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Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Must Begin with a Single Step--Lao Tzu


Be. Become.
No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again. The Buddha

What's happening in your life right now?


  • Do you feel like you've dodged a bullet when you see what other people are dealing with ~ yet you're still fearful about the future?
  • Or have you faced so many hardships and challenges you're left feeling hopeless and discouraged about ever finding your way back to a normal life?
  • Are you tired of thinking about your current situation and just wish someone would do something about it?

How to Start Over

When things get really tough it can be difficult to see your way out. Here are 3 keys to starting over and getting unstuck after having your life disrupted by economic hardship or personal crises.

Key #1: Take the First Step

Not much has changed in the thousands of years humans have been facing and recovering from the hardships of life. As Lao Tzu stated so long ago, 'a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step'.

We fuel our inner strength and sense of resiliency by taking action. But sometimes when faced with 'a journey of a thousand miles' we can be overwhelmed with the daunting task of where to begin. What is the first step?

The good news is any first step will do. Your hope, resiliency, and personal strength will grow stronger with every step you take. It doesn't matter what the first step is. As you experience yourself being pro-active and physically taking action, your ability to cope and hope will improve. So start with a single step--any step-- and then another.

Key #2: Take Small Steps

An old Chinese Proverb says, 'The man who moved a mountain is the one who started taking away the small stones'. When you're in total overwhelm mode, start 'taking away the small stones'--one small step, then another.

Key # 3: Build a Nest in the Eye of the Storm

Anthropologist, Margaret Mead, traveled on her life adventure, with change and uncertainty her constant companions. Her grandmother, a major influence in Margaret's life, sent her on her journey with the sage advice to 'Always build a nest in the eye of the storm'.

This grandmotherly wisdom has had a strong influence in my own life. Whenever major life events cause upheaval in my life, my mind returns to this saying, and I think how important it is to apply in my own life to get things moving and balanced again.

One thing I know--when you're in the middle of a crisis, the hardest thing to do is to think of taking care of yourself. You can forget to nourish your body, push your body to the limits with lack of sleep, and remain in a constant state of emotional overload. But if you focus on 'building a nest in the eye of the storm', you will begin to create a cushion to rest and a space for thinking.

What does it mean to build a nest in the eye of the storm? When life is swirling around you like a hurricane--you find a way to create a home-base of comfort--or nest--from which you can rebuild your daily existence.
Start with the basics to nourish your body and rest your nerves. Your body likes a regular rhythm that includes regular heart beats, breaths, sleep patterns, eating times, moving times, and rest time.
  • Start by getting your natural rhythms back in place.

  • Eat regular, well-balanced meals that nourish you.
  • Pace yourself--put a time limit on dealing with your difficulties--and take regular rest breaks.
  • Go to bed early.
  • Choose to have daily contact with uplifting, supportive people who can listen and encourage you in your strength.
  • If you're caring for others, take care of yourself first, so you have the strength and endurance to continue to help others.

Create a Place of Safety and Security

We all do our best thinking and acting when we do it in a place of safety and security. The key is to find a way to create your nest---no matter what storm is brewing. It may not be easy, but it is essential.

Life is a cycle, always in motion; if good times have moved on, so will times of trouble!
Indian Proverb


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For more than 25 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule life change coaching, weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences to share with friends.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Curb Your Anger: Personal Boundaries--Violate them at Your Own Risk


What Gets Your Goat?

Granted, there's plenty to be angry about today. But what is it for you?
  • What drives you to the breaking point--leaving you feeling crazy, angry and frustrated?
  • What tips you over the top leaving you feeling mad at the whole world without knowing why?
  • What turns you from being a fully-functioning adult into a seemingly helpless and frustrated child inside?
E-motion--Don't Leave Home without it 

I hate to feel stuck or controlled--it makes me angry and frustrated. I am driven by the desire to move freely in my daily life, so seeking a way to quickly break free from encumbrances became important to me at a young age. Years ago I embraced a definition of emotion that allowed me to view all emotion in a positive light and to use it in a more fluid, productive manner.

'Instead of viewing emotion as good or bad, happy or sad--I came to understand E-motion as energy in motion. Our e-motions give us the energy to act, the drive to right wrongs, and the desire to pursue our dreams.'
Personal Values Define Our Internal 'Lines in the Sand'

The goal of anger management isn't to become a placid, 'Stefford Wife (or person)' devoid of emotion--especially anger. It's to learn how to use the energy created by the e-motion to create positive outcomes.

Chances are the situations or people that make you exceptionally angry violate one or more of your personal values. Our personal values define our invisible boundaries--our lines in the sand. When someone crosses one of those lines we feel violated, resulting in a wall of anger and frustration. And anger left unattended can quickly turn inward and lead to depression.

I get angry or frustrated at least once a day. But I've learned to use that anger--or energy-in-motion to help me identify what personal values have been violated. Being able to name the invisible boundaries crossed puts me back in control and provides the momentum for taking positive action.

By using my anger to help me identify what I value, I now have choices for taking action based on what I value rather than on what makes me angry.

Use Your Anger to Identify what You Value

Don't just sit in your anger, use the energy to identify what your personal values are and  take positive action based on them.

Situational depression occurs when you feel hopeless or helpless in response to a situation that knocks the wind out of you. To avoid getting depressed in response to tough situations, get in the habit of always following up by taking action that has the potential of producing positive outcomes.

What to Do

Think of a situation or person that upset you in the last week.
  • What happened?
  • List what made you angry or frustrated in the situation.
  • List things you value that may have been violated in the situation.
  • Chose a positive response based on your personal values.
  • Take positive action--even if you don't feel like it.
Here are some of the things I've learned about myself by going through this process of converting anger into better understanding my personal values and choosing to take action based on those values.

What makes me Angry?

  • Injustice
  • Bullies
  • Narcissists
  • Untested Assumptions
  • Overly Critical Judgments
  • Controlling People
  • Uncaring People
  • Self-righteous People
  • Lack of Opportunity for People
  • Being Held Back

What Do I Value?
  • Opportunity to Achieve
  • Creativity
  • 'Flow' Experiences
  • Humane Treatment of People
  • Humane Treatment of Animals
  • Productive Work
  • Harmony
  • Freedom
  • Caring
  • Teamwork
  • Enthusiasm
  • Joyful Experiences
  • Fun
  • Achieving Personal Dreams
  • Helping Others Achieve their Dreams
  • Openness
  • Truth
  • Trust and Connection

How I want to act based on Anger
  • Lash out at offender.
  • Give them a dose of their own medicine.
  • Cut offender off.
  • Talk poorly about offender.
  • Turn others against offender.
  • Wish bad things on the offender.

How I choose to act based on my Values (Creating a Positive Outcome)
  • Do nothing to let my anger cool.
  • Look for ways to open up communication and develop trust.
  • Talk to, not about the person, to clarify facts and understanding.
  • Seek to create opportunities to work with others joyfully and enthusiastically.
  • Seek more positive environments.
  • Reach out to others to build trust and connection.
Don't let yourself be led by your anger. Choosing your actions based on your values puts you in the driver seat. Put your e-motions to work for you--giving you the energy to act, the drive to right wrongs, and the desire to pursue your dreams. You're worth it.

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For more than 25 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule life change coaching, weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences to share with friends.




Monday, September 24, 2012

Time Management: To Create Positive Action Discover What Matters Most


'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.' Mark Twain

The Challenge: Discover the Best Way to Get the Most Out of Life

Each of us is challenged to discover the best way to get the most out of life. As Twain says, playing it safe only leads to a disappointing life.


To achieve a satisfying and happy life you must risk being hurt, wrong, scared, disappointed, rejected, ridiculed, and silly. You must throw off the things keeping you tied to your safe harbor and venture into the vast ocean of possibilities.

What Matters to You?

Putting yourself out there and going after what you want is a risk. The courage to risk comes from discovering what matters to you. Start by defining what you want out of life at this juncture so you can better guide your choices and daily actions. What you care about matters--it is the wind in your sails propelling you forward into a satisfying life adventure.

Discover what matters to you so you can:

  • Concentrate your limited time and energy on those things that count.
  • Plan your life so you feel more control over the things that matter to you.
  • Create a sense of urgency for the things that are most important to you.

Explore ~ Dream ~ Discover

 Helen Keller said, "Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing." The secret to a happy life is to have the courage to continuously explore what matters to you and cast off the things keeping you tied to your safe harbor. Stop letting fear keep you tethered.


Navigating a Course of Action

  • What would you do this week if you knew you couldn't fail? Take a step.
  • What do you wish someone would ask you to do? Go do it.
  • If you had all the money in the world, what would you spend your life doing? Start doing it.

Sail Away from the Safe Harbor

 What is one step you can take today to catch the trade winds in your sails?

'A ship is safe in a harbor, but that's not what ships are for.'
William Shedd  1820-1894


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If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Connect with Susan on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Would you like to Host a Lightarted Event?

For more than 25 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule life change coaching, weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences to share with friends.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Break Free: Throw Wild Parties in a Tree House--On a Limb--In Your Heart!

'The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of.' Pascal

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

As I sit quiet and stay open, little gems--pictures, quotes, poetry and music come my way worthy of giving back to you.

I love that people, like you, gift me their favorite gems--ones that perhaps help us navigate life's challenges and times of self-doubt--or perhaps ones that make our heart and soul sing.

Today's poem, 'In a Tree House' written by Hafiz, a 13th century Persian Poet, is one of those heart-freeing gems. It was read to me one recent soft summer night by the light of a Blue Moon (2nd full moon in a month).

The poem is amazing--and well worth a slow, deliberate read. Let it seep into your heart and soul.  The picture below from Miss *EVOLutionaries on facebook showed up as I contemplated the poem. It is so clever.

Pay attention to the message in the picture and poem: Break Free.


Miss R*EVOLutionaries picture came to me
 by way of Lisa Sanchez-Navarro

In a Tree House
 
Light
Will someday split you open
Even if your life is now a cage,
 
For a divine seed, the crown of destiny,
Is hidden and sown on an ancient, fertile plain
You hold the title to.
 
Love will surely bust you wide open
Into an unfettered, blooming new galaxy
 
Even if your mind is now
A spoiled mule.
 
A life-giving radiance will come;
The Friend's gratuity will come--
 
O look again within yourself,
For I know you were once the elegant host
To all the marvels in creation.
 
From a sacred crevice in your body
a bow rises each night
And shoots your soul into God.
 
Behold the Beautiful Drunk Singing One:
From the lunar vantage point of love.
 
He is conducting the affairs
Of the whole universe
 
While throwing wild parties
In a tree house--on a limb
In your heart.
 
Hafiz, 13th century Persian Poet
 
 

'To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.' Lao Tzu
 
 
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For more than 25 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule life change coaching, weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences to share with friends.



Monday, September 17, 2012

Overcoming Self-Consciousness: The Enemy Within

 'I never take counsel of my fears.' General Patton

Do you hate being Judged?

Who likes to be judged? Not me--it stops me up like a cork, preventing the free flow of creativity and my usual enthusiastic engagement in life.

What's funny is sometimes that feeling of being judged is insidious--seemingly harmless and inconspicuous.

At first you may not really notice it. What you notice is you haven't followed through on something important--like asking someone out, applying for a job, updating your resume, or turning in a term paper or business proposal.

You can't seem to figure out why you failed to follow through, but you find yourself engaging in every activity except the one you want to complete. And every time you think about taking action your energy artfully repels against taking that step putting you out there in full public view.

So here's the question--who's doing the judging?

The Enemy Within--Self-Consciousness

Yep. There it is--me, myself and I acting as prosecutor, judge and jury.

Any other day we may step out into the world just being ourselves-- acting all normal. But the day we decide to do something that publicly moves us toward a desire or goal we get constipated. Suddenly self-consciousness sets in sending self-awareness flying out the window.

I am a fairly self-confident person so I am always surprised to discover this personal truth at play within myself. Yet none of us are immune to the pull of self-judgment leading to self-consciousness and ultimately procrastination.

On one not-so-notable occasion I was asked to provide samples of my work in jpeg format to an Art Center where I wanted to display my work. Since I'd displayed my art in public and sold it in stores for years this was no biggie--right? I had 100s of jpeg images of my creations on the computer. So why didn't I just load up the pictures and hit 'send'? Why did I drag my feet? At the time I didn't know--and I wasn't even consciously aware I was reluctant to act.

It was only after I distracted myself from thinking I overcame my hidden reluctance and realized it was self-consciousness that prevented me from completing the task earlier.

What Took Minutes to Complete Took Days to Begin

I would like to believe like General Patton 'I never take counsel of my fears', but if I'm honest (and in this arena I really don't like to be), I have my moments.

What took me minutes to complete took me days to begin. Self-consciousness and a lack of self-awareness had tag-teamed me once again.

For a professed non-perfectionist it's difficult to admit a bit of perfectionist thinking is what's getting in the way. But there it is--a public admission from this 'highly self-aware non-perfectionist about her self-consciousness, perfectionist thinking, self-judgment, and lack of self-awareness. Ugh.

But I know my secret admission is safe with you. Why? Because I know you have your moments too. The truth is we all stumble over ourselves from time to time. We bear down and over-analyze our self, work and actions. We see our work for what it isn't--and become self-critical. We become the judges looking for our imperfections--and it stops us in our tracks.
"You see your work for what it isn't; Others see your work for what it is"
The Wisdom of Trusting the Whimsy Within

So how do you get out of being self-conscious and get back into a freely flowing state?

You lighten up. A bit of silliness and poking a bit of fun at ourselves or life can be just what is needed to let go of self-consciousness and self-judgment. That's what 'trust the whimsy within' is about--lightening up so your true wisdom can shine through.

So stop thinking, lighten up, and take a tip from Ogden Nash--use a little silliness to get unstuck and fly through your flaws.

Ogden Nash on Getting Unstuck
 
"A flea and a fly in a flue,
Were stuck, so what could they do?
Said the fly, "Let us flee!"
"Let us fly!" said the flea.
So they flew through a flaw in the flue."

"Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans: it's lovely to be silly at the right moment."- Horace

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For more than 25 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule life change coaching, weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences to share with friends.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Recovering from Shattered Dreams and Battered Souls



'I don't know a soul who's not been battered
Don't have a friend who feels at ease
Don't know a dream that's not been shattered
Or driven to its knees.
But it's all right, all right.'
Paul Simon, An American Tune, 1973

The Long Road

With the long road ahead of me during a recent 12-hour road trip I found myself in a quiet, pensive mood. As I looked out the window at the cities and people whizzing by me I thought about the stories of pain and struggle I've heard from both young and old during these incredibly difficult times of change, economic hardship and lack of soul-lifting work.

Facing a long drive together, I decided to engage my husband in conversation to get his thoughts on solving these universal problems.

'If you were in charge of the world', I asked, 'what would you do to help others navigate these difficult times and help them find good jobs while staying upbeat during the down times? How would you advise them?'
We were stumped. We sat in silence for a very long time staring at the road before us as he pondered the issues before speaking, and I sat befuddled, unable to see my way clear. How do you find answers to these questions that are satisfying and useful?

During our extended silence, Paul Simon's 'An American Tune' came on to fill the air between us with words and music written so long ago, quietly speaking to the issues facing people today. I listened as Simon clearly articulated what I was feeling at that very moment but failed to find the words to express:

  • I don't know a soul who's not been battered.
  • I don't have a friend who feels at ease.
  • I don't know a dream that's not been shattered---or driven to its knees.
In that moment I was struck with the humanness of it all--the struggle, the disappointment, and the valiant effort we put into pulling out of 'dreams driven to their knees' back into living the life we imagined. Its the same old story, repeated generation after generation.

Paul Simon wrote the lyrics almost 40 years ago (1973) and put them to music composed by JS Bach, composed almost 300 years ago. Still, the words and music so eloquently speak to the pain we experience today.

It was forty years ago, Simon wrote: 'We come at the age's most uncertain hour.' Yet here we are today, feeling we're the ones who've come at the age's most painful and uncertain hour.

No Easy Answers

We played this song over and over again, as the miles slipped away, so the lyrics could flow over us. As we listened to the song we tossed a few ideas back and forth but it was the song that provided the most ease and truth.

What I know about how to recover from shattered dreams and battered souls isn't much.

There are no easy answers--just this: Sometimes we need to just sit in what we're experiencing to acknowledge the pain without fixing it, knowing we're all in the struggle together.

We need to consciously name the feelings behind the struggle before we can heal and move on. And when we're ready, we need to follow in the footsteps of those who've struggled before us and take the next step.

What You Need to Know to Recover from a Battered Soul and Shattered Dreams

  • You're not alone in your pain and struggles.
  • You're made of strong stuff.
  • Life is full of challenges made easier by sharing the road with others.
  • You have all the ingredients within you to successfully navigate life's challenges.
  • 'It's all right, it's all right, it's all right.' Paul Simon
 
'Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken and certainly misused
Ah, but I'm all right, I'm all right
I'm just weary to my bones'
Paul Simon, An American Tune

What do you know? Share your thoughts on how we can help one another during the age's most uncertain hour.

If you would like to see the complete lyrics to An American Tune or to purchase the music of Paul Simon, visit the Paul Simon site.
Lyrics to An American Tune by Paul Simon


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 If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. 
Would you like to Host a Lightarted Event?

 For more than 35 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule life change coaching, weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences.