Empowered? I Don’t Think So….

I’m still trying to figure out the “empowered by” victim thing.

I thought I had it a couple of days ago. I was flying high, loving life, all about other people, no suffering, and having fun………

Suddenly, Friday night, I found myself eating what I knew were not “good choices” while out with a business associate. I had two vodka drinks with the fried calamari and zuchini and flat bread pizza.

No problem if I had stopped there. I could have, but I didn’t. I hadn’t seen my mom in a couple of weeks and had told her I would come over. She’s all about feeding me dinner and I didn’t tell her that no, I was full, and didn’t need to eat anymore.

Instead, I got there and opened a bottle of red wine. I didn’t know why I felt compelled to drink the whole thing. I tried to, but thankfully, after the second glass plus the salmon dinner I started feeling really sick and uncomfortable so I stopped.

“Why did I do that?” I wondered. All I wanted to do was sleep and escape reality. Even though I was supposed to be hanging out with my mom. It was strange.

The next day I looked for what triggered this sudden visit from my victimized, miserable self. My “I’m a thin person” had disappeared along with the world is a wonderful loving place where everyone is perfect as they are. That world was gonzo.

I was fat and old and ugly and nothing was right and it was all my fault.

Driving to the gym the next morning, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I called my coach. I needed to figure out what happened. I recorded and deleted 3 voicemails, talking until I figured it out. Here’s what happened:

  1. Yesterday I had found out that I couldn’t pursue a new source of income because I was unwilling to lie on an application. If I had known that ahead of time, I wouldn’t have wasted two months filling out endless forms, getting fingerprinted, and being frustrated by the never ending process. I had been looking forward to generating some big commissions and doing something new. I was simply disappointed and hadn’t recognized it.
  2. I had ordered cards for my “poster” presentation coming up in Los Angeles. They were waiting for me when I got to my mother’s house. I was horrified when I looked at the 1000 I had ordered. Yes folks, for only $9.00 more I had ordered another 500. I felt like an idiot. The margins were uneven and the writing was practically cut off at the bottom. I had been looking forward to seeing how great they looked. Instead, I was disappointed.
  3. I had been busy every night the past week, hadn’t gotten enough sleep and had a lot to do to get organized. I thought if I could just have a day to catch up, I’d be happy. But this, my friends, was a trap. Because even if I got caught up, there will always be more things to do. The to do list never ends. Instead, I could just choose to be happy now.

I left my coach a fourth message which I didn’t delete. I summed up what had happened and didn’t need to tell the gory details. It was simple. Once again, I hadn’t recognized that I was disappointed. Instead, I became a victim, blamed myself for what went wrong – I should have known better – and numbed myself with food and alcohol. And outlined my action steps:

  1. I experienced my disappointment. It took about one minute
  2. I made a list of what I needed to do, what was the top priority for the day, and scheduled when I would do the rest of the items.

RESULT:

I ended up having a busy and productive day. I finished the poem for Renee’s 60th birthday, and had it printed and framed. I even bought a pretty gift bag and tissue paper and wrapped it beautifully. This was a big deal for me to get done in one day.

I spent the day being present, enjoying the people around me, and having a great time at Renee’s birthday dinner.

I guess, in the end, you could say I was “empowered by my victimhood.” I recognized it, distinguished the source, developed an action plan and followed it. I presented my good friend with a unique gift of acknowledgement and was proud of my work. What a difference from how the day began.

Pretty cool, eh?

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Empowering Partnerships

I have created a new context for my life. Last night my context was: angry brat who seeks revenge on anyone who has done me wrong.

I couldn’t figure out how to get out of being the brat. And, I will admit, a part of me was enjoying it. I was wearing my “CAPE OF REVENGE” and envisioning all sorts of ways to “get people back.” Blood, destruction, harm, etc. It was way more violent than I’d like to admit.

As much as I liked it, I knew that wasn’t who I wanted to be. I decided to use my initiative, “saying what can’t be said.” I reached out to Shereen, my seminar leader, since she was the one I wanted to punish.

Why would I want to do that? Good question.

Here’s what happened:

I was a substitute on the group leader call. I shared something. Then, later when I wanted to share again, Shereen said that instead of calling on me, she wanted to give the other people a chance to say something.

Not a big deal. Logically I knew that made sense. Of course the other people should share.

I was fine, right?

Not really. I didn’t listen to a word that was said after that. I did other work on my computer, answered texts, and prepared my to do list for the next day. And, after the call I decided that instead of sitting in the front row like usual at the seminar tomorrow, I was going to sit in the back, not pay attention, endure it, and go home. I was done with participating at Landmark and in the world. Fuck them all, my mind was saying. Fuck THEM ALL!!!!

I confessed my brattiness to Shereen. “I know it’s immature, but it’s not really giving me any freedom to know that.”

“Well, what kind of person needs to get people back?” Shereen asked.

Hmmmmmmmm………”A victim,” I said.

“And there’s nothing wrong with that. We all enjoy being the victim at times.”

“I hate to admit that I’m a victim,” I said. “It seems shameful and wrong and bad.”

“Well, you could actually be empowered by it.”

“How?” I asked.

We talked for a while. Most of what I said was still “being hurt by someone,” wanting to get them back, not being REALLY open to relationships, aka still a victim.

“What’s a new context you could create?” she asked.

I didn’t know. Everything I thought of was a fix for not getting hurt and trying not to be left.

“What my dream has been since I was little is to have a really great, loving relationship with a man – passion, empowerment, feeling secure, safe, travelling, financial abundance, etc.” I said. “I don’t say it anymore because I’ve been too resigned…… There’s something wrong with me. I pick the wrong ones. They lie………I guess that’s more of being a victim, isn’t it?”

“Well, how would you be in that dream relationship?”

I thought about it. I couldn’t figure it out. I was on my way to meet my boss and his boss. I wanted them to acknowledge me. I could see that was also a fix.

“There’s not enough acknowledgement in the world to have you feel ok,”Shereen said. It was all still in the victim paradigm.

“Damn,” I said. “How do I get out of this?”

“Keep looking.”

I made the last turn, driving through a closed road. After a conversation with the police officer who told me not to take that route anymore, I almost gave up. “I don’t know.”

Driving past the barrier at the other end of the closed road, I kept thinking.

“Empowered,” popped out of my mouth. “My new context is “Empowering partnerships. Everywhere and with everyone. That’s not a fix. That’s exciting. And my dream relationship would be a part of that.”

I knew I had it. I could feel it in my bones. We got off the phone and I had am amazing review with the boss’s. They were impressed with my plan and how I was working with my people. I felt alive and free. Powerful.

Thank God I called Shereen when I did. It was perfect timing. I got to choose empowering partnerships instead of going in as a victim. Boy would that have sucked. Phew.

And I still feel empowered. Part of my brain is saying “don’t worry, it won’t last.”

But the other part is FIRED UP!!!!!

So wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted. Have a great day!!!!!

Pet Peeve: Drama

My pet peeve is drama. Not because I don’t like it, but because so many people talk about it.

What the hell is it? I’ve been asking people.

They can’t even answer.

“Ya know, drama.”

“When someone’s upset.”

“When someone is complaining.”

I’m sorry, but that doesn’t help me understand it. I still don’t know what it is. And then there are the comments:

“I’m in a no drama zone.”

“I can’t deal with her drama.”

And my really pet favorite: “She’s a drama queen.”

Why do I hate it so much? Because I’ve been called one. And I think it’s a bad thing. So when someone talks about drama, I take it personally.

Because for me, being upset is actually a freedom. Sharing what is really bothering me is a pathway to freedom. And having someone listen to me like what I am saying matters, is a true gift.

I’m pretty sure that the people who have drama meters stop listening when they “label” something as drama. And they start listening through the filter of “here she goes again. When will she be done?”

As a person who’s been on the other side, it’s brutal. I’m already upset, and now the person is treating me like an annoying person. And they aren’t listening to me. Could I feel any crazier?

And, just as an aside, guys who think all women are crazy? Well, take a look at yourself. I bet they didn’t start out that way. I have attracted my share of infuriating men. I didn’t start out crazy, but became that way as time went on. No other comment about that.

Except……..being with someone (my ex-husband for example) who couldn’t listen to me and just tuned me out was pretty horrible. I could never have a conversation with him about the stuff that wasn’t working. And it was really frustrating. Really frustrating……..enough about that tangent.

Here is my non-drama answer. Nothing is “Drama” until you label it as such. Some people just need to vent. If you have time, just listen. Really listen. They will be calm after. Don’t resist it.

If you can’t listen, just tell them you don’t have time right now and you are sorry. They can leave a message on your voicemail or call someone else which is way better than knowing you can’t wait for them to shut up.

Normally I don’t talk to you, I tell about myself. This one, as I said, is a pet peeve. Take it for what it’s worth.

Getting Out of My Rut

Today I woke up in Southampton, NY in a $10 million home. My friend, V, is house and dog sitting and she invited me out. There’s nothing to do but relax and enjoy this gorgeous place.

So why did I wake up with my heart and thoughts racing………

“Get up. It’s time. Do something. V might get mad. She’s doing all the work. You’re missing something,…” etc. etc. I felt like I was having a heart attack. I looked around. “Oh, it’s Saturday.”

I turned over and went to sleep. After all, there’s nothing to do. Yes I wanted to work out, but I have all day. For once I could just sleep as late as I wanted to.

Same thing happened an hour later at 6:30 AM. I finally got up the third time at 7:30. So much for sleeping in.

“You know, the reason I don’t visit people is because I get all stressed out,” I confessed to V this morning. “I worry about the host getting mad, that I’m going to break some unspoken rule, I’ll have to go to the bathroom, have gas, be hungry, or won’t be able to work out. It’s like I’ll become a deaf mute, can’t have what I want, and am an immediate burden. It’s very stressful.”

“But that’s just your mind,” V said very wisely.

“I know. That’s why I’m telling you. To get it out of my mind where it keeps me stuck. Normally I just don’t go so I don’t have to be stressed by my thoughts. And I don’t tell anyone about it. I just hide at home. This is a big deal for me. I’m trying to get some freedom by talking about it.”

“Well, I’m just glad you’re here. There’s no rules and if something is wrong I will tell you. Otherwise, assume it’s all good and you can just relax.”

“OK,” I said.

I think I just get scared when I THINK of staying in someone’s house. Like I won’t be able to speak up, ask for what I want, communicate or do anything. Like a two year old who needs permission to speak. It’s very strange. But in sharing about it instead of being ashamed and keeping it as my private horrible secret, I can get free. I might even be able to enjoy myself and have some FUN. Give up trying to do this right and people please. Wouldn’t that be a novel idea!!!

And hopefully enjoy this weekend with my wonderful friend in this gorgeous setting.

(Hopefully!!!!!! )

A New Way to Relate – Especially on a Long Car Ride

This weekend my son, Jesse, daughter, Haley, and ex-husband, Mark, went on a road trip to my sister’s for Passover.

We had over three hours to be in the car together.

I drove at the beginning and Jesse sat in the front. We laughed and talked in goofy accents. Haley was in the back with Mark. She was on her phone and occasionally made derogatory comments about her father.

I could have told her to stop and be nice, but I didn’t. Instead, Jesse and I joined in, calling him “M” and making fun of some of the “dumb” things that he occasionally does.

When we switched drivers, I got in the back with Mark, Jesse drove and Haley sat in the front seat next to him.

I looked at Mark after some more ribbing from the three of us. He is not one to let things get to him, so I was surprised to see him looking hurt. I felt bad. It’s enough, I thought. This is not how I want the ride to be. We are better than this.

“I have an idea,” I said. “Let’s do an exercise that we did in my course last weekend. Let’s go around and tell each other what we like about our relationship with each person.”

This exercise had transformed how I relate to my mother. Instead of her being an annoying person who literally drains me of all positivity, she became someone new. She never withholds her love no matter how bitchy, annoyed and moody I am. She is always there, asking questions and seeing what she can do for me. And I had missed that by only seeing her as a a pain in the ass. I now relate to her as a gift, instead. One that I cherish and feel grateful to have.

That’s a big switch. So I decided what the hell? Could this exercise hurt us?

And that’s what we did. We went around and acknowledged one person at a time by saying what was great about our relationship.

It was amazing. “Instead of seeing myself as a loser, I see myself as a fun, loving contribution who inspires people,” Jesse said. “It totally shifts how I see myself. That was awesome.”

And it was the same for all of us. We all felt better about ourselves and more related to each other. I was proud of my kids, and even Mark. I felt present to the good in them instead of my petty complaints and irritations.

We continued to have empowering conversations the whole weekend. I was proud of my little family unit (even though Mark and I are divorced). And the good feeling and gratefulness has carried through to today which is Monday.

I recommend trying it. Especially when you see things getting ugly. Why not feel acknowledged instead of mean? What can it hurt?

Let me know what happens.

I’m a Thin Person

The past week I was eating things I didn’t really want. I felt like crap. I was tired and achy and couldn’t wait until I could go to sleep at the end of the day.

I knew on Tuesday that my weigh in was not going to be good. But it hadn’t been good for the last two weeks when I was really trying, so what was the difference anyway? If I was going to gain, at least I hadn’t deprived myself.

I was up another 1.2 pounds.

“What happened?” Peggy, the weigh in lady, asked. She means well, but I found her question annoying as you can imagine.

I didn’t answer and just went and sat down, feeling pretty uninspired. Finally I raised my hand.

“I tried a new strategy,” I announced to the group. “I ate what I didn’t want and didn’t think I should have. I didn’t hold back at all. Guess what? It didn’t work. I gained another pound.”

Zach, our fearless leader, always puts a positive spin on things.

“That’s good to know,” he said. “Then you know you don’t need to try that one again. So that’s good information.”

“Hmmmmm, guess you’re right,” I said.

People continued. Robin, my friend talked about her struggle with getting active.

“I don’t really feel good about myself,” she said. “I know I should get out and exercise, but I just don’t. I want to feel good again.

I couldn’t help myself. I raised my hand. “Well, I exercise every day and I still don’t feel good. So don’t worry about it. It’s not helping me at all.”

I left there wondering what had happened to me. For years I had lost the weight and kept it off. Why was I now gaining back my weight? What was different?

I thought back to my book. I wrote about how I finally lost the weight I had gained during my marriage. What was different now?

Suddenly it came to me. Just like after I had had my son. I got on the scale and was still up. I became a FAT PERSON. And I started eating like a fat person and gained another 25 pounds.

I had done it again. When I got on the scale and was up, I became a FAT PERSON. And I started eating like one because it DIDN’T MATTER!!!

And it sucked. And it wasn’t the only negative thing I was thinking. All my old favorites came back:

  • I’m ugly and fat
  • No one can love this
  • I suck at work
  • Everyone thinks I’m an idiot
  • I’m a fat, old, ugly LOSER (FOUL)
  • There’s no guys out there anyway, and even if there were, who cares? I’m too tired to have to be nice and positive

I shared my stuckness with my daughter. She recommended listening to Abraham Hicks again. I did. I definitely wasn’t attracting what I wanted. I was attracting what I DIDN’T WANT because that’s what I was focusing on. But that just felt worse. I didn’t know how to be positive anymore.

I decided to try an exercise from my seminar. Instead of resisting the negative, I turned up the volume. I just felt as miserable as I could. Despair was all around me like a blanket. I tried to feel it as much as I could. Just stayed with it instead of making it wrong. It was just a few intense minutes, but something happened.

I suddenly felt free. The octopus released it’s tentacles.

Wow!!! Amazing. Who do I WANT to be? I asked myself. What can I attract instead?Suddenly it came to me:

  • I’m a THIN PERSON
  • Great guys are pursuing me
  • I’m great at helping new people be successful quickly and easily.

I started repeating these 3 things all day. What would a thin person do? I was weird, but I was excited about life.

Every time one of my negative insults was ready to come out when I passed a mirror, I switched it. I’M A THIN PERSON!!!!

It really changed everything. I guess the steps were:

  • notice my negativity
  • instead of resisting it and thinking I shouldn’t have it, embrace it and turn up the volume
  • create a new, empowering thought and repeat it all day, especially when the other ones threaten to take over

It seemed to work. The resignation and despair have dissipated. Even though I’m tired, I can see an exciting future instead of more of the same depressing one my mind had constructed before.

I’m excited to eat healthy and feel great.

I’m excited to be pursued by some great guys.

And I’m excited to help my new people be successful (this one’s a little harder to imagine but that’s ok). I need to make it fun instead of a burden.

We will see what happens. I was nervous to spend the holidays with my family, knowing I would gain weight. But now, I’m a thin person and I will eat accordingly. I know how to do that. It’s not a problem anymore.

I will keep you posted. Have a great day!!!!

Getting it Right

I only have 15 minutes to write this.

I’m going to give it a try. And hit PUBLISH no matter how it reads through at that time.

I’ve been talking to a couple of people and I keep hearing them talk about “getting it right.”

I have had a frustrating and exhausting relationship with that phrase all my life.


“I JUST WANT TO GET IT RIGHT!!” I either think or say quite often. It’s like a two year old having a tantrum.

Until one day in a conversation I realized that there is NO RIGHT. It doesn’t exist. We have standards and ideals, advice from others, things we read, etc. People will always give you their opinion or advice if you ask them. But there is actually no BOOK OF RIGHT to guide us. No UNIVERSAL RIGHT way for anything.

And for me, this search for what’s RIGHT has prevented me from speaking up AND taking action.

Today I am giving it up. “You have to be bad to be good,” I just told Robyn this morning. She’s been working on one blog for weeks, trying to get it perfect. I’m sure mine have typos and stuff, but my rule is, read through it two or three times and then push PUBLISH. Otherwise I’d still be working on the first one.

If I worry about what people will think, I’m also frozen into inactivity.

So, my advice if you want it, is make a mess. Do it badly at first if you need to.

Because it’s the process that we love. And if we ruin it with worry, then we won’t have any fun.

How do I know? Because I’ve been hiding my blogs. I don’t tell people about them or really share about them that much.

This week my task is to call WordPress and see how I can make this more user friendly. I hate calling help lines, but in the name of progress and contribution, I will do it. (And I don’t know why this is indented or going to the right, but I don’t have time to figure it out.)

Have a great day, my friends. I love you.

PS I am in a course this weekend on Relating and Relationships. So, I DO love you even though it makes me and probably you uncomfortable for me to say it. This is a bold action. More soon.