A Dozen Carnations...
“Open up instead of size up,” is one of my favorite quotes of Jeffrey Davis from Tracking Wonder. Our culture seems to be so much about sizing up and comparison, about competition and who has more or is better. It is exhausting. I used to be very competitive, participating in athletics at a high level was my life. Even then though, I was more competitive with myself than others. My goal, most often, was to be the best one on the field or the court. I believed I was competing with my own numbers but just now in this moment, I realize in doing so I would “size up” in every game with everyone on the field or court.
It fueled my performances and pushed me, often to the brink of exhaustion. And it still affects me today as I walk around and “size up” by thinking, “Wow, that person is doing so much better than me in x, y, z areas. Why can’t I be that too? I want that too.” Or the old, “I couldn’t possibly be/do that,” or the even more present, “Who do you think you are trying to own your expertise? What do you have to offer that already isn’t out there?” Which finds me feeling exhausted, fearful, and then I shut down to any creativity, courage, or wonder. I avoid and hide. Now, I wondered, how many other people feel this too and how can I create a way for people to see they are appreciated for who they are and where they are without all of the “sizing up” we humans are prone to do.
as I hand the flowers to people? They are going to think I’m crazy and even worse, maybe be fearful of my motives.” My second thought was, “Well, trust and see what happens. You’ll know what to say and do.”
So off I went from the flower store. I ran my errands and with each stop, carried a flower or two or three with me. My first encounter was with a woman with a small child and they both looked exhausted. I approached her slowly and said, “You’re doing a wonderful job and I thought this may brighten your day.” She looked surprised and then smiled and said, “Thank you. I’ve been having a rough week.” I smiled, nodded my head affirmatively, and said, “You’re very welcome. Hope this next week is better,” and off I went. This happened with almost everyone I met that day, people of different ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and jobs. My heart was being filled by each of their reactions and appreciation for being seen and acknowledged - and no one really thought I was crazy :) .
to show them that they are appreciated, and perhaps meet a few new people. You never know what a little kindness may bring to someone’s life.”
I left and got back in the car and felt so grateful for such a great day, meeting so many people - some of who were having bad days or weeks or years - and making them smile and having them know that someone is noticing. It filled my heart to know that such a small gesture can have such a big impact. It was a time with no “sizing up” or worry about how the other was going to react. It lifted my spirits and restored my faith in humanity, even if just a little bit and was worth every moment. I’m making a note to do this at least twice a year and highly recommend it.
#WeQuest #BestYear #Quest2020
Designing for more Curiosity & Insight...
This week is about designing for more openness, surprise, and connection with what I make and create in 2020. Below there are two exercises we were prompted to engage with: pause-gaze-praise and filling your pockets. Both were intriguing and the challenge I found was actually taking the time to do it. How often do we just "not take the time?" Apparently, very often in my case.
Taking the time to just pause and see what is around you and wonder about it is actually quite inspiring and relaxing believe it or not. It brings wonder to the forefront, even for just a moment or two - a definite practice in mindfulness and where you are in the day. It is a reprieve from the computer, phones, paperwork, etc. It is a time to just stop and be present.
What was surprising is how my imagination could flourish in that moment too... "wonder how it was made... wonder how long it took to make... wonder what else I could use this for... wonder how they thought of the idea to make it... appreciating the intricate details I hadn't noticed before..." and, the symbolism of what it means to me and my story behind it.
As I gazed out my window, the first thing that caught my eye were the cattails outside that grow in my little pond. An although they are transitioning to wait for spring's return, I still found them captivating. They are bent and straw-like, some would say dead, but yet on two of the tips they are still that shape you'd expect. One is even allowing its seeds to disperse into the wind. It is sharing its life and preparing for the re-awakening of the spring. How similar to our own personal experiences it can be, whether with family, work, or Self. I am grateful to live in a place with a little wildlife and constant reminders of continuous rebirth.
Filling My Pockets
This process was interesting. Our prompt was to gather 5-7 objects that I'm curious about. What do they show me? What do they mean to me? What do they symbolize that I'd like to create in 2020?
The five things I chose (or perhaps they chose me) were rings from different phases of my relationships and my life: first serious relationship, engagement and marriage, the state of my relationship 30 years later, and where I'm headed. I don't often give the history of my relationships full attention - including the one with my Self - so this was a welcomed opportunity.
As I reflect on what these rings mean to me I remember my first serious relationship and how it ended and how I would do a few things differently. I remember the fun, devotion, and the thoughts of how could this person could love me so much, I just really couldn't understand it. I was 19 at the time and the relationship lasted 3 years - and should have ended about a year sooner but I just didn't have the courage or the voice to do it. Looking back it wasn't fair to him or myself. Since then, I have worked on using my voice more, taking time to find out how I really feel, and to speak my truth with more loving-kindness. Which, is something I will need to have to create what I want to do in 2020.
Next is my engagement and wedding rings - soldered together for eternity. Two interesting things about this ring(s) is that my husband proposed three times and not because I kept saying no but it took a long time to finish it as he was designing it himself.
Things often happen to me in threes: changed my major in undergrad three times, changed my dissertation topic three times, never was at a job longer than three years when I was first starting out... I could go on. The first time was an "almost proposal." We were around a campfire at a cottage and he asked, "If I asked you to marry me, would you say yes?" I was surprised to say the least and wish I would have said something like, "Ask me and you'll find out," with a grin and twinkle in my eye. But instead I said, "Yeah, I think so." I was 22, what did I know? Back then I was afraid of emotion and looking back, a little bit of such a big commitment. But he pressed on.
The second time was at his friend's wedding, spur of the moment to one of my favorite songs - and he knew it, in fact he requested it. I was shocked and this time was quite confident in my yes albeit a little embarrassed because he also told his friend and the DJ that he was going to ask. My husband is often into doing the BIG things to show his love. It took me a few years to really take that part of him in. And again I would ask myself, "How could this person love me so much?" But there was no ring yet, so I think he didn't see it as official yet.
Finally, the third time. This time a friend of mine co-conspired. The ring he had designed, yes he had designed, took a long time to finish and was not ready when he originally wanted to ask me again. So, he had planned with a co-worker friend of mine to propose at my office. I was working in a large office at the time and found out afterward many people knew about it. Funny thing... I answered the phone when he called that day and asked for my friend and didn't even recognize it was him! Yes, he still plays on my lack of attention to detail sometimes :) It was wonderful and finally official.
As I stated earlier, three times seems to be my thing. I've said for about six years now (3 times 2) that I've wanted to write a book. And as I read over this part of my story, if my husband's persistence and depth of love hasn't taught me something, I've been asleep for many years. I have persisted in the past but maybe not with the degree of love and awe I have inside, that degree of vulnerability it takes to keep on going through the tantrums of "it" not being perfect, or letting the doubts and fears rule instead of finding out I was pretty good at writing and expressing myself, and that I do know more than I think. I do have an expertise or two. I know I will need this in what I plan to create in 2020.
The Claddagh ring. According to celtic-weddingrings.com, the Claddagh ring meaning is all about love, loyalty, and friendship. The two hands represent friendship, a heart symbolizes love and the crown on top is for loyalty. We've had rough patches and periods of questioning in our relationship and worked on it and this ring symbolizes what we have now, what we've created over 30 years. It is also what I began creating with myself over 15 years ago. It is what I need to create with my goals, dreams, and work for 2020, with my clients, and beyond to make sure all of it does become a reality.
And the purple ring, well, that helps me to remember my partnership with my husband and what a support he has been through the years. He has one just like it. It is flexible and forgiving, yet strong and supportive just what I need as I move forward in creating my support packs for 2020.
Finally, the ring with the compass directions on it. The symbol of travel, exploration, and finding your way. This ring is the newest. In fact, I just received it as a surprise in the mail for ordering some gifts for someone. I knew something was coming but I didn't know what and it's meaning was not lost on me. I love to travel. I want to travel for work and for pleasure in 2020.
I have often felt directionless this past year (or two) and feel as if I may finally be heading in the right direction now. And even if I am not sure where exactly it is I am headed, I have my inner compass and the energies that be guiding me along the way. It has taken me a long time to trust this and have faith not only in myself, but in others. That I don't have to try to navigate it all alone. In fact, I have come to realize how much I do love collaboration and dare I say, structure. I welcome the many levels of travel in 2020 and where it all may take me.
#WeQuest #BestYear #Quest2020
I am devoted to designing more surprise and purpose in my everyday life through the following ways:
Young Genius at Work
My Young Genius is safe, connected, and gifted. Bringing "her" to work this week was challenging and eye-opening. I found that those qualities I brought can be comforting for my clients and they also open my gifts to give. My clients can feel when I am fully present and connected. There is a feeling of safety that occurs, which enables us to go deeply into what is needed for healing and finding peace. We do beautiful work together and it empowers us both. It is beautiful and enriching.
What was beyond my familiar zone this week was being more open to my thoughts and feelings, especially admitting deep down my fear (what holds me back in various parts of my life) is that what I'd like to create - my book especially - is going to be extremely difficult and I'm not sure I can go through it again. (I wrote about this a bit last week.) As one can see, it is still here for me.
So, I suppose, going beyond my familiar zone could entail doing it anyway and doing my best to not worry about outcome or having any expectations. The fear of the unknown is a cruel trickster and at times, it holds us hostage. To begin to break free from this hostage situation, I have continued to write and make this blog public and committed to writing my truth with as much loving kindness as I can. It is my hope that it will help others as well.
I don't want going beyond my familiar zone to end either. Trying new things even if I think I won't like it or be good at it will be a good place to begin. Traveling to new places - metaphorically and physically - alone and with those I love and care about. This is something I am really going to have to be conscious of in the coming year so as to not fall back into a rut, and shut myself off from me and the world. Maybe next week I'll do a video instead of writing... it is another way to connect with my clients and the world and it is tremendously unfamiliar to me (not to mention scary).
Envisioning my Best Year 2020
I begin at the end... the end of 2020 and what a year it has been!
It has been quite a year for showing up. I took many Wonder Walks, which encouraged and fueled my creativity, self-care, and confidence. Learning to value and honor myself in different ways by laughing, traveling, and being vulnerable has given my life and work so much meaning. It took some courage and was so energizing at the same time.
Presenting at conferences and developing workshops and retreats for people to attend was an honor and privilege. My new job at the University allowed me to bring Healing through Connecting Constellations™ to the college and university levels, which has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Touching the hearts and Souls of those desiring growth, healing, and change was the greatest gift I could have imagined... allowing the sacred space for love to flow freely and bringing peace to those who participated. This peace flows outward to all around them, bringing that much more peace and love to the world.
The big goals I achieved in 2020 that has stretch me in some way are threefold:
The challenges I faced was to write those chapters and record videos without judgment and with clarity, confidence, and owning my expertise. I did it though with vulnerability, courage, and loving kindness. Those Wonder Walks I added really did the trick to help me face these challenges with wonder and curiosity as opposed to the pressure and stress I was putting on myself.
All in all, 2020 was a great year of understanding, owning, and loving. It was a year of transition and empowerment and of travel, joy, and laughter. I can't wait for more.
#BestYear #WeQuest #Quest2020
I am devoted to designing more surprise and purpose in my everyday life through the following ways:
It would behove me to slow down and center every two hours or so. Slowing down in this way would inform me of so much... how my body is feeling, where my emotions are, and do I need to retreat for a bit, to walk outside for a break.
Doing this, I know from the past, has be extremely helpful - so why I do I continue to challenge myself in NOT doing it? We often don't do what we know is good for us and when we do those things we say to ourselves, "Now, why don't I do this more often? I feel so much better." The joys and ironies of being human.
So to honor all I have written thus far, the habit(s) I commit to do nearly daily that will have me enjoy my day more is this:
Rising early enough is my greatest challenge. I wake up early enough but I do love my bed and will lay there for quite some time - it's cozy and safe and I don't have to think of all the challenges of the day. But there is a sacredness to rising early, creating a ritual of tea and breakfast - even just preparing a smoothie is a ritual. It is a way to honor myself and the day as well.
A way to honor waking up being able to walk, eat, and love. What stops me in my tracks is thinking about how hard it may be to sustain my work and life. How I will have to continue to work hard and I've worked hard so much of my life already in various ways... physically, mentally, emotionally, and somewhat spiritually. Because ever since I can remember, I've equated hard work with suffering - it's what I've known, it's what my family has known, it's what my ancestors have known. And for quite some time now - years even - I have been tired, carrying all that I do (some needlessly).
I've been working hard to break this cycle for quite a few years now, but it isn't an easy one when it begins before you were even born. It is where I come from. It is the people I come from. So I guess the question may be, how do I honor them and myself at the same time? I am sure they wouldn't want me to suffer too. And then I think, in honoring myself I am honoring them. They came before me wanting better for themselves and for their lineage.
Highlight(s) from the Week
I had the privilege of traveling with my husband's college volleyball team to the NAIA National tournament. The team had their most successful year yet going 20--0 in their league, winning the league tournament, and getting an automatic bid to Nationals where they were ranked 18th in the country. It was one of those special seasons that don't often happen.
As I was watching I was overcome with the excitement of watching these young women compete. So much had me miss being a part of a team and a part of athletics:
#WeQuest #Quest2020 #BestYear