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Archive for April, 2008

It’s become apparent to me that this is more than an exercise in personal growth. This touches real people’s lives.

Twice since I announced my intention yesterday to say “I love you” more proactively, I’ve found myself in situations where friends were in pain and I felt love toward them, and I felt open enough to express it where I think I would have previously held back due to fear.

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Source of inspiration: The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz

This morning I awoke two hours before my alarm was set. My mind began racing immediately, filling me with anxiety. After 30 minutes of trying to go back to sleep, I finally got up.

Around mid-day, I was reading Ruiz’s The Mastery of Love. Ruiz was describing the difference between the Track of Fear and the Track of Love. I could see how fear runs my life to a much greater extent than love does. And then the muse spoke to me and I wrote myself a note: “Say ‘I love you.'”

How can I possibly follow the Track of Love when I often can’t even speak those three words? I’m inhibited by fear. I’m comfortable saying that to a girlfriend, or to my mom, or my sister, or my nieces (note that these are all women).

But with other women friends, I’m afraid the words might be interpreted as romantic love — that I’m crossing a line.

And with men, well, you just don’t say that to another man. It’s not cool. And let’s be honest, “not cool” is just code for “it means you’re gay.”

The rational part of me knows this is silly. And I have said “I love you” to both male and female friends. But even when I did, there was an underlying fear.

So I’m going to prioritize this practice over the many others I’ve discussed in these 100 Days of Peace. I will say “I love you” to people that I feel love for. I will start with long-time friends who I know I love. Each time I see them, I will make a point to say “I love you” at least once during that encounter. My thinking is that the more I get comfortable expressing it, the more I will get comfortable feeling it. And from there I can expand to more spontaneous expressions of love.

And there’s another funny part to this story — some feedback from the universe on me choosing the Track of Love:

When I was reading, I fell asleep for a few minutes. I woke up and Maintenance was working on the apartment next door. They had the radio on and I could hear it through the wall. The song that began a second after I awoke was “Silly Love Songs” by Paul McCartney. Remember the chorus? “I love you.”

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For the past few weeks, I’ve been observing how I experience and relate to pleasure in my life. Recently, my five-year-old niece gave me some wise advice on this topic.

She and I were in the park and she spotted a cluster of dandelions. She asked if we could blow on them and make wishes. We did, and I asked her what she wished for (she likes to tell and not keep it a secret).

She said, “I wished that I could eat cake every day.”

She then asked me what I wished for, and I said, “I wished that today would be a fun day.”

She looked at me funny and then picked up another dandelion. We blew on them again, and I asked her what she wished for.

“I wished that I could be a princess,” she said.

She asked me what I wished for, and I said, “I wished that tomorrow would be a fun day, too.”

She looked at me disapprovingly and said, “That’s the same wish.” Then after a moment, she added matter-of-factly, “That will probably happen anyway. You didn’t need to wish for it.”

Wow. Out of the mouths of babes. The wisdom of what she said hit me, and I saw the world through her eyes in that moment. And I saw how different that world is than the one I see…

When she wakes up in the morning, she assumes that she will have fun that day.
When I wake up in the morning, I assume I won’t.

From my habitual perspective, fun is something special, something I need to plan for or strive to create. Could it be that it’s really just an attitude? Let me correct that. The word “just” is unfair and devalues how important attitude and perspective are.

She creates the attitude that life is fun. I struggle to create fun from an attitude that life is not fun. I’m eager to explore this more, to experience life with this “presumptive pleasure” perspective.

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Today I practiced letting go of any feelings of Should. I tried to give the day the freedom to unfold as it would. And it felt pretty good. The Sunday anxiety I’ve written about showed itself from time to time, but for the most part, the day was fun and relaxing.

I just re-read what I wrote, and I think I have the makings of a poem:

Today I practiced letting go of any feelings of Should.
I tried to give the day the freedom to unfold as it would.
And it felt pretty good.

That rhyming was totally unintentional! 🙂

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Space has been showing up in a particular area of my life recently, and I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t even really recognize it as space. But last night I got some news about the opportunity I alluded to in a previous post. It is going to happen, and it requires some space. So magical to watch life re-organize itself…

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Source of inspiration: Conversation with a friend

Yesterday I was talking to a friend who is a financial coach and I asked her how she recognizes when people haven’t accepted responsibility for their financial situation. She said there were usually two things she looked for:

  1. They blame people or circumstances
  2. They are always doing — do, do, do

Both of these are focused outside of themselves.

I immediately saw a parallel in #2 between what she was describing and how I approach my business. Analogous to the person whose finances aren’t where they want them to be, my business is not where I want it to be. And my approach to change that has been almost non-stop doing. Let me redesign my business, let me add another product, let me market myself in some innovative way.

And I have not seen a correlation between more doing and more results. So I asked her what she recommends to her clients as a first step.

She said that the first step is for the person to stop. Stop.

“Then what?” I asked. She laughed because my question was about doing again, which is exactly what she was telling me to stop.   🙂

When I stop, and then listen, the next action will become clear. As I tell my clients, create space and invite (but do not require) an answer to come. Stopping, that is the challenge for me.

What does stopping look like for me? I think there’s an element of non-attachment. Ideas can still come, but I will release the need to act on them. I can note them in a book if I like, but I will let go of the fear energy that says “If you don’t act on this now, you’re screwed.”

The funny thing is, in the 24 hours since the conversation with my friend, ideas have been flooding my mind. My instinct is to act on them immediately (or more honestly, to procrastinate and then feel guilty about not acting on them). But I’ve been good at letting go and holding the space. I’ll play with keeping the ideas in a notebook and see how that affects the space I’m creating.

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This morning I felt mildly discouraged about some things in my business. Nothing terribly serious.

But right after lunch I found myself thinking, “I am so tired of all of this.”

And then it hit me: “No, I’m tired.” Last night I was up late and this morning I was up early. Plus, I just ate a big plate of pasta for lunch. So I was physically tired, and I confused it as an emotion.

This makes me wonder how much of what I perceive to be my emotional experience is in large part a physical experience. Yes, I was somewhat discouraged. But the dramatic increase in intensity was physical, not emotional.

By recognizing that, I feel freer and lighter emotionally.

Another example is when I have caffeine. This is often by accident. I’ll get a coffee and forget to ask for decaf. The caffeine will create a physical anxiety in me. And if I don’t make the connection right away, I might confuse that feeling with emotional anxiety. “What am I so anxious about?”

It will be interesting to see how else this shows up in my life.

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