The Cool Cats Club

This post is about coolness. If you got it. Why you want it. And cats.

cool cats 1994 by lizadreams

It was Tuesday morning. I had packed up my things for a very needed work/life balance activity known as vacation. At the last second, I headed back up to my office and dug out my printed copy of Danielle LaPorte’s The Spark Kit (formerly The Fire Starter Sessions).

My hunch was that for some of the 12 hours (one-way) of commuting California’s I-5, I’d have some time to read. To finish it. Since I never had. Even though the portion I had read thoroughly rocked the me that’s learning to love and adore her self more, everyday.

Cracking it open one evening, I started over, from the beginning. Pouring over some already-read material, some not, and smiling because its content underlined some of the most important lessons I’ve learned this year.

About the transformative power of self-acceptance. And also the mystery of finding healing and wholeness through pain and discomfort.

One of my biggest aha’s this year, is recognizing the tendency in relationship to inflame sore spots we’ve carried forward from early childhood.

Each of us has a few sore spots. I know I do. Each of them always dot-lines back to not enough. And so many things seem to trigger it when I’m relating with another. Often times, I’m dancing to avoid it. Dodging and shrinking, afraid to hear about your disappointment in me or my performance. Spouses, lovers and friends, a boss or parent, all hold a key I’ve freely given to them.

For me this year, it’s been my client relationships mirroring back to me the opportunity to heal those sore spots and accept myself.

I’ve had several clients expect so much from me… for practically nothing (free or very little compensation). Not really their fault no matter how much my ego would love to pin that tail on that donkey. Instead, they mirrored exactly what I’ve believed about myself for a very long time. That I needed to prove my value first. I wasn’t enough for them, right here, right now.

Believing I’m an outsider, I waited to be let in. Willing to do almost anything to get in. Constantly needing to make the deal sweeter. Add this. Do that. Drop everything, for them. Am I in yet? How about now?

Until it just all broke down. Starting with me.

Breakdowns & breakthroughs.

I’m still breaking through. Picking up the pieces of me. Strewn all over this crazy world wide web. Trying to find my place in the popularity contest (Danielle sums up social media as a popularity contest… fits doesn’t it?) that reminds me of high school days. When I wanted so badly to belong to the “right” crowd. Have lots of friends. Get invited to the cool places with the cool people.

Today it’s about retweets, guest posts, who’s going to what event and how to get noticed.

Even now, the tears rise up in me as I consider the deep self-betrayal in this notion of not belonging. Of not being cool enough. Smart enough. Pretty enough. Skinny enough. Athletic enough. Talented enough. Bright enough… to be been seen and have my worth acknowledged.

I know you’ve been there. I know you’ve belonged to the uncool club. At least once. Maybe you’re still there…

If you are, I want to tell you what I would have done, if I knew then, what I know today, about getting in and the value of cool.

Defining cool.

Who am I? If I see myself on the outside, I’m just another follower of the cool cats club. Distracted from my own passion and certainly not following my North Star.

Why do I follow someone? Why do I retweet another? Or share someone’s Facebook fan page?

It takes time to really get to know someone. The access we give people to who we are on social media circuits is selective. And if it’s important for a cool cat to remain in the club, they are going to be very selective about what they are willing to show you.

Mostly because they know you and other cool cats are already watching and they wouldn’t want their membership privileges revoked. Because being considered cool matters to them.

I’m asking myself these days if being a part of the cool cats club has any real value. I’ve learned first hand this year that if the rest of the club isn’t watching (can’t see or hear), some cool cats are really very unkind and totally inconsistent with the actual message they preach.

Again, it’s all about selective access. Just think about how many times you think about what you are going to tweet next. How you are going say it, how it will be construed. How many times you backspace and rewrite it.

If I get into the cool cats club because of my ability to stand on my head just the way a cool cat wants me to, how sustainable is that? Sure there are short-term benefits of getting in, but the question remains for me as to whether I want to belong to that kinda club to begin with. And, whether or not it amplifies my own brilliance.

So how do I know if a cool cat really is cool? Here’s a couple of things that have helped me understand if their brand of cool strengthens me or is merely part of the opportunist crowd of posers pretending to be cool.

  1. You have to have some kind of personal contact with a cool cat to determine if they are really cool or not. What happens when a cool cat’s fur gets soaked? It’s not how we show up with each other when everyone is watching that matters. It’s how we show up with each other when no one is. I know you’ve heard that one before. I’m not trying to be original here. What I wanna know is if you carry this truth forward into action. For a real cool cat, when there’s a disagreement, it matters to them how they show up. Pretending-to-be cool cats burn the house down. And seem to take pleasure in making sure it happens while you are standing in it. I’ve been set on fire numerous times this year. By cool cats and not so cool cats. The bottom line for setting me ablaze, I wouldn’t stand on my head for them. They resented it. Because their head is so bruised and calloused from doing it themselves.
  2. Consistency reveals all. Over time, you can see how a cool cat behaves. Are they consistently flaky or consistently kind & generous? When you finally decide to accept their product offering or service and engage with them, is that experience consistent with who they are socially online? In other words, inconsistency is also an indication that a cool cat is part of the club for the sake of being considered cool, not because they really are cool. What we are, what we believe in, proves itself over time. It’s why when anyone calls you a fake, you can just laugh because over time, what’s real about you will and does show up. Cool or uncool. I’ve had cool cats follow me and, in a tiff, unfollow me only to turn around and follow me back again, once they believe their personal type of persuasion and influence is once again effective with me. Red flag: a cool cat raved about you or some other cool cat publicly and now, nothing. They no longer follow you or other said cool cat. That’s just plain inconsistency. What is that cool cat really after anyway? The ego cannot stand to not have the light shining down on it. The soul is at peace no matter how dark the room becomes.
  3. Shame, blame, criticism, threats, power trips… not a cool cat. Anyone who would say to you that you are uncool and list their reasons for it can’t possibly be living from an acceptance of their own uncool. Or any cool cat that, from behind closed doors, constantly criticizes other cool cats… is using the fear of not belonging to control and manipulate you. Cool cats freely give acknowledgment of another’s brilliance. So if you got your eye on a cool cat and there is no other thing coming outta their social media stream except “look at my own brilliance”… yeah, there’s another hint for ya. Cool or uncool, secure with who you are radiates; insecure insists to the world “see me, see me!”

What is the object of the game of social media then?

I’m still figuring that out. I have already figured out that it’s NOT “those who die with the most followers/subscribers/seats at the head event table next to a big shiney one” wins. At least not for me.

My win at social media is about my willingness to bring me to the game. Cool or uncool. It’s my authenticity. It’s my willingness to be just fine with being a member of the uncool cats club. It’s my willingness to speak my truth and risk getting torched. For me, I win when when my focus remains on me and my goals, my throughput, my passion. The more I watch what the cool cats are saying and doing, the less in touch with me I become.

Really, the seeking of any kind of acknowledgment, belonging to the cool crowd, is my own inner being calling to me. Promising me, that if I’m willing to give up the need to be seen as or by a cool cat, the return will be longer lasting in the end. Investment in my membership to the uncool club equals investment in my dreams, in my unique ability to say-it-the-way-I-see-it, and the return from that can never be taken away from me.

All my followers can disappear (or never appear by the thousands). My subscribers, or number of visits to my blog can plummet (or never be realized in the form of a post going ‘viral’). I may never be invited to sit at the head event table next to a big shiny one. And I won’t need any of that to know who I am.

In the end, the coolest cats to me, are the ones that aren’t afraid to show me their uncool. To live from it. Own it. To say out loud to others, “Yeah, that was me too. I had a beginning once. There were/are people who offered me a hand up. And oh yeah, I’ve sacrificed my own dignity to learn the lesson of who and what honors me most. I totally know what it’s like to be at a conference or workshop and feel like an outsider. In fact, I don’t know another cool cat who hasn’t felt that way… in the beginning and truthfully, for the duration of the game.” It’s called being human folks!

Honest, real humility. A real deal cool cat for sure!

So to all the uncool cats, it’s time to rock. Uncool is authentic and beautiful. It’s real. It’s just you being you, without the need to be seen.

You’ve arrived. You’re in. You belong. It’s your turn. Your time.

There is nothing the cool cats have that you don’t already have, right now. The question that remains is if you’ll allow yourself to be distracted from your own North Star because you are constantly watching what the cool cats are doing, saying or what conference they’re attending next.

I think it’s time that uncool became the new cool, don’t you? Only you can be in charge of that. By being willing to be uncool and mean it.

P.S. I write to be me, to heal and discover who I am. Some say it’s uncool to call it out. There are no names, so it’s not calling anyone out (to me). Except for Danielle’s. Whom I do NOT know personally, but I AM positive none-the-less, could give a flying rip what me or anyone thinks about her. Which is exactly what makes her a cool cat in my book. So, if you read this post and think this is about you, I just want to remind you that it’s not. Most of the time, it’s your sore spot that wants you to believe that. And, it’s a big indication that you’ve been sucked into it… the whole “watching what other’s do, think & say” instead of following your own North Star. So relax. It’s not about you. Even though your ego may have you convinced otherwise. The only reason I even care to write this P.S. to you, is because I care about you getting caught in this mess of following instead of focusing on being you and meaning it. Cool or uncool. And yes, my heart still hurts. This lil meow is still licking her wounds. And I’m committed to doing that, feeling the hurt and saying-it-out-loud, for as long as it takes to heal and discover my own wholeness in this discomfort. Cool or uncool.
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Today, Everybody Gets an ‘A’

I was talking with a client yesterday. She was freaking out. Which happens during the webification process. Six Ways To Staying Optimystical…” was born in a client freak out moment. Danielle LaPorte may have mid-wived it, but the essence of it was drawn from past experience and many moments of messiness.

During moments like the one my client was having and really throughout the entire webification process, I find myself referring all of us back for a review often. The rules for optimystical web presencing can be applied generously throughout your webification adventure and really to everything else in your life and biz.

The Very Serious Business of Web Presencing

And it is serious. Tending to become more serious as we go. Even though generally speaking, my client & I are both pretty focused on a similar outcome; co-creating a unique and fully custom web presence that oozes the essence of her.

For me, this is my business. My solo-preneur business. Buck stops with me, so it’s very personal. And I take it seriously.

For you, my client, it’s serious. It requires an investment of time & resources, plus some blood, sweat and tears. Because this is your business. Your shot at entrepreneurship. And you are pretty flippin’ serious too.

So it starts serious. Gets more serious because my client, You, start figuring out that putting You out there requires some serious courage. I mean, anyone can put up a website or blog. But you are more serious (you’ve hired me & probably others!) And to put yourself out there the right way, the way that will make you money and serve your perfect people with your unique skills, gifts and talent packaged into perfect offers is very serious business!

So where do we go from “This is so serious, I gotta get this right! Jeez, I look around and see how everyone else is doing it so much more right than I am right now!!! Oh shit, is what I’m offering even for real?! I’m not even sure what that is anymore, what the hell am I offering here?!!”

Good question. And the energy or feeling behind those words are even more critical to understand. Because what you feel is what you get. It’s a “your-wish-is-my-command” kinda Universe afterall.

Overwhelmed. In a fit. Terribly confused. Questioning all of it… with her launch date looming down upon her.

What do you think the chances are of her finding a solution or some clarity here, while she’s feeling this way?

So I pulled her out of the details of her muck. I reminded her about Optimystical Rule #5 (actually, all of the rules intersect this story). I wanna know what she’s most committed to, with her web presence?

And I introduce her to Benjamin Zander. She doesn’t know him. I explain that he’s a conductor. And professor or something. And brilliant.

And that at the beginning of each class term, his students are given the assignment of telling the story where they’ve received an ‘A’ in Zander’s class.

The students write up their stories, including things like how they are feeling, what is next for them, what they are most grateful for learning/discovering, what they learned about themselves.

They return to class and turn in their completed first assignments and then Zander says to them, “Great. Good Job…

And I only take ‘A’ students.”

I told her, “I want to know what your ‘A’ story looks like. What it looks like for her to receive an ‘A’ at web presencing. And at expanding her biz, herself too (because it’s all connected). At her willingness to ask herself the good questions, to get support for the freak-out moments, to give herself the space she needed to be confused and overwhelmed.

And then bing! it was there. Relief. The tell-tale sign of right-trackedness. If there is a right (see rule #1).

What happens when you start giving A’s

“Relationships are transformed when you give an ‘A.’  When there’s a breakdown in relationship, you are not giving someone an ‘A.’” ~Benjamin Zander’s wife

In my client’s case, her relationship breakdown was with her own knowing, her inner guidance. And without her ‘A’ story, she was seeking clarity but looking at confusion. Wanting flow & ease while looking at overwhelm. What she was looking for was clearly not in the place where she was looking for it.

She had to get out of the problem to get into her solution. Telling a new ‘A’ story gives her access. Puts her in a new energetic “feeling” bubble. Her focus changes. And inspiration arrives in colorful shapes and sizes.

And at the very least, you’ve got an answer for rule #5’s question about knowing what you are most committed to. When the road gets rocky, you can find your way back to you, your own inner knowing. Reminding yourself you are committed to You. And you’ve got the ‘A’ story to back it up.

An important piece of bedrock in the serious business of web presencing.

Did I make you think?… Share your thoughts in a comment below.

  • Which people, circumstances, and relationships in your life could use an ‘A’ from you?
  • Any person or situation feel impossible to give an ‘A’to? What if you told a new story about that person/situation so they could receive an ‘A’ from you?
  • What other areas of life & biz might benefit from telling a new ‘A’ story?
  • Do you believe changing how you feel about a situation is enough to change the situation itself?

My Alive Moment

December 3, Moment

Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

The most interesting thought I contemplated on this day, was how I might embrace the moments of 2010 that were hard. Grief. Loss. Heartbreak. The ouches.

After scanning my year for some highlight-ey moments, not one of my memories said to me, “Me! Me! I’m the Moment!” So I decided to look at the hard. Because, I guess, I had a few of those this year. I know you did too.

This year, I learned, that in order to have peace, I get to make peace… with where I am, who I am. And that includes the hard. I decided to face, look at, be with it. Instead of… run away or escape into numbness and pushing away from painful feelings.

today, i considered how grief, sadness & overall shitty feelings have [helped] me feel alive & human this year #reverb10

A little friendliness, toward the hard and my alive moment.

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.

Jedi Moves: The Daily Grind

I think it’s easy to get lost in planning. In processes. In setting future-oriented goals to move toward.

It’s all good.

In a lot of ways, our structure gives us freedom. To flow with our creativity. To be more intentional with it.

And then a bad day hits. Knocking our processes and plans for the future out of kilter.

And you wonder where all your tools and resources went for weathering this, another stormy season.

I would say if the fear Jedi had a daily practice, like Qi Gong or something, it would be the act of making it her intention to approve of herself, constantly. In a mantra-like way.

There are many ways of wielding the saber of light in our lives and this practice of daily acknowledgment is just that, a life saver.

Inside each Jedi is a deep well. It accepts deposits from a very specific institution. Although you can put other people’s acceptance of you inside your well, this well can really only measure deposits from the Institute of You.

Every Jedi has a dark side. In it, a voice that says things like …

”What if you just made the biggest mistake in your life… like ever? NOW what will you do?” or

“Just what exactly do you think you are doing? No one really cares about that. It’s not important enough to matter to anyone else.” and

“What will so-and-so think? Omg, if XYZ found out then this would happen (fill in the blank). You had better not do that!”

The only thing that quiets the dark voice of fear is turning the Jedi’s focus to the light.

“I acknowledge myself for staying anchored in my own self while the storm is happening.”

“I acknowledge myself for deciding that I matter more than any current drama.”

“I acknowledge myself for showing up again today & being more me than ever before.”

It’s the only way to keep the edges sharp and clear. And keep the inside well of self-approval full of You.

A daily practice of “I approve of me” that tilts you ever so slightly in the direction of Love. Building reserves of confidence and self-esteem that keep helping you be free to be more you.

Law Of Attraction – Purely A Head Game?

From Heartbreak To Joy, In One Easy Step

Just by thinking it?

According to the Law of Attraction. If you think it, you can have it (or essentially create it).

And if you look no further at it, the Law of Attraction falls short. And can be misinterpreted as another “quick fix”… right?

We experience the challenges of life and our overall agenda is “Get me outta here, my discomfort, my heartbreak, my lack of any kind” and we begin hunting furiously for the neon green EXIT sign. It’s almost automatic in some cases.

But the Law of Attraction is really much more than just thinking. In fact, once you hear Esther Hicks talk about our Emotional Guidance System, you realize that the real invitation is to feel. And use your feelings as a guidance system, to navigate yourself toward what you are wanting.

According to Esther Hicks, we don’t go from heartbreak to joy in one step, we do it in 22.

The First & Only Step: Start Where You Are

In my post from the window ledge, just a few weeks ago, I talked about how one of the moments of shift came for me when I simply admitted where I was.

I wrote about it and as I did, I was admitting where I was to you and also to myself.

Admitting, for me, was saying this is where I am. Admitting was also acknowledging. And remembering again, the suffering I cause myself when I deny myself the space to feel; especially certain non-pretty or uncomfortable type feelings. Feelings we think are non-desirable.

By saying it out loud, I surrendered to what is… and let go. There was nothing else to do but acknowledge where I was at that moment. Once I arrived “in the moment”, it was natural for me to begin looking around at what already might be available to me. Even at 5-stories up. And my personal process for getting out of the window ledge began.

Great, so where’s the Law of Attraction in that? Well Esther Hicks talks about our feelings as our emotional guidance system. It’s a built-in dynamic and part of being human. It’s an indicator. And it basically points at what I’m thinking about. It’s an indication of where my attention or focus is.

The Emotional Scale has 22 different emotional places of “being human.” At the bottom of the scale is fear/grief/depression/despair. Or an overall sense of powerlessness. #PowerFail

And the top of the scale is joy/knowledge/empowerment/freedom/love/appreciation.

But I don’t get off the window ledge by putting my thoughts on Joy. That actually just increases the resistance within me. It’s a form of denial of my feelings of powerlessness to expect myself to jump into Joy. And forcing myself to Joy too soon is basically turning away from what’s wrong.

Turning away may make sense & might even provide relief momentarily. But it’s an unsatisfying, temporary relief that doesn’t really stick.

For change… or for resistance to dissolve, I have found that I must turn into it and into myself. Which means often times looking squarely at what the discomfort is and giving it room to just be in me. A part of my experience.

Resistance is hard. So I use gentleness with it. Which allows me to ease into my next logical step (emotion) up from powerlessness. It’s about actually giving myself more room to feel what I’m feeling. Feel it fully. Complete the experience.

If I turn away in an effort to avoid, it just keeps taking up vital life energy force, becoming emotional baggage.

So feel it fully and then look at leaning gently from powerlessness into what feels a little bit better. And this is where thinking is harnessed.

And we simply just face in the direction we want to go.

So what’s a little bit better than powerlessness? Unworthy/insecurity/guilt. Some place in there.

We sit here for a moment, feel it fully and begin to realize, this doesn’t quite fit anymore. You’ve just moved up the emotional scale.

And a little bit better than feeling unworthy, insecure or guilty is…? Jealousy.

And after that. Hatred/Rage.

You see? There is a place for even the not-so-pretty feelings. It’s not all pretty thinking to create a better life. It’s actually more about feeling and using your feelings as a barometer to indicate to yourself, what your current focus is.

So what would feel better here? Which direction is relief?

Drop the oars. Let the existing motion of the current take you downstream… do what feels natural. Feel your feelings but just generally point in the direction of Joy as you do.

Before You Do Anything, Feel Your Way There First

One of our problems is that we are a such a ‘do’ society. We equate doing with, well, relief I think. “If I just knew what to do!” we moan to a consoling friend. We think knowing the answer and doing something will solve our discomfort and put us in a place of ease.

According to Law Of Attraction, this concept is completely backwards, unless of course you like doing it the hard way, with tons more effort.

The idea of doing less (or doing/being more expansive with the smaller segments of time) is to feel yourself into an outcome first. Using your mind to visualize, in a gentle and easy way about how it would feel if you had what you wanted. We are invited to feel into our happiness. And, after feeling into what’s good (gratitude), take action or the next ‘logical’ step.

So think your way to a million bucks becomes feel your way.

If you already had a million bucks, how would you feel? What would you do differently if money wasn’t a concern in your life? How would that change how you show up in your world? How would that change how you show up in your today?

In this present moment?

Feel that? Now go do.

There is a big difference between telling stories from a purely mental perspective and telling stories to help yourself get into a feeling place that let’s us believe life is for us. To make the conscious choice to see what is good and what is already available.

When I am in that “happy” place, I find an expansive endless supply of passion & creativity. And often, the next logical step for a current situation or challenge (like getting down from window ledges or smoothing out a misunderstanding).

This is what’s referred to as getting into the vortex. A visualized place where I am at 100% knowing and connection with my source… whole. All the time. (I mean, really I am connected at all times. I believe I am. I’m just remembering to remember that.) When I do it, I also see everyone and everything else as whole too. That’s what happens in the vortex.

The Law of Attraction for me is about heart, not head. It isn’t purely a function of thinking and receiving.

Receiving, to me, is an act of the heart. The voice of my heart is never rushing or demanding and pushy with me. It’s gives me room to start where I am. It makes space for what is, with loads of self-approval and self-acceptance.

For many of us on a spiritual path, who have investigated philosophies or religious practices and have picked up tools & principles for effective living, we get that simply thinking your way out of suck doesn’t make it happen.

It’s a process. It’s about taking personal responsibility for how you feel. And deciding nothing is more important than feeling good; which sometimes looks like upping the self-care ante considerably (I got out of the window ledge by taking a walk). Only you know what you need to feel better.

And once I can own that my feelings tell me what I am focused on, I can direct my attention and focus onto the things that help me feel expanded. Supported. Celebrated &  loved. My attention is energy. When it’s focused & infused with intention, it becomes a point of creativity. A personal point of creative self expression.

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.