Imagine you put on a pair of shoes. They don’t fit quite right. But you keep wearing them anyway, for whatever reason. And after a while, your feet begin to hurt.
What do you do?
Maybe you say to yourself, “Huh, these are the wrong shoes. I thought they were good for me, but I was wrong. Or maybe I’ve just outgrown them.”
And then you take off the shoes and go barefoot for a while, and then try on other pairs until you find what feels right.
Or maybe. . . you say to yourself, “What’s wrong with me? My feet are too big. My arches are too flat. Maybe if I just tried harder, I could make this work.”
And you wear those shoes for years, suffering. There is the pain in your body, and the pain in your mind from beating up on yourself. You feel trapped in those shoes.
Two ways to look at the same situation.
How you see the situation — your perception — informs your choice.
Your choice shapes your life. Continue reading “The wrong shoes.”
Complaining can be a lot of fun. I used to work with a woman who loved to complain: her boyfriend, her parents, her commute, her workload. . . And I made the mistake of trying to help her solve one of the problems she complained about. “What if you. . .” I started, until she shot me daggers and interrupted, “No, no, no! You don’t understand.”
And I realized that complaining was one of her favorite things. It gave her comfort. It was easier than doing something about it.
And I understand this. For years I complained about my job. About what wasn’t right. About how “they don’t understand,” and then I’d complain about the job market, or the economy, or whatever made me feel better about not taking action.
And one day I just got sick of hearing myself complain. Continue reading “Listen to Desire.”
Last year, when I decided to resign from my “safe” corporate job, I knew that I would need community and structure to help me move forward into my new life. I’ve stumbled through enough clumsy transitions in my life to know that some kind of plan was critical for me — even if my plan was “no plan”, I still needed framework and feedback to thrive. That’s why the timing was perfect for my InnerYoga teacher training. It was 13-months of study and practice. It was the perfect community and support system for me.
And now, as 2013 draws towards a close, I want to share more of what I know about mindful change. Continue reading “Mindful goal setting.”
From time to time, it’s a good idea to ask yourself: What does success look like? What does it feel like?
Because the answers may change as you live and experience different flavors of success. If you don’t check in with yourself, you could spend years of your life chasing an idea of success that you’ve outgrown. Trying to make it fit.
And there are outside layers of success: things people can see from your Facebook status or LinkedIn profile. Your job title, where you live, your stuff, your vacations, all the conferences or parties you attend, or how perfect your relationship appears.
And that’s all cool. Have that.
But also take time to become still and ask yourself how it feels underneath. Does success live only on the surface of your life? Or does it go deep? Continue reading “Let success go deep.”
Because meditation slows you down, it lets whatever is inside become very vivid, very present. It amplifies your existing joy, love, happiness. But it also brings the uncomfortable parts — fear, self-doubt, exhaustion — right up in your face.
This can be terrifying. Especially if you’re in the habit of numbing, distancing, or distracting yourself by being super busy, over eating, drinking too much, creating drama in your life and relationships, or losing yourself in TV or online (“there’s so much internet to read!”).
I know something about this. Continue reading “Courage, love.”
A year ago I had to renew my passport, so I went to the Walgreen’s near my office at lunch to get photos taken. I remember feeling exhausted, but also happy because I was excited for my upcoming trip. The photos came out and when I saw them, I didn’t recognize myself. I looked terrible. I looked beat down and tired. My face looked. . . saggy and dim. Was that really what I looked like? I felt my cheeks burn, and paid for my photos and left.*
Back at the office, way up on the 26th floor where we had amazing views of the bay, I went to the restroom and looked in the mirror. I really looked. I saw bloodshot eyes, from staring too long at a screen. I saw slumped shoulders. A down-turned mouth. I saw a spark in the eye, but it was dim. Like an overcast sky. I thought, This isn’t right. I tried to smile. It was grotesquely superficial and unconvincing. Continue reading “Be willing to see.”
I have a friend from law school. She worked in Big Law, until the firm unexpectedly dissolved in that time when many traditional big firms unraveled. Then she worked for a small firm, commuting an hour each way and figuring out child care while her husband finished his graduate degree in another city.
She told me, “I’m living the dream, Kim. The only problem is: it’s the wrong dream!” The hours, the commute, the stress of work, the demands of being a parent and wife were wearing her down. “I worked so hard to get here, and for what? To never see my kid or husband? To spend hours working with mean people? It’s a joke.” Continue reading “It’s ok to update your dream.”
Take yourself out on a date. Ask yourself who you are, how things are going, and what you desire. Ask yourself how you feel. Ask your body what it needs. Then ask your heart. Then ask your brain. Ask your gut what it has to say.
There are many levels of your being, and they each have needs and opinions. The brain is often the loudest. It tends to bully or coerce. “It just makes sense,” the brain says, “Be rational. Do what I say. I’m the smart one.” Continue reading “Take yourself on a date.”
Get up really early, and watch the sunrise. Or climb up to Alamo Square at dusk, and see the sunset. Stay up late and howl at the full moon. Go into the wilderness where you can see all the stars.
The world looks different, depending on the light. Continue reading “See things in a different light.”
Here’s where this comes from: I recently had my first acupuncture experience, and it included the strike of a tuning fork which was then placed at a point on the sole of my foot. I’ve also been reading about mirror neurons, learning about the physiology of compassion and empathy, and spending time with professional musicians.
So I’m sinking my teeth into the idea that we are tuning forks for each other. A tuning fork vibrates and produces a pure tone that guides the instrument home, to that same frequency, to that central resonance. The vibration is experienced in three dimensions (maybe more? do we have any experts on string theory in the house?). Continue reading “Find the right tuning forks.”