Working In Secret

Pssst… you there. Yeah, you- the one working your ass off with no recognition and perhaps wondering why. The universe has laid it on my heart that you’re due for an energy boosting reminder that you are neither forgotten nor unseen and your work is important. It was laid on my heart to re-post this message for anybody who wants to quit but keeps going anyway. Don’t give up- the world needs you!

I’m undercover. I’ve got stuff going on that nobody else knows is going on. Others can’t see it, aren’t affected by, or at this point, interested in it, so for them it doesn’t exist. Rather than inform them, only to subsequently feel responsible for convincing them of the importance of these things that sometimes can’t be seen and yet nonetheless are real, I’ve committed to working in secret. Contentedly. Even when I’m not. Because yes- sometimes it gets frustrating when nobody understands that though appearance-wise you may seem to be going about your life in a yada yada yada nothing-up-with-me manner, you’re actually in the midst of something that, frankly speaking, is rocking your world, tempting you to yell, “hey world, don’t you have the slightest clue that THIS IS FUCKING HUGE?” You don’t want to do that. Not yet. I’m here to tell you why.

When you work in secret, it’s about you and you- no outside interference mucking up your flow. Personally, I also include in this equation the universe, higher power, God, the Divine, Source -please, let’s not get caught up in what we need to “call” it- if you believe there is an additional Force at work in your life, by all means, invite it in and allow yourself to be guided. If that’s not a belief you align with, don’t concern yourself with what doesn’t resonate- just keep moving forward with the you and the higher you. In the beginning especially, when the fruits of your labor are invisible to the naked eye, this requires working in faith. It also requires the discipline not to quit when you are receiving no immediate rewards for your sacrifice. If you think about it, that’s rarely how we live our lives. Whether we realize it or not, we often require immediate gratification- some sort of reward, compensation, or even just a pat on the back. Not when you’re working in secret. From this point on, you require NOTHING. Yeah, you heard me right. I said NOTHING. I know it’s difficult, so say it along with me: I REQUIRE NOTHING. To the person struggling with the challenge of losing or gaining weight and gearing up to quit your workout program because that scale’s not moving in the direction of or at a pace you’re satisfied with and nobody sees the difference anyway, go get your ass moving and yell it: I REQUIRE NOTHING. To the person giving up alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, shopping, overeating, etc… on the verge of jumping back into the familiar because it scarcely seems worth the discomfort of going without while those around you indulge, look your discomfort in the eye and shout it: I REQUIRE NOTHING. To the older person quietly learning and gearing up for their future unveiling in secret, who has spent most of their lifetime focused on the needs of others, their abilities and gifts unnoticed and for the most part unappreciated by a world that values most what it can define by dollar signs, say it right along with me: I REQUIRE NOTHING.

You don’t need anyone to validate you. You don’t need a pat on the back. You don’t need to justify the contributions you make or the ways in which you make them. You just need the conviction within to keep going when fear tries to convince you that you’ve got nothing left to go on and you’re running on fumes. Run on those fumes, for they are the fumes of faith! Your willingness to continue indicates that you are ready to let go of the control of that which you can see with your eyes and make sense of and lean into an alternate power that has been available to you all along, should you choose to use it. Work in secret. Require nothing while you do so. The work you need to do is your own. When and if the time comes for the rest of the world to know what you’re working on, they’ll be made aware of it. And when that time comes you will realize that you’ve raised yourself to a place where you don’t even give a damn.

Every time you work at something in your life that possibly nobody else can see immediately (weight loss, muscle gain, education, life and spirit enrichment, health gains, personal chall

Get one under your belt

START WITH ONE AND KEEP BUILDING…

Given my early-bird tendencies, I tend to favor early morning workouts. For me, my workout is the equivalent of a mind calming drug I can’t afford to miss a dose of, so the earlier the better. I also feel my strongest, with greater endurance early in the day. That said, I believe that biorhythms and other individual variances determine each person’s optimal time frame for peak performance and that’s why paying attention to what your body is telling and showing you will allow you to come to a more accurate conclusion as to what your ideal workout time may be than any blanket scientific study or person could. One size rarely fits all, despite what society would have you believe. So if you are not an a.m. person, don’t get hung up on the specifics of actual time here. The gist of the message will still apply, and that is this: Get one under your belt and every subsequent one will come easier. What do I mean by one?  “One” is each personal challenge you face. Throughout your day, challenges, in varying degrees of difficulty, will be scattered along your path; that kick-ass workout you felt was beyond your abilities, a difficult co-worker, a dissatisfied client, an angry clerk, an intricate situation, etc… mountains by any name. But if you have already scaled a mountain and taken note of each as you go, there is a knowing deep inside you that you have everything you need to scale these as well, and you are able to move boldly forward in this belief. This was a method I shared with a former client while putting her through a particularly intense burst running session that she didn’t believe she could endure, which, of course she could. Later, while basking in the afterglow of her post-workout high, I told her that she would be facing something later that day and her first inclination would be to avoid it. “But when that happens”, I told her, “I want you to remember this moment and let it fuel you to do that thing you want to run from.” Sure enough, as she would tell me later, something came up. It wasn’t anything big- a parking challenge of some sort, but it was something she wouldn’t have attempted ordinarily. But on this day, she already had one under her belt and she was bent on being fearless. So she faced the dilemma and she triumphed. Now she had two under her belt and was unstoppable!

Getting one under your belt is simply pushing yourself slightly further than what comes comfortably to you. It means turning the shower to cold for a minute just to show yourself you can become uncomfortable without it killing you. It means going that extra 1/4 mile when you’re sure you’ve only got an 1/8 of a mile left in you. Or donating the money as was laid on your heart though it was your last $20. Or risking and/or experiencing rejection to move forward in an area you feel you’ve been led which seems illogical to other people. It means continuing with something you may not be particularly “good” at instead of quitting before you see improvement. Because it will be individual to you, I can’t tell you exactly what may present itself, but if you listen and ask for guidance you will be led to situations and circumstances that beckon you to jump in. Whether it’s a niggling sense of something or a brick to the head, don’t brush this guidance off- pay attention to it! Getting one under your belt simply means going balls to the wall and putting yourself out there. It means waking up, facing your fear of the unknown and often uncomfortable, and becoming alive in your life. Because really, what’s the point in being here otherwise?

Tear-It-Up Thursday

What is Tear-It-Up Thursday? TIU Thursday is my reminder to show up 100% in whatever I’m working on. This may seem like a no brainer, but in reality there are a magnitude of outside factors that keep me from ripping with gusto into the tasks that are in front of me that may sometimes appear insignificant, unsubstantial, or to sum it up in 3: the blah blah blah stuff of life. My inner coach has advised that every task put before me has significance and issued TIU Thursday as a means of reiterating that fact by encouraging a new perspective brought on by fresh resolve, blood-pumping music, and over-the-top Roarrrring and bicep flexing to psych myself up while I lapse into fake-it-til-u-feel-it mode and wholeheartedly get ‘er done. For more on why that’s not actually “fake” at all, click HERE. To put it simply, I quit comparing what’s on my plate to what others have going on and put renewed positive energy into what I’ve got going on, whatever that may be. I fire myself up with the clear understanding that my path has been individualized for me to induce the life lessons specific to my journey and they need not make sense to my human reasoning or to the rest of the world in order to confirm their significance. They merely need my belief. So I pump myself up, then I tear it up. Care to join in? It’s Thursday after all. And we’re here to kick ass. Repeat after me: Roarrrr!! Yeah. We’ve got this.

How to switch it up

Ever get in a funk and feel like you’ve lost your mojo? Or even worse- become doubtful of the fact that you’d ever actually possessed any mojo at all. Ever? My hand is raised, brothers and sisters- been there! And since I made a solemn vow to operate in the NO BULLSHIT ZONE I’ll be completely straightforward with the fact that I happen to be there now; feeling barren in my supposed mojo-lessness, the dark cloud casting a shadow over my every movement, threatening to wilt me into lifelessness if I don’t find my way out. Is there a way out? I imagine you asking… Let me assure you of this, friend: there is always a way out. It may not always look pretty while we wander around the confusing maze of our life puzzle searching for our ins and outs, but I can assure you they are always there. And luckily for us, they happen to be countless, so if one doesn’t work for you, you move on to the next. If it only works for so long, you move on to the next. See what I’m saying here? You just keep moving and you’ll find your OUT! But how to start? My go-to method for getting out of a funk is to switch it up. And for this, I use the easy to understand George Costanza method.

Simply put, I do the opposite. Using George’s philosophy of:
“I always have tuna on toast. Nothing’s ever worked out for me with tuna on toast. I want the complete opposite of tuna on toast.” I take everything that I do by rote and I do the opposite. The music on my playlist? I change or rearrange it. The routes I drive to get to where I usually go? I take new ones. The people I see, the books I read, the food I eat- change it up. The clothes I grab without thinking because they’re familiar? and I happen to despise thinking about clothing… I put on something from the back of closet/bottom of the drawer, or even more ballsy- shop for something new. Why? Because I hate shopping, but using the GC Method- I love shopping! You see where I’m going here? I get in a rut because I do the same things all the time because I’m not even aware that that’s what I’m doing! In other words, I’m dissatisfied with what I’ve got going on, but I keep making the very choices that ensure its continuity. Switching it up is a strategy that allows me to throw my life up in the air and let the pieces fall where they may- lighting the fire in my belly that eventually leads me back to my mojo. Which it turns out was wedged somewhere between tuna on toast and a black turtleneck all along.

Forget your reflection and focus on projection


Here’s my no-fail method for dealing positively with getting older: get out of the mirror. It’s so basic that it sounds like a joke, but I’m completely serious. I’m average in the looks department- one of those people whom others often refer to as “cute”, though at 54 I’m well past what can reasonably be considered middle age, so I consider that a favorable adjective. Since I can rarely see what other people actually look like on the outside once I’ve spent time getting to know them I assume, sometimes incorrectly, that it’s the same for others and don’t dwell on it. If I’m at the right place in my own head, other people’s opinions shouldn’t matter. I’m aware at this point in my life that it will only matter if I believe it matters, and at the moments I “feel” like it matters, I know it’s time to slow down, breathe (do you realize how helpful breathing is?) and pinpoint what the actual source of my uneasiness is. I wish I would have understood this concept in my younger years when I wasted time berating my nose or ruining a perfectly good time over a bad hair day and couldn’t relax knowing my hair didn’t look good. If my hair wasn’t okay, I wasn’t okay. It’s not that I don’t occasionally feel the shock of what the hell has gone on here? upon getting an unexpected glance at my reflection, but it was laid on my heart that wallowing in feelings of despair over appearance is a disempowering behavior that required correction, because if I’m fixating over myself and all that I am not on my exterior, I become ignorant of all that I am within, which leads to insecurity. If I’m insecure I am then unable to project the gifts of encouragement and empowerment that have been placed inside of me because I’m too wrapped up in that insecurity to see anybody else, thereby keeping me from my purpose, which then steals my joy. Staying out of the mirror allows one to extend beyond their physical looks to be who they are; a spirit inside of a physical body. Fixation with your exterior is a behavior that pulls you to the lower vibration level of the world, whereas focusing your attention on what’s within allows you to abide in a higher vibration, providing you with vision and resources within and around yourself that you are unaware of when you’re operating at a lower vibration. Ever notice the disparity in your productivity on a “good mood” day vs. a “bad mood” day? Exactly.

There’s nothing wrong with making the most of what you have and striving to look your best. But there’s a line between putting your best foot forward and making yourself and those around you miserable by bemoaning your imperfections. In getting over myself I retrained my thoughts to align with more empowering behaviors. I now get myself fixed up and then get out of the mirror. I refer to it as “fix it and forget it“. As soon as I begin to sadly sigh while gazing at my often hormonally puffy eyes, or the other injustices that show up on my over-50 face, I stop myself in my tracks and get out of the mirror, reminding myself of my focus with this 3 word mantra: “Projection not Reflection”. If I stop looking at the outside it’s easier for me to focus on bringing out what’s there on the inside, enabling me to more readily see it in others as well. And that is much more memorable than what’s in any mirror.

Friends with benefits

Friends with benefits According to Dictionary.com 
noun
(used as a euphemism) a friend with whom 
one has sex 
without a romantic 
relationship or commitment 

We’re not going to talk about just friends having sex, though it’s an interesting topic. Personally, I don’t think in most cases both parties involved benefit equally. It often seems to me that one person may be completely benefiting, while the other is kidding themself. Because they want more. But they’ll settle for less. Because they’re getting some. But in truth they’re not actually GETTING SOME in the wholehearted manner that those two words should rightfully represent. Which is their call if they have peace with it. So we don’t need to discuss it, except for the fact that I will often find a reason to talk about sex if the opportunity presents itself. And since I’m the presenter I often see to it that it does! But I have a glaring reminder note pinned up on the board in front of my face admonishing me to

“Remember to keep the main thing the MAIN THING.” -Brendon Burchard

I shall do just that. Thank you Brendon. And that main thing is that you do not have to believe to benefit. Believe in what? you may be asking. ANYTHING! is my answer. As in, you don’t have to necessarily believe in information that is presented to you in order for you to receive benefits from it. Much like the way friends with benefits can have “sex without a romantic relationship or commitment” you can receive inspiration or motivation from a message regardless of your “belief in” the messenger if you choose to. The ability to glean benefits from messages you don’t believe in or agree with, align with, particularly “like”, etc.. is a sign of an open mind. An open mind is essential in breaking through the walls of the conditioned thinking that hold you in place, allowing you to see beyond that which you believe you already “know”. Take music, for example. Most of us are partial to certain genres, perhaps even professing to “hate” genres we feel don’t particularly speak to us. In my younger years, long before I’d grasped the message I’m sharing now, I’d have said that I didn’t like the music of Eminem so I didn’t listen to it. I’d have given you several reasons, the main one being that I was turned off by what I perceived to be a chip-on-the-shoulder energy he exuded. I was also bothered by his negative references about other people. But one day the universe threw one of his songs in my lap.


TILL I COLLAPSE

“‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired, you feel weak And when you feel weak you feel like you want to just give up But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you want to just fall flat on your face and collapse” -Luis Resto, Nate Dogg, Eminem

Now I heard him. In hearing him I gleaned the benefit of his message at a time time when I needed it. More importantly, I continue to hear the message whenever I’m at a giving up point in an endeavor, reminding me to coach myself onward with empowered thoughts I need to be telling myself. I am reminded to just pull that shit out of me. To not be a quitter, no matter how bad I just want to fall flat on my face and collapse. And I keep going, grateful for the message that inspired me, appreciative that I was given the grace to see past my human conditioned opinions and beliefs, allowing me to collect the benefits.

I’m a broken record in reiterating the fact that you are your own coach because I want you to grasp the fact completely that the most powerful words you are led by are the ones you tell yourself! This is why the most essential thing you can do on your journey is to learn how to speak to yourself in an empowering manner. Always. Without fail. Every time. This is a lofty expectation, but luckily you are not expected to go it alone. In opening your mind and heart rather than relying on the need to believe it first, you will find that messages of encouragement, inspiration, and information are delivered to you on a frequent basis. You don’t need to believe it, or me, for that matter. You simply need to sift through what’s being offered, take out the part that speaks to you and leave the rest behind. People, movies, pictures, stories, music, etc… are part of your benefits package. Are you open to receiving it?

The thing is not the thing

“Until you learn to heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed into the future. You can bandage it with food, alcohol, drugs or work, but eventually it will stain your life and you will continue to bleed.”   -Iyanla Vanzant

Healing the wounds of the past begins by acknowledging the wounds of the past. If that sounds simple, think again. Many of us go through our days as the walking wounded, not even realizing that we’ve been injured in the first place. Why? Because we wear a bandage of avoidance tactics that allow us to make our problem about the bandage rather than what’s underneath that we’re neglecting to address.

Avoidance tactics come in many forms. Obviously, dissatisfaction with your body is a common one, yet many people do not realize that their body and their dissatisfaction with it is not actually the problem, but a bandage they place over the true wound they carry to avoid addressing that wound. How can they address something they don’t even know they have? Perhaps that sounds confusing. Maybe you are shaking your head, thinking, “no- -I really do have a problem, and it’s not from any past wound. My problem is that I can’t not overeat so I am overweight and it’s causing me health and self-esteem problems. My being overweight clearly is the problem in my case.”  Let’s play out a scenario. Your weight loss efforts have thus far been unsuccessful, so you decide to go balls to the wall and have gastric bypass surgery. The surgery is a success and you are no longer physically able to eat large amounts of food without becoming ill. You lose weight rapidly because the pleasure of overeating no longer is greater than the pain involved afterward. You begin exercising and soon you are pleased with the results you see in the mirror. Your body is looking good. But something is still not right. You sense this, but you can’t put your finger on what exactly it is. And now you don’t know what to do to make it better, to make you feel “settled” inside. Overeating is no longer comforting since it makes you sick. You can’t focus your self-hatred on how awful your body looks because now your body looks like you always wanted it to look and yet, things still aren’t perfectAnd no, they will never be perfect, realistically, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is figuring out what hurt/heartache/trauma/anxiety/fear, etc… has been attempting to reveal itself only to have you continue to bury it under your bandage. What unidentified dragon have you been hiding from behind a wall of self-dissatisfaction and avoidance tactics? You have now reached a jumping off point in your evolvement where you will either take up a different avoidance tactic (“switching addictions”) or you will decide once and for all to rip off the bandage and finally take a good look to see what it is you’ve been running from all this time.
The longer you stand strong in the face of your dragon, looking it squarely in the eye, the less frightening it will become. And eventually the day will come when you will be ready to take it down and utilize it. On your terms.

Awareness… against my will

Let’s cut the shit and get real. Let’s really lay it out there. So much so that let’s not even soften the word shit with an asterix to replace the iAnd of course when I say “let’s” that actually means “me” as in I’m about to cut through my own BS so I’m giving you all fair warning ahead of time to either head for the hills or dig your heels in and ready yourself for my I’m-not-going-to-sugarcoat-this-or-watch-my-language soulful revelation. A fond adieu to those who don’t wish to read further. To those who do? Buckle up…

It has occurred to me on more than one occasion that left to my own devices I may be a shallow asshole. There, I said it. Honesty is important so that we know where we stand. And that is the reason I am about to say something, no wait- I’m going to shout it because I have carried this shameful, non-PC secret that makes me feel like a shallow asshole regarding my son’s autism within me for far too long and shouting it is what I would coach anybody else to do, so here we go:

“I’M NOT EQUIPPED TO BE A SPECIAL NEEDS PARENT!! I’M JUST A REGULAR JOE WHO SIGNED UP FOR A LIFE OF NORMALCY, EASE AND TRANQUILITY- NOT ONE OF THOSE WISE PEOPLE WHO SURELY ARE SMARTER AND BETTER PEOPLE THAN ME AND WERE CLEARLY MADE TO ENDURE A MORE CHALLENGING LIFE. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO NOT BE THE SAME AS EVERYBODY ELSE! 

 I DON’T WANT TO NOT BE LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE! WHY ME?”

Wow. It felt so good to level with you! Taking a breath here… And now that that’s out, I am able to dissect my “shameful secret” and pinpoint what a wise friend of mine calls the blah blah blah of it (that I have fondly come to refer to as the BBB factor) in order to unearth information that will aid me in my soul journey. That information is this: my son’s autism is the red pill I took that stripped the rose colored glasses from my face, smashing them into indistinguishable bits on the ground below me. But while standing primarily in awe and gratitude of being robbed of those glasses, I sometimes miss the world I could view only through their lens and grieve its absence in my life. I then ask myself, as I’ve wondered countless times, if it was up to me, would I choose the blue pill?

As the parent of a young adult child with autism, I’m often looked to for guidance or an understanding ear regarding navigating unknown “special needs” (not relegated solely to autism- but any area where we now have become “different” regarding our children’s needs) territory by other parents. My son is now 21 years old, so this territory is no longer new to me, and I’m happy to help others in the very way my family and I were once helped when the journey was new and we were raw to the experience and the pain threatened to stop us in our tracks daily. THIS is the part that hurts me to recall, and yet i’ve realized I am being called to do so. It’s challenging when feeling the depths of pain within another at the beginning of their journey for me to not “jump forward” to the “it’s going to be alright” part in an effort to alleviate the fresh pain they are feeling about the prospect of living a life that had not been part of the plan. As always, my heart is in the right place, but it has been laid on my heart for the bazillionth time that another’s pain is not mine to attempt to alleviate. We are meant to sit beside pain, allowing it to pass through and leave its message, acknowledging and later understanding that it cannot destroy us. Nobody can do this for another. But we most certainly can pull up a chair and sit beside them while they do so.

For those who have looked up to me and praised how I’ve raised my family who’ve called me wise and may believe I am better, smarter, stronger, or in any way more equipped to lead my family where we’ve come due to something that I’m privy to that you don’t believe you possess, I feel like a fraud. Yes, I am above all else, grateful to be living in awareness. Not just in regard to my son’s autism, of course, but every facet of life. But I want to be completely transparent about the fact that I got here, perhaps even dragged here at times, kicking and screaming. There are days when I want to forget I’ve taken the red pill and succumb to every former vice and detrimental behavior that ever pacified me. I want to toss back some whiskey or chug a beer as fast as I can just to go numb between my ears as my thoughts go slack and my ability to feel every fucking thing diminishes into thin air. I want to watch and eat junk without knowing why it matters and not care that about the animals and people, who are just like me, do you understand what I said, just like you, Lisa? starving, dying, penniless, alone, cold…and they are just like me- they ARE me! want to not know this. I want to not feel. But I need to. And I’m grateful that I was brought to the awareness that allowed me to understand that. But I’m also human. And that human side will always desire to pull me back into a blue pill mentality, which luckily, no longer exists for me.

Serving others as a life coach, a wife and mother, a friend, a sister, and above all else- a human being, I want to be forthcoming with my own truth, which is that I don’t have it all together and I KNOW this. But as I write those words I am made aware of the fact that it’s the KNOWING that I DON’T KNOW that’s key in my ability to help others. In other words, I don’t know more than you. I AM you. And you are me. So whether we triumph or fall, fuck up or prevail, find ourselves sitting in moments of calm mindfulness, or cloaked in agony, pain, and moments of disbelief- we are connected. It’s not perfection that allows each of us to serve one another- it’s connection. And while I’m not meant to have the words or the wisdom to alleviate the pain you may be going through, I can absolutely take your hand and sit beside it with you. Feeling and knowing can be staggering when you’ve taken the red pill. Fortunately, you didn’t take it alone.