Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Vision Exercise

While reading one of the lessons in the Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence class that I am taking at Coursera there was an exercise given to an executive during a coaching session that I liked and decided to do myself.

The exercise is to describe:

My passion
My purpose
My core values
Envision myself 5-7 years into the future
Consider what I really want to do with my life

What is my passion?

pas·sion [pash-uhn] noun
1. any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.

No quick answer here. That must be what makes this an exercise. I am going to equate passion to something that makes me feel invigorated and filled with a zest for more. That said, I feel most alive when I am learning or sharing something I am learning with enthusiastic and interested people. I certainly feel extremely motivated and very engaged when I am teaching other people about healthy ways to live their life through diet, exercise or even changing their outlook. Helping another person, making them feel good about themselves and happier than when they arrived.

What is my purpose? 

pur·pose [pur-puhs] noun, verb, pur·posed, pur·pos·ing. noun
1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
3. determination; resoluteness.
4. the subject in hand; the point at issue.
5. practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.

Again, no strong clarity here but of late my purpose is to become a more authentic person, to lesson the gap between who I am really and who I show to the world. To rid myself of those fears that hold me back from experiences. Fear of being hurt. Fear of failure. Fear of "looking stupid". Is anyone really paying attention anyway? Aren't we all asking the same questions and looking for the same answers as we make this journey?

I do not want to reach the end of my time here and have a long list of regrets and realize that I allowed the opinions of others to outweigh the importance of the opinion I have of myself. As soon as I figure out how to do that without fail at all times, to help others do the same thing. This little picture I found online captures that sentiment exactly ... find my gift, share my gift. I do not feel there is any value in figuring any of this stuff out if I cannot share it and help another human free themselves.

As I see it my purpose here is to be true to myself and experience as much as I can while I am here. I am living my purpose now.  

Live. On. Purpose.

Yes, thank you.

What are my core values?

Core values are rules and set principles that a person or a group of people live by on a daily basis. They are the values they hold to be true and important.

This question is an exercise in and of it's own. I have found there are several in depth exercises you can do online to unearth your core values. Having not done these exercises ... Off the top of my head I am going to choose five things that are at the core of my life.

Love - We all want it and deserve it. You get what you give, so give love.
Kindness - Sometimes I have to reel myself back in and dial down impatience and focus on just being kind. After I do, I feel very peaceful.
Gratitude - It is quite possible this should be number one on the list, but since I did not type it in that order, it will stay where I put it. I focus on what I am grateful for every single day. When something awful happens, like the sudden death of my dog, I still find something to be grateful for. Powerful thing, that gratitude.
Growth - I am convinced my purpose here is to learn and grow and experience all that I can. And then to share it!
Persistence - There are days when it all goes to hell and I go to bed and let it go. I wake up and start over when the new day dawns. No one is perfect, every day is a clean slate ready to be written on. Even for me.

Another time I will do a core values assessment and see where that leads me. You can be sure there will be a blog for that exercise.

What do I want my life to be five to seven years from now?

This is truly the vision part of the Vision Exercise. Seeing a future, creating it in my mind, refining it. I can see that it is an integral part of living.on.purpose. If you do not have a destination, where are you driving to? Typically I do not get in a car and have no destination in mind. It has been a long time since I have looked down the road and charted all aspects of my life. I tend to focus more on finances and career than the other parts.

I do not want my life to be exactly as it is now. I would not trade my life for anyone's however, I am seeking to see some improvements.

In five years I see myself with a business as a life coach focusing on the skills I already have and also having acquired those necessary to be a FasterEFT Practitioner. I want to make a difference in helping other people improve their lives, their outlook and their happiness. I want my own home and an income that easily enables me to support that and save for retirement and vacations. I also want a relationship that strong, loving, stable, open, trusting, and filled with appreciation and respect for each other. A relationship that I am confident about, with no doubts about the future or where I stand with this person. While I want to have my own business I do not want to feel that I am working so much I cannot enjoy my life. I want time to travel and again experience and appreciate this amazing world. I want to be active, healthy, and strong. I want to have my friends and family close, and create memories with them. I want to be a very grateful person.

What do I really want to do with my life?

To live it, so that when my time here ends and I leave this body I am not wracked with "I wish I had" and instead I can sift through memories like a pirate would treasure. I also want to help people do the same.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Highs and Lows

This past week was one of really great highs and the lowest of lows. As I try to process everything and make sense of it all, I think writing about it will help. I wonder if any of it will make sense.

Tuesday June 11th my dog Sixto died very suddenly. When I woke up in the morning he didn't seem right, he was definitely off, it seemed like he had a stiff neck. Now I know he was having cardiac distress. I was scheduled to leave for vacation that evening and getting him to the vet became a priority. As my roommate and I were waiting for the vet's office to open Sixto fell over, stiff legged and vomited a world of blood. I knew it was bad, and he died in my arms as we walked into the animal hospital. They were so kind. Everyone was.

Then begins the self-torment. Why do we always torment ourselves, make judgements? How many times have you heard someone say "You are your own worst critic." I have heard that for forever it seems. I don't want to hear it ever again. For that to happen I need to stop certain habits.

Anyway, in grief my brain just went off like fireworks with a million disjointed thoughts, most of them geared towards blaming myself, feeling guilty, feeling selfish. Way to make something awful even worse.

Do I still go on vacation, I wondered? Is it selfish to go away? Yes it would be selfish to go I thought. This trip was set up 6 months ago. Do I stay home and honor Sixto? Is it bad to go away? Is it better to stay home and grieve? How would either option affect the people I was going with? Was there something else I could have done? Should I have noticed something sooner? So many questions I simply didn't have the answers to. I decided to go. That wasn't an easy decision and I definitely felt guilty. I also felt terribly sad and like my heart was just simply broken.

Over the course of the trip though, I had lots of crying jags, but the change in environment helped me to rally as well. Ups and downs.

I squeezed in a couple of guided meditations until my iPod died from lack of power. It helped. Meditation always helps.

While in Havasupai I found the gratitude that alters perspective in many situations. Sixto died while I was still home and in my arms. That is a gift. It is easy to look at the waterfalls, the canyon walls, the sky, the moon, the stars, everything and feel grateful. Finding gratitude in loss was a little more difficult however, even there I had much to be grateful for. I am thankful I was open to seeing it.

That was the low of the week, obviously. Losing Sixto, beating myself up about it, making it worse. Recognizing it, finding the silver lining, that is positive though.

New Navajo Waterfall
One of the highs though was getting beyond my fear of heights and jumping off a waterfall. I think it may be around 25 feet high, but it seems everyone has stated that waterfall to be a different height, as much as 40 feet to as low at 25 feet. Whatever! All I can say is from up "there" it was pretty darn scary and a long way down. Very pretty though from the bottom!

I did it a year before, however barely, just barely. I basically jumped when I realized my legs, that were shaking like Elvis with way too much caffeine, were going to give out at any moment. I plopped into the water, my legs gave out and I was scared to pieces. This year I figured it would be easier. This year I wanted it to count. For some reason because I barely made it off, it just was not good enough for me. That may sound silly but it is the truth.

Well! It was not easier. I bit my boyfriend's head off just before and then lost all my nerve and walked off. Stood at the top of that waterfall for what must have been 5 minutes, turned around, almost fell off, and saw a line of 20 people waiting patiently (ok maybe not so patiently). I felt so embarrassed. Then I started one heck of a nasty internal dialog. Beating myself up. Blaming it on my boyfriend first, then on me. Definitely not one of my finest moments in time ...

Just before biting his head off ...
This was not constructive and I decided to let it go and try some FasterEFT tapping. I'm not sure how long I tapped for, I found a quiet place sitting on a little mini waterfall nearby, alone and somewhat out of sight from people so I wouldn't look like I was completely stark raving mad. Then I worked on releasing that fear of heights and the anger I was directing outward.

Tap away I did. When I felt ready, I walked back to that lovely, scary, high waterfall, found a spot I liked and launched off it. By myself, without anyone holding my hand. Without telling anyone, without asking for encouragement from anyone, and without looking for approval from anyone. Except for my own.

Just before I walked off I had asked my boyfriend to hold my hand and we jump off together. I saw a couple do it moments before and thought, wow I'd love to do that. Knowing my fear of heights he  expressed concern at doing that, afraid one of us would get hurt. Mostly afraid I would get hurt if he pulled me off because I changed my mind. After I did the EFT I could see his side and his concern, I did balk and walk off the first time. He was right to worry. It was not his fault I couldn't jump, so biting his head off was a poor reaction. No reason to get mad at him. No reason to get mad at all really.

However, I am grateful that I put some of my FasterEFT skills to use, was able to let go of the fear and act. Let go of the anger too.

That's me, airborne at last ... 2nd or 3rd time!
After I jumped, when I landed my friend Paul said ... "you have to go up and do it again, I didn't get it on camera." I ran up and did it again. And again. And again. Four times. It wasn't just a fluke. I took that fear of heights and pushed it back a little bit on Saturday.

I think I made some progress this week ... There is something very rewarding in doing something that scares the pants off of you. There is also something rewarding in finding what you can be grateful for in every situation, even if it is the death of a treasured pet. And it feels good when you admit you were wrong and apologize too. I think that is called being an adult, but I'm not sure.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Flipping Resentment to Gratitude

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Dr. Wayne Dyer 

 I love a good Wayne Dyer quote. Especially when it sums up a moment in time so perfectly. Yesterday I was faced with a situation that I resented strenuously. I could feel it building too, like blowing a balloon up to the point of it popping right in your face. I was one breath away from whining, ranting and possibly crying from frustration. I dislike it when I feel like I have no choice in a situation. Doesn't everyone?

It all started with trying to have a healthy protein smoothie. Sounds innocent enough. Until Costco recalled my Organic Antioxidant Berry Blend by Townsend Farms. What? Organic berries contaminated with Hepatitis? Seriously, how is that even possible? And of course I found this out a few days after having made myself a nice heaping, delicious, yummy smoothie. Spectacular.

My mind first goes to the pain in the butt thought of having to return them and get a new package. Burning up perfectly good time I could be spending on something else but I can let it go, I'm self-aware and that frustration is just a transient feeling. Really, I've got this.

A couple of days later my boyfriend says I need to get a shot. A Hepatitis A shot. Excuse me? A vaccaine? Oh no, thank you. I'm healthy and I avoid that stuff like the plague. No signs of being sick at all. However, the incubation period is 6 weeks for signs of infection and the shot must be administered within 14 days of exposure to be effective. Plus he said please. Logically, I have to get the shot, even if I wanted to stomp my feet and scream.

I'm sitting in the car as he is driving me to Costco to get the shot, and get information. A cascade of negativity building and I'm feeding it lots of kindling to get the flames high. I was barely even aware of it at the time, I was simply way too busy stoking the fire. From Costco we were on to the Health Department, because Coscto didn't get their vaccine shipment (someone there has some bad karma right now because clearly nothing is going right at Costco). As we are driving to the Health Department I'm about to open up my big mouth and let out a stream of whining "why me" complaints and that's when I witnessed the stew I had bubbling in my head. Oops!

Hmm. Let's think about this. Not only did he find out all the pertinent information, he was driving me all over the place to get this done. Was he complaining that he had to take time out of his day to do it? About how annoying it was? How unfair it was? Send me off to do it all myself? Nope, not a single word of complaint. In fact, he asked if I wanted him to go up to the window and in the back when we arrived.

It was while driving to the Health Department I realized I had a lot more to be grateful for and there was nothing really to complain about at all.

I found out in time to get the shot. I have no symptoms. It was even free. And someone important to me is concerned enough to make sure I was cared for and protected from getting sick. I'm actually very lucky and perhaps, as I said before in an earlier blog, things really do happen for us, not to us.

Half full, half empty ... It really is just a perspective and you can flip it in an instant.