Monthly Archives: June 2012

Create Your Weekend

Spent a fabulous day in the beautiful Northwest, right on the river.  The muse felt a little elusive, but she occasionally lit upon my shoulder and I don’t hate my painting.  That’s a big deal for me, not hating it. Perhaps I should raise my standards?

Anyway, having spent time in the sun and then a few hours driving home, I’m not feeling up to a huge challenge.  I was thinking at the end of this week you might be feeling a little tapped out as well. So this week’s assignment is about feeding your inner creative child.  The reason we’re feeding the child is that sometimes we’ve neglected that wonderful being we started out as, and stifled many of the wonderful weird ways with which we began.

Ready?  All I want you to do is take a few moments when you’re at the convenience store or the market and purchase some favorite childhood food.  It might be Chick-o-sticks or it might be chicken and dumplings.  The type of food is irrelevant, the treat for your soul is what matters.  Choose to be nurturing, choose to be a little weird, choose to stop being such a damn grown up and enjoy the sunshine that naturally emanates from your authentic self.

And create a wonderful weekend!

Facebook, Friend or Foe?

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Vineyard, Tualatin, Oregon

I am a Facebook devotee.  I am not proud of this fact, but we speak the truth here, and so I admit it to you. Over these last few years as I’ve been an active participant, we’ve had our ups and downs, Facebook and I.  There was our infatuation period, where Facebook could do no wrong. I would blissfully indulge in hours of “creeping”, as my kids called it.  I would post and creep and upload pictures to my heart’s content.  We were happily linked together, catching up with old friends, sheepishly finding out what old boyfriends looked like, and more importantly, what their wives looked like. But there came a time when I started to see my “eye to the universe” as not quite so flawless.  It wasn’t all good will and catching up. I found my cyber love was… flawed.  While I like to believe my intentions have always been pure on Facebook, at some point I found it to be a giant platform for a perpetual Christmas Card Update, a place where we have washed the dirtiest of our laundry and Photoshopped it to boot. It began to feel like negative energy.  It was at that point I opted out. I shut my page down and moved on with my life.

The break wasn’t permanent. How relieved I was to find that all I had to do was “enable” my page and we picked back up where we’d left off. It was just too complicated to stay completely away. I’m sure you understand. However, I did learn moderation.  I deleted and hid where necessary, and discovered the self control to stay away from dark “neighborhoods” that left me feeling anxious and unworthy.

We still have a tenuous relationship. While I love those qualities that initially attracted me to Facebook, I tire of soap boxes, lives in perfection, and conversely, the over-shares.  Lest I sound judgmental, I am hopelessly flawed and lean toward those same inclinations, all the while trying to deny them access to my account.

I’ve heard recently that Facebook is losing its hold on the masses.  It is for this reason I believe I am not alone in seeing it in all its flawed beauty.  I don’t know what the future holds for the two of us. I do know there are times I am painfully attached to it when I am fully aware that I should be living my life, not portraying it to others in the hopes that they will “Like” it.

Maybe it’s time we “tried it apart”. But then again…

TGIF – Get your weekend started out right!

Most of us are big fans of Friday.  Traditionally it is the end of the work/school week.  I know Chase (my 13 year old) loves it because he is emotionally allergic to traditional schooling, preferring instead to achieve his education via youtube.  We’ll let you know how that turns out. I am especially fond of Fridays because I have an art outing throughout the year.  I love the people I paint and draw with.  I love exploring new destinations and I love the rush of finding that the “muse” is with me, or the hope that she will return to me once again in the week to come.

So it is with this view of Friday and all her creative magic that I begin my feature TGIF – Get your weekend started out right!  Each week I’ll throw out a creative challenge for you to take on.  We’ll start out easy and see where it takes you.  This week’s challenge is one of my favorites and one I use in my coaching practice.  It’s designed to let your mind go, loosen up and enjoy the possibilities that life inherently holds for each one of us.  Just one more thing before we get to the details.  Comment on your experience.  Let’s hear from you!

Your challenge, should you accept it:

The Professions Journal

This is a challenge to let your mind do a little playing.  Write down 20 “professions” you’d like to try.  Now don’t get all uptight on me and try and be realistic.  Go crazy!  It doesn’t matter if every single thing on your list is outrageous. Good on you!  Here’s a sample of what a list might begin with:

1. Rock Star

2. Beautician

3. Screenplay writer

4. Bookstore owner

5. Paleantologist…And etc.

So once you get your list of 20 jobs that sound interesting to you, do one thing that would be a step toward one of them. E.G. If you wrote “rock star”, go get out your old guitar and spend some time strumming. Or maybe you’d like to be a pedi-cab operator, you’d take a ride on your bike.  Let your imagination go wild, expand your life just a little bit and SEIZE THE WEEKEND!

(Remember to share your experiences!)

The “Ten Things” Rule

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With the most recent side trip my life has taken, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed. While it seems like I’m staying on top of the basics, food is provided, clean clothes are available, I slap a smile on my face at all the proper moments, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I’m falling behind.  Even when I ask and answer the obvious question, “Behind what?”, I can’t shake it, no matter how hard I try.  This life is short.  There’s so much I want to do and experience, so many people I’d like to know and so many opportunities to be explored. How can I go out into the adventures of my life if all I accomplish in a day are the basics?  After my pity party subsides and Realistic Michelle comes out to talk to Big Baby Michelle, we make a plan.  The plan is to bring out the tried and true. The “Ten Things” Rule.

We all get a little overwhelmed at times.  You may be studying for finals, have had a new baby, changed jobs or just received upsetting news.  Life’s sense of humor is awesome and even though this months upset may look nothing like last month’s, we experience the same result, feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.  It was during a period of time when I had no energy, though I wasn’t sick, that Realistic Michelle came up with the Rule.  The Rule is simply that even if the kitchen is out of control and you just don’t have the energy/band width/interest to clean it, you will surely make your way to the kitchen at some point in your day.  Rather than walking into the kitchen and feeling bad about it, or walking in and forcing yourself to take on the whole disaster in one big bite, you clean up ten things.

Now if your life gets as crazy as mine does from time to time, you may be thinking that ten things isn’t going to make much of a difference. That is where you’d be mistaken. Three trips to the kitchen equals 30 things. Now that sounds like something.  But we’ve failed to calculate in the eternal truth that any action, regardless of how small, creates momentum.  Those 30 things often easily and magically multiply to 60  or even 90 things.

While we’ve been discussing house cleaning tips, I want you to understand that we’re speaking not only literally, but metaphorically.  Many of us aren’t suffering over the tidiness of our environment, there might be health issues we’re not addressing, or phone calls we’re not making or steps toward the profession of our dreams we’re not taking.  We don’t make them for myriad reasons, but one of the very most frequent is that we’re overwhelmed. We look at the whole whale and wonder how we’re ever going to eat it. What we fail to realize and fail to embrace is that all works, great and small begin with one tiny step, one little bite, one intention turned into a small action.  And the part we inevitably fail to remember is that the universe, in all it’s glory and magnificence, will walk right up to us, grab our hand and practically carry us on our way.

So whether you’re overwhelmed in your home and in your life, or just itching to move into a new phase of your life and your’re not sure how, choose to do 10 Things and see how it changes everything!

Melinda Mae – Shel Silverstein

Have you heard of tiny Melinda Mae,
Who ate a monstrous whale?
She thought she could,
She said she would,
So she started in right at the tail.
And everyone said,”You’re much too small,”
But that didn’t bother Melinda at all,
She took little bites and she chewed very slow,
Just like a good girl should…
…and in eighty-nine years she ate that whale
Because she said she would!

Everybody’s So Different, We’re All The Same

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So I’ve been thinking a lot.  As a matter of fact, it seems like all I’m really doing, besides making meals and cleaning the house, is thinking.  No, I am not the mother of small children. As a matter of fact, I am just a few short years away from being, as they say, an “Empty Nest-er”.  No, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking because my life is turned upside down… again… and thinking is about the only thing that stays with us when we’re forced to redefine our world.

My particular story is really of no consequence to you, but as this is my first “real” post on this blog, I will tell it to you in brief anyway.  We can get to know each other more particularly later.

The current details, as I see them, are thus:  I was running in the high desert area of Reno, Nevada the other day and I was thinking to myself what a wonderful time of peace we were enjoying.  Things were good.  All systems go.  Everyone in my family making progress in their own way, no major problems on the horizon.  It was not a week later that we found ourselves at the cardiac unit with my husband receiving open heart surgery upon finding two blocked arteries.  One of which, the “Widow Maker” as it is called, being 95% blocked.  

We are several weeks out from the event at this point, and I am finding myself… stymied. But as I mentioned, my particular circumstances aren’t relevant to this particular post.  Here is my point:

I’m a life coach. I have the privilege of helping people set their goals and find their bliss. While my clients may have basic similarities, they are all as unique as the proverbial snowflake.  Their goals and challenges are specific to them alone, and their coping mechanisms and views of these challenges similarly unique.  It’s humbling for me to be a part of this intimate journey.  It is exciting to me to find that there are just as many answers out there as there are questions. But deeper than the complexities of our individual lives, runs the river of understanding that connects each one of us. While your husband, if you even have one, may not have had unexpected heart surgery, you may have sprained your ankle, may have gone on a vacation that upturned your successful diet plans or you may have just found yourself in a funk that keeps you from moving forward in the exact way you’d envisioned your week going.

So while our differences are great and as profound as the ocean, we are all floating down the same river of life.  We are all experiencing challenges we couldn’t have foreseen and we are all one family, one hope of success, one beating heart that yearns for love and acceptance.  And for this particular question, on this particular day, I would give each one of us the very same answer:  For today, love yourself, find two things that made you smile, pat yourself on the back for even the tiniest success and forgive yourself for those things that weren’t as perfect as you had planned.

I think it’s time for a lavender and rosemary bath.  What will you do next?

All You Who Sleep Tonight

All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love,
No hand to left or right
And emptiness above –

Know that you aren’t alone
The whole world shares your tears,
Some for two nights or one,
And some for all their years. 

Vikram Seth