Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nothing Will Ever Be the Same

Resilience is often thought of as snapping back to baseline. Time after time, I am reminded that during major transitions, baselines are altered permanently. So, resilience isn’t really about going back to baseline, but accepting that baseline is not where it used to be. And then, learning to accept and love the new baseline.

Nine days after loss of electricity due to hurricane Sandy, with the heat finally blasting through our vents and trying to get back to normal, my 13 year old daughter said: “Nothing will ever be the same mom”. I had to probe further about where this comment was coming from. She was right, it felt like normal wasn’t normal anymore. Once you have been through something traumatic with high degree of uncertainty as to the future, once your world has turned upside down and stayed that way for a while, what is normal anymore?

I remember the 3rd day after the storm, I lay in bed with my eyes closed and all I could see was a high speed slide show of uprooted trees, power poles split in half and wrapped in electric lines in the middle of the road, trees fallen onto homes and broken through their roofs, and road signs mangled and thrown aside like a used crinkled tissue., and we were not by the shore line where most of the damage had occurred.  How do you get those slides out of your slide deck? Do you want to?

We tend to get too comfortable in the material trappings of our lives. We get distracted with our emails, texts, phones, and computers. We assume we’ll always be warm, have food, and drive our cars. When there is no food, car to drive or gas to drive with, and stores to be open to buy food, all of a sudden you are woken up from a dream of assumptions and expectations.

Thinking back about what my daughter said, I am glad that nothing will ever be the same. If life’s experiences were forgotten because they were inconvenient or unpleasant, then what would have been the point? As much as I am grateful for having our heat back and our refrigerator working again, lights to turn on, I now know that all of it could disappear in a snap. What endures is something that cannot be taken away so easily. What endures is humility, kindness, generosity, compassion, and meaningful connections.

When I hear the voice of the repairman and notice the crack in his thank you as I wish him safety on our roof, or when the gas station attendant says: “You have yourself a good day now”, and I know that he really means it as he looks into my eyes, I know that nothing will ever be the same. And that is a good thing.

We here in the East Coast of these United States have been known for our toughness bordering on being heartless and uncaring. I know now having survived Sandy, that we can change that perception. We can be known for our hearts. I know today I am more proud of living in NJ than ever before. I have experienced untold acts of kindness and humility and nothing will ever be the same, thankfully!

If you are struggling with defining your new baseline or wondering how you'll enhance your resilience during times of transition, you may want to work with a transition coach. Contact me for a 30 minute complimentary consultation to determine if transition coaching can help you get through your life challenges.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


She claimed she was tired of waiting. It seemed like she was always waiting and time was running out. Some of the waiting was just part of the course.  You have to wait to finish with school to graduate, you have to wait for your kids to get older before you can leave them alone at home, you have to wait to hear from the company or college if you have been accepted or not, etc. Knowing all this, she was still frustrated and sad by the waiting.

I was sure it wasn’t the waiting she was frustrated with. After further conversations, she revealed her reluctance to speak up. She tends to hold back what she really wants to say for fear of rocking the relationship, losing the friendship, causing trouble, opening a can of worms, it not being the right time, etc. There are lots of reasons why she holds back, most of them seemingly, external to her. The holding back morphs into waiting. She is waiting for the right opportunity to speak up and it never seems to come.

She is left unclear and unsure even to herself. Years of holding back make her appear fuzzy. She feels fuzzy. Yet, the person I have come to know is not fuzzy at all. She can tell me what she really thinks or feels, but she cannot utter her truth to those closest to her.

Interestingly, she seems to attract blunt people who have no trouble speaking up at all. They are always telling her what to do or not to do. It is as if they are trying to make her be clearer by guiding her, molding her, and trying to fix her. These types of interactions further support her tendency to hold back. There is no room for sharing her truth with people who are busy fixing, cleaning and straightening her out. So, she waits.

If you are stuck in a cycle of holding back, not expressing yourself, fearful of what you say might do to the most important relationships in your life, you may want to work with a transition coach. Transition coaching is about helping you deal with changes outside by changing your inside. No matter, how old you are, you don’t have to get stuck in beliefs and habits that don’t serve you anymore. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute transition coaching conversation to determine if I can help you change what is not working anymore.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Top 10 Ways to Identify Disempowered Humans

There is nothing more boring than speaking to a disempowered human. We all have fallen prey to feeling disempowered from time to time. It isn’t a pretty sight.  Disempowered people are distracted, drained, and/or anxious. Disempowerment is not genetic, but it tends to run in families. After years of listening to the same tapes all our lives, we believe the story they tell us. And then when we are facing a challenging transition, it sounds like the voices get really loud.

One of the symptoms of disempowerment is feeling stuck, or not having the basic energy to do what could get you out of the place you are stuck in.  Professional transition coaching works through reminding the client that they are not disempowered. When the client realizes that, the energetic shift  is miraculous to witness.

If you are wondering about yourself and whether or not you are identifying with feelings of disempowerment, here is a list that might help.

Disempowered people…

1) Take themselves and their problems seriously
2) Make it a badge of honor to carry everyone else’s burdens
3) Identify with the burdens they carry
4) Live off of drama, real or imaginary
5) Blame
6) Judge
7) Have a long “have to do” list
8) Believe all the negative voices in their heads
9) Feel responsible for everyone in their family
10) Analyze every situation to death

If any of these 10 resonate with you, you may want to work with a transition coach. Transition coaching helps you identify when you become disempowered and how to get out. To determine if you’d like to work with me, contact me for a complimentary 30 minute transition coaching conversation.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Enjoying the Journey

Time spent inside the crucible is difficult and sometimes even painful. It’s the time in between. It’s when what you are going towards isn’t here yet. It’s the hardest when what you are walking away from is not bad or a voluntary choice on your part, so you aren’t sure you want to be on the path to something else. It’s when what you are walking towards is uncertain, or even dangerous. It’s not waiting even though it feels like it. It’s walking real slow. It’s as if you are frozen.

What makes it even more challenging is the loneliness you experience. No one quite understands, or you can’t talk about it because everyone has an opinion about it. It cannot be shared because even though, you have been through it yourself at other times, each time it is a little different. Each time you swear you don’t remember it being this bad, and yet somehow it is.

I am going through one of those crucible moments of my own. This time however, I have decided that I am going to take my time and try to enjoy it! This exact circumstance will never be here again, this incubation can be precious like a pregnancy. A time to discover my own strength, patience and wisdom is precious indeed. What if instead of rushing and pushing through with my eyes closed, I stay awake with eyes wide open? What if I breathe into my fears and those of others? What if I listen to their resistance and words of caution and still continue to gently plod along? What if it were a safe journey to the other side of whatever may be? What if I left behind my doubts and negativity?

What if I believed with my whole being that everything would turn out ok? Would I still dread this journey? Would I still delay this moment? Would I still belabor this opportunity?

Are you going through a change, a transition, an awakening? Are you about to make a tough decision with consequences that ripple through your whole life? If so, and if you are resisting the outcome of what is coming your way, you may want to work with a transition coach. Transition coaching is about trusting the process and getting comfortable with uncertainty. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute transition coaching conversation to see if I can help you on your journey.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why Do We Need To Be Busy?

I’ve been blogging since 2009 and I was surprised to find out that my most read article is the one I posted on 10/03/2010 entitled: Top 10 Reasons People Stay Busy. Last Sunday, I read an article by Tim Kreider in the NY Times (NYT July 1, 2012) called The “Busy” Trap. Mr. Kreider refers to the need to stay busy as a kind of hysteria that is self-imposed and not necessary or an inevitable condition of life.

Worse yet, we impose this kind of busyness on our children by over-scheduling them with planned activities and extra-curricular classes so much so that they have no unscheduled time. All this busyness has created a condition of little patience, addiction to constant stimulation and worst of all, a lack of creativity because of all the available distractions.

Technology and our hand-held devices are convenient tools that somehow by making us be available at all times to anyone we know and are connected to through the internet, are adding to the distractions. I am reminded of a recent trip to a carnival with my daughter and her friend. The sheer noise level was enough to drive me crazy. The visual, olfactory, and auditory super stimulation was more than my system could handle. I was glad I didn’t get on any of the rides, the kinetic forces would have pushed me over the edge.

And yet, the carnival is a good metaphor for the way we live our lives in these times. Interestingly, busyness seems to be a global phenomenon as long as you can afford to pay for all this over-stimulation. In other words, the wealthy are over-stimulated and super busy all over the world.

Is this a desired condition? I don’t think we can think of the answer to this question because we don’t have time to think of such things! That’s the beauty of being busy, it leaves you exhausted and overwhelmed, so you don’t have to think. You don’t have to choose and you certainly can’t imagine.

I work as a transition coach for a major pharmaceutical company coaching their employees who are going through various kinds of transitions. Interestingly enough, most of the ones who are either retiring or losing their jobs, are most terrified of the day after they leave their jobs and wake up to nothing.

What would that be like? Is the silence deafening? How will I deal with it? They are scared of not being busy! Yes, it does sound a bit absurd, but it is a natural condition because their lives have been so busy that they are afraid of this unknown state of not being busy. What helps my clients is talking to others who have gone through their transition and end up loving the time to think again and enjoy the silence. They all reflect back and wonder how they lived their lives being so busy. It seems unnatural and a little crazy.

Interestingly enough, Mr. Kreider’s article is in the Sunday Review section of the NYT under the subtitle of Anxiety. Over time, if busyness is untreated and unresolved, it may lead to anxiety. It is similar to the hamster in a wheel, running and running and going nowhere. When you are hyper-extended and over busy, you cannot feel satisfied and fulfilled. You are in a state of constant searching or running either to or from yet another imaginary state.

If you are too busy to enjoy your life or have forgotten how to prioritize what matters, you may want to work with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching is about re-discovering what truly matters to you and then making the choices that get you to the state you want to be in. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if you’d like to work with me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


A while ago I had asked my single female coaching clients who had raised their now adult children as single moms what if anything they would have done differently. The answer I received was the same: I would have done more for myself. They were so guilt-ridden and cash strapped that they could not justify spending time or money on themselves. Everything was always for the kids. Now that their children are grown up and everything turned out ok, they wish they had invested more in themselves, enjoyed more of life, had more fun, and not worried as much as they had.

Women in general tend to be easy targets for guilt. They tend to feel guilty if they do not think they have done enough or done right by someone. They feel responsible for however something turns out, but it is usually related to what they didn’t do (e.g., stay in their marriage, spend enough time with their children, be a good a mother, etc.). This sense of responsibility is what feeds the guilt.

I have found that the men I work with, on the other hand tend to have guilt over what they did (e.g., were unfaithful, worked long hours, said something insensitive, made a bad decision, etc.). Men have action oriented guilt. Either way, guilt does the same damage. It is one of the most difficult crosses to bear and one where there does not seem to be an easy solution for.

What works for me when I feel guilty either about what I did or didn’t do, is to shift the way I look at the situation. When I believe that I am responsible for a certain outcome I don’t like that involves someone else, I focus on where my ego is in the moment. For example, when I believe that I am responsible for my children’s happiness, I am looking at the situation in an egocentric way. I am making it be all about me. Recognizing that, helps me let go the position I am stuck in.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself or your coaching clients to help them shift their focus when they are feeling guilt ridden about something:

1)    Is this about me? If not, then why am I making it be?
2)    What am I responsible for now?
3)    What is this really about?
4)    What are my choices now, or what can I do now to create an outcome I desire?

If you are feeling guilty about something you did or didn’t do and are struggling with forward movement in any areas of your life, you may want to work with a spiritual life coach. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute coaching conversation to determine if spiritual life coaching can help you get over your guilt.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Top 10 Apologies

Most of my clients are women. The women I work with are very self-aware and know what they’d like to change or improve. Sometimes, their self-awareness can backfire, especially, when it leads to excessive apologizing.

What makes women apologize for so much? Here’s my top 10 list of what women apologize for:

1)    Their choices/decisions
2)    Hurting someone’s feelings
3)    Their success
4)    Working long hours
5)    Not being more available to their children/spouse/parents/friends
6)    Not having a perfect family
7)    Not having a perfect home/house
8)    Spending too much money
9)    Not being a perfect mother
10)    Not doing more

If you are a professional woman and find yourself apologizing for any of these, you may want to consider working with a spiritual life coach. Spiritual life coaching can help you become more confident in your choices so you don’t have to apologize for being you. Contact me for a 30 minute complimentary coaching conversation to determine if this is for you.