Category Archives: dealing with stuff

It Starts with a Choice

I was at Havi’s Sacramento workshop last Friday.

One of the things I learned was that I know more about who my Right People are than I thought.

A big realization was that the people I work best with have made a choice – the same choice I made a few years ago.

Time for a story…

Ten-ish years ago, I had managed to break into a real IT job as a self-taught database designer. I had been working toward that goal for a couple years at that point. So there I was “living the dream.”

It took less than a year before I was utterly miserable.

When I wasn’t at work, I was dreading going to work. When I was at work, every time I received an email or heard my phone ring, my stomach would drop like I was on a horrific amusement park ride.

One thing you’ll learn about me is that I’m not good at hiding my feelings. At. All.

My marriage was suffering because I was coming home pissed off every night. My attitude at the office was appalling. How I didn’t get disciplined, I don’t know, because every new assignment that came in led to eye-rolling and pushing back because it would be a pain in the ass for me.

It would be a pain in the ass for me to, you know, do my job.

A pattern emerges

After who knows how long that went on, I began to realize it was a pattern.

When I looked back at my time in the Caribbean, the same thing had happened – I wound up feeling utter dread and resentment toward doing my job.

Except back then, I didn’t know about patterns, so my noticing was more like, “Hey, that misery is kind of like this misery.” I didn’t have any tools to interact with the pattern to understand what I was needing.

If you’re wondering what this story has to do with choices, I’m about to tell you.

When I look back at the seven-ish years it took me to go from miserable worker bee to full-time entrepreneur, I realize it all started with one choice.

I chose to believe I had the power to change things.

And even when I felt as though things would never actually change, I wanted to believe they would.

That one choice started me on the road to where I am now, albeit with some detours along the way.

For most of my life it never occurred to me that I was the only one responsible for it. I operated as though I was waiting for something. So I guess in a strange way I’m grateful for the misery, because it helped me get to a point where I was desperate enough to do something about it.

Making big changes in your life takes lots of work.

Not just work but hard work.

So hard that sometimes I’ve wanted to take the blue pill and go back to blissful ignorance. Except that my ignorance was hardly blissful.

It’s perfectly reasonable to doubt you can create what you want. And just to be clear, I am not talking about creating in the Law of Attraction sense. (Ew!) I’m talking about making shit happen through hard work that only you can do for yourself.

If you didn’t have moments of doubt and disbelief, I would worry that you were a Stepford Spouse or something.

But if somewhere inside yourself you can hold on to the belief that you can figure out what your Thing is and launch it into the world (or even if you can only hang on to the desire to believe), the rest can be learned.

Once you’ve made that choice, it’s about getting the support you need. And about being open to learning new ways to help yourself. And about engaging with your stuff compassionately.

Reinvention

I’ve had a little over a week now of not reporting to the job.

How did I spend it?

I spent a lot of the time not feeling well, actually. It’s probably similar to what used to happen to me in school. Vacation would start, and I’d come down with a cold.

That did manage to force me to give my body what it wanted by sleeping more.

After about four days of that, I was ready to get moving, but my body wasn’t. Rather frustrating.

It’s still too soon to draw any conclusions, but I spent a lot of time thinking about what this change will mean for me. You know, once I’ve had a bit more recovery time.

The biggest thing I’m aware of is that it will mean a lot of redefining.

Redefining my relationship to Time

For the last 15+ years of working full-time, the way I spent the majority of my days was dictated by my employers. From 8am-ish to 5pm-ish, Monday thru Friday, I was expected to be “at work.” Often, in that kind of environment, it was more important that my butt was in my seat than it was for me to be productive.

Now, I have nobody telling me when to be working. There will be nothing stopping me from turning on the TV, or meeting a friend for coffee. I can choose not to work with clients on Tuesdays, if that’s how I want to schedule my appointments.

There will also be nothing stopping me from working 12 hours a day.

When is the best time to wake up and go to bed? When is my best writing time? When should I have offline time?

There will be lots of experimentation to learn what works the best for me.

Awakening my creative muscles

Between having a mostly left-brained job, and having some lots of perfectionist tendencies, I haven’t done a whole lot to keep my creativity tuned up.

Thanks to Charlie Gilkey, I’m doing some things to try to reawaken my creative flow. Things like mind-mapping and finding metaphors that describe this transition. And I’m trying to incorporate something artistic into my days. Mostly that’s meant drawing. Well, perhaps doodling (scribbling?) would be more accurate.

The other big thing will be to learn about my patterns around creativity and productivity. Before, so much of my time was spoken for, I didn’t have the luxury of figuring out when my most creative times were.

Figuring out what sovereignty means for my life

Another thing I’m noticing is that working for the Man has not helped me develop my sense of sovereignty.

To me, sovereignty means giving myself what I need. And it also means not ignoring my needs because I’m afraid they will affect someone else negatively.

I doubt I’m alone, but have you ever felt so busy and so pressured to get your work done that you won’t even allow yourself a trip to the bathroom or to refill your water glass? Or said yes to meetings or projects, without even considering that you could say no?

Just me? I didn’t think so.

It becomes a pattern.

Just as you can become disconnected from your heart, you can become disconnected from your sense of Self. You know, that essential part of you that gives you your you-ness.

I imagine changing that pattern will take a while. It’s closely related to the time issue, but it’s more than that.

It’s about reinventing my life in ways that serve me best, and not diminishing my creative power to meet the needs of others.

Oh, I want to take a class in the middle of the day? No problem.

I need a new sweater? I can go shopping during the week instead of waiting for the weekend, if that’s what works better for me.

This is really about developing a whole new mindset.

The hardest part

Giving myself permission to flail around for a while. Permission to feel clueless about what I should be doing with my time. Permission to be overwhelmed.

It’s not reasonable to expect to go seamlessly from having your working hours dictated to you to having 100% autonomy. Yet I do feel a certain amount of pressure to do just that.

Years and years of go-go-go don’t disappear overnight.

For now I’m going to keep focusing on giving my body what it needs, doing Dance of Shiva and spending time with the soul of my business. As much as possible, I’m going to trust that I have the answers within me, and I’ll know what I need to know when I need to know it.

One newsy bit

Right now I only have three slots available for one-on-one coaching. If you’re one of my Right People and have been thinking about it for a while, now’s the time to get in touch!

When Selves Collide

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably already know that I like to talk to my blocks and various selves (à la Havi and Hiro). Here’s a little story about some insight I gained by doing this seemingly wacky stuff.

Lately I’ve been feeling completely overwhelmed and tired and generally down, leading to a heavy case of the Blahhhhs. (Yes, that’s the medical term.)

I was so completely devoid of motivation that I wasn’t even able to meditate or journal about it.

Finally, yesterday I got myself to do a little Dance of Shiva and then meditate.

The question I asked before starting to dance was, “What needs to shift in order to stop feeling so stuck?”

A few minutes of Level 4 was about all I could handle, followed by some savasana.

Once I started meditating, I dropped into my heart, and tried to meet with some of my selves, to see if I could get a handle on why I was having such a hard time.

I can’t share much detail right now, but part of why I’m having a hard time is because there are certain things I have to do that I no longer want to do. And when things get difficult during the things-I-don’t-want-to-do, I’ve been having extreme emotional reactions. Despair, anxiety, hopelessness, powerlessness.

Not much was happening amongst my selves, so I focused my attention on whichever self it was who was creating these strong reactions.

Enter Self #1

I don’t know what this self looks like (no defining characteristics like my friend Hedgehog Girl). But pretty quickly I sensed that this self was creating these strong reactions so that I’ll hurry up and make the changes necessary so that I won’t have to do that icky stuff anymore.

She’s afraid that if she stops giving me these unpleasant reactions, I’ll just coast along. The change I want to make will never happen, because I’ll be too comfortable.

Hmmm…interesting.

So I thanked her for caring about me. And for believing that I can make the necessary changes. And especially for her wanting to support me in making this change.

(And I wasn’t just blowing smoke, either. There’s something surprisingly touching about having a part of yourself doing what it can to make sure you accomplish the things you want.)

Then I explained that these extreme emotional reactions are draining me of my energy. And when my energy is drained, I can’t do what I need to do to make the changes I want to make.

I asked her, “What kind of agreement can we make, so that you know I’m making these changes as fast as possible, and you’re not helping me in a way that actually slows me down?”

Silence.

And then I got, “It’s not just me.”

For a second I didn’t know what that meant, but then I realized there were two selves at play.

Hello, Self #2

Self #1 was creating the strong reactions in hopes that I would hurry up and make this change.

But Self #2 was drafting off of those reactions, and keeping me from channeling that desire for change into action toward change.

Because Self #2 is afraid of what the change will mean for me and this (mostly) comfortable life I have. She prefers the devil she knows.

Both of these selves are actually trying to protect me, even though they’re going about it in opposite ways.

One is trying to protect me from withering away in stagnation, the other from taking crazy risks that will put me in danger.

That’s about as far as I got with that meditation before my mind started to wander. But it’s a good start toward unravelling this stuck.

The next step will be to try to help them both see that their attempts to help are actually hurting. And then it will be time to find out what they will need to feel safe enough to back off and cut me some slack.

The beauty of it is, even before they’ve started giving me breathing room, I feel better.

Now when if I have an over-reaction to the things I no longer want to do, I’ll know what it’s about. And I’ll know why it’s so hard to recover and get cracking.

Reaching that point of not beating myself up or asking myself why why why for not doing the things I want to do is a huge step toward changing the pattern.

The Fading Significance of Fortune Cookies

I used to love love love fortune cookies.

When presented with a plateful of cookies at the end of a meal, I would pause ever so thoughtfully to let my intuition tell me which cookie out of the bunch was the one that was meant for me – so that I would get the fortune that I was supposed to get.

I would crack them open with anticipation, so excited to see what would be printed on the little slip of paper tucked in the folds of the cookie.

When I got somethings stupid (like the ones that begin “Confucius say:”), I felt annoyed and cheated.

But if I got a fortune that talked about wishes coming true or unexpected wealth or having a bright future, I would keep it. Meditate on it, even.

As though the fortune were a message from the Universe about my Purpose-with-a-capital-P. And by keeping the slip of paper, its message would come to pass more quickly.

I needed the fortune to validate what I wanted. I needed it to tell me that the things I wanted could and would happen.

Last night, after our Chinese takeout dinner, we picked our fortune cookies. Mine said, “An unexpected event will bring you riches.” I realized, with a mix of gratitude and heartache, that the little cookies no longer held my fascination the way they once did. The message on the slip of paper was merely interesting.

Okay, okay…do I wish some unexpected even would bring me riches? Yes, that would be great. But I’m also not holding my breath that it will happen because a fortune cookie said so.

The heartache I felt was for knowing that things have changed. Goodbyes are always sad for me, and I’m in the process of slowly saying goodbye to the person I’ve been for most of my life. It’s good, mostly, but sometimes it feels painful and disorienting.

And I felt gratitude for the fact that I no longer need a fortune from a cookie to confirm my purpose in life or to bring me hope for birthing my dreams into reality. Apparently I no longer need that particular form of external validation.

Or maybe it’s that I am becoming more aware of the power I already have within me to ask for what I need. To give myself what I need.

After reading this post from Havi, and especially this comment from Hiro Boga, I’m realizing that for the last 10+ years, I’ve been on a journey toward the quality of Sovereignty.

Here’s an excerpt from Hiro’s comment:

The thing about Sovereignty is: It’s ours by virtue of our being. We don’t have to earn it–it’s a gift of grace. But because so many of us have grown up not knowing that our lives belong to us–that our bodies and thoughts and feelings and creativity belong to us–we look to others for permission to be who we are; or for validation; or for power, or something else that can only come from within.

When we don’t receive it, we doubt or blame ourselves, or we give our own pain away and blame or throw shoes at others.

We become disconnected from the inner dignity, self-responsibility and sense of belonging that sovereignty brings.

My quest started out as a search for the Perfect Job. Pretty quickly I realized that I didn’t want just a job – I was seeking fulfillment, so my goal became to discover my Mission in Life. At that time, I believed there was only one right way to fulfill that mission and I needed to know what that way was. (You can imagine how quickly I became stuck with that kind of pressure.)

Within the last couple of years, I stopped believing that there is only one way for me to fulfill my mission, and no longer felt certain that I have a mission (or at least, if I do have a mission, it goes way beyond my income generating activities).

Within the last few months, I’ve changed course again. Now, at its core, this adventure is about learning a whole new way to interact with myself.

It’s about connecting with all of my different Selves, who make up the whole of Me. And it’s about figuring out who I really am, and giving myself permission to be whoever that person turns out to be.

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Friendly reminder: I have four spots left at my Celebratory Launch Price of $240 for a 3-session coaching package (available until 9/18). I would love to see them go to people who are really ready to focus on creating the life they want. If that’s you, get in touch here. Or maybe you know someone? Thanks for helping me spread the word!

Hedgehogs, Dancers and What Ifs

Some of you may be aware that I am getting ready to make some major changes to my website.

I’m a coach, and it’s time for my website to let people know that.

The copy is ready to go, and I was almost at the point of deeming the new design “done”. I use the term design loosely, because I did it myself, and I haven’t quite mastered the process of transferring the beautiful ideas that are in my head into a WordPress theme.

Suddenly I realized, though, that I’ve been tweaking and obsessing about the website for over two weeks now. And still not happy with it, in spite of the fact that I had shown multiple people and all of them had really positive things to say about what I’d put together.

I was stuck in a catch-22 of wanting to update my website before launching the new copy, but being incapable of getting the website to look “good enough”.

With the help of some friends, I was able to see (finally!) that I was entering freak-out mode and no amount of asking myself, “But what should I doooooo?” over and over was going to get me an answer.

I was too wrapped up in it.

I was imposing outside limitations on the whole thing.

I have to do it this way.
I have to launch by this date.
If I don’t launch soon, I am a failure.

At that point, there was surely no harm in stepping away from it, because not-stepping-away from it wasn’t getting me anywhere.

Stepping away to find some clarity

After much Dance of Shiva and meditation, it became clear that this had nothing to do with how my website looked.

This was classic biggification stuckness.

As in, ohmygod people will see me and they will know that I am a coach. I don’t want to be seen.

And that fear of being seen had become so big that I had almost completely lost touch with the fact that I do want to launch my website.

Getting support

I needed support, so I started the process by giving support to myself.

By releasing myself from my expectations around having a kick-ass website to start.

And letting go of any self-imposed deadlines for when I must go live.

More Dance of Shiva and more journaling – this time attempting to talk to my blocks.

I also decided to work on it with Hiro Boga.

Enter the Me’s

I learned about two of my Me’s. You know, the parts of me that make up my total Me. Or something like that.

One of them I’ve named Hedgehog Girl. For the other, I haven’t found the perfect name yet, but for now we’ll call her Dancing Girl.

Hedgehog Girl

She’s small.

And stubborn.

And very protective of herself (and me).

And when she doesn’t like what’s happening around her, she curls into a ball like a hedgehog and won’t budge.

Dancing Girl

Also small. (Not sure why a lot of my Me’s seem to be children…maybe it’s related to this comment on Communicatrix’s website?)

Extremely playful.

Utterly oblivious to any possibility that something could go wrong.

Loves to dance and run around. (You know the kind of dance I’m talking about – one that looks crazy, but makes you want to join in, if only you could just stop worrying about what other people think.)

Loves to be seen.

But she had been banished to a corner.

When Me’s don’t play nice

Even though I’ve got Dancing Girl, who is completely excited to launch and can’t wait for everyone to see the new website, she was in a corner.

Her being in the corner, to some degree, was the result of Hedgehog Girl, who was not at all happy about the idea of doing much of anything in public.

So I asked her, “What are you afraid of?”

Her answer was, “Change.” And a list of What Ifs.

What Hedgehog Girl needed was reassurance. And to know that she would be protected.

Answering the What Ifs

During my session with Hiro, I explained to Hedgehog Girl that even though launching and being visible is hard and uncomfortable, it’s even more uncomfortable for me to stay blocked and not launch.

And we set up a place for us to go if things got too scary.

Because, at the core of it, she needed to know that if moving forward gets too painful, we wouldn’t have to continue on. She needed to know that there would be an escape hatch if she needed it.

But what if I don’t have a Hedgehog Girl?

It doesn’t matter if you have a Hedgehog Girl or an Ostrich Boy or maybe you don’t even subscribe to the idea of having multiple Me’s…er…You’s and that you can talk to them.

When there is something we want to do, but we’re afraid and we resist and get stuck, underneath it all there are unmet needs.

Some part of us takes up the role of Protector, and puts up a block until those needs are met.

The fear or block doesn’t define us. We are not it and it isn’t us.

The block is simply some need that hasn’t been addressed. It’s a question – often starting with “what if” – that needs an answer.

What if it’s too hard?
What if nobody shows up?
What if too many people show up?
What if it’s not like I thought it would be?

But we can acknowledge the fear, and ask ourselves what the true need is.

And when we listen for the need, we can work toward meeting it.

Sweetie, if it’s too hard, we can do something else instead.
If it’s not what we thought, we can make a new plan.
We won’t be locked in to any of it.

Now, my friends, it’s time for me to go finish getting ready to launch a website.

Dancing Girl can’t wait for you to see it. Hedgehog Girl is taking things a bit more cautiously, but at least she’s willing to come along for the ride now.

Shedding Beliefs

You know that feeling when you’ve made a large internal shift?

The kind of shift where you’ve faced up to a reality you’ve been avoiding. One that you’ve contributed to by avoiding it.

Where you’ve realized your needs aren’t being met because you’ve been convinced you don’t deserve to ask for what you need.

Essential, spirit-level needs.

Yeah, that kind of shift.

That’s where I am today.

I thought it would feel different. Better. Freeing.

But I’m weepy and full of sadness.

I guess maybe I’m sad for the Me I’ve been ignoring all this time, the Me who’s so tired.

Disappointed in the Me who allowed it to go on so long.

Worried that the consequences of course-correcting might mean things will get worse before they get better.

It takes deep heart-work to look at what we believe, and really question whether those beliefs are our own. Or if they’re just beliefs that “attached” to us from other people.

There’s a part of me, too, who’s baffled at what a vast disconnection I’ve had from my own heart. Not that that’s news to me, but it’s like uncovering a whole new layer of it.

Surely keeping connected might have avoided some of this? (And that, in turn, leaves me wondering why Staying Connected to Your Heart isn’t taught in school. But that’s a soapbox for another day.)

Maybe what I’m feeling is a disorientation caused by the crumbling of some core beliefs I didn’t even realize I had. But now I’ve seen that they’re there, and I don’t want or need them anymore.

Without question, this is a good thing. Yet, it’s all so new. I’m in that tender, raw place of weeding out the old before the new is firmly planted.

Even by writing this, I can feel the shifting continue.

The heavy despair is starting to dissolve, and I can offer love and compassion to both the tired Me and the Me who believed my role in life didn’t include being supported.

Moving Ahead without All the Answers

I’m sure a lot of you have heard by now about Havi’s upcoming class about how to get great testimonials without feeling icky about it.

Since I’m in the process of launching my coaching business, I’m definitely going to take the class.

Who wouldn’t want to learn genius testimonial-getting techniques from Havi, when her destuckification magic permeates everything she does?

Interestingly, though, I saw a tweet yesterday that got me thinking.

Basically, the person who tweeted replied to Havi and said they weren’t going to take the class because they need to be offering something that requires testimonials first.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Going from stuck to un-stuck

One of the big reasons I got so stuck when I completed my life coach training was because I was waiting for answers to questions. Like stuff about marketing and choosing a niche and on and on. I believed I had to have a niche and a marketing plan and a business plan already in place when I started my business.

Nobody was there to tell me that I didn’t need to answer all of those questions before I started.

I got so stuck I became convinced that I didn’t even want to be a coach because every time I thought about it I had all those unanswered questions giving me the stink-eye.

Skipping ahead

Fast forward to July or August of last year, when I discovered Havi and her magic-making ways of destuckification.

Things started shifting for me and I was able to start this blog in spite of being scared shitless (not shiftless – har!).

I still had lots of unanswered questions, but I was more comfortable with leaving them unanswered. And I was learning how to keep moving forward without all the answers.

More and more I began to see that, for me, moving forward would be the very thing that would help me find the answers.

It was either wait and continue to focus only on deciding what business I wanted to start, or keep pondering that question while I started doing some other things to prepare myself for the inevitable outcome of figuring out what I wanted to do.

Taking a risk

I didn’t know what kind of business I wanted to have, but I did know I wanted my own business.

Starting a business takes work and preparation. Then Naomi over at IttyBiz offered her Marketing 101 course.

It would have been really easy for me to say that it doesn’t make sense for me to take that course because I didn’t have anything to market, yet.

(In fact, way back when Havi and Naomi offered their Non-Icky Self-Promotion class, that’s what I said: I can’t justify taking this because I have nothing to promote. Now, I wish I had taken it anyway.)

But because I think Naomi is the bee’s knees and I know she stands behind everything she does, and because I knew I would be getting recordings of the calls that I could listen to forever and ever, it seemed like a really low-risk thing to do.

The risk paid off, because learning that stuff helped the whole idea of starting a business feel more doable.

Keep moving

One of the things I’ve learned since I started blogging is that every time I write about something that I think only applies to me, I find out from my dear readers that they can relate to it. I’m never the only one who has dealt with this stuff.

So maybe some of you are like me and feeling like you want a business, but you have no clue what kind of business. And you’re looking for ways to keep moving toward that thing you want, even though you don’t quite know what it is, yet.

That’s the key: finding ways to keep moving around those stuck parts.

Sometimes it’s the moving itself that helps to unstick some of what’s stuck.

When I was deciding how to keep moving, it usually came back to risk. What’s the risk that I’ll feel like doing this was a mistake?

That usually boiled down to worrying I would feel like I paid too much for the quality of the material, or worrying that the content wouldn’t be applicable.

With Havi, you’re not going to get crappy content. That’s a given.

And that second one (non-applicable content) can be offset by not paying too much.

Even a couple months ago (when I didn’t know what I would be seeking testimonials for) I would have felt like Havi’s non-icky testimonials class was a low-risk opportunity because it includes the recordings and notes.

And for four and half hours of Havi’s genius, this is not an expensive class.

It seems to me that the worst thing that could happen is that you take the class and feel like it’s not information you need. Yet.

But 3 or 6 (or however many) months from now, when you’re ready for it, it’ll be there, waiting for you.

And you never know…it might be the very thing that helps unblock you in other areas, too.

The Point

This isn’t actually about whether you to take this particular class or not.

What I hope is that you might possibly see that there are no “rules” about the order in which you should learn things or try things or do things. And that if risk is low enough, it can be better to try something than to wait for answers to come.

I mention the class only because it’s happening soon, and because some of you might feel like you’re not ready for it yet. And, of course, because it’s from Havi and she’s amazing.

But maybe “ready” isn’t about being able to apply the information immediately. Maybe it’s about being at a point where you’re open to trying something new to see if it helps you with moving forward.

Moving Past Some Fear

For the last five or six years, I’ve identified myself as someone who doesn’t know what she wants. I could see all the things I didn’t like about my life, all the things I didn’t want.

But the minute it was time to turn it around and start defining what I do like and do want? Instant static. Fog. I felt as though it was an unanswerable question, as though I had never wanted anything, ever, in my entire life.

A realization.

It’s bullshit, and it’s been bullshit for years. And I mean that in the kindest, most compassionate way possible.

What did I get out of identifying myself this way?

  • The safety and false comfort of the status quo.
  • There was no pressure to move forward and act, because I simply didn’t know what to do.
  • And there was no risk of having to renege on a path or admit defeat at some point in the future.

On the flipside, what did I sacrifice?

  • The satisfaction of knowing I had followed my dream. (The possibility that the dream would turn out to be not-my-dream is irrelevant.)
  • The adventure of learning that comes only by venturing into uncharted waters.
  • Precious years of my life, just waiting. Waiting for the answers to come to me when the only way they would come is to Do. The. Thing.

So why did I buy into this lie?

Why do I still slip back into this pattern of inaction due to (apparent) lack of desire and direction? Well, I’m sure there’s lots of reasons, but here’s a biggie:

I’ve been embarrassed.

Embarrassed to say it out loud. Ashamed to talk about it.

“It?” you ask. What is it?

*taking a deep breath*

Coaching. I want to be a coach. There I said it.

And until a few days ago, the irony was lost on me.

Here I am, dreaming to be a coach who can empower people to feel good about being themselves, feel GOOD about going after whatever it is that makes their heart sing. Yet I’ve been embarrassed to flat-out tell people that’s what I want to do.

Sure, sometimes my coaching comes up in conversation, and I’ll concede that I enjoy the work and will probably do more of it “someday”. And then I usually go on about how “I’m just not sure it’s right for me, so I’m waiting until I find some clarity about what I really want.”

But not too long ago I realized that’s just a story I tell myself to calm the ache I feel when I’m aware that I’m not yet doing the thing I’m meant to do.

I mean, how can I truly help people do the thing they want to do, the thing they might even be afraid to want, if I’m afraid to tell the world about wanting to be a coach?

(In my own defense, part of my embarrassment comes from the extreme cheesiness that can be found in the world of personal development. I really don’t want to be one of those cheeseballs.)

Even as I type this post, there is a part of me that’s screaming inside. Wailing and stomping her feet to get me to stop typing. To just maintain the status quo and keep my damn mouth shut.

Just now, she said, “Nobody’s going to take you seriously if you publish this post. You’re too broken to help anybody.”

And I’m embarrassed for being embarrassed. If anyone else told me they wanted to do the very thing that I am wanting to do, I would cheer them on, and I would also be envious that they were going to make it happen. I would whine and wonder why they can do it but I can’t.

I wouldn’t think that they should be embarrassed or feel the need to apologize. Somehow that rule only applies to me.

The contradiction made it that much harder to talk about my dream, and to get help to move past the shame-factor.

I could try to analyze the reasons that contributed to me feeling shame around my heart’s desires, but I think there’s only limited benefit in unwinding all of them.

What matters is that I see the irony now. I see that it’s important for me to move beyond this and model the outcome I would want for the people I work with.

Is this still terrifying? Hell, yeah.

Do you know how long I’ve been obsessing over this post and questioning if I really want to tell the whole world about all of this? (Well, not that the whole world is reading. But they could. If they wanted.)

And then there’s my tendency to go into self-flagellation mode when I realize how much time I’ve “wasted”. And how ridiculous it is that I feel this way. Blah blah blah.

Yes, the patterns are still there. And probably will be for a long time, if not forever. (It doesn’t matter, anyway, because even if these patterns go away, there will just be new ones to work with. Ask Havi.)

But really this is a giant gift. Because now I know what it’s like to want something really badly, but to be afraid to say it out loud to anyone.

A Love Letter to My Blog

My darling Blog,

Thank you for being so patient with me. I’ve missed you.

I know I haven’t come around in a while. Life has just been so…complicated.

Lots of extra hours at work. Family members needing to be moved to new houses or going into the hospital.

And then on top of all that, I’m dealing with some Stuff that has come up recently. Lots of impatience about what feels like lack of progress. Unmet expectations. Struggling with how to stay connected when being busy at work makes me feel really isolated.

It’s all left me with a serious case of the Blahs. The numb out in front of the TV kind of blahs.

I know it sounds like a bunch of excuses, but it’s not you. It’s me. Really.

The good news is that I’m working on it. I’ve been talking to blocks, thanks to Havi. Maybe I’ll tell you more about that soon. But just know that it’s been enlightening. And it was enough to get me back here to write this letter to you, after a whole month away.

I promise I’ll try not to let it go so long in the future.

Forgive me?

Love,

Victoria

Chasing the Pain and Assorted Messiness

Most of you don’t know me very well, if at all, so you don’t know the following:

When I do something, I do it hard core until I either decide I don’t like it, or that I’m not good at it.

I place extremely high expectations on myself.

Some of those expectations involve being able to “just get over it” and do the thing I’m trying to do.

Some of those expectations also involve being good at something instantly.

And that often leads to me not liking something because I’m not good at it. (Much easier to say I quit due to dislike than to admit I gave up because it was harder than I thought.)

So, it’s been what? A couple weeks, if that, that I’ve been blogging?

And I was so proud of myself for setting it up. And publishing some posts. And generally getting out there and doing the thing.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I started comparing my blog to other blogs. I became obsessed with my stats (bad, BAD idea). I was second-guessing every post idea I had. There was much typing and deleting. It was all rubbish.

And all of that thinking left my creativity more blocked than an intestine after eating an entire three-cheese pizza.

Instead of focusing on what I’d accomplished (yay!), I kept seeing where I fell short (according to my own ridiculous expectations).

Lucky for me, today was the final session in Havi’s Blogging Therapy course. Well, I wish it weren’t the last session, but if it had to be the last session, it was good it happened today.

We did a group check-in, so I decided I was willing to share all of this with the class.

And Havi so sweetly explained the concept called “chasing the pain”, which is a phenomenon that happens a lot when you are trying to deal with some sort of physical ailment.

Which was the perfect response because I know all about it in my own body.

It basically works like this:

I got my neck feeling better and now my shoulder hurts. Still working on my shoulder but my hips and knees needed attention. Got my hips and knees working better and now my upper back needs help.

In a nutshell, I fix one problem and another shows itself.

The same thing happens in dealing with our emotional stuff, too. Or so I am learning.

I worked through the fear of starting the blog, but then my tendency to expect too much of myself roared for attention.

And underneath these expectations, it became clear that I had turned this blog – which was supposed to be a place for me to be okay with less-than-perfect – into another bunch of Shoulds. Just another thing in my life to try to be perfect at.

As in, I should have published a new post already. Every post should be amazing and generate lots of comments.

To quote Havi: “There are no Shoulds in blogging.”

A much needed reminder for me to loosen up.

So that’s me, being real about how hard this is.  Being honest that my perfectionism gets in my way. And inviting my friends to share in all the messiness with me.

Because, really, what else can I do other than to keep chasing the pain? Even though I’m still uncovering new stuff (emotionally and physically), I know I’ve gotten better overall. And that tells me that if I stop chasing it, the healing stops, too.