Monthly Archives: January 2015

Living a Purpose-Driven Life

Recently a friend/colleague challenged me to make a BIG overnight shift in my life in order to make an internal announcement to myself (and presumably an external announcement to the powers that be) that I am showing up. I’m here. I’m to be taken seriously, and I’m all in.

I understood his challenge. He saw me waffling somewhat and lollygagging about, trying this and that, and always seemingly coming up short or facing another obstacle, some external, some internal (hence the internal announcement).

What I didn’t understand is why I needed to make such a BIG turnaround overnight. So I disagreed with him and suggested some modifications to his original idea/plan. To him, I think that appeared to be more obstacles and more waffling. Indeed, at the time, I sort of shamed myself into thinking the same.

“Why can’t I ‘just do it’ as the sign says?”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“I’ve failed before I’ve begun.”

Many many more less-than-kind phrases cropped up into my thinking. The prevailing thought was basically “NO way can I do this…” And then it hit me:

Yes, yes I could… MY way.

That single phrase was more of an announcement than anything anyone else could create for me. Why? Because it’s infinitely more powerful, because it’s mine.

My father once told me long ago when I was dating my now ex-husband: “Don’t do for, do with.” It was a piece of advice I faltered with at the time but have come to hear over and over in my head since then as one of the wisest things he had ever said.

Don’t do for, do with.

If I had taken my friend/colleague’s challenge and plan, I’d be doing it FOR him as part of some old paradigm of placating and pleasing, and seeking approval. Instead, I needed to come up with my own plan, my own internal voice, that announced to me and the world around me that I am here, I am ready, and I am all in.

That’s not an easy task, mind you. Uncovering your purpose-driven life is a process that requires deliberate intent, focus, and above all else an alignment with your core values and who you are.

My friend wanted me to feel the passion and drive he described to me that he felt when he was on his purpose. And I applaud him for it, because I think he’s extraordinary. But I’m not him. I’m me. And ‘me’ feels things differently. My passion is not a burning urgent passion. My passion is a calm knowing presence. It’s aligned with my values and who I am at a deep level, and it expresses itself the exact same way. And that’s exactly how it should be.

So, my passion and my purpose don’t require a huge overnight shift and change in plan. They require me to show up, falter, and show up again. They require me to keep going, even when I don’t feel like it, and they require me to be honest with myself, be true to myself, and to do things for myself, and not to please others.

Living a purpose-driven life is something only you can define for yourself. Uncovering that purpose can be challenging and difficult sometimes. But what I know with 100% certainty is that living without purpose is infinitely more difficult, because it’s not living. Living without purpose is merely existing… and existing is about taking up space, rather than claiming your place.

I’m claiming my place. How about you?

Choice, Fear, Love, and Open-Mindedness

Open-mindedness and acceptance do not translate into homogeneity. Instead they promote a broadening of diversity and uniqueness.

I read a friend’s FB post recently that lamented the lack of open minded decisions resulting from the recent terror attacks. I understand it. When the going gets tough and the water gets turbulent, sometimes the immediate reaction is to batten down the hatches. Stay small, stay safe, stay secure.

But that’s a reptilian reaction. It’s a “fight, flight, freeze” response to the extreme stimulus of terrorism. It also has no basis in cognitive thought.

Therefore, in order to promote acceptance and diversity, we need to re-engage our frontal lobes and get out of out lizard minds. We need to do something that alleviates the limbic system’s response.

What does that look like? Well, there are many answers to that question. Here’s mine:

1) Acknowledge the limbic response and fill your heart with gratitude that it exists. It has saved us many a time in dangerous situations. We don’t want to get rid of it.

Then

2) Choose to engage the frontal lobe. This is the thinking/cognitive part of your brain. It’s where mindfulness resides. It’s where you have choice.choice-fear-love

And as you all know, choice is what matters. Choice creates change, and change can be born of love or fear. You choose.

 

Spirituality, Faith and Religion

In light of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and by Boko Haram, I wrote this last week. Perhaps you saw it on my Facebook page:

When you can be murdered for what you believe, say, write, or draw, in the name of holiness or religion, rest assured that this is neither holy, nor religion. This is fundamentalist doctrine born of man, not God.

There is no God, Prophet, Higher Source or Divine Essence that dictates the destruction of another human being in their name. None. Never has been, never will be.

Let us be clear, then, when placing blame. The blame rests with the perpetrators and those who have indoctrinated them. They are acting outside of all law and religion.

Let us also be clear in the solution. The solution is to embrace all people of all religions and beliefs, of all races, as one humanity.

“Religion” means to re-connect. To reconnect with God/Source/Love and with one another. Division breeds fear, and fear breeds opportunity for indoctrination. It is time to lay down the fear and begin on the path of understanding, compassion, and love. And hold those accountable who would choose to do otherwise.

Peace and blessings to all, especially the victims and their families and friends.
xoxo

I wanted to share it again here, because I’ve been reading a lot of opinions on what has been happening around the world with regard to terrorism as an aspect of religion. It occurred to me that an honest discussion and understanding of what it means to have faith, spirituality or religion is what’s called for. To that end, I have started creating a workshop/talk on that very subject that I will most likely present in Houston later this Spring, and take elsewhere thereafter titled Spirituality, Faith and Religion: A Modern Understanding.

I think what’s most important for us to do at this time is to remember two key principles:

  1. All religions (ALL) are about reconnecting to God (Universe, Source, Divine, Love – pick a word, they all work), and
  2. All terrorism is based in fear and a lack of understanding or desire to learn.

They have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other. When one is used to justify the other, not only is it an affront to those who are of the religion being blamed, but it is an affront to people of ANY faith, spirituality or religion, anywhere.

Today, may I suggest that along with our rallies and outrage over the murders and senseless killings, we also take a moment to pause, breathe and reconnect with who we are, remembering that we are all here together, all equal in God’s eyes, regardless of how we get there. From that place, we can go back into the world with love and acceptance, embracing the beautiful diversity of appearance, thought, and belief that HE created and also embraces.

Happiness.

With New Year’s Resolutions safely behind us, it’s time to address the motivation behind why we desire change. Happiness.

More often than not, when we want to change something it’s often because we don’t quite feel happy.

We are tired or overweight so we want to lose weight and feel better. In other words we want to feel HAPPY about ourselves.

We are frustrated and discouraged at work, so we want to find a new job that pays us more. In other words, we want to feel HAPPY about our life’s work.

We are disappointed and lonely because we are single or in an unhealthy relationship and want to find “the one” or no longer be with “the wrong one.” In other words, we want to feel HAPPY about our relationships.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Happiness (or lack thereof) is a motivating factor for why we desire change. Note that I didn’t say it’s a motivating factor for actual change…because it’s not.

Here’s the rub: we desire to be happy, but happiness as a goal in and of itself is never achievable. Why? Because Happiness is a byproduct of something else. It’s the side effect of living your life with passion, purpose and joy.

Happiness is what happens when you make deliberate decisions to live in alignment with your values and goals, with who you are deep inside. Whether your goal is to be a cheese farmer or a banker, it’s the same thing. Happiness is what happens when you stop pursuing happiness and start living from your heart, your passion.

I’d like to say it’s a Catch 22, but that implies some circularity of thought. It doesn’t. If you want to create change, because you’re unhappy, don’t set happiness as the target. Set the target as something tangible, accessible, and aligned with your values. Happiness will then be the result of working toward your goal.