Guidance Versus Intuition, and Love

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Image by Pixource from Pixabay 

How do you make decisions?  Are you analytical or intuitive, or some combination?

In the past I would usually relied on intellect and analysis to make decisions, using my brain to guide me.  The trouble with using my brain as the primary tool for decision-making is that the brain is driven by fear, and my decisions would therefore be fear-based.  Perfection and control, both demanding mistresses.

Though I’ve historically relied on my brain for most decision-making, I did use my heart for important decisions such as career trajectories, major relationship decisions, or what car or house to buy.  Somehow I knew that with the big decisions, I should rely on my heart since my heart ultimately decides how I feel about the decision.

Why I felt that was true only for big decisions is a mystery to me.  After all, don’t dozens of small decisions add up to a big one?  Somehow I think I just convinced myself that using my brain for everything was the right thing, even when that meant hurting others because I couldn’t be bothered to calculate the human element into the equation.

My change of heart (pun intended)on this topic has since resulted in a switch in my Myers-Briggs personality trait from a strong “T” (thinking) to a moderate “F” (feeling) as the primary way that I make decisions.  I’m proud of this flip flop because it means I can alternate between T and F frames, but I now erring on the side of considering the human part of the equation.  Which is where I want it to be.

Using feelings to make decisions is one step removed from using intuition.  As a person who over relied on thinking for decisions, I was pretty disconnected from my intuition.  For example, when deciding how to best handle an interpersonal situation, I used to do a calculation in my head based on the rules, and my values and principles, which did not usually include other people’s feelings.  Now I tap into my own feelings and try to ascertain how others might feel in the situation, and integrate that information into the decision.  This is called emotional intelligence.

Now, I’ve added a deeper element, which is intuition.

I’m trying here to unpack the difference between guidance and intuition.  Guidance comes in two different flavors in my experience.  First, there’s the explicit, in-my-channel conversations that I have with my guides.  But there’s also the more in-my-gut feelings that I get from my subconscious, and I believe, the divine.  I imagine it’s this latter form of communication that most people use when receiving divine guidance.

The advantage of intuition is that it provides a deeper and more holistic understanding of situations that’s not available during a conversation with my guides.  Intuition is more instantaneous compared to conversation, which is relatively linear, inefficient, and slow.  I’m also learning that as time goes by, I’m relying more on intuition than dialogue, and my connection feels more integrated in this manner.  However, I imagine there will always be instances where the specificity of dialogue with the guides is needed and cannot be replaced by intuition.

Regardless of the mode of communication, the message that comes across pervasively, and loud and clear, is that Spirit/God loves each one of us, even when we transgress into behaviors and actions that are not in alignment with his wishes for us.  This is true for all people, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, income, country of origin, ability, or other aspects of our social identity.  Spirit/God loves all of us, no exceptions, and God wants us to love each other and Earth unconditionally.

To fail to do so is against Spirit/God’s will for us and karmic consequences will follow, either way.  For example, if I treat someone as unwelcome because of their age or gender, then I will feel unwelcome in my life.  If I am welcoming, then I will feel welcomed.

I believe we all have, deep down, an intuition that we should all love each other no matter whether we approve of another person’s social identity.  The Arbinger Institute has written a series of books that discusses how we unknowingly create problems for others, and it starts when we make a (usually subconscious) decision to betray our own values and do the wrong thing.  What ensues is a cascade of events where we have to blame the other for our transgression, thus escalating the insult on the other, when in fact the origination of the problem is when we decided to do the wrong thing.

For instance, in the above example where I decide not to include or welcome someone, in my subconscious I justify it by now believing that the person is scary or unworthy, then acting unfriendly towards them as a result.  They act unfriendly in response, which justifies my belief to further exclude them, not realizing that I believed they were nice enough before I decided to betray my own intuition and values, and exclude them.

We are entering into the holiday season which is about togetherness, peace, and love.  Perhaps we should all be intentional about tapping into our intuition that we are all connected, and to do even a small injustice on someone else creates injustice for us all.  Create the karma that you want for yourself, and show kindness, forgiveness, gratitude, and compassion towards yourself and others every day this holiday season.

It may become your new habit for 2020.

I can’t think of a better time to start than right now.

Our Authentic Purpose and Spirit’s Hope for Us

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

What’s the purpose of life?  Why are we here?

Timeless, age-old questions.

Some of us seem lucky enough to be born with the answers to these questions, or have discovered them early in life.  Those of you who followed the earlier version of the Silver Linings Blog know that these were a prominent theme for me.  The interest in the meaning of life and work began for me with a crisis – when I got everything I wanted.  Nothing like checking off all your boxes to make me realize that happiness does not from a strong resume.  This interest and search for meaning and purpose continued through my masters’ capstone project on callings, and through this day.  Now, one of my favorite things to do as a developer and coach is to help others to uncover the life’s purpose that is always to calling them.

 

I guess you can say I was called to do callings work.

Though the focus of my main day job has shifted again, this calling to help others with their calling is still there and just as important as ever, because our calling is the gateway to what is most meaningful and impactful in our lives.

I’ve been confused between meaning and purpose for much of my life.  Meaning has to do with understanding the impact or importance of something, whether it’s something you’ve done or something you’ve witnessed. For example, helping children is meaningful whether you saw a movie about it or it’s your vocation.    If it’s your vocation and it brings you a great deal of satisfaction and success (though not necessarily defined by financial success), then it’s likely part of your life’s purpose.  Your purpose becomes a calling when it becomes self-transcendent, i.e., it’s blissful work that seems to help transform yourself and others in positive ways.

It’s also important to note that our calling may be expressed outside of work.  It does not necessarily have to be what you get paid to do 40 hours per week.  Thank goodness.

Therefore, our authentic purpose, the reason we’re on Earth, is to follow our calling (according to my understanding of message from Spirit/God).

How you discover your calling, if you’re not sure, is a subject in several previous blogs.  Suffice to say that the sense of calling does not come from our heads, which explains where I went wrong in my early career.  Rather, our callings come from our hearts and souls.  When mind, heart, and soul are in alignment, you can bring your best self to your work.

Usually our calling has a prosocial aspect to it, i.e., it benefits others either directly or indirectly.  For example, sometimes people say that their calling is to live a good life.  I ask them if no one ever benefits from living that good life but you, would you be happy with it?  Usually the answer is no, but when it is yes, I would guess that that purpose may not come from the heart and soul.  But I could be wrong.

That prosocial orientation brings us to what Spirit/God wants for us.   We are here to care for others, especially Earth, and children and those who cannot care for themselves, in that order.  We are also supposed to take care of ourselves.  There are no exceptions to this.   There are no demographics that are excluded from God’s love and care, and so we should follow suit because that’s why we’re here.

Spirit wants us to care for Earth first and foremost right now.  I’m writing about that imperative on the Foundation blog, and trying to help everyone understand how fundamental that is to our purpose on Earth, and even our survival right now.

If you feel you do not know your calling and/or are struggling with the focus of your life, Spirit just wants you to take steps to try to discern what you’re here to do.  There are many resources to help uncover your purpose (you can start with this blog series) and I hope someday to develop an online program that will help people to discover it.

Spirit does not expect us to be perfect.  We’re human, which means we are born to struggle and try to learn.  What matters is that we have a sincere desire and attempt to do better at caring for Earth, others, and self, and living our purpose.  Spirit knows we can’t all necessarily be where we want to be in our lives, and that we all make mistakes.  The intention and effort to do better is what matters.

I also believe your calling is there waiting for you, sending little invitations in discreet forms.  If you know your calling, how did you discover it?  Share here and help give others some ideas of what to look for.

 

Next blog:  Guidance from Spirit

Messages from Spirit

Image by Rogier Hoekstra from Pixabay

Even if you don’t believe in Spirit (also called God by many), you may have an unconscious connection as I did for decades.  For example, I feel I’ve always been connected to something bigger than myself, even while I was a devout atheist.  Experiencing the wonders of nature or the love of a child are transcendent experiences and have been available to me throughout my life.   Self-transcendence can also occur when we connect to our life’s purpose, which I have also sought for many years.

I also had a technique for connecting to the divine, but didn’t realize until recently the divine nature of that connection.  When I had a serious decision to make, I did not rely on the calculus from my head to provide the answer.  I’d begin with an analytical approach, literally writing down all the pros and cons, and then weighing them (1-3 stars, depending on how important they were to me), and literally adding them up.  But the final decision came from a gut check, which involved quieting my mind and being present with the consciousness that lies beneath, i.e., my soul or Higher Self.  I did not realize at the time, but this practice connected me to my divine soul.

Aside from personal experiences, I don’t really know much about this subject in terms of what others do.  As you know if you’re familiar with this blog series, I’m new to this.   However, I understand that everyone who connects by prayer, meditation, or intuition does so using a range of techniques, and the guidance and messages they receive seem to be as unique as the manner in which they experience the divine.  I feel extremely grateful that my channel provides in-depth and detailed messages, so mostly my perspective has come from my channel with Spirit, and may not jibe with your beliefs or experiences.

Some people receive message as a strong intuition or knowing.  Some as short phrases or words that come to their mind out of the blue.  Some have a visual intuition, with image flashes in their head or longer visions that come in dreams or meditation.  Some use tools, such as a holy book or divination method.  Some receive guidance by paying attention to the coincidences of the universe guiding them gently down a path that brings them closer to their best and truest self, i.e., “all things happen for a reason” (see connectedness strength blog where I address this idea).

Some may say that they don’t believe any of this and it’s all too woo woo for them. That’s ok, and even better than ok.   The beautiful thing about our spiritual journey is they’re individualized; I would be surprised if we could find two people who completely agree about their spiritual beliefs and frames.

Now that I’m receiving more nuanced messages, I’ve had to mostly learn the hard way how to interpret message.  Messages from Spirit are almost always loving and what you need to know in that moment.  For instance, I can get a message such as “go pick up your dry cleaning” but realize afterwards that the purpose of that errand was for a chance encounter with an old friend who had the advice for me that I had been seeking.  Message might also ask me to start on a project or path, just to find when you’re halfway there, you have a new perspective and skills and it’s time to take a new direction or go bigger.  The original message isn’t wrong, but it required that you get to a different place before you move into the new direction.

In other words, message may not be the absolute truth.  It’s what I need to know in the moment.  This is why all messages, including this blog, should be assumed to be followed by “…and I could be wrong”.  Even the messages I’ve been asked to deliver to other people is about what they need to hear in the moment and may not reflect the literal truth.

Why?  It’s one aspect of the mysterious divine.  I suspect it’s in part because we’re not supposed to know the future with any certainty.  It’s not called faith for nothing.

This is a big challenge with receiving messages because faith tells me to trust the message, even when it’s proven to be outright wrong or feel harmful in the moment.  The “everything happens for a reason” perspective has to kick in to consider what lesson is being provided in that situation.  In so doing, the wisdom of the message becomes more evident since message is designed to help us to learn and grow, so we may create more love and light.

Message has also shown me that we humans generally think too little of ourselves and our ability to create good in the world.  We tend to be limited by our doubts and fears.  We dream too small.  We dream too narrowly.  We might pray for outcomes that don’t matter, like getting rich.  Rather, the outcomes that matter have to do with love and care for Earth, each other, and ourselves, in that order.  Message teaches us how to do this, and/or to do it better.  In so doing, we create more light and love for all.

Spirit has shown me is that I can be bigger and more impactful in creating love and light than I can imagine.

How about you?  Are you limiting yourself in your dreams and aspirations?  Do you feel you could be bigger than you are?  Following guidance can potentially show you your path to greater meaning and impact too…. But I could be wrong.

 

Next blog: Our Authentic Purpose and Spirit’s Hope for Us

Connecting to Spirit

My depth of my spiritual journey has been a surprise to me and likely others given my lifelong atheistic leaning.    Raised by Chinese immigrants, religion or faith was never discussed; we prayed at the altar of academic achievement.  Later in life my parents subscribed to the Buddhist philosophy, one which I might choose for myself if I ever felt I needed an organizing principle.

It’s hard to be completely divorced from religious influence in the United States.  I would guess that most Americans are at minimum cultural Christians (is that a “thing”?): Observing Christian holidays in a secular way, and hearing about Jesus as “the correct” prophet and the Bible and the sacred text.  I hear a range of views perspectives and varying levels of intensity from Christians.  Over the years I occasionally went to church with friends out of curiosity, but frankly, mostly it left me pretty dry.   Organized religion is just not for me, and from what I read, for an increasing number of others as well.

The problem with abandoning our faith systems, according to Joseph Campbell, is that organized religion can provide a sense of community and guidance on how to find a sense of purpose, be a good person, and live a good life.  Who or what provides that if we’re turning away from faith and toward our electronic devices?

I have felt for some time now that the new religion of our modern times is science and technology.  Perhaps that is why I was so drawn to positive psychology, the science of wellbeing.  I’m becoming more certain that positive psychology will provide the practices that modern society needs to live a good life given the diminishing role of religion in our lives and society.

I felt pretty competent in living a good life, until I discovered I needed something more to get through that horrible year 2018 when my beloved husband and sister died.  I knew that embracing a post-traumatic growth mindset would help, but even that felt insufficient so I decided to turn to the divine for support and inspiration.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It has been a wild ride and a beautiful journey.

The beautiful thing about being spiritual and connecting to Spirit, however anyone defines that, is that it’s individualized consistent with our personal beliefs, personality, and preferences.  There’s no one right way to do it, and my personal practices have evolved over time.

Admittedly, it was fairly experimental early on.  I had some rabbit holes and misadventures to explore.  But it was quickly evident to me that intelligence and consciousness were there, once I decided to be open to discovering it.

Openness is the most important ingredient to being able to connect to one’s Spirit Guides.  As a lifelong student of personal growth, and decades long coach for others on this subject, I know that when challenges feel insurmountable and we hit rock bottom, that being open to new perspectives and solutions is the only way to go.   It makes perfect sense to me that big challenge can bring big growth, sometimes involving faith and spirituality.

Even still, given my life-long atheism and scientific training (I have a PhD in a laboratory-based science), you can imagine my skepticism, amusement, excitement, and interest.  I once thought that everything could be measured and understood.  By accepting first that I cannot understand everything made it possible for me to detect and explore the mystery of the divine.

The technique which was most helpful to me was when I took an online class on how to receive message from one’s Spirit Guide, Higher Self (soul), and Guardian Angel. I was surprisingly able to receive message right away with a fair amount of clarity.  It does require a genuine openness to communicate with Spirit,  combined with trust in what is being communicated to you.  In essence, you start by asking to connect to your Spirit Guide, Higher Self, or Guardian Angel,  and then you write down whatever words flow through your head while being very present during the process.  If you’re not present, the message can come from our minds, which is more chattery and loud than the quiet and soft message that tends to come from Spirit.

Spirit messages are always loving and beautiful and supportive, and my first message from my Higher Self included a prayer to help guide me.

Spirit Guide help me to live this life with integrity and hope and good fortune.    Help me to realize my full potential.  Help me to be the person I am meant to be.  Help me to understand the nuances of my path and mission so that I may live it fully.  Help me to understand the riches that are available to me.  Help me to know what I need and ask for it.  Help me to find the truth and wisdom in every situation.  Help me to find my bliss and others too.  Help me to know what’s most important in a given moment.  Help me to find the strength and will when times are hard.  Help me to motivate others to do the right thing.  Help me to finally make peace with myself and my shortcomings.  Help me to know when to quit and move on.  Help me to naturally become who I’m meant to be.  Help me find the courage to raise the awareness of others to the beauty of Spirit.  Help me to find the way to accomplish these goals.  Help me to recognize when I am in the wrong.

Connectedness Strength Reconsidered

Five years ago, shortly after I became certified as a Gallup StrengthsFinders coach, I wrote a blog about the strength called connectedness, i.e., the ability to sense and notice how all things and events are related.  I reflected on how I was surprised that this was a “thing” that people felt was a strength that they used for success personally and professionally.

At the time a former hard-core atheist, I was pretty curious about this idea.  I was also recently married to my now-late husband, Christopher, who had told me shortly after we met that being spiritual meant believing that there are things we cannot understand.  His frame on spirituality is really the reason that I went from atheist, very concrete about life being knowable and measurable, to Spirit-curious.

Years later, I could be characterized, at best, as Spirit Lite when we received his diagnosis of cancer.  Spirit Lite meant going to yoga, trying to be present, and being more open to the woo woo ideas and practices.  I listened with interest and openness to the conversations about crystals, healing practices, and guidance but rarely partook.

All that changed when I learned about Christopher’s stage IV cancer diagnosis.  I decided that I must dive into Spirit and post-traumatic growth to get through this.  I wrote about PTG at the start of the Silver Linings blog; it was a big motivation for me to start the blog to share the notion that all challenges are actually a chance to learn and grow.  The bigger the challenge, the bigger the growth.  After all, if it was easy, we would’ve mastered that topic already.

Christopher’s cancer diagnosis, occurring on the heels of the death of my sister Sabina, made me also realize that my current toolkit was just not enough.  I would have to take my learning to a new level.  Beyond positive psychology.  Beyond PTG.  To Spirit.

So this is my disclaimer and warning to those who don’t want woo woo in their lives, that the Silver Linings blog is about moving to the next (temporally) most important thing for my wellbeing, and that has to do with our connection to all things: Our purpose, ourselves, each other, Earth, and Spirit.  This interconnectedness, and fostering vibrant connections between them, is really at the heart of the mission of the nonprofit I started in honor of my late sister and husband (www.familyandcommunityhealing.org).  FFCH’s social media campaign focuses on our connection to Earth, and includes my personal blog discussing how Earth and the natural world provided support and healing for me throughout the tragic year of 2018 and beyond.

The Silver Linings blog focuses instead on a more personal discussion of the development of my connection with Spirit, and the strength, wisdom, inspiration, and support that became available to me when I did.  This recovering atheist has turned all woo woo, and I’m going to talk about it here, openly and honestly, just as I did when I started this blog in 2013 about my lessons as a recovering control freak and self-hater.

The original Silver Linings blog was too personal for some people to appreciate and/or grasp, since we talked about emotion and vulnerability.  This phase is likely this is going to be even more challenging or unapproachable for some given the nature of the topic.  I understand.  There are parts of this journey that, honestly, felt – and still feel – pretty crazy and unbelievable.

I’ve learned that faith is part of the process.  I do not fully understand that aspect of it.  After all, I’m a rookie given I’ve been doing this for only 18 months.  Admittedly I have been taking a deep dive during that period, where perhaps I’ve achieved a sliver of brilliance in my spiritual work, which is offset by so much ignorance on so many other levels.  I still have much to learn and so I hope that this can be a platform for shared learning where everyone can participate.

The Silver Linings blog is about creating a place to share our collective wisdom about thriving and becoming our best self despite our life’s challenges; this phase is about the spiritual aspect of our life which underlies our wellbeing practices taught to us by positive psychology.  The richness of this mysterious and often invisible part of us is the most important part of our lives whether we know it or not.  Uncovering and appreciating it means that we can add a transcendence and depth to our lives that was unimaginable to my former atheistic self.

I hadn’t realized it but I was already following my Higher Self (soul) most of my life.  My purpose required I excavate through the solid and intractable atheist beliefs, bit by bit, to what lies underneath:  our connection to each other, Earth and Spirit.  It’s actually not all woo woo because positive psychology’s exploration of the value and importance of religion and spirituality motivated me to select the topic of authentic purpose, or callings, for my capstone project  (shameless plug: see our book, Being Called).

Our calling or authentic purpose is what connects us and our lives to the divine, since it is a purpose that we are born into.  So shortly after Chris died, when I sensed that my purpose was going in a new direction and to a much higher level, I had to decide whether I was going to be a hypocrite and stay in my comfy, beautiful dream job at UGA, or to take a leap of faith and pursue a purpose that is definitely life-changing and possibly even world-changing.  Both are inexplicably linked because I can’t change the world if I don’t change myself.

This is the new theme of this blog, my spiritual journey that changed me and that I hope will bring about the change that is needed to create the world that we all have hoped and dreamed about.

I’ve taken a leap of faith to take action to make this change, investing most of my personal and financial resources which reflects a commitment that screams that I can change the world.  It is also to inform you, possibly to your surprise, that you can too.

The time is right for this change.  We cannot wait any longer.  It is a leap of faith, but Spirit is here to guide every step and inspire me to be bigger than I can imagine.

You are bigger than you imagine too.

In fact, the world needs your passion, talents, and gifts.  The world needs your hope and optimism and vision for a better world.

If you want guidance, you will have it.  You only have to ask, and you will receive it.

If you aren’t ready to ask, notice the invitations that are all around you each day, beckoning you to begin your Hero’s Journey, which is after all, the summons for you to bring back the lost wisdom of your generation, for it is urgently needed by all.

It’s a beautiful journey.  It’s unsettling, and inspiring, and awesome, and it makes me feel so incredibly alive and hopeful.

Join me.  Share with me.  Teach me.  Learn with me.  Start now by posting a response about your own journey and hopes for the future, and then share with others who might want to join too.  We can create this change together.

 

Next blog:  What is Spirit?

Silver Linings Blog Relaunch

IMG_0258It has been almost 3 years since my last Silver Linings post, which ended a 4 year run that included approximately 400 blogs.  It’s time to relaunch the blog since we need it now more than ever.

The blog was created in November 2012 as I was beginning my exploration of creating a good life through intentional practices and the science of wellbeing, ie, positive psychology after my 20 year marriage ended. I was so surprised back then to discover this field after spending a lifetime experiencing challenges and struggling to create a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

The blog was really a way to translate my reflection into learning and sharing.  Those lessons were hard-earned, often involving sleepless nights, many tears, and sometimes at the expense of relationships, my personal self-esteem, or even the self-esteem of others.  I don’t regret having to learn any of those lessons.  We all have to learn them sometime, somewhere.  What I regret are the lessons I failed to learn at the time and the people I hurt despite my good intentions.

What has transpired since my last blog has been an incredible, wonderful, yet tragic span of my life.  About that time, I had just started a job at the University of Georgia supporting faculty success and wellbeing using all the precious life lessons and training I had cultivated over the many previous years.  I felt I was doing the work I was meant to do, and sharing my lessons so that individuals and the organization as a whole could benefit from every tear I shed and heartbreak I endured.  But it was not meant to last because I lost my beloved sister, Sabina, and husband, Christopher, to cancer in 2018, just 7 months apart.

What followed was another crash course in survival, perspective-finding, transformation, and inspiration that led me to eventually quit my job and start a new nonprofit called the Foundation for Family and Community Healing.  Because relationships have been so important to Sabina, Chris, and me, combined with what feels like a crisis in our ability to hold our families and communities together in a healthy way, the focus of FFCH is on helping others to learn to create healthy and rewarding relationships with themselves and others.

Also, as I sat with the forest in my backyard, day after day, holding vigil for my sick husband or my own grief, I realized that it is not just our relationships with ourselves and each other that are in crisis, but also our relationship with Earth.  Thus, FFCH is also helping all of us to restore our healthy and balanced relationship with Earth, not just on the physical level, but also emotionally and spiritually.

We are leading a social media campaign to discuss this more emotional and spiritual side of our relationship with Earth and asking people to become more aware and intentional about their relationship practices and habits with Earth and our natural world.  Please join us as we explore humanity’s opportunity to heal this relationship and provide support for Earth as she heals, as a novel (and also ancient) climate change solution.

I am relaunching the Silver Linings blog here as well because I am in a place of acute transformation and generativity that is above and beyond where I left you in October 2016.  Just as I shared my journey, reflections, and lessons with you after my divorce during the first phase of the Silver Lining’s blog, I wish to again include you in this new phase which is so full of inspiration and hope, despite my personally tragic year 2018, since to do otherwise would feel irresponsible and selfish on my part.

I invite you to join me, anew if you were a previous reader, as I continue to learn and reflect upon the many lessons of hope, transformation, mortality, connection, spirit, our natural world, our relationships, and our purpose.

Despite much effort and attention in the self-help world, I continue to hear that people do not have time to consider such subjects.  They are busy with their goals and responsibilities, many of which are absolutely real and often important, if not critical.  However, I also encourage you to take a step back and look at your life from the 30,000 foot view, and ask yourself what really matters right now given the challenges we are facing as communities, families, and individually? When will you prioritize your own, your family’s, or your community’s wellbeing and peace of mind?  Are all the things on your list really more important than that?

At some point we have to put our proverbial feet down and refuse to continue to buy into the notion that all of our ‘shoulds’, ‘have tos’, and ‘musts’ are real, and to instead, consider and commit to those things that really matter.  Peace.  Hope. Compassion.  Kindness. Connection.  Care. Love.  Is your entire list of priorities really more important than cultivating these things in your life, family, community, and world?

If the answer is No, be bold, get a big, fat Sharpie, and cross things off your To Do list, remove yourself from obligations that no longer hold meaning and purpose for yourself, and commit to taking the time you need to reflect on your values and priorities given what’s going on in your life and world.  Then reallocate your time to pursue the things that are most important and urgent. Perhaps your new To Do list will include sharing your journey with us through this or our other communities.  If so, I appreciate your willingness to learn and share with me and others in this space.

As a seasoned coach, I know that we have the individual and collective wisdom to accomplish anything and solve any problem, if only we will stop running around and take a reflective and experimental approach to identifying problems and solutions.  So stop.  Now.  Tune in.  Engage.  Take action.  With us, and/or elsewhere.

I look forward to seeing you in this space going forward.  May you have peace and hope as you take action to create the world in which you wish to live in.

Thriving During the Trump Presidency

Last week I attending an inspiring and beautiful tribute to the late Martin Luther King Jr (thank you Office of Institutional Diversity and Michelle Garfield Cook!).   I did not realize prior to that event that I was carrying a large load of grief and sadness for the upcoming presidential transition.  Dr. King’s vision never seemed in so much jeopardy.

Yet I’m trying to maintain my sense of optimism.  Here’s what is helping me:

  • 20% of the US is freaking out right now, which is a different 20% that freaked out when Obama was elected. We felt they were being unreasonable and over-reactive at the time, and so I probably am overacting to some degree as well.
  • We’ve had 8 amazing years with the Obamas’ wisdom and grace. His election, twice, says as much about America as this current election.
  • Even if Trump may not be the best mechanism for needed change, change will happen. Change is usually painful and difficult, and the lower we fall, the more change we will be willing to undergo.  For that reason, I usually celebrate the opportunity when someone hits rock bottom, and I will celebrate this now, given that most of us are in agreement that something is broken in Washington.  Good change will be informed by understanding, compassion, justice and an aspirational vision for a better future.
  • All this catastrophizing I’ve been doing is causing me pain. I remind myself that “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”  (Shakespeare).  My thinking is causing me pain so I’m trying acceptance.
  • Acceptance does not mean being passive. Acceptance means I understand that our reality is changing and that I should take whatever action I can to create a positive outcome.  I keep trying while also accepting my limited ability to make an impact.  I will use my negative emotion to motivate me, and use my strengths to contribute the best way I can.  For example, I have not felt the urge to blog now for 6 months and now I am once again inspired to do so.
  • All things are impermanent.  The Obama presidency had to end, and so will Trump’s.  We will survive, and even better, our post-traumatic growth will be spectacular.

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    Growth and beauty during adversity.  Photo credit