A lesson in clear communications…coming soon…
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It was early Saturday morning and the dirty containers in my sink was a reflection of my long week. I had not been home long enough to even wash two containers a day…and there was 10 of them, all piled up. My sink looked sad. I felt sad. I felt lonely. I felt alone. My life felt reduced to a sink of plastic containers. I didn’t feel joy. I didn’t feel accomplished. My sink and my life in that moment, felt pathetic.
I put on a pot of coffee. Smelled the great smells of Saturday morning coffee and got out a favorite mug and sipped away.
When a friend contacted me to go do something fun I immediately said “YES!” I got cleaned up for the 6th day in a row, hair and make up and headed out to connect with friends…On they way out I felt better, much better. So much better that I created a connection text for an old beau – but stopped short of sending it to him. I copied and pasted it and texted it to myself. It had great words and I didn’t want to lose my great message 🙂 It was real. It was vulnerable. It was better kept than sent.
I was feeling “as if” I was in a great relationship and I was feeling all the feels. But I didn’t want to start something up that wasn’t right. I kept the feels without the anxiety. There is a reason why he is an “old” beau and not in my life today. I never let go lightly – and I needed to remind myself not to get in over my head.
On the way to meet friends while stopped at a LONG light I could tell the guy in the SUV to my right was staring at me…I turned and sure enough he was staring and he was age appropriate – so I truly felt I wasn’t seeing things not there. The red light was soooo long but I didn’t dare look again. It did make me smile a bit though, along with feeling a bit embarrassed. I laughed when I got through the light thinking about the laws of attraction. That text I wrote and didn’t send, was very powerful.
When I returned home after time with friends and several errands I put the plastic containers to soak in beautiful warm bubbles…and then the magic happened. I rinsed my coffee cup from my morning coffee and put it right on top of all the containers.
The magic was the reminder to not let anything stop me from believing in my dreams…Believing in our Dreams needs to top any hard weeks, any hard hours, any challenges.
Earlier in the day I was sad because all week I felt I had allowed other commitments to consume me, derail me from my dreams, my path, my direction. I felt resentful. I was overly tired. I was missing so much of the life and the people who are so special to me.
On the flip side…there was so much right about those plastic containers. I had not spent one extra dollar all week for coffee or lunch. I had eaten over the top healthy all week, every day. I truly had spent MANY committed hours, more than required. I had made progress. I had treated others well. With respect and kindness. I had made some great connections in very a short amount of time. I had prioritized well and acted like a grown up in meeting my commitments…and when Saturday came I took some time for fun…and then returned my focus to my most precious priorities, my loved ones.
They are the reason I am doing what I am doing. They are the reason I will persevere. They are my reason for feeling grateful not pathetic.
Today, two more containers fill my sink after a long day. But today I am smiling…and feeling grateful for so many reasons. I will not lose sight of my dreams, ever again. Believing in my Dreams will always be on top of my pile.
Years ago a friend shared how she would decorate her house like a “Winter Wonderland” for Christmas, every year.
She talked about how every nook and cranny of her home was decorated for the holidays. She talked about how she went “Over the Top” decorating. And how long it would take her to take down all the decorations and put it all away. She talked about being totally exhausted afterwards…and then each year she would do it all over again. Every year. Same routine.
For a time it served her.
For a time she was up for it.
For that time, those years, it was OK…until it wasn’t.
And then she stopped.
Today she doesn’t even get a Christmas tree. Too much bother. Too much time. Too much money – only to throw it all away, when the holiday is over.
But doing NO decorations today truly does not feel good. It feels lazy. It feels sad. It feels emotionless. Passionless. It feels BLAH.
Where is the balance? Balance between the over the top decorating of the past – and the do nothing of today?
Has it all come down to All or Nothing?
Is it that way with everything? We are either ALL IN or ALL OUT? ALL ON or ALL OFF?
There is stress in both. Stress of doing something over the top. Stress of emptiness that comes with doing nothing.
Is there a way to have a balance that works?
Balance that is not too taxing – age appropriate and a level of being “In” or “On” that works…Balance with each new age or phase of our lives?
Yes, balance can exist and it can feel great. It’s all about managing the gap.
Here’s my own story from my history…
Years ago while flying, traveling on a business trip – I remember plotting out several schedules with different variables, attempting to better manage my daily routine. Flying seemed to be the only time I could find time to think, time to reflect. I was a mother of two young sons and only when I traveled did I truly have time to myself. Only when I traveled and the care of my sons was left to their amazing after hours sitter, could I truly have a minute to think how to do life better.
I mapped out 4 different daily routines, trying to fit in all the priorities in my life.
Exercise, work, meal shopping, cooking, homework for my sons, volunteering at the school, boys after school sports, commuting to work, dropping and picking up my boys from before and after school care…house cleaning and anything else my sons and home needed.
I remember mapping out options that could handle my priorities and then highlighting those options that offered the greatest accommodation, with the least stress.
The option that accommodated most of my priorities had me getting up by 4am, arriving at work by 8am, picking up my sons after work by 6 pm each night, get them to bed by 9 pm and me to bed by 11pm…I would see my sons for a barely 3 hours a day and that was briefly in the morning and then only at night when it was filled with sports, dinner and homework. There was no time for anything else.
I remember sitting on the plane, my international flight, with many hours to ponder the many variables.
Seeing all four daily maps left me feeling sick, truly overwhelmed and feeling defeated. There really was no good option. All possible schedules felt overwhelming, exhausting and sad. None of the variables were reasonable or sustainable.
I could probably find that map from 30 years ago somewhere in my archives of defeated plans – tucked away in some notebook. I could never really admit defeat and I could never change the goal posts back then. I could never allow myself to think of doing less.
I always just thought I just need to try harder. Do more. Sleep less.
I was not being real with myself.
I was not setting myself up for success.
I was not being realistic with what was truly possible.
I kept thinking I should be able to do everything. All the time.
I could not make peace with being OK in expecting less and doing less.
And so I created unrealistic expectations of myself. And probably for my children too.
Year after year.
And each year the expectations increased in magnitude and severity.
And then I stopped.
I let go – but not in a most healthy way.
I was tired. Too tired.
I didn’t admit defeat.
But I was defeated, disillusioned and drowning.
I went down.
And I stayed down.
For too long.
I heard family members telling me to pull myself up by the boot straps.
I heard family and friends say they had never seen me not rebound.
I heard others say – they had never seen me like this.
I had hit a point, when I felt like I did 30 years ago on that plane – trying to make sanity out of insane expectations.
And then the light finally went on for me.
Finally, I said “NO Thanks”.
NO Thanks to doing everything.
Doing everything and enjoying very little, was not acceptable for me any longer.
It never was.
But today I know that.
Before I didn’t realize the part I needed to modify were my expectations.
Today I know that.
I know the stress I have in life is the GAP between my expectations of myself and what I can actually do, reasonably, without daily herculean efforts.
I strive for line drives today. Not daily home runs. Just line drives.
With a HOME run sprinkled in here and there.
Today I know that I don’t have to paralyze myself with overwhelming expectations.
I can plan to do some things that are most important to me.
I can plan to make things nice in my world and follow through.
I can plan and execute on those things most important.
I have allowed myself to get back in the game by not piling on unreasonable expectations.
I can stay engaged.
I can stay energized.
I can stay motivated.
I don’t have to be overwhelmed.
The more I do according to my plans, the less stress I have in my life.
I LOVE checking “DONE” next to the items on my to do list.
The ONLY things that make it on my to do list today are true priorities.
Priorities worthy of my time.
Priorities worthy of my energy.
Priorities worthy of the precious resources I am willing spend on making something happen.
Today my GAP is small.
The GAP between my wishes and my accomplishments is minuscule.
My heart is happy.
My DONE list is filled with GREEN Check marks. And smiley faces.
Life is better than ever…
I have learned to manage THE GAP.
I don’t have to be overwhelmed any more.
I can say NO Thanks to those things that do not serve me.
Or don’t serve me at this time.
Leaving time to enjoy the things I do.
Here’s giving you encouragement to rip up unrealistic maps.
Here’s giving you encouragement to realize your true priorities.
To enjoy everything about your day.
Here’s wishing you great success in managing the gap in your own life.
Use your red pen to say “NO THANKS” to anything not serving you.
Then breathe and smile 🙂
A beautiful young lady approached me last evening and within seconds tears were streaming down her face. She had barely started to ask for help, when tears flowed from her beautiful, wide eyes.
Just the mere gesture of her approaching me, wanting to ask for help had made her vulnerable, open, accepting and probably anxious and a bit frightened too.
Her tears stopped me in my tracks. I stopped talking. I stopped moving. I just stopped. I stood there – allowing her to ask for help. Allowing her to cry. Allowing her to be vulnerable. And hopefully allowing her to feel safe.
I realize now my body responded as I would coming upon a wounded animal. Careful. Allowing the animal time to trust me before proceeding further. We humans are no different. When we are hurting – no matter the reason – we must trust those we ask for help.
I stood in front of this young lady as she was reaching out, asking for help and when it was safe to do so gave her a hug. A reassuring hug that she didn’t have to hurt any more. She could begin to heal. She could walk toward the light and away from the darkness.
I could feel a great spiritual shift in that moment. For me. And I believe for her too.
That moment of great hurt, great burden being released. Being set free. Being lifted.
I could feel a true soul connection and I hugged her again and let her know it will be better.
I know it can be better for her. She can move from hurt to healing and she made the first most beautiful step last night. Asking for help.
I could not be more blessed she asked me. For my help. My guidance. I am honored.
It is so true when the student is ready the teacher will appear…and last night I was honored to experience this first hand, as the teacher.
Beautifully. Perfectly. On Time.
A year ago today one of my best friends passed away.
Cancer ended her physical life but she lives on deeply, lovingly in all the lives she touched. And she touched many. Kindly, deeply, truly. She was one of a kind.
No one I know has so many people think they were her best friend – because she treated all of us so special. So uniquely. So genuinely.
She was the one who first started our “girlfriend weekend getaways” years ago. It was my birthday when I was kidnapped. They called it “chick napping” and they whisked me away for a girl’s weekend…and even cancelled my upcoming date, without my knowledge. 🙂 🙁
That’s some kind of girl tribe…and my friend was the Queen Bee. Our Queen of Hearts. Always being an example of being kind, decent and caring.
Cancer had knocked on her door 17 years earlier…and she did everything she could to recover and she did. Valiantly for the next 17 years.
When cancer struck the second time, she fought it again. She never gave up.
Two weeks before she passed she told me “I’m fighting this” and fist pumped in the air…and fight she did. She never said I’m ready to go. She never did let go.
She never let go of her husband, her children, her grandchildren. She never let go of her extended family and friends or her work. She never let go of life.
She didn’t have to say goodbye because everything she might have said in a goodbye was said in how she lived. When you live so beautifully you leave nothing unsaid. Her smile. Her laugh. Her eyes. Her mischief. Her kind and fun spirit. She was contagious.
I am so grateful. So grateful I had the honor of knowing her for over 24 years. Her middle name was Grace. Grace was the first thing she always gave to others. Grace. She was never quick to judge. She spent time to understand.
Losing this kind of friend is devastating.
Not ever having this kind of friend would be worse. Tragic in fact.
I am beyond grateful for having her in my life. She is still in my life because of all the good she planted. As the Queen of Hearts she was always weaving many lives together that might have never touched or connected otherwise.
Her passing hurts so much – because I loved her so much. My heart was all in.
She showed me how to live. She showed me how to not give up. Ever.
She showed me what being kind to others really looked like. I am better for it. I am better because of her. I am better because of watching how she lived. How she loved. How her family knew they were her highest priority.
And finally, she showed me how to go on with LOVE.
I will forever be grateful for my 24 years with her. We seized the great times like no others. The contagious laughter and laugh till we pee our pants times, are forever etched in my soul.
Last evening, after spending time with our smaller hive, I cried on the way home. And then started to laugh uncontrollably, at the memories going through my head. Times shared with my dear friend.
She is the priceless gift that keeps on giving.
I am beyond grateful for the times we had.
I keep telling myself to be grateful for all that was and not grieve what isn’t.
This is much harder to do than say.
Losing someone we love hurts.
Losing someone from our daily life is devastating.
I have had to force myself to make LOVE stronger than loss.
LOVE for all we had.
LOVE for all we shared.
LOVE for all the good times.
LOVE for all the GREAT times.
When I make LOVE the priority I can be grateful for what was.
I was the luckiest woman on Earth to have had the times we had.
I am beyond grateful for the many years we shared.
Years filled with silly whip cream memories and more.
Thank you Dear FRIEND for your love.
I am forever grateful to have walked in this life with you…
I LOVE you Frannie. Always.
Thank you for showing me how to – Go on with LOVE.
Looking back you might see miles of woulda, coulda, shouldas
Hindsight and wisdom are common travel partners
Both a blessing when used for good
Never good when they free load in your head
Distracting you, weighing you down
There is NOTHING you can do to change the road behind
There is EVERYTHING you can do about the road ahead
It starts with KNOWING what you want
GOING after it
And NOT giving up
You can start a hundred things
What counts are the things you finish
Finished items have value
Unfinished items take up time, space and waste your money
Offering no value
A half baked pie
A half knitted scarf
A book half written
A house half built
A car half finished
A bridge half built
Real value is realized when you have completed, finished
How many times have you GIVEN UP on you?
Given up on your goals?
How many unfinished paths have left you devastated?
Unfinished goals weigh you down
Diluting your time, your energy, your money
It’s easy to see the cost of giving up on things we can see
A scarf, a house, a bridge
It is harder to quantify the cost of giving up on YOU
Cost of DISILLUSIONED dreams
Cost of GUTTED Goals
Cost of vision boards covered with COBWEBS
Hard to quantify the cost…but know this
The graveyard of dreams and goals will also take your body hostage
Your heart, your head, your hands, your feet
As you give up on the very things that give you life – your body responds
Your body is a faithful soldier
Your head tells your heart to shut down, it will
Your head tells your feet you can’t, you wont
How much of your body has shut down because you have given up?
Your body shutting down is the TRUE COST of giving up
When dreams die, so does the body
There is GOOD news…
REGARDLESS of the past…the future is yours to create
The graveyard of dreams and goals is not PERMANENT
There is RECOVERY
You can bring your DREAMS back to LIFE
You can bring your BODY back to LIFE
You can DUST off those OLD dreams
You can add NEW dreams
You can start making VALUABLE progress today
You do not have to DELAY one more minute, one more day, one more year
The road ahead is YOURS
Treasure your DREAMS
What do you want in your FUTURE road?
Within the next YEAR?
Contact me today to get started on creating your best life
Closure for me has come in various forms over the years. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but when real closure happens, my world shifts.
In a BIG momentous way.
Last night, after sending a very long and sensitive email to a challenging past love and then writing a scathing tweet about the resident in the White House, my connections to the outside world froze.
My phone stopped connecting. My computer stopped connecting.
No website access, no email, no twitter. Nothing. No apps. And no device was giving me guidance as to what was not working.
My TV worked and I was watching news to see if maybe there was a MASSIVE power outage or something.
My head went to the darkest places.
I rebooted everything – several times. Nothing worked.
At 1 am I was outside trying to see if my phone could get “sky power” to no avail…
When my internet connection went out I was cut off – completely.
I finally went to bed at 1:09 am and prayed it would all be magically fixed in the morning.
So at 7:30 am – I am outside again trying to get service for my phone…and I see a glimmer of hope. I had to walk a bit farther away from my home, but my phone started working. I could get email on my phone again. I could see the sensitive email I had sent had not prompted a response. Not yet, at least. At least I know he got it. I can’t control his response or not.
OK – the internet is working on my phone again and I can get access to twitter. I guess the Russians were not attacking my account last night.
No horrible news that our country had been attacked by Iran or Russia.
The worst of my worst thoughts had been put to rest.
So I walk back inside and my phone no longer had the connection to the internet.
Ok – It is not even 8:00 am on Saturday morning and I have not had coffee and I am so not ready for a full day of NO connections to the outside world.
I put the coffee on to start.
Then I start to trouble shoot the components, one by one.
Within 60 minutes I had resolved the problem.
It came down to a router that must have died after many years of use…
When I took the router out of the mix I was able to restore all my access, with all my devices.
Wow – what a difference when everything works again.
I can email. I can tweet. I can browse the web – from my phone and my computer.
My connections have all been restored.
My old router dying was symbolic of letting go, closure. Closure in a crazy way that is only meaningful to me.
This router was a connection to an old employer, a past life that had let me go some time ago and who let me go two more times in the last week…
Now I can finally let go too. Closure. True closure.
And that email I sent to a past love… That was clarity for me. It was important to me. I can let go of his response, or no response. I said what was important for me to say in the most kind and loving way.
Closure can shift your world – for the better.
Many would think there is not much difference between these words.
Even Webster’s Dictionary uses these words almost interchangeably.
Copied from Webster on line:
RESPOND: 1 : to say something in return : make an answer RESPOND to criticism 2a : to REACT in response, RESPONDed to a call for help 2b : to show favorable REACTion RESPOND to surgery 3 : to be answerable RESPOND in damages REACT 1 : to exert a reciprocal or counteracting force or influence —often used with on or upon 2 : to change in response to a stimulus 3 : to act in opposition to a force or influence —usually used with against 4 : to move or tend in a reverse direction 5 : to undergo chemical REACTion
For anyone with experience in effective communications, there is a HUGE difference between these two words.
A HUGE difference with the results of each of these actions.
My thoughts on each of these words:
To RESPOND, is a thoughtful and well intentioned response, driving for a respectful outcome.
To REACT, is action without regard to the consequences.
How many times have we wished we had RESPONDED vs. REACTED.
How many times have we wished we would have paused for a second.
How many times would things have ended differently, if we had RESPONDED vs. REACTED.
Our criminal justice system is filled with people who REACTED – in an instant, without much thought, causing themselves grave consequences, for years.
What if they had used paused and RESPONDED, allowing a thoughtful and well intentioned response…how different their lives might be. They would not be behind bars, paying for their “REACTions” with years of their lives.
Other situations, not so drastic, create barriers around our hearts, our heads, our hands…we may not be incarcerated, but we can be in our own private prison as the result of our REACTions.
Unhealthy REACTions do not serve us. Ever. Unhealthy REACTions come from FEAR. This is never positive. Never.
Responses of LOVE, Understanding, Courage are positive. Responses with respect for ourselves, and others, serve us positively. Always.
When we RESPOND from a place of LOVE and RESPECT – we can stand by our well intentioned response. It is solid. Timeless.
When a well intentioned response is filled with Love and Respect – there is no need for regret.
No need to apologize.
No damage done.
Does this mean a RESPONSE is just a sugar coated REACTION?
A response, delivered with respect, might be painful to deliver, painful to receive, but it can stand on it’s own. Without regrets.
A REACTion however, can do incredible damage, quickly, as it is filled with Fear, and not rooted in respect.
REACTions might feel good for about 2 seconds as you “speak your peace”…but the damage of REACTing versus RESPONDing immediately ruins any 2 second victory.
REACTing can require great repair at best.
RESPONDing requires great restraint and no repair.
We cannot control how someone might receive a thoughtful response.
Delivering a response with respect will always serve YOU well.
REACTing without thought or respect, will never serve YOU well.
NO Thanks to REACTING.
Choose to RESPOND. It will serve YOU well. Always.
I am in awe of the human body and all the intricate parts that make up a human being. The miracles are endless when you think of how many things we have going on at one time. The fact I can type this message without looking at a keyboard, is astonishing to me. How signals from the brain to other parts of our bodies allow us to move naturally, without conscious effort or delay.
When I get a tiny splinter too small to see however it bothers me until I remove it.
One tiny hair pulled from my head can be felt.
How a smile can make my face flush and my heart flutter all in the same moment.
How a loud sound can make me jump involuntarily – while the sweet sound of a favorite song can make me smile inside.
The human experience is truly amazing to me. All these things were gifted to us at birth. We were born with so many gifts.
And then, after birth, we learned so much more. Not all good. Not all positive.
We learned pain. We learned fear. We learned not to trust. We learned loss.
We learned many things that have crushed the human spirit and have damaged the human body.
This is why I COACH.
I want to help people dig out from the layers yuck that have filled their lives and their hearts and their bodies…and snuffed out their light.
I want to help others remove the layers preventing them from being a beautiful creation.
I want LOVE to replace hate
I want FAITH to replace fear
I want TRUST to replace doubt
I want JOY to overshadow sadness
I want HOPE to light the way
I want LAUGHTER to fill all hearts
I want COMMITMENT to replace giving up…
For years I covered my fears and sadness with food.
Too much food. Too many years.
I don’t want that life again. Ever.
I have found a better way.
I want to live a better way. Everyday.
I am in AWE of my new head.
My new head that cannot give up on me, ever again.
I do not want to be ruled by fear, ever again.
Love, Faith, Trust, Joy, Hope, Laughter and Commitment are my new best friends.
I want better for me. I want better for you.
I know we can ALL have, ALL we need.
The secret is knowing what you need.
Do you know what you really need?
Contact me to get started on your AWE…
Years ago I purchased a domain called www.dailydilemma.com with the intention of building a site someday, to share every day dilemmas. The site has never been built. Daily Dilemma has just been my personal domain I have paid for – for the last 20+ years. It is so personal and so important to me that it was even noted as my property in my divorce agreement over 17 years ago. The name is special to me. The name has great meaning to me. Over the last 20 years, I have called to mind “daily dilemma” regularly. I even have family saying “hey this issue would be good for your daily dilemma thing.”
Each day we face unexpected challenges in life. Some pleasant, some not. With each challenge we can choose how to respond. How we want to move forward.
Yesterday I was hit with something very BIG to me. It might seem trivial to someone else, but to me it is HUGE. And it was not HUGE wonderful. It was the complete opposite. It felt horrible. I felt horrible. I was shaking inside with anxiety, anger, frustration, grief and underneath all that was true sadness. Deep sadness.
It brought to mind the saying – by the amazing Maya Angelou – “You may not remember what a person said to you, you may not remember what a person did to you, but you will never forget how a person made you feel!”
I want to modify this to say I don’t believe anyone has the power to make me feel horrible – but I can feel horrible as a result of things that happen. My initial reaction might be anxiety, anger, frustration, grief. And then ultimately sadness…but then I need to choose how do I want to be. Truly be. How do I want to feel. How do I want to move forward.
The timing of this is no mistake. Today is Valentines Day – A day when we celebrate LOVE. LOVE in all forms, shapes, sizes.
Two weeks ago when this process first started I chose to operate in LOVE. Love for myself. Love for my future. Love for others. Love for gracefully surrendering. I took deliberate steps to operate from a place of Love. I took risks, I made decisions. I made plans with good intentions and I stayed committed to my path. I had thoughts of good intentions and steps with the best of intentions. I believed the best. I acted in the best ways.
I am being tested today. I have not wavered from my path, but now I am being pushed and prodded for more. More that does not feel good. More that feels imposing. More that does not support my graceful surrender on my terms, my time.
As I have been trying to pack my house to move I am so reminded of how if I had a male in my life – how exasperated he would be with me at this point. Any guy would be saying “just pack the box” or more likely “just pack the damn box” as he might see me sifting through old pictures or baby clothes, or old hats…the voice telling me “just pack the box” is what I needed yesterday from a loving partner and I don’t have that right now. I don’t have the voice or the partner.
But I do have Daily Dilemma – in my head – and LOVE in my heart…
Of all the choices I see in front of me:
A) Refuse to allow imposing of any kind – hold a hard line
B) Allow imposing but don’t give in without kicking and screaming
C) Lose another nights sleep over this
D) Pack the damn boxes with LOVE
I choose D.
I will move forward on my path, in the very best way to serve me best.
In the long run I will remember how I made myself feel…
As soon as I made this decision – a delivery I forgot I ordered, arrived at my door…
A priceless voice that came in form of a beautiful folder…
For my new office…
I will make things happen.