Getting clear (attempt none-the-less) on whats holding me back from living my ideal lifestyle
warning: very serious post here, a tad off my usual pace.
This was a very hard question to answer. This has been the question I’ve been asking myself for a year now and Natalie Sisson makes it the first one of the series!!! If I knew the answer to this question I’d be sailing! I have come and gone from this blog post many times in the past four hours, searching for the answer; spent an hour playing piano, hoping the answer would “come” to me, journaled, stretched, even did a backbend hoping it would jolt clarity into my brain. Cried (can’t forget this activity), dyed my hair, and here I am. Its 1:26 am, Natalie, with no answers. So for the sake of writing something, anything I am going to attempt an honest answer. It may not be totally the reason, but it’s the best I’ve got.
What is holding me back. Something is keeping me from feeling hopeful about life. It’s like a weight. I don’t doubt myself. It’s not that. I am not lacking of hobbies and passions for sure! I have health, thank goodness and am quite happy these days, relatively speaking. But I have a doubt about maybe money, or something. It makes no sense. I used to be extremely adventurous. Parenting brought on stability and some adult-like qualities. Maybe that’s it. Maybe i fear changing my life around invalidates the life I had been living. I’m sad my marriage didnt work out. I’m sad I am not in a sunshiny place. I am responsible for where I am, however, I am still sad. I feel overwhelmed with what it will take to get to where I want to be because where I want to be looks quite different than what I see. Except my son is close and that is the most important thing right now.
This has to be the most unselfaware writing I’ve done, publicly anyway. I apologize. I really tried. Like I say, this is a giant sticky web of a question that I will continue to get clarity on. I’m going to say: overwhelm is holding me back. That feels right. But it’s more than that. Its deeper and I just wish I knew. Maybe I should go for hypnosis. Seriously.
Whatever it is will lose in the end because I WILL create that life for myself. I already am!
I was feeding Genysis her nightly mayo off my finger (ooo gross! But she loves it so piss off please, thanks) and I asked myself, “What do i really want out of life?” That was the question.
to grow, connect, contribute and to have fun (duh). Then it hit me,
These qualities can be infused into any moment in order to feel sort of satisfied.
Geni finished up her mayo and sauntered down the hall, to lurk under the bed; leaving me with post-cute-cat-syndrome and a sink full of dishes.
and then it occurred to me:
I really really really do not want to die having given up on myself or lost my sense of direction. So knowing what my direction IS is elemental in this not dying with regrets stuff, you see. LET ME EXPLAIN.
Por ejemplo, I want to grow, connect, contribute, and have fun at work. Well, am I? I want to grow, connect, contribute, and have fun when with my family. Am I? I want to grow, connect, contribute, and have fun right now while i feed my cat, while I go to the post office and return this box of insecticides I thankfully do not need. Then it’s possible I can turn my attention to those intentions at anytime for a feeling of meaning and satisfaction. It’s just a small matter of remembering to do that.
Now, if I am in the pit, I will likely say this post is absolute BS. I honestly wont even think of my four intentions. But once I am out, at the soonest glimpse of light and air I can say, well that was not a contribution, connective, and certainly not fun, but I made it out so f you! and voila: growth. It’s NOT a dagnam silver lining, folks. It is actually the truth and so, creatures of this mostly round planet, even suffering has a place in my plan to die well.
For Personal Development Nerds only: Here is the breakdown.
#1 Growth Stuff
Working with My Mind — Working with negative states in a positive way so
as to not be a slave to life but remain more free and returning to a “driver’s seat” mentality when possible. Working with positive states in a focused way (don’t disperse the energy and drown in euphoria). Working with focused states in a kind way (don’t forget the point: love and joy). Working with kind states in a wise way (don’t get pulled under by sadness, who the heck wins there?). Working with wise states, wait, huh?
Getting Enlightened —experimenting with the formula for and experiencing true freedom; being in my most elemental nature. Through direct experience (meditation, yoga/exercise, looking at the sky, washing dishes or showering!), by consumption (reading, watching youtube talks) and through creating stuff and getting into flow state.
Doing Scary Sh*t —- Doing fun / important-to-us stuff even though it feels scary or daunting (Toastmasters, Improv comedy, physical challenges). This includes all personal challenges where we stop picking safety over what our gut tells us is best. Especially in regards to relationships, folks.
#2 Clean Living/ Vitality Stuff: I added this one while writing but it technically is a means to the others. Nutrition, strength, posture, (yoga, qigong, aerobic fitness), being in nature, sunshine, water, super foods, greens. These make me feel vibrant and positive.
#3 Connecting and Ship Stuff: I call all (positive) interactions with beings “ship” stuff: romance, friends, work collabs, family, and spontaneous friends (aka strangers). Somehow ship interactions are tender and fresh. It awakens those exact qualities in my mind and that is heartwarming, which, for some reason is desirable. It just is.
#4 Contribution Stuff: It’s not enough to grow and love and be loved by the beings. (Or is it?) I want to add something positive to the mix, wherever I end up in this universe within eternity. Add something good to the mix and enjoy doing it! (aka: enjoyable work).
#5 Fun Stuff! This is the whole point. This is super broad and can range from cooking (dancing Samba in the kitchen at the cat) to seeing Stevie Wonder in concert. The point is ANY moment has a potential of fun within it, provided stress and the pit are not ruling your mind-space. Hang on if that is the case. Sorry.
To me these are the very base elements of a good life and therefore death. They are 100% in my control. You may be thinking, “You totally forgot money, safety, travel, pets who pee IN the box!” No, my friend, I did not forget. Money is a means to security and many types of fun and I need much more of it by the way if you have some extra. But it is not included because it is not at the core. It is a means to get to my four/five values (again, health shouldn’t count based on this, but oh well), but not the only means. Go under the hood and look for what you really really really want out of life so you can die well. Make sure they are 100% in your control and 100% independent of conditions.
Now it’s time to clean the cat pee . Thanks, Geni.
I would love to hear what your base values are. Did I miss anything?
Have you ever just jumped off a cliff with no idea what was down there? I mean NO idea. Ahhh, I hope not. But if you are interested in feeling what that is like, I highly reccomend improv comedy. F-ing scary as sh’t!!! Sorry all the French but, people, WHAT WAS I THINKING?!
Truth is is love it. I suck at it but love it. hmm.
“a life well lived is a like an improv comedy. you dont always know whats coming up next but you move forward with faith. Its also fun and scary as sh’t. “
Here’s why, my humble adorers. Here are some rules my instructor won’t stop repeating.
1. Use the Where is about letting the scene or environment give you clues as to what the heck to do next. Like if I’m at a party, so…. be brave and talk to someone, then drink straight out of the sangria bowl. Got it. I don’t do that but I need to put that on my list. Talk to people.
2. Keep it moving forward. You think and stall, and wishandwash: you die. Bye bye. Or even worse you bore people. In life that means: go do things you love. Or stay at home for all I care. Just tap into how to move life forward. Action. I kinda hate that part. I love thinking and charting and dreaming soooooo much. Maybe that’s what moves my life forward! Oh the irony!!
3. Trust and build the story/life from where you are, one itty bitty step at a time. We did an exercise where we had to combine three unrelated things and make a short story (fu”K!!! hated it): I got: sound of fire alarm, feel of toothpaste, and taste of magic markers. C’mon. After trying to think it all out first and stumbling like a drunk, I was stopped. (insert brakes sound). The Instructor said take one thing and build from that. Trust. See where you end up. Just GO! So I started with Ok im in the bathroom brushing my teeth in the moment feeling the toothpaste on my tounge (one down!) when the smoke alarm goes off (I’m killin it). Luckily it was only my toast burning but oddly….
(and im thinking: what the hell, magic markers?! uhhh.. and then I used my real life to fix it: a recent dental debacle)
… the smoke alarm tripped the electrical system in the house which caused my mercury filling to fall out and I got this weird magic marker taste (OH YEAH! WHOS BAD?) in my mouth.
(the class laughed here which shocked me but that was very kind of them)
The movie is based on Joy Mangano’s real life events, directed by David O. Russell
After watching this movie, I was so inspired I flipped! See?
How did she do that?! So, I actually pulled off to the side of the road and wrote this on my phone in my car. I needed to see how she dealt with each obstacle and what her resources were, as I’m in a career change phase right now.
When I got home I looked for my mop. And there it was! THE mop. I had one!
First, she hit bottom.
Her resource: Hitting bottom, and having a wakeup. Step one: Breakthrough (through suffering and having enough of it).
After she woke up from that terrible night after she collapsed on her stairs, her first order of business was to get some peace in her life/ house. The first thing out of her mouth, “you have to leave, ” was for the men she was over-extending to.
Her resource: Knowing she needed emotional peace in her house, she set some boundaries for herself and got the peace she needed. Step two: Make changes in your environment or in relationships if they are impossible or draining.
Then she invented the mop.
Her resources: Remembering who she was, an inventor, a creator of things, and having a child to inspire (my opinion anyway). Step three: Remember who you were, who you are and what you love. Step four: Put together the idea or create the thing. This is the actual product or service.
She asked her dad for a favor that he owed her. She was kind to her ex-husband and he gave her the opportunity to meet with the Kmart Bradley Cooper. Those were her easy wins.
Her resources: Her father/ a person who owed her a big favor, her ex whom she was kind to, her belief in her product and her confidence. Step five: Get it going: Call favors and accept help.
The Kmart deal blew up. She knew that it wasn’t right what he did and was not chickenshit to confront him about the money she invested and the botched TV spot. She asked for what she deserved and wanted.
Her resources: Fearlessness. Step six: If you get screwed over insist on your rights and take action.
Like Sylvester Stallone she insisted on doing the TV spot, like he did with his script, Rocky. Most people don’t know that he wrote and shopped that script and wouldn’t sign until they agreed to let him be the lead role! Again she was confident about her product and she was confident about herself.
Her resource: persistence in belief in herself in the face of authority and challenge. Integrity. Step seven: Ask for what may seem impossible. Insist on quality and the vision over others vision because no one but you knows how to represent it best. Do not sell out. Ask and push every step. Nobody cares but you. So be ready to make your case.
She almost bombed on stage. She froze. Then her best friend called and made that commercial a complete success by snapping her out of it.
Her resource: Best friend Step eight: Be a good friend. Keep them looped in and in your corner.
When the manufacturing company was overcharging her she insisted on a fair price. Her sister botched things up so she flew out to deal with the manufacturer. It didn’t go well and life slapped her again, this time in handcuffs. And then life slapped her again with her father and the investor insisting she claim bankruptcy.
She did not have a successful business yet. But let’s consider what she did have: an idea, confidence about herself, integrity over her product and fairness, a best friend and a supportive friend/ex-husband. She also had a daughter to inspire and a grandmother who kept whispering in her ear the legacy she was to become. These are not small things. She had a lot of support and belief in herself. This equals drive. Step nine: Know the financials and be ready to get tough. Again, no one really cares if we lose money, and some will flat out try to rip us off.
Her father criticizes her badly. Her sister is jealous and tries to sabotage her. The manufacturer is trying to get a patent for her product and overcharging her, which is about to cause her business to fail. Bradley Cooper even turns her down after the first tv spot and the investor/stepmom screams in her face how she’s an incompetent businesswoman. Yet she persists.
After she claims bankruptcy she looks for loopholes or any indication in all the legal documents for something and she finds it. She finds how she can sue the manufacturing company for fraud twice. She sets up an appointment with the Texan company. She’s very savvy and goes to a neutral location looking tough and armed with all the information she needs to nail this guy. She handles the meeting like a pro and walks out with an extra $50K+ interest.
Her resource: Tenacity Step ten: Read the contracts. Consult a lawyer. Stay tenacious
Joy creates her empire.
If you are anywhere on the path of entrepreneurship, especially if you are a female, print these 10 steps or screenshot it and read it often. Thanks David O. Russell and Joy Mangano for sharing and creating a template with a juicy story to give it legs. Ladies, let’s do this!
I am aware there are many other steps to getting a business going. (I’m on step 3 of my second go at it). This is just what I took from the movie. It was really for me to learn from but I want to share it.
Step one: Breakthrough through suffering. Step two: Make changes in your environment or in relationships if they are impossible or draining. Step three: Remember who you were, who you are and what you love. Step four: Put together the idea, create the thing. This is the actual product or service. Step five: Get it going: Call favors, get the money (don’t forget, we have kickstarter) and accept help. Step six: If you get screwed-over, insist on your rights and take action. Step seven: Do not sell out. Ask for what may seem impossible. Insist on quality and your vision because no one but you knows how to represent it best. Ask and push every step. Nobody cares but you. So be ready to make your case. Step eight: Be a good friend. Keep them looped in and in your corner. Step nine: Know your financials and be ready to get tough. Again, no one really cares if we lose money, and some (most?!) will flat out try to rip us off. Step ten: Read the contracts. Consult a lawyer. Stay tenacious.
The result: Bradley Cooper may end up working for you. Or me ;0)
I don’t want to be a jerk and go quoting Buddha like I’m hot stuff but listen up! Buddha said that Joy is our natural state. Like a blueprint? If that is true: holy guano, Batman! That would mean that joy is at the root of our motivation for all other intentions and attractions. So, we do everything to be happy. Big deal. Ok. I’m annoying myself already. If Joy is our natural state, then why is it so hard to access? The honest Jesus-was-a-black-Jew (was he really?) truth is, I struggle a great deal with joy.
Por ejemplo, just now I was in a “natural state,” happy mood then bang! Printer malfunctions. Heart rate goes up. Face flushes. Constriction of facial muscles. Irksomeness invades my soul! So I try a few things over and over (why do we do this?). I realize I’m being an idiot so I throw the thing out the window. Mentally. We all do this, right?! I watched my dad do this with the furnace (before computers). He has no patience for these kind of malfunctions either.
Then! The magic moment (if this were a film you’d see an awareness dawn in slow motion with a beautiful John Williams sound track like the Buckbeak song) I notice my body. I notice inner judge saying, “This always happens to you. That’s why nothing gets done. Why do you have such bad luck with technology?!” These are not helpful comments.
As I was un and plugging the monster, there was a brief switch or decrease in annoyance as I was noticing how I felt and what my inner critic was barking. I noticed I was still irritated. But I was already having a talk with myself like, “Ok, if it doesn’t work I will just do xyz for now.”
This is Max by the way, my friends lover. He’s good for this post because he looks very joyful. Poor guy.
Remember, that infinitesimal victories are scalable. Do it small, create the pathways in the brain for them to become easier later. Luckily the unplugging trick worked otherwise I may be eating chocolate and watching Mozart in the Jungle instead of posting this blog. Which actually I think I may do now to celebrate!
Remember, when heating up, do as Max does:
Notice how your body feels.
Notice what you are saying to yourself.
Decide to say something just a little less harsh. Don’t go 180 degrees because you won’t believe it. Just ease up.
Take a nap on someones open computer.
Has this happened to you lately? A conscious teeny shift in steering away from a bummer state? I’d love to hear your experiences. Doing these small shifts should make it easier for when guano really hits the fan. Which it definitely does. I’ve seen it.
Today I am making a declaration to hold myself accountable. I am saying yes to life on my terms. I am saying yes to allowing myself to have “off” days. I am saying yes to cartwheels any damn time it feels right. I am saying yes to smiling for no apparent reason. I am saying yes to feeling like hell and not falling to pieces -not too many anyway. I am saying yes to my friendships that have breathed life into this silly flame. xoxox. Peace, my beautiful world.