Monthly Archives: March 2016

The (at least) five gifts of curiosity

As a coach, I often encourage people towards curiosity.

We can walk through life knowing so much. So certain of our point of view, and so absolute in our certainty. Yet there are gifts in curiosity.

Or we can approach things with uncertainty, with doubt and self-doubt. Unsure of ourselves, our actions, our decisions, at times our very being and reason for being. Again there are gifts in curiosity.

Or maybe it’s just me who can radically vacillate between these two. Absolutely certain without a doubt, and doubting everything especially myself.

When I can be curious, so much eases, and I learn so much. I receive such gifts.

When I’m curious:

  • I’m open to possibilities I’ve never even imagined
  • I’m open to others, and more likely to fill my life with love and joy
  • I am released from skepticism and cynicism, from uneasiness and insecurity, from criticism of myself and others
  • I learn things, and about things
  • I learn about others, even those I thought I knew everything about…and I’m often blown away
  • I have more fun

There are gifts in curiosity. And all it often takes is a few simple questions. All it often takes is asking: Why? Or why not? What else? Or what am I missing? What if I’m wrong? Or what if I’m right? What if I can trust others? What if I can trust myself?

And what if everything’s really okay?

There are gifts in coming at life, and at others, with a curious mind, heart, and soul.

How can I be more curious? How can you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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How (and why) to be Mother of the Year

I have a wonderful friend who says the most brilliant things.

“Sometimes when I’m feeling down about how I’m showing up for my kids,” she said one day when we were running, “sometimes when I feel like I’m letting everyone down, or I’m just not nice to be around, or I can’t handle it all (or I’m handling it all poorly), I imagine myself getting a phone call telling me that I’ve just won Mother of the Year. It changes how I feel, and how I show up, immediately.”

Being a mother is hard. I’m sure that being any kind of parent is, but the only one I know firsthand is being a mother. And it’s hard.

Not that the work itself is hard, which sometimes it is, but that every mother I know can be so hard on herself. When my daughter was a baby, I’d fluctuate between thinking I’d over-stimulated her during the day, and I was therefore a bad mother, and thinking I’d under-stimulated her during the day (and I was therefore a bad mother). There is so much pressure to get this mother thing right, that so many of us are left judging ourselves. And others.

I have friends who work full-time jobs out of the house. Friends who work part-time jobs. Friends who stay home and work full-time raising their kids. Friends with their own businesses; friends who freelance; friends who are at home sometimes and at work sometimes. I have friends who are the primary breadwinner, the secondary breadwinner, the only breadwinner, and not the breadwinner. And nearly all, if not all, of them question their choice.

There’s so much pressure to get it right. All the time.

That’s why my friend’s comment was so brilliant. Because not only does she (do we all) deserve to win Mother of the Year, but by imagining that phone call she relaxed and released much of the (often self-imposed) pressure on herself…and then was able to mother from that place of love and joy and wholeness.

Maybe it’s even tougher for those of us who so deeply ingrained the negative tapes and vibes around and in us when we were young. Maybe my old internal judge is, at times, still looking for something to call me out about, to point out my flaws and my inherent not-enough-ness.

Maybe it’s tougher for those of us, and maybe it’s not. But either way, I know that we all deserve to be a bit easier on ourselves. As mothers. As fathers. As women. As men. As people.

We all deserve to imagine that phone call that recognizes what a great job we’re doing, and what a wonderful person we are.

Don’t you deserve to be Mother of the Year? Don’t we all?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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It’s okay to pick the easy way out…and here’s how

My past modus operandi: take the hardest path and plow through.

I don’t know if any of you are like me, but not only did I pretty much never choose an easier choice, I didn’t even open my mind to consider an easier choice. I didn’t even know an easier choice existed.

I had been trained, or I trained myself, to hunker down and push through anything. And everything. I don’t know if I thought I had to prove something, or if that’s how I knew I was worthwhile, or if I simply didn’t get that there was another option. I do know that, as if on automatic pilot, when faced with a decision about whether to take the difficult road or the painless one, it wasn’t a decision. It just was. Whether to do the thing that scared me or something a lot less traumatizing? Again, not a decision. It just was.

Then I was faced with a challenge around Danny, my dad. Simply put, his cable TV remote wasn’t working – again – and he lives over an hour away. Sure, it wasn’t working most likely because he pushes the wrong buttons and makes it not work, but it wasn’t working. I called the nurse’s station at his nursing home to ask them to go in and push the right buttons and fix it. According to him it didn’t happen. I called again and asked again. They promised they’d send maintenance right in to help him. According to Danny it didn’t happen. I agonized over how soon I could take a day to drive up to see him and push the buttons for him…and how would I teach him not to push the wrong buttons the day after I left?

Then I called Comcast. I realized that it was worth the $100 charge – or whatever – to get Danny a working TV now. Not when I could make it to see him in a few weeks. Now. I chose the easy way and it felt great!

And while I was on the phone with them, the very, very nice customer service rep told me that I could pay $5.95 a month to get him a service contract, so that whenever he pushed the wrong buttons and his remote was no longer working, one simple call to Comcast would send a technician over to push the right buttons for him again. For FREE!

It was almost too easy. I said yes.

I’ve learned a few things about choosing the easy way:

  • It’s okay to do it.
  • Just do it.
  • If you feel guilty about doing it, it’s probably a good choice.
  • You feel a sense of ease when you’re done – or even partway through. As if a boulder that you didn’t even know was on your chest, falls off your chest. If that’s not a sign, what is?
  • You have to look beyond what you know. I’ll admit it. It was my husband who suggested I just call Comcast in the first place (as I agonized over what and when and how to do this). And it was the Comcast rep who offered the monthly contract.
  • It’s okay to ask for help. And to ask for help again.
  • I like the easy choice.

Yes, I’ve learned that I like the easy choice better. I enjoy having less to prove. I delight in breathing in ease and relishing the space my easy choices give me.

It’s not always the easiest choice to make. But I’m making it more and more.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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