My Wedding, Your Decision

Sharon & Theresa's wedding

Sharon & Theresa

Do you ever struggle with making a decision? You just don’t like any of the options. Seems likeyour choices are to do nothing or pick a solution that you’re not in love with.

Speaking of love I got married on June 22, which means I’ve been doing some wedding planning. When I say “wedding” don’t think church, large crowds, or white gowns. Think backyard, a couple of guests, and yoga pants. My partner and I have lived together for 15 years. But when it became legal for us to marry in Oregon we decided to it was time.

But Not Urgent.

There wasn’t a deadline. We’re not having a baby, we already live together, and there wasn’t any family pressure. But my sister was scheduled to visit from Washington D.C. so it seemed like the perfect time.

Bridezilla?

Of course planning big weddings with mucho decisions about caterers, bridal parties, dove releases, and champagne toasts create big stress. But you wouldn’t think a teeny weeny wedding would create any decision making stress. Especially a wedding where you can wear yoga pants.

But it did. You have to understand that my partner and I are very different people. If it were up to her she would gone to the courthouse and been done with it. She wanted to marry me. She didn’t necessarily want others involved.

I, on the other hand, wanted witnesses. My community is really important to me. I knew I wouldn’t be inviting 100 of my closest friends. But I wanted someone there.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, NOT

One of the advantages of a non-traditional relationship is that we don’t have traditional roles. I’ve seen plenty of relationships where the bride decides what the wedding will be like with some to little input from the groom.

Not so when you have two opinionated women. In our relationship when it comes to important decisions (or decisions we care about like which rug to buy) we wait until we have a choice with which we’re both happy. As you can imagine there is often a waiting period. Sometimes a long waiting period. But interestingly enough we always find a perfect choice whether it’s a wedding or rug.

How about your “wedding?”

I bet you have a decision you need to make. Maybe it’s a fun one like where to go on vacation. Will it be Tahiti, Seattle, or Kokomo, Indiana? So many possibilities…

Or maybe you’ve been putting off a decision like how you’re going to loose weight. It seems so overwhelming. So many choices and you’re afraid they’ll all involve deprivation.

When I work with my coaching clients I sometimes hear angst when there isn’t a clear decision. The conversation goes something like this. “I know I don’t want to stay where I am, but I don’t know where I want to go.”

Or “Where I am isn’t quite right, but I don’t like any of the other options.”

“Where I am” can be a physical location, a job, a health status, a relationship… If you’re stalling on a decision does that make you a procrastinator? What if it just isn’t time to make a decision? What if by waiting you allow the perfect choice time to show up?

To decide or not to decide

One of the great things about consciously tabling a decision until more data becomes available is that your stress gets reduced. Allow that potential decision to perch on your shoulder and it takes energy every day. But when you stick it in a box in a closet and promise to come back to it you can focus more freely on what’s at hand.

Your Assignment

Pick one decision that you know you’ve been needing or wanting to make. Got it? Now feel into whether it’s time to make the decision or park it.

Notice how you feel with each option. Does deciding feel better? How about waiting? And if you’re waiting what do you need to know to make the decision?

I’d love to hear what you decided and how you feel about it here.

Don’t “Just Do It!”

Since 1988 Nike’s Just Do It slogan has been adding zeros to Nike’s bottom line. No one can argue that old shoesit’s a great tagline for them. Well known, easy to remember, and inspiring to athletes and coach potatoes alike.

Even though it’s served Nike well, I don’t think it’s a great tagline for how to “do life.” Honestly, I only take issue with three parts of it: just, do, and it.

Wait a Minute

Who am I to argue with the genius of a large ad agency that represents clients like Facebook and Coke Cola? Who am I to argue with a slogan that has been inspiring the masses to buy shoes (and socks and sunglasses and water bottles…) for 27 years?

The phrase sells shoes. I’m not interested in selling shoes. I’m interested in connecting people to their most inspired (and inspiring) life. I don’t recommend “Just Do It” as the best way to get there.

Being “Just”

Just, among its definitions, means “actually or really.” In other words “really” do it.

As opposed to dreaming, thinking about doing it, talking about why you can’t do it, having a snack, calling a friend, filing your nails, browsing Facebook, having another snack…

Sometimes we need that kick in the butt to get off our butts and make our “it” happen. Sometimes action IS what’s required. But when we jump to the assumption that “just” doing is the answer when we haven’t even figured out the question, we’re premature in our process. I see people pushing, busy, busy, busy, doing stuff day after day, yet not feel successful.

“Just” marginalizes what needs to happen, as if doing or not doing was the only problem. As in, if you just did “it” life would be wonderful. If you just got out and ran (wearing Nike’s, of course) you would be healthier, heck maybe even an Olympian.

But if this is something worth doing, if this is the thing you feel called to do, then your “it” deserves more focus and intention than a dismissive “just.”

Do, Be, Do, Be, Do?

So what about the “do” part? Taking action is at some point essential. But it must be preceded with some “being,” that place where divine inspiration comes in, where ideas gestate. Maybe some taking stock, some listening and sometimes even some waiting.

It’s okay, even necessary to take some time before doing. There’s your timing. And there’s divine timing. Sometimes we need to make ready. Sometimes the universe needs to line things up. If you’ve ever pushed, worked, and plodded to make something happen only to feel frustrated as the project ground to a halt, then you may not have laid your groundwork. It also might not be the “right” time. No amount of “just doing” will unblock the logjam.

The “just do it” attitude implies that it’s all up to you. That there isn’t a greater power at work here. But there is.

That “Just Do It” stuff can keep you busy all day. What about right action? To have right action you must first have inner awareness. You must listen. You must wait for a puff of divine inspiration to blow your way.

Sometimes the most fearless thing you can do is wait. Don’t confuse making excuses, distraction or your delay tactics with waiting for right timing.

When is the time for doing? Good question. It goes back to the awareness piece. You’ll feel clear. You’ll feel excited about your next step.

Here’s the really cool thing. When you’re not pushing yourself to “just do it,” when you’ve waited for that inspiration, for knowing, then you don’t have to push. You want to move. And move you do.

Your “It”

Before you do “it,” you have to figure out what your “it” is. Tricky territory. Sometimes we go after an “it” that belongs to our parents, a boss, or our culture. To live an inspired life you must have a taste of what your “it” is. Doesn’t work if you’re driving to someone else’s it.

Sometimes the bravest thing to do is to go on an inner expedition to find your “it.” It takes space. It takes quiet. It takes commitment.

Your brain is a valuable resource. It usually remembers your address, your route home, your favorite brand of tennis shoes, be they Nike or other. But your brain isn’t always the best place to source your “it.”

Better Places to Check for Your “It.”

Try your heart, a repository of wisdom of what moves and motivates you. Gosh, maybe you’ll be so moved that you won’t need a catchy slogan to inspire you to action.

Trust your gut. Those twitchy, slippery ever-present feelings sandwiched between yesterday’s pizza and your morning corn flakes can inform you about what matters to YOU.

You may have to build your awareness muscles. If you haven’t been listening you have to relearn/learn those skills. But do 15 awareness crunches a day and pretty soon you’ll find yourself with flat awareness muscles. And looking proud, balancing right on top, you might just find your “it.”

Be patient. You’ll know it’s yours because you’ll feel a sense of excitement coupled with a feeling of “this is it.”

Your “it” calls you for a reason. It helps you to heal, to grow. It helps you to offer your gifts to the world, to have more joy. And in order to be up to speed with your “it” you probably need to do some inner work. You might need to shift some beliefs.

I know “Just Do It” is much simpler than my process. My tagline would suck. Something like “Know what you want. Get aligned with it. Wait for inspiration and then act.” I won’t be selling many shoes with that baby. It probably won’t turn you into a world-class athlete either. But you might just have more success and be happier in the process too.

Do you know what your “it” is? I’d love for you to share it here.

All Play and No “Work?”

Art Feeds My SoulBack in the 90’s thinking about doing art would trigger a stress response for me. I’d feel my muscles tighten, my breath would become shallower, and I would sweat.

Sounds like fun, huh?

So I Took An Art Class

You might be surprised to hear that I’m currently taking a yearlong art class and loving it. I used to say, “I can’t even draw a good stick figure.” But I surrounded myself with supportive artists friends, not on purpose, but because I love to be around creative people.

Over time these lovely women took me under their wings and helped me find my path with art. One of my artist friends who used to teach drawing classes told me that anyone (yes, even me) could learn to draw. And with their guidance I was able to draw something that was recognizable.

For my current art class I get a weekly online lesson. The mixed media lessons come from various teachers using a variety of mediums-paint, stamps, collage, inks, lettering, etc.

Lesson Learned

What I learned from last week’s lesson was priceless. While I had a bit of a learning curve using some new markers, a birthday gift from two of my artist muse friends, the important thing I learned was about having fun.

I didn’t expect my project to look perfect. I didn’t expect me to be perfect. And because of that it was play, not work. Because of that I stayed in the present moment. That’s how I’ve learned to approach the art classes I take.

My ah-ha moment came when I realized how often I expect perfection from myself when it comes to my work. I expect my coaching to be perfect. I expect everyone in my classes to have a stellar experience. I expect every idea I have to be executed perfectly.

But it’s not possible (sorry if you saw me as perfect and I spoiled the illusion) for perfection to be my norm. And holding onto that dream certainly sucks the joy out of the process.

More Fun Please

So I’m vowing to have more fun with my work, make that my “play.” Don’t get me wrong. I often do have fun with my work. It’s just that sometimes I don’t.

In February I lead my second Purposeful Yoga retreat in Mexico. I had fun. Lots of fun actually. I got to use my skills, be creative, hang out with incredible women, swim, hike to a cave, connect with locals, walk a deserted beach… All while I was “working.”

Fun has a high vibration. It can help you be healthier and happier. It can help you attract more of what you want in your life. So how can you have more fun in your life? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Five Common Self-care Traps

You’ve made efforts, maybe even heroic efforts toward improving your self-care. Maybe you set a New Year’s resolution or intention. But you’re just not feeling that successful. Doesn’t seem fair.

Real self-care can be slippery. You may have fallen into one of these common self-care traps. (Don’t worry. It’s not like the commercial. Even if you’ve fallen you’ll be able to get up.)Trapped

 

  1. Random Acts of Self-care

 

A mani-pedi. A day at the spa. A luxurious morning in bed with your favorite book and beverage. A quiet walk in the woods. A week of vacation.

If these activities feed your soul, then bring them on baby.

The problem comes with confusing random acts of self-care with the ongoing self-care practice you MUST have in order to sustain yourself.

Random acts of self-care are fun. They feel good and fill you up. But they won’t sustain you for the long haul. Short-term solutions get you short-term results.

Don’t get me wrong. All of these things can be part of your self-care plan. Don’t throw them out if you love them. Just know they don’t automatically equal a self-care practice.

  1. Template approach

You see something that works. Your bestie drops 15 pounds from her recent diet. You hear about a celebrity that lost her baby weight while doing zumba six days a week. Your boss, who looks 20 years younger than her age and manages to stay oh, so Zen-like all the time, talks about the wonders of her morning kale smoothie.

So you try the diet, shake your booty at a zumba class, and drink your weight in green smoothies. Problem is the diet leaves you feeling deprived, you don’t like dancing, and you despise kale.

Putting on someone else’s self-care, be it a diet plan, a fitness regime, or a week at a spa might work for awhile.

But only for a while. You’ll find yourself dumping the regime and often feeling like a failure. It worked for them. Why not you?

Because, beautiful, you’re not THEM.

  1. Discipline, deprivation, and hard work

You “know” you need to knuckle down, to “get with the program.” Your brain figures out the “solution” to your overwhelm, clutter, anxiety, or food cravings. The problem is you forget to check in with the rest of you.

You might need some discipline in your self-care program. It might even feel like work sometimes. But without some of the other key ingredients like pleasure and joy, your plan will collapse in on itself.

  1. Wake up call

Whether your wakeup call sounds like a tiny child knocking at your door or a bulldozer running into your home, something gets your attention. A series of colds, a call from the doctor suggesting you come in for more tests, a bounced check, a foreclosure, a diagnosis of a scary disease, a divorce, ten pounds that you don’t recognize…

You pay attention. You attack the problem. Make big changes. Get great results. But too often once the high blood sugar stabilizes, the new relationship appears, or those mystery pounds go away you fall right back to pre-wakeup call habits. And with those habits you get pre-wakeup call results.

A wake up call can be powerful. But if the wake up call is your only call to self-care, your solutions won’t last.

  1. That Still, Small Voice

You listen to your inner guidance. And because it sounds so wise you follow its directions.

Do you want to know a secret? That wise voice may come from your brain. To create a sustainable approach you must listen to more than your big, beautiful brain.

You have a wealth of wisdom. Everyone I work with is surprised by the wisdom they bring forth. And that wisdom helps create your plan.

And how about another secret? Your inner wisdom may give you conflicting advice. Part of you needs to rest. Another part needs to run. Which part do you listen to? In order to arrive at a solution that feels good and is sustainable you must listen to the whole of you. Your head may say you should go out for a run today. But your body feels fatigued because you are fighting off a cold. The best solution for you, the one that will give you the most vitality and balance, isn’t necessarily the first one that comes to mind.

  1. Rinse and Repeat

It’s not that you’ve never tended to your loveliness. It’s not that you’ve never eaten a healthy meal or moved your body in ways that delighted you.

You’ve probably even had moments of flow with your self-care. Moments where everything was bright and beautiful. You knew what to do.

So you do the same thing that worked before only now it’s not working.

You are not the same. Different you, different plan needed.

Be not discouraged!

You just haven’t learned the hows of crafting YOUR sustainable self-care plan. I’m not saying you can create THE PLAN for your self-care for the rest of your life. Who you are today is different than who you’ll be tomorrow or in six months or 30 years. And because of that your self-care plan will shift and grow. (In fact, trying to stay the course with your self-care is a common self-care trap.)

Why Are You Making a Big Deal Out of This?

Self-care is at the heart of a life well lived. Purpose offers you reason for being. If you want to live a well life, a life with meaning written all over its face then you will need to tend to you, the purveyor of that big life purpose.

And by the way, living a life of purpose IS self-care.

A sustainable life of purpose requires focus, energy, enthusiasm, and wellness to pull off. You get that from self-care that’s a regular and integrated part of you life. You need an approach that you can endure. Not one that keeps falling down and skinning its knees. Not one that you bury in the backyard because it quits breathing.

If you’re ready to have the vitality and wellness you need to live your BIG dream then sign up for a no-obligation, no-cost chat. I’d love to help you find your way.

 

Don’t Give Up on Your Dream

For some time I’ve wanted to make a contribution to my community on Christmas day. I found offerings that happen around the holiday, but not on the 25th.

So I gave up.

One Woman

But this year my friend Kristel posted on Facebook that she was going to distribute stuff to the homeless on Christmas day. All by herself. She had the impulse and she was acting on it. A quick post to her page and I was in!

Kristel had decided to make something happen and that something quickly became bigger than just her. Even as we cleaned out our coat closets and shopped for food and personal items others offered to help.

Five of us put together 30 kits and organized bags of donated sweaters, coats, and personal care items. Lifesource the local health food store, gave me a gift card so I could get appropriate food. My friend Katherine bought food, sterno, and personal care items. Other friends of Kristel’s jumped on board. Her co-workers contributed.

 Project Burrito

Helping the homeless

Sharon & Theresa helping the homeless

I also learned of Kathy and her Project Burrito. She and her group of volunteers cook breakfast burritos and distribute clothes, hand warmers, and other needed items to the homeless on Christmas morning. Kristel’s posse, now seven people, joined up with about 15 other volunteers at 8 in the morning under the Marion Street bridge, a place near the local men’s mission and a park frequented by the homeless.

Since most of the volunteers stood behind the tables laden with donations helping to keep the tables neat, replenishing the items, or serving coffee or burritos I decided to mingle among the homeless.

After saying Merry Christmas I’d ask them if there was anything in particular that they were looking for and then help them find it. One man I spoke with was elated to find a belt. Another wanted candles (he was happy with the sterno) for heat and light. My partner saw a man setting on a bench in the adjacent park, a big smile on his face, putting on his pair of new socks. A gentleman with twinkly blue eyes simply smiled and said, “This IS Christmas.”

My Takeaway

I help people live their purpose. Sometimes that means getting clearer about what their purpose is. Sometimes it means helping people figure out how to take action, to get rid of what’s blocking them. And other times it’s about finding a way to take care of themselves in a way that supports their purpose rather than sabotages it.

For me the message in this experience was that one person, like my friend Kristel or Kathy the burrito lady, can make a huge difference by acting on their desire to help.

I’m taking that realization into the New Year as I plot my course for the coming year.

If you’re like a lot of people you’re at least thinking about how you want 2015 to be different. You might be putting together intentions or a plan for the coming year.

Your Dream?

I invite you to include something that you feel inspired to do as you look ahead. Maybe your idea has seemed too big. Maybe you hit a roadblock when you started. And maybe you worry about what others will think. I encourage you to move past the things that get in your way.

 

  1. First name and claim it. Share your idea with one of your cheerleaders. You can share it here. Wouldn’t that be a great, bold step? I’ll cheer you on.

 

  1. Next decide on a baby step. One little step. Commit to it here and you’ll be that much closer to your dream.

 

Kathy told me that the Christmas morning group served 75 burritos, 120 cups of coffee, and gave away 20-25 gift bags and backpacks with personal items, food, and/or clothing. One man told me there was nothing he needed. He was happy simply to have wandered into the event and been part of it.

So what about your idea? What can you accomplish?

Trusting the Plan

You need a plan, right? But here’s the deal. If you get too attached to “your” plan rather than the “bigger” plan (call it courtroomGod’s or the universe’s or divine order…) you can actually make things harder.

Maybe I should speak for me. When I get too attached to “my” plan and forget that there’s a larger plan I make things harder and decidedly less fun for myself. Do you find this to be true too?

The Jury Summons
Monday I showed up at the courthouse for jury duty. I don’t know what it is about Marion County, Oregon where I live, but they love to send me jury summons. I know people who never get called. But I get one every cycle. Maybe because I show up and I don’t tell them things that make them think I’m a whacko. (Seriously, if you want to get out of jury duty tell them you would kill anyone who abused your child. Yep, that means you won’t get picked.)

And We Wait
Day one was about waiting. And more waiting. The guy in the jury assembly room said he’s never had a group in the assembly room so long. They finally moved us into a courtroom for jury selection after 3 ½ hours. I figured I’d be out by lunchtime.

By 2:00 they finally dismissed those who wouldn’t be on the jury. But unfortunately they’d called my name for this 3-day trial.

I spent the lunch hour cancelling my Tuesday class and rescheduled my coaching and massage appointments for the next couple of days. Not excited about the prospect of listening to stories of meth, abuse, and identity theft, but I didn’t see a way out.

A Reframe
Two of my friends who are attorneys gave me a more positive spin. One said, “Important and powerful work.” The other said how lucky I was to serve and how lucky we are to have the justice system we have in the U.S. I felt less cranky.

Day one ended with a bit of education about our job and we were dismissed. Really? I’m thinking we should get started, but hey, they weren’t asking for my input.

And More Waiting
Day two we were to be there no later than 8:25 with an 8:30 start time. By 9 we’d been brought into the courtroom and then back into the waiting area. False start. And the waiting continued.

About 10 we went back in, heard opening arguments. Well, for a little while. We did get exercise as when there was an objection they would parade us back into the waiting room.
And then we got a “10-15 minute” morning break that lasted for an hour. Finally we got to listen to a witness. It was getting exciting now. Well, not really exciting. Mostly sad. Some people lead really sad, dark lives.

By noon, part way into the prosecutors questioning of witness one, we were dismissed for lunch. Again, I’m thinking really? We just got started.

Back at 1:15 we waited some more. Now I’m getting stressed. With 17 charges against the defendant and six more witnesses I couldn’t see how this was going to be over by Wednesday afternoon. Especially with the frequent breaks.

If we had just been facing loss of income and productive time it would have been stressful, but because the system felt so inefficient with all the waiting and breaks (and I abhor inefficiency) my stress level rose. Every time I felt my mind wandering to whether I should go ahead and cancel my Thursday yoga class and appointments I would take a deep breath, relax my shoulders, and feel better. For a few minutes.

A Bigger Plan
Finally I stopped reading and felt into what I was supposed to learn. I’d been reading a chapter about resistance. Interesting choice, huh? I realized the more I resisted what was happening, the worse I felt. When I finally surrendered and affirmed to myself that I was supported and just not aware of the divine plan I relaxed.

At 4:00, about ½ later, they called the jury back in to the courtroom. We’d been waiting since post lunchtime. Finishing by Wednesday afternoon seemed highly unlikely. The judge announced that because one of the witnesses was unable to testify due to a health issue they were declaring a mistrial and we were dismissed. Just like that I was free.

My Takeaways:
1. Any stress or issues I have are peanuts. Really not significant. I have physical and mental health, a loving family and friends, freedom, and financial abundance.
2. I am supported. When I get out of my own way, magic happens.

I send light and love to the victim, defendant, their children and families. Oh, and the judge, attorneys, and deputy. Those people work hard. Blessings to them all.

If you see me struggling you have permission to suggest I surrender to the divine.

And how about you? Are there places where surrendering to something larger would serve you? Do you ever block your success and health by trying to control things? I so appreciate the comments and feedback you send me. Really helps to know I’m not writing into the void. Would love it if you would share here too.

Are You Paying Attention?

Self-care isn’t something that’s nice to do.Now-later

It’s essential.

I’ve known that for some time. True in my own life and that of my clients. But I’ve been quiet about some of the services I offer. Afraid to promote too heavily. Afraid of rejection. But all that changed for me about a month ago.

On a Sunday a friend who’s an author and international trainer had a stroke. This woman, a key figure in her industry, has touched the lives of many. Today she’s relearning to walk, do laundry, use a computer…

On that Tuesday another friend, a man with a brilliant mind and big heart, passed away after an 8 month dance with cancer. His kindness and belief in me were life changing when I was in my 20’s. His professional life was all about being an advocate for those in vulnerable situations.

On that Thursday his wife, my best friend from college and the maid of honor at my wedding, received her first chemo treatment for ovarian cancer. My friend was a social worker. Currently she works as a nurse practitioner in an emergency room. If you’ve ever complained about a health care practitioner without people skills you can appreciate how important this woman with skills in nursing AND counseling is to her community.

Big Heart, Brilliant Minds

The world needs people with big hearts and brilliant minds. We need the gifts, the life purpose, of these creative and caring souls.

I can’t say that if any of them had made different choices they would have avoided the events of that week. But I do know that people of a caring nature, the massage therapists, coaches, teachers, social workers, artists, etc. I work with often neglect themselves in the pursuit of helping others.

They skimp (or skip) on their workouts. They work late in order to help someone. They eat a fast food meal because they’re too tired from giving, giving, giving.

Yes, I’m talking about others, but I fall victim to this pattern as well sometimes. Thinking that finishing a project is more important than getting to bed. Telling myself I need to work “just a little longer” when what I need is to walk. When I pay attention and take care of myself it always serves me.

My takeaways from that week:

  • Take good care, really good care of the precious body, mind, spirit that you’ve been given.
  • If something’s important to you spend time with it. Friends, family, your pets, a favorite hobby, your purpose in life…
  • I need to be bolder about my message. I’ve stayed too hidden. I need to let people know how I can help. My genius is in helping people with a passion sink firmly into their purpose in a way that is sustainable. I can help them get out of overwork and overwhelm and onto a path that gives them energy and wellness. All while still doing the thing that they’re meant to do.

How about you? What can you commit to doing this week in service of your wellness and your purpose? Commit to it here!

Who Will You Be if You Let Go?

If you’re not living the life of your dreams you probably think adding something to your life is the key.

Hands Releasing a DoveMaybe

More money.

A different job.

More clients.

More travel.

The love of your life.

A new home…

Connecting with your desire, the “what” you want, is an important piece of living your purpose. Actually it’s one of the most important pieces.

But one of the secrets to living your life of purpose is that you must let go. You may have to let go of beliefs, people, other dreams, stuff, and more stuff

The letting go process can be scary. Big scary. It can be hard work.

But it’s necessary work for moving into what’s next.

 The Care and Feeding of Stuff

You see, whatever you’re carrying around, be it physical stuff, extra weight, beliefs, ideas, or expectations, there’s tending involved. That tending takes precious time. Plus the stuff takes up, if not physical space, psychic, energetic, emotional and/or mental space.

And that time and space is space and time that can’t be taken up by new ideas, by new beliefs, a new lifestyle, a new love, or a new business.

Let Go and Then Let Go Again

First, let me say that my ex-husband is a nice man. We’ve been divorced for almost 15 years, yet I know if I needed something he’d help if he could.

But back when I was married I “knew” at some point that it was time to move on from the relationship.

The person I was at 26 was not the same person hovering on the brink of 40. Part of the leaving was about questioning my sexuality. Straight, lesbian, bi-sexual?

But there was more to it than that.

Even though I “knew” my decision, I hesitated.

Would I be alone the rest of my life? I didn’t like that idea.

Would I be able to survive on my self-employment income? I’d been self sufficient, even owning my own home, before marriage. But I had had the illusion of security in the form of a “job” back then.

Even with my fears I made my decision to leave.

Then I changed my mind.

Then I returned to my decision.

Then I got afraid again.

And so it went.

Waiting for an Epiphany

I was going to Peru and hoped for an epiphany while there. Maybe some big voice would boom from the sky. Perhaps an Incan shaman, come back for my benefit, would tell me what to do while I gazed at the Machu Picchu ruins.

The trip was wonderful. Transformational even.

But alas, No booming voice.

I returned and my decision (waffly as it was) was still to leave.

Post Reading Pissed Off

Then someone told me about a psychic that would be visiting Salem.

A really good psychic.

That was it. I would go to see her and she would tell me to leave my marriage. She would tell me about the wonderful life I would have post divorce.

The psychic, instead of telling me to leave, asked why I wouldn’t let my husband love me. Really? I wasn’t happy. I just paid for that?

She asked what would be different if I left. So I thought about the visions I’d been having of my future.

Announcement, Announcement

Could I get what felt was missing right where I was?

So I stayed. Planted some flowers. Went shopping for a new coach. We worked on the intimacy thing.

But then my body started talking to me. I had a health scare. Maybe too much info, but I had pain in my ovary and because I have a family history of ovarian cancer I listened. I can’t tell you why that scare made me decide I definitely needed to move on with my life. As I write this it seems like leap, but at the time it was a clear message for me.

 Letting Go for Good, Real Good

So I leaped.

I moved out into a little rental house by a creek. And I survived. Fast forward to today… I have a wonderful relationship with my domestic partner. We own a house on acreage with woods (for me) and a pasture (for her. Not for her to live in, but to keep her goats in.) No offense to the ex, but I’ve grown in ways I wouldn’t have if I’d stayed in my marriage.

Without letting go of my marriage, I wouldn’t have become who I am today. I’m more direct. More willing to speak my truth. Letting go wasn’t so much about leaving something, but rather about who I could become.

I’m curious if you feel the nudge to let go of something be it big (like a job or relationship) or smaller like a pile of magazines or a habit of checking your phone while talking to someone?

 Four Steps for Letting Go

  1. First name it. You can always decide to hold on if you want.
  2. Check your knowing. Do you get a clear yes? A clear no? A maybe or unknown?
  3. Get some support. This can be a great time to get coaching. With coaching you come up with the answers. The right questions from a coach can be oh so helpful.
  4. Sign up for the 40-day challenge. It’s especially for women entrepreneurs. But if you feel called and you’re not in that category, sign up anyway.

Traffic Jam and a Roadblock

I invited the participants in my recent Mexico yoga retreat to bring along some

yoga retreat ladies on the beach

Angeles and yoga ladies on the beach

school supplies for Majahua, the local village. I’d seen the school and the poverty and knew they could use them.

Well, my ladies were generous. Very generous. Christy who speaks fluent Spanish and works with children brought Spanish language books. Beverly, an artist, brought along art supplies. There were notebooks, pens, crayons, scissors, glue… suitcases full!

The Traffic Jam

Now we had plenty of school supplies. I needed to figure out how to get them delivered to the school.

One day on my way to do some errands for the retreat I got stopped in the best traffic jam ever.

If you were to see this village, just the idea of a traffic jam would make you laugh. Picture about 20 small homes and two little tiendas that sell chips, candy, pop, a few canned items, and a small quantity of produce.

Even slow traffic stirs up dust on this narrow winding dirt road. Speed bumps are made from either a large rope or the bark from a palm tree. Hot, tired dogs lay beside, and sometimes in, the road. People

walk around the dogs as they head to work, to a neighbor’s, or on their way to buy some fish.

As I entered Majahua, school had just been released. The road was lined with pairs and groups headed home, a brother and sister, a mother and her two little ones, a trio of boys laughing…

Next I saw two piglets dart into the road. When I saw the trash truck headed toward me filling the narrow row I pulled over knowing I wasn’t going any where for awhile.

Jose, about eight years old and neatly dressed in black slacks and a white button down shirt, approached my car with a big grin and an “hola.” He asked how I was.

So I inquired if the teachers were still at the school. “Si.”

After Jose left I chatted with other kids, completed my errands, and then stopped at the school.  I arranged with the principal and only teacher to come back on Friday with the school supplies and some of the women from my group. The ladies were eager to meet the kids and be involved in handing off the supplies.

The Roadblock

Thursday evening our entire group headed to La Mexicana restaurant in Troncones for a traditional meal (my first time for pozole) and to watch regional dancing. We were surprised as we drove back through Majahua to be stopped by a roadblock.

It was dark and at first hard to see who held the rope across the road preventing us from moving on. But as we stopped we saw a petite girl of about five held one end. The other rope holder was a girl of ten. The coffee can they held out explained that they were collecting funds so that the bathrooms in the school could be repaired. El banos weren’t currently working. I deposited some coins and told them we were going to be visiting the school the next day. The elder rope holder and keeper of the can explained that there was no school tomorrow.

My first thought was, “how do I say “ah oh” in espanol.” My ladies were leaving on Sunday. I could drop things off the next week, but that meant they wouldn’t get to be involved.

Something Better

The following day we walked down the beach to Majahua to have lunch at Marta’s, one of the beach side restaurants. On the way we ran into Angeles, a cook at the resort where we were staying, plus her children, and a nephew. She explained she had the kids today because, you guessed it, no school.

As we chatted one of the boys began to write letters in the sand.  Angeles explained he liked to write.

Bingo.

Later that day we delivered to Angeles a custom designed bundle of paper, markers, crayons, even a book for her to read to her six-month-old baby.  

At Marta’s we met Victoria, a ten year old who was helping dad because there was no school. This time we were on it. “Do you like to read?” “Not really.” “How about drawing?” “Yes.” You could see the excitement in her eyes.

Guess what Victoria got later that day? A bundle with art pad and pens selected by Beverly along with some things for Victoria’s younger sister.

We had enough that every staff person with children where we were staying was able to choose something for their child or children. And we still had plenty left for the school.

Way Better

The lesson for me (not the first time I’ve learned this lesson) was to not be attached to the outcome. How I saw things unfolding was not how it happened. What happened was way better. We got to really connect with some individuals. We got to give back to people who had been serving us all week. We got to offer something to this community with which we’d fallen in love.

My work is to remember this lesson, or at least be open to re-learning it again. Act where I feel inspired and then let go. Let something or someone greater offer a traffic jam, a roadblock, a better way. And then go along for the ride.

And you? Is this a lesson you’ve learned (or relearned) like me? I’d love to hear your insights and examples here.

And if a yoga retreat to Mexico is calling your name head here. 

Sharon Roemmel

Practically Enlightened You

Start Claiming “Amazing You” Now

 

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