Thoughts and such like.....
It was a dark and dreary day, (I've always wanted to write that line!). Rain pouring down, it was as if the day was trying to make us as miserable as possible! I decided it was an ideal day to stay home, have a leisurely late breakfast and tackle some of the painting I have left undone, forever. So after breakfast in bed with my latest read 'The Trial of Fallen Angels', by James Kimmel, Jr., which despite the title isn't as dark as it sounds, I got up and dressed for painting.
I am the messiest painter out there, most of the spare paint somehow lands on me, so I now designate old special paint clothes that I throw out after each job. These days I'm painting the wood ceiling and shelving in my loft, I want to have more light up there all year round. Like any 'have to' jobs I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time getting psyched up, funny actually as I quite like painting. It gives me time to think, ruminate over my week, wrestle with problems or just go off on tangents. There are a few things however that I need to bring with me, first coffee, then water and finally music - to paint I prefer what my sister terms 'bubble gum' music, stuff that I can dance to, stuff from my teen years right up to today and to which I can sing along to as loudly as I wish!!
The music is always upbeat, and allows my mind to jump all over the place - it makes me feel happy. I think of my younger son who cringes at his aunt and myself and our love of this music, at his brother who understands the genius behind those that can create such sounds and my sister who coined the phrase 'bubble gum' music, I can see her dancing in the night!
Today, as I painted I thought of a friend who had contacted me during the week to apologize for not being in touch, personal problems she explained. I had invited her to come over, anytime, we could have a bottle of wine, talk and she could sleep over in one of the kids beds. Her contacting me made me think of how often we don't reach out to others when we have problems. I'm guilty, are you? When I first became a single parent, I told no one that my husband and I had split, other than my family and with the closest relative probably over 10,000 km away it was an expensive conversation any day! I think what stopped me from telling friends was pride and fear of everything, from how would we survive to how would I survive financially? Don't ask me what telling people had to do with any of those and the hundreds of other reasons I had but then I felt there was a connection! Mixed in was also relief, and from that relief a little shame that I would feel so!! How crazy is that? What was actually a good thing for me and my kids, and I told myself that I should feel shameful for feeling relief - sometimes we should smack ourselves for our own foolish self talk. How much easier would life have been, how much less lonely I would have felt if I had confided in others during those years. Instead I closed in on myself. Now I'm not exactly an open book today, but I have learned over the years to reach out
It sounds like that I spent my afternoon thinking somewhat negative deep thoughts, when it was actually lots of fun. As I said I'm painting the ceiling and I have to do it in stages otherwise I get a bit glassy eyed at the thought of doing the whole undercoat at once. So each time I go up there I give myself a certain portion to paint, before I'm allowed to go onto something else - like diving into the books I've taken down from the shelves (I can sort and maybe give away a few). Or check out a new pattern, look at my fabric stash and start imaging what I could make. My challenge is there is so much to play with, and I want to do it all - NOW! So I need to give myself a goal before I move onto something else - a skill I've learned over the years as I get to know myself better. Today, I only stopped because I ran out of paint!
So who do you talk to when you are fearful, or when life kicks you in the knees? Take a look around, there are so many people out there who are willing to help, you just have to ask!
I was invited to the Survivors dinner, Dragonboat Festival, the 11th, over $2 Million raised for diagnostic and operating equipment. I sat at the front and watched as women young and old greeted each other. Some came from down the road, others from flood ridden Calgary. Each of these men and women have a story, each a survivor of Breast Cancer. Some friends from last year weren't able to come, others will never return - they lost their fight. I sat and marvelled at the courage and felt privileged that I for a few hours became part of their fight. They laughed and teased each other, dressed to the nines for the dance competition later - the songs they chose ranging from Swan lake to Stronger inspired by this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaQdwTsVtCY). And me, I was invited to say thank you and what I wanted to do was go away, hide and cry - why? These are incredibly strong women and men, who have battled and are winning their individual fight, why am I so emotional? Is it my ego, am I crying for myself and my fears? I acknowledge that some is fear but what else pushes that button that brings tears? Is it guilt that I have, to date, avoided this disease on my dance card? As I sat and watched these women and men, it occurred to me that I was avoiding the question? I skipped around it, testing, but I don't want to answer, I'm letting my fear take over. There is no big question today, no clever discussion - just a thought - when did you last look at the good in your life and give thanks and love to those around you?
As I heal from my surgery, I'm discovering new things about myself, some I'm okay with, others have surprised me and some I need to leave behind!
I am I believe with others, patient and practical I encourage them to be realistic when setting goals, I urge them to be patient about acquiring new habits, learning new skills and I suggest to them that they practice, practice, practice. So why do I find it so difficult to follow my own advice? As I recover from my surgery I am discovering that I want to heal - NOW. That I really don't want to do my exercises every day and that I have to be patient with the healing process - some days are going to be better than others, and look where I am now compared to six weeks ago.
I am getting a new appreciation of the hurdles clients face when they approach challenges in their lives. So what is it about us, that makes us so impatient, unforgiving and unrealistic about ourselves in ways that we would not be to our friends? What is it that is so difficult in change, and changing habits? One thing I'm realizing is that for me, changing one thing at a time is easier than trying to change a whole load of things at once. For others I know they feel better if they can just make a whole load at once. So each day I practice up and down the stairs, sometimes if I'm feeling good, I'll go on my stationary bike and/or add another exercise and later on every second day I work on my arms, continuing with my weight training. I'm changing my diet, I have time to review what I eat - more protein and lots of vegetables and fruit all aiding my internal recovery.
I can look at the positives in my life, and I can continue working acknowledging and honouring my limits. What are you challenged by, and how are you working to overcome, acknowledge and honouring these challenges?
So I've been procrastinating, and procrastinating... I can't write my blog, what do I want to say? What am I feel passionate about that will interest people - excuses, excuses and easy to buy into and so it goes on.
So why do I have to be perfect? A question I ask others is, what would be the worst that could happen if ......? So for me what would happen if the post is not exciting/perfect etc. etc... but people will be disappointed - Question: are my posts that important? No one will read me again - Question: how do I know that that many people read them anyway.
So really what is the/my problem? Do I want to be perfect for my clients or myself - is it me and my own ego - yep that's it, that pride I was warned about it as a child, here it is again popping up it's old head again and again, writing a blog is not the only place it can get a hold, like temptation pride pops it's head up at the most inconvenient time, however unlike temptation, pride is really good at hiding itself and sometimes it takes a while to recognize what's happening. It sneaks up and then the excuses start until it's been over a month and the longer I procrastinate the more difficult it is to start again.
What's different today? What happened today that changed things? Maybe a question I've been pondering a few days now - what will it take me to start again?
So what is it that has you procrastinating on moving forward/making a decision? What would it take you to move forward? Talk to me, let me know what you think. What will it take to move you forward on something that you've been procrastinating on?
I was driving to a workshop one morning a week ago, a drive of two hours and during the drive I listened to a number of discussions on CBC about the tragic suicide of Amanda Todd; bullied to death! Much of the discussion, actually all of the discussion, centred around schools, what could teachers and students do, how could parents help, what could school boards instigate - how do people police facebook/cyberspace.
While I found all the discussions really interesting, I began to feel that they were missing the point. The discussions were about control - things and people, mainly kids. However my thoughts turned to us as individuals taking the time to look inward and look at behaviour as adults. My mother used to use the expression "don't do what I do, do what I say", how often do we think about how our behaviour and what it says about us? When we are striving to reach our goals, are we conscious of how we seem to others, how we treat them? or rather how they feel we treat them? Do we notice the receptionist each morning as we pass, what do we actually know about him/her and their circumstances. Great leaders take time to know their people, if your team respects you, trusts you and know you are at their back, know they can come to you if they have a problem whether it be looking to you to help solve, or just understanding, they often will take calculated risks and will go out of their way to do the best job - but the work starts with you as a leader. As Adults it is our responsibility to demonstrate that starting with us, bullying will not be tolerated at any level of Society
To my mind, one of the most outstanding examples of bullying is in politics - yes, facebook has a long reach, but so also does TV and other mediums! Where is there a more perfect example of how bullying can work, how it destroys individuals and their reputations without repercussions. As we look at ourselves I think we also need to begin to demand that they look at their behaviour and ask themselves what responsibilities they have in demonstrating right and wrong! When they set up their advertisements about their opposition, what sort of message are they sending to children - bullies and those who are bullied. What would happen if they talked about issues not personalities?
Looking back, can you remember a time when you feel you were bullied? How did you react? How did you feel? With hindsight would you do anything differently? Now, look at your own habits, what can you change to demonstrate your commitment to taking responsibility in changing Society's acceptance of bullying all the time, not only when a tragedy such as Amanda's death occurs.
I seem to be hearing and reading a lot about the benefits of taking time out to think, meditate or even not think, just ruminate! When was the last time you took 10 minutes to do absolutely nothing? Think about it - absolutely nothing. Try it. Let the thoughts go, never mind what's happened today, what you're going to do tomorrow, sit in the moment and enjoy the sensation. What happens?
We spend so much time rushing about, crossing off items from our to do list, getting things done, that we forget to take time to do nothing. What would it take for you to set aside five minutes each day to do nothing, not to think about anything in particular, just sit in the moment?
Sometimes clients argue that it's not time to meditate, but time to think, silence isn't important, they don't have time to sit and do nothing and so we try to come up with an agreement that meets their needs and also allows them to try taking time to do nothing. Often they come back amazed that they seem to have more time on their hands. Other times it doesn't work for them, so we look at their day. We always find something - some time.
What about when you exercise, sit watching tv (turn it off), what do you do? So many people try to multi-task, read, watch the news - how about just staying in the moment? Let your mind go, wander around, don't stop at each and every thought, just acknowledge them and move on. Clients who have tried this, talk of having more clarity, of finding answers to questions that they have been pondering or wrestling for weeks. What would it take for you to try?
Interestingly enough, contemplative practice is meeting Law! A study at Harvard Law School, The Harvard Negotiation Insight Initiative is looking at the connection between meditation and the art of conflict resolution. (http://www.harbus.org/2012/meditation-and-leadership). Business men are becoming more interested in the art of contemplation as a means to move forward. Go on, try it, take 10 minutes daily for five days, let go and let me know how you do!
Maeve O'Byrne's Blog