What Are You Waiting For?

Grace Judson, friend, colleague, cool coach and founder of Svaha Concepts sent me the article she wrote yesterday in which she shared the raw impact of learning about the unexpected death of her friend’s sister. And how the Universe tapped on her shoulder with the question: What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

In the face of the undeniable truth that your time in this life is finite, what are you waiting for?

As Grace shared “What is shockingly clear to me in this moment is that all of my hesitations, fears, uncertainties, and thoughts about “As soon as X happens, I’ll be happy, or be able to do Y, or stop worrying, or whatever” are meaningless.”

What are the stories you weave that say…no…I can’t…not yet…I don’t have time…I can do it tomorrow; or I’ll do it when (fill in the blank)?

If there is something beating at your heart that wants to be shared with the world, please, start now. Pick up the pen and start to write the manuscript. Let someone see that painting you are hiding in your studio. Pick up the phone and get yourself in front of whomever it is that needs to see you and your work. Share your unique perspective. Step fully into life — not out of fear that it could end at any moment (even though it can) but out of love for the unique and powerful capacity you have to bring that special thing to the world.

So hug your child; call your mom; tell your partner you love him/her; send gratitude and light and love from your Source, through you and back out into the Universe.

And then get to work. The world is waiting for you.

Need a little space?

A few days ago, I had a very odd computer occurrence. No matter how hard I pressed the space bar,

Ihadnospace.

Allmywordsrantogether.

I noticed how very hard it is to get work done if you have no space. And how frustrating it is to have to very consciously insert a tiny space where it was needed.

To fix this challenge, I needed to remove the space bar, and clean out all of the gunk and cat hair that had accumulated. Hmmm…could this be a wise invitation from the Universe?  Looking at my desk, the message seems pretty clear: restore your capacity for creating space by cleaning out what has accumulated and is getting in the way.

I love how this works!

Here’s Mud In Your Eye!

Ahhh…spring! The longer days, the warm sun, the returning birds, and…the mud. Yep, mud. Just at the time we are “raring to go” to break free and dance into the new possibilities that spring promises here in Mud_h_2Vermont, Nature again shows her balanced wisdom — providing us with ample opportunity to stop, to notice, to experiment, to wait. I agree with Vermont essayist Will Baker who suggests “Perhaps Mud Season in Vermont is all about constructive tension, when we find ourselves poised between where we were and where we are headed.”

How do you want to respond to the constructive tension that spring transitions bring? When you experience the slip and sink of mud, the best strategy is to move forward slowly, steadily, consciously choosing where you want to go, staying alert, aware, and present. Yeah, wish I’d thought of that!

In reality, it is very tempting to just gun it — rev the engine, and power your way through. But sitting here in my suddenly closer to the ground car, I am learning that sometimes when you pour on the power, you just get stuck — really, really stuck. The over-the-wheel-wells-how-did-this-happen kind of stuck.

Sometimes all it takes to get moving again is a little time and
sunshine, or a little time and cold, to either dry things up or make
the road firm again. Then you can drive out easy as pie (as long as you
haven’t dug in too deeply).

If, on the other hand, you have managed to dig yourself in, the best, easiest way out usually shows up in the form of a friendly farmer with a chain and a tractor, and mud boots that go up to his waist. He’s already out in the woods because it’s maple sugar time. If you are stuck, just look around — help is on its way. And, speaking of maple syrup, it can help to remember that mud means things are changing and there are sweet rewards to be had.

So while we’re waiting, why not make mud pies? Since we’re gonna be in the mud anyway, we might as well revel in it.

To change…Here’s to “mud in your eye!”

The Power of A Good Story

I love a good story. Don’t you? Stories work on us, they take us places, and they let us plumb the depths of our wisdom for new ways to look at familiar challenges. Metaphors challenge, confound, entertain, and change us.

At any moment, we can choose to invoke the power of story to create a new result. As a coach, I frequently use stories and metaphor to help people move from being stuck, into practical action; from defining a situation as a problem, to seeing how it is a steppingstone. And stories and metaphor are everywhere. You can’t take a half a step in any direction without bumping into a whole bunch of them — in a book, a poem, a quote, a conversation, inspirational writings, a song, graffiti, a personal belief, a folk tale, a prayer, an email, a wish, a joke, a movie, a commercial, on a bumper sticker…heck, everything has a story just waiting to inspire you.

Stories tap into deep truths, archetypes, core values, and patterns that are bigger than us. Our bodies and souls recognize a deep truth when we hear it. It has a resonance that we can feel, and it reminds us who we are, and are meant to be, and it invites us to continue growing. In a similar way, stories (those we tell ourselves, and those we choose to listen to) create the frameworks we use to make sense of our experience. Imagine what would happen if you changed a fundamental story “Life is Hard” to a new story “I am resourceful and can respond well to whatever comes my way.”

Stories give us many voices. They enable us to clothe ourselves in fresh perspectives and learn from each. What conclusions might Sherlock Holmes deduce from the information in front of you? How about running your strategic plan through the Holodeck on the Starship Enterprise, so you can watch how it plays out? What would you do differently if you put on the hat and point of view of a farmer? How would a child respond? What about a tribal elder?

Stories invite us to play. They are endlessly malleable – they can have as many endings, new beginnings, plot twists as we can imagine. There really are no rules, so anything is possible. They fire up our creative right brain. You can start one without knowing where it will go and just follow it along to see. There is something about stepping into a story (do you remember “make pretend?”) that frees us to create with a little less judgment. To skip past what we “know” to be right and logical to find something fresh and innovative. And maybe loosen, even a little bit, the tightness with which we grip our conclusions.

And in a very real way, playing with stories trains your brain to see in a new way, supporting you to actually create something new. You can rehearse a change you want to introduce in your life by telling the story of your life as it will be 10 years from now. You can watch the story unfold in your mind as you practice a skill you never knew you had. You begin to notice what you haven’t noticed before. A good story creates a picture that becomes included in our mental concept of reality. Repeating a story can actually program our thinking. It is a kind of mental rehearsal – a power tool used by masterful athletes and performers the world over. This can lead to magic — Abracadabra! By the way, did you know that one story about this most magic of words (although it may be a myth and has been challenged by scholars), suggests that the word is derived from an incantation from the Jewish mystical teachings of the Kabbalah, Abarah K’Dabarah or "I create as I speak."

So, open yourself up to possibility and gather ’round. It’s story time!