In Praise of Shitty Days

Contrary to my usual way of being, I’ve had 2 or 3 days lately where I was off my game.  Depressed.  Abundant with negative thinking.  Shitty days, more or less.  Unusual to say the least…and that’s what made me stop and think.

I used to have a depressed or at least dysthymic (lightly depressed) mood more often than not.  It was one of those things that was so normal to my existence that I didn’t even recognize it as being less than optimal.  I just thought that’s how it felt to be walk the earth.

During that time I did spiritual work and therapy work.  Most recently in the past 10 years it’s been Zen meditation practice.  What has happened is that I got better in spite of myself.  I built up a critical mass of equanimity that surreptitiously leveled out my mood and general outlook.  I’ve been able to flip the script and become balanced enough during my daily life and I didn’t even notice it.

Until a shitty day arrived.

By contrast I was able to see how far I had come.  The crappy, depressed, dark mood was no longer normal.  In fact, had been go so long as to become unrecognizable in myself.  It felt weird.  It felt alien.  And then it occurred to me it’s because it had been gone for so long.  I had elevated myself out of the morass of negative thinking and the anxieties that go with it.  The soul sucking mental state had been drained of it’s black energy.

So I have to praise those shitty days and even welcome them back from time to time as benchmarks of progress into a more balanced and joyful existence.

Embody the Sparks of Your Ancestors

Last year we lost a great number of our cultural icons.  Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, John Glen, Muhammed Ali, Florence Henderson, Glenn Frey, Brenda Slawinski.  Ok the last one wasn’t a celebrity, she was a friend of the family, but the idea holds.

Our ancestors aren’t just family.  They are anyone who carried a light in them that we connected to, that lifted us up.  Their light called up parts of our highest selves encouraging us to be more.  Their sparks called to our sparks and we created a bonfire.  David Bowie taught me how to not fit in fabulously.  Carrie Fisher taught me how to be powerful and authentic.  John Glen taught me how to reach for the stars.  Brenda Slawinski taught me how to be a smartass.

Look to the ancestors you lost last year and find what spark they light up in you.  Be intentional about building that spark into a guiding light for others to see.  Remember, you are someone’s ancestor in the future and they need your sparks.

Remember the Awesomeness

I forget.  A lot.  I’m not talking about my keys or my wallet.  I forget how awesome I am. I do that pretty regularly.  When I forget I become a bubbling puddle of goo, not good for anything.  That’s what it feels like, anyway.  That’s when The Stress Ninja becomes the Big Schlub.  Can’t create content.  Got no clients.  Nobody cares…schlub to the max.  All. In. My. Head.

Then suddenly I remember.  I remember to pause.  I take conscious breaths.  I make a cup of coffee.  I wash the dishes.  I put on my favorite essential oil blend.  I cook lunch.  I walk outside.  I dance.  I look into my dog’s eyes.  My awesomeness comes flooding back in.  All. In. My. Head.

The shift is not in the universe, the shift is in me.  The universe’s only comment is ‘what took you so long?’

Big Schlub is a gremlin for me.  That’s why his initials are B.S.  He speaks bullshit to keep me puddled up.  Puddles don’t have responsibility.  They don’t have to change or do anything that makes them uncomfortable.  His superpower is like Morpheus’ sand in the Sandman comics.  It puts a Ninja to sleep.  

Schlub doesn’t have to work very hard.  He’s a one trick pony throwing sand and putting Ninja to sleep.  That sand says very specific things as it settles across my brain…”you’re not smart enough”, “you’re not good enough”, “nobody cares”.  This method works from the top down in terms of brain mechanics.  Thoughts drive down and create emotions.

Ninja has to wake up and work in reverse to overcome the brain fog of Schlub sleep.  But being a Ninja and knowing neurobiology, Ninja knows B.S. is working from the top down.  So Ninja works using bottom up strategies to address the limbic system first where emotions are generated.  That’s where the fire is.  As the fire burns upwards, it turns B.S. to ash.

Bottom up actions are nourishing.  They work from the foundation of your brain and generate restorative, wakeful thoughts.  You can develop nourishing actions for yourself by asking questions like “how would I comfort and calm someone if I could not speak?” or “how would I comfort a baby?”  These questions lead you to actions that have nothing to do with words.  These actions must be performed and shown.  A hug, a hot bath, music, take your vitamins, play with a coloring book, a cup of tea or coffee, inhale favorite essential oils, light a candle and focus on the flame, walk outside and watch clouds.

What are your favorite ways of showing yourself compassion until your awesomeness wakes up?  Comment below and let us know.  When you are forgetful, it can take a village to remember.

What is a Stress Ninja?

What is a Stress Ninja? It is someone who resonates with authenticity and groundedness. It’s a person whose mindset automatically places them at the cause rather than the effect of their life.  Ninjas find the best people, places, events, experiences and opportunities so they can jump all over those opportunities without fear or hesitation.  Stress ninjas also know when to rest.  They know when tactical observation is the best course of action.  They may be appear loud or quiet.  Rest assured, however a ninja presents themselves, the appearance is their choice.  Stress Ninjas don’t manage stress, they master it.  They master it by mastering themselves.

Each of us can do many things well.  Each of us may master some of those things. Mastering the art of yourself is one of the things that needs to be top of your list.  Knowing what motivates you is a valuable tool.  Knowing what inspires you and moves you forward is a masterful understanding.  Knowing what pisses you off and shuts you down is equally powerful.  A ninja knows all sides of an equation both favorable and unfavorable.  A ninja knows how to work with both.

We all have a unique makeup. That makeup, at its core, is perfect, and when we tap into our true core, our real gift to the world is revealed. Ninjas know the purpose of their gift is to give it away so they seek ways to make that happen.  They may appear loud or quiet when they do this.  Ninjas choose their appearance guided by their authenticity.  It is not necessary to be a powerful CEO or head of an awesome nonprofit organization.  For some ninjas, their superpower is skillfully taking care of those in their circle of influence no matter how small.

It’s not what you do that matters so much as how you do it. Mastery is about knowing who you really are, and how you express that in what you do.  A ninja’s expression may be awesome leadership or nestled in their protected cocoon.  A ninja knows what a ninja needs at any moment and takes action.

From worm to butterfly a ninja knows they are perfect.

Ninja Secret – Ninja awesomeness is work you do on the inside.

Ninja Empowerment tip – Involve someone else in your ninja work, be it coach or otherwise.  We all have blind spots and it takes others to make the work efficient as possible.

Goals Suck

So yeah, I said it, goals suck.  Not what you were expecting from a life coach.  If you need help getting over that, I’m a life coach, call me I can help. Let me start with today’s scenario to explain.  

I wake up today thinking I wanted to get work done on my coaching business.  What are my goals?  I’ve got to get a program together, work social media, build awareness, yadda yadda yadda.  Now I’m stressed.  My heart rate is up.  My brain is skittery.  Focus is the last thing I have and yesterday’s headache is today’s slow rolling drumbeat of doom.  I have slowly slid on the lenses of victimhood and the world is gray.  But whyyyyyy?  I have goooaaaallllssssss!

It’s because goals suck.  

I know your brain is going bonkers over the missing pieces here.  Let me help.

Goals suck when they float around without any foundation.  My goals were vehicles sitting on a road with no gas and no map.  My gasless goals were bricks.  (Unlike the days when I have goals with gas and no map…that’s bumper cars.)

First, I take a breath and pause.  Knowing how to make space inside your crazy head is a primary skill to learn.  You can’t dance on a floor strewn with furniture and legos.  I felt like Agador Spartacus in shoes…if you get that reference let me know and I’ll owe you a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Now I needed fuel.  Fuel comes from values.  If you don’t know what yours are, call me, we need to work together.  In relation to my predicament, my values are 1) be of service, 2) be authentic, 3) humor, 4) compassion, 5) be sustaining and sustainable, 6) keep it simple.  I had completely forgotten to check in with these and they are my top values in life, not just business.  

Next I needed the map my intentions provide.  Intentions grow out of values.  Intentions are what happens when values dream.  My intentions are to put my knowledge into product form so I know what I’m talking about when I tell people about my business.  

Now I have gas and a map.  Now I can look at destinations and start prioritizing.  I know where to focus my radar and begin picking up information so I can get focused. A goal forms and some destinations appear on the map.  Using my value of keep it simple, my priorities take shape and I know where to drive first.  

And today the Stress Ninja kicks stress’ ass.

PS Pro Tip:  I used my phone a friend superpower several times.  Community rocks in all aspects of the process.  There is no thing done with such difficulty as a thing done alone.

Happy National Coming Out Day, Ya’ll

I have been out of the closet for 29 years.  The journey has been long.  It has been rarely boring.  My tiara has a few jewels missing, but I still got my shine.

Some years I do a post about it, some years I don’t.  For a variety of reasons, I’m writing a blog post for it this time.  One of those reasons is I recently made a friend who is coming out and stepping into his truth at age 43.  Another is I was reminded it is the 18th year since Matthew Shepherd was left to die alone tied to a fence in rural Wyoming…I still cry at the thought and yes I’m crying now.

The reality is that between the extremes of stepping into the light and dying in the dark is where most of us spend our time.  Another reality is not reality at all.  It is an element of our culture that will tell you only the extremes exist, that life is cut from cloth of black and white.

The propagation of extremes can make some feel good and powerful but they are not the truth.  The need to carve life into only what can be predicted and judged comes from people with feet of clay.  Honey, you ain’t got time for that, you don’t got clay feet, you got rainbow wings.  Don’t believe the illusions.  Fly the middle path.  That’s where the truth is.

I’m here if you need me.

Start Where You Are

Start Where You Are

I have put on weight.  I’d like to make some excuse but fact is I’ve put on weight and it’s been a slow rolling explosion over the course of a couple years.  At first I ignored it, then I felt bad about it (read Beat Myself Up) and now its time to do something about it. 

Feeling Bad about it and it’s near neighbor, Beating Myself Up about it, have been two familiar faces in my life a lot over the years.  I know them well.  Doing Something about it is less regular but he’s been around too.  It’s time to get more familiar with him again, but Beating Up and Ignoring have made a baby called Lazy and I gotta deal with his ass and my own now.  They’ve both gotten large.

I was thinking about this from a coaching perspective and I felt stuck.  It’s always hardest to see the things you are closest to.  Especially stuff in ourselves I’ve fought with for years.  Then it hit me.  Was it an awesome coaching tool?  A profound process?  An ecstatic epiphany?  No.  It was common damn sense.

Start. Where, You. Are.  To be really honest it sounded in my head like ‘start where you are, bitch’.  The inside of my head is a joker.

That’s it.  Simple.  Simple is powerful.  Now if Simple were also easy, this blog would be over and I’d be out of a job.  Still feeling clueless, I pulled some cards.  That process helps me get a clarity that is uncluttered with my thinking and usually points me in the direction of whatever Universal energy I need to be tapping into or more likely is tapping me on the shoulder already.  I got Snake from the Medicine Cards and Trust from the Angel cards. 

Snake is the medicine of transformation in which you accept everything as it is, good, bad and ugly and make a change rather than let Beating Up have his way.  Trust is…well…you get it.  It is said that Miss Universe speaks in a wee small voice but if you don’t listen, Miss Universe screams.

So your tip for today is Start Where You Are.  My questions to you are, where are you? and where do you want to be?

Compassion Cooties

I want to be kind.  More importantly, I want to be compassionate. I want to be the person that makes others feel mcootiesore peaceful and settled just by sitting in the same space with me.  I think of compassion as kindness + 1.

I want be compassionate because it is the best possible, most clear, most sensi
ble action to take. The goal is not to be “good” or avoid Hell (whatever that is) or get extra points for Heaven (whatever that is). The goal is to have no goal and still be compassionate.

The meditation part comes in because it is during that practice of intensified mindfulness, I begin to penetrate down below what my everyday mind is attached to (it’s one of the cool side effects of regular mindfulness practice). I recently heard a talk by Shinzin Young in which he talks about the concept of “no self” as being like an old CRT monitor displaying a pure white screen. It’s white when I look at it with my naked eye, but if I put a magnifying glass up to it, it breaks down into the pixels of red/blue/green. So which is it? Red/blue/green or white? Well, it’s both, depending on my perception, so we could also say it is both and neither…or, to quote the Heart Sutra, “form is emptiness, emptiness is form.”

So when I penetrate deeply enough into my own mind, and see this to be true, the notion of being disconnected from other people, places, things falls away and true compassion emerges. And true compassion is contagious like a virus, it has an energy of its own. Can you imagine a world infected with compassion? Compassion cooties…go get some.

September Challenge

Howdy folks, it’s September, the land of pumpkin spice and slightly cooler weather.  Just so you know, here in Texas we only have 2 seasons…Hot and Not Hot…but we pretend it’s really four.  September is the the time my brain starts to shift into Fall mode even if the temperature isn’t quite going with me just yet.

When I start to feel fall in my bones, it makes me want to do something new or different.  A lot of times that means taking a class or starting a new project.  I decided today that this fall is going to be a little different.  My new project is going to be me.  I’m finishing my coaching certification class this month so rather than start something new, I’m going to take the things I’ve learned, add them to the things I know and create some kind of content every day for the month of September.  It might be a blog post, a video, a Facebook post…I don’t know what it will look like, I just know I’ve set my intention and I’m going with it.  Got a challenge for yourself this month?  Let me know what it is!

I’m going to jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down.

oh look, day 1 is done!