Who of us has not had the occasion to make the proverbial “mountain out of a molehill?”  I for one didn’t know moles made hills (thought it was gophers, I’m all messed up!).  But I am WELL aware that humans do have a special propensity for making little things into BIG ONES.  I am amongst this kind of human. Why plough through a problem when we can add some extra weight onto that fishing line and really sink it deep???  Why see the issue for what it is when we can turn up the assumption meter, add a little pressure here, higher-standards-than-anyone-else there, you’ll never be enough on top and sha-bang!!!  Beautifully gnarled, gremlin-infested PROBLEM with no exit signs anywhere!!  It’s exhausting for me to even set the stage here!!!  Gads!

Let me give you a picture of how this very propensity played itself out in my life some time ago.  I have other examples but this one is typical and therefore representative of my pattern in this area (see also “overkill,” “overachieve,” self-flagilation”).  In the month prior to my 30th birthday I got the idea in my head that perhaps after smoking off and on from the age of 15, that maybe I ought to knock this out.  You know, clear that chemical out of my body so I could begin the long purification process for pending middle age.  (Now that is hilarious!)   Attempts to stop on my own failed in various different iterations so I decided to enroll in a smoke enders group through the American Cancer Association.  Perfect, just me and a group of other folk all set to quit together with the faciliation of a group leader.  I had some trepidation that the scene would be akin to Jack Nicholson’s experience in group in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but I braved it.  They asked us to agree on a quit day (you did not need to have quit to show up there…at least when I went).  So we did and we got all the skinny on the intellectual reasons why this was all going to be a good thing, complete with a sticker kit to use to mark our days on a quit calendar!  Is that incentive or what?  So to the point here, I decided well, I wasn’t going to quit when everyone else did, I was going to quit a few days earlier so I had my very own private, “unique”quit date!!! I had a ceremonial last smoke before I even finished the last pack that it came from, having relished that aromatic last twig in my car in a grocery store parking lot.  Nothing but sacred.  Scrunched the pack containing the balance of the cigs and exhaled my final lungs-full of dirty butt smoke.  I had started my special journey!!!  It is anticlimactic after this point, really.  It was just so typical for me to make it harder.  Raise that bar so that I could be different, perhaps more victorious, whatever.  No ego there!!!  Sheesh!!

So flash forward to 2010 and the topic is not an addiction, (other than to be as hard on yourself as you possibly can in as many situations as possible), and now the molehill is my life:  bigger than a cig pack, smaller than the universe, so at least I have that going for me!!!  And the mountain I have created is around how I better have a huge station in life and a mega presence and supersonic message and a giant-sized purpose with  an order of mondo impact on the side!!!   Other than that I can pass go, collect $200 and stay in the game.  And I had a brief flashback to a CD from the effervescent, in-your-face loving-you-madly speaker Jacob Glass saying “You’re not so special, really,” to all of us and asking us to embrace mediocrity!!  I was so amused and relieved at the thought of it!!!  And even after having that insightful seed being planted, here I found myself today, the “make it harder and more impossible than it needs to be” pattern returning and no real sign of me embracing my glorious medioctrity.

And yet, for some synchronistic, awesome reason, I was given the opportunity to break my pattern today.   Let me just say that these kinds of opportunities are likely to happen to you if you engage in the work I do, that is,  if you find yourself sharing space with those earthlings called “life coaches.”  There I was, making the newest of mountains out of my current molehill, going about the usual rigamoroll like so:  “I shouldn’t….I can’t really…..but then so and so will think…..how will I explain….but there will be economic implications….it’s so out there….what if….there’s no way…..couldn’t I just….?”

And then the moment of truth came:  I had to confront all the voices of the “committee” (who honestly believe in their heart of hearts that they are helping you),   and say to them “thanks for coming, thanks for your previous support but I’ll be taking it from here.”  And what is it that I am taking?  Well, I’m going to take on a new “job,” and that job has everything to do with participating in three specific endeavors that make my heart sing.  I will be spending a whole month connecting with others, writing, and reading.  As the words roll out of my head and onto the keyboard I am keenly aware of a LACK of mountain here!!!  Whatever it is that is before me already seems to be “right sized,” and not a question of molehill or not.  It is sheer permission to pursue those things that make my heart sing.  There’s a boatload of unknown in the whole thing and that tells me that I am so in the right territory.  So I’ll be blogging about it this month and I can’t wait to see what happens!!!

Is there anything in your life that resembles making a mountain out of a molehill?  Will you consider giving yourself at least temporary permission to do something outrageous?

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Squirm Factor

March 23, 2010

I was in a conversation with some colleagues from a leadership training program of which I am a part. We were talking about how to figure out if something we want to do is really something we want to do? What signals are there that we are on track? What signals are there period? I’m sure it’s no news that our bodies are regularly screaming, ok, talking to us about the state of things. Insane what we can learn when we listen to that pain in our neck, or ache in our lower back, soreness in our jaw, dull ache in our stomach, etc. Sadly there are no computer programs to do the translations on them, but we might be able to figure them out with a little practice (and a Louise Hay book nearby?).
So anyway, one of us was talking about trying something new (this will be a recurring theme for me) and I asked them something like “On a scale of 1 – 10 how much does that make you squirm?” Thus, the squirm factor was born. So I think they said “Seven.” A one, two, or three would have indicated that it wasn’t too big of a deal. But this indicated to me that it was pretty up there and yep, that was their body telling them that this is striking some kind of nerve and whatever that is, it’s the place to go next! Kind of nuts, isn’t it? To go where you are squirming in either semi-fright or anxious anticipation? Or maybe it is excitement. Whatever the case, I wonder if there is something in your life that is making you squirm? Could you possibly entertain that it might be a feeling telling you something important is here? Could you maybe even stay there a little longer and entertain the thought of going exactly there and looking for the hidden nugget?

Friends on the Path

March 23, 2010

I am totally fortunate in the area of friends. Not as in a collection of them but in the kinds that have been showing up in my life. Today, for example, I was able to spend time with a friend on Skype which for me is still a cheap thrill–make that a major thrill!!! I’m such a nerd that I touch the screen to see if they are really there! (yes, I do get out, no, not quite enough!!). The part I found myself in gratitude around was that she really sees me for who I am and takes me for all that shows up!! It’s the coolest thing. Like there is NOTHING I CAN’T DO in her eyes. Is that not the coolest thing? If I have an inkling to check something out she has this attitude of complete acceptance that it’s possible. Anything is possible from this friend’s perspective. It’s hard not to start thinking along those lines in her presence. And when I am in her presence, I start believing it a little more too. And we have this thing where we encourage each other to go places that are a little less comfortable than usual and we remind each other that we can take new things on and that, in fact, the whole bag lady thing is really not close to possible for us, not really. And we laugh at our stumblings. We poke fun at our desires to stop doing things that we don’t really like that much in favor of trying some other thing that sounds a lot more aligned with who we are. Acceptance left, right, up, down, happy, sad. It’s wonderful. And we sometimes even throw in some kind of re-check; a sort of accountability to each other if we have uncovered one of those places that needs some nudging or where we are squirming and thinking “oh, no, not there, I can’t go there!” which we know is code for WE SO HAVE TO GO THERE NEXT. And on that note I have some “homework” to do for me. If I do it for my friend it will ruin it all, but I will tell her about it. Do you have a friend like this?

Book Nibbles

March 23, 2010

I love getting ideas from other people about books. I especially love when they are inspired by those books, whether they are novels or cookbooks or biographies, spiritual…..it is so great when someone is excited and can’t wait for you to read them. Well, I thought I would periodically share books that have inspired me. To date, I keep finding books that feed my soul and I get it that they aren’t for everyone. The other thing I have noticed is that sometimes I will hear about a book three or four times in a very short period of time and that usually signals to me that maybe I’m being spoken to!!!! Whatever the case, here are a few of my favorites from the last year or so:
Steering by Starlight, Martha Beck
A New Earth, Ekhart Tolle
The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch
What We Ache For, Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, Tara Brach
Broken Open, Elizabeth Lesser
There is Nothing Wrong with You, Cheri Huber
The Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Debbie Ford
Invocations: Calling Forth the Light that Heals, Jacob Glass
Entering the Castle, Carolyn Myss
Anatomy of Peace, Arbinger Institute
Currently Reading:
Loving What Is: Byron Katie (listened to CDs, now reading book)
The Wisdom of the Tao, Wayne Dyer
A Course in Miracles, Foundation for Inner Peace
Books on Deck:
Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, Gregg Levoy
Eat, Love, Pray, Elizabeth Gilbert
Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn
A Million Little Pieces, James Frey
The Prospering Power of Love, Catherine Ponder
Undefended Love, J Psaris, M. Lyons
Forgive for Good, Dr. Fred Luskin
The Power of Collective Wisdom and the Trap of Collective Folly, Alan Briskin, et. al
When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron

It’s important to have a stack of yummy books waiting for your next round of bandwidth!!! Love it!! What books have inspired you? Are? Might?

Eat, Love, Pray

Universe Speaks

March 20, 2010

I had an unfortunate experience online tonight.  The universe apparently has a message for me that is for my higher good.  I can’t cross over the bridge to really owning that until I process the living you-know-what  out of the situation.  I was working on some homework for a leadership course I’m taking for the next 9 months.  I learned the hard way that if you do your homework online for too long, it will time out on you and OOPS, there is no auto save on the page and you lose it all.  I felt so smart this time because I uploaded the document for the homework and cut and pasted it and then started to do some seriously cool edits to it and after about a half hour of serious edits the screen said “the system has timed out” and then something about unless you do something soon it will log out.  Well the thing was that the whole time I WAS on the system!!!! My fingers were ploughing away!!! I was creating some great stuff.  It was flowing out of me in that way where after I read it I wonder who came through me and downloaded that stuff?!  (Yes, I know, my 7th grade English teacher is rolling in her grave whenever I use either “things” or “stuff” and she forgot that I also learned the concept “poetic license”).  So now all I have is the original draft with none of the lovely edited enhancements.  And I am bitter.

So now, for the sake of us all learning something from adversity yet and again, I will try to figure out the message of this.  This may hurt so bear with me (hurt me, that is!!).  I’m guessing the message is that for all this time that I have been creating a struggle for myself around getting out here and writing, that I need to learn somewhere how to not be attached to my work.  So as I was enjoying myself and having a total ball editing and making things sing, the universe said “not so fast, my pretty!!!” and the rest is literally history.  I also have to let go, when I’m good and ready, to my bitterness around whomever designed an interactive web network that doesn’t autosave drafts or tell you up front to please save your work “in case” the system times out.  No, I don’t want to take any responsibility for my role in this.  I want to be bitter.  And when I’m done it will all be fine and no one will be too hurt for it all.  The other piece, I suppose, is the universe reminding me again that I am building a new soul muscle around how I can just do it again and I have all that I need to make something just as groovy as the last one.  That there is no lack going on here in terms of the capacity I have to create ideas and inspirations with my words.  That “this is not the last of what you’ve got missy!!!!”  Fine.  Just fine.

So here I go, over the bridge of humility and into the land of “let’s try that again.”  And I will. Tomorrow. Besides, this screen might just

Lift Off

March 19, 2010

Houston, we have lift off!!! It is so exciting to be off the tarmack!!  How many years have YOU been saying you are going to set up a web page or start a blog?  It’s been about two for me.  Made it into a big, fat hairy monster I did!  No signs of hairy, fat or monster here! Well that’s a relief!  How many times a day, since we’re on the topic of how long it takes, do you confront a big, hairy monster and then hang a Louie and leave the scene?  “I think I’ll talk to my boss about that manner in which he publicly reams me and let him know how that feels.  On second thought that project deadline and product launch are in my face, so NAH!!! I’ll talk to him after those are off my desk.”  Or, “I really, really want my daughter to know how much I admire her courage for making a choice to stay home last weekend instead of going to a party where she knew there would be drinking.  No, that’s too confrontational, I’ll just wait to tell her when there is a natural segue in a future conversation.”  Segue is now a noun and your chances of confronting a noun are next to nil. How rampant our thoughts become in situations like this where we create this crescendo (oh lordhavemercy tell me there is an auto spellcheck in blog heaven?) of a story about how bad something is going to be BEFORE IT HAPPENS!!!  We’re not even there yet and we decide to engage in “anticipatory conversation” about where the situation or conversation is going to go.  As if we could carry the weight of the crystal ball THAT would require!!!  So we proceed with our lovely, rampant imaginations into all corners of that dangerous neighborhood that is our mind.  And we stay ON the tarmack.  How much do you hate sitting in a hot plane on the tarmack? Drives me insane. I pretend not to be claustrophobic  (score!! nailed the spelling first time!) by entertaining myself with stories about exactly who that man is in front of me with the odd patterned polyester shirt wondering when he missed the memo that his shirt is in fact  flammable and actually makes you sweat more.  You hate the tarmack too (and I normally profess that the only thing to hate is hate itself) but this tarmack thing is really bugging me today.  Because it represents inertia. Stuckedness (I am submitting that word to the word smith association of America, thank you). A state of being staid.  (I am SO going to take you back to your SAT tests where you had to learn these lesser-used words).  So there we are in our heads, imagination fully engaged, future fully predicted and action fully not taken. Begin with the ending (you predict) in mind.  Not what Steven Covey was talking about.

And I wonder, who of us can look back at their own tarmack story and entertain opening up to say,  a different possibility?  What if for a day there was a lock out of all big, hairy monster thoughts???  Byron Katie would love us and be proud.  So for grins, let’s take the boss thing.  Let’s just pretend that we TRY to say something to the boss.  Let’s pretend that we muster that courage to say “Boss, there is something on my mind that I really need to talk to you about, when is a good time to meet with you for a few minutes?”  Let’s get really bold and wild and pretend some more that he says “I have a few minutes now, what is up?”  And then, remembering to breathe (and leaning into the knowing that the oxygen mask will come down if the air gets too thin), you launch into a rambling “Imreallysorrybutitissohardformetounderstandwhyyouyellatmeinfrontofeveryonewouldyoumindnotdoingthat?”  Did you catch that subtle as a Mac truck reference to launching?  You’re off the tarmack baby and you are in the air!!!  Do you know what is so cool here?  You have a boatload of instrument panels full of all kinds of cool stuff to navigate with,  and, GET THIS, to help you course correct as you go!  Thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of times between just San Francisco and L.A. alone!!! This allows you to “make mistakes” and or get off track and get back in alignment again…over and over and over (did I say over?)  Now admittedly this next part of the story goes into some scenario-building (do not confuse this with crystal balls and anticipatory-whatever- I -called -it) for the sake of discussion.  And here’s the rub.  We are out of the “OMG he’s going to bite my head off now but  in private” story telling and we are entering into the land of “I suppose it might be possible that….”   Guess what is here?  What is here is the possibility that said Boss is somewhat ashen in the face, having never heard anyone actually utter the words “yell at me in front of everyone”.  Perhaps he actually notices how sunken your shoulders are and how tentative your speech is and how jittery you are as you sit across from him.  I know, inner skeptic in all of us says “If he yells in front of everyone then he sure the heck is not going to notice stuff like my body language, tone, tentativeness…”  But we are entertaining in the land of perhaps and seriously good stuff goes on in “pretend” so just hang the heck in here.  So let’s take this one more scary step.  Perhaps he not only sees where you are coming from and hears what your words are saying but maybe he even says, “Gosh, I’m so used to taking charge in that room, I didn’t actually realize I was doing that.  I think I’m going to take five before our next meeting and see if I might focus a little more or something, I’m not sure what….”  I know, you are barfing!  It just can’t be!!!  Well, fine, hold that story if you want to but my point, lengthy as it has been to get here, is that “it could happen!”  What I really mean is that you just witnessed a (clearly) fictional bad-ass boss who was actuallyNOT the big, bad, hairy monster earlier anticipated.  I wish for all of us one non-big, hairy monster outcome this week.  Entertain the radical possibility that you might get through whatever it is that you think (see “dangerous neighborhood” above) you can’t.  Then share that with me so I can post stories about everyday champions like me and you.  I dare you to get off the tarmack!!  After two years, here I am, launching, laughing and loving life.  Do not ruin my new dream!

4asyouare love yourself there,

Jennifer