Monday, October 25, 2010

Attention vs. Acceptance

This post is related to the previous post and regarding women waking up.  The women I work with are all high achieving professionals who are tired of playing the same games and achieving the same small results.  They are highly productive doers who refuse to do what others tell them to when it doesn’t make sense to do so.   In fact, they are here to change the way business is done.  They are intelligent women, engaged in whatever it is they do and understand how things work and are frustrated about how it just doesn’t make sense anymore.   Their engagement is a result of their attention.  They have attended to their accomplishments and broken with tradition either in their own family units, their ancestral lines, cultural norms, or society in general in order to get here. 

In the pauses that they take with me, we often speak of acceptance.  It is a new concept for them as it was and is for me.  Acceptance embodies a sense of non-doing which seems like the unnatural result of what one would expect if you are being highly attentive and engaged.  In other words, if I care, I must do something.  Caring and doing seem to go hand in hand.  Acceptance does not deny caring, in fact, it is the purest form of caring.  It is caring but not taking the responsibility for the object of your caring.

Acceptance is caring plus trust.

For example, if as a parent you are involved with your child’s education, you send them to the best schools you can afford, you help create an environment that is conducive to doing their school work, you encourage them and help them when they ask for it, you talk to their teachers, etc.  But ultimately, their success in school is up to them.  In fact, if you try to do more than provide the right environment and be interested, it can back fire.  Kids do not appreciate overly involved parents and need independence and to know that they are trusted.  This is an example of acceptance.   If the kid is not interested in doing well or is not pushing himself hard enough, you cannot beat it into him.  You accept.  Or do you?

An inauthentic form of acceptance is an act filled with empty words.  Our demeanor and attitude reflects our level of acceptance.

Sometimes we hide our egos in the guise of responsibility.  We claim that we are responsible for our children, our schools, our community and our country.  And really the motivating factor for our actions is always our ego.  It is about how we want to look or be perceived.  I want to be a good parent.  I want to be better than my parents.  I want to be there for my kids.  I want to offer my kids what I didn’t have growing up.  These enter our consciousness and all they are, are justifications for trying to control a situation that seems to be out of control. 

Acceptance is about allowing.  Can we allow our children to become who they want to be, even if that person is not someone we like or approve of?  Funny thing is , they don’t really know what they want.  So, can we allow them to be someone that they do not quite understand?  Can we live with that level of uncertainty when it comes to our most treasured assets, our children? 

Peace of mind is achieved with a healthy balance of “being” and “doing” that is sourced from “being”.  In other words, when you allow and accept, you pay attention and now can take action if needed.  When you show up being responsible for only you and to only yourself, you are a role model to others.  Your motivation for doing anything is not for control or for correction, but because it brings you joy.  And what better to model than that!

Questions to Ponder:
1)    When and what do you accept and allow?
2)    Who and what are you responsible for?
3)    What does the term acceptance mean to you?

If you are a highly accomplished professional and are finding yourself tired, hopeless, and disappointed in the quality of your life, your relationships, and the sacrifices you’ve had to make for your career, you might consider spiritual life coaching to connect with the bigger picture of your life in a safe, non-judgmental space.  If you would like to learn more about spiritual life coaching with me, please contact me for a complimentary consultation.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Awakening Women

I work with and encounter professional women in their late thirties into their early fifties.  Many are going through huge transitions, some are getting the itch to make a change, and others are just plain dissatisfied but don't know how to go about making the tough decisions.  I call them awakening women.  They are waking up from the dream of a life they have created but does not fit them anymore.  There are many of us and no, we are not crazy, hormonal, or imbalanced.  This is not just a phase, it is very real and is crying out for our attention.  We are finally stirred to wake up. 

Here is my top 10 list of signs of women waking up:

1.  They are taking all kinds of inventories (past friends, boyfriends, jobs, places they've lived, etc.)
2.  They consider or dream about running away
3.  They are overwhelmed by all the activity and expectations by others in their lives
4.  They are reading self-help and spiritual books, taking yoga and meditation classes, going to a therapist or a coach
5.  They start hanging out with their girlfriends more often
6.  They fantasize about a simpler life
7.  They tell themselves they have to do this for a few more years and then they'll do what they're really passionate about
8.  They realize most conversations bore them and they are not engaged in the day to day part of their lives
9.  They realize they are not fully satisfied with having it all
10.  They wonder what happened to the person they were years ago

Questions to Ponder:
1)  Do any of the signs above ring a bell for you?  Do you have signs of your own you'd like to share?
2)  How are you responding to your awakening?
3)  What gets in the way of expressing who you really are?

I would like to spend more time writing about this topic because I believe it is a huge opportunity for women to finally listen to the voice of their own soul and to create the life they consciously choose.  If you are tired of all the work you have done and continue to do, the struggle, the juggling, the stress, and have started to wonder about your own mortality and what your life is all about, you might consider spiritual life coachingSpiritual life coaching is a an open-ended process where you, the client decide what you want and with clarity and conscious choice move through obstacles that have held you back.  If you'd like to hear more and are ready to take the next step, contact me for a 30 minute phone consultation. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Perils of Multitasking

Nervous and apologetic , she was almost trembling as she spoke while scanning the room with her eyes.  I don’t think she was aware of how obvious it was.  She fumbled into her purse looking frantically for her keys while continuing with the conversation and scanning the room.  She stood up ready for us to leave and I was a bit worried that she might trip over something.  In fact, as distracted as she seemed, she warned me about the waiter who was coming my way.  I left her feeling exhausted and glad to be by myself wondering how she really felt.

This is the portrait of an extreme multi-tasker.  Her nervousness was probably part of her personality, but the distraction and lack of focus, yet total focus on everything else are what extreme multi-taskers are all about. They tend to over-commit and won’t say no to anyone.  They stay up into all hours of the night to get the job done.  They are a boss’s delight.  They keep their family’s appointments and make sure everyone’s needs are met.  They tend to neglect their own needs and desires.  With time, they forget they have any.

An extreme multi-tasker is on a path of self-destruction.  The destruction takes the form of a health crisis, failure of her marriage, or an accident.  Some use this time-out to regroup and change their ways, some don’t know how, so even though, their intentions are to change, they fall back into their old ways.  And some don’t know that anything needs to change at all, so they carry on as usual.
Extreme multi-taskers live life as if they have to cook Thanksgiving dinner for 20 all by themselves 24/7 every day.   Even the  calm multi-taskers become victims of stress, distraction and even alienation from others.  After all, who wants to be around someone who is always looking around for something else to do or take care of, and ignore the person they happen to be with.

Multitasking has become such a norm that if you do not admit that you are doing it, you are looked upon as lazy, incompetent, slow, or stupid.  The truth is no one is really multitasking.  If you zoom into what is actually happening, you will see that any one person can only do one thing at a time.  You may have many pots on the stove’s burners but at any one time, your attention is only on one pot.
I am all for the spirit of multitasking.  That means, I am all for preparing Thanksgiving dinner for 20 by myself, but I am not fooled into thinking that I can have all 4 burners going at once with the turkey in one oven and a pie in the other while making a salad and serving drinks.  That is not happening and cannot happen without something burning, getting over cooked, under cooked, or missing an ingredient!  You’ve heard of the texting while driving phenomenon, that’s a perfect example of why multitasking doesn’t work. 

So, why do we multitask?  We are expected to, we think we can, there’s a lot to do, others do it and so can we, etc.
Questions to Ponder:

1)    When and why do you multitask?  Does it work for you?  Has it ever not worked?
2)    Do you feel like you are giving a task or a project sufficient attention when you are multitasking?  Do you ever worry about the things you may have over looked?
3)    Do you wish you didn’t have to multitask?  If you didn’t have to, what would your life or work be like?

If you are stressed out by all the demands of your life and feel like you cannot multitask any more without crashing out, you may want to talk to a spiritual life coachSpiritual life coaching is a process where you, the client is in the driver’s seat at all times, determining where you’d like to go focusing on the goal you share with your spiritual life coach, CHANGE.  If you’d like to talk this over with me, please contact me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Top Ten Reasons Why People Stay Busy

I recently had a conversation with someone who had left the corporate world but had decided to get back in.  She was asking me if I had missed “it”.  When I inquired further, I began to understand the “it” she was referring to.  The addictive “it” was the busyness and passed down sense of purpose and identity that is the gift of going to work for a big corporation. 

She said she had missed not being busy, having a place to go every day, having her day planned out already, etc.  I had to agree that I missed some of “it” too.  And yet, I don’t think I could go back to living like that.

During our conversation she explained that as stressful as it was, it was easier in so many other ways.  And I started to see the parallels between what she was saying and busyness in general.  I admit not everyone feels that way about going to work, but ask anyone who hasn’t had to do it for a while, after the pay check, the part they miss the most is the “it” I have described below.
Here is the “it” as I see it.  I have summarized it as my top ten reasons why people stay busy.

1.    They feel important when they have things to do
2.    They are addicted to being busy
3.    It is accepted and encouraged that being busy is a good thing (cultural norm)
4.    It helps them feel like they are doing something and are needed
5.    It doesn’t give them time to think about what really matters
6.    It keeps them from getting bored
7.    It provides an excuse for everything they are not doing
8.    It makes the day go by faster
9.    It helps keep insanity, drama, and stress alive and in control
10.    It numbs the pain of whatever might have caused some pain in their life

I could go on and on, but I am blessed not to be busy in that way anymore.

Questions to ponder:

1)     Do you like being busy?  If so, what is the best thing about it?
2)    Can you remember a time when you were completely satisfied and fulfilled and were not busy?  What were you doing?
3)    What kind of busy do you like and enjoy?

Maybe you don’t have any idea what you need and are torn by the idea that being busy might not have served you well, even though you thought it was the way to be.  If you’d like to explore spiritual life coaching and how it might help you re-assess where you are and how you’d like to live, do not hesitate to contact me