Friday, March 27, 2009

Fear In The Sky

I'm trying to honor the fear. The fear of everything. The fear of nothing. And where do I go from here? What am I moving towards? I get in a space where I'm comfortable and all I want to do is just sit here and be comfortable. How do I get out of this space? How do I get ready for the next move? How do I put one foot in front of the other and just move? Move forward. Move backward. Sidestep this. Work around that. Can't I just move forward? It all feels like a step back sometimes. It all feels like it just can't be good all the time. I don't understand being happy all the time. There has to be some despair. There has to be some texture to this life. A blissful life is glossy and clean but it slips away from me like I never had it to begin with. I feel greasy and grimy like I’ve never been clean. Somewhere in this is my brilliance, but the needle. The haystack. The bull, the ox trying to find nothing in everything and everything in nothing. I feel so whole and lifeless. And then it passes. The light shines, a spark catches. The cold, dark fire turns red hot and burning. The desire to move again is here. The desire is here. Must. Take. Action. I see the mud ahead and somehow I know exactly how to move through it. Move through it. Through it. Through. It. I don't move around it or over it. I move through it. This must be what life is about. There must be something to this life and moving through it not around it or over it. Trying to figure it out doesn't seem to work. I just need to move, keep moving, keep on moving, moving, moving on up to the deluxe apartment in the sky.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Coaching Progress

Something happened this past weekend that sparked a newfound exuberance for Life Coaching. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it was, and in the meantime I've put my nose and fingers and elbows to the grindstone. A month or so ago I bought And then waited until now to tell anyone about it. I feared that it wasn't complete. I feared that I didn't have my niche. I feared that it looked and felt lame. I feared that I didn't know what I was doing. I feared that someone would actually contact me for a coaching session. But isn't that the idea of starting a business? And then the weekend happened. 

I felt alive and excited. I received feedback from several sources acknowledging my growth and a natural knack for listening without judgement. I allowed people to ask me to dig into my fears. I allowed myself to actually dig. I allowed myself to release the fears that don't make sense. I allowed myself to honor the fears that held value. I allowed myself to take action...forward action. And now the site is up and running. I'm even telling you about it. 

This isn't to say that I'm a perfect Life Coach now and that I've got everything figured out so get ready to pay the big bucks for my services...this is simply to say that I've actually begun to offer my services. I'm still in the stages of learning, and I'm learning quickly. The only way I'm going to get better is to do it. And then to keep at it. To make mistakes and learn from them. To honor the failures and use them as stepping stones toward success. This is how I'm going to become a great Life Coach. This is how I've started to already become this great Life Coach. 

I probably won't post much here regarding coaching moving forward, as I really want to have some clear boundaries between my writing and my coaching. This is more for my sake than anyone else's. I have a tendency so get so wrapped up in one value that I think I'm honoring another value when actually I'm ignoring it altogether. That being said, who knows how this will all evolve...I guess we're all works in progress. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Summer Day

This is a poem by Mary Oliver, and can be found here
The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

from New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA

Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver

This poem was passed to me by a Coaching colleague, and inspired me to ask of you...what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Inquiry: Value

I sat down to write a blog about values and this is what came out:

I can take all the action I want to in my life and it doesn't mean a damn thing if it doesn't mean something to me. And if I'm just doing the action without the meaning behind it, I'm going to stop doing the action pretty quickly. 

I got coached this weekend on my own health and fitness. Why do I start and stop? Why do I love the gym once I get there and hate it until I get there. Why, when I get to the gym, do I find the need to exert myself like I'm still in high school and can leg press 300 lbs or run 3 miles or do any of that without stretching? The thing that brought me to getting coached on this to begin with is the fact that I have a bum hip. 

I'm 33 and I have a bum hip. Last year in a softball tournament I slid into a base and got up knowing something wasn't quite right. My high school mind said, shake it off, old lady, you're fine. My adult mind said, take it easy and ease back into exercise when you get home. I listened to both of them. 

I listened to the high school me remind myself that I'm old. Older, at least. Then I felt a ping of, can't talk to me like that. I'm your self. And what started to happen was the inner dialogue, the inner argument of feeling old and not being able to do what I used to be able to do. And the subsequent rebellion against that idea. So I went home and ran like I did before I left for the tournament. I even ran further. And coach cut me off.

That's a great story, Dian, but what do you really want? 

Well, the bottom line is that I want to hike and exercise and be in nature. 

But really, the bottom line becomes: I'm not doing what I need to do in order to be physically able to do what I want to do. The simple answer is to just get off my ass and do what I need to do. But so far that hasn't been working. Which makes it the wrong answer. The answer that's right requires taking some time to figure out why I'm not doing what I say I will do. Which is also the tricky answer.

This gets into, well, we just bought a house and there just hasn't been time, and there's so much going on, and Jackson takes up so much time during the day and I'm writing and I'm unpacking and I'm putting things away and I'm shopping for new this, that & the other thing, and I'm tired at night, and sometimes I just don't feel like it, and it's painful, actually to DO what I'm supposed to do, and that just reminds me of not being able to do what I really want to do, anyway. Which are all just excuses. 

To get at the real issue, I need to look at what is so damn important about stretching, anyway? See, the thing is that stretching isn't actually what's important to me. I could give a shit about the stretching, but I don't (which is why I don't do it). So what is important to me? Being healthy. Being outside. Feeling alive. Being in nature.  Really feeling the burn and knowing the workout isn't just for show. Having sweat drip off of me after going for a run, and earning that beer I'm going to have while I'm watching the game. Those are my values. Those things are "what's important" to me. Not the stretching. So what does one have to do with the other?

I can't do all those things that are important to me right now. I can't do any of them. I can't because my hip is injured and needs rehabilitation. Rehabilitation means stretching. Stretching = honoring the values that are important to me. A light bulb goes on. A bell rings. *ding* So in all this...stretching really is important to me. Stretching will get me to a place where I can realize the things that are important to me. By stretching, then I can go for long walks without pain. Eventually, short runs. And then long runs. And then sweat dripping down my face...this makes me want to stretch RIGHT NOW! Seeing the value attached to the action makes it so much easier to do the action--makes it so much easier to sidestep the excuses. It doesn't matter that all these things are going on, it matters that I take care of myself. 

I could go into a whole list of how I came to that value and how mine all seem to be tied together, but I'll save that for another time. The whole point in all this is that if there's something in your life that you're not doing that you think you should be doing, just look at why you want to do it. You may find that there's value attached that makes it easier to do. Or you may find that you really don't give a crap about it, and you can release yourself from the guilt of feeling like you "should" be doing blah, blah, blah. Either way, you're getting closer to who you really are, not this fantasy of who you or anyone else thinks you "should" be. 

We grow, we change, we evolve...and so do our values. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009


For the next 3 days I'll be surrounded by an abundance of positive energy. Course #2 of 5 begins tomorrow in Glendale: Fulfillment Coaching. Based on what I've read in my Co-Active Coaching book, this weekend will be about coaching people into following their values. We all have values that are important to us, but when it comes to the daily task of living and honoring those values, we tend to spend a lot of time off course. I know I do. It's a constant battle to keep fresh in my mind what the big picture is with every decision I make. 

One of my values is self preservation. It's important to me that I maintain myself so that I don't get lost in anything or anyone and abandon myself, as I have in the past. I've ruined relationships over this, and several times I've come close to losing a job or two. I've been so involved in having whatever or whomever it is in front of me, that I forget that pursuing those things and/or people are not in line with a) who I am, b) what I want for myself, and/or c) where I want to be in life when it's all said and done.

Being fulfilled isn't about having things. It's about being healthy and whole. It's about honoring yourself and your values. And about taking care of yourself, even when things aren't easy. I watched A League of Their Own the other day (for the hundredth time, I'm sure), and a scene with Dottie and Jimmy stood out for me like it's never done before. 
Dottie Hinson: It just got too hard. 
Jimmy Dugan: It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great.
See, they're talking about baseball, but I think this applies to our lives and everything in them. When I think about the best things in my life, none of them have come easy. The bliss of my late 20's was a direct result of going through and dealing with my mother's death. The bliss of my current relationship is the direct result of a tumultuous end to my last relationship. The enjoyment of sitting on my front porch writing this blog is the direct result of nearly 2 months of frustration between buying the house, closing escrow, and having Verizon drill holes in the walls because the builders didn't think about putting phone or cable jacks in any of the rooms. 

It took knowing my values and honoring them in order to get exactly where I am today: in a state of fulfillment. If I choose to ignore my values, I fall out of that state. If I choose to honor them, I stay here. It doesn't mean that everything is perfect, it just means that I get to make decisions on how I create my happiness, based on what I already know of myself. I take the values of time in the fresh air and being productive, put them together and I get wireless internet on my front porch. It's easy to sit inside on the couch and do nothing. But it's more fulfilling to be out here on the porch. I put the values of eating healthy and spending quality time with friends and family together, and I end up with making my own meatballs and sharing them for dinner with Jill and Erin. It's easier to order something or go out to dinner, but it's more fulfilling to make it myself and have people I love in my home. 

As I look back at the last few years of my life, it's been a crap shoot as to whether or not I'm honoring my values. I get better at it though, the more I practice. I don't expect to ever be perfect at it, but I'm pretty excited that, at the very least, I recognize what my values are. And I really don't mind working on honoring them, even as they change and evolve--even as I change and evolve. I don't mind the hard...the hard is what makes it (whatever it is) great. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Moving In

Here are a few pics of the move and the progress. The pictures don't articulate the amount of work we did to get from one step of progress to the next, but you can at least see some of the progress:

The day before the movers came

The day the movers came

What it looks like for now, until we get our couches in a couple weeks

As for actually being in the house, I've begun to solidify the foundation of who I am. There's a part of me that has grown into an adult, with adult responsibilities and activities. No longer do I not care where the phone guy pokes a hole in the wall to get a line into this room or that. These are my walls. No longer do I fear an automatic payment coming out of my account because what if I don't have the money?? I've learned (through trial and error, of course) that my bank account is exactly what I put in and exactly what I take out; nothing more, nothing less. No longer do I live in a world of instant gratification where I think only of myself and my wants. I find that I'm usually able to discern the difference between wants and needs, and then act accordingly. No longer do I hold the same status as both of my parents at their deaths: renter. I'd like to believe they're proud of me, but more importantly, I'm proud of myself. 

It is all these things and the realization of each that brings me into this afternoon of my life. I can appreciate the morning for the new day and the beginnings that got me here. I can appreciate the evening for the circle of life and the journeys of getting there. And I can appreciate this afternoon for what it is and savor my surroundings, my energy, my soul as I move forward, always forward, in this life. 

I'm just going to enjoy this all while I can. What will you do with your afternoon?

Friday, March 13, 2009

From Hot Java...

real quick...

it seems like forever since i put my fingers on an actual keyboard. it feels kinda nice. mac, i miss you. buying a house is fantastic. and time consuming. and frustrating. and wonderful. we have unopened boxes in every room. that part is mind numbing. but most of our things are put away where we figure they should go, and the rest will take care of itself as projects get finished. i.e. we can't put the bathroom stuff away until we create space in the bathrooms with the vanities we'll install this weekend. that part is just frustrating. but we'll get through it. and then there are projects that are finished. when i get internet in the house i'll get some pics up, but for now i'll tap away at hot java, sans pics. the wine fridge has been installed under the cabinet, for which i boor a hole myself in the cabinet (for the electric cord, not the whole thing). jackson has an eyelet installed on the porch so he can chill with us outside--and so we don't have to worry about chasing him down the street when he sees a squirrel or a piece of dust he just can't live without. i can't even think of the other 50 things that we've gotten done around the house, but we feel pretty accomplished for being just 5 days in. 

and now i'm off to have a friday afternoon glass of wine at the wine crush. join me?

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Move

The movers were scheduled for an 8am-12pm window today, but they didn't show up. Mainly because I asked them not to. Yesterday around noon we got news that we wouldn't be getting the keys, and the reason we wouldn't get them was unclear. The only thing we knew was that we'd done everything on our end right, and that the seller didn't have everything in place to get our loan funded. 

When I got the call from my agent, I was devastated. Crushed. I'm almost uncertain of everything she said after: "Cancel the movers, I can't give you keys today." It was a Charlie Brown moment and "...wah wah wah waah wahh waahah," was all I that came through the phone line. I tried to keep my composure, but tears streamed down my face, my throat closed up, my heart pounded, and my ears rung while I seemed to lose all feeling in my body. My growth in flexibility was tested. And I failed. At least, I failed for about an hour.

It took a little over an hour for me to come to realize that the world was not, in fact, crumbling around me. We were simply waiting for the sellers to get the rest of their ducks in a row, as it were. And now that's done. This afternoon around 1:30 we received an email stating that our loan has been funded. FUNDED! This is what we've been waiting for so we can get our keys. And now that the loan has been FUNDED, we're getting said keys at 5:30 this evening. I'm back to the tears, the closing throat, the heart pounding, the overall body numbness, the ringing ears...but for very different reasons.

I have the wine and bottle opener sitting by the door, ready to go over to the house. We'll have a little ghetto toast in plastic cups, and drop off the office chair we purchased this afternoon. We'll show off the house to a couple of friends and hug everything in the house, even if I haven't had a chance to clean it (cleaning comes tomorrow).

As for the movers, I've asked them to come on Monday. We'll try the 8-12 window again, and this time I won't call them to cancel less than 24 hours before they're set to arrive. Monday will be a good day. Hell, today is a good day. They all are, if I take the time to realize it. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ready and Waiting

This week has been a whirlwind and it's not even over yet. By the time Friday has been recorded in the history books we'll be moved into the new house. But as of now, we're mostly packed up and mostly ready to go.

The washer & dryer are set to be delivered on Saturday, which are the only major appliances that didn't come with the house. Once the movers have loaded and unloaded, been paid and tipped, we'll make one of many trips to Home Depot. This trip will be to pick up a shower door we intend to install at some point over the weekend. Of course, it's highly likely that we'll be using a shower curtain for a month while we wait for someone to show us how to install it. 

Also on this trip to HD we'll get window treatments--I've never understood this term, as it implies that your windows are in some way ill and need treatment. I prefer to call them window treats, as this seems more fun for the window. Our windows are in need of the treat of privacy, as will we, once we get in there and start walking around naked. Or even just plain ol' walking around. That ought to be our last planned trip to HD, however we're fully aware that it won't be our last actual trip there. 

At this point we still have only a vague idea of where our things will go in the house. We've opted for new couches, as the delicious couch and king chair set we have now are just too big for the living room. I've decided that as yummy as these couches are to lounge upon, I'd prefer to have the living room we're paying mortgage on be the focal point of the living room, rather than the ginormous olive set that would take it over in 2.8 seconds. 

As for our current living arrangements, tomorrow can't come soon enough. Just about everything of worth is in boxes. Coffee. Bagels. Knives. Toaster. Pots & pans. Dishes. Bowls. Kleenex. Envelopes. Shoes. Vitamins. Hats. Visors. Towels. And what's left ends up being all the little things that just haven't deserved a box to this point. A ruler. A few pens. Remote controls. A cat toy. Receipts. A bowl of rocks. Some tools. A stack of papers. Coasters. These are the things that drive me crazy. I'd like to take all these things and throw them in one giant box just to have them out of the way. But we're out of boxes. 

It's just one more day, I keep telling myself. If everything goes to plan we'll get keys tonight and celebrate with a bottle of wine and a picnic on the empty living room floor. After I clean it of course. The place has been empty since July of last year when they finished the remodel. And since then there have been numerous people and couples and kids and families walking in and out of this room and that, seeing if our house was right for them. My Monica traits come screaming out when I think about that. If it weren't for the place being locked right this very minute, I'd be over there swiffing the floors, wiping the counters, cloroxing bathrooms and dusting the sills--maybe even treating them. And in the meantime I will try to keep my cool. Maybe I'll go buy a box.

I love having gone through this experience of buying a home. It's something I think everyone should go through. The growth that happens when you're forced to follow someone else's timeline is substantial. It's caused me to be curious in ways I wouldn't know to be otherwise: What's the difference between 5.25% and 5.125%? How long will it take to bolt the building onto the foundation so we can move in? What, exactly, is escrow? This whole process stretches me to be more flexible than I ever imagined I could be. And now I get to go through the experience of actually owning a home. And the I wonder...

What growth will this will bring?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

American Life Today

American Life Today is a blog dedicated to profiling random Americans that a friend of mine has come across in her travels, known for a while, or simply people that have run across her site and accepted an opportunity to be featured. I fall somewhere in the middle of options 1 and 2, and am excited to be the featured today! 

Please check the site out and read up on some of the interesting folks that have been profiled so far this year. If you're interested in sharing yourself and being profiled, check out the right side of the blog to find out how.