changing directions

•05/16/2011 • 1 Comment

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” ~ Jimmy Dean

I’m not even a quarter of the way through my sessions, but I’m seeing so much more clearly now. Seeing what I see now (I hate to say it) it’s time for a change.

I’ve been ramping up my resume, re-initiating contacts, refreshing my LinkedIn and Monster accounts. I’m obsessively checking Craig’s List for new job listings. My mind is spinning again with thoughts of discontent and worry. Why is it so hard to find something that even remotely looks like a job worthwhile spending 40+ hours a week doing? It has to be damn good enough to keep me busy and happy, not to mention, worth the time away from my kids. My beautifully-funny-amazing-growing-crazy kids. Oh, my god…I’m going to miss it all, aren’t I?

So I sit with this thought. And you know what I came up with? I. Can’t. Do. This. Anymore.

My time with my family is precious. They come first. I want to be here for them. I need to bring in a paycheck, but what I need even more is flexibility.

Yes, it’s time for a change.

There are two avenues I ponder. The first is teaching. The second, going out on my own.

Teaching… I graduated with an MBA in marketing six years ago. I was so inspired by my experience that I decided to make a new goal for myself: to someday teach college courses. Why teach? Because I want to inspire others. I want to share my knowledge and gain some in return. I want to coach and motivate those who want it and need it. I can’t think of a better way to do that than to teach. Why college? I want to work with students who truly want to be in school. Those that are working hard to make a better life. Those who need the help, motivation, and additional skills to make it out there in the “real world”.

Though my goal was to pursue a teaching career in another five to ten years, I’ve decided to move that goal up. Why not now? Seems to me that this is as good a time as any.

On my own… This is the scariest of avenues for me, but one that I think I will find the most rewarding: working for myself. Being my own boss. Controlling my own schedule, workflow, and clients. Saying it out loud makes me smile the biggest of smiles. I am hardworking, dedicated, and ready to take off. I know it’s going to take time and an abundance of hard work. But I can do this. After everyone that I’ve talked to recently, I know that this is going to be an exceptional avenue for me to take.

And so, I embark on a new adventure… who knows where these new paths will take me. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to get going! Wish me luck!!


session 3: meaningless façades

•05/05/2011 • Leave a Comment

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

My third session was eye-opening, in that very heart-wrenching and emotionally exhausting kind of way. I continue to discover so much about myself through this process – what I do, how I act… It appears that I was hopelessly disconnected with the person I had become. It literally takes another person, like Joy, to sit me down and help me sort through this mess.

I’m totally lost. I feel like a fraud. I’m hiding my feelings. I’m internalizing. I’m not speaking my mind. All of this is putting me in this agitated, aggressive state that is so not me.

“Why am I doing this?” This question taunts me and echoes through my head.

As if I had spoken out loud, Joy replies, “You’re busy trying to please everyone else.”

Being the unbelievable listener and observer that she is, Joy was quick to identify the façade I have been parading around for the world to see. She pointed out things like:

“You don’t say what you mean. You say what you think others would want you to say.”

“You’re smiling, but you’re not really smiling. Know how I can tell? The skin by your eyes naturally crinkles when you smile and your skin is not crinkling.”

Oh god. I’ve got some serious work to do. I know it, and Joy knows it.

Homework time… My assignment this week is to say what I mean, then log it. Yes, you got it. Keep track. This should keep me honest.

I’m totally lost in my thoughts again and a loud command smacks me right back into reality, “Wipe that smile off your face.”

Oh, come on now? I’m seriously fake smiling? Who does that?

Apparently I do, that’s who.

let it be

•05/02/2011 • Leave a Comment
“And when the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be. For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see, there will be an answer, let it be. Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.”
~ The Beatles

Like much of the world, I sat perched on the edge of my couch last night listening to the excited commentary on the news we have all been waiting for – Osama is dead. It’s been years in the making, yet here we are.

I first heard of the news via my phone – god, what in the world would I do without that thing?! My reaction was bittersweet – a mixture of happiness, relief, and anguish. Anguish because I still feel for all of those who lost their lives on 9.11 and the families they left behind. Anguish because I remember watching with horror-struck eyes as a plane hit the second tower. Anguish because it was the first time in my life that I truly felt unsafe.

I turned and told my husband the news. As I looked up at him, I saw the same happiness, relief, and anguish that I felt. Both our eyes were misty from tears that wouldn’t fall, because we should be happy. This chapter of terror is now closed.

Then a fresh wave of fear set in. Those inspired by Osama’s leadership are going to be mad as hell. What are they going to do? What is going to happen next? What will I do?

Let it be. This doesn’t sound like the right answer, but it is for right now. I’m learning this crucial coping technique from Joy. Practicing being in the moment seems to keep my mind from crafting endless “what if” scenarios that fill my head with dread, fear, and sadness. I don’t need that right now…I don’t need that ever.

I can’t control everything. I can’t control what is going to happen next. I can’t control the crazy out-of-their-head terrorists from hurting anyone else.

But I can let it be. I can take a deep breath, be in the now, and enjoy and appreciate what I have right in front of me.

session 2.1: center & breathe

•04/25/2011 • Leave a Comment

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

Today has been hard. Really hard. I run down the list of symptoms. Anxious? Yes. Depressed? Definitely. Headache? Hell yeah. I can’t quite put my finger on the reasons why, but I am on edge.

I detest these moments in my life. I don’t like the person that I am when I am in this state. I become short-tempered. I say things I don’t mean. I feel totally and needlessly out of control. For a control-freak like me, this state-of-mind does not work.

Worst of all, I don’t want to pass this behavior on to my kids. I want them to handle their issues and not-so-good moments with purpose – like they are learning something from those moments. The last thing they need to learn from me is how to internalize their feelings, which most often leads to a ridiculous amount of acting out. So very adult of me, right?

One of my homework assignments this week couldn’t have come at a better time. Per Joy’s request, I am to “center and breath.”

Joy had me try this out with her. The outcome was a-maz-ing! I couldn’t believe how much better I felt after a few deep breaths. I could feel my body loosen up. My mind became quiet and vacant. Even my shoulders began to relax – this for me is HUGE since they tend reside high and tight around my ears.

I am to repeat this practice every day, especially when I am triggered. My trigger is an easy one – each time my son runs for a book that he wants me to read, I will take that free moment to breathe.

Then there will be the other times…like today. And so, I find a quiet place to sit, close my eyes, center myself, and breathe. I fill my lungs up with as much air as they will tolerate. Instead of letting the air rush back out, I control it so that the flow is ever so slow. The effect is amazingly therapeutic.

So I do it again. And again. And again.

I open my eyes back up. If only I could take a nap. For a mom with two kids who is on 24/7, a nap is a rarity. However, I’m still feeling damn good.

With a renewed sense of peace, I stand up and enter back into my chaotic reality…stronger and calmer than ever.

session 2: learning lessons

•04/23/2011 • Leave a Comment

“Save me, I’m lost. Oh lord I’ve been waiting for you. I’ll pay any cost. Save me from being confused. Show me what I’m looking for.” ~Carolina Liar

I’m exhausted – physically and mentally. Not to mention that I’m feeling especially vulnerable. My emotions are completely shot. And this was only my second session.

A few things became so clear in my session. For one, I do not want to go back to work full-time. Not now. As much experience as I soaked up over the last several years, I left the corporate world feeling uninspired, stressed out, and unhappy. This is certainly not the type of person I want my kids to aspire to be. Quite the opposite, actually. Speaking of kids…spending time with them has given me a new appreciation for life. I want to be there for them. I don’t want to have to call in sick every time there is a school play. I don’t want to have to call in “late” because I want to walk my kids to school. They need me and I want to be there. As much as I want to work and have something for myself, I also need flexibility and control over my own schedule.

Two. I do not give myself any priority. None. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Joy hit me with a question that really made me wince, “What are you doing for you? Solely Heather.” I responded in such a canned way that it made me realize that I really don’t give myself priority. I read, I go out once a month with my friends, I try to work out and don’t really…oh, and I’m trying to encourage my husband to get out more. Wait. What? See what I mean…not so much about me. I guess I’ll need to work on that.

And finally, the killer. “I get the sense that you are trying really, really hard to present an image to me and I want to talk about that. You’re very self-contained and I don’t necessarily think that is who you are.” Uh-oh…and ouch. Joy was right. After much discussion and many tears I realized one of the reasons why I do this.

Something in my past continuously pops up for me. When I was a kid, my next-door neighbor passed away. She was like another grandmother to me. The morning she died, I watched as paramedics pulled her out of her house on a gurney and placed her into the back of an ambulance. That was the last time I saw her. At her memorial, I was so overcome with emotion that I cried. It was the kind of sobbing that big, slobbery tears and snorting consist of. Part way through the service, my mom turned to me and told me to stop. I’m sure in that moment, she thought I was “overdoing” it and she didn’t know what else to say to make me feel better. But I was sad…really sad. And I didn’t know how else to channel my sadness. I’ve never forgotten or fully let go of that moment. Maybe now is a good time.

Keeping it cool as always, that lovely voice across from me spoke again and pulled me back into reality. “I don’t want you to be anything but who you are.”

Thanks Joy. I have no words to express my gratitude.

homework complete

•04/19/2011 • Leave a Comment

Give thanks for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow. ~ Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros

It’s been a crazy week of firsts for me… first coaching session, first set of homework assignments, and the first time I’ve really taken a look at myself and what I want. This is my version of life rehab after all.

As you may have already figured out, there is no such thing as “prepping” for my next session. This isn’t like school where you can procrastinate and do your homework at the very last second. Well, I guess I could, but I wouldn’t benefit much. Which really is the whole point to this coaching thing. That being said, I did my homework.

I cleaned up only once a day. I thought this was a preposterous request, but it turned out not to be so bad. By the end of the week I actually felt good about this assignment. It really did give me more time to my day. The fact is that I used to clean up while my kids were playing with their toys. (Saying this out loud just sounds bad!!) No cleaning allowed them to get their play on without any interruptions from (uh-hem) yours truly. Brilliant!

The no t.v. assignment was actually a good one for me too. I have to admit that I tuned in for about 30 minutes a day just to get my daily news fix. Otherwise, my husband and I actually talked (what?! yes, that’s right!) and struggled through a 1,000 piece puzzle (which turned out to be too much for our tired eyes to handle). I also read a book. A big-girl adult book no less. Big words, juicy details, and exciting plot lines that I just couldn’t seem to tear apart from. This assignment made me realize how much I love to read!

Reciting “I am enough.” I have to say that I completed the assignment though it was tough for me to do. Most of the time glassy, tear-filled eyes looked back at me from somewhere in the mirror as I performed this three-times-daily ritual. This one is going to take some more work. I’m not quite at the point where I actually believe these words… yet.

Journaling was by far my most therapeutic assignment. I can already tell that this is where I am going to dig deep and discover what truly makes me tick. You would think I know by now, but I kind of feel like I am meeting myself for the first time. My book, as I call it, records all that happened this week, where I was, and how I felt through it all. Writing got my creative juices flowing and I found myself jotting down ideas for everything from website ideas to inventions for a new kids’ toy.

I’m looking forward to seeing Joy. I have so much to share with her this week!! And, yes, my homework is complete.

session 1.3: homework?!

•04/11/2011 • Leave a Comment

“You get what you give. What you put into things is what you get out of them.” – Jennifer Lopez

Homework… remember the good ole days in school when you could make up every excuse in the book as to why you didn’t complete your homework assignment? There were the classics like, “my dog ate it” and “I forgot.” One of my favorites is, “I just gave it to you.” Hmmm… somehow we knew that our teachers were a lot smarter than this, yet we excused ourselves anyways. What was your favorite line?

I was flabbergasted when I received homework from Joy. I shouldn’t have been, as it makes perfect sense for the process. Yet, here I was, surprised as hell to be receiving my first set of assignments. Yes, I said set. Not just one homework assignment, but a list. Damn.

  1. Journal every day – Ok… I can do this. And I can completely understand why I should.
  2. Clean-up only once a day – For us perfectionists this is PURE TORTURE! I can only imagine myself writhing in pain trying to keep from picking up the endless piles of toys and books. Ugh!! Joy’s point of the assignment? Finding more time in my day. Alright – good point.
  3. No T.V. – WHAT?! Considering that I use this medium to unwind and completely tune out the world when the kids are in bed, I freaked! However, the angle on this assignment was to spend more quality time with my husband doing things together. “Build a puzzle,” Joy said nonchalantly. “Or talk… or do other adult things.” Uh, huh. I get it.
  4. Repeat “I am enough” in the mirror three times a day (or more) – Ohhhhh. The mere mention of this assignment sent me into a tizzy of nervous giggles. I’m not sure I can do that. It took all that I had to keep my giggles and tears to a minimum just to say these words in front of Joy.

It is going to be a rough week. But as a true believer of what you put into things directly correlates to what you get out of them, I think I will benefit – some way, some how.

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