Free Your Mind & The Rest Will Follow

This post is about how MindNode offered me a Get-out of-Word-doc-ebook-writing-hell card so I could pass Go & Collect $200.

Well, I’m on the way to collecting $200. The book hasn’t been in Pay-What-You-Can mode for very long. 😉

The honest truth is MindNode did set me free… to let’ er rip. And so I did pass Go, so-to-speak. And I’m sharing the story of how I did it. Cuz blogs are for sharing. And because lettin’ er rip is good for our souls.

I mentioned that, after a while of writing a post-at-a-time, and answering questions that were fed to me on a nearly-daily basis…

(Definitely each time I spoke with a client.)

I started gathering some of my best posts together. The ones where I noticed myself telling a client in session, “Oh I’ve written a post about that…” Or, the ones that were fed to me, in a real-time life or biz situation. And then write about that.

I had started the list. Three posts were already written. The ones that answer, in the most basic of terms, what I do specifically under the domain of web presencer for creative women. 

Soon, a popular question rose to the top. What’s the difference between a blog and a website? And which one is right for me?

Ta-da! Yes. That easy. If you’re paying attention.

Why we dismiss it or overlook it—our own brilliance—still baffles me. Those goggles we’re born with. Like special 3D movie glasses, we somehow can’t see it like other people can. Our stuff. The brilliance and (laughing) those frightened parts that still react in lizard-brain mode. I’ve decided to love my lizard brain. To love it & the process…

And surrender.

Compassion is a biggy if you’re gonna be out here. I talk about it in the first Chapter of Web Presence Essentials. It’s a success factor actually. For becoming part of this revolution of entrepreneurs, leading their lives in alignment… hearts, souls, businesses, lives.

Anyway, over time, the list of three grew. And I mentioned that one day I got inspired to grab it all up & paste it into a Word document.

Then I figured out how to create a Table of Contents in Word, so I could see what I had (again, like the List Post I’d already created online at my website).

I looked at it. “Ugh. There’s a lot of work here. So much is missing. A lot needs re-writing, re-alignment,”  the lizard inside my amygdala said.

I saved the Word doc & closed it. For like five months.

Then, on the day I asked myself the question “What if I never designed another web site again?”

It hit me…

…like a band of wild horses.

And it all started up again. I dug around on my Toshiba laptop to find the Word doc. Opened it. And realized how much had happened in that five months or so. So much. In my life. In my biz. I know you know. You were there for 2011 also 😉

Anyway, I’m gonna get to point of this post now.

I looked at the Word doc and it became clear to me that I needed another way to organize all the thoughts & ideas for what was missing. What I wanted to add to it and a way to move “blocks” of similar content around in the body of work so that I could organize it in an easy-to-digest-and-understand format.

So you don’t take a nap on me when the technology stuff comes up.

And that’s when I discovered MindNode. A simple brainstorming tool. There are tons of them online. Some free, some not. Some for Mac, or Windows or both. MindNode was easy so I went with that.

And I basically began building, with my ideas, a-node-at-a-time, what eventually became Web Presence Essentials.

If it felt like I needed to put things in some kind of order, I could easily move nodes around, like a spoke on a wheel. But what I like about this tool is it’s not linear. But can be. This gave me freedom to just blow up with ideas and organize them later.

Once I emptied my mind of all the ideas I felt were important to capture, there was space to breathe. To catch my breath. Reflect. Rest. Another step accomplished. Yay me. A+.

Feeling much freer for tomorrow and opportunity. For steps. For breathing. For reflecting & relaxing. And focusing my time, attention & energy into another A+ story.

And now some scoop.

If you’re not familiar with the A+ story, you can read up on it here. It’s the place we begin on your web presencing journey. You telling your web presencing A+ story.

And it’s the place I begin in the Workbook Companion for Web Presence Essentials, coming out this Spring. In accordance with the best planetary alignments, naturally.

The workbook is my personal process, of working with and using great teachers—wisdom from their own bodies of work—filled with worksheets & fill-in-the-blank questionnaires; everything that’s helped me create my own soulful message. With no copywriter (don’t shoot copywriters… i love you & your magic ;).

It’s also the process for using The Six Hidden Layers of Your Content. Which is the real gem inside Web Presence Essentials. And it’s the same process I use one-on-one, when you decide you’d like to co-create your uniquely you web presence with me.

So there it is.

Another step I took to get to writing it. Hopefully you are thinking about your own next step.

If you want to know when the companion-y workbook comes out, get on my list babes. And if you haven’t yet peeked in on the book, you can do so risk-free. Check out Chapter 1, Success Factors of Entrepreneurial Leadership where I talk more about compassion & A+’s.

xo,
yes, this is my real-deal signature

Natural Alignment: A Guest Post by Lisa Capehart

One of my favorite people on the planet… she’s been on my journey with me for almost two years now (I think). She is my partner in wellness. With Lisa, I am free to fall outta my wellness saddle without shame or hesitation even. It’s a very compassionate place to be with your body image stuff.

I’d say my real wellness journey began after meeting her. It’s been a real journey up till now, in and out of the saddle so many times over my life. My lovely Body endures. Stands with me. She feels no shame. She radiates magnificent beauty and health all the time. Under sometimes brutal conditions, she remains true to me.

That is what’s different about my wellness journey. I see myself differently. I am processing less and less through my fear driven filters. And I’m seeing my own beauty, strength and power in more real ways.

I’m so pleased to share my friend and fellow companion on the path who dedicates her life to wellness. Yours and mine. Please meet Ms. Lisa Capehart. xomm.

Nature, Rhythm & Alignment

So, here we are, about six weeks into the New Year, and you’ve already fallen off the New Year’s resolution wagon. Or, heaven forbid, you never even made a New Year’s resolution! Either way, you’re beating yourself up about it. You wanted to change something about yourself you didn’t like and now you’ve screwed it all up. You weren’t perfect, so you chucked it all!

I’m getting ready to make you feel much better about all this…really, I am.

I’ve come to think of change, or evolving, less as fixing what we deem as wrong and and more about embracing what feels right for you and making more of that happen. So give yourself a break, because it’s all peachy at any given moment, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now. It’s all about an ongoing process, so I’m suggesting you may need more time to figure out what you want to do for yourself instead of what you think you should do or have to do. Hence, the idea of dormancy. In the winter, at least in my neck of the woods, the trees are bare, the fields are brown and all is right with the world. And, when the time is perfect, new growth will emerge.

The value of dormancy struck me only after moving to rural Kentucky. I had never liked winter, but here I came to appreciate not only winter, but the beauty that each season has to offer instead of focusing on the aspects of each season that I had considered undesirable. I can see the rhythm of nature’s wisdom in the fields of crops and understand the different stages of the growing cycle. The field that has been dormant all winter is rich with compost and nourishment for the new crops – just the fact that it has lain undisturbed has made it richer and more able to support the new plantings. Once the seeds are planted, they are nurtured with sun and rain and loving care. Sometimes, there are challenges – drought or too much rain or a late frost or extreme heat – that’s nature for ya! In good time, the crops will be ripe and the goodness of all that care can be harvested and enjoyed.

We are part of that cycle of nature, too. It’s interesting that we pick these arbitrary “special days” to begin afresh – January 1 being a popular choice. But, why not the first day of Spring or the Jewish New Year, which is in the fall, or my very favorite day, March 4th?

Or, how about when you’re ready?

Just like in nature, the seed begins to sprout when the conditions are most supportive for it. Allow yourself the freedom and compassion to do the same – to rest, to lie fallow, to ponder what’s really important to you -and trust that you will know when it’s time to plant the seeds in that field that is you.

You can find Lisa on Facebook or at LisaCapehart.com.

Reverberations, part 2

December 15 – 5 Minutes

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)

December 14 – Appreciate

What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)

Myself. And I don’t tell myself that enough, I think. But this year, I came around for me and showed up for me, more than ever before. In the beautiful moments, sure! And in the difficult breakdown moments, I stayed true to me, more often. Being able to see, that I didn’t exchange my own thoughts and feelings in for someone else’s idea of what was best for me, was really big.  There is nothing that strengthens me more than the practice of acknowledging and appreciating my self. In 2011, I’m taking this one to the bank!

December 13 – Action

When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)

To talk into this video camera, that’s been set-up in my office for three months, and pretend it’s you.

December 12 – Body Integration

This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)

Cohesive me. Hmmm. Moments where I’m not aware of mind & body would be when I’m doing Remembrance (a sufi practice introduced to me by Mark Silver) or when I’m doing my own personal practice of remembering who I really am… that is, reminding myself how Love or God or Source sees me (or another or a specific situation). In 2011, cohesive me sees more often, the real you & the real me.

December 11 – 11 Things

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

  1. For my complaining friends, I will change the subject. A lot.
  2. For my inner critic, I will initiate project self-adoration, 40 days of practicing radical self love.
  3. For my endless writing distractions, I will close Twitter, Facebook and Gmail tabs. (This tip is from Danielle LaPorte’s post “what’s on your stop doing list?“)
  4. For my doubt, I will make more wishes, and tell myself a new version of the story more often.
  5. For my out-of-aligned body that’s slowly coming into alignment, I’ll drink lots more water. Fresh, clean, pure. Water.
  6. For my stiff and sore lower back, I’ll get back to pilates and strengthening my core.
  7. For my misunderstandings, I’ll speak my truth more often even if it means you still won’t understand me.
  8. For my worry, I’ll remember faith is where I put my attention and choose to look for and at the things I love, appreciate and adore instead.
  9. For my heartbreaks, I’ll celebrate (and remind myself) I chose to let love in and that I still can and do, starting with myself.
  10. For my failures, I’ll keep showing up.
  11. For my attachment, I’ll trust more, that I have everything I need, right now. And that this is usually, always, the case.

December 10 – Wisdom

What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

Wisest decision was hiring Charlie Gilkey. It played out in triple digits. As-in, biz revenue growth.

December 9 – Party

What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)

Cupcakes in Bel Air, of course!

Reverb10.com. An annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb10, you can do both!

Leveraging Joy

I got some feedback from clients, when I shared out loud about the fear and anxiety I have around managing my business growth and expansion. Specifically, having more clients than I think I have the time and energy to support.

Being too full or too busy to serve each of you well. Being concerned for my own well being. Wanting to get clear on what makes me really happy with what I’m doing, so I can focus on doing more of that. And asking for/getting support with the other pieces.

I said my fear and then a few of you said your own.

A long time client asked me if I could see myself continuing to support her ongoing web walk. And expressed her own fear and disappointment at having to “begin again” with someone new (say if I decided to outsource the VA part of my biz).

My inner being (aka, the Jedi) responded with “life is full of begin-again’s,” it’s the one thing for sure we can count on.

And it’s better that we learn to embrace them and welcome them. My resistance or resistant thinking about begin-again’s is what’s painful for me. I’m suffering now, for something that isn’t even happening.

Another client bravely admitted, saying out loud during a design session, that she was hiding behind the pictures. Or broader, hiding her web presence message behind concerns and specifics of her look and feel. That somehow, focusing on which photo or using many photos, was a cover up! That the true essence of who she is would not be in a picture. It would be in the risk of showing up everyday. Writing a post. Creating something new for her business. Working with her clients.

I held my hand up in solidarity with her.

It’s been a few weeks since I arrived at “my practice feels full.” A good problem to have.

And since I’ve been receiving your generous (and sometimes brave) feedback, I wanted to share with you what’s unfolded; my new reality. Since the here-and-now is so fleeting anyway. A jumping-off point. Toward another begin-again.

And I really believe in sharing our processes, together. The expansive parts of it as well as the challenging. I find greater self-acceptance and self-approval when I read about how others are challenged and what they did to rise above, or sit still as it may be, when arrows are being flung.

In my experience of thinking I may not have enough time and energy, before it’s even happened, I choose to suffer for a future event now. I’ve figured out that the only way through a hard time is with gentleness as my companion. Finding a path of least resistance means following easy. When I do, I find access to self-compassion and lovingly return to the present moment.

Returning to the present moment is choosing alignment.

And from the present moment, where there is enough time, and so much to be grateful for… a six-week-old stray kitten that is re-orienting itself to a human home, beautiful sunrises through my office window each morning as I sit down to do my thang… MY thang. Not someone else’s. Joy.

And with joy, an incredible leverage in everything I choose to do.

A mysterious time warp where there is an expansion or lengthening of time and an increased energy within myself to participate. Where I do more with less. I cover much more territory. It’s working smarter, not harder.

More remarkable, is that by choosing alignment first, more things on my plate cooperate with my joy. My clients show up easy, relaxed, and open to the process. I find time, yes, time is expanded and created for me so I can work on the launch of my next creative project (the video library) or write my heart out in a blog post.

Out of alignment is worried for what’s next. Alignment is everything is right on track and unfolding perfectly.

It’s making peace with what-is, so I can shift into anticipation for what’s to come. A shift out of fear and into freedom.

Wanna Coach For Free?

Update: (May 1, 2010) I may be offering another free coaching opportunity as soon as June 1st. You can subscribe to stay tuned. 🙂


Wanted: 4 New Clients For 30 Days of FREE Coaching

So Charlie has been talking some super great points on pricing. I’ll probably end up re-reading all his pricing posts, hoping a little more sticks the second time through!

I’m not sure how this idea will line up with his ideas about pricing. The giving-it-away-for-free part. And the whole pricing placebo thing.

A sweet spot of perception we’re aiming for that helps the buyer feel like they got a good deal and also impact their pocketbook in a way that inspires them to decide to do it.

Whatever it is. Read the ebook, use the planners, or in this case, get access to coaching.

So if I give it away for free, does it diminish the value? I’m not sure. But I’ve decided I want to keep trying new stuff. All the time. Stretch and learn.

And work on visualizing more and being mindful of whether I’m trying, pushing or affecting effort in my actions less.

Try & hard became deal breakers when I decided how good easy can be.

Here’s what I got.

Free coaching for 30 days. Or four free coaching sessions. For four perfect customers.

It’s an opportunity to get some feedback, perception tweaks and strategies for everyday challenges or maybe even address something bigger. That you’re ready to face. In a fearless new way.

And the deal is, because the coaching is free, I’m gonna qualify you. Which means there’s an application (more on that later).

This coaching is free and mine to give away so I’m deciding to pick the kinds of people I think I’d have the most fun with and would get the most benefit from, in both directions 🙂

It’s like a vetting process. Which makes me think of politicians. Running for governor. I guess in a way I’m signing up to help you with your campaign strategy. Ha!

So I’m being strategic about who I’m saying Yes to.

These are just a few of the qualities that the You’s-that-say-yes-to-this-offer will have:

  • Willing to be coached. I’m not a built in friend. Or therapist. I’m a coach. I want to coach. If you’d like a coach and a strategist for helping you get jedi on some stuff (whatever your stuff is), we’ll make a great team.
  • Ready to get down and get dirty. It’s serious business. Looking into the closet and pulling our shizzle out. Ack! Seriously? In every way. With dignity, humor and loads of compassion.
  • Committed to showing up. And scheduling four consecutive weekly appointments. Occurring on the same day & time (again going for easy here).

The offer of free coaching for one month begins to expire the moment you say yes to it. I know. And I need some boundaries on this thing. To keep me sane while I do the coaching!

There will be a no-charge telephone “interview” for the job. Both of us having a ‘Do we fit?’ kinda conversation. And at the end of the job interview chat, if we hire each other, you’ll book your next session right then and there. If we didn’t get the job, well we’ll figure that out too. Mostly just saying our thank you’s and good luck’s!

Where’s the hook?

Instead of making you wonder where and when it’s coming, I’ll just tell you there isn’t one.

At the end of four weeks, you decide whether or not you wish to continue. If you decide to continue, you begin paying me at my current coaching rate of $60 bucks a session. My coaching rate is going up June 1st. Right now, it’s still a buck a minute for kick ass fear jedi training.

But you get to decide.

And you can decide later even. And I’ll be straight up and say I hope you’ll be throwing money at me and eager to continue our coaching relationship. I won’t hide that. Not gonna do it. That’s what I wish! I want to coach.

But you can also decide to take the free four week jedi training you’ve already received and say “hasta la vista baby.” Not in a totally final way. It could be an open-ended, “I’ll be bock!” kinda way too.

The reason why this would be ok for me is because I have a very strong hunch you’ll at least be willing to tell other people about it. But if you can’t afford to continue or “got just what you needed,” really the easiest and most effortless thing you could do for me is spread the word.

Or not, in the case of “end of story.”

How to say yes to free coaching.

Ok, this is the part where I’m not exactly sure how to do it (can you believe I offer business strategy and consulting services?)…

Seriously. Should it be a mailing list where I pick a name? I mean, isn’t it all about the mailing lists?! Sigh.

Jedi: What would be easy for you?

Me: Ahhhh. Hmmm. Well, yeah. Let’s see. Easy. Easy would be… well I’ve already got the magic number. The magic number is four. Four new clients. This month. Wow, feels kinda nervy too.

Jedi: A sure sign to do it.

Me: Right.

Jedi: How would you like these four people to say yes to you?

Me: Wouldn’t it be nice if a few of them DM’d on Twitter? And wouldn’t it be nice if oh oh oh, I got it… the four slots went super duper fast and a few other people wanted a slot but they were taken so they signed up for a list? To be on the waiting list! Which became the  “new free coaching slot available” list? Wouldn’t that be cool?

Jedi: Good. What else?

Me: I guess they can send me an email. An email that said something about the free month of coaching offer. So that would basically make it first come first serve. Basically. Right?

Jedi: Sounds good to me. Speaking of emailing you, tell them about the application.

Me: Yeah. But first can I explain the “why the application” part?

Jedi: You can do whatever you want. This is your thang.

Me: Ok. I just don’t have a better idea for how to begin. And I don’t want to say something like, “Ready? Set? Go!” on some day & time (ugh & eww) and have you guys raise your hand or whatever.

Plus, I’ve got a few questions for you. That if you answer them ahead of time, they’ll help us hit the ground running when we chat. To get you thinkin’ and help you also know, whether this is a good fit.

I want to be able to give everyone a shot at this, but especially my blog subscribers. Those of you who might be on the edge or have followed me for a while or whatever. And it just seems smart to talk about it for a few days before I pull the trigger. Ya know, get my social media tooting on?

So the “accepting applications” period begins immediately and ends April 30th. I want to be vetted and coaching my butt off by May 15th. I’ll take the first 10 applications and pick the four best “fits” for interview chats. Word!

Jedi: Is this gonna be your new deal? Will you be offering free coaching every month?

Me: I have no clue! Ha! At some point near end of May, I’ll evaluate my work load, whether four is the best number, what to do with the waiting list/other vetted peeps and re-announce for June, if I decide to offer it again.

Not a threat, just all the truth I know at this moment.

Jedi: Excellent! That’s a hell YAY to be certain.

Me: Ok, what’s next?

Jedi: Press publish. Oh and here’s the application

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.

Cruisin’ To Divine Insight

I’m back from a long 8-day cruise of the Mexican Riviera. Second cruise of my life. Probably not the last even though my girlfriend, Andrea, and I have both reaffirmed some travel preferences (we like to stay longer at a destination to experience it more and cruising is really not about that so much).

It’s more-or-less day two back at the proverbial grind. And what I’ve noticed is NOW is the time when clarity comes… not during the vacation. Unless of course, you intend to take a vacation like that… with solitude and quiet reflection. Which may not guarantee you gain desired clarity, but hey, we do still intend to find it.

This wasn’t that kind of vacation.

Three Divine Insights

Now that I’m back, and actually deciding on things I’d like to do. And what’s important to continue taking action on… yati yati yah (I am not minimizing; life is IN the yati!)

First,

Live Healthfully. Which means getting my health & wellness thang in gear. It has slipped. A lot. Which is OK. Well used to be. I’ve been saying to myself, “Mynde, you’ve been in a huge die zone for the last 3-4 years.” But now it’s starting to sound a little bit like an excuse.

I’m grateful for all the support and opportunities to begin again. All around me. Seriously. It’s everywhere. And I’m so glad I see that.

Me: Today, am I willing to participate in my wellbeing & healthfulness?

Me: OK

Me: In what way would you like to participate?

Me: I’d like to drink more water/tea. I’d like to eat proportionate, well balanced meals. I’d like to take vitamins & supplements. I’d like to take a walk. I’d like to go to the gym. I’d like to be strong, fit & healthy today.

Next,

Writing is epic shit for me. Charlie Gilkey time. Yeah, his appearance is pretty regular here, on msquared. Well and on Twitter (@CharlieGilkey), and in my head in tiny bits and pieces of conversations & concepts. Charlie talks about doing “epic shit” and I’m sure he’s mentioned where he first grabbed the idea but I don’t remember that part of it. I only remember “epic shit” and contemplating that.

I had no answer for awhile, which was OK. I’m happy to say that I noticed a difference in how I treated myself while in the uncertainty of not knowing what my “epic shit” might be. I did a really good job at being gentle and relaxing, instead of giving myself epic knockouts (which I am highly trained at).

Yesterday, Charlie’s vlog mentioned it again. Epic shit. And I realized that for NOW (thank you Steve Hagen for your book on Buddhism which I read on the cruise), my epic shit is writing.

Writing in any way where I’m not hiding behind something else. A corporate product, or set of processes & diagrams and/or especially my own perceived notions. The mantle of relationship… as in businesses, with trees. Or I guess even personal, romantical ones also.

Writing is a way of stepping out. Using my voice. Being who I am. It’s practice. Because it’s not always easy and I don’t always want to do it. And at other times, I realize I’m healthier when I do, like eating well and exercising regularly.

So writing, and being me (with my grammatical errors and run on sentences, and extra 20 pounds or whatever) is my epic shit. For now.

Finally,

Self-compassion is the key to everything. While cruising, I read two books. However, here in this post, I’m only going to talk about one. The one I’ve already mentioned called Buddhism, Plain & Simple by Steve Hagen.

And I read this book and did some noticing. Because Buddhism is about awareness and noticing and stuff like that.

And what I noticed the most was my own judgment. How it flies up in a nano-second. I would look out my eyes and see something and instantly have a thought of judgment about it.

I mostly noticed how my judgment leaned into negativity. And it sucked. And then I noticed how much I wanted that to be different. To be more neutral. To have the ability to suspend my judgment for just a nano-second longer. Get better at that. Practicing over and over until I was maintaining a bigger gap of innocence with others (and myself) before jumping into judgment. Innocence, for me, is that place where we have not assigned labels like good/bad, black/white, male/female, right/wrong.

And not necessarily because of the book I read, but probably because I was in a Buddha-state-of-mind I recalled a quote “All compassion begins with self-compassion” or something like that.

And anchored again that any kind of change starts with self-compassion. And my judgment is a sore spot that I can heal with self-compassion.

The decision to see my own judgment, began with self-compassion. Getting back into my health & wellness routine will begin with mounds and mounds of it. And the new story I’d like to tell about writing is, that each time I begin, I sit down with self-compassion first and continue all the way to the publish-button finish line.

That’s what I’ve got; two days post-8-day-cruise vacation. In case you were wondering. 😉