) | Author:

How To Transform Conflict Into Opportunity

Tuesday, 27. August 2013 21:34

Join us for a Free Teleseminar…

Does the idea of conflict cause you to freeze up or feel anxious? Do you avoid conflict as a result and sell yourself short? Or, do you get so angry and frustrated that you behave in ways you wish you hadn’t?

Imagine how much more flow you might experience if you could handle conflict with calm and ease.

If this sounds appealing to you, our complimentary Transforming Conflict into Opportunity Intro teleseminar will help you to develop the skill to handle difficult situations effectively and with greater confidence.

Register here http://www.pccommunication.net  for the free 60-Minute Teleseminar and get a recording if you can’t make it to the live session on September 4.

Here’s our little secret, the ability to manage conflict better lives within all of us.  You can learn to access your true self and effectively communicate during challenging times.

To introduce you to how to better solve life’s problems using our collaborative process of internal and external communication, we are offering a complimentary 60 minute teleseminar on September 4th at 4 PM eastern.  In this teleseminar you will learn to identify the basic “keys” to transforming conflict.  FREE REGISTRATION

Meet Your Coaches, Pam and Catherine

Pam Refling
Coach, Mediator, Communication Specialist

Pam Refling became interested in communication and the effects the words we use have on either creating or resolving conflict, after studying Nonviolent Communication with Marshall Rosenberg in 2006. Since  2008, she has mediated for the Community Mediation Center in Bozeman, MT. In 2013 she  became a trainer in the Mediate Your Life program in Boston, MA.  Pam has a mediation, communication and coaching practice, Communication Cues, in Bozeman, MT.

Catherine Saar Career, Wellness and Communication Coach

Catherine Saar
Career, Wellness and Communication Coach

Catherine Saar, founder of The Project Coach, has over over twenty years of experience delivering results as a coach and as a collaborative business leader in highly confrontational settings. Her practice supports business and artistic professionals in their journey to reduce stress, find clarity and to create a life they dream of.  Catherine received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University in Economics and Communication and her MBA from UCLA’s Anderson Graduate School of Management. More

Category:Relationships, Uncategorized | Comment (0) | Author:

What I Know

Friday, 4. May 2012 17:43

What I know is that there comes a time in your life where you have to do what is right for you, even if it is difficult and you will disappoint others.

What I know is that disappointing yourself is not a good practice; if you do it often enough, it can turn into a poisonous resentment and anger – toward yourself and toward others.

What I know is that you can love someone and decide that the relationship in its current form is not healthy or good for you and that you can still love that person – even after the relationship gets redefined.

What I know is that it’s not your job to make other people happy.  Your job is to be you.

What I know is that if you love someone, but you don’t know how to love them in a way that they understand or want to be loved, then your love may only serve you, not them – and that can be frustrating for everyone.

What I know is that having equanimity when things get tough doesn’t mean you won’t ride a roller coaster of fear, anxiety, anger, hope and sadness.  It just means that you can deal with the present moment more calmly, because you have faith that this too shall pass.

What I know is that we each experience grief in our own way and that there is no easy path through it. One must experience it, acknowledge it, and honor it and – eventually, let it subside, when it has done its work, and you, yours.

What I know is that the sun will rise over the horizon tomorrow and that I am blessed everyday that I have the privilege of witnessing it.

Category:Relationships, Self Actualization, Uncategorized | Comment (0) | Author:

Letting Go of Your Emotional Trigger

Monday, 23. April 2012 14:34

What triggers you?  Is there an annoying question from a friend or family member that regularly gets you pissed off?   Maybe it’s “Why haven’t you found a job yet?” or “When are you getting married?” It’s a comment or a question that makes you feel unseen, misunderstood or criticized for not being good enough.

Why is this situation so irritating – and why won’t that annoying question go away? The key is that it’s how you feel about yourself that matters. When you have confidence in yourself, you won’t be bothered by what others say, because it won’t matter.   In fact, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you – only what you think of you.

Perhaps that sounds easier said than done.  It all becomes less stressful when you have nothing to prove – especially to yourself.   Suddenly, the trigger becomes a gift because it informs you about your fears and insecurities.  Once you develop awareness of yourself, you can change.  You can handle whatever needs to be addressed.

Here’s a process that you can try:

  • First, identify your trigger(s).  What is it and who asks it?  What does it mean to you?
  • What is your internal answer to the question? Where do you feel it in your body? What negative thoughts does it bring up for you? The questions you hear from others often reflect the voice of your own inner critic; the negative things you say to yourself inside your head so frequently, you barely notice.  Hear them now.  Get to know them. Shake them out of the trees and question them.  Are they true or are you making false assumptions and engaging in unproductive self-flagellation?
  • Reflect.  How would you answer your difficult question if you had nothing to prove to yourself, much less anyone else?   What is the reason that you haven’t gotten a job, or that you haven’t gotten married?  What is true for you?  What do you want and how might you get it? This is not about beating yourself up.  This is about assessing what is really going on for you so you can take inspired action to change your situation or to adjust your thinking.
  • Make a plan.  How might you handle a situation that is causing you to self-criticize?  Do you need to have an honest discussion in your relationship?  Do you need to try a different approach to a problem? Should you seek professional help, like a therapist, a career counselor or some other resource that can help you break a pattern that is keeping you from creating the life you desire?

Once you know how you feel, you can start to handle your issue, and the confidence will come. You’ll have taken the first step toward understanding that you have nothing to prove.  You’ve done the work.  Although things may be difficult, you know where you are going and you know why.   Suddenly, all you have to do is gracefully manage the question next time it comes up.   Chances are, this will become easier as the trigger loses some of its sting.

So next time your Aunt Hilda asks you that awful question for the umpteenth time, recognize that she may not be able to hear what you say.  Perhaps she is simply mirroring her own fears and concerns.  Recognize that that is about her, not about you.  And with that knowledge, maybe you can give your Aunt a hug and a smile, tell her not to worry, and then politely change the subject.

More about Me…

I’m a life and career coach helping professionals and artists reduce stress in their lives and to achieve their dreams.  If you have a situation or a problem that is causing you to feel like you have cobwebs in your brain, contact me at cat@theprojectcoach.com for a complimentary 30-minute consultation, and get started back to clarity.  And, you can get more information at www.theprojectcoach.com

Category:Relationships, Self Actualization, Uncategorized, Wellness | Comment (0) | Author:

Martha Beck on Having Time

Friday, 13. April 2012 19:57

Please enjoy this post from life coach Martha Beck’s recent newsletter about changing the perception of time.  Visit her site at http://marthabeck.com.

There is room…

Insight from Martha Beck

Everything changes in time. This is the one constant in a Universe where all solid things ultimately disintegrate. It is the core principle that drives our fears and that led the Buddha to proclaim that the understanding of impermanence was the first “noble truth” that must be mastered by anyone who hopes to attain enlightenment.

Me, I’m just trying to get my damn laundry done before I have to leave for the airport.

I have struggled with time since I was a very small child. I remember vividly lying awake the night before my 4th birthday, staring at the ceiling, worrying intensely over how little I had accomplished over such a long period of time. I assumed that all the other 4-year-olds were much further along in their life missions. By the time I was in high school I was virtually insane with time anxiety. I got into a bitter argument with a friend who asked me what bothered me most about this world. I said “transience.” My friend thought I said “transients.” To this day, I think he abhors my position on our nation’s homeless population. What I meant, of course, was that everything passes away, and that I could not reconcile myself to the continuous loss that is an inevitable aspect of linear time. On a more basic note, I never felt I had enough time to do everything I hoped to accomplish. If I had known in high school how dramatically time demands would increase in the 21st century I would still be under my bed.

At this point in my life, I am lucky enough to have help with many tasks that once filled my available time and spilled over into time I should have spent sleeping. Even so I always feel I am running behind schedule. A few weeks ago I lost the cheap plastic Target watch that I was wearing because I know that I am always losing watches. For a few days I was on the road without a clock on my body. I was shocked by how often I looked at my left wrist. I remembered a Haitian proverb that became popular after slavery was abolished on the island: “The white man’s shackles have been replaced by his watches.” I had been experiencing time as my prison, my limitation, and my overseer.

To my huge relief, I soon bought another cheap plastic watch. But this one had a feature I had never seen. To set the time, I had to bring up a screen that said “chrono.” Every time I saw this screen a strange thought would pop into my mind. Not chronos, kairos. Chronos is a greek word that referred to the passage of linear time. Kairos means the time of the Gods. A moment of chronos is simply the tick of a clock. A moment of kairos is an undetermined time when an opening appears for the entry of the divine into the material world. Chronos is clock-time, kairos is god-time.

Either my subconscious mind or a passing guardian angel seems to be telling me that in order to move forward successfully with my purpose in life, I must relinquish my death grip on chronos and surrender to kairos. I am only beginning to experiment with this–such is the obsession with chronos I’ve had since preschool. At this point, my practice (and I would suggest this for you too if it feels interesting) is to notice that every day is peppered with kairos moments. A kairos moment may occur when your schedule is so full you feel like screaming. The message is to stop, to forget chronos, and to feel the calming force telling you almost nothing on your schedule is really important. A kairos moment might be the double-take you do when your eyes catch something beautiful or awe-inspiring. Take off your watch: the divine is speaking to you. A kairos moment may be the burst of laughter that comes when you realize all your darkest fears are fabrications of your mind. They are not happening now in this moment. This moment is the doorway to god. Stop and open it.

To remind myself of this I have been taking off my watch for several hours each day. Each time I look at my wrist and see nothing but skin I remember to drop chronos and feel for kairos. Within the kairos moment nothing ever needs to be done, and everything can happen at once. Life can weave itself around my heart’s desires. In one instant of kairos, there is room for everything we have envisioned for ourselves and for one another. I’ll meet you there.

~ Martha

Category:Uncategorized, Wellness | Comment (0) | Author:

Why Taking Care of Yourself Might Just Help Heal the World

Sunday, 23. October 2011 14:06

When I talk with some coaching clients, they often tell me that it’s hard to take time for themselves. It makes them feel “selfish” and that, they say is a bad thing.  But I disagree with their premise. I don’t think that taking care of yourself is necessarily the same as being selfish.    In fact, if you look closely, taking care of yourself could be beneficial for everyone.  How?  Let’s start with some definitions:

Self-ish : you put your needs above others

Self-less:  you put others needs above yours

Self-caring:  your needs are equal to the needs of others.

I believe if every person could practice self-care, that the world would heal itself. Why?  Just imagine how we would treat each other if no one’s needs were greater or lesser than anyone else’s.   So, if I believe that my need for X is just as important as your need for Y – and you feel the same way, my guess is that we could create a solution that respectfully allows us to both get what we need.  Maybe we could take turns, or find a way to share available resources.  We could relax because we could trust one another and ourselves.

And yes, sometimes being self-less does make sense, like when you put your life on the line to rescue a child from a burning building, or some situation that compels you to take heroic action. However, on a day-to-day basis, being self-less can create resentment, anger and inequality… not a condition that adds to mutual respect and understanding.

So, I say, acknowledge and honor what you need, and respect the needs of others.  Realize that everyone has needs and rights – even you.  Try to work with others to create mutually satisfactory solutions.  If the other person doesn’t cooperate (either because they are selfish or self-less) you still have nothing to lose, because you will have acknowledged and addressed your needs.  Maybe others will follow your example.   If everyone did exactly that and developed more self- esteem and mutual respect, perhaps there would be peace on earth.   Or, at least a little more kindness.

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Should You Take a Supplement? You Decide.

Sunday, 16. October 2011 16:08

What should you do when something that you consider to be absolute truth is questioned?  Faced with new information from a recent study claiming that multivitamins and other dietary supplements provide little benefit and may actually be harmful, I had to ask myself just that question.  For years, countless, reliable resources stated that taking a daily multivitamin is good for your health. Suddenly, a new study (released in the Archives of Internal Medicine) contradicts that claim, finding a small increase in the risk of death among older women who took a dietary supplement compared with those who didn’t.

So, should I continue to take supplements? More and more frequently, there seems to be diverse opinion in the medical community about what actually works, and what does not. Witness the recent controversy over mammograms and prostate cancer testing.  What are we to believe, and more importantly, what are we to do?

I can only suggest that you and I must decide for ourselves what is right for us. There appears to be a growing body of evidence that we as individuals have no choice but to take responsibility for ourselves, particularly when it comes to our health. Whether it is medical care or financial security, we need to get all the information we can, especially about ourselves, and then make a decision.  The thing that it seems we must protect above all, is our personal right to decide and to choose what is best for us.

It’s a big job, but I don’t see an alternative if one wishes to stay well in a fast paced, ever-changing world.  Start by knowing yourself.  Know what works for you and what doesn’t.  Notice what improves your energy and your wellness; notice what does not.  Read labels, find reliable resources and consult them. Take charge of good decision making in your world. Start by developing a loving, nurturing relationship with your body, and I believe much of the rest will follow.

As far as supplementation, take the time to be your own best advocate by understanding what you are eating and what might be lacking in your diet.  I’m not going to wax poetic on what you should eat, because there are thousands of articles and resources about the right combinations of fruits, veggies, lean protein, and organic, local foods. Besides, whatever I suggest may not be the best thing for you. 

As for me, I generally eat well, but I also know that I don’t always get enough Omega 3 and Vitamin D.   On days that I don’t eat fish or fortified eggs, I do take an Omega 3 supplement.  I also take vitamin D (with calcium and magnesium) during the winter months when I don’t get much sunlight.  I am still deciding whether I want to continue taking my multivitamin.   Honestly, I have more research to do.

The world can be confusing. One study, one point of view does not fit all.  There is a wealth of information available, and yet so much of it appears to conflict. What I do know is that no one knows you as well as you do.  So do your job as caretaker of your body, pay attention and become your own best advocate.

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