Tag Archives: change

Week 20 – Finding Stacy…in Finding Joe

I feel like things are coming together in a natural progression.

Last week I wrote about how we should Live This Day as if It’s Your Last.

So how fitting is it that I watched the movie “Finding Joe” again, and heard these words:

No matter how long you live, life is ultimately short.  It only matters how you showed up, and how courageous you were.

I am usually reminded of how short life is when I lose someone I care about.  And now I am reminded that because life is short, we must show up and be courageous…it’s how we live that matters most.

Finding Joe is one of those movies that you will gain new perspectives with each viewing.  It is filled with thought-provoking concepts, as well as stories of pain, encouragement, and inspiration.

HeroesjourneyIt’s about The Hero’s Journey, a concept popularized by Joseph Campbell, which is the blueprint for nearly every movie ever told.  And it’s the outline of nearly every story…including the story of YOU.

It’s better to have a story than an explanation…it’s richer.

If you watch the movie with an open mind and an open heart, you will find yourself in Finding Joe.

I certainly did.

Here are some of my favorite take-aways from the movie:

  • Being the hero of your own life means being responsible for your own adventure.
    When standing in the face of adversity, you can surrender to victimhood, you can give your responsibility to someone else (i.e.:  ‘tell me what to do and I’ll do it’) or you can say “I have a choice here, and I’m responsible.
  • “Death moments” in stories don’t necessarily mean the end of one’s biological and physical existence…it’s an indication that change is taking place.
    If there is no death, there is no life.  If there is no death, there is no transformation.  If there is no death, there is no change.  We must get rid of things in our lives that do not serve us, and make room for things that will help us grow and thrive.
  • When you follow your bliss, the universe will open doors where there were only walls.
    Joseph Campbell tells us to “Follow Your Bliss.”  What IS “bliss?”  Bliss is listening to your heart and following the truth.  It is the thing you can’t not do…it is your authentic journey.  But how do we FIND our bliss?  We find our bliss by reflecting on what we are passionate about…by what activities we get involved in and HOURS pass away.  Our bliss is what we love to do.  It’s not about money.  Ask yourself:“If I had all the money and time in the world…what would I do?”

  • If you bargain your life away for security NOW, you will NEVER find your bliss.
    Your bliss may not always lead to a financial success…but it WILL lead to a personal success.  And the very fact that you’re LOOKING for your bliss means that you’re in the process of GETTING to your bliss.
  • We all have gifts, talents, hopes, dreams, weaknesses, and lessons in our lives.
    Start looking for your gifts and talents.  Try things you’ve never done before.  If there are things you wish you’d done, but never did, go do them.  Take different routes to work.  Talk to different people.  Put yourself out there.  But don’t anticipate what you’ll find.

  • People don’t follow their bliss because of fear.
    Fear of what people will think of us is the biggest inhibitor of people finding their bliss.  The reality is that YOU make the DECISION to hold yourself back.  We all have a choice, and we must remember…
  • Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.
    When we are challenged, we are being presented with a “dragon” we must slay.  These dragons make us feel like we can’t have or can’t do certain things.  When we are face-to-face with these dragons, we are face-to-face with our fears…and we must conquer them.
  • We must have the COURAGE to proceed in the face of fear.
    Courage is knowing what you need to do…and doing it.  Courage is getting up and trying again.  Courage is exploring the unknown and expanding our comfort zone.  Because when we can SEE our fears, the death of fear becomes certain.  It’s OK to be scared…as long as you DO the thing that scares you.
  • The best, most rewarding moments come after a struggle.
    When we are in an uncomfortable situation, all we can think is “how do I get out of it?”  The answer is to surrender.  Stop fighting the situation, and face it.  You can slay your dragon and come to terms with the fear…or you can LOVE your dragon.  When you love your dragon, you’re no longer engaged in the fight and you’re open to the rewards that are coming to you.
  • The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
    It’s about loving and accepting yourself for who you are.  It’s about healing the gap between your unlovable self and your lovable self.
  • We can ALL be heroes.
    The Hero’s Journey is a never-ending cycle.  What the hero brings back is a story…which becomes an invitation for others to take the journey.  Giving back the essence of the journey is the ultimate end to the hero’s journey.

Speak through your life…your life is the story…you’ll change lives.

Week 17a – I’m Dying a Little

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.  I’ve been struggling to keep up with the group in MKMMA.  I had trouble doing all the daily exercises.  And for some reason I felt alone, sad, and even a little lost.

Well, come to find out that’s NORMAL!

Lately I’ve been seeing my unique flaws more so than my gifts.

What I didn’t know then — and I thankfully know now — is that these “flaws” are my call to greatness!

My feelings of isolation, sadness, and loss are a result of the “old” me dying on the inside, and my subconscious struggle to let go of that “old” self and allow space for the “new” self to enter.

But that transformation isn’t easy…I am subconsciously hanging on to my “old” self and resisting change.  My “old” self wants to fight for self-preservation…even though I consciously want the changes to occur.

And so, the struggle begins.

There are 4 Stages of Death:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Grief
  4. Acceptance

Throughout the process, I have never felt anger, so that’s not it.

In the past few weeks I have felt sadness and loss, so grief may play a part.

But I am stuck in Denial.  I know this because I haven’t been as committed to the exercises as I have been in the past.  To be here — especially at this point in the game — and NOT be here 100% is to be in Denial.  And, since harmony is a requirement, I must commit to change.  And I commit to that change consciously…and just have to wait for my subconscious to catch up.

There’s a story about how to catch a monkey:

You put a banana in a jar with an opening just large enough for the monkey to put his hand in.  When the monkey grabs the banana, his fist is too large to remove his hand and the banana from the jar.  So the monkey is “trapped” by the banana and gets captured.

Just like the monkey, we humans can get “trapped” by our thoughts and beliefs.  We get stuck and don’t see a way out, when in reality all we need to do to get unstuck is to change our thoughts and beliefs.

If we wish to change our thoughts and beliefs, we must give ourselves permission to be happy, and we must learn the art of forgiveness.  Forgiveness relieves depression, anger, and hate.  Forgiveness frees the mind.  So if you can forgive then you can be free.

Drop the banana.  Be free.

story_monkey_jar

Week 17 – Being YOUnique

Now that we’re in Week 17 of our 26-Week Master Key Journey, we are nearing our “destination” of a new self.  And we’ve been advised that temptations may arise to slip back into our old habits.

As a result, Paul Simon’s “Slip Sliding Away” has been running through my head all week.  I haven’t been able to get it out of my head!

Perhaps it’s because we ARE nearing our destination, and perhaps it’s because it has been a challenging week for me on a person level.

While there is much to be thankful for about my present, recent events have reminded me of feelings of sadness, loss, and isolation…especially because I’ve been reading:

Since the beginning of time never has there been another with my mind, my heart, my eyes, my ears, my hands, my hair, my mouth.  None that came before, none that live today, and none that come tomorrow can walk and talk and move and think exactly like me.  All men are my brothers yet I am different from each.  I am a unique creature.  I am nature’s greatest miracle.
~ Og Mandino

These words have spoken to me this week.  Not in a subtle, quiet, whispering voice, but a loud, booming, in-your-face voice that forced me to stand up and pay attention.

Why?

My whole life I’ve felt out of place.

Different.

As a young child I wasn’t allowed to play with the kids in my neighborhood because we “lived in a bad part of town.”  I went to a private school, and none of the kids that went there lived near me.  (I refer you back to the fact that we lived in a bad part of town.)

So I was isolated.  I was alone.  Books, music, and TV were my friends.  (Perhaps that’s why I think in songs and movie quotes, and tend to sprinkle them into conversation often.)

Even though my family later moved to a “good” part of town, I never got past those feelings of isolation and being different.  (I also never got past quoting books, music, and movies…but that’s not the point.)

Throughout high school, college, grad school, and even to this very day I’ve always felt like “there’s no one like me.”

I think different.

I act different.

I AM different.

I could have embraced my uniqueness…

…but I didn’t.

Instead I felt left out.  Isolated.  Alone.

Many times I was made to feel like my uniqueness was odd, weird, or just plain wrong.  To quote a “classic” phrase from my youth, I felt like people were essentially saying:

Well, because these feelings have been bubbling up this week, I’ve been flipping through my “flash cards” more often, and you know what?

It’s made me realize I Don’t Give a Damn About My Reputation, because I am Whole, Perfect, Strong, Powerful, Loving, Harmonious, and Happy.

I am ME.

And I am UNIQUE.

 

Week 16 – A “Kind” Makeover

I’ve had plenty of makeovers over the years…

Several different makeup looks, different hairstyles, new wardrobes…

These makeovers are typically passive.  By that I mean you just show up and let the experts work their magic on you.

But the 13-Week “Total Personality Makeover,” is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!  This makeover requires awareness and action…it’s anything but passive.

Our makeover is modeled after a concept in Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography about heightening your virtues by becoming aware of these virtues, both within ourselves and the world around us.

You can read how Benjamin Franklin conducted his “makeover” – in his own words – here, or just read on for our “new and improved” version:

Make a spreadsheet with the days of the week across the top as column headings and each row heading will be a characteristic or trait to focus on for the week.

Now, pick a characteristic or trait to focus on for the week.  For this week, everyone in our group was focused on “kindness.”

Are You Ready? … Get Set … GO!

Put your antennae up and recognize every time you exhibit that trait or observe it out in the world.  The thought is that the more you see and do an act of kindness, the more you will receive, and kindness becomes a more natural part of who you are.

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Every time you perform an act of kindness – or observe one – you put a dot in the square for that day.

Do at least 2 random acts of kindness a day…without getting caught!  (It’s not as easy as it sounds!)

I made a game out of it to increase my numbers every day (I’m pretty competitive).

If you go through this process with enthusiasm and treat it as an experience rather than an experiment you will notice some wonderful things happening both within – and around – you.

I had three main takeaways this week:

  • The more acts of kindness I performed, the easier – and more exciting! – it was to perform more.
  • The feeling behind the kindness lasts far longer than the act itself.
  • An act of kindness rarely exists in a vacuum.  It may set off a “chain reaction of kindness” with the recipient “paying it forward” to another.  Or it may inspire someone – especially children – nearby to do the same.

What’s one example of an act of kindness you performed or observed this week, and how did it make you feel?

Week 6 – Sliding Backward: Serenity vs Love

file00016079529On the path to growth, there are many steps we take.  Some are baby steps that we may take for granted because they are easy.  (And if it’s easy, it can’t possibly be propelling us toward growth, right?)

Other steps are steep and slippery.  These are the steps we’re hesitant to take, because they take us outside our comfort zone.  We tread lightly, for fear that we may get hurt.

I experienced some of those slippery steps of growth this week.

With everything going on in my life, I reached a breaking point and my stress level was at an all-time high.  Selling a house is stressful.  Being involved in the selling of TWO houses is exponentially more stressful.  Preparing to buy a house is stressful.

Now add a frantic call from my Realtor, who let me know there was a BIG roof leak — during the home inspection for the contract on my house, for a leak that JUST got repaired last week…

and…

KABOOM!

weee 300ppiI slide into old habits.  And I don’t mean I “took two steps forward and one step back.”

Oh, no!  I got on the BIG slide!

You know the one…the slide where you spiral out of control at 100 mph until you hit the wall at the bottom like a ton of bricks.

Yep.  That’s me!  WHEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My kitchen ceiling is sagging.  Water is rapidly dripping onto my flooded floors.  My chairs are ruined.

My head is spinning.  Smoke is coming out of my ears.  My eyes are popping out of my head.  Yep.  I hit the wall, all right!

I felt like a character in the Seinfeld episode where everyone yells:

“Serenity Now!”

Ah, yes…SERENITY NOW!

Such a far cry from what we’re learning from Og right now…

I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart.

How can I possibly greet this day with love in my heart???

What if this roof leak kills the sale?

How much is this fiasco going to cost me?

Financially?

Emotionally?

What will I do if the buyer backs out?

Serenity Now!

I’m making myself crazy over this, and I accelerate on my path down the slide…

My old habits are giving me a nice, comfy landing space for my emotions.  Only this time, after hitting the wall and landing with a giant SPLAT!, I realize that this place I know oh-so-well doesn’t feel so good.  It feels different.  It doesn’t feel like “home.”

I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart.

Now, I can’t say I feel completely at ease with this statement, either…yet.  (I’m hopeful!)

I kept repeating this phrase to myself (sprinkled with a few Serenity Nows for good measure), and it seemed to help give me the courage to pick myself up, dust myself off, and continue on throughout the day.

To my surprise and delight, later that day my boyfriend told me how well I handled the situation.  WOW.  Really?  I guess I AM changing…and others are taking notice.  That’s a really good feeling.

And do you know what else is a really good feeling?

The leak is fixed, and the buyer is still on board.

Ah…now THIS is serenity!

I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart.

After all, I have MANY reasons to love the day!!!