Monthly Archives: August 2014

Death and Freedom

What is it about death that makes me ache to let go of my limitations? Maya Angelou, Robin Williams, and now an Uncle are gone. Their light snuffed out forever. I look at the projected time I have left and know that I still have my training wheels on. Why? Why have I been so afraid to assume my own talents and passions? The answer is simple. They don’t look like societies version of life.  How many of you hate the idea of nine-to-five work? Me, too.  I can do it. At least, I have in the past. With fourteen years of military service under my belt, I’ve done more than the nine-to-five. It doesn’t fulfill me. Working for someone else’s dream makes me feel like a robot, and that is merely existing to me.

How can I teach my daughters to get to know themselves and to step into their dreams; how can I ask my friends what their passions are and how they move forward on their passions, yet not do the same for myself? I’d be a very hypocritical leader and teacher if I didn’t embody my own advice. I’ve had opportunities coming in small waves for over a year now, and I’d been to insecure to take some risks and step into my dreams. No longer. Life doesn’t have to be a struggle. It can be fulfilling, even if it doesn’t look like what everyone else is doing.

freed

 

I know that I’m not the only one with my interests, though it seems we are a dying breed. Maybe that is why these passions burn so brightly in me, to bring them back into the light. Either way, there is no known second lease on life. Being here is a one-way ticket. Looking hard at this, I feel compelled to live as fully as I can, deeply, with as much love and excitement as possible. Bring on the adventure. Bring on the color. I want to be on the roller-coaster of hills and valleys with my hands held high and not clenched in my lap.  Life is too short to live it less than fulfilled.

Is there someone you always want to get to know better, but are too nervous to talk to? Do have a passion you hide from your friends and family?  Are your friends telling you what a great story teller/artist/singer/insert- your- thing-here you are?  Why not take some baby steps toward making those passions a reality? Why not allow yourself to shine in the way only you can? Join me as I step into myself, and into freedom. It is time to take the training wheels off and ride like the wind.

Follow Through

Several recent flirting expeditions brought to my attention how I see follow through in regards to relationships. Follow through? What is that? It looks like many things. Follow through is completing projects, calling when you say you will, and showing up when you say you’ll be somewhere. We all know that things happen. Sometimes something comes up, social anxiety hits, you get sick, etc. Part of follow through is making sure your excuses are not just excuses that land you on the sidelines. Did something come up just this one time and you followed through on the next attempt? Yes? That is acceptable. The problem with lack of follow through is in the consistency of it.

Follow through is not a desire or motivation issue, contrary to popular belief. It is a discipline issue. Teaching yourself to finish a goal is a matter of perspective, and is accomplished by breaking a large task into smaller, more manageable ones. You want to call that guy or girl, but anxiety is keeping you down? Text is ok for a while. Introduce playful banter, and then ask them to call you. Make it a game. Are you overwhelmed in the writing of your first novel and swimming in a sea of words, lost in your own timeline? Try note cards, a science project board with images and handwritten notes on it, or use a dry erase marker and your bedroom wall. The thing is to do something out of your ordinary, something you won’t forget or lose track of, which helps with consistency.

 

triumph powerful

 

In relationships, lack of follow through is a breeding ground for resentment and mistrust. It leaves the balanced power of a healthy and loving relationship extremely vulnerable to sabotage from inside, suffocating one (or more, if you’re polyamorous) partners power. Consistent lack of follow through can be a major reason a dating relationship never grows into more, and why an established relationship falls apart. The ability to date even after the relationship is “secured” by living together, domestic partnership, or marriage is imperative to the strength and health of the partnership. Lack of follow though in the long-term relationship creates distance and an imbalanced power dynamic. It affects dependability and respect, (yes the all-important “R” word). I find it extremely difficult to respect a friend or partner that has trouble with follow through. Mind you, if this is a known issue and the affected is really working at discipline, i.e. trying different methods to spark creativity, or using multiple reminders to remember appointments, etc., I tend to rethink the “R” word and cut them some slack.

woman triumph

Again, consistency is key, and we are not all machines. The ability to grow and evolve are very attractive qualities. Someone that knows they have an issue, that sees it, and instead of letting it victimize them uses that knowledge as fuel to grow and move toward balance, well…that is quite interesting. Admirable. Sexy. Inspirational. That is the kind of person I want to know, to be close to, to be friends with or possibly more.

You are not stuck with your “flaws”, they are pieces of you that are ripe for growth and evolution. They don’t define you, and they are definitely not all of who you are. Vulnerability is not just opening up about feelings. It is about honesty. One of the highest forms of love is honesty. Loving yourself is the first step to empowerment. Empowerment is about knowing yourself, why you make the choices you make, and knowing that you can make new choices.  Being able to change things in your life gives you freedom, which then leads to happiness. Empowerment is about seeing and effectively using personal power in a healthy way.  Lack of follow though is often an issue that can be investigated, troubleshot, and corrected if you approach it as an area that needs growth instead viewing it as a weakness you’re stuck with.

Back in my flirting life, I’m having lovely conversations and getting to know some great people. What separates friends from potential lovers (if there was initial attraction) is consistency, follow through, and the ability to evolve. Attraction is different for everyone, and one person’s criteria for a perfect ten will be different from another’s. Remembering that helps me see that there is someone for everyone. Maybe even someone for me.

 

 

 

 

 

Follow through affects more than interpersonal relationships. Please see below for a few links with more information on how to transform this condition.

An article outlining was to combat follow through in business:  http://psychologyforbusiness.com/articles_psychwork5.htm

A more personal take on how to get past the guilt and negative self-talk that comes from lack of follow through: http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/01/your-problem-isnt-motivation/

Lovely article, “The Art of Following Through”: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/learn-the-art-of-following-through-5-steps-to-ensure-you-will-achieve-your-goals/

Pride and Bigotry

The Gay Pride weekend happened in mid to late July in my city, and the Parade is usually fun for me, but this year I had the challenge of handling my children alone. I knew this would be a test of my patience and sanity because of the crowd and stimulation factor. There were so many colors, outfits, vendors, and (of course) lots of scantily clad people. I really didn’t have to explain much of what was going on, as my smaller children didn’t seem to notice the nudity. We made it through about half the parade before I had a hungry preschooler, and I knew a meltdown was on the way. My oldest daughter (the teenager) had arranged to meet her crush. Somehow in the confusion (mmmhmm) we arrived an hour before the parade began, leading us into where we are now. Impending meltdown, and two young hungry stomachs. I’ll give my oldest credit, she gave no fuss at all when it she was told it was time to go. Quick good-byes were exchanged amidst restless pleas for food. We beat a rapid retreat, walking quite a distance to where our car was parked. Coincidentally, the parking meter was due to run out any second. About halfway to our destination, we ran into the yearly presence of a certain hate group holding signs and hurling their hateful comments at people as the precession and bystanders passed. This was the first time in three years that I hadn’t been part of the military contingent in the parade, so I was actually close enough to hear what that group was screaming at everyone.  Things like: “You’re all pedophiles!” “You were all molested!” and “You were all raped!” came hurling from their mouths. The energy of it hit me like someone had a flame thrower on my skin. They screamed things I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy, things I would never say to another human, much less to someone different from me. This kind of objectification I’ve only seen from bigots and hate-mongers, the kind of people who are blind to anything different from them. The negativity hit me harder this time because I was in the presence of my children. I’m not sure what happens inside of an adult that can scream and yell such mean things in a child’s face, to see that innocence and trust break down and fall apart in front of them. Maybe they don’t see it. Maybe they are so full of their own righteousness that they truly think hurting others is okay. I know hate and objectification are blind, making the object of attention not real or less than human. A thing. I got lucky, the police were there between them and me. My children didn’t seem to hear any of the hateful speech, and thankfully didn’t repeat any of the language. All I could think of was how hate blinds, and those that hate so intensely lose the capacity to love deeply and fully. Fear and hate create major blockages to love. They cover shame and guilt somewhere deep inside a person, and other types of unhealed wounds. The impediment of feeling love is a sad state to be in. Love is the most healing force on the planet, in my humble opinion. I’ve seen love heal family feuds, mend rape victims fear of men and sex, and put people on the path to healing depression. Love edifies like nothing else when expressed in a healthy way. To be separated from experiencing it is the only concept even close to the Christian Hell that I can imagine. These people are in a hell of their own creation, and they don’t even know it. That realization brought forth sadness for them, compassion for their unhealed hearts. I moved past as quickly as I could with tears in my eyes, nursing my triggers, yet filled with compassion for those poor people wasting energy screaming at us for existing on this planet differently than them. I could definitely find a better way to expend that energy. Couldn’t you?

Transitionary Moments and Judgement

My oldest daughter recently promoted from eighth grade, and is now an official High Schooler. At her promotion ceremony I sat behind the mother and sister of a girl who had a solo with the choir. They sang a song about how the voice of one can make a difference, about letting go of judgement and ending hate. It was another of those moments where society and separation fell away from my awareness, and I felt so connected to the collective that I felt like I was that beautiful voice encouraging myself to dream, to do those things my heart longed for, and to embrace myself.
When the girl starting singing her part I heard the mother say something about not knowing she had a solo. I listened to the comments of the sister, about how beautiful the girl’s voice was. They both shared how amazed they were that she could sing like that. Part of me wanted to judge them in that moment. I wanted to say “why doesn’t she feel safe enough to share this part of herself with you?” but I didn’t say it. I sat with that thought, the feeling that came with it, and instead began to open myself to their reaction. There was no anger there, just genuine surprise and awe. That girl did a brave thing, standing up in front of her entire graduating class and singing her heart out, exposing herself and her passion. The tears welled in my eyes and spilled over, her vulnerability and courage as she stood stripped bare in that moment moved me. It moved everyone in the place that was present and listening. Several people around me discreetly sniffled at various times, apparently feeling very strongly as well.
I looked again at the mother and sister of that talented new High Schooler and noticed their beaming smiles, the joy on their faces. Maybe she didn’t share that she had a solo for another reason. Maybe she didn’t feel safe to share it before showtime. Maybe she wasn’t sure if she would really do it until the last moment. Who knows? It is not my place to make a snap decision about it. The point is that Mom and Sister showed up, participated, and got to share in an unforgettable moment. I hope they encourage her passion, hope they help her cultivate the talent and unrealized potential there. Passion like that needs the freedom to expand and the room to roam.

 

 

The power of one person can feel nonexistent, like a drop in an endless bucket that is the people on our planet. The kicker is that one person is more like a raindrop falling into a body of water than they realize, and once that catalyst touches the other rain drops, the energy casts ripples far and wide. We get to choose the charge of our ripples, be they negative, positive, or neutral. Have you ever been around someone who expressed an opinion about something and you felt bad inside, like you were less? Hearing about a tragedy or experiencing toxic people can feel like that. Experiencing feelings that trigger the negative can color how you see yourself, as well as how you see others. Suddenly you will be seeing the negative all around and feeling worse and worse. Have you had someone say something that resonated, that felt good inside your body? A feel good song on the radio that you find yourself nodding your head to? That woman down the street that always has a kind word to say or a genuine smile as you pass? A moment like that can make your whole day, and you spend it singing to yourself, dancing in your car at a stop light, or wearing a megawatt smile all day long. Sometimes your experience is neutral, no charge at all, just chugging along as you go. Either way the charge tips, there is a reason why you feel that way.
Putting awareness on the charge of how you receive communication can teach you so much about yourself. Noticing emotions can clue you in to when you are judging yourself, and gives you the power to transform that judgement into something else, thereby giving you the power of choosing and/or changing your charge as you need to. Letting go of judgement starts with yourself. How are you ever going to see how awesome you are while telling yourself that you aren’t, or not allowing yourself to feel your feelings? I see memes all over the internet that say things like “I just want to inspire people”. I think I understand the sentiment behind that statement, but not so much the focus on outside and external. Why not inspire yourself? Why not live those dreams and light the fire that lives within you? The ripples created by happiness, by people living their passions and their dreams ignites other by proximity. Enthusiasm is contagious. Love is contagious. That fire within you that is your passion (or passions) is love, which can be shared with others. The key about sharing is that you can’t consciously share what you aren’t aware that you already posses. Isn’t life cool?