Ego is a funny thing. Most of us know that we can accomplish great things when we work as a team, or even with just one other person to bounce ideas off... but then we start to wonder: who gets the credit? the praise? Maybe we'd rather work alone so that we can reap all the rewards and benefits and not have to share. But will we get as far working alone?
Some people might. I have realized that I don't. There are things I love to do alone: write this blog. Take my dog for a walk. Watch Super Soul Sunday. Drink coffee. Meditate. And alone time is healthy and necessary...life is best when we really do enjoy our own company. But when I look at my short list of "alone" things, I realize: actually, all of those things are even better when I do them with someone else. Coffee - alone is good. With a friend or maybe even my sister, if we're ever in the same place at the same time? Fabulous. Walk my dog - alone is just fine. But add my friend Jackie (& her dog) to the mix, and it's amazing. Meditate - peace and quiet alone can totally fill me up. But when I've meditated in a group, all of us focusing on one thing and raising the vibrations of our collective energy: powerful and life-changing.
This week I met a friend for coffee. Like me, she works mostly alone, has one-on-one clients, and is in a healing profession. Our professional interests are complementary, and yet we've never really collaborated. Over the course of our conversation, we were brainstorming about things we both want to do in the next year or so, and we came up with an idea of a thing we can do together. It took a minute for me to realize that we were talking about working together on an initiative, not side by side, but actually collaborating. I was so pleased to realize that my gut reaction was, "this is amazing" instead of "how can I do this alone?" like I might have a few years ago. (What's the big thing? Stick around this blog in the next couple of months...)
The Goddess Network never would have gotten off the ground were it not for my own willingness and that of my friend Dawn Southey Hills to just start it... we like to say that we held hands and jumped in, with no preconceived ideas of what it would turn into. I think it's safe to say that neither one of us would have launched The Goddess Network alone; we needed each other's perspective, gifts and talents, and bravery to collaborate and make it happen!
Maybe these examples feel kind of over the top. Maybe you'd feel more comfortable making a plan to meet a new friend for a walk instead of buying into a franchise together... I get that. Small steps are often the best way to start. But please start. No matter how much time we're alone, we're not really alone in this life, and it really is better together.
(The "it's better together" print is currently for sale in Edmonton as a fundraiser to aid Nepal earthquake victims. Message me if you'd like information on where to purchase your own print).
My hair seems to be taking over my life.
I embraced very short hair for a very long time. I loved it - the unique look, the lack of effort to style it, the way I was in The Club with other short-haired women. It took a lot of maintenance (cut & colour appointments more often than I care to admit...) and was expensive (especially when one considered how little hair I was dealing with), but I liked that the look was interesting and set me apart. It was a calling card of sorts; when meeting a new client, for example, I'd tell her to look for "the short blond hair, Annie Lennox-wannabe style", and they always found me.
Then, a couple of months ago, I got really busy. I was happily occupied with many other things, and hair appointments got further and further apart. Before I knew it, my hair was long (okay, not LONG long, but certainly much longer than it had been in years), and, weirdly, curly. I hadn't embraced my curls in many years, and here they were again.
So once it was long(-er) AND curly, the comments started coming in, typically several times a day: "what ARE you doing with your hair? are you growing it? is that your natural curl?" As much as some comments were complimentary, others were almost accusatory, as if I had neglected to fill friends in on my plan to grow out my hair and, thus, hadn't solicited their opinion first. They seemed a little ticked.
It was interesting to me, as I started to realize that many, if not most, of my daily interactions were about my hair. It really did (does) feel that my hair is taking over my life. And I'm well aware of the fact that, over the past few years, I've made some pretty significant changes in my life (inwardly), and it didn't occur to me to ask many people's opinions before I started that journey, either. I wonder if they were ticked.
Change is hard; the very definition of stress is that it is "the body's reaction to change". And when people around us, who have always behaved (or looked) a certain way start to change, things can get weird.
Have you ever changed the rules in a relationship? I know I have: once upon a time, I decided that my marriage needed to be much more open and honest, and nothing (not even my then husband's resistance) was going to stand in my way. Note that I said my "then husband." Yes, lots of people have trouble with change.
What many of us might not realize, because we are inherently narcissistic beings, is that other people's changes really aren't about us. My decision to take a new path in my life, while perhaps making a few close to me kind of uncomfortable in the process, wasn't intended to do anything but take me on a new path. I have embraced my own journey, and it's made me more open-minded about others launching on their own journeys. Excited for them, even, because I know that change almost always is a good thing, once we get used to it.
Here's a cool thing: when we seek a new path, we end up finding like-minded people along the way. This doesn't necessarily mean we say good-bye to those who we were hanging out with before; we're just drawn to those who are on a similar journey. In some cases, we start to emulate their behaviours and perspectives, when they mesh with our (perhaps) new-found philosophies. In a similar, if more superficial, way, I found my curlier hair reminded me of the hair two of my cousins have -- both women I adore and would love to emulate in many ways. How fun, that my own hair now reminds me of them.
Unlike my decision to take a new path in life, my new hair growth wasn't actually intentional; like I said, it was the result of skipping appointments and that's it, but now that it's here, I'm okay with it, and I'll take the comments but not seek them out. Others' opinions are fine, but they don't define. My hair or my life.
What is making 2015 a great year for you? If the list is a little shorter than you'd like it to be, maybe I can help. Join me and Dawn Southey Hills, co-founders of The Goddess Network, on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 (10:10am, The Wild Earth Café at the Edmonton Zoo) to spend a little time with some awesome women who build each other up. And if you'd like one-on-one coaching and conversation, get in touch (see Contact tab). I can help you remember that (hidden?) part of you that knows it is amazing and wants to shine bright!
Sometimes what we need - in addition to Community - is to be reminded that if we are here, we are already awesome.
Togetherness. Support. Encouragement. Showing up for each other. Non-judgement. No comparison. Compassion.
Do you want these things present in your relationships and your life? I know I do, and I don't think I'm the only one.
I have the privilege of talking to a lot of women, and one of the recurring conversational themes is that we all want to experience these things - both to offer them to others and receive them ourselves.
When I look ahead to the next year (or more), I get excited about what's on the horizon! Do you? Is there something you'd like to let go of, and something else you'd like to add? Do you have plans and dreams that need a gentle nudge (or a kick!) into reality?
If you want to feel supported and find a place to let go of the fear that's holding you back, please join me for Growth Circles (see my Coaching Programs For You tab), and connect in 2015. Experience how coming together with other women can help your own journey along!
Ever been guilty of overthinking before taking a step? Planning until you realize that the planning itself has taken over the "doing"? I have, and this blog is an excellent example of just that. Wanting to start it, drafting posts, thinking of the messages I could promote... but not DOING it, because I didn't really think it would be good enough, clever enough, original enough. But then I just sucked it up and took the leap. Scary? Yep. Worth it? Hell, yes.
This, my small space, gives me a place to express what I'm pondering, in hopes that the ideas might resonate with you, too. All the years of thinking, "I really should (start a blog, get a business off the ground, get a "thing")", were NOT a waste of time - they helped lay the groundwork that got me to this place. But I knew sometime I would need to take a bold step.
And what a thrill, after having started Life Coaching, after co-founding The Goddess Network (I like to say that my friend Dawn Southey Hills and I "held hands and jumped" into that - how bold!), after kick-starting what is becoming my new passion (teaching Mindfulness to elementary school students and Meditation to adults), that I would then learn a whole lot about being bold. AFTER starting to do all those things. I can now look back and say, "uh-huh, didn't necessarily feel bold at the time, but that's what I was."
I recently spent an amazing day with the brilliant Joanne Minaker of Cared Humanity (www.caredhumanity.com) , as she and her wonderful team presented a one-day retreat called Bold Life Care Advance. The idea behind this event was that we can be bold with care - care for ourselves, care for those around us, care for ideas and passions. I learned a lot that day, and embraced the areas of my life which need more boldness, as well as joyfully looked into the rear-view mirror to see places where I took bold risks.
Those of you who know me and have worked with me know that it is my desire to help people recognize that they are Enough. The empowerment needed to take a bold step, for me, at least, comes when I believe that I Am Enough. Not that I WILL be enough when I get a degree or lose 15 pounds or get a job or clean my bathroom, but that I Am Enough already. Boldness + the belief in Enough go hand in hand for me.
What about for you? Want to talk about that? I'd love to listen to you.
Even the graffiti in my neighbourhood park reminds me: we are "ENUF".
Yes, even you.
This morning, while my dog and I were on a walk, something caught my eye: a row of birds on an electrical wire (the picture isn’t all that clear, but there they are). Not that unusual, but I was interested enough to stop and watch for a while.
They sat, not making noise, just resting or doing whatever it is that birds do on wires. Living fully in the moment, to be sure.
Then another flock about the same size flew over, and the original crowd took flight. The now much larger flock circled overhead, dipping and whirling in unison. Slowly they started taking turns resettling, this time on another wire, but one couldn’t decide where to sit. She (I’m assuming, she) kept flying while the rest took their time finding comfortable perches, and eventually, she flew away, on her own, leaving the flock behind. I watched her until she was out of sight.
Yesterday I’d learned of the passing of an acquaintance, a lovely friend of my sister’s family. Also, a family member had an accident and is in hospital. And a female relative of a close friend died in an accident.
I am processing these events, and thinking how fleeting life can be. These women came to mind as I watched the lone bird leave the rest of the flock and head off on her own.
No answers, only compassion for those directly affected by these deaths and accidents, and hope that faith and love will carry them.
"oh, oh...who are the people in your neighbourhood..."
- the people who are in their sphere but aren't necessarily friends (someone you'd see at the grocery store or who works down the hall from you)
- people who are important in their lives but aren't intimately connected to their day-to-day lives (not someone they'd invite over for coffee)
- people are close friends/family members who live in the area ("in person" circle)
- close friends/family who live far away and are, perhaps, connected through Facebook/email ("cyber" circle)
This type of Social Mapping can be really effective in both clarifying what a great social network a person really has and/or identifying where she has some holes that need filling! We talked at TGN about consciously seeking the friendships that will fill the voids, and how being open and vulnerable can help those connections deepen.
Many times in my life, I've heard the phrase, people are in your life for "a reason, a season, or a lifetime". I used to think it was a cheesy Hallmark-inspired blurb, but I've come to agree. The key, for me and many women I've talked to, is learning from each of the people and relationships we have, much as we try to do for experiences, and decide whether a friendship was meant to teach us something about ourselves, about interacting with different personality types, about being kind, about trusting our own gut or learning to look for others for support. There are so many things we can take away from our relationships - and some are there as cautionary tales as we move forward in our lives.
The last "circle" we talked about at TGN as we did our Social Mapping exercise is the "inner circle" - ourselves (that one relationship we can't escape...but we certainly can change/improve!). Encouraging positive self-talk, practicing self care, putting energy into our own emotional and spiritual growth, as well as taking care of our bodies, are all great ways to enhance and support this one, most important relationship.
And once our own tank is full, we have resources for connecting with others, supporting our families and friends, and working, in whatever capacity we desire, to Build Our Community.
want some more? email me at email@example.com
A significant friend is celebrating a significant birthday today! She knows who she is....
In honour of her, and with gratitude to her for posting the following link on her facebook page, I wanted to share it with you:
Such a profound thing, how we women (and some men, maybe?) apologize for our appearance. We aren't (whatever) enough - fit, thin, pretty, symmetrical, wrinkle/blemish-free... and the recurring theme resounds: Am I beautiful? will anyone find me attractive and desirable?
When I ponder the significant relationships in my life, I realize that those people I have let really see me (physically and deeply, sharing who I really am) no longer seem to care what I look like. And I don't care what they look like, either, those people who have shown me their real selves. I am happy to have a great haircut or strong legs or other physical signs of health, and I am happy for my friends when they feel good about their bodies/outfits/new tattoos, but at the end of the day, what I want for myself is what I want for my people: to be healthy, to feel strong, to be emotionally able to handle what shows up in their lives. And if a good tube of mascara boosts the self-esteem a little (or a lot), awesome.
What makes us beautiful, it has been said countless times, is what's inside. I do believe that. But at what point will the acceptable standard shift from the unrealistic bullshit "beauty" we see in the media/all around us to looking at the vulnerable open hearts of the people around us and call THAT beautiful?
Happy birthday to you, my friend.... long may the sassiness reign!
The best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all . - Indigo Girls, "Closer to Fine"
I have been a huge Indigo Girls fan since 1992, and this song is one that never fails to “get” me. Seriously. It’s only life, after all.
The older I get, the more I appreciate laughter. I’ve always enjoyed a good laugh – don’t we all? – but to plan for it, work at it, make sure it happens often, is a newer thing. Not only is laughter great exercise, the best way to get me down from whatever ledge I happen to have taken perch, is to make me laugh.
Do you have people in your life who do that for you – encourage and support, but also help you realize that life doesn't have to be so profoundly heavy and overwhelming? Maybe someone who makes you laugh?
Those are the people we need – not to laugh AT us, but to encourage us to see the lighter side of situations, events, even painful times. Maybe it takes watching a dorky movie, doing something silly, or remembering a time when something struck you as hilarious (even if no one else was laughing along…) – these are great tools to bring us back to a lighter moment, helping us gain some perspective.
What’s going to make you laugh today? What can help you lighten up?
"all doubt, despair and fear become insignificant once the intention of life becomes love." - rumi
Hmmm. Doubt. Despair. Fear. All emotions rattling around as I create this website, launching my coaching business out of my living room and into the cyber world, where it can be critiqued and commented on. Giving The Goddess Network another platform.
Why fear? Well, what if no-one cares? or what if too many people care?
Why despair? Because I might not be ready for this. Maybe I should study a little more, read some more books, practice a few more times.
Why doubt? I might not be enough. Such a small word, small enough to be a little tattoo...but it plagues me (and many others).
And yet - as I let go of the fear (maybe someone - other than my mother - will care and show up here) and despair (maybe I am ready - after all, I have clients who respect and appreciate me, and The Goddess Network has been amazing so far) and doubt (do I not regularly encourage other women to embrace how much they are ENOUGH? Can I own that myself?).... I know it's time. When are we really ever ready for that new thing, that exciting and scary undertaking that takes breath away and heightens awareness of our own faults and shortcomings? Does that mean we shouldn't try, or begin that thing until we're "ready"? I've thought that way in the past. Not anymore.
Time to launch...ready? Jump. Fly.
Life Coach, Yogi & lover of Meditation, mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter, cookie baker, seeker of truth & laugher, volunteer. Passionate about women's stories and the women who share them.