There’s No “Do” in Surrender

Surrender: to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed

When I first quit drinking, I was told that all I needed to do was surrender my life and my will to the care of a loving higher power.  I could choose my own conception of what that meant.

I quickly got rid of the harsh guy in the sky God (never did trust that man)but I didn’t have a whole lot to replace him.

In spite of having been intensely and inexplicably drawn to spiritual concepts and practices, I had no personal relationship with anything bigger than my own mind.

This was a challenge because my mind is clever and quick and kept trying to convince me that I was just about to get this whole life thing sorted out and absolutely did not require any outside assistance.

Following its best direction had landed me in the same damn hole over and over and it was clear (in moments) that I was going to need another way to navigate my life. Continue reading

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Love

Admit something.
 
Everyone you see, you say to them
“Love me.”
 
Of course you do not do this out loud:
Otherwise,
Someone would call the cops.
 
Still, though, think about this,
This great pull in us to connect.
 
Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,
 
With that sweet moon
Language
 
What every other eye in this world
Is dying to
Hear?”
 
― Hafiz

 

I’m reading this lovely book, given to me by a friend.  It begins with the author referencing the children’s book “Are You My Mother?”.

Do you know that one?

It’s the story of a sweet little bird combing the world for his mother.  Everything the little guy encounters, from a dog to a tractor, is met with that same longing question.

I have to agree with the author’s assessment that we grown ups are not so different. Continue reading

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Choose on Purpose

“With awareness you have a choice to stop.  That choice, and awareness itself, is freedom.” -Geneen Roth

My yoga teacher often begins class by inviting us to find ourselves in the body we brought to class.  To explore the tight spots and the places that hurt as well as what feels easy and relaxed.

Imagine you get a flat tire, she says.  You wouldn’t call up a friend and say ‘come get me’ and hang up the phone.  How would your friend find you?  No, first you need to tell your friend where you are.  And if you’re in a really bad neighborhood, you need to be that much more precise with your directions so you can get picked up sooner. 

So it is in life.  We may wish we didn’t have tight hamstrings and a sore shoulder.  We may wish we didn’t turn to cinnamon rolls when we feel lonely or yell at our children when we feel out of control.

But turning away won’t make hard stuff disappear.

Turning away from pain-be it physical or emotional, minor or wrenching-does nothing to treat the pain.

Turning away from what feels difficult only strengthens the habit of turning away. 

And, as with my teacher’s example of the flat tire, we need to locate ourselves where we are before we can move to where we would like to be.

Only awareness can do that.  Last week, I shared a simple practice for increasing awareness.  You can find that here.

Continue reading

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Awareness Practice

“We are literally starving for some experience of authenticity and belonging that we are simply not going to find outside of ourselves.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn

This week, let’s work with this deep longing for authenticity and belonging.  And let’s look through the lens of false refuge that we talked about here.

Many of you responded (thank you!) to let me know where you find yourself seeking false refuge.

Some of the more common ones: weight and food, social media, shopping, skin picking, gossip, over or under performing in work and relationships, approval seeking, care taking, worrying, obsessing.  The list goes on ad infinitum.

Transforming our relationship to these “shadow comforts” involves first recognizing where we get caught.

That is the practice I want to offer this week.

As you go through your day, notice where your attention gets sucked into stale or reactive patterns.  If you need help with this, pay attention to your energy levels.

One indication is a sense of grasping/obsessing or feeling compulsive about the activity or thought process.  Another is that, while there might be an initial sense of pleasure or distraction, it is quickly overshadowed by dissatisfaction and still greater emptiness.

When you catch yourself thus engaged, be it smack in the middle of a cake binge or two hours down the internet rabbit hole or if your first awareness is when you are looking back at the end of the day, the practice is to pause for one breath.   Continue reading

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Refuge

We are each seeking refuge, a sense of safety, love, peace. Our misguided attempts to soothe or fill ourselves with substitutes—false refuges—further distance us from the peace we long for.  A true refuge is always here in the sanctuary of our own awakened hearts.” -Tara Brach

 

After my most recent post, a friend pointed out that what I was describing was the concept of “false refuge”, as described above by Tara Brach.

The same wise friend also observed that she has a habit of seeking refuge in obsessive thoughts about food and her body.

I sent her a great big virtual high five.

It takes some guts to look honestly at where we seek false refuge.

Before anything can really change, we have to recognize where we are hiding and quit pretending it’s ever going to take us where we want to go.

Obsessing about and manipulating food and weight, a little or a lot, will never lead to feeling loved and contented.

Not ever. Continue reading

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Yoga Pants

I got serious about practicing yoga several years ago.  I had practiced on and off for a decade in any old leggings and a t-shirt.  And that was fine and good until I got sweaty and it felt crummy and looked like I had peed in my pants.

I looked around at all the other gals and saw those ubiquitous shiny reflective logos on their downward-dogging bums.

So, I started asking around.  Word on the street was that these Lululemon yoga pants were absolutely worth every cent of their $90 price tag.

I mulled it over obsessed about those pants for a couple of weeks.  Should I buy them?  $90 was a lot of money for yoga pants.  Then again, I sure do love yoga.

I finally bought the darn pants and everything I’d heard was true.  So smooth and silky and quick dry and snuggly like pajamas and I never wanted to take them off!  Fabulous!

Yogic satisfaction was mine.

But then, of course, I needed a top and another pair of pants for when those ones were in the wash.  Continue reading

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A Story

My son signed up for a “kid’s marathon” at the start of the summer; he tracked his miles and we ran 25 miles together in 6 weeks.  The final 1.2 miles was to be run with all the kids and parents down a spectator lined street just before the town parade.

We arrived and there was music blasting and kids everywhere; we got special t-shirts and our bib numbers and Gabe was excited and nervous.  I had someone snap a picture of us, all set to run.  Although we didn’t know a soul in the group of hundreds Gabe, extrovert that he is, was mingling and practically handing out business cards to every kid he talked to.

I am a bit late to the discovery that I am not an extrovert.  I talked to another mom for a bit until she ran off to chase her little one.  I looked around and everyone seemed to be sorted out into little family groups, so I sat on the grass and watched.

Since Gabe was small, these kind of suburban family social events have conjured some powerful loneliness in me.  I can deal with the not knowing anyone part.  It’s a little uncomfortable but manageable.  It’s the part about being a single parent in a sea of families that all seem to know one another. Continue reading

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Birthday Coaching Extravaganza!

It’s my birthday! And because I am so gobsmacked HAPPY to be seeing this coaching dream into fruition, I want to invite you to celebrate with me. So! It is Pay What You Can/Pay What You Want Week.

If you are in the midst of transition, wanting to make a change, or just feeling a wee bit stuck, let’s have a one-off session and get you some breathing room!

Go ahead and click on the PayPal link on the right sidebar and enter any amount that works for you, along with your email address. Next, I will send you an email with a link to my calendar so that you can schedule a 60 minute phone session. It will be good fun!

Offer is available for this week only so jump on in! Happy Birthday!

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Who Do You Think You Are?

As I said in the previous post, where you put our attention will govern your life.

Medical intuitive and teacher Carolyn Myss asks the question this way: into whose hands are you commanding your spirit?

A quick check of your thinking always reveals the answer.  If you are worrying or obsessing, you are giving your energy to the worry and obsession and you will find yourself with more to worry and obsess about.  If you make a practice of gratitude, you find yourself with more to feel good about.

Side note: This is not about denial or repression of our so-called “negative” feelings; worry, anger, and fear are allowed and welcome in this work.  As we practice observing our thoughts, we begin to see that these mental states are actually no big deal and we expand our capacity to work constructively with turbulent emotions.  I will say more about what that can look like in the another post.

Today though, I want to explore what gets in the way of stepping into our co-creative power to shape our lives.  If everyone has the ability to choose their experience of a given moment, why the heck isn’t everyone choosing love and joy and appreciation?  Why aren’t we all being kind and loving and generous with one another?  Continue reading

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Intention Rules the World

Growing up, my mom often said “what you put your attention on grows stronger in your life”.  She usually said this when I was obsessing about something I wanted that I wasn’t getting and I would roll my eyes in a manner that is frighteningly similar to the way my son now rolls his eyes at me when I ask him to talk about his feelings.

Nevermind that between the ages of 13 and 16, just about everything my mom said was irritating to me-part of the reason this bugged me so much was that on some level, I knew it was true.

My mom is a wise woman and I am grateful to her for planting this seed all those years ago but folks, it has taken me a long time to really get this one.

I want to talk about it today because setting intention and the resulting ways that we use our attention are simply the most powerful resources available to us.  Continue reading

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