You Got to Feel to Heal

Oh, how I wish it weren’t so.  Wish you could just push aside all those fears and hurts; regrets and false moves.  Wish you could hide them in the back of your closet alongside all that other stuff you own but would rather forget–––like camping gear and that very odd hat you bought two summers ago.  But it is doesn’t work that way and no amount of wishing will make it so.  Simply put:  You got to feel to heal.

But wait a minute.  What’s that you say?  Denial is working just fine, thank you very much!  Well, maybe it is…for now.  Maybe you can hold on and out for a little bit longer, but eventually, denial will come looking for you, wanting his due.  And if denial and his thug friends have to track you down, well, it won’t be pretty my friend.  No siree.  It will NOT be pretty.

Fine, you say, but what the heck does this have to do with my business, anyway?  Unfinished business effects your business––that’s just the way it works.  As much as we’d like to believe that we can compartmentalize, we can’t––there is interrelatedness in everything we think/feel/do.  Derail yourself; and in time, your business will follow.

So you can do this one of two ways––on your own terms, and in your own way….Or, you can fall prey to those cosmic forces that will even the score in ways that are infinitely less subtle; less gentle than if you head them off at the pass.  Either way, you’re gonna have to deal.

But you get to decide:  Are you going to make friends with your past  (heal it, purge it) or are you going to let it rob you of your future?  One of the two of you ain’t getting outta here alive.  It’s your choice.  Him or you?

Borrowed Words: E.E. Cummings; Reflections on Loss and the Permanence of Love

January has always been a month of disproportionate loss.  People who are sick (both physically and emotionally) tend to hold on during the holidays; hoping to spare their loved ones the profundity of grief during a season intended for joy and renewal.

For those who have had loved ones succumb during the month (either naturally or through their own will) I offer one of my favorite e.e. cummings poems as a reminder that the people we love never truly leave us and that love (permanent and resplendent) endures all.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Wobbly Legs and Wisdom: Finding Your Way Through Change

Growth Strategies.  New Business.  Divorce.  Second Chapters.  Reinvention.  Kids Gone.  Mid-Life.  New Life.

Transitions:  Unpredictable.  Exciting. Terrifying.

Especially when most everyone around you is shaking their heads and thinking you’ve gone crazy.  You mean you’re going to quit that high six-figure job to…..what?….did you say write a novel?…..do you know no one gets published?  Cutting a demo? Uh, huh. Sure.  You want to…what did you say….let go our largest customer and change market strategy…now?…..uh, how exactly do you expect to make payroll?

Big and bold.  The only changes that really matter;  the ones hardest to make.

So how do you know you haven’t lost your mind; that you aren’t quixotically chasing windmills and showing the first telltale  signs of self-delusional mania?  Well…I hate to tell you…but in the beginning, you often don’t….But you go forward anyway because you just know there’s no other option for you.

But what do you do when you’re not so sure?  When you feel like you’re about to risk it all and the only thing you know for sure is that you don’t know anything for sure?

Well; you begin at the beginning.  You search and investigate; read and ask; experiment and fail; in short, you seek.  You assemble a team: Coaches and mentors, boards and advisers, therapists and healers, psychics and tarot card readers–––whatever suits your fancy and floats your yet-to-be honed internal wisdom boat. You ask for feedback; you gather reference points; you take it all in.

And you do all that…only….if you are also willing to cast it all aside.  To take that which resonates and find your own way.  And that’s tricky in the beginning.  Tricky and majorly scary.  But trust me, over time those wobbly legs of internal wisdom develop enough heft to support even the weightiest of all your big, bold moves.

But warning! wisdom newbies…as with any tale of heroics, there’s a cautionary one here as well.  And it’s important so please, listen-up–––Because of anything, this is the one thing that can capsize that adventure-seeking boat of yours before it’s even left the dock:

When you’re about to do something new and exciting; something that is a departure from everything you’ve ever done; the big thing that will undoubtedly redefine who you are and who you are destined to become: It’s often the people who love you most whose advice will matter the least.  Paradoxically, and sometimes even tragically.

And why? Because the people who love you most, have a vested interest in who you are today; in preserving the status quo.  They’re the people who’ve paid for your education; who’ve met you at the end of the aisle; loaned you the money; have known you since you were ‘knee-high to a grasshopper.’  If you change; a part of them is forced to change as well.  Ooh.  Talk about scary….and threatening.

Which is not to say you secretly take out a loan without your spouse knowing, or quit a job with no way of paying the rent, or blow up the landscape around you so that it is as empty and barren as a moonscape.  Nope.  That would be foolish.

But sometimes, you will find that there are people in your life you will have no choice but to leave behind.  Who refuse to see you in any other way than how you used to be; who for whatever reasons of their own, can’t let go.  So when those naysayers and fear mongers surround you, smile at them and forgive them….and let them go.

And remember, at some point, you’ll need to quiet all those external voices anyway. You’ll need to go deep inside yourself to look for the answers on your own.  And you’ll find that they are there–––where they’ve always been–––right from the very beginning.

Good luck,  pioneers!

 

Borrowed Words: Mother Teresa

                   “There are no great deeds; there are just small deeds done with great love.”

        Wishing you a weekend filled with small pleasures, great kindness and the bountiful gift of love.

Monthly Mitzvah

One good act.  A simple gesture of kindness.

Helping the elderly shopper at the drugstore find the right battery when she can’t quite see the label.  Letting the one item customer cut ahead of you in line––making his day, or so you’re told.  Smiling at the homeless man even when there is a part of you that is scared by those crazy eyes.  Giving an assist to your frazzled co-worker, knowing that none of the credit for that sparkling presentation will go to you. Choosing to not go off on the customer service rep when your flight is delayed––for the third time that day.

That’s it.  Just one little act;  just once a month.

And not like you need a reason, but know with unshakable certainty, that the joy you’re spreading will be returned to you.

Borrowed Words: Martin Luther King, Jr.

In addition to honoring a remarkable man, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has special meaning for me:  It was the day we buried my mother.

For several years following her death, my annual Christmas card included a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote signed with the simple words ‘Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Men.”  Words I felt that we, as a Country, had lost the understanding and compassion for.

I’d like to share an excerpt in remembrance––

Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction.

I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow.

I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies; education and culture for their minds; and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.

I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up.

                                        I still believe that we shall overcome.

                                                                                      Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

Goal Reset: The Lunar New Year Reboot

Always.  Each.  Every.  Never.  What is wrong with absolutes?  They leave you with nowhere to go.

So use these words wisely; guardedly.  Reserve them for the big things––the major commitments––the times when nothing other than an absolute will do.  Fidelity; recovery; the big shifts you determine (with a capital D) to bring into your life.

But be circumspect before you attach them to the minor things––I’ll workout every day.  I’ll always answer emails within 24 hours.  I’ll never eat sweets again.  Think twice before you offer up your limited store of absolutes on items such as these because after all, there’s only so much ‘each-ing’ and ‘every-ing’ any of us has the time or gumption for.

So here’s what I’d suggest:  Take the three weeks before Lunar New Year and reflect.  Ask yourself––are the goals you set at the beginning of the year reasonable and sustainable or are you a victim of your own best intentions? Are you crossing them off your list with gusto or are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of another eleven months of obligation?

If you’re feeling a bit underwater, perhaps it’s time to review your goals––not necessarily the substantive ‘what’ of your commitments––but the ‘hows’.  In other words, maybe it’s time to redefine how you think about and measure success.

The way I do this is by using an approach to goal setting that involves creating progressively challenging categories of performance to measure achievement and success against. (This is similar to the ‘low to high’ forecasting techniques I used to manage my companies.)  By using this technique, you create a framework which supports and promotes achievement by acknowledging ‘degrees of success’ as described below:

Goal Setting––From Threshold to Optimal

Threshold: The baseline goal you set for yourself that represents improvement over current performance, but also feels entirely achievable.  For example, a commitment towards two minutes of meditation five days a week might seem like limited success, but when coming from a base level of zero, is an example of a small step which when consistently applied over time, will generate significant improvement.

Mid-Point:  The level of performance that represents a ‘push’ but still has ‘reasonableness attributes’ attached to it.  Using the example above, two minutes of meditation five days a week might be stretched to five minutes every day.

Optimal:  The level of performance that represents a real push.  An ‘out-of-the-park’ win.  A morning practice that includes ten minutes of meditation combined with five minutes of journaling.

During the year, you may find there are times––days, weeks, months––you operate within the flow of optimal performance, others in which meeting threshold seems like a feat in itself.  Regardless of where you are on the curve, by creating a structure based on ‘degrees of success’ you know that as long as you commit to and achieve threshold, you have generated a win.  By embracing the notion of ‘degrees of success’ you allow yourself the compassion of ‘ebb and flow’ and free yourself from the  burden of absolutes on the unrealistic road towards perfection.

I know there are those A-types among you who will think (as I used to) that this is rationalizing nonsense––a workaround against pushing yourself to really achieve.  A way out.  I understand, but no.  What I’m suggesting is a way through.

And remember, it is entirely up to you to determine the construct of your success.  Up to you to define what constitutes ‘threshold’ or how quickly you progress up the food chain to ‘optimal’.  All I’m suggesting, is that you give yourself the benefit of a framework that has every chance of working; that frees you from the clutches of frustration (or worse) by allowing you to harvest the fruits of consistency.

And if you’re off to a rocky start this year––or feeling a bit over-extended––I strongly encourage you to take full advantage of the greatest do-over opportunity ever:  The Lunar New Year reboot.  Grab some Chinese food and put that new pen of yours back to paper.  And this time, make sure you give yourself room to move and a place to grow.

And remember––Small steps…bigger victories…everlasting change.

 

The Miracle of Manifestation

I know; I know.  Either of those words on their own is enough to raise eyebrows; stick ’em together and the polarization quotient goes up by a level of 10.

So for the moment, let’s just take that troublesome ‘miracle’ out of the equation and focus on the concept of manifestation––the inherent power that each of us has to bring precisely what we need into our lives.  (And yes, I acknowledge that this may be an even more troublesome idea for many of you.) But for me, the concept of manifestation has been transcendent; and as a practice, it is something I believe in more strongly than just about anything else.

Well before ‘The Secret’ became the thing of talk shows and bestseller lists, I had been engaging in the practice of manifestation for years.  I’d think about what I wanted and very simply, just ‘put it out to the Universe.’  If it were something really special (and I wanted to get all fancy about it), I’d write the request down on an index card and stick it in a sealed envelope where it sat forgotten, sometimes for years.

There were times I felt a bit presumptuous about the things I was asking the Universe to bring my way.  Things that seemed downright preposterous given my current circumstances;  requests that no Universe in its right mind had any business delivering on.  I mean really.  But lo and behold; years later, when I’d take those cards out and look at them, I began to detect an uncanny pattern. More often than not––preposterous or not––I ended up getting exactly what I wanted sometimes to the letter; and even to the penny.  And over time, I began to see this cosmic generosity as nothing short of miraculous.

But I also began to detect some other patterns.  Manifestation, like any other superpower, has its quirks. Chiefly:

  –The Universe is a pretty literal guy so you have to be really careful what you ask for.  If you say you want out of your current job, well, you may want to specify that ‘being fired’ is not exactly part of your vision.

  –The Universe hates mixed messages so be really clear what you want and stop sending out all those  schizophrenic requests of yours.  Once you do, the Universe will step up to the plate in the most miraculous ways.

  –Finally, the Universe has a way bigger experience and knowledge base than you do.  In short, the Universe knows best.  So when it delivers you a ‘gift’ (and it will) and you think, “Hey I didn’t want that, take it back!”  Just hold tight––because invariably, at some point in the future you’ll look back and see that Mick and the boys had it right–––You  don’t always get what you want; but you damn near always get what you need.

So it’s up to you whether or not you want to stay in the back of the class rolling your eyes and poking elbows.  Up to you whether or not you decide to give this old manifestation thing a whirl on the dance floor.  And hey, if you’re worried about your reputation, it can be our little secret; you don’t have to tell a soul.  Just ask yourself….what do you have to lose?

Borrowed Words: Reflections on Gratitude

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e. e. cummings

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