Nourishing Your Creative Thrive-Times

Time, energy, attention. Really at the bottom of everything. The biggest reason why something gets done, or doesn’t.

Focus. Your magic beam of creativity, or death. Your world is either expanding or contracting. Depending on how you wield your light sabre of focus.

Productivity. For me, being productive is about optimizing processes and systems in my life & biz that help me maximize my TEA + FOCUS.

Let’s have TEA, shall we?

If you haven’t read Charlie Gilkey’s Unconventional Guide to Freelancing, well… you should.

Personally, one of my biggest opportunities for growth and learning has been the entrepreneurial self-scheduling bit. Beyond just organizing my life & business for sane living, Charlie has also helped me honor my own creative thrive-times, or peak periods of my day where I’m aware I’m at my most creative and do my best work.

…so many of us fill that time with stuff that shouldn’t be in there. We’re checking email first thing in the morning when we’re at our peak. We jump on social media when we should be writing or developing a marketing plan or an application. We are picking up kids right during our peak.

What we often don’t pay enough attention to is the fact that we can’t do creative work very well when we’re off-peak, but we can do a lot of the other business and life maintenance work when we’re off-peak.

Perhaps the biggest practical implication of thinking in terms of TEA rather than time is that it can guide you to recalibrate your schedule and determine when you’re booked. [… or when to create!]

Knowing your own thrive-times is key to living happy. Setting things up to nourish you and nurture your creative thrive-times is strengthening for you & your biz. 

It’s for you and about you. Really. All for you. If we could just get that. Instead of turning it into a bunch of should’s & have-to’s…

Leveraging technology to improve your creative thrive times.

Several weeks ago I implemented a system in Gmail for automatically responding to client emails using a Gmail lab called “canned response.”

By creating a “client” filter in Gmail, each time I receive an email from a client, the following message gets automatically sent to them.

Hello Lovely You,

To support my creativity, productivity and the fine art of balancing work & play, I now check/respond to email at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. You can expect to receive a fuller reply to your email message within 24-48 hours.

Also it’s very unlikely I’ll answer my phone unless our call is scheduled. You may still try me and if I pick up… YAY for you. If I don’t, you’ll know why. If you’d like to set a chat up, you can do that at http://snurl.com/m2calendar.

You and your email message are very important to me. And, I value time, energy and attention. It’s why anything happens (or doesn’t). Hopefully, you understand how this approach will result in a more focused & creative contribution to our relationship and the service I may be providing you at this time!

Cheers to our rich, rewarding life and work balance in the new entrepreneurial paradigm.

With appreciation & gratitude,
mm.

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Really, an automated email reply? Yup, more here.

myndemayfield.wordpress.com
Web Presencing For Women
714-328-3828
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In an earlier post, I explain how to map all your other email accounts into one, unified email box with Gmail using POP3 or IMAP. However, in order to get canned responses to work, I got to un-do all of the POP3-ing and simply forward emails from Godaddy (the service provider who manages my other email accounts) into my main Gmail account.

That was over a month ago. The question today is, am I really using the system the way I planned? Am I really only checking my Gmail at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m?  And, am I getting back to my most important emails within my 48-hour time frame?

This part has been challenging. In the beginning… like, the day after implementing the canned response lab, my productivity looked pretty much the same as it did the day before.  Still using my Inbox replying to client emails during “non-reply” times (at 6 a.m. or 9 p.m.), pretty much defeating the point of the my automated message; and allowing my personal self-care boundaries for nourishing my creative thrive-times to collapse. Fundamentally, my Inbox was in charge of me.

Until yesterday morning.

Hedge your creative thrive-times with ActiveInbox.

ActiveInbox is a free ‘better Gmail’ plugin (also for Google Apps), that installs into Chrome & Firefox, which helps you manage your email tasks and projects, and do faster email. There is no new system to learn, it just uses Gmail labels. Check out ActiveInbox here.

Using ActiveInbox’s fancier Gmail labels, I created two new labels called Action-10 a.m. & Action 4 p.m. Now, if my Gmail tab is open and I’m babysitting it like I’m wish I wasn’t, I quickly scan my incoming emails with the following practice.

  1. If I can answer it in under 2-minutes, I do it. Using another browser extention called Boomerang, I can schedule the email to get sent to my client later or at a specified time.
  2. If it can’t be answered in under two minutes, I apply one of the new labels (10am or 4pm) and archive the message so it’s outta my inbox. Applying the ActionInbox label essentially marks the email like a “task” which I can review from the new “ActiveInbox” sidebar in my Gmail left-hand navigation. I can manage, edit, assign the email to a project and when I’ve completed the assignment/task related to the email, I mark it ‘finished’ and it’s removed from my “to-do” list in ActiveInbox.

(full screen image)

My current inbox now looks like this. Yes, just one email (with the Preview Pane Lab enabled). If you don’t know what a Gmail lab is, I’ve written a post about the 7 Gmail labs you should be using. And this morning, I added Preview Pane to the list after I did a David Blaine on my Inbox thanks to ActiveInbox.

(full screen image)

 

I’m already feeling 1000% better.

I’ve layered in another system. On top of some already-working-for-me systems & processes in place in my business. That’s how you do it. One layer or piece or bite, at a time.

Now that I have a system in place to organize my shizzle and one that helps me create and honor my personal creative thrive-times, I can get on to doing what I love… helping women on the mission of sharing their creativity with the world.

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A Swarm Becoming Thunder

New towel? Anyone? Any… one?

Lately, I’ve been wondering, if I’m where I’m supposed to be. But this isn’t the usual twice-yearly big question-of-self-doubt perking its head up. No, it’s not that.

Usually, these self-doubty questions help me re-affirm my desire for being here. On the great big WWW, doing my entrepreneur thing. Showing up everyday, tap-tap-tapping away on this Toshiba laptop of mine… writing posts, writing code, designing art and basically helping others follow their own dream.

Not that I’m way ahead of you. Really I’m not. Especially if this morning, I’m thinking of throwing in the towel on all of it.

Real, honest, imperfection.

Maybe you are shocked by that. Maybe not. Maybe you’ve been around long enough to build your own opinion of who I am. Who you think I am, based on how I’m showing up. Here on my blog. Maybe you feel like you know me because we’ve worked together, having had client sessions to discuss the next steps in your web presence and other things you’d like to do with it. Maybe we’ve met offline a couple of times for coffee. Or lunch.

Maybe you saw my recent video with Tricia Karp. A woman like me, who is using the story of her own life as a guide for the kind online of business she’s building. You’ve seen my embodied presence, articulating my thoughts and ideas… rolling my eyes. Real, honest, imperfection. You’ve seen me now. Maybe you know me a bit better than you did before.

Caution: Intoxicated blogger ahead

All of us out here, bop around Twitter & Facebook, socializing with one another, getting to know one another, and sometimes there are a few of you, that when you tweet something, it hits on a personal truth of my own. And I can feel myself almost stand up more, maybe my dreams become a bit more solid and so I breath in deeply, one more time, a new determination and renewed commitment to being here, because I don’t feel so alone. I feel understood. Or known, somehow. Even if/when we really don’t know one another.

It’s a funny thing how that juice, or that connection, begins to establish itself. Based purely on what someone else has said. Either in a tweet or in a post. There’s a solidarity we feel. I want to run up and squeeze Danielle LaPorte for saying it so perfectly short & sweet. Or I want to raise a fist high in the air when I see a tweet from Bridget Pilloud about how some artists out here hide behind their excuses of being an artist to let themselves off the hook of actually running a business. Or when Charlie Gilkey throws out a zinger, that feels so meant for me. Not for all of you too, but just for me.

There’s a very fragile line between giving all of yourself and losing all of yourself. Be careful when you’re walking it.

This post is about disillusionment, my own and yours too. It’s got to be the #1 pedaled intoxicant on the information superhighway. And we can have disillusionment on so many levels out here.

Ok then, how about a game of cards?

I’m asking myself today, if my dream of entrepreneurship, of doing things I love with people I love and for people who truly appreciate the way I serve and who I choose to be while in service to and with them… I’m asking myself today, if it’s all been built on this shabby house of cards called disillusionment.

I can tell right now, this post isn’t going to underline some awesome life principle about disillusionment. Because for now, I haven’t got one. I am in it. And so, I am going to be in it. I am going to show it to you. I want to talk about it. With you. Here. On my blog.

I am going to save, whatever great thing I learn about disillusionment, for another post. After probably a few good coaching sessions from members of my team of adorers and supporters. Some is free. Some is paid for. All of it, is mine. And I will take it. But not today. Not right now.

One more time, I recognize how I wait. And then at some moment, I say now. Now you have my permission.  Go ahead. Really speak. Say what you’d like say. As if you were sitting here, with me, in person.

I want it to be real, don’t you too?

And I don’t know if jaws will drop down, I’ve really lost track of all the possible “outcomes.” There are too many to consider. And none of them really matter. If I’m willing to honor myself, my heart, my truth, my voice, me. My blog.

I’m out here, to be doing something different. I believe tomorrow’s heaven is built on it.

I have wares to sell, offerings of service. But if I took money out of the equation, I’m here to be me. I’m here to practice that. With an audience. Because I think secretly, deep down in all of us, we have this innate desire to find and connect with our audience, our people. The people that feel like, after you read a tweet or post, you know them. That You and I get each other.

I mean, I want that to be real. Don’t you too?

That’s intimacy there. That delicious feeling of getting got and getting them. You know, that moment in your head/heart/head/heart… in your BEING, when you get someone and they get you.

Online, it’s a word or sentence, written or read.

Offline, well you know. Think about what it’s like to look into someone’s eyes…

And the moment I decide, “Yeah, I get you!” I’m also saying, I like/admire/respect you. And I trust you. Or, at least what you just said. It resonates with me. I feel it and know what it is. I say Yes to it. I say, “Me too, me too!” You and I share this idea. Common ground. Solidarity. Union. Joining. We are one. For a moment anyway.

And so I get why disillusionment, can be such a bitch to swallow. Why it digs in so deep. Twisting & writhing. Why my teeth hurt. I gnash. I clench. I tighten. And swallow. Swallow swallow swallow it fucking whole. Opening wide. In you go…

Disillusionment.

It’s when you find out that what you’d hoped for isn’t gonna happen. Or at least, not the way you planned it. Like, just because you build a blog and have a pure heart, you are not going to replace that corporate salary. Not without real work. Real commitment.

It’s when someone chooses to show up with you completely contrary to everything they’ve shown you as who they are, until this moment. So all the “Yeah, I get you’s!”, the likes, admiration and respect. All the trust (which now turns back on you, because you’re the dumbfuck who trusted). Common ground. Solidarity. The union. The whole enchilada. Gets flushed down the toilet.

It’s out here. There is plenty of it being pedaled. Don’t think you won’t step in it. You will.

Disillusionment requires a disguise. Otherwise, like all scary unwanted things, we’d run from you if we saw you coming. And disillusionment does not look (or smell) like the steaming heap of crap that it is. It’s nice and warm though, when it squishes up between your toes! Consider it a disillusionment consolation prize. A fair exchange for all that other stuff you gave… the respect, the admiration, the trust. The tweets. The time. Your love & energy. For shit between your toes.

It is, very much like highschool in some ways. Discovering that there are people out here, whom you respect and admire, who turn out to have highschool attitudes. And be, not what they say they are, at all.

Disillusionment is here. Sitting beside me. I’m figuring out what I’m gonna do. Today, I tell myself and you the truth. I feel so disillusioned, I want to quit. I want to throw it all away. Flush it all. After I puke of course.

Tomorrow, I might feel different. I don’t know. Tomorrow is tomorrow. Today, I am disillusioned.

And this daily disillusionment I swallow is making me ill, infecting pieces of me, and my business. I cannot lie to myself any further. I cannot swallow another day.

A stranger inhabits too many of my inner rooms meant for soft light and smooth adoring voices. Not this dark, thickening suffocation. This strange-her.

She’s big & ugly. She’s a swarm becoming thunder. She’s a beast.

She is my intoxicant. And I am disillusioned.

A Simple Strategy To Increase Your Blog Readership

When you are first starting out, your blog is pretty much your primary product. Charlie Gilkey helped me land this super valuable piece of info quite awhile ago… when I was just (re)starting out.

Let me say it again because it’s important for you to land this too… In the beginning, your blog is your primary product.

And when you boil it down, the very main thing you want right out the gate is readers, or subscribers. And to grow, grow, grow that list you are building.

The basic rule of 500.

There is a ton of info around the basic principles of list building and growing your subscribers. You’ll hear the great shiney ones (the Danielles, Jonathans & ChrisGs of the blogging matrix) talk about numbers and what you should be shooting for… basically, great big giant ones… hundreds of thousands would be nice, right?!

Which feels so outta reach in the beginning. Even the basic 500 feels like a giant leap. The basic 500 goes “don’t even think about launching an online product until you have 500 subscribers…” Sigh. If I believed this, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this to you now because I wouldn’t be blogging! But that’s mostly because I haven’t given up yet. 😉

I don’t have 500 subscribers and yet here I am. I’m working. I’m not making six figures but I am building my own business. One day at a time. One client at a time. One subscriber at a time.

What kind of online business are you?

It’s really super important to understand whether or not your business is primarily service-driven or product-driven. Again, another Charlie Gilkey-ism here… if you are primarily service-driven, you will not need 500 subscribers to be making money or even to launch your first product. However, if you are a products-driven business, then yes, the numbers will matter. And so when the gods & goddesses of the blogging matrix throw out this number, it is indeed an excellent guideline. If you are building a products-driven business.

Why the numbers game is just an illusion.

Here’s what else I’ve seen about lists and about those (cursed/blessed) numbers… it’s possible to have a large list, send out product offers and not convert on your sales. Why? I think it’s important to consider the time it takes for your audience to get to know you, or to feel like they know you. They obviously like you if they’ve subscribed. But just because you have the numbers and they like you doesn’t mean they’re gonna buy from you. For me personally, I gotta love you. And that love for you is built over time. By establishing a consistent way of showing up with me (publicly or privately). It’s way more about your message. Your content. Thus, content is always king.

So I just want to offer you a little bit of relief about the whole numbers game. It’s better to be thinking about your own game, what you want to be doing in and with your business, than figuring out how to grow the numbers. If you focus on your stuff, the numbers take care of themselves.

Here’s a simple strategy to increase your blog readership if you are literally ‘just out of the gate.’ After installing this plugin, you can stop thinking about all this and get focused on the next idea for your business you are going to say Yes to.

WP Greet Box Plugin

With this plugin, you can put a custom greeting box at the top or bottom of each of your posts. The plugin displays a customized greeting to your reader based on the social networking highway they found you on.

Choose which networks you’d like “activated’ for personal greetings or simply display the invitation to subscribe again.

Search for and install this plugin from your Plugin menu on your WP Admin panel or visit WP Greet Box for more details.

Harvesting Business Clarity

Yesterday, I experienced another one of those moments, where I realize (again), that I get really great ideas when I take showers.

I sat at my desk working. Not wanting to stop. Because that’s who I am sometimes. I really do love my work. I love being captivated with my own passion. Working on and in my business fills me to the brim with passion.

I knew a break would be good for me. It’s good to break up large segments where I’m creatively flowing my energy outward and into a project or situation. Every time I do it, I realize I make space for really great ideas to pop in. They can be random ideas, but they are always the kind of ideas that I feel inspired to act on right away (more passion).

I built a pipeline this week.

Warning - this is what happens when you work with Charlie Gilkey.

I’m trying to see different pictures of my work flow. Mostly to soothe this teensy bit of panic I feel when I consider there’s only one me and more than several of you.

August was so slow. And forward fall movement finally picked up about midway through September, when Mercury Retrograde lifted.

I thought I’d have launched my membership thing by now. I originally told myself, mid-September. And here we are.

This week, I just started cutting my implementation ideas way back… to simple. And easy. It’s the only way it will get done for me. And more and more of you are asking for what I think it solves. Easy access to super simple videos showing you how to make WordPress work for you.

Four new women have said yes this week to web presencey collaboration. Four more are in the hopper. I expect two of those to say yes.

Four existing clients are in the process of getting to the Launch finish line with web presences started earlier this year.

Six clients in aftercare (sounds like I made them sick or something). But it’s basically things I’m doing for clients to continue to help them move forward with their web presencey thang. Sales pages. Paypal. Aweber.

Taking this all in, in the form of a picture, helps me decide which part of what I’m doing really inspires me and captivates me in my passion.  I’ll be able to see my business life cycle’s reality, what tradeoff’s or ‘no’s’ I’ll be saying soon and why it’s important for me to say them (see Optimystical Rule #5).

I’m seriously hoping it soothes my anxiety about feeling too full to continue to accept new business. And or, what to say to someone who wants to work with me but I just don’t see room right now. Or is it my view of “right now” is too small? Is it even true that I am too full to accept new business?

This picture helps me see what’s real. And also see (again) how it all hinges on what I think.

If I could just relax a little more, stop making such a big deal outta small stuff, have some fun, make mistakes better, surrender smiling more than crying, and say Yes more often.

Yes to the way it is. Yes to all the good that is already here. And yes to all the good that continues to come.

I kinda like that pipeline also.

How To Build A Contact Page in 3 1/2 Minutes

Hello. It’s me, your optimystical guide to getting technology to work for you.

This is the beginning of something new. Well, if you are an existing webification client of mine, this won’t be that new. But in case you don’t know me very well or what exactly I do to help coaches, healers, writers and really artists of all kinds (each of us is one afterall) get their tech-savvy on, this new thing I’m doing will help.

If you are just starting out on WordPress using the Thesis theme and want to learn how to do that better, so you can expand your web presence as you and your business expand, these little videos I use with my clients might be just the thing for you.

Today, I talk about building a basic contact page with a web form that sends inquiries from people visiting your website to your inbox. Pretty nice! My coach, Charlie Gilkey, had me add this to my website a couple of months ago and I’ve been pleasantly surprised how frequently people use it to make contact with me. Win!

This video is first cut. Meaning, I didn’t stop it or do it over. I wrote down a few notes about the path I wanted to take and hit record. So you’ll hear me say “Wordpreshhh” and to that I optimystically replied “Oh well!”

It’s not perfect, or the best or the only way. It’s the way I do it. For myself and for my webification customers.

And coming so soon, it’s like just around the publish button corner, is my bigger new thing… which is access to a library of video tutorials I’ve created while helping my clients get their tech-savvy on. I’ve compiled over a dozen of these lil babies and I’m planning on making those available to everyone, soon!

For now though, grab your popcorn and let’s get on with our feature presentation.

How To Build A Contact Page In 3 (and 1/2) Minutes

[This is a video tutorial post, so you might need to click through if you’re reading this via email or RSS.]

http://content.screencast.com/users/CStars4U/folders/Jing/media/485976b1-f9a2-4fdb-886c-0b54e1e48c97/jingh264player.swfView full screen version.
I got my bitchin desktop wallpaper from Rachael Acklin for free!

Wanna Be Jedi?

Last month, around my birthday, I decided to do this 30 day free coaching thing. A program. An offer.

Because I felt like, the biggest barrier I have to on-boarding my Jedi wanna-be’s is usually money. And not necessarily that you are considering spending it, but who/what you are thinking of spending it on.

Yourself.

“Am I worth this investment?”

I know my light bill is important and the car needs tires, etc. That is money that I understand spending.

However, when it comes to spending it on myself… a whole different set of challenges come up disguised in the form of rationalizations about why you just can’t.

Anyways, I felt like if you had a no-risk way of checking it out (becoming Jedi), you’d personally experience the value and then it would nearly be impossible for you to say No to me.

I mean, you’d discover how rocking it is to be you, getting your Jedi on and that there is no amount of money in the world that is actually worth knowing how to do that.

Right in the midst of creating said “most attractive offer ever” (the 30 day free coaching thing), I got feedback from one of my most favorite Jedi’s (well you are ALL my favorite. I seriously believe the people that say yes to this work rock and are so so brave to want to live a full out fearless life!)

The young Skywalker said “Your coaching rates are too low.”

And I agreed.

So I’m crankin up the awesome (and not necessarily because of Charlie Gilkey, but we will be blaming him for other forth-coming changes very soon!)

Anyways, just trying to be clear and full of heart here.

My coaching rate is going up June 1st.

If you have been thinking about getting with me (or getting with your Jedi), I want to give you the opportunity to purchase some coaching sessions at my current low-low rate of $60. After June 1st, I’m feeling my rate is headed toward the $90 range (not a threat, just some factual information).

If you are ready for more you, Jedi-style, please email me at mynde (at) myndemayfield (dot) com and we’ll get you set up. Even if you plan to start with me, say in July or August… you can lock in a certain number of sessions now and save some dough.

And that’s really it.

And let me just share one more thing… when I pay for it, I end up giving myself more permission to get more out of it. It raises the bar for me. It’s a risk to say Yes to me and say I matter enough to myself to invest in me. And I can feel it (well the pocketbook certainly does, right?) which helps me get more out of any investment, especially investments in myself.

When It Hurts, It Hurts. Period.

FEEL no matter how painful it is, for numbing is the opposite of living. v @gassho #Pamir

Earlier this week, I found myself in a 5-story window, ready to jump (it’s a metaphor, just so we’re clear here).

I had decided to write about that and pressed publish. Again.

Most of the time, I talk about the anxiety and fear that comes up when I do that. How my self-doubting voices surround me and try to coax me out of a perceived risk I’m considering. It’s always risky to share more of who I am, what is actually taking place in my life right now. It feels silly. Shallow. Too self-focused. Uninteresting.

However, after talking with Charlie Gilkey over the weekend, I realized that most of the stuff I consider as possible ideas for posts (or anything really) are, in fact, really great.

Not because he told me so. Because he doesn’t (usually) do that.

I realized it because when he shares what he’s thinking about or in the middle of working on, I always think it’s great and can’t wait to hear more or read more about it.

We get into these conversations that go very deep and with Charlie, I’m not really holding anything back. Nothing.

And as I talk out loud with him about the ideas I have for writing or expressing myself in general, he reciprocates the very same interest in my stuff that I do his.

Which is when I cross over and into, “I could definitely be writing about this and sharing more of my journey. There IS, in fact, benefit for others by doing so.” Maybe I’ll just claim a new flag for now that says, “If it’s good enough for Charlie, it’s good enough for you too.”

Not to mention, I’m telling clients all the time, subjects to write about are presenting to us daily. Just look around your life. You’ll find something to write about. Usually, we get in our own way and stop just short of the start line.

So my post about Jumping Out of 5-Story Windows was my start line.

I took whatever was showing up in my life and began to talk about it more truthfully, using my blog. I’ve been doing a lot of truth telling to my support circle. In all honesty, I don’t feel like I have as big of a challenge telling to truth out loud, as I do writing it down. I believe that if it gets written down, it has to be something more than just telling the truth.

But just telling the truth is miraculous, all by itself.

And now we’re back to pressing publish again. Because it was a moment of truth telling. And it wasn’t until I was willing to tell my truth, that I was able to begin moving in a new direction. Or, get unstuck. Releasing the deadlock I was having that got me up on the window ledge to begin with.

So many times, I want to do things fast or quickly. I want to get to where I’m going… but there’s traffic. I want my business to be more solvent, like NOW please! I want results. Honestly, without doing any of the preliminary work to get them.

And it just doesn’t work like that.

If we skip a stone across the babbling stream, life will always find a way of bringing us back to it for the learning. We cannot NOT miss it. We think we’re doing ourselves a favor by jumping over it. Other times we think it’s best to just go around it or pretend we don’t even see it.

Every stone I’ve skipped, for whatever reason, I’ve been brought back to. There are no short-cuts. And there wouldn’t be any on the window ledge either.

And since there was going to be no faster way of getting down, I surrendered a little. I realized that getting down “in my time” would require patience with myself. And a willingness to show myself a bit more compassion and lot more love. Some generosity.

After all, if it had been you up on that window ledge, I wouldn’t have asked you to just hurry up and get down from there. But I do it to myself all the time.

And in the moment of choosing to be a little more compassionate with myself, the resistance backed off just the teensiest bit. When you are in high anxiety, even the teensiest bit of relief can feel like a huge weight lifting.

There’s a shift. Out of resistance, into relief.

Tiny. Miniscule. Yet, it’s always enough.

So really, the very first thing I practiced that helped me off the window ledge, was compassion with myself. Compassionate meant saying out loud, this is where I am.

Acknowledging the window ledge and that I was on it.

Instead of focusing so much on how to get out of it, solve it, feel better… whatever. I simply started where I was. And said, yep this is where I am.

And there was a freedom in that. A freedom that came from facing what I didn’t want to face.

That I am hurting. And I didn’t know what to do (I’ve tried everything!) And I feel like jumping out of this window.

By admitting it out loud, I no longer was using energy to fight with that. I was accepting what is. Which created a new space. For me take a deep breathe. And in that moment of breathing deeply into the pain of what I was feeling, a little bit of grace entered and asked me, “Doesn’t that feel better?”

And it did.

One of the biggest challenges I see with being human today, in our culture, is this dynamic of refusing to feel our feelings.

No one ever taught us how to do that in a healthy way (speaking for myself here and about 99% of my coaching clients).

We’ve been conditioned to “do something” with our feelings. And rarely does it include, feeling them. If we show up too brightly as children, “You better settle down. Don’t get too big for your britches!” Or if we hurt too deeply, “You better knock that off right now! It’s time to buck up, get on with it. Don’t be a cry baby!”

And yet, by refusing our feelings, we reject a part of ourselves. We think, “If I just scoot this over here (jump over this stone), I can still get to where I’m going (and maybe even faster!) Plus, dealing with emotions is sometimes messy and I just don’t have time for that!”

And any unresolved emotional stuff, that we refuse to feel, even if we think it’s better for us, loads us down with baggage. Suitcases full of sore spots. That are easily triggered. Until we learn how to face them with grace.

Because it’s really part of our self yearning to be healed, saying, “I’m here! I need your love. Your attention. If only for a moment.” First steps can take just a moment. Pressing publish did. Writing about it was actually easier than I thought too. And I felt better for it.

Feelings don’t go anywhere. They must be acknowledged. And we can choose to acknowledge them with judgment and criticism or acknowledge them with grace and generosity.

But getting off of 5-story window ledges will not happen with judgment and criticism. In fact, judgment and criticism only keeps me stuck on the window ledge. Judging myself for not knowing how I got there, how to get down, what I’m doing wrong, what I need to do more of, how must I contort myself to get outta this window?

I got outta the window by telling myself the truth, feeling all the messy feelings (hurt, loss, grief, betrayal). All of it. And giving all those feelings the simple courtesy of being. Existing. And putting my foot firmly down on that stone.

Then I could move forward to the next one, which was the beginning of coming down off the window ledge.

There’s more “window ledge conversation” coming next week where I’ll share the miracle of how I finally started getting what I needed without requiring the participation of anyone else in the situation to be or do something other than what they were already being/doing.

That shift could not unfold without me first acknowledging the painful feelings of wanting to jump.

Acknowledge it. Feel it. It’s counter-intuitive to what you’ve been trained to do. But it’s the only way to get to where you’re going.