Talking to Strangers

Repost from an old blog: 2013

So, it’s hot out. I mean melt the candles, burn the soles of your feet, let’s go to the State Fair hot.

We decided to go to the mall instead, you know the one–the big one, the Mall of America. Dang right, ‘Merica’s Mall!

 

I loathe it. Okay, I don’t loathe it, what I mean to say is, I hate it. Wait, what I really mean to say is, it’s like going to the State Fair but without all the cool smells and sites. Just the crowd. And they’re not even as interesting…for instance, no one is stumbling drunk and or wearing overalls. Not one person. And there are no cows or pigs, and certainly no Miracle of Birth barn…I digress.

 

But something happened today, which made me very happy we went to the mall. I talked to a stranger. And not any stranger, a young woman/girl stranger. Okay, a teen stranger.

 

Let me explain:

After doing what we came to do, spending large quantities of dollars (for prescription spectacles) we went to lunch, and let the 14 year old choose where to go. Buffalo Wild Wings was his selection. We sat at a high top, and after a little bit, a few tables over a large group of teens came in…maybe 12 of them.

 

One girl did not look like the rest–all the rest were kind of sporty/jockish/every kid. Nothing against that AT ALL–I own one of those (except he’s exceptional)–anyway, she sort of got frozen out. All the girls were filing in on one side and all the guys were on the other. As she went to sit down, a boy broke rank and sat next to a very pretty girl on the girl’s side, the other girl (the one different from all the rest) looked a bit lost, just for a moment, then she took a seat at the end of that row.

(BTW–none of these girls was the girl–rather, the idea of the girl)

Now, here’s the important part–she was so different from the rest of the kids.

Her hair was blue green, cut in a cool way in the front, kind of choppy layers, and she tucked the rest of it in a black beret (!) she wore a black and grey striped long sleeved shirt–I wish I had a picture! I had to keep looking at her…because she was the most interesting person in the joint.

 

Besides me, that is. Just Kidding, she was way more interesting.

 

Another girl had finally sat across from her and they were chatting…but she still seemed outside “the group” and I wanted her to know how cool she looked to me.

 

Now, listen, I understand that when a woman (of a certain age) tells a girl she looks cool, or she likes her shirt etc. that’s like the kiss of horribleness and the offending item/style will probably never be worn again. So as we were getting ready to leave, I said to my husband and youngest, “Hey, wait, I have to tell this girl over there something.”

 

My 14 y..o said, “No. Mom, you don’t want to do that.”

And, I thought, oh, he’s probably right, she might get all embarrassed. But then I thought, young women are different from young men–girls should hear encouraging words from their *cough* *choke* *gasp* elders.

 

I stood in the aisle, hesitating, then I thought what the hell, and made my move. I walked over to her long table, walked to her open side and said:

“Maybe you’ll hate hearing this from me, but you have more style than anyone in here.”

She smiled and said, “Really?” and I said, “Absolutely.” and she said, “Thank you!”

 

And I walked away. I could feel eyes on the back of me–the rest of the table asking her questions: who was that? What did she say? I smiled.

 

I am so happy I decided to talk to a stranger. Maybe she’ll forget about it tomorrow, maybe she thought I was some crazy older woman, but maybe, maybe it made a tiny difference in her day.

 

I hope so.

 

So I’m challenging everyone to say something nice to someone you don’t know (it has to be sincere) things you think, but don’t say–try it, say it–talk nice(ly) to a stranger!

Some Questions to Ask Yourself

I have a plethora of written material spread over numerous notebooks (paper and digital). Most of it should not be shared, but I’ve decided that if I see something that might help someone else take a step forward (and at the same time, to remind myself to take that same step) that I’ll share it.

The following was from an online free course by Emma — probably 7 years ago…and by 7, I mean, I have no idea when all this happened, I just know it wasn’t in the last 4 years. Emma wanted us to consider our “ingredients” that might make up our personal brand.

The questions are hers, the answers are mine 🙂 and the funny thing is they still hold true (for the most part) today. I hope you take the time to answer these and think about your own “ingredients” and how you show up for life.

 

Your ingredients as a young child:

I loved playing pretend, also coming up with elaborate story-lines for play. I was an excellent listener and loved to read and write–never wanted anyone to feel bad

As a teen/young adult:

I was totally interested in the “why”* people did what they did, thought I was going to be a child psychologist. Also this is when we lived at Harmony** so my world was opened up to psychic phenomenon, spiritual awakening, positive thinking, etc. was sure I was a true gypsy***. Loved to act and dance! Loved the spotlight and applause 

In your working career:

Talented diffuser of bad situations, awesome customer service–internal and external. Got to know customers–a connector 

Your purpose: what is your purpose:

I really think it’s helping women feel better about themselves and teaching them an easier way to walk through life. Being the entrepreneur of your own life

Why do you do what you do:

I love women and want them to love themselves, I love to write and teach and to make people laugh

Why do you get out of bed in the morning:

Because it’s a new day! With all sorts of possibilities

Why should anyone care:

Because life will be better and more fun and more fulfilling if they do

Notes:

*I verbalized this “why”-ness until a high school friend snapped at me about always asking questions to them and others, after that, I kept it to myself. Which would explain why I liked this exercise 🙂

close up of woman working

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

**Harmony Hills was a Center for Parapsychology…yup, I lived there with my mom for two years–I’ll write about this more.

*** I used the word “gypsy” because that is the word my grandfather used to describe himself, his family–he came to the U.S. from Yugoslavia as a 12 y.o. with his father.

Supporting oil: Inner Child

This oil can help you connect to your true/authentic self

Orange, Tangerine, Ylang ylang, Royal Hawaiian sandalwood, Jasmine, Lemongrass, Spruce, Bitter orange, and Neroli essential oils

Happiness Warrior

I’m pretty sure when people think of “happy” people they don’t necessarily see them as courageous or strong, and yet, more than likely, they are happy because they understand how not to be crushed under the weight of fear and adversity.

I remember being in a management class and we were talking about adversity and how to continue to be leaders even if our lives were not swell. And a woman turned to me and said, “What do you have to be stressed about?” And not in a nice, tell me your problems kind of way, but in an accusatory way–“what problems could you possibly have in your life?!” kind of way.

Granted, I displayed a happy face, I dressed nicely (come by that honestly–my mom was a Fashion Coordinator when I was growing up!), I spoke about ideas and not people, and I had a positive attitude. And, I guess, she thought if you looked “good” you’re life is good. And it was good, in a way. In a compartmentalized way, in a “I will not be crushed by this way.” Is that enough “ways” for you?

What she didn’t know, very few did, was my two grown children were both struggling with Heroin addictions. I mean, how does that even happen? Two children three years apart both addicted to Heroin. I was in a backward Universe. Filled with grief and guilt.

Which is to say–I had many things happen in my life before this, but this–the addiction was a new level of stress, grief, and worry. What the woman also didn’t know, was I had made a choice. A choice Not to Suffer. I was not in denial, I simply chose not to suffer while I supported my children in any way I could–suffering would do nothing to help them or the rest of our family. Our youngest was still in middle school and involved in lots of sports and activities, and although he knew, I didn’t let my grief affect his life.

This was over seven years ago, one child has been sober for almost that same amount of time, the other continues his winding road of recovery and relapse. My family has been through a hell of a year. And I still choose not to suffer. I don’t deny my feelings–well, maybe a little, there are times that I think if I let it out, if I start to cry, I may never stop.

And at the same time, I know I have so much to be happy and grateful for! My daughter is doing so well–amazing, she’s my hero and her daughter (my granddaughter is 13! And my delight) is amazing as well. Our youngest is a wonderful human being and cracks me up (actually all my kids do) my husband and I are true partners…I could go on and on.

It all is a decision, right? A decision to not suffer, a decision to remember the good things, while not ignoring the problems–you can handle the problems so much easier when you are not in the suffering vortex, other decisions (besides not suffering) are clearer. And when I wasn’t suffering I could love and show my love (and my boundaries) to my kids who were.

I started writing this post so long ago…and hesitated posting it, it’s not really right, or where I want it to be, but I want it out there for some reason–I hope this helps in some small way.

 

What’s a Fox to God?

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I was taking a walk and thinking about all the things I was doing and wondering if I was on the right path, and as I walked I said, “Okay God, show me a sign that I’m on the right path…show me a fox on my walk.”

And then I immediately said to myself, you can’t ask for that! Simultaneously thinking: if you ask for that kind of sign you won’t get it, because it’s too much, ask for a smaller sign. Who do you think you are asking for a sign?

And then I literally stopped in my walking tracks.

Because, what’s a fox to God? And I didn’t mean a fox means nothing to God, I meant if God wanted a fox to appear–a fox would appear.

With renewed confidence–in any outcome, ’cause if God didn’t want a fox to appear then no fox was showing its cute pointy face–I continued my walk.

I always walk to Haeg Park, it has a circle of wizened Oak trees at the top of a hill–like a flippin’ circle of wisdom. I love to go up to the trees and place my palm on them, giving and receiving energy. Anywho…I get to the park, climb to the top of the hill, and look down to the lake and there’s a fox. A fox, fast trotting at the bottom of the hill.

And once again, I stop. And the fox stops too–looks at me and then continues on its fox way.

Well. There it was. A veritable sign. Aaaand now I had to live up to it.

If you are going to ask for something, you have to be all in, it can’t be a half-assed ask, it needs to be a full-assed ask. And then once you ask, you have to accept the answer–especially if its in your favor. I asked for a sign to tell me if I was on the right path–I got the sign and now it was up to commit to it.

A fox to God is nothing and everything.

You have to first believe in the possibility of the sign to see the sign, or as Wayne Dyer so eloquently said it: You have to believe it to see it.

 

An (in)Elegant Life

How often do you feel like a 7 year old? Let me be more specific, how often do you live with the metaphorical feeling of your socks balled up in your shoes just living with the uncomfortableness of it?

How often do we live in the uncomfortableness of a situation? Job? Relationship?

It’s okay, you are not alone, far from it, I have been uncomfortable for years on end–but thought it was my “duty” to be there in that vat of uncomfort.

{{{Aside: I make up words, just so you know, “uncomfortableness” and “uncomfort” are not realio-trulio words. But I like them.}}}

At times I blamed it on my sense of “worthiness” or lack there of! But lately I think its fear–fear of pain, fear of unknown, fear of being better.

But I truly believe the most common reason is it seems far less uncomfortable than extricating ourselves from said situation, maybe it would feel embarrassing or even painful. The payment seems too dear for the payout.

In the short term.

We think it will be worse, and yes, it might suck…for a little while, it might be messy…to begin with, you might not know exactly what to do…until you do, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (as my, slightly older than 7 year old, crush Yul Brinner said in The King and I).

And then it will start to feel a little better. And better begets better. It’s a law, and an equation, possibly a mandate. Trust me on this.

Are you willing to share when uncomfort became too much?

 

How To Take Over Your Life!

Easy steps to a brilliant life!

Has this happened to you? You’re strolling along–actually, not strolling, you’re rushing along through your life–get up, get kid up, off to school, get to work, EMAILS, drama, EMAILS, more drama, plus emergencies, rush home, dinner, dishes, drama, dog for walk, treadmill (because, uh, the walk wasn’t really enough)…PHEW! By this time all you’re ready for is some veg time with some quality Netflix.

Repeat.

Is it any wonder we forget our dream, our aspirations, even our day to day goals? Also, WTH? Clearly, this is my routine–give or take–on any given day, but I bet you have some rendition of this, if you don’t, you can stop reading.

We are supposed to LIVE our life–not be swept away by it!

This is a lesson I learn repeatedly. I’m not beating myself up over it, because I understand each time I Re-learn it a little more sticks. The other day, I got to work and didn’t check my emails. I sat down with a cup of coffee and a notepad and sat. Some of you might be familiar with my One Good Cup project–if not you can read about it HERE–but this was different, this was a work related one good cup.

This was to create space for me to be able to plan what I wanted to get done that day. And it was marvelous. I’m toying with the idea of adding an automatic reply on my work email–something like, “thanks for your email, just so we’re clear, I read my emails at 10:00, 1:00, and 4:00. If you need an immediate answer, call me, thanks.” Just kidding. Here’s the other reason I loved taking the time to think about my work day: it made me ENJOY my work day! I know!

I am firmly in the camp of, if you want to create something awesome, you have to feel like you are in awesomeland now.

I was gifted a Planner this year…it’s a marvelous, beautiful, makes you think about what you reallyreallyreally want kind of Planner. Everyone should have this kind of Planner. I plan. And then, even better, I do! I’m not perfect by any means, or, I should say, yet! But making progress on things makes me want to make more progress.

Which brings me to the first rule:

The more energy you give to something the more energy builds around it. You’ve experienced this, I know you have, whether for good or bad.

And now the second:

Working toward what you want shouldn’t feel like work! Okay, I’m not saying it might not be a lot of work, but it should be joyful work!

Let’s hear it for the third:

Uh…you don’t actually have to have complete clarity on what you want to start working toward! Amazing, I know. But, you see, the better you feel and the more cool energy you put toward anything, well, great things actually feel obligated to come to you…and then once you get great things other things become clearer.

And, I-am-the-Fourth rule:

Take time for yourself, your life, your dreams. T a k e  t i m e. M a k e  s p a c e. Good things come in the gaps.

There are way more rules–laws, actually–but you get to make them up as you go.

Tell me about your dreams and plans. How are you taking over your life?

 

 

 

Good Morning! It’s a new day, yay!

Wake up excited to enjoy the day ahead of you, it's easy and funJoan (mom) 93: Every morning I wake up and I say, whoa! I’m still here. Wow!

When I think about this, I wonder why I’m not doing the same thing? I mean at any given moment my time (here) could be up–so why am I not exuberant with each new day?

I grew up Catholic and every night I said my prayers:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should DIE before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Goodnight! Pleasant dreams!

Yeah…that prayer used to scare the sha-zizzle right out of me. How did I ever get to sleep after saying that?

I feel like maybe I remember being relieved when I woke up–but that could be a 56 year old putting thoughts into a 5 year old’s brain.

Anyway, we should wake up and feel blessed or how about excited. That’s what I’m getting at! EXCITEMENT.

It’s a brand new squeaky clean fresh start day! A day we have never lived before. Ever.

A former colleague’s granddaughter told him, “Grandpa, there has never been a day like this day.”

Out of the mouth of babes. And it’s the truest thing ever.

It’s a new day, and sure, maybe there’s stuff from yesterday that you need to figure out, so now’s the time to do just that! Take some time (my #onegoodcup project is the perfect opportunity) take time for yourself–time that is not spent on social media, or watching a morning news show. Time with your sweet self.

Breath deeply, look around. Is your space tranquil, is your life tranquil, chaotic, could it use some Feng Shui? Your space and your life. Do you know what the heck Feng Shui is? No worries, it’s all good. This isn’t the time for an overhaul, just an inventory.

Inventory your life right now. What do you love? Write it down. What do you wish were different? Write it down. Then write your first small step.

What if every day started with a plan (and an action–an action plan!) of one small step. After a week, you’d have moved forward on SEVEN small things! Isn’t it exciting to be in control of your day–your life?

What are you going to do with this brand new day?

What Do You Want? Or, How Not to Have Ungreat Expectations

expectations, getting what you want, declaring your goals

You are never going to get what you don’t really know you want. Declare your Expectations

I’m thinking about expectations. Other people’s for me, mine for other people and mine for myself.

Sometimes I think I’ve made my expectations clear, only to be disappointed–is my disappointment someone else’s fault or my failure of clarity around my expectations? Yeah. The latter. Dang.

No one can meet meet our expectations if we’re not clear about what they are.
We think we’re telling people what we want when in reality we’re only hinting, or worse yet, expecting them to just know.

What do you mean, you don’t have ESP?

Get clear–state what you need/want. And make sure you’re clear on others’ expectations.

All of these have been challenging for me, but the biggest was figuring out my own expectations for myself. Maybe we have a nebulous idea floating around and maybe there’s a touch of guilt and/or shame attached to it because somehow we aren’t doing/being what we VAGUELY think we should!

We do the same darn thing to ourselves that we do to other people, hint at what we want or think the Universe will tell us what to do and or be.

doobee, doobee, do…

You are never going to get what you don’t really know you want. Ever.

I started the “earning dollars” phase of my life with no direction. None. Oh, I had a thought that it didn’t matter what I did, because I was going to be discovered!!!!!

I am not even kidding.

Just me tra-la-la-ing waitressing or bartending and SOMEONE would see me and offer me SOMETHING. Was I working toward this nebulous dream of vague outcomes? HOW COULD I? Okay, I spent a good chunk of my school life on stage, so I came by the nebulous dream honestly and after I was out of school I did audition exactly once for something–didn’t get it and that was it.

Really? Really.

But I still held fast to my “dream.” And I still thought something would happen–like some sad fairytale princess waiting for someone else to save her.

I wrote a little bit, had no set genre, or time frame, didn’t take any classes (read a few writing books)–and even submitted a couple things (years and years apart) got two lovely rejection letters, (they really were lovely with good advice) and both times I stopped writing. Instead of listening to the advice and persevering, I stopped… There was always being DISCOVERED…

I don’t know why I expected success when I’d barely worked at it. But then again, how do you work at something when you’re not sure of the outcome you want? Sheesh.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized another aspect of this: if I had no hard core attachment to a specific outcome, I couldn’t really try for it–and if I couldn’t really try, well, I couldn’t really fail.

No investment equals no (horrible) return.

So, no specific expectations for myself meant never letting myself down. Except, I always felt as if I weren’t living up to something, soooo, I was, in fact, letting myself down. Icky, icky circle.

Am I set with this now, golden with the whole expectations? Nope! Still working on it–but now I’m not kidding myself. I’m super happy I worked through The Desire Map and know that it’s the feeling we want, which doesn’t mean I don’t need/want goals, I do.

Now, I’ll start with how I want to feel, from there I can build my expectations for myself and then commit to them. And then build my goals accordingly.

Unless I get discovered first.

I kid.

Have you set your own “great” expectations? How about for folks around you? Let me know!

Soul Journies #2 Desire Map–I Gotta Feeling!

imageIt’s been a while since I posted my progress with Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map,  and I thought I’d share my findings on my Core Desired Feelings–first though, more of the process. We can’t just get to the Tootsie Roll center!

As a re-cap, Danielle LaPorte’s premise is: it’s not the actual goal we want–it’s the “…feeling you hope reaching the goal will give you.” If you get clear on how you want to feel you can then set your intentions for that feeling!

She has you look at 5 areas of your life: Livelihood & Lifestyle, Relationships & Society, Body & Wellness, Creativity & Learning, and Essence & Spirituality. And within those areas you choose your core desired feeling.

Lists and lists and more lists of lavish and lovely words ensued (after I’d done the work of what’s working in those 5 areas, and what’s not).

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One of the things I loved about this process is she tells you you can do this in a number of ways–make it easy, make it hard, breeze through it, take your time. I took my time. I made my lists of words, rolled them on my tongue, considered their frequency with my soul. Then I came back to my lists and chose my favorites…then I let it sit again. And then I was done taking my time! I wanted to get crystal clear on my Core Desired Feelings.

I thought I sort of already knew what my 5 would be because I’d been playing around with them for so long. But, when I sat down to really choose, different words rose to the occasion, and for one area: Essence and Spirituality, no word felt completely right–until I pictured myself standing with my arms wide open, head back, heart open.

Another surprise was “brave” for Relationships & Society. I was sure my word would be appreciate…or love… or connected. Nope. Brave popped out at me from the sidelines, reminding me that I want to feel like it’s okay to speak my mind, and it’s okay to feel what I feel, and it’s okay to reach out for friendship. I love this.

My Core Desired Feelings:

LIVELIHOOD & LIFESTYLE: thriving

BODY & WELLNESS: vibrant

CREATIVITY & LEARNING: inspiration

RELATIONSHIPS & SOCIETY: brave

ESSENCE & SPIRITUALITY: heart wide open 🙂

I feel committed to these feelings–I was afraid that when I finished this process, I’d be worried that I hadn’t chosen right. And that I’d keep changing my mind. But I can feel the rightness of these in my heart.

So, yes, feeling all smushy and delighted with my bad self, but I know this is not the end. I am not simply planting these seeds and walking away, I will tend to these daily. My #onegoodcup now includes my core desired feelings as guideposts for the day, as Danielle LaPorte says, “What do I need to do to feel the way I want to feel?”

This only works if I give it my attention* (which happens to be my word for the year–I love me some words!). Making it a daily habit reminds me to move in the direction of the way I want to feel. So, since my CDF in Livelihood & Lifestyle is thriving then one of the things I want to do is play more with this blog–because I feel as if I’m thriving when I’m giving attention to it and not stressed about my job! And I am certain that when I am rocking my goal feelings, it will ripple out to the people around me.

Have you read The Desire Map? If you could feel one thing every day, what would it be?