The oatmeal is always greener

I’m serving clients this week, receiving and crafting their stories, so my mind is a little preoccupied when it comes to writing my own. So…

I pulled this one from the archive of my first blog… The one I shared with only six people.

You might think I’m exaggerating but I’m not. For three years I blogged for the benefit of six people. I guess you could say, I’ve come a long way. 😉

Anyway, I wrote this when Aidan was only a few months old. Still feels poignant.

I hope you enjoy…

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It’s amazing how early it starts.

The other day, Aidan was sitting with me on the couch. He had access to three of his favorite toys; a clear, plastic cup; all the other toys inside his toy bag; the toy bag itself; two favorite books; a frozen teether; and a dish towel… All treasured play objects.

So what did he do?

Over and over and over, he tried to clamber past me to get to a bowl of oatmeal on the table next to me. A bowl of oatmeal I wouldn’t let him have.

Isn’t that just so typical?

I don’t mean of babies. I mean of humans! With a couch full of wonderful things we love, and can have, we choose instead to clamber for the thing we can’t.

What is that about?

You know what I’m talking about…

The really great guy/girl we’re ignoring because we want the one who doesn’t know we’re alive. The good job that barely registers because it isn’t what we thought we’d be doing. The satisfying life that goes unappreciated because so-and-so has such-and-such and we don’t, or because something isn’t what or how we imagine it should be.

The grass is always greener, right?

I remember being up in the tree in Charmlee Park, minutes before I fell, having climbed to a spot that looked really appealing, only to spy another spot, a bit below me that looked even better somehow. I clambered down (must have that spot), got myself situated, discovered that I felt no different than I had in the previous spot, and then the branch broke.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive to better ourselves and our lives. I’m all for self-improvement and conscious evolution. It just seems like, sometimes, we waste a lot of good chasing what might be better.

It reminds me a little of the first years I was injured.

I was pretty focused on recovery, trying all different kinds of therapies, trying to get my head in the right place. And it wasn’t a useless effort, even if it didn’t lead to walking. But if I had kept it up, I might have missed out on a really wonderful life, the one that was readily available just waiting for me to live it.

Now, that might have been a different story if I LOVED the recovery effort, if that was the path of my joy. But it wasn’t. I was chasing what I used to have, how I thought it should be.

I don’t fault myself for doing that, of course. And I’ll be mighty happy if what I’ve lost ever comes back. But there was SO MUCH goodness right where I was, right where I am. And once I stopped chasing, I was able not only to appreciate what I already had, but to dive in and relish it, to feed it and make the most of it.

One of the smartest things I’ve ever done.

I tried to tell Aidan, every time I scooped him up mid-clamber and re-deposited him on the other side of the couch, that he’d be a lot happier if he learned to enjoy the things around him instead of coveting what he can’t have. Didn’t work. And I don’t expect it will for awhile. What’s the toddlers’ motto? MINE!

But someday, I hope he’ll get it. I hope he’ll learn to take a look around and see what’s already there for what it’s really worth… and treasure it.

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I’m doing what scares me most… For Prince

Yesterday, like about a million other people, I was stunned to hear that Prince had died, and it’s hitting me pretty powerfully.

It’s not really about fandom. I do love a great deal of his music, but I never went to a Prince concert. I don’t own every album.

No, the loss I feel is bigger than that.

I don’t necessarily mean deeper, and certainly not “more” in the generic sense… Just wider.

In fact, it’s almost unnameable. I don’t have a word that can get around what feels lost, no container that alone can fit it all in… Like Prince, himself, it cannot be contained.

As best as I can sum it up, it’s the gargantuan talent + the equally large personality + the ferocious commitment to living his own life, by his own rules, to hell with what others will say (and do say, very loudly)… It’s the willingness to put it all out there, fail occasionally, sometimes in grand fashion, and get… backup. To put it out there yet again, believe again, risk again, commit again… And in so doing, become an ever expanding, ever brightening talent/star/beacon/light/human/soul/gift.

That’s what feels lost. This particular, uniquely beautiful, and shining example of all that.

And that’s what I aspire to be.

Not Prince, the music, the ruffles, the purple, the controversy… Not Prince as he expressed it. But Prince as I would.

The Shero’s Way says every loss or challenge is an opportunity to become more of who we are. And it always comes down to the same question. So, I have to ask…

Who am I willing to become?

Prince wasn’t my friend; he wasn’t my loved one. He wasn’t even the center of my musical spectrum. But he doesn’t have to be any of that. He only has to be who he is. And all I have to do to activate this opportunity is let him be that. All that. Open myself to the wave I feel moving through me, the vibratory shock that has no name and let it shake me up. Not turn away or dismiss or deny or find a way to dial it down…

Who am I willing to become?

I know the question has hit home because my stomach is turning and I want to slam my computer closed. Not in grief or despair – which wouldn’t be true to who Prince is for me. But in fear. In resistance.

The truth is, I know exactly who I aspire to be, what “ever expanding, ever brightening” looks like for me. And sitting here, I know that taking the sheroic opportunity presented by Prince’s death means embracing who I aspire to be.

That’s the answer to the question. I am willing to become who I aspire to be.

The problem is, in order to do that, I have to do what absolutely scares me the most… I have to tell you about it.

“What are you thinking???” squeals the protective part of me. “Run! Hide!! For God’s sake, shut up!!!!”

But you see, that’s where that part of me has it wrong. It’s for God’s sake I’m about to open my mouth.

I didn’t ask to have certain abilities. I didn’t ask to desire certain things. I came into this life, my soul’s intentions unknown to me, and things unfolded and innate skills got honed and desire arose… And it was all a messy, largely unconscious, but maybe, ultimately, elegant process.

Where do you think that came from? Some clever ego? Believe me, I’m not that clever. And for the record, I’m asking myself far more than I am asking you:

Where do you think that came from?

From God, you silly. The place inside that is God in you. The place that speaks from your soul’s desire, your soul’s purpose.

And now this ___________ has died (still don’t have a word), and the Shero’s Way is my tao, and I can’t in good faith – in fact, I don’t want to – reject this opportunity.

So I will tell you…

I aspire to stand in front of huge audiences and reflect this gorgeous, heartbreaking world that I see, to celebrate the complicated truth of us and champion our exquisitely imperfect beauty. I aspire to stand in the Shero’s Way as it’s revealed to me, as it unfolds in me, and offer its gifts of empowerment. I aspire to lift us up. All of us. Not on my little blog, or to a couple thousand people on Facebook. I mean to everyone, the whole, wide world, to anyone who cares to hear. I mean — and this is the part that’s really, really hard to say — to millions.

I don’t think it’s pride or ego, believe me or not. I think it’s because, it’s what I’ve been given. And all I’ve ever wanted – I remember distinctly writing this in my hospital journal, newly paralyzed – is to give the gifts I was given.

So there it is. No longer tucked away in the safe quiet of my heart. Available now for stomping. 😉

And honestly, if you must, you must. It’s actually really ok.

Big names, big companies, and lots of average Joes stomped all over Prince… And look what he made. Look what he gave.

Any stomping, in the end, is just another catalyst. Another opportunity.

So, my secret is out. I want to be Prince, if he was female, paralyzed, a writer and speaker, on a mission to heal the world.

And I’m so grateful for his example.

Prince’s death is really sad to me, and the loss still feels unnameable. But now, it also feels worth something… Something really important.

That is how it should be. No loss should ever be in vain.

So whether it’s Prince or some other loss for you, recent or long ago…

Who do you aspire to be?

Who are you willing to become?

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Today is the last day to say YES to Your Shining Signature Story. I’ll ask again: Who do you aspire to be? And who are you willing to become?

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The art of failing (as taught by my toddler)

For the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking about when my son was learning to walk. I have this picture in my mind:

He’s standing near Reba’s bed, eyeing the coffee table across the living room. I can see that he has set his sights on the toys stored under the table. He’s a bit wobbly standing there… and then he goes. He takes two steps and — PLUNK – falls down. He doesn’t look at me (a clear sign he doesn’t need me in that moment); he simply plants his hands and then his feet on the ground, his butt in the air, and stands up. He takes another couple of steps and down he goes again. Over and over, he does this. Sometimes he falls simply. Other times, more spectacularly. He never cries, never gets frustrated. He just gets back up and starts again, every time. After four or five tries, he makes it to his toys, plops onto his butt, and reaches for a garbage truck.

I am amazed.

It’s not his persistence or success that amazes me. It’s his equanimity. He never seems disappointed or discouraged, no matter how many times he goes down. He never hesitates to get back up. He is completely unfazed by all that falling.

It’s as if he takes it for granted. He expects to fall down. Or, if he doesn’t expect it, he surely accepts it.

Oh, if we grown ups only had such a graceful relationship with failure.

If we could remember that falling is an inevitable part of learning to walk; that there is no shame in being a learner; that all we have to do is decide where we want to go, let our desire propel us, and get up and start again after we fall… how many little garbage trucks would we be holding, now, in our pudgy, sweet hands?

There are three more days to take advantage of the Your Shining Signature Story coaching service. Three more days to say yes to making more meaningful connections at networking events. Three more days to have me WRITE YOUR STORY FOR YOU!!

Info and purchasing here.

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That “special something” I promised

Can I just tell you what a joy it is to be in this relationship with you?

Two weeks ago, I was at that awards luncheon… and I watched my story act as a mighty connector… and I got reminded how valuable our stories are for making meaningful connections with the people who matter to us… and I thought of you… because YOU matter to me… and I thought of everything you could have, be, and do if you could have easy access to your most meaningful stories… and I asked you about it, and you said, “Yes, please”… and with my heart all happy, I pulled together some of my best skills and put them in a pretty package… and now I get to offer it to you, and make myself available in service to your great, big, beautiful, shining story… So YOU can connect with the people that matter to you…

… And if I were a dog, my big ol’ tongue would be hanging out of my mouth!

So thank you. Thank you for letting me give the best of me in service to you. It makes my world complete. 🙂

All right. For you gals in business, here is your “special something,” an easy and immediate way to harness the power of your story in service to your business. I’m only offering it this week, so take a look soon! I’m so eager to see you shine.

And for you who are not in business, I heard from a lot of you the desire to explore and tell your stories, for the benefit of connection with everyone who matters. I’m dreaming up a very different “special something” for you. More details in the coming weeks.

When I first started telling my stories, I never imagined where they would take me. I hardly dared to even dream of YOU. Gotta give a nod to paralysis for that. It closed a few doors, but it opened so many more.

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Life got “brutiful”

So, last week I posted a story about being at a networking event and rediscovering (duh!) the mighty connective power of our personal stories. Did you catch it?

Well, it caused quite a stir. Lots of comments and excitement, from folks both in business and not.

I LOVE when that happens, when what I’m experiencing turns out to be a reflection of what so many others are experiencing. I mean, really, that’s why I write (share/speak/perform). So we can all see ourselves and each other more clearly. So we can connect.

Clearly, I’m not the only one to whom that appeals. Many of you responded with varying versions of, “Yes, yes, I want that!” And I was thrilled to carry on with my plans to help you have it.

Then on Friday (the day after I posted), I got a call from a friend — my best friend for almost 20 years, from whom I’ve been somewhat estranged — telling me she had just entered hospice.

Womp.

Complicated conversation; complicated relationship; complicated connection. Healing, jarring, heartbreaking, disorienting… And yes, connective, though not on account of our stories, just from speaking our heart’s truth like we might not ever be able to again.

Then the next day, I went to a celebration of life for another friend in hospice. An exquisite gathering of love and honoring, but also so, so painful. I don’t have a word for that particular mix but Glennon Doyle Melton does: brutiful. It was definitely brutiful.

By Sunday, I felt more liquid than solid, which was a good thing. I wanted, more than anything, to just be present with it all, let it move in, around, and through me, which is easier to do when you, yourself, are fluid.

It was Family Day, the one day of the week when Dean, Aidan, and I are together from eyes open to eyes closed. And that was a good thing, too. Because there is nothing that fills me and feeds me like time with this sweet family of mine. We ordered food from one of our favorite restaurants, then drove to one of the many wilderness areas in the middle of LA, a place I used to hike all the time in the ten years prior to being paralyzed. And there we ate and walked and looked at ducks and turtles and fish, and played and learned at a nature center, and revisited the little amphitheater where Aidan’s mama did a play with his mama and papa’s theater company.

And coming into Monday, I just wanted to serve. To do what I do. That’s where my ground is, where all the too-big parts of life find their place and I’m able to dance with the complexity, to rejoice in the big, beautiful, brutiful experience of being alive, and connect… with you.

Which brings me back to last week’s post and, particularly, to you who are in business.

The enthusiasm with which many of you received my mention of a “special something” to help you harness the power of your story made me SOOOOOO happy.

Can I tell you why?

It’s not because we might work together or I might make some money (though both of those are super fun). It’s because there is nothing more thrilling than providing value.

I really, REALLY want you to shine. I want you to do more of what you do, and it sounds like you want that, too. So, yea! Super happy.

Regarding providing value…

I want this program to be actually special, not special just because I say or think so. I want it to meet you where you are and deliver you where you want to be. I want you to feel excited (if a bit nervous). And, most of all, I want you to feel relieved. I want you to read about it and feel your body relax, knowing that you’re getting just what you need, in a package that feels delicious, fun, and easy.

So, I’m wondering… Will you help me give you that?

If you read last week’s post (or if your interest is piqued now) and you thought, “Oooo, I’m curious about that,” I wonder if you’d fill out a short survey for me. I want to know more about what you’re hoping for, what would really support you in your business. It won’t take long (unless you’re SUPER wordy like me 😉 ).

That way, I can be empowered to really address what’s most meaningful to you, and tailor the program as much as possible to those most interested.

What do you say?

Here’s the link if you’re game.

And just for sharing your thoughts with me, I’m going to send you a short, never before published little story of mine, just for fun. Because you should always feel how much I appreciate you.

Breathing back into these past few days, I feel again a bit disoriented. I’m out of practice making consistent room for SO MUCH… life. But when the threads get worn and I start to feel cut loose, at least I know what to do:

Start telling stories.

 

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