Saying What’s So

Pretending doesn’t work for me anymore.

Pretending I’m fine, happy, or excited, and I’m sure there’s more but I’m blanking right now.

Lately I’ve just been saying what’s so. Here’s an example:

There’s a woman I’ve been making wrong for months. I really thought she WAS wrong by how she was leading our calls. Everything she did annoyed me. I couldn’t stand it and it was just the way it was.

This week a monthly reminder came up on my phone: “Remind Sarah about song.” A lightbulb went off.

That was it. Two years ago Sarah told me she wrote songs. I told her I write poems. She said that if I wrote a poem she would would put it to music. I was really excited. I wrote the poem that weekend and sent it to her. At first she responded and was working on it, but since then, when I’d ask her about it she would kind of avoid the topic. It was a real letdown for me. The notice on my phone reignited my disappointment, resentment and annoyance.

Last night I called her.

“Something’s been wrong between us and it wasn’t until I saw my monthly song reminder that I figured out why. I’ve been making you wrong for not writing my song and not being in communication about it.”

“I’m so glad you brought this up. I just can’t get with that poem and I didn’t know how to tell you. It wasn’t working for me,” she said.

“Well, that’s fine,” I said. “I don’t really like the poem anymore anyway. That was SO two years ago. I’ve moved on since then. I wish you had just told me though.”

“I just didn’t know how. I’m sorry. I was awkward about it. But maybe we could create something new instead and have fun doing it, ” she said.

“That would be great.”

And with that, the affinity returned. The love returned. I had been avoiding her and today I sent her an email thanking her and telling her I love her. Amazing.

I said what was so and didn’t pretend that I was happy, fine or excited. It was so freeing.

Before I wouldn’t have thought it was a nice thing to do. Or appropriate. Or sensitive. Or thought maybe she wouldn’t like me……….

Now I say “saying what’s so” is BEING REAL. And being real is freeing. Instead of feeling resentful, separate, and miserable, by saying what’s there, I can return to belonging, community, fun and even laughter.

It’s such a small thing, but it creates a huge wonderful world.

Thanks for listening.

Lose/Lose Scenario

I had a great weekend. All of a sudden, yesterday I was in a funk. My body ached, my back hurt and something was wrong.

It took me until today when I was writing in my journal to figure it out. I was in a lose-lose scenario.

My sister was all over my case about seeing my mother at Thanksgiving.

“Did you go to the gym?” she asked me. Yes I went once since this summer, fully masked, kept my distance and washed my hands ferociously afterwards.

“What about Jesse? Where has he been?” He wears a mask and keeps his distance.

“I can’t sleep at night worrying about mom. I don’t think you should go there for Thanksgiving,” she ended with. This is the one that got me messed up.

I just spent the weekend with my mom. Everyone was fine. I’ve been seeing her since I had a negative COVID test last spring. I stay by myself for the most part. I am very careful. Am I seriously not supposed to go there for the holiday? Should I stay home and let her be by herself? Isn’t that cruel?

I felt like I was damned if I went and damned if I didn’t.

All day Monday I felt like an ass hole. I didn’t know what the right thing to do was. I really felt sick. My back and legs were aching.

Freedom came this morning. I was writing in my journal and realized I was in a lose-lose situation. I was making myself wrong for being in it. For not knowing what to do.

What if I can create a win/win for everyone? Just thinking about that had me start seeing solutions.

I can tell my son not to come since he goes out and isn’t that careful. I can have us all take a COVID test. We can go there with masks. We can stay socially distanced.

There are things I can do to make this work. I don’t have to be a victim to other people’s opinions and my own disempowering thoughts.

It’s amazing when I can part the fog, see clearly and get myself free.

I love it.

Thanks for listening.

Two Small Things That Were Big

“I don’t read directions,” I have proudly said all my life. “I just don’t. I don’t understand them.”

When I got a new coffee maker, I had my son set it up.

When I got a new air conditioner, I had my ex-husband read the directions and put it in my window. This year I got my son to do it.

The other night I sat looking at my dead home phone. I didn’t know what to do. I knew I could go to the store and ask for help, but last time I ended up spending $145 on a whole new phone set.

What if it was just the battery? I pried the phone open and took out the batteries. I went on Amazon and tried to find the same ones. No luck. I checked my phone model and picked the closest thing I could find. If I was wrong, I only wasted $15.

The batteries arrived yesterday. I put them in the phone. I was shocked to see the dead phone spring to life. I fixed it. All by myself. Without a man. For the first time since my divorce 5 years ago, I felt different. It’s hard to explain. I guess part of me had silently suffered over this. I could only fix or install or set up something if someone helped me. I was helpless. Like a little child.

Even though it may seem small to someone else, this felt like a big deal to me. And that it was so damn easy.

I should end this here, but, ……I have another example.

My coffee pot stopped working Sunday morning. It wouldn’t brew. It said clean. I didn’t know what that meant. I had an 11:00 course starting that would last all day and it was 10:40 AM. I couldn’t last without coffee.

I drove like a maniac to the dunkin donuts, putting my order in as I drove so it would be ready when I got there. I ended up ordering 3 coffees instead of one, AND, had to wait 10 minutes when I got there. I ended up being late for my course very stressed out.

At 2:30 AM the next morning, I couldn’t sleep. I tried to get the coffee maker to work again, unplugging it, shaking it, and running water through it. It still didn’t work. I had had enough. I went on Amazon and ordered a new Mr. Coffee for $24.95. I couldn’t stand the stress of having to run to Dunkin Donuts for my coffee again.

Monday, however, after my phone success, I decided to try again. I looked at the directions. It said to use vinegar. That just seemed too disgusting to do. I filled the thing with only water and pressed clean. Nothing happened. OK, fine. I poured vinegar in the bucket part. I had nothing to lose.

It started cleaning. OMG. I did it. It was working. I finally did what they said to and it worked. Wow! Where else in my life was I arguing with the directions and making life really hard? This was incredible.

Except for my first pot of coffee tasting like vinegar, I felt great. OK, so I’ll have 2 working coffee makers once my new one arrives. It will be good to have a spare. (I paid WAY more than $24.95 during COVID when my last one broke. I wonder if vinegar would have fixed that one – oh well – too late now).

I am thrilled that I can change the way I think and act. I CAN read directions and I CAN fix things. All by my little girl self. It seems like a HUGE triumph to me. The world has opened up.

Thanks for listening.

The Book of (Getting it) Right

“I just want to get it right.”

“Is that right?”

“I’m afraid I won’t get it right.”

These are all things I’ve either been saying to myself or hearing people say lately.

My question is: Where is the Book of Right? Is there actually a book? Is there actually a right? AND, why is it such a big fucking deal if I get it wrong? Will I die? Will the earth open up and swallow me whole? It certainly has seemed that way most of my life.

If I really look, I don’t think there really IS a RIGHT. In my 61 years on earth, I haven’t found ONE right way. Different people have different ways and different opinions.

So why do I torture myself? It doesn’t make sense.

This week, after 13 years in sales, I had to do a skills assessment with my boss and HIS BOSS. I was nervous. I was tempted to tell them I was sick so I wouldn’t have to do it.

I asked myself why I was in such a panic. Guess why?

I was thinking I had to GET IT RIGHT. I printed out all of our scripts, handling objections, guidelines, and other documents and had them next to me during our zoom call. I felt like I was cramming for an exam.

“Let’s talk about recruiting,” my boss said first.

SHIT. I didn’t have a paper for recruiting. “HELP” my brain screamed. There was no right way readily accessible for me to read.

Here’s the thing. I’m not new. I’ve been selling AFLAC for 13 years. I know how to do this. I took a breath.

I play acted recruiting my boss’s boss’s (Michael), just being myself.

They loved most of it. There was one place where I got tripped up. But it was fine. I can learn. I can grow. It’s ok. I didn’t die.

The prospecting part went fine.

Then came the employer presentation. I literally read the script (getting it right) while I went through the power point slides. After about 5 slides, Michael started waving his hands.

“Stop, Stop, I can’t take it – this is torture. This doesn’t work. Please stop.”

“I was just trying to do it the way we are supposed to do it for new people,” I said.

“Well, it doesn’t work. Please just be yourself.”

I smiled to myself. I did the part they selected being myself and they loved it.

On the last part I was fine until the end when I didn’t know how to close. But it was ok. It’s another place where I can learn and grow into a better salesperson.

I learned a couple of really great lessons from this experience:

  • being myself is WAY better than trying to get it right
  • it’s ok to get coaching and improve
  • once I let go of trying to get it right, I can relax, use my experience, and listen to people
  • I can take care of people in the moment instead of having a fixed rigid agenda which sucks for both of us
  • I can be in THEIR world, instead of locked in my head
  • It’s way more fun
  • AND, I don’t suck. I was shocked. All my adult life I’ve been saying I am bad at sales. Like it’s been the truth. I’m not going to say that anymore.

In fact, I’m pretty good at listening, taking care of people, and making sure they get exactly what’s “right” for them. How cool is that?

Life is way more fun when I trust the process, stay out of my head, and just listen to people.

I’m glad I learned this lesson. Now I just have to remember it.

Thanks for listening.

Wrestling the Octopus

Today I was SO MAD I couldn’t see straight. I was mad at my daughter, mad at the way I was treated on a phone call, and mad at myself for being mad.

I was so mad I couldn’t even LOOK at my daughter. I was convinced she took me for granted, was using me for money, didn’t respect me, treated me like an ass hole, and was a terrible person.

I was also convinced that a woman from work treated me like an ass hole, was throwing me under the bus, and was disrespecting me in front of my boss.

As a matter of fact, I was convinced that the whole world was doing that. EVERYONE treated me like an ass hole and I was TIRED OF IT.

I was so mad I couldn’t talk. I was just stewing inside my head. I couldn’t smile and all I could do was growl. I was in a course and I let everyone else go because I was in a state. They could tell and they just let me be.

As I listened to them, I wondered what was wrong with me. I shouldn’t BE This way. I shouldn’t be mad and upset and angry. I should be rainbows and lollipops, perky and peppy, Pollyanna, Pippi Longstocking, and every other happy character. But I wasn’t. I didn’t know what to do to get the octopus arms from strangling me.

Then I had a thought. What if I granted myself being? Just let my mad be. Allow it. Not resist it. I was upset by my STORY of what happened. I granted myself being. I just let myself have all of the upset and angst. I stopped resisting it.

All of a sudden I could breathe again. My body started relaxing. The octopus arms were loosening from around my neck and chest. The corners of my mouth moved into an almost smile.

I texted my daughter that I was sorry. I was in an amygdala hijack. My story that she was using me for money, had no other use for me and was mean, had seemed true.

After that, I could see that I made it all up. I didn’t like her expression as she walked out the door this morning. She was on her way to a dermatology appointment where they were doing a facial for $211 and I got triggered by her “cavalier attitude.”

That trigger hijacked me into a young story that I am irrelevant, don’t matter, am misunderstood, treated like an ass hole, AND, since everyone else is going to leave me, I will get rid of them first. ADIOS!!! Even my very own daughter.

I could see that if somebody doesn’t act the way I think they should, I make them wrong and alienate them. I am in a course on trust and this is what I’ve seen. When things don’t happen as I want, I give up on them and quit, allowing my resignation to take over.

If I could just be with the world as it is, it wouldn’t be personal, and I could be free. I could ALLOW life to unfold and give up my rigid, narrow agenda of how things SHOULD go so I could be ok.

Live and let live.

Trust the hands of God and the journey. Ask people what they want and empower them to have it.

I could relax, enjoy life, and exude love and joy.

That would be a very different life than being mad and wrestling the octopus.

Neither is wrong. One is just a lot less stressful.

Thanks for listening.

Feels Like I’m On Trial

I use this blog to create freedom.

I feel like I’m on trial. It seems a little dumb, but I really do.

Here’s why.

I have been going to weight watchers since 2011. I hit my goal, AND, still wanted to lose more weight.

I didn’t. I crept up a few pounds instead. After a few years, with the help of Zach, my fearless Weight Watchers Leader, I made peace with it. At 61 years old, I am healthy, fit and look pretty good for my age, despite the number on the scale. (At least I’ve been told that).

Even so, for years, on Sunday and Monday nights, I would get stressed out. My weekly weigh in was Tuesday morning. I would worry about salt, bouillon, heavy foods, and even being constipated. Every Tuesday, despite my self pep talks, I felt like something important was being determined when I got on the scale. I’m not quite sure what and that’s why I am writing this blog.

During COVID, for the first time since I started weight watchers, I felt free. I could eat soy sauce and pizza on Sunday or Monday without being stressed. There was no weigh in to worry about. I was tracking, enjoying my food and relaxed. My clothes were loose and I felt great.

I had a couple of doctors appointments during the summer and was thrilled to see I was down 5 pounds. That hadn’t happened in years. Life was great and I was looking good!!!

So what’s the problem?

That was 2 months ago. Last week they told us we have to start getting weighed once a month to keep our lifetime status. I am getting weighed in 2 days on the official scale. I have no idea what my weight is NOW.

Even though a number on the scale has no inherent meaning, my body sensations are telling me otherwise. Here goes, ladies and gentleman while I try to get to the bottom of my stress:

  • If I am up on the scale, I have to do something different, be stressed, call myself a loser, and hang my head in shame. It means I don’t know what I am doing. I will continue gaining weight until I weigh over 400 pounds. Everyone I know will leave me, I’ll lose my job, end up homeless, and live on a cardboard box over a gutter so in the winter I will be warmed from the fumes of the subway. My hair will be stringy and dirty, my face will be bloated and red, and I will die a lonely and painful death.
  • If I am down on the scale, I can celebrate and enjoy my life.

Wow. I never looked at this before. I can see why I’m stressed. And why I feel like I’m on trial. My weight will determine my fate – celebration and joy or a lonely and painful death. If that was really the case, there is truly a lot at stake.

That is awesome. I am so glad I wrote this. Undistinguished, this was a big freaking deal. Distinguished, I can have a really good laugh.

Truly amazing what a little sharing and saying what you don’t think you should say does. It creates freedom.

Thanks for listening. I have a new life.

Couldn’t Stand The Feeling

Sunday night I was IN A FUNK. I was mad at the person I am dating. I was going to say I was done. Adios.

Here’s what happened: Saturday we were together and I told him I enjoyed spending time with him, found him attractive, and was happy just being with him. Everything was fine.

Sunday, however, I started feeling very uncomfortable. I didn’t like it. I tried to explain to him that I felt exposed and vulnerable.

“Why didn’t you say anything back?” I asked.

“I was just relaxing,” he said. “No reason.”

I tried explaining my discomfort so I could get some relief.

He understood, but instead of decreasing, my anxiety and insecurity grew. I ended the call feeling pathetic, needy, stupid and unlovable.

That night I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned, deciding that I couldn’t stand this anymore. The only way I knew to get rid of my discomfort was to end the relationship. I was sad, but knew what I had to do.

In the morning, things got clearer. A lightbulb went off. I was merely resisting my experience. I didn’t think I should have these feelings. I didn’t like them and was trying to make them GO AWAY. And it wasn’t working.

What if I could stop resisting and just accept them? Experience feeling insecure and needy without it being wrong? Allow the feelings.

I took some breaths and started writing. What was really going on?

Inside my head I was whining about how I can’t have what I want. Relationships start off great and then end suddenly. I might as well end this now.

I couldn’t believe what happened. It was amazing. Once I stopped resisting, I could see what was going on. I wanted to be right about how this guy COULDN’T really love me. I was making up the fact that he wasn’t giving me what I needed.

Making him wrong SO I COULD BE RIGHT.

Did I really want to be right about how I couldn’t have what I want? That I couldn’t have a great relationship?

Why?

No reason. I actually didn’t. And in that instant, the horrible feeling went away.

And with that, I felt free.

The love, joy and fun returned.

The need to think or talk about this disappeared. I was happy.

Isn’t that amazing?

What can you give up being right about so YOU could return to love and joy?

What Are You Waiting For?

What is something you want to accomplish but just don’t seem to be getting to?

For me it was avoiding making my YouTube videos.

Today I woke up and decided ENOUGH.

I had tried to record several videos on Friday and just didn’t like them. I started making excuses for why I really didn’t need to record one this week. After all, I have a busy weekend. Plus, every fear I had ever had was in my way:

  • they suck
  • they are boring
  • no one watches anyway
  • I’m an idiot for thinking they are good
  • I can’t get it right
  • no one cares anyway
  • if I’m bored watching them, everyone else must be too

This morning I decided not to listen to my fears and excuses. I got up, worked out, and got out my equipment. I made some notes and hit record. I got through my struggle of trying to get the damn thing from my phone to my computer. The whole thing maybe took 20 minutes. And it was done.

That was so much easier than torturing myself with my disempowering thoughts.

What is something you could do today that you are avoiding? Something on your to do list that keeps getting transferred or ignored? What’s a small task you could do?

I promise that if you do it, you will feel like a million bucks. I do. I can move on now and enjoy my life. I feel powerful and productive.

Please let me know. I honor your greatness and your ability to create a life you love.

“You Are A Good Person”

“You are a good person,” my friend told me today.

“I am?” I thought. What about all those times I am cursing people out, making them wrong, and talking badly about them?

“Hmmmmmm,” I thought. “Could I actually be good? Let see………….”

I don’t start about being bad. I think my “badness” comes from thinking I was insulted. Just yesterday I was playing tennis with my brother, son, and niece’s husband. I knew I wasn’t playing well. I was tired after going on a 2 hour walk earlier with my daughter and had also worked out for an hour and a half before that. (It was Saturday so I had time). My legs were sore and I had a hard time running for the ball. It felt like I was running on knives.

I made a comment when we got back into the house about all the exercise I had done, including the tennis.

“You DIDN’T play tennis,” my brother said.

Immediately, my mood shifted. “Fuck him,” I thought. “What an ass hole.” I knew I was playing badly, but I DID PLAY. I felt insulted and a little resentful. I did NOT feel like a good person anymore. More like a nasty, revengeful little bitch.

I like to think I know better than that, so I tried not to dwell on his comment. I tried to get past it and feel the love again, but it kept returning to my thoughts, despite my intentions.

I didn’t like feeling that way. Why should I torture myself? This morning I decided to “check it out,” as Jack Canfield calls it and find out what he REALLY meant by the comment.

“Why did you say I didn’t play tennis? Cause I sucked or the game sucked or something else? Just curious.” I texted my brother.

“It was doubles. Not singles. Nothing to do with you personally,” he answered immediately.

I took a deep breath, body relaxing. “OK, thanks,” I texted back. And that was the end of that. I no longer wished him ill and felt like a good and valued person again.

And then there was that other time……………..

“You should take up rowing,” a friend told me.

Immediately I wished him ill. He obviously thought I was fat and needed more exercise. My alter ego took over my “good” nature. “What a jerk!” I thought. “I never liked him anyway.”

But then, knowing myself and my sensitivity, I decided to check it out.

“Why did you tell me to take up rowing?” I asked.

“Because I like rowing and want more people to like it, too,” he answered.

“Oh,” I said, smiling, my “good” person returning immediately. “I thought it was because you thought I was fat,” I said.

We had a good laugh together. I really did think that. That’s what’s amazing.

Back to my friend calling me a good person today. I AM basically good. I want what’s best for people. I want them to have great lives. I like being friendly and caring.

I just forget. When I think someone is putting me down, I get scornful and it’s hard for me to get over it by myself sometimes.

But, as with my brother today who meant no harm at all, all I have to do is have the courage to “check it out”. And then return to “happy and good” when I find out my interpretation is completely WRONG.

Maybe one day I won’t have to “check it out,” but for now, I do. And I’m ok with that. It’s a technique and tool that works for me to create freedom.

What can you do when you feel ill will?

Just wondering……

Thanks for listening.

Does Anybody Really Know Who’s Fault It Is?

“It’s MY fault,” my dad used to say with the emphasis on MY. “It’s MY fault,” he would repeat. That would be the end of the conversation.

And that’s what I have thought, too. If someone’s been mad, upset, or frustrated, I assumed it was somehow my fault.

Lately I’ve taken the opposite approach. That however someone else is, it has NOTHING to do with me. It’s NOT MY FAULT.

Having said that, I could argue the other side, that if I hit someone’s car and dent it, I was the cause of the dent. They may be upset or angry and I DID have something to do with it.

But they could also be happy. “Thank you,” they could say. “I told myself that if I got one more dent I was going to buy myself another car. You made my day.”

So while I did have something to do with it, I am not determining their emotional state.

There’s a woman at work who has been acting hostile to me. First I felt bad thinking it was MY fault somehow. Now I am saying “It’s NOT MY FAULT.”

Instead of being a victim like I normally would, I’ve taken the offense.

What I’ve seen is that it’s not creating any freedom either. It makes HER the problem and takes it off my back, but it’s still niggling in my mind with negative energy.

I’ve been looking at why it matters who’s fault something is. Why do we spend so much time trying to figure this out?

It seems, after thinking about this, that this is not productive. Where does it get you except to be right, cause shame, and distract us from something useful?

I know, when I’m being right, I want to talk about it so I can get agreement about how right I am. Where does this really get me?

What if we put our time into something else? Let’s have a conversation and see what we are both comitted to instead? How can we make this a win/win for everyone?

What if I could be a grown up and ask this person what I can do for her? Is there something I need to hear that could create affinity for her again? Do I have the balls to ask her or should I just keep making her wrong and keep the tension between us?

Good question. I will think about it. I’m a little scared of her I can see.

AND, I will be brave. Maybe on Tuesday.

Thanks for listening.