It’s Time to Learn and Listen

These past weeks have taught us a lot about the world, the United States and ourselves.  There’s so much we don’t know; I’m included in this statement.  While scrolling through posts on Facebook, I read something that jumped out from the headlines.  There’s racism in all of us.  The first thing I wanted to do was deny that statement, but the more I pondered it, the more I had to admit there it’s true.

Racism has been present since the time the United States was founded.  Slavery has been a part of this country from the beginning in some form.  We had a Civil War to outlaw slavery, but it never really ended.  The people found ways around it.  We had the Civil Rights Movement, but again people found ways to continue with their beliefs.  Confronting our beliefs is one of the hardest things to do in life.

I grew up in the State of Maine.  To put it simply, there isn’t a lot of diversity.  For the few that were of a different race, they stood out.  This was my limited exposure as a child.  Even now most of the people I come across look like me.  I had never thought about the concept of “white privilege” until recently, which in of itself tells something about my privilege.

I didn’t agree with so many things happening in the United States, but I cried tears of hope when we elected our first black president.  I hoped that things could change.  While there was a portion of the population that was different, there was a portion that wasn’t about to let the old way of life go.

The universe has a way of repeating messages until we can see what we didn’t want to see. Hopefully, we’re starting to receive the message.  I’ve been searching my own soul.  I cried as I watched officers of the law tear gas protestors in our nation’s capital on live television and wondered how did we get to this point.

Our nation has an opportunity to be different, but first we must confront our past.  We have been part of the problem, whether we want to or not.  Racism is present whether we agree with it or not.  But how do we move forward?  I don’t have all of the answers, but two responses that I keep getting are community and listening.

Growing up I lived in a neighborhood, a very small one I’ll admit, but my neighbors knew my name.  I’d walk to school; people would wave and knew who I was.  I knew the names of the police officers.  I knew that if I did something wrong, someone was going to tell my parents.  I still live in this same town and it’s not the same place.  I don’t know all of my neighbor’s names. I don’t know our police by name.  I don’t know the people in our community.

Our communities are no longer part of our joys and sorrows.  We don’t know what people need.  We lost community along the way.  When we know our neighbors and who they are as people, we’re less likely to vilify them based upon our perceptions.  It’s not an easy undertaking but rebuilding the foundation of an entire country isn’t either.

I want to believe that there’s good in everyone.  Some days are harder than others.  I hope that people aren’t beyond redemption.  I hope that we can change the narrative and listen to what our neighbors need.  The best thing I can do right now with my white privilege is to say I don’t know the answers, but I’m ready to learn and to listen.  I don’t know the people in my community, but I’m ready to at least learn your names.  I’m ready to do better.  I’m ready to grow and to know that it’s going to take time.  Growth can be a painful process but there’s something each one of us can learn.

What have you learned or need to learn?  Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

Who Has the Power?

Power is ultimately something that each one of us wants.  Not necessarily having total control over someone else, but the power to make decisions over our own life.

It’s hard when that option gets taken away.  We’re seeing people’s response all over the news.  There are protests.  People are fighting back.  Some of us are just doing what’s recommended.  So, what do you do?  First off, don’t lash out at other people.  They’re doing the best they can with the information they have.  It’s so easy to get angry and blame other people.  To be truly empowered, work to rise above these emotions.  Second, try to find a way so that you’re making a choice.  This can be challenging when you’re not able to cover your basic needs.  Is there a way that you can?  Can you do odd jobs for someone else?  Can you get assistance from the government?  Can you make changes to your lifestyle?  What can you do to make decisions that support you?  Third, how can you live within these new parameters?  Do you stay home?  Do you find other ways to occupy your time?  Do you get help?  Maybe even do things you really don’t want to, like wear a face mask.

Some emotion is coming to the surface for each one of us to deal with.  In the State of Maine, phases for reopening were announced this past week.  While a lot of them made sense, some of them did not.  Hair salons were on the phase 1 list.  For myself, my co-workers, and some of our clients this didn’t make sense.  Other clients are messaging us to book their appointments.  We must prepare for new requirements and find a way to feel comfortable leaving the safety of our homes and going back to work, especially when we thought we had more time.  This is a process.   There’s the physical side, with what needs to be done, but there’s also the emotional side.  It’s so important to not overlook the emotional component.  We aren’t robots.  People are afraid and there is little comfort provided on the news.  People feel alone and isolated.  We can’t even hold funerals and bury our dead in the same way.  We’re all grieving for a life that was lost, whether someone we loved or our “normal” life. 

Please give yourself and others time.  We will get there.  It may not happen as quickly as you would like and someday we won’t have to be concerned about COVID-19, but we aren’t there yet.  Until that day, try to find a way to make empowered choices and realize that everyone is hurting in some way, even if it doesn’t appear that way.  Looks can be deceiving.

How can you find a way to seize control and make a choice from a place of power?   Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment. 

Just Do It!

Nike’s “Just Do It!” campaign can apply to so much more then just buying sneakers.  It can be a major lesson on life and taking action. 

Taking action can feel like one of the most terrifying things to do at times.  But what happens if we don’t?  There are so many possibilities.  We don’t allow ourselves to grow.  We self-sabotage.  In so many ways, we let life pass us bye.  FYI, it doesn’t really pass us bye. 

Sabotaging ourselves doesn’t feel like that in the moment.  We’re afraid to take that step.  We’re not sure.  What will life look like on the other side?  It could make you different from your friends and/or family.  Whatever it may be could be stopping you from stepping into something you’ve dreamed of.

I know we’re still amid a pandemic and we aren’t supposed to leave our homes.  But what I’m talking about doesn’t necessarily require you to leave your home.  There are still ways you can act.  Action doesn’t have to mean an accomplishment of a major goal but could be small steps towards reaching a major goal.

Over the course of the last year, I have taken small steps to big goals.  I have been working on my empowerment coaching certification.  One call at a time.  I’m almost done!  But as I reach the finish line, that fear can creep back in.  What does it mean once I’m finished?  I don’t know the answer to that yet.  But so that I accomplish this, I have set small goals to finish my written examination.  It is an exam of 40 questions, 20 about the course and 20 about 3 of my calls.   I said that I’m going to work on it an hour per day.  I looked back through my notes and started piecing together the responses to the first 20 questions.  Then I drafted my responses.  This part I’ve now completed.  Next, go back and listen to my 3 calls.  Listen to one call per day and draft my responses as I go.  I plan on submitting the exam on April 30.  Some days I haven’t done anything, and you know what?  That’s ok!  I’m making progress.  I started at the beginning of April.  I gave myself plenty of time with the expectation that I might not want to work on it some days.  I told people about my deadline to hold myself accountable.  You’re part of that team as I near the finish line!  I broke my goal into small manageable pieces.  These are the same steps I took when starting my business.  I’ve found this process works for me.  Maybe it doesn’t work for you.  That’s ok too!  It’s about finishing a way forward to something you might not have done.

You might have started but not finished.  I have a lot of those too!  Someday I will check them off and find a way to complete them.  But one thing at a time.  I can always go back and work on them.  First, pick a goal and work through the fears that are going to creep in.  They always do.  It’s how we know we’re on the right track.  Second, break it down into small steps.  Third, come up with a deadline.  Fourth, tell someone.  Fifth, just do it. 

What’s your goal?  How are your fears holding you back?  What can you do to move forward?   Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

Are You Uncomfortable Yet?

We live at a point in time where our daily life can be super uncomfortable.  Our security, our safety, and our level of comfort have been rocked.  We are being forced to live outside of our comfort zone and most of us don’t like it!  It’s one thing to make a choice to step outside of your comfort zone and make changes to your life, but it’s another to have those changes forced upon you.

None of us want to have decisions made for us.  We want to oversee our lives.  Living in a COVID-19 world, people are in pain.  People are dying.  People are drowning in debt.  People can’t pay their bills.  People don’t have food.  It can be challenging to see the positives and opportunities when we are just trying to survive.

For so many of us, right now is about surviving.  We’re trying to make it one day or pay one bill.  I know this can be hard to hear, but we might be missing what we need to learn.  COVID-19 is an opportunity for us to learn.  To make the hard decisions.

For years I lived in the dark.  I didn’t want to know what my problems were, I just wanted them to miraculously go away.  I didn’t care whether it was someone else coming to save me or my life just suddenly got better.  Either way was good.  I didn’t care how it happened.

Growing up I thought that certain things would happen at a certain point in my life.  For some they did, but for me, they didn’t seem to work out that way.  When I turned 30, I didn’t want to acknowledge that my life wasn’t what I had dreamed it would be.  The hardest question I ever asked myself was why.  Asking that question meant that I could no longer live my life in denial.  I had to take the leap out of my comfort zone.  That leap was one of the most terrifying things I had done.  Starting my own business last year was officially the most terrifying thing I have ever done.  Stepping out of your comfort zone is uncomfortable.

What you’re experiencing right now is a push out of your comfort zone and I’m right there with you.  I’ve been given another shove put of my comfort zone this past month.  My routine has been totally disrupted.  My income has been shaken up.  One of the hardest things that I had to do was overcome my pride and file for unemployment.  I had done everything right!  I had gotten a part-time job to help pay my bills while my business was getting established.  I stepped past my pride and had to have courage and trust that all would be ok.  The interesting thing is that by taking that leap I’m doing better than I was a month ago.

That doesn’t mean that everyone is.  I’m grateful that I’m doing better, but I also know that I’ve done a lot of work to get there.  There was no miracle cure.  No one came to save me.  It was me.  I had to do the work and take the leap.  My discomfort had to grow to the point that I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I had reached my breaking point.  Congratulations!  You may have just reached yours.  Here comes the opportunity for you to say that I’m never going to be like this again and start to make different decisions.

How are you going to step out of your comfort zone?  Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

Have A Little Patience

How are you doing right now?  It’s ok if you’re having trouble adjusting.  We all are.  For most of us we go, go, go from waking to bedtime.  For most of us, we can’t do that anymore.  We may still have our jobs but are having to fit in schooling our children.  We may have lost our jobs and having trouble getting dressed.  You’re where you are right now and that’s ok.  Even when you can get dressed, you might have trouble doing something besides watching tv.  That’s ok too.  Be patient with yourself.

Things that we looked forward to are being canceled.  Even things that might have helped us to feel better like getting our hair or nails done aren’t an option.  It’s ok to be frustrated, depressed or angry.  It’s ok to be sad.  It’s ok to cry.  For us to start to feel better, you must release what you’re feeling, and it doesn’t happen overnight.  Honor where you are in the process.  If you feel like checking something off on your to-do list, then do it.  If you don’t, allow yourself permission to take a break.

We are being asked to heal.  The healing process for each person is different.  Each one of us is unique and so is our process.

Have patience with yourself.  Be kind to yourself.  I typically have a to-do list a mile long and over the last couple of weeks I haven’t done as much as I would have liked, but I like you, am having to figure out what my life is right now.  I miss my friends.  I miss my routine.  Things just aren’t the same.  I have watched videos on Facebook and movies and cried.  That’s not all that unusual for me, but it has helped.  I’m honoring where I am in the process.  I will get to the action phase soon, but for now, I’m adjusting and grieving for what was and determining what could be.

How have you been patient with yourself?  Or how do you need to be more patient with yourself? Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

The Walking Wounded

This is a challenging time.  No one has ever seen anything like this, and we are unlikely to ever see anything like it again.  We are being asked to rise.  We are being asked to have compassion for our friends, our neighbors, our enemies, and ourselves.

It can be difficult when what we want isn’t going our way.  Our frustrations can be unleashed on those who have little to do with our problems.  This is a time to take a breath and think before we respond.

So many of us have lost our income.  We are having to file for unemployment and take steps that we never expected to take.  We did everything right.  Each one of us is the walking wounded.  We have so much in common right now, but it can be hard to see other people’s pain when we can barely see our own.

Last week was a challenge.  The place where I have been working part-time closed its doors until we are able to open again.  Last year I experienced all these major shifts and put the pieces together to have half of my plan blown apart again.  My first step was to make it through a day and then through the week.  It can be too hard to make decisions when you’re just trying to get through the day.

Once I made it through my work week, the next step was to take care of anything that I needed while on my way home.  Then I arrived home and cleaned up anything germs that I might have on me.  I washed the floors, the surfaces, and anything else I might have touched.  My final step was to give myself time.  I knew from experience that I could only take care of my most immediate needs at that moment.  I gave myself permission to feel anything I felt.  I listened to USA For Africa’s “We Are the World” and cried.  I worked through my pride and filed for unemployment so I could pay my bills.  I allowed myself to be angry at what this virus has done to the world, my plans, and to grieve for what I and others have lost. 

The world that we knew is not the same place and it can’t be.  When you do venture outside to get groceries or gas, say hello and thank the clerk.  Accept that the things you need might not be available.  Have compassion for those around you.  We are all in this together and are feeling the same things.  We will come out of this better people. 

After the attacks on September 11th one of the lessons I have always remembered was a sense of unity in our collective grief.  People hung their American flags at their door.  We have an opportunity again.  There is always a possibility of a rainbow after a rainstorm, but we must look for it.  Look for the silver lining.  We are resilient and will come through this stronger than ever.  We can do this but show a little kindness to each person.  It goes a long way.

How are you showing compassion? Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.

What Could Have Been

Grief.  The 4th level on the Map of Consciousness.  According to Dr. David R. Hawkins, Grief vibrates at a level of 75 and is the land where sorrow, depression and sadness resonate.  It is the inner voice that says I didn’t want it to be this way; It could have been different; I don’t want to let go.

Grief is an area of life that most of us try to avoid, but we seem to land there at the strangest of times.  There’s the obvious of grieving the loss of a loved one or an idol.  As of the writing of this blog post, the death of Kobe Bryant from a helicopter cash is plastered across the media.  No matter what you thought of him as a person, you can’t question that many people idolized him and are now grieving the loss of a not only a man, his daughter and others on board, but the idea of what could have been.  What if he hadn’t gotten on that helicopter in foggy weather?

There’s also grief over a part of you that was lost.  A part of you that you held back for whatever reason.  A part of you that wasn’t allowed to experience life.  Maybe your childhood prevented you from truly living as a child. 

Another type of grief is the loss of a dream.  This is something that we currently see across the United States.  No matter what your political ideology, things aren’t the way we thought they were or that they could be.  Things could and should be different.  People should be kinder to each other.  They shouldn’t bully others because their viewpoint is different.  People should listen to each other.

But, let’s go back to the most obvious form of grief, death of a loved one.  How did you learn to grieve a loss?  There were family members that disappeared from my life, but I had only met most of them a handful of times.  I lost a classmate at the age of 4 in a tragic accident.  I don’t know that at 4 I began to understand what that actually meant or the impact it had on me, but I will say the first person that I was close to that died was at the age of 17, my maternal grandfather Paul.  As children we see our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and elders as greater than life figures.  Nothing will ever happen to them, but this is life.  For each one of us, our life on this planet is limited.  Whether it is a long-fulfilled life or one cut tragically short.  I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandparents growing up.  They were a part of every event that I can recall, birthdays and holidays.  I would spend time with them at their home.  My greatest remembrance of my Papa was his love of reading and watching C-SPAN all day long.  He taught me to love reading and to make my own opinions, to research and discover them for myself.

The indications that his time was running out began in early December.  He was gone by January 1.  Watching him that Christmas it was obvious that I probably wouldn’t see him again and that he was no longer the infallible person I’d known.  He was going blind and had trouble taking the tape off a present.

I went to bed on December 31 sobbing and gasping for breath.  The next morning, I knew why.  I did what I’d been taught to do, I soldiered on.  I went back to school, only briefly though for the Ice Storm of 1998 struck that week.  My first funeral was held in the dark.  The minister needed a flashlight to read his notes.  He hadn’t brought one with him, so he had to borrow one from one of my aunts.  I watched my grandmother and the word that had always come to mind is stoic.  She had lost her partner of 57 years.  I never saw her cry.  That was my true introduction to grief.  I don’t know that I truly knew how to process the loss.  New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day lost their magical feeling and I learned to live without him.  Starting in 2004, most of that generation disappeared year by year.  Other than 2006 and 2011, I lost a close family member every year until 2012.  Every death was different.  Every reaction was different, and I just wanted it to stop.

I don’t know that I had time to fully process one loss before I was on to the next.  I did learn that every person grieves differently.  Some seem to have incredible faith, some know their spirit is still with us, and others seem to stop living.

In order to move forward, we truly must process our grief in whatever form it may be.  That may involve crying.  It may involve soul searching.  However, your process it is the right way for you.  So many of us stay stuck in Apathy because we don’t want to feel.  We don’t want to confront and deal with our emotions.  Our emotions make us human.  By releasing them, we’re able to move up to Fear.

What in your life are you grieving or need to grieve?  Let me know.  Do you want to know more about what I do?  Click here to book a discovery session or an appointment.