Monday, March 25, 2013

"Do not do shit just to please your parents. In fact, do not pursue anything in order just to please someone else. Ever." Danielle LaPorte

At the risk of becoming a blogger by proxy, I HAD to share this blog by Danielle LaPorte!!  It hits the note, it sings the song, it speaks to me!  You gotta read it! :

""If I believe that I need others' approval, I've already turned my back on myself."
- Kate Swoboda,

I spoke at a university event and asked the student organizer what she was going to school for. "Oh, finance," she answered.

"So working with numbers really lights you up then?" I said. She didn't understand the question.

"What do you mean?" she replied.

"I mean, are you stoked about finance? Do you love that world?"

Based on her blank expression, I was afraid of what she was going to say. And sure enough: "Oh, God no. I pretty much hate it. But being an accountant is good money. And my dad wants me to do this. And he's paying my tuition." And she just shrugged, as if it all made perfect sense.

I saw two things in her future: A Mercedes. And Prozac.

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Listen to me: I've had thousands of conversations on variations of fulfillment and success with young adults, and old adults, and adults with arrested development just acting like adults. And I can tell you this with lucid certainty based on massive evidence of regret: Do NOT do shit just to please your parents. In fact, do not pursue anything in order to just please someone else. Ever.

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You will die inside. You will grind to a slow halt and the lethargy of your spirit will weigh down your every damn day. You'll be sleeping with someone that you don't totally respect and utterly adore; you'll have an artless condo full of crap from CostCo that you don't really need; you'll count the clock until wine time. And one day you might wake up and think to yourself: Fuck. I did this for them. Where am I?

The excruciating regret of which I speak is an epidemic, of course. We know this. It's been happening for all of time, and it probably always will. Pleasing. Others. At the cost of our vitality.

So don't do it. You've heard it before, you'll hear it again. From commencement speeches given by entrepreneurial renegades. From the artists and the mavericks. From the everyday seekers who lifted themselves from regret to living -- full on. The people who love you enough to want every kind of liberation for you will tell you this: Don't do it for me.

And maybe today is the day, and these are the right pixels at the right time to inspire you to choose... your happiness.

I can also tell you this, based on the previously mentioned lucid certainty, based on massive evidence of fulfillment:

When you choose your happiness, you become infinitely more productive, useful, and magnetic to those around you. You enable yourself to truly be of service.

So let me repeat it:

Do not do shit just to please your parents.
In fact, do not pursue anything in order just to please someone else. Ever.

To Freedom. Fight for it if you must. " - Danielle laPorte blog (Danielle's blog link )

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Brene Brown's Life Lessons

Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, author of The Gifts of Imperfection and research professor at the University of Houston, has spent the last 12 years figuring out what keeps us from the living—despite our best efforts—the kind of wholehearted, fully involved existences that we're trying to lead. It turns out that a lot of the assumptions we hold so dear and we believe will turn around everything are...well...just plain wrong.

1. Fitting In Is Not Belonging

There are so many terms we use every day whose meanings are gauzy, if not downright imprecise—which makes it hard to get your head around what's really going on in your life. For example, contrary to what most of us think: Belonging is not fitting in. In fact, fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging. Fitting in, I've discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get them to let you hang out with them. Belonging is something else entirely—it's showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are—love of gourd painting, intense fear of public speaking and all.

Many us suffer from this split between who we are and who we present to the world in order to be accepted, (Take it from me: I'm an expert fitter-inner!) But we're not letting ourselves be known, and this kind of incongruent living is soul-sucking.

In my research, I've interviewed a lot of people who never fit in, who are what you might call "different": scientists, artists, thinkers. And if you drop down deep into their work and who they are, there is a tremendous amount of self-acceptance. Some of them have to scrap for it, like the rest of us, but most are like this neurophysicist I met who, essentially, told me, "My parents didn't care that I wasn't on the football team, and my parents didn't care that I was awkward and geeky. I was in a group of kids at school who translated books into the Klingon language. And my parents were like, ‘Awesome!' They took me to the Star Trek convention!" He got his sense of belonging from his parents' sense of belonging, and even if we don't get that from Mom and Dad, we have to create it for ourselves as adults—or we will always feel as if we're standing outside of the big human party.

The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you're enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect. When we don't have that, we shape-shift and turn into chameleons; we hustle for the worthiness we already possess. 

2. Guilt Is Not Bad for You 

I'm just going to say it: I'm pro-guilt. Guilt is good. Guilt helps us stay on track because it's about our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we've done—or failed to do—with our personal values. The discomfort that results often motivates real change, amends and self-reflection. 

I interview people of just about every faith you can imagine, and a lot of them will say, "Oh, I've got major Catholic guilt" or "I've got major Jewish guilt." And I'll say, "Tell me about it." And they'll say, "Well, if I don't show up for Shabbat every Friday, I'm a bad son. My brother always goes." 

Clinically speaking, that's not guilt. That's shame, and one of the worst things about shame is that we often don't know when we're feeling it. When I'm interviewing subjects, I hear, "I'm worthless. I'm a piece of crap. I don't blame my parents for hating me—who wouldn't?" And this is shame. We may not know how to name it. But we know how to feel it—and it is a totally separate emotion from guilt 

A clear way to see the difference is to think about this question: If you made a mistake that really hurt someone's feelings, would you be willing to say, "I'm sorry. I made a mistake"? If you're experiencing guilt, the answer is yes: "I made a mistake." Shame, on the other hand, is "I'm sorry. I am a mistake." Shame doesn't just sound different than guilt; it feels different. Once we understand this distinction, guilt can even make us feel more positively about ourselves, because it points to the gap between what we did and who we are—and, thankfully, we can change what we do. 

3. Perfectionism Is Not About Striving for Excellence 

For some of us (including me), what I'm about to say is horrifying: Perfectionism is not about achievement and growth. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfectly, look perfectly and act perfectly, we can avoid the pain of blame, judgment and shame. 

Most perfectionists (also including me) grew up being praised for achievement and performance in our grades, manners and appearance. Somewhere along the way, we adopted this dangerous and debilitating belief system: I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. A ticker tape began to stream through our heads: Please. Perform. Perfect

Healthy striving, meanwhile, focuses on you. It occurs when you ask yourself, "How can I improve?" Perfectionism keeps the focus on others. It occurs when you ask, "What will they think?" Research, unfortunately, shows that perfectionism hampers success and often leads to depression, anxiety, addiction and missed opportunities, due to fears of putting anything out in the world that could be imperfect or disappoint others. It's a 20-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it's the thing that's really preventing us from taking flight. Another way to think about it? Consider Leonard Cohen's song "Anthem," which says, "There's a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." 

4. Vulnerability Is an Act of Courage 

There are a few myths about vulnerability that I think keep us from being wholehearted people who can fully give and receive love. The first is that vulnerability is weakness. The second is that it's optional. 

First of all, vulnerability is not weakness. It's probably the most accurate measure of our individual courage. When I ask research subjects to give me an example of being in situations where they feel vulnerable, they say, "Taking responsibility for something that went wrong at work" or "Telling my boyfriend that I love him" or "Calling my friend whose child just died" or "Sending my kid to school knowing she is struggling but knowing she had has to figure it out" or "Meeting with the hospice person who is going to be taking care of my mother." 

Sometimes I hear people say "I don't do vulnerability." But you do it, everyday. We all do it. We all have those moments. The only choice you have is how you handle those feelings of being terrifyingly, painfully exposed. Maybe you turn them into rage; maybe you turn them into disconnection; maybe you numb them; maybe you turn them into perfectionism (which, by the way, is what I do with them). But you do something with them. 

The key to transforming them into courage instead is learning how recognize them, feel them and ultimately make the choice to simply be there, with that horrible tangle of uncertainty and risk. When you know what you're feeling and why, you can slow down, breathe, pray, ask for support—and make choices that reflect who you are and what you believe. 

Brené Brown is the author of the The Gifts of Imperfection and widely known for her celebrated TED talk. Find her on Twitter at @BreneBrown

Read more:

Enough is enough! An article by Martha Beck.

Shortly after World War II, executives at Japan's Toyota Motor Company made a decision from which, I believe, we all can benefit. They decided to make cars the way they'd make, say, sushi. Unlike most manufacturers, which bought and stored massive stockpiles of supplies, Toyota began ordering just enough parts to keep their lines moving, just when those parts were needed. This made them spectacularly productive, and turned the phrase "just in time" into business legend.

I know of the Toyota case because in my former life as an academic, I taught international business management. My students and I had some rousing discussions about just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing, as well as its alternative, which is known as just-in-case (JIC) inventory. These students were the first people who hired me as a life coach (perhaps because I could never resist applying business theory to everyday life). When we discussed JIT versus JIC management as a lifestyle strategy, we concluded that Toyota's business innovation could positively impact all of our lives. If you feel overburdened, overstressed, and anxious, I'm betting the same is true for you.

Why Just-in-Case Is Just Crazy

Most people live with a just-in-case mind-set because for most of human history, it made sense. The primary fact of life for just-in-case processes is: "Everything good is scarce!" By contrast, just-in-time systems rely on the assumption "Everything good is readily available." Well, until quite recently, the former claim was true for most humans—it's still true for many. But most magazine readers like you live in settings where basic necessities, like food, clothing, and other humans, are plentiful.

Living in an abundant environment but operating on the assumption that good things are scarce leads to a host of dysfunctions that can be summed up in one word: excess. Most of us are living in some kind of excess; we work too much, eat too much, rack up debt buying too much stuff. Yet, driven by the unconscious, just-in-case assumption that "everything good is scarce," we just keep doing and accumulating more. We've all seen some of the unfortunate results, and I've found that most fall into the following four categories:

Starving off the Fat of the Land
For years I noticed that my clients who lived in a mind-set of scarcity had trouble controlling their weight, even though they dieted assiduously. I also read studies showing that poor women—particularly those who periodically starved themselves to feed their children—were particularly plagued by obesity. Researchers hypothesize that when the body knows it may be starved, whether by poverty or by dieting, it activates automatic just-in-case mechanisms that store fat on the body to get through the next "famine." Ironically, this biological just-in-case mechanism puts fat on precisely the people with the discipline to starve themselves.

Stuff Tsunamis

Just-in-case thinking triggers primal, unconscious impulses to hoard good stuff, fat supplies being just one example. Combine JIC attitudes with a superabundant culture, and things can go wildly off kilter. There have been several cases like the one in Shelton, Washington, where a woman recently suffocated under a pile of her own possessions. To recover her body, police reported having to "climb over [clutter] on their hands and knees. In some areas, their heads were touching the ceiling while they were standing on top of piles of debris."

Money Madness

My wealthiest clients have taught me that having lots of money doesn't quiet scarcity-based, JIC anxiety. This point was reinforced for me when I heard about the suicide of the German billionaire who lost hundreds of millions of dollars in the recent financial crisis. Now, this poor guy wasn't literally a poor guy. He still had a personal fortune. But to a just-in-case thinker who's used to billions, it wasn't enough to keep him from throwing himself in front of a train.

Love's Labor's Lost

Just-in-case thinking destroys relationships faster than—and sometimes with the assistance of—a speeding bullet. Along with the impulse to hoard objects, it also triggers excessive attempts to control our supply of love—that is, other people. So anxious lovers have their partners followed. Parents micromanage children. People-pleasers try to manipulate everyone into liking them. This behavior isn't love; it's a fear-based outcome of believing love is scarce. If you've ever been on the receiving end of such anxious machinations, you know they make you want to run, not bond.

Why Just-in-Time Just Makes Sense

As Toyota execs and my graduate students concluded so many years ago, hanging on to a just-in-case worldview in abundant environments is plain bad business. And as I've seen in countless coaching scenarios since, switching to a just-in-time mind-set ("Everything good is readily available") restores health and balance to our lives.

The great news is that just one mental shift—focusing on the abundance of your environment—switches your psychological settings so that your life automatically improves in many areas you may think are unrelated. This is essentially a leap from fear to faith; it's not religious faith but the simple belief that we'll probably be able to get what we need when we need it. When the issues above are considered through abundance-based, just-in-time thinking, it's a whole different ball game:

Food Fulfillment 
I've never been a weight loss coach; my focus is on helping people go from fear and suffering to relaxation and happiness. So I was baffled when many of my clients told me, "I'm finally losing weight—and I'm not even trying." This intrigued me so much that I spent years researching and writing a book about it [The Four-Day Win]. After reading thousands of studies and interviewing dozens of experts, I'm convinced that the thought "Everything good is readily available" kicks the body out of its panicky, fat-storing mode and into a state that helps it shed excess fat. 

Stuff Sufficiency 
Dianne is 50-ish and newly divorced. Part of our coaching work helped her develop just-in-time confidence about money (which allowed her to leave the financial security of her emotionally dead marriage). During our final session, she said, "Something weird is happening. All of a sudden, I'm tidy. I've always been a stuff person, but now I don't add clutter. It's a wonderful, spacious feeling." Dianne didn't achieve this by forcing herself to clean up. She simply developed the confidence of a just-in-time manager, and her behavior changed almost on its own.

Mellow Money Management
"I got really panicky when the economy went south," says Jackie, one of my fellow coaches. "All my business dried up, and I was really scared. But I hate feeling scared, and I'm a coach, so one day I coached myself back to trusting life. I felt better immediately, but what's strange is that clients started coming out of the woodwork. I had to start a waiting list."

This, as any Toyota alum will tell you, is what happens to people who have enough confidence to run a just-in-time operation. I can't quite explain this; it often seems nothing short of miraculous. Perhaps this is why the authors of the Bible included the story of the wandering Israelites who were given manna from heaven, but only permitted to gather enough to supply their needs until the next manna-festation. Whether you take it literally or metaphorically, this tale was considered important enough to become holy writ. Why? I believe it's to counteract the just-in-case anxiety that makes billionaires keep hoarding more money. The Israelite story-keepers wanted to remind readers that, miraculous as it seems, just-in-time confidence keeps supply lines clear and prosperity flowing. 

Lasting Love
I've done my share of just-in-case controlling when it comes to love (I'd like to apologize to anyone who once wandered into my danger zone). Happily, I've learned that setting people free, not trying to control them, ensures a lifetime supply of love.

Here's the closest thing I know to a genuine love spell: "I'll always love you, and I really don't care what you do." This is not a promise to stay in a relationship with someone whose behavior is destructive. It's a simple statement that you aren't dependent on the other person's choices. That means you can respond to someone as he or she really is, instead of trying to force a fallible person to be infallible. Knowing that love (like all good things) is readily available, we don't need to control any individual. And oh, how people love being loved without a care.

Making the Switch

When I meet someone who's a mess of excess, I just itch to coach them. I know that if they'd reroute a few simple brain habits, their lives would improve almost effortlessly. The transformation wouldn't take much work—no need to exhume childhood traumas or hook up an antidepressant IV. We'd just throw the neurological toggle switch that exchanges fight-or-flight mode (the sympathetic nervous system) for rest-and-relaxation mode (the parasympathetic nervous system). Most animals experience this switch in response to environmental conditions. We humans possess an unparalleled ability to create it with our thoughts.

It's almost too easy: Simply by taking your attention off thoughts of scarcity and persistently focusing on observations of abundance, you can replace the nervous, just-in-case mind-set that kept our ancient forebears alive but is killing many of us. The best way to effect this shift is to use these simple exercises:

1. List 10 times you thought that there wouldn't be enough of something and you survived.

2. List 10 areas where you have too much, not too little.

3. List 20—or 50, or 1,000—wonderful things that entered your life just at the right time, with no effort on your part. Start with the little things (oxygen, sunlight, a song on the radio). You'll soon think of bigger ones. Most of my clients realize that the most important things in their lives showed up this way. 

I started doing excercise 3 several years ago, and I still haven't finished my list. Once you deliberately focus on abundance, you'll be overwhelmed by all the good things that show up like manna in the desert, without much effort on your part. If this seems too easy, you can go back to fearful, just-in-case thinking (you'll need a diet counselor, a housekeeper, and a financial planner, but that's okay—they can substitute for friends). But if, like me, my business school students, and my clients, you decide to try just-in-time thinking, you'll find yourself struggling less and accomplishing more in ways you'd never expect. You may kick yourself for not discovering this sooner. Relax. I promise, you're just in time.

Martha Beck is the author of six books. Her most recent is Steering by Starlight (Rodale). 

From the April 2004 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.

Read more:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eckhart action

Eckhart Tolle's, as I have mentioned before (click here to Link to previous blog), resonates as profound truth to me.  I was on his website and found this little video which fully demonstrates how to handle fear, like a duck recovering from a fight, by SEPARATING THE THOUGHTS FROM THE EMOTION.  Sue Cooper says whilst you are meditating, just breathing in and just breathing out, you allow your emotions to arise WITHOUT ATTACHING A STORY TO THE EMOTION and this allows the emotion to be felt and then it naturally dissolves and you are left with an open heart, free of the thoughts or stories, free of the emotions attached to them.  

They speak of the same concept.  

If this sounds interesting to you, please follow the link below to watch his short video which answers the question: How do I lessen the pain or fear I feel?

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Labyrinth of Life by Martha Beck

Martha's latest blog post was beautiful so I had to share it with you:

"For the past few days, I’ve been busy helping to build a labyrinth. My awesome friend Chris Brandt, master coach and landscape design artist, came and spray-painted an ancient pattern onto a 40-foot circle of earth under some huge oak trees near my house, and then everyone got busy finding rocks to mark the pattern as the rain washed it away. We put a statue of Kuan Yin, an ancient Chinese goddess representing compassion, at the entrance to the labyrinth. It’s like a gigantic human brain, all folded into itself.
I told a friend about this on the phone and she said, “I know how to solve those. You just keep your hand on one wall, and you’ll find your way out.” She thought I meant a maze. This is how our culture sees things: you’re in a place full of tricks and blind alleys, but if you’re clever enough, you’ll “solve” it and get out. That’s not what a labyrinth is. It’s a path you walk as a kind of meditative practice. You could walk out of it at any time, but you follow the patterns at your feet while releasing the patterns in your mind. Walking labyrinths is an ancient custom. Now I know why. I’ve walked my own labyrinth just a few times, and its curving lines have taken me straight to the truth about the way I live my life.
About halfway through my first walk, I found myself feeling terrified and angry. My thoughts went something like this: “This is such a waste of time. What am I doing here? I was two feet away from here before, now I’m doubling back for no reason—where is this taking me? What’s the goal? I can get there faster than this if I just jump….” on and on, ad nauseum.
As every life coach knows, the way we do anything is the way we do everything. The same thoughts that make me squirm in the labyrinth torture me when I’m writing, emailing, even sleeping. I should be going faster, getting somewhere. I should have more to show for this. I shouldn’t have to double back, to revisit old emotional issues, to wipe the same damn kitchen counter every day. These thoughts burble along just under the surface of my consciousness every day. They make me slightly anxious—okay, some days irrationally terrified—and lend a driven quality to moments when I could be relaxed and present.
I’ve heard the same comments from countless people, all schooled to the same obsession with forward progress. We set goals, draw flowcharts, march forward, criticize ourselves if we have to go back, if the same old stuff comes back to haunt us. We want to be DONE with things: the chronic pain, the haunting doubt, the bad relationship patterns, the grief of loss. We want to solve the maze and get out, to the place where we imagine there will be no problems to solve.
The labyrinth is teaching me to question the bits of driven, linear, achievement-based dysfunction that can make me miserable in a life of incredible blessings and good fortune. We didn’t enter life to get it done. There is no place not worth revisiting. We double back to find the pieces of ourselves that still clutch the same issues like a baby clutching its pacifier. Compassion invited us to this unbearably repetitive, slow, complex path of self-discovery, to show us that only when we surrender our idea of how things should be going do we notice that the entire thing is breathtakingly beautiful.
My loved ones and I are still building the labyrinth. Our land is not particularly rocky, so we’ve become obsessed with rocks the way a teenage starlet is obsessed with shopping. We cruise slowly past areas of nearby roads marked with “falling rock” warning signs, then stop the car, heave a few mini-boulders into the car, and speed off feeling the joy of acquisition. We have a goal (finish the labyrinth), we have a process (find rocks and arrange them), and the sense of purpose that comes with that is so familiar, so comfortingly linear. But in the end, what we’re building is a circuitous, contemplative, enfolded path that teaches us to be comfortable with the circuitous, repetitive, contemplative aspects of our lives.
Today, if you’re confronting an issue for the ten thousandth time, or feeling that your life is going nowhere, or panicking over how little you’ve achieved, stop and breathe. You’re not falling behind on some linear race through time. You’re walking the labyrinth of life. Yes, you’re meant to move forward, but almost never in a straight line. Yes, there’s an element of achievement, of beginning and ending, but those are minor compared to the element of being here now. In the moments you stop trying to conquer the labyrinth of life and simply inhabit it, you’ll realize it was designed to hold you safe as you explore what feels dangerous. You’ll see that you’re exactly where you’re meant to be, meandering along a crooked path that is meant to lead you not onward, but inward.
As Proust wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Stop now, right now, and look around you. This is your place in the labyrinth. There is no place else you need to be. See with eyes that aren’t fixed on goals, or focused on flaws. You are part of the endless, winding beauty. And as you learn to see the dappled loveliness of your life, as your new eyes help you begin loving the labyrinth, you’ll slowly come to realize that the labyrinth was made solely for the purpose of loving you."  Martha Beck ( )

Sunday, March 10, 2013


"A path of genuine awakening is a path of growing increasingly alive and aware of our emotions.  As we learn to release the stories, interpretations and resistance that camouflage our emotional life, our emotions become more accessible and simple - fear is just fear, loneliness just loneliness, anger just anger, joy just joy - thus inviting exploration and understanding.  Waves of feelings are no longer frozen by our attempts to define them - they arise and ebb away.  We learn to find refuge in stillness and calm.  Diving more and more deeply into stillness, there are times when deeply buried emotional wounds and memories arise; we learn to receive them and find freedom within them." The Buddhist Path to Simplicity, Christina Feldman, pp 120

And I can highly recommend this little book...

And sitting still for a few minutes each day...breathing in and breathing out...just sitting and just breathing...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ignite your fire!

Danielle laPorte rocks the truth!

I can’t help you. Not really.

I’m committed to doing what I can this lifetime to alleviate suffering.
I’m here to be helpful.
I pray to be useful.
And… I don’t believe that I can really help anyone. Not really. This isn’t a sad song, I’m not drawing the blinds or wearing all black. To the contrary — this is an anthem of clarity and empowerment. I feel freer than ever to give all that I’ve got to give. Because I believe that…
No matter how much insight or sweat I give, the effects of my giving are not my call to make. I have nothing to do with someone receiving my love — it’s the choice of the loved. If someone runs with my idea, or is moved, or takes my suggestion and turns it all around — that’s because of their readiness and wisdom, not mine.
"It’s not for me to say if the people I advise are winning or losing. I don’t know the inner machinations of their Soul. I cannot say if their choices are dharmic or karmic, wisdom or sabotage. What looks like a mistake to me could be the rightest action of their Soul’s unfolding. What looks like suffering could be a lifetime of enlightenment. What looks like quitting today could lead to their greatest victory tomorrow.
When you are being of service to other people, you need to leave a lot of room for mystery. Give, unrestrained. Assume nothing.
I can’t help you. Not really. I can only show up with a bright heart and hope that I get you at the right micro-moment with the perfect dose of light that helps you see what you already know."
---  Danielle laPorte (Danielle's blog link)

I agree...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A little inspiration

This is my favourite...

and this one surprises me...

and this one punches me in the solar plexus...

and this one resonates...

and this one I know is true, evident in all schools....

and this one scares me...

and this one makes me think Anthony Hopkins is enlightened...

and this I love...