Monthly Archives: August 2016

I’m not always right!

As many of you know, I recently went through a 360-feedback assessment that blew me away. I read the report and could only think “ouch” – focusing (as I instruct my clients not to) on the negative. On what is “wrong” with me.

My least favorite learning? The assessment highlighted my critical tendencies. I think I have, for years, convinced myself that I’m not critical. (Those of you who know me well, don’t laugh.) At least not critical in that way.

Others helped me as I struggled to accept and integrate the feedback results. “We think your critical nature saved your life,” they told me. That made sense. I held on to that thought, letting myself allow my critical side.

But I kept watch anyway. “Am I really critical?” I asked myself. “And if so, is it really okay?”

Flash forward – I’m driving down the road and the driver in front of me does something I don’t like…and I hear the criticism flooding my mind. “That’s dumb.” “They shouldn’t do that.” “What an idiot.” Cleary I know that I would never do whatever the rude or stupid thing is that they’ve done.

Critical huh?

Do I really think I know better? Do I really think everyone should do things the way I do? Maybe deep down I do, but I certainly don’t want to admit it. And I certainly don’t want to think that anymore.

When I feel the criticism flooding me – when I’m judging others and deeming them unacceptable – I’ve taken to reminding myself that I don’t always know better and that I’m not always right. I know that I don’t know all the reasons behind the other drivers’ behavior, and that I may not even be seeing and understanding what their behavior actually is. It’s so easy to make up stories that reinforce my worldview. (“I’m good.” “I’m not critical.”) I remind myself of that. I remember to give them the benefit of the doubt. And I lovingly instruct myself to appreciate my critical nature when it’s necessary, and to let it go (and let it go again) when it’s making me self-righteous.

Because I’m not always right.

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

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I think I’m actually present!

I’ve been having the weirdest experiences during my meditation practices. I think I’m actually present!

I’ve been practicing more regularly, beyond just my daily quiet time with a cup of tea, and it feels good. It especially feels good because I’m much more aware of myself, my brain, my body, and my thought patterns. Which feels good.

Some time ago I happened upon an interview with (ABC News Anchor) Dan Harris on mindful.org. He’s actually interviewing meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein about “The Victory of Being Lost in Thought.” They talk about reframing the moment you wake up to the fact that you’re lost in thought by thinking, “how amazing.” How amazing it is that I’ve noticed – that I’m present enough to be aware of – the fact that I’m lost in thought.

That clicked for me. There seem to be many more moments when I’m not lost in thought. When I’m actually present and aware only of my breathing or my butt in my chair or the breeze on my skin. Or maybe even sometimes aware of something close to nothing.

And then I get lost in thought. And then I notice that I’m lost in thought. And I realize how amazing it is that I noticed it.

There’s something so weird and also freeing about noticing a moment. Any moment. Each moment. Pausing from my typing and feeling my breath. Stopping what I‘m doing and seeing the flowers blowing in the wind. Hearing the birds chirping, so quietly that I’d miss it if I wasn’t paying attention.

How amazing. I think I’m paying attention at least a little bit more. And I think I’m more aware, and more quickly aware, when I’m not. Which feels good.

How amazing.

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

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You are safe

I talk about the voices I hear in my head, and by that I’ve always meant my hero (who I used to refer to as my editor, but in the recent past I’ve realized how much she has saved my life and soul over the years and I’ve renamed her my hero). I would “hear” her voice warning me, chastising me, reprimanding me and keeping me in line.

The other day, for the first time, I heard something else.

“You are safe,” the voice said, loudly, clearly. It cut through everything else in my mind and my surroundings.

I’ve owned up to my irrational fears. My terror that something has happened to someone I love, when they’re not home the minute they’ve said they will be. My unease in emotional situations, filled with concern that I’ve messed up (or will mess up). That I’ve offended you, or others. That I’ve not been “right.” My anxiety, and worry, at things that one really needn’t be anxious or worried about.

Basically, I’ve not felt safe, or secure, no matter how safe or secure I’ve been.

“You are safe,” the voice said.

I know the world is safe – basically safe. When my daughter was little and filled with fear each time my husband or I had to fly somewhere, I explained to her how many airplanes flew safely and how few actually crashed. “The world is safe,” I explained to her. I know this.

But I still have irrational fears. And the voice reassured me.

I remember how it sounded, when I feel fears start to rise. I remind myself that I am, basically, safe. That all is well. I distract myself, once again, by the beauty around me, the love in my heart, the laughter with my family and friends. I hear the voice.

I am safe. You are safe.

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

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