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I have been called many things in my life– strong, compassionate, wise- and the “B” word, as in bossy. I’ve spent hours at kitchen tables and RiNo coffee shops, dispensing advice and Kleenex, bringing clarity to the confused and donuts to the distraught. These caffeinated, altruistic moments can get messy. Dreams are shared along with struggles. Questions and voices and glasses are raised, ideas get thrown around, sentences get interrupted, and napkins are nervously shredded. In other words, magic happens. Nothing feels better than a problem-solving download with a very good friend, then saying goodbyes with a hug and a plan. 

Danielle LaPorte- “We all just want to be seen and heard. No exceptions.”

This dynamic works best when it works both ways and within my trusted circle I am uplifted, held, and given a swift kick in the pants when I need it. Friendship, connection and community are as old as time and perhaps never as vital to our well-being as they are in today’s crazy swirl of a world where we are bombarded with information and disinformation. The time we spend together gives us the opportunity to listen to one another with our hearts, share our insights and practice empathy. It lifts us up, makes us more generous human beings. Why is it so much easier to fix another’s ills than it is to cure what ails you? Because blindside is never 20/20.

Dr. Seuss — “When you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”

The idea of being paid to help people get unstuck and on track with their thoughts, habits and desires sounds like a good thing for an empath, doesn’t it? People tell you where they think they want to go, you help them hone in and be specific, then craft a strategy on how to get there; like Google Maps for the soul. When we listen carefully to one another, when we talk freely, we share our goals, obstacles and frustrations. What we’re often missing is the awareness of what we already know, and because answers are inherent in the question, it sounds pretty simple. So simple, we slap our foreheads when the answer is right under our…knows.

A Life Coach is different than a therapist, mentor, shaman or babysitter. Each of these are useful, respectable professions (often sharing the same tasks) a life coach wields more than a riding crop and whistle. The coach’s superpower is accountability. Even the friends we check in with daily, accountability from a pro is altogether different. There is $kin in the game, a weekly Zoom meeting, and someone who is not only listening, but taking notes.  Dreams and goals are chunked out, tasks are broken down into actionable items and timelines are integrated into strategy, and your Life Coach isn’t going to hijack your session talking about her latest Tinder disaster.

While great friendships evolve organically over time, finding a great coach requires its own investment. Surfing the Internet you’ll find great adjectives on their websites- passion, empowerment, confidence, transformation, tools– (and who doesn’t want more of those?) but it takes more than keywords to find the right fit. et’s take a look at what they do.

  1. Identify true desire.
  2. Identify any obstacles or objections to desire.
  3. Align resources to achieve desire.
  4. Search for where the manifestation of this desire lives.
  5. Connect manifestation with recipient of desire.
  6. Ensure manifestation, recipient and desire are in alignment.
  7. Write offer, go under contract, schedule inspection… oh wait.

The next time someone tells me I should be a life coach, I’ll remind them I’m a Realtor. We make many choices, some make life better while others go wildly wrong. Choosing a friend, mentor, lover or life coach can enhance the quality of your days and nights. Choose wisely.

 

 

When it comes to stuff, there is always too much, much too much of the time.

All of it needs my attention, nothing gets enough of it and like everyone I know, I’m sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. The dishes don’t do themselves, the mail keeps piling up, the pet sheds, the news howls, the weeds grow, and the laundry perpetually plots against us. Just when you’ve finished folding the last load, hot from the dryer on a sweltering day, you peel off your dirty clothes and the cycle begins again. Tabletops are rarely clear, drawers are full of long-lost keys and screws and parts unknown and the Christmas decor… don’t even.

There’s my own stuff, and the boys’ stuff, and the stuff the boys bring home from “the bins” to sell online that seems to multiply, and there’s all the stuff that’s been left behind. I swear I’m not a hoarder, I just have too much stuff.  I’ve cut way down on buying and try to take two things out for everything that comes in, but I’m losing the battle and the war. Maybe it’s the spin of the news cycle that’s got me twitterpated, but I find myself waking up to the rotating clutter of  life and the world at large. It’s America, after all, and we’re nothing if not a consumer culture but it is insane.

Our collective obsession with stuff is the emotion we attach to it. My brother dies. Stuff. My husband dies. More stuff. All of this stuff is too precious to be tossed because that feels disrespectful, right? Losing the person is unbelievably hard, letting go of a shoebox full of “How are you? I am fine” letters written by a love-struck middle-schooler should be easy. But it isn’t.  I’m overly cautious, telling myself I’m saving things for the boys who may want to wander through these someday, even thought they’ve shown no interest over the last four years, and heaven forbid when my time comes, they’ll be stuck with a slim life insurance policy and a bunch more stuff.

Still… it feels like you’re erasing an existence.

What’s stacked in the garage, taking up space on shelves and in rafters, isn’t what overwhelms me… at this point.  I’m concerned with what is right in front of me; the clothes I move from closet to closet as the seasons change, skirts too small and pants whose rise has grown short over the year, the shoes to be tripped over, and that folded laundry that’s yet to make it into the drawers. On Memorial Day weekend I spent a little “down time” looking at the feng shui of my home, trying to clear the chaos by moving furniture while listening to self-help podcasts on my iPod. Feng Shui is an interesting concept regarding the auspicious placement of your stuff to create good “chi”, which is all a fancy way of saying spring cleaning with magical intention followed by the dance of the tchotchkes.

The entire ritual made me feel better. Space was opened up, things were grouped in harmonious ways and, if the Internet is right I should be rolling in money faster than a wire from the Prince of Nigeria. While obsessing on the Bagua, best mirror placement, and the right corner for the lucky bamboo, I learned of a lesser-known feng shui practice. Getting rid of twenty-seven things a day for nine days. This is meant to empty what is too full, making room for more abundance (i.e. stuff). Both 9 and 27 are lucky numbers but something tells me that in the days some 3,500+ years before the invention of the magnetic compass, your average Chinese household didn’t have much more than twenty-seven things. Maybe that’s why they didn’t go a full two weeks.

Simplifying my life is an ongoing process, complicated by the need to make a living, the consumerist barrage of American lifestyle and some basic fears of letting go. Drawn to the efficiency and magic of it, I will embark on this journey, ready to pitch 243 things in less than a fortnight.  I’m sure it it will take a few rounds before I’d make it to the garage, but it’s a start. I’ll let you know how it goes next week… if I don’t chuck the computer.

 

If you could see yourself as others see you, would you be surprised? I’d venture a guess that it would be quite different than you see yourself in a number of ways. There are adjectives we’ve heard all our lives from parents friends and lovers, some of them flattering and some we’ve carted around clumsily, like overstuffed luggage with a broken wheel. Why do we deny ownership of the positive qualities bestowed, and draw the fear feeding ones like picnic ants to the watermelon of our souls? And does it ever seem to you that other people don’t do that or is it just me?
Recently I did an interview with Nancy Koontz for the Blacktie Colorado site. The series, called “Have You Met?”, profiles members of Denver’s art, cultural and philanthropic communities, allowing us to get to know one another deeper than the cocktail party or social event allows. Usually I’m the interviewer so this turnabout gave me an opportunity to sit on the other side of the table. I’d been sent a list of questions prior to our ‘sit down’ so I had some time to contemplate my answers and made it a point to dig a little deeper, but what surprised me was my reaction to reading the final post. It was Nancy’s preamble that got me. Reading on the New York subway, I laughed out loud in a relapse of middle-school self-consciousness. “That’s total bullshit” was my first thought, my second… why would I think that?
Is it in our Judeo-Christian culture that ingrains a deep sense of unworthiness within us? Though I was raised without religious ideology, I’ve been on the planet long enough to know that praise is generally bestowed upon good dogs and the Lord. Refusing to allow another’s opinion of or feeling for you into your heart diminishes both giver and receiver.
As the world has become a public shout out we carefully craft and cultivate our online reputation with the real-time self-promotional ticker of social media. Opinions swarm like killer bees, bringing vitriol and condemnation into our daily experience with the blogs, news coverage and unwanted emails flooding our collective inbox. It is no wonder we feel downhearted, for what gets put out into the world the world becomes. So how ’bout a little balance? I’m not talking about posting positive quotes to balance the snark, but taking the time to engage in and embrace the good, starting with self. The introspective tend to take criticism, mull it over in search of its validity and the possibility of self-improvement. How lovely to do the same with praise. So, I have a question for you. How would your life be different if you took all of the good people see in you and reflect about you and accepted it as true?