Life isn’t a business to be managed, it is a mystery to be lived
I breathe in
I indulge in the beauty of my view. It is like a big movie screen of nature. Trees, rocks, the hill. A blue sky, full with birds. I haven’t seen this many birds in a long time.
I breathe out
I feel so grateful. That I have this opportunity to sit and watch the trees, the sun, the birds. That I have fingers that can write. That I have friends who support and encourage me. Who see the beauty of my essential Elly-ness. “Humble and excited”, that’s what my friend saw in me as I talked about the small, successful steps I’m taking in expanding my business.
I breathe in
A bird catches a butterfly. The butterfly flies off. The bird catches up with him. It takes him a full minute to succeed eating him.
I breathe out
Such a spaciousness. Such a joy to be alive. No where to go, nothing to do. Just sitting here, and enjoying life, my breath, this moment.
I breathe in
I have finally decided to ask my Sangha if they will accept me as an aspirant member in the Order of Interbeing. I have been contemplating this choice ever since I first saw Thich Nhat Hanh. I have always postponed it. I don’t have enough time, it is too big a commitment, I am not mindful enough.
I breathe out
All of those thoughts might be true, my Sangha might not even accept my application. That is fine with me. It is not about the result, it is about the excitement of making a choice. Of freeing the energy stuck in thinking about a choice, and taking a step.
I breathe in
It might not be the right path. I might get stuck. The path might not lead anywhere. But it still is a path, and I am moving. I am creating an opportunity to learn, and get feedback for the consciousness and choices I make.
I breathe out
My dad told me to get into action. To get away from my desk, designing my business. To call anyone who might have an interest working with me. He is a wise man. It helped so much. To take a step and learn from it.
I breathe in
I am ready to climb a tree. For the fun of it. Life isn’t a business to be managed, it’s a mystery to be lived (Osho, Zen Tarot).
I breathe out
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Time for celebration
Today I want to celebrate my successful implementation of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Beginning Anew!
I have been part of a small group of Nonviolent Communication coaches/trainers. We talk on the phone once a week. I value the level of support, encouragement and integrity I find in this group. And yet, somehow, I started to dread the conversations, more and more.
My favorite strategy when something doesn’t work for me is to disengage, then disconnect. I am well-trained at that. Rescheduling calls, not making them, coming up with a lame excuse that I am too busy and have to quit. Stuff like that.
I love that strategy!
Trying something new
This time I decide to try something different. I decide to express my dread and take it from there. I’m gonna use Thich Nhat Hanh’s three steps of Beginning Anew, and use Nonviolent Communication to express myself in feelings and needs.
I first ask Priya and Adam if they are okay if I talk about our group interaction, using Thich Nhat Hanh’s steps.
I start to sweat, feel anxious, see doom scenario’s of how they will react. I am absolutely sure I will be rejected, criticized, discarded. (Yep, these are not feeling words, these are feelings mixed in with a thought, but you get the picture of the racing dialogue in my head).
I did not expect to hear “Sure! We would love to listen and support you. Take your time. We’re here for you.”
I take the first step: appreciate what I like in the connection, maybe even in the current situation. That is their commitment to empathize with me, their willingness to open up to my struggle, their ability to hold my fear and anxiety with compassion.
They reflect me back. They guess my feelings and needs. They give me space to talk.
I’m starting to relax. A thought pops up in my head: “Maybe it is possible to express myself authentically and still belong and be accepted? Maybe I can find a balance between autonomy and togetherness?”
I didn’t get to the next two steps: expressing my regret for my own behavior, and sharing what actually bothers me. I don’t mind. We will continue this Friday.
Try it for yourself
I feel relieved, open and trusting. I get the brilliance of Thich Nhat Hanh’s advice to start with appreciation. It builds relationship, a safe container for our feelings and needs. It supports seeing the other person as human, instead of the enemy in our head. We can see the positive in them, the good, the pure, the beauty, beyond anything that doesn’t work for us. They are not enemies, or obstacles to our happiness. They are human beings in their own right.
I feel excited about our next group call. I would never have believed that that was possible. It is. Try it for yourself.
You want help to begin anew, with yourself or someone else? Contact me for a complimentary, discovery session, 512-589-0482
I joined a virtual writers community
884 Members. Bloggers who encourage, inspire and help each other get their books published.
I read that you should join a writers community if you want to have your book published.
And I do!
I want hundreds of people standing in line, waiting to get my book autographed. I want the phone ringing like crazy with publishers dying to publish my book. I want to be the most wanted guest in any important talk show.
You get it? I want to be famous, meaningful and influential.
So I joined a community, as suggested.
I now have 884 co-authors who will applaud me, cherish me, and promote my work.
884 Authors who want the favors returned
Competitors who want to sell their stuff to the same audience. An audience who can only read so much. One book at a time. Their book.
I feel scared. There is not gonna be enough fish in this ocean. Someone is gonna starve. Me.
This whole writing ambition triggers my sense of scarcity. I have been repeating “I am enough. I do enough. I have enough”, over and over again. At least a couple of minutes a day. I loved singing it.
Now I feel how I don’t believe it is true. How my system reacts “No, you don’t. You can certainly pretend you are enough, but you most certainly don’t do enough. Let alone have enough. Don’t fool yourself! Go for a walk in the woods, and feel happy and contained. But remember: once you’re home, you’ll crash with two feet on the ground and face up to reality: there is not enough for everyone.”
My thoughts float like a leaf on the river
Steven Hayes and Spencer Smith write about having your thoughts, not being them (Get Out of Your Head & Into Your Life, 2005). Creating a little space between your thought and your identity. No attachment to having them, or not having them. Just seeing them as they pop up in your head.
I can do that. I can watch the thoughts of scarcity drift by, like leaves on a river. I don’t need to jump on the leaf, nor do I need to push it away.
I can just watch the thought. And see the beauty of it. It’s monstrous, consuming presence. How unique! Fascinating. I am a tornado chaser of thoughts. I am so excited to watch it, that I don’t even think of running away from it. Bring it on, baby!
Nothing to be scared of. Nothing to resist. Just a thought. Rising and floating on a river. It is a thought, not me.
Commitment to my dreams
In this non-fighting that arises, I experience space and freedom to pursue my dream and applaud others do the same.
I am happy I joined this group of fellow-travelers. I am ready to cherish, inspire and encourage them. May we all write magnificent stories. For magnificent readers.
You want help observing your feelings and thoughts, not being them? Contact me for a complimentary, discovery session. 512-589-0482
Should I stay in Austin or should I go back to the Netherlands?
As soon as I decide to stay, going back seems better. As soon as I decide to go back, staying seems so much yummier.
Miller and Rollnick write about ambivalence and counseling with neutrality (Motivational Interviewing, 2013, 231-242). The counselor grounds herself in neutrality, unattached to either this or that choice. Her only focus is to support the client make a decision, even if that is to not make a decision yet.
Of course I am struggling to coach myself! I am completely invested in the “right” outcome. I am impacted whichever choice I make. How can I be neutral?
When you’re in a hurry, take your time
To make matters worse, I have this sense of urgency: if I don’t go back now, I might as well go back never. My parents are growing older, and now is the time to spend time with them. If I don’t decide now, they might be dead before I made up my mind.
There is something helpful in writing down the different thoughts I have in my head. Miller and Rollnick suggest making a decisional balance sheet with the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. That’s what I am doing in my head. It might help me to write it down.
What does love have to do with it?
I liked their paragraph on affirming best. Silent Unity makes a point that “God’s love and wisdom guides you every step of the way.” It is an affirmation that I am okay and lovable, whatever choice I make. Gosh, my choice has nothing to do with my self-worth. I will receive love, belonging and acceptance from my husband ànd my parents, no matter what choice I make. They have been trying to tell me this over and over again. Only now do I understand what they actually say: “Elly, follow your heart’s desires, be happy, and know that we will always be here for you, no matter what choice you make.
I feel 20 pounds lighter. I have more space to make a decision that supports the needs of everyone involved. This ambivalence has nothing to do with who I am, just what I chose. And I’ll always receive love, acceptance and belonging. Wow, that makes it a heck easier to stand my ambivalence and let God’s wisdom guide me.
Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Clash
Contact me if you want help to resolve your ambivalence. I’ll coach you with neutrality 512-589-0482
I wake up and I feel heavy with fear. Literally heavy. It seems almost impossible to move this heavy weight out of bed.
I remember Pema Chodrön‘s invitation to lean into heavy feelings, to lean into the sharp points, and feel the groundlessness of our existence.
This seems a perfect moment to accept the invitation and lean into my fear.
I breathe in, and bring my attention to this dread, this apprehension, this fear. I let it cycle through me, and scrupulously observe it’s different aspects.
It turns into terror, then blind panic, then an overwhelming blackness and feverish nightmare. It grasps me, chokes me, I can’t wake up from it. I sweat and tremble.
Which idiot ever thought this was a good practice? Which imbecile ever thought that leaning into your fear was a good idea? Pema Chödron probably never experienced such consuming feelings. Never experienced the certainty of going crazy and lose your mind. Like forever. Like really forever being stuck in that nightmare.
I feel my breath go faster. I feel my body tighten. I am noticing I am bringing my attention to my breath. To my body. To my feelings. I feel into my experience. It doesn’t get much more comfortable, ànd it stabilizes. I’m getting calmer, more solid.
I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t know how it’s happening. But after five minutes I get up. I feel light, relax, open. I made it. Leaning into your feelings might be a good idea after all.
If you want my help to deepen your self-compassion, healing and integration, contact me for a complimentary, discovery session.