Oblivious To My Own Assumption

I just spent 44 minutes on the phone with a potential client discussing his book project.  Somewhere in there, I said something that sounded like this “It looks like you’re listening to your heart.”  And he came back with “What do you mean?  My heart is just a muscle.”

Awkward!

But he’s right.  It is.

It took me a minute to explain what – exactly – I meant and while I was at it, he tried to figure it out himself and asked if I was talking about emotions and the part of the brain that controls them.  I had to shoot that one down because that isn’t what I meant – at all.

“Listen to your heart.”

“Okay!  Wait a second – what am I listening for?”

I can’t believe it’s never occurred to me that I’d need to explain it.  No one’s ever asked.

I just assumed people knew what I meant.  And I didn’t even know I was assuming.  

Jeez.

Human Beings are – in my opinion – here on the planet as spiritual beings having a human experience.   Not the other way around. We – each one of us – has a spark of God within us.  And this spark connects all living things.  So – when I say listen to your heart – I mean listen to the divine within.  That spark has a voice and it knows how to communicate with each one of us according to our ability to listen.

divinesparkrumui

It is a quiet – strange and small, forceful nudging thing.  It doesn’t judge and it has no will though, so it isn’t forceful that way.  And it doesn’t remotely resemble ego.  It’s full of love, compassion, humility and integrity.  When I try to describe my experience of it – those are the words that work best.

After I explained it just that way, he said he understood me 100%.

What a curious way to be put on the spot.  I haven’t had a pop quiz in quite some time, but I think I passed!

Hole > Spirit < = Essence (What's That? What?!) Time for a Cookie

Before looking up the definition of a hole, I describe it as a circular space that is defined by what’s around it.  And it leads somewhere.  I can be on one side – go through it – and then be on another side.  But the actual hole – it wouldn’t be there were it not for what’s formed it.  Right?

Merriam-Webster – a :  an opening through something :  b :  an area where something is missing

This interests me because the challenge of describing a hole is the comparison made by this website when trying to describe the essence of spirit.  “…it is an unknown and unknowable essence which exists outside and behind any of the senses and mental imagery which would inevitably have to be used in an attempted physical description of it.

I can’t see the wind, but I know it’s there because I’ve been watching it rock the branches outside my window all day.

This whole sober reality business is strange.  Especially when it comes to defining my life purpose.  Everyone has one, but I don’t know mine.  I wonder if it changes…

monolith

I think right now, mine is to explore and share my discoveries.

~

“The Two Most Important Days …

in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”  Mark Twain

So – this is really interesting.  Right now, we’re working on discovering our life purpose.  I have one.  You have one.  Your partner has one.  Your kids/siblings each have one.  And our life purposes aren’t assigned to us by family or society – well, they are sometimes – but those don’t ever work out.  The oldest and wisest of the coaches and sages think it’s likely that we’re born with our life purpose.  The things we’re drawn to as young children give us hints as to what it is.

I don’t know about you, but I was drawn to all sorts of stuff when I was a kid.  To begin to crack the life purpose code, I have to ask myself a series of questions – because that’s what coaches do – we ask specific open-ended questions – usually, questions that begin with the words how or what.

Q – “Right, so what do I remember spending the majority of my time doing on a regular basis when I was very young – ages 4 – 11?”

A – Reading and journaling and riding my bike in the mountains.  I also liked to collect stuff, and I liked small things and things having to do with space – specifically, aliens.”

Q – “Now list the top ten things I love to do or have always done and loved.”

A – Read, research, hug/listen to my kids, nature, animals, cycling, conversation, adventures, travel, and sex.

Q – “Mmhmm.  Okay, now name several things I’ve consistently made part of my life – things I continue to do over and over.”

A – Well, I drag my bike with me every time I move – even when I haven’t ridden in years.  I beautify my surroundings.  I surround myself with books, pens, and paper, and – most recently – I’m a relapse rebounder.  I kept crawling (literally) back on the wagon.  I’m tenacious.

After another 20 minutes of this Q & A dance, I end it all with “HM”.  But it’s a significant “HM” because that means I’ve caught something that I don’t know what to do with because it’s foreign, and foreign is good!  Foreign is exciting.  It’s something to consider and explore and – watch.

I had to go to work this morning and luckily, my job allows me to show up within a pretty wide window.  I decided to exercise and study first and I realized on my way home that I’d been selfish.  I’d decided to take care of my personal needs first before going to work, AND I WAS SO GLAD I DID.  IT FELT AMAZING!  And a little weird because – I normally feel guilty for doing something selfish.  But acting on my personal needs first rather than put them off made my day.

I don’t know what my life purpose is yet.  My mission is to discover it.  I’ve got a vision, too – to share the tools of this internal adventure with all who want them, to build a successful coaching career, to build healthy relationships, and to build my round house.

vision

 

 

People Tend To Believe What They Hear Themselves Say

Even when what they’re saying is utter crap.

How often do we hear people say “I don’t know” and then stop talking? How often do we hear people try to figure out what they mean while they’re talking?  “Well, I don’t know what I mean, but these words strung together sure are resonating.  Let me get back to you on that.”

IDK

That would be so refreshing.  Listening to people admit that they don’t have it all figured out.  Listening to people who don’t take themselves so seriously that they can just be authentic and shrug off the pressure to have an immediate answer.

I wonder how many of us consider whether we’re speaking and acting in awareness or speaking and acting in reaction.  I wonder how many people even know what that means.

HWB Beliefs are habitual ways of thinking that move along grooved neural pathways.  That seems dreadful to me in a way because I find habits so – monotonous (boring).  Outdated beliefs then must not serve us.  I wonder how often people stop and consider their beliefs.  I never knew to consider mine until recently.  I didn’t even realize I had ongoing beliefs (plural) – it’s not exactly the kind of thing I walked around thinking about.

My coaching program is lighting up my imagination like a fireworks display.

Do you react to life all day every day or are you strategic, considering, and conscious?

In the spirit of the title of this post, I’ve decided to practice a mantra in an attempt to create a new neural pathway in my brain.

noun: mantra; plural noun: mantras
  1. (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.
    a statement or slogan repeated frequently.

Habitual thinking creates pathways – grooves – in our brains.  Have you ever repeated arguments in your head with someone because you just haven’t or won’t let it go? (I do it all the effing time – it’s a habit)  Well, that thinking behavior is similar to a mantra.  We’ve created a neural groove for it in our brain by thinking about it so often.  This is why it pops into our head so easily all the time – the groove is just waiting for it. The good news?  We can regroove our brains.  Yes!  The old pathways can be erased or recoded by practicing new thoughts/mantras with the understanding that it’ll take time.  This is no different than creating a new habit – it’ll take lots of regular practice.

savechant

I’ve heard people chant before and honestly, the idea of doing this makes me feel a little uncomfortable because I think it’s corny.   So, I’m only going to do it aloud at home in front of my dog. That said, I am trying to reinvent myself here, and I’ve only got another 360 days to go, so I’m willing to try just about anything.

What I know about this mantra business is this – it has to be believed by the person saying it.  You can’t say a mantra that you don’t believe and expect it to work (the regrooving process).  I could never take myself seriously repeating a mantra like “I am love and peace and light and feathery white glory.”  Or some cheesy gooey ew like that.  I’m just not that kind of a dork.

Remember Stuart Smalley from SNL?  He was a mantra guy.  Here are some of his favorites:

  • “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
  • “I am a worthy human being.”
  • “Trace it, face it, and erase it.”
  • “…and that’s…okay.”
  • “I’m in a shame spiral.”
  • “I am a human being, not a human doing.”

~

In all seriousness …

EM I’m told this will work if I take it seriously.  So, here’s my mantra – “I have a purpose.  I survived addiction and I will use what I know and the tools available to me to help people into recovery. I will have fun, travel, form relationships, learn, and explore along the way.” 

I can live with that.

Peace

Lotus

Four Days In – Focus

bud  I have consistently mistaken focus for paying attention.  I heard the phrase “Pay ATTENTION” countless times as a kid and it was always a jarring experience.  My immediate reaction has always been to try to shake it off or snap out of it.   Today, I realize that paying attention is more-or-less a short term process whereas focus can be a lifelong practice – once the proper mindset is in place.

I pay attention when I’m cooking (usually) and driving (pleading the 5th).  But when I finish those tasks, I stop thinking about them entirely.  I’ve discovered (as opposed to being taught) that when I’m focusing – it’s always on something that interests me – an invested interest.  Recently, I’ve become invested in life – and not just mine.  It makes sense to me that we’re all – every human on the planet – part of something bigger.  Something bigger that breathes one breath into all living things.

That makes us all related.  Somehow.

Hm.

Today I focused not only on meditation and exercise and study and all the things I wanted to accomplish, but I focused on them while doing them.  Groundbreaking.  Two weeks ago I was forcing myself to do things I didn’t want to do and then while I was doing them,  and agonizing over it because I was miserable, I wasn’t present or focused.  I was fantasizing about other stuff.  And this means that nothing I did was done well.

Talk about a waste of time and energy.

It’s amazing how easy it is to focus on things I once couldn’t stand to do after I learned how to change my perspective.  To touch on yesterday’s post – I had to discover my values.  Doing this has been one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had.  But fun questions help too.

  1. If you did know, what would the answer be?
  2. What would have to happen for you to be able to achieve that?
  3. What would you be prepared to die for?
  4. What does success look like – to you?

Enjoy 🙂

Day 2

B+.  That’s my score for today.  A hearty thank you to those of you who were so quick to jump on board here and sign up for email.  On my very first post no less.  Cool!  I hope to keep you interested!  🙂

So, a little about me and why I’m doing this.  Up until last May, I was a late-stage, chronic alcoholic.  I left my last treatment center this past July after a five-week stay and decided to make a heartfelt attempt to stay sober this time (because that’s the real challenge).  I was unclear about my future and which direction to take – because none of them looked remotely interesting – until I had an epiphany.

I decided to get a job at a treatment center.  The only kind of experience I had that qualified me for a job in a treatment setting was my experience as a patient in them.  And I knew myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t drink while working with people like me.  So I lied about my sobriety date during my interview and got hired to work with the floor staff team in a residential treatment center.  (Most treatment centers have a rule that they won’t hire people with a past substance use disorder until they’ve got 2 years clean & sober –  terrible rule.  I’ll write on this in another post.)

I stayed for three months. At some point during that experience, I got the idea to become a life coach/recovery coach.  And so, immediately after this past Christmas, I packed my things into storage, threw my luggage in the trunk, put my dog in the back seat, and headed south on highway 101.  When the itch to explore overwhelmed me after about seven hours, I stopped in a little coastal town in Oregon.  I’m still here 3 1/2 months later and nearly finished with the first half of a life coach program.

My first year of sobriety is coming to an end at the same time my coaching program is changing the focus from the client to me – the coach.  We’re learning to coach “from the inside out” and the timing of this is just eerily perfect.  I’ve learned how to discover the things I need in my life – things like peace/quiet, work, clarity/accuracy, freedom, and order.  I’ve learned how to discover my core values – like sobriety (this seems like a no-brainer, but it wasn’t a value a year ago), meditation/stillness, physical fitness, healthy relationships, research/learning, and teaching.

I didn’t know any of this stuff about myself this time last week!  I mean, I had a general idea about a couple of these things, but I couldn’t have named them like I just did.  And now that I’ve found these things – everything has opened up because my perspective has just changed.

And I’m amazed! I had no idea that a change in perspective could be so – fulfilling.

This explains why I’ve been feeling irritable, restless and discontent over the last couple of months.  Those words are used in that order by folks in AA to define a sober person as a dry drunk – someone sober who isn’t working a recovery program.  Well, I don’t subscribe to AA (been there done that) anymore because it’s a one-size-fits-all program.  I believe there’s more to sobriety, recovery, and life than giving it all over to AA.  And I just found the answer for me by designing a way to incorporate my core values into my life on a daily basis.

Whowouldathunk?  I didn’t see this coming.

What AAers don’t know is that the person they’re calling a dry drunk is really someone who isn’t living their life according to their personal core values.  This means that anyone – in recovery or not – addicted or not – who feels those feelings is probably out of alignment with their personal core values (personal being the key word).  It’s pretty hard to live by core values when one doesn’t even know what they are!

Once I discovered my needs and core values – all the things that I’ve been saying I want to do but wasn’t doing – became easy to do.  How is this possible?  I DON’T KNOWIt Just Is. But I’m not used to any of this and I have the sinking feeling it could all just evaporate at any time, so this blog is going to help me process my experiences, thoughts, attitudes and – whatnot.  Like I said in my first post, I’m using this to keep me accountable.  I refuse to give up on myself.

It’s been a good day.  A B+ sort of day.  I got up, had my coffee, meditated, walked my dog, exercised, studied, ate healthy food, went to class, and now I’m here.  Tomorrow the schedule will be different because I have to work.

Here’s what I believe – everyone has the power to transform their life if they’ll just listen   purply

to – and follow the call of – their heart.

On a side note, I’m reading The Girl With All The Gifts.  Anyone reading this?  I just found out that it’s in the theater.  The book is okay – not the best idea to read it before bed though.

High-Five everyone!  Until tomorrow.

🙂

Day 1

One StepFor the next year, I will be journaling my adventure of inner and outer reinvention.  My plan is to become physically fit, to form new healthy relationships, to define a clear plan for becoming a coach (career change), to develop a closer relationship with my heart and guides, to learn to play and take healthy risks, to learn how to meditate, and to probably buy a cat.

I’m creating this blog to help keep me accountable and I welcome comments, questions, and your feedback!

I’m an alcoholic in recovery with nearly one year of sobriety.  The last time I had this much sobriety, 11 months and five days, was over ten years ago.  It’s been a struggle for me to get and stay sober, and with seven in-patient treatment centers behind me, my ultimate goal is to be able to show this blog as proof to clients that if I can change my habits and behavior – anyone can.

Here goes!

🙂