Monday, April 14, 2014

The Darkness aka Forgetting Everything's All Right

I forgot....for a minute.....(actually it was much longer).

I forgot that all is well. 

I forgot that I am loved beyond measure, that the Universe always has my back and is always conspiring for my good.

I forgot that I was right where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing, to get where I needed to be.

And it sucked.

It was a perfect storm of challenges -- not all bad, but challenging nonetheless. And lots and lots of F.E.A.R. (forgetting everything's all right).

Challenge number one: As you know, I have changed careers and am working in real estate. (I still write, just not full time). The learning curve has been steep and, at times, overwhelming. I'm still learning, but I have some experience under my belt now so it's not completely foreign. But for awhile, I felt panicky about the amount to learn (and whether I ever would learn it) and pressured to learn it (and FAST!) so I could bring in an income.

Challenge number two: I weaned myself off the antidepressants I was taking because I didn't like them. As they say on TV....DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!! I thought I could manage with yoga and meditation (which I didn't do regularly enough to make any difference). I was wrong. I am now happily, gratefully, back on drugs....just different ones.

Challenge number three: I don't know about your part of the world, but Texas was hit pretty hard by the flu this year. I got sick right after Christmas -- yucky upper respiratory gunk. I physically couldn't smoke cigarettes. I know.....wah. But I've been a smoker off and on since I was 12 and, honestly, I love it. I fully accept that there is nothing redeeming about it whatsoever, but I love it anyway. Still, it's bad for me (obviously) and I had been wanting to quit (sorta). I decided to take advantage of the hiatus and quit, once and for all. I haven't smoked since (yay!), but that doesn't mean that quitting smoking, especially during this rocky period, was a walk in the park (for me or anyone around me).

Add challenges one through three together, throw in some communication challenges with The Husband, and I was ready to jump off a bridge (not literally, but I was definitely NOT a happy camper). Throw in some negativity, awful self-talk, and lots of fear and self-pity, and I was a hot mess.

There is good news, which will appear in the next post.

Have you had one those times where EVERYTHING sucks? How much of it was self-imposed? How much of it was out of your control?

Have you been there?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Are you Home or Do You Need to Move?

I was asked by a dear friend to write a piece about “home” (the focus for her website for the month of January). I hate to admit that my first thought was that old cliché “Home is where the heart is.” It’s a lovely sentiment, and, of course, I agree with it. After all, you can be at “home” wherever you are when you are surrounded by people you love. My next thought was not as cliché, but I love it:

Home is where you can scratch where it itches.

OMG! How many times have you had an itch….there….or there….or even there that you are dying to scratch but couldn’t because you were out among the masses? Out in public….with lots of people around?  Or with someone in their home?  Anywhere that’s not in your home and with anyone that’s not one of your peeps.  It’s one of the most uncomfortable feelings I know of.

Isn’t it great to be able to scratch where it itches? To feel that comfortable with your surroundings and the people around you?

What about the “home” that is your body and mind? Are you comfortable there?
Lately I haven’t been comfortable in my body or my head. I think there are a few reasons for that. Some of it has been physical. I’ve been sick with the “crud” and it is taking me longer to recover than I had hoped it would. Although I’m over the worst of it (the stay-in-bed-feeling-miserable part) but I’m still not 100%. I don’t feel bad but I don’t feel good either. Just sort of blah.

I think part of it is that I received my 4th quarter royalty check for the book I published last year. The check was under $100. Actually, it was under $60. Altogether I’ve received about $200 in royalties……not even close to the amount I’ve spent.  When I look at it from a purely monetary point of view, it’s pretty depressing. I think to myself, “Yeah but you wrote a book! And you got it published! And some people have actually bought it and READ it!” Who knows if it will ever take off? Who knows if anyone else will buy and/or read it? I did my part. I wrote it, and put it out there. I’ve done lots of marketing, but I can’t make people buy it. It is what it is.  Bottom line, I figure that the people who need it have already received it or will at some point. I have to let the outcome go.

The other piece of the puzzle, I believe, is that I’ve started a new profession (partially for my family’s long term business plan and partially because, let’s face it, the writing thing isn’t going to pay the bills any time soon). I’m still climbing a steep learning curve. I’m a little discouraged because it isn’t paying the bills yet either. But, again, I trust that it will…..if I do my part.

Here’s the deal: EVERYONE, at some point, doesn’t feel “at home” in their life. Tomorrow, this weekend, or next week, things should be brighter for me. I’ll feel better physically, I’m sure, because every day I feel a little stronger. As far as the writing and other business stuff, I keep showing up…putting one foot in front of the other….trusting that something will turn around, or that I’ll get some new understanding on the learning curve that will propel me forward. That’s really all I have to do….my part. But I have to do my part to the best of my ability. And I have to release the results. I can only plan the action….I can’t plan the results.

I can choose to take other action. Like finishing this post….like taking steps that move me higher up the learning curve....like asking for help…..like limiting my “pity party” time and shifting toward gratitude, hope and possibility. I can stay grounded in the present moment instead of yesterday (where regret lives) or tomorrow (where fear lives). I can look for proof that the Universe supports my efforts…..like the feather I found today….or the email that hit my inbox with this message about an hour ago: “A person can transform, a situation can transform, even a planet can transform. Never lose hope. Under the proper conditions of love, faith and belief, transformation is quite possible.” These are the things that will help me feel more at home in my life and in my own skin.

Have you felt “at home” in your life lately or do you need to move? What did you do to change that?

Have you been there?


Thursday, December 12, 2013

BOLD Choices

I mentioned in my last post that things have been a little crazy in my life. Lots of changes....like a new career in real estate at the advanced age of 56. To help me make the most of the job shift, I've been involved in an intense class called BOLD. According to the class description, "BOLD conditions agents with powerful mindset exercises, language techniques, business-building strategies and live lead generation activities."

Boy, does it ever!

We met once a week to learn and practice our new tools. In between classes, one of our homework assignments was to make 100 contacts....20 a day. If we didn't make our 100 contacts, we received a foul. Five fouls and you're out. This became pivotal for me as the class progressed.

One of the things that surprised me the most about BOLD was the emphasis on mindset. Our coach, Kate, explained that everything is energy, and that we attract what we focus on. I've known this for awhile, but I didn't expect to hear it in a business class.

Now, understand, when I say I've known this for awhile, what I mean is that the idea has lived in my head. I didn't always own it.

I'll admit, when I began this 7 week journey, I was pretty intimidated by the talent in the room. I realize now this beginning mindset didn't help, by the way. I was setting myself up for defeat before I had even begun.) Many of the agents have been in the business for years (me = brand spankin' new) and had also attended BOLD before. And, frankly, as the class continued, my intimidation remained.

When I began the BOLD class, I was involved in another class for new agents, which also had homework. Between the two of them, I was completely overwhelmed (read: I didn't make my 100 contacts for 3 weeks = 3 fouls). Eventually, I dropped the other class (which I will pick back up in January) in order to focus on BOLD. That week, I made my 100 for the first time. Woohoooooo! 

And then the next week, I didn't (4 fouls at this point). 

I had lots of excuses when I failed/fouled: I'm too new.....I don't know how....It's hard....It's the holidays....I can't.....

And, when I went to class those weeks I didn't make my 100, I felt like a failure....a loser.....behind the eight ball before I got started.....I let my team down..... 

My mantra for most of my BOLD experience was, "Yeah, but......you don't understand....this is different.....I'm different...."

So, there I was, looking at my final week of the class.....and I needed to make my 100 contacts in order to graduate. I got 20 of them by making calls. It took me 6 hours. But 20 wasn't going to cut it; I needed 80 more. And then I remembered seeing an "F" by my name at the last session. I thought maybe it meant that I had already fouled out. I looked over my course materials and read that if you foul out, you would be asked to leave the class. I hadn't been asked to leave, so maybe I hadn't already fouled out. Still, I wasn't entirely sure. If I had, getting the rest of my contacts would be a moot effort.

And then the ice hit. A big storm rolled though coating everything with 2 inches ice. It was pretty, but very treacherous.

It was also the granddaddy of all excuses. Unprecedented amount of ice. Roads shut down. Everything was under ice.

i thought about going door-to-door but a friend had posted on Facebook how dangerous it was on the sidewalks. Remember, this was ice, not fun and fluffy like snow, so the even ground/grass was slick. 

So I stewed. I talked it over with The Husband. Should I or shouldn't I? What if I foul out? How would I feel? Maybe I've already fouled out? We agreed that, even if I fouled out, I had gained a wealth of information and tools for the future. This didn't bring me much comfort.

Then some actress on TV said, "I'm not a quitter." As usual, the Universe provided exactly what I needed.

So I bundled up and went door-to-door. I handed out cards and told people I would love to help them with their real estate needs. I slipped and fell (I wasn't hurt), and moved on to the next house. I talked to 37 people that day. One woman told me that, although she didn't need a realtor at that time, she would keep my card because she was impressed with my dedication and determination.

And I went out the next day. More surprised looks from the homeowners who couldn't believe this crazy woman was going door-to-door. I visited another 50 homes that day, bringing my grand total up to 107 contacts. 

I graduated, much to my surprise. But I gained so much more than a plastic trophy and certificate. 

I realized how much my mindset does matter. I saw how often I'm my own worst enemy, especially when I'm filled with fear and doubt. I knew I could have had a foul-free BOLD experience if I had gotten out of my own way. I remembered all the other times and situations where "I can't" was my mantra....and that I could have. 

I got it.

I have a new mindset today, thanks to BOLD. There are 27 BOLD laws (mottos/affirmations), but this is the one I will remember because of my experience: You can have reasons or results, but you can't have both.

The last 56 years have been filled with reasons; 2014 will be a year of results. 

Have you been challenged to do more than you think you can? Did you rise to the occasion?

Have you been there?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happenings

Check this out!!
I know it's been quite awhile since I posted, but there has been lots of stuff going on! Hang on to your hats!

I suppose the most life altering event is a change in career.....or maybe just an addition. In keeping with our long-term goals, I have obtained a real estate license. What a journey it's been so far! This is how it works: Go to school, either online or in a class for the required hours (it seemed like a million, but, in reality, was only about 753,281), and pass a test. As it turns out, the classes have nothing (or very little) to do with the day-to-day business of real estate. Much like teaching..... 

So I sat in the class and passed my test (which, frankly, amazed me. There are three hundred billion terms that make no sense, and you need to have a handle on these in order to pass. In any case, I passed. Hot damn and hallelujah!). 

But that was NOTHING compared to the roller coaster of a learning curve I'm on now. I'm taking MORE classes, again with a bazillion new terms (the number dropped because of all the crap I learned for the licensing test). And it seems that many people in real estate like to talk real fast and skip bathroom breaks. So I come home at the end of the day completely exhausted and brain dead. That's pretty much what the rest of my year looks like. 

I'm not complaining (much). I'm grateful for the education and the prospect of a lucrative career. I love houses, and I love seeing how other people live. I used to plan my Sundays based on the open house schedule. I've been working toward this career for awhile, and I'm really looking forward to it.....especially when I get my feet on the ground. 

In the meantime, I turned 56 (go, Libra!), sandwiched between two trips: one was a spiritual retreat in the NE, and the other was a cruise to Belize, Roatan and Cozumel. The retreat was wonderful......healing, affirming and all in a tranquil, beautiful setting. The connections we made were amazing, and, someday, I'll have to tell you about it. I was home long enough to do laundry, go out to dinner for my birthday, and repack for the cruise. Whew! The cruise was fun too -- we played golf on Roatan, it rained in Cozumel, and we explored a bit in Belize. Life on the ship was wonderfully relaxing and we indulged ourselves with massages. Ahhhhhhh...........

When I returned, there was more laundry to do before I started the real classes that would teach me the real stuff I needed to know about real estate. Oh, and yeah, I'm still working on my second novel. I contemplated signing up for NaNoWriMo but figured it would either lead to suicide or divorce. Neither choice sounded too good, so I'm going to pass this year. But I will keep writing!

And that's what I've been doing.

Other stuff happened too, like a resolution to big communication issues and some spiritual awakenings. Stuff like that. I'll write about that stuff another time. I have to ease back into this blogging thing.

Have you dropped off the planet before? 

Have you been there?

P. S. Check out the cool ass bike I got! I traded my 750 for this black Yamaha V-Star 950 with pink lights.....that look purple against the black. Win!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Oneida: Forever in Our Hearts

I introduced you to Oneida last year and promised that I would visit her grave. It was quite an adventure! I knew she lived in Valliant, Oklahoma with her sister after she became too ill to live by herself here in Texas. She died just a few days after my mother in 2005, and was buried in Clear Creek Cemetery.

I couldn't find a listing for the cemetery anywhere, so I started my journey in Hugo, the largest town near Valliant. I stopped in the Hugo cemetery to see if I could get more information. No luck, but we looked up the obituary, and I was directed to the funeral home. Luckily, I found someone at the funeral home who gave me directions to the correct cemetery (as in: follow this road until until you get to the Valliant Cemetery, turn right, follow that road to your second right, and follow that road to the end). Amazingly, I found it. Along with Oneida's grave:


I tried every single one of my pictures (which are
right side up, by the way) but they all came out
sideways. 

I completely understand the minimal adornments, but I wanted to remember her in my own way too. I ordered a headstone (a small one, because I would have to take it there myself) and delivered it yesterday.


Sure hope she likes it.

Have you remembered a special friend?

Have you been there?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Avoiding the Blame Game

Many years ago, I was pretty good at playing the blame game. I could rationalize, minimize or justify almost anything....as long as it was your fault. After all, if I took responsibility for my actions it meant I might have to change something about me, which really wasn't an option.

I could tell you it was my parents' fault, or my teachers' or someone else, but that's blaming again, isn't it? The truth is that I was selfish and immature. Unfortunately, those qualities persisted long into adulthood, until I saw the truth about myself.

I was a victim....and really good at it. Then someone told me that if I have one finger pointed at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at me. Ouch. When I realized what I was doing, I learned ways to alter that behavior. 

One trick I wish I had had back then is a simple letter switch that I learned from Christie Inge. This is what she wrote: 

Write down all of your "should" judgments about another person.
Then, drop the "they should" and replace it with "I could."
She should be more understanding.
Turns into:
I could be more understanding.
Notice how this tiny tweak shifts your perspective on your particular circumstances.

How brilliant is that?? Everything begins with me. I am responsible for my choices and decisions. I'm also responsible for taking care of myself. After all, I'm the only person whom I will never leave and who will never leave me. If I'm not responsible for me, I fall back into blaming.

Did you lose that job because your boss is a douche bag or because you were consistently late? Did you fail that test because your friends "made" you go out with them instead of study? Did your car break down because it's a piece of shit or because you didn't take care of business when the check engine light came on....six months ago? Did Josie get "your" promotion because she's a brown-noser or because you take thirty minute breaks and two hour lunches?

The first step is being honest with yourself. Really honest. You know the truth....deep down inside. If you truly can't see it, enlist the help of an objective, level-headed friend. Talk it over and be open to their observations and suggestions. Recognizing the victim stance can take some practice, especially if, like me, you've been "practicing" for a long time, but it can be done. Once you can see it, turn that thought around as Christie suggested. Just that one small shift can change everything!

Have you played the "blame game"? Are you a "past master" or still working on it?

Have you been there?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Love Wins!

I hope you read about Antoinette Tuff recently. If not, you can read about her here. She talked down a gunman who entered the school where she worked. (I think it's sad that so few people know about her. Of course, if things had gone in a different direction, it would have been all over the news. But that's another post.....)

Antoinette stayed calm and centered. She talked to him, to the scared boy inside, instead of running or hiding. She told him she loved him and was proud of him for surrendering. She met his fear and anger with compassion and love.

Although a few shots were fired, there were no deaths or injuries.

Imagine how different life would be if we could meet all our challenges with Love. 

How do you meet your challenges? 

Have you been there?