The Day That Turns Your Life Around

Below is an old post I wrote before I went to Boca, that I never shared. Before I get there, there’s a story Jim Rohn tells, that to me is quite powerful. He was 26 with a young family, and was completely broke, earning next to nothing at his job. A Girl Scout came to his door selling cookies for $2 per box. He didn’t have $2 to his name. Humiliated, he lied to the Girl Scout, and said he had already bought several boxes from another girl.

That was the day that turned Rohn’s life around. He was utterly disgusted with himself that he didn’t have two measly dollars in his pocket. He decided that day that never again would he worry about having money in his pocket. This was the first choice he made in a series of choices that made him a millionaire.

There were two critical shifts Rohn made here, that put him on the path to becoming a millionaire. The first was a shift to 100% responsibility. In order to become disgusted with yourself to that degree — to the degree that you change your whole damn life — you have to recognize that you, and you alone, are the source of your results. If he had said to himself: “I can’t afford a $2 box of cookies because my shitty job doesn’t pay me enough,” or “because my wife and kids spend too much,” this would not have been the day—or the moment—that turned his life around. Instead, he shifted to 100% responsibility, and realized he lied to a Girl Scout because he didn’t have even $2 to spare as a result of who he had chosen to be up to that point.

The second shift he made was that he made a decision—a real decision, cutting off all other options completely—that this incident would never, ever, happen to him again. To use Tony Robbins’ lingo, he raised his standards—for his life, yes, but more so for himself. He essentially unequivocally declared: “I will never allow myself to create the circumstance where I cannot afford a $2 box of cookies ever again.”

I am not sure that real change can occur, for anyone, without the two shifts exhibited in Rohn’s story. It’s basically (1) a shift to responsibility, meaning a recognition that I am the sole cause of my results (and this is what empowers me to change something); (2) and a commitment to change what must be changed about myself, with an unwillingness to accept the same behavior that resulted in the old reality.

I do think this change often occurs gradually—the set-up for it, at least. But when we actually make the decision to change, that happens in seconds, and it must be forceful and clear.

The last lesson here is that the moment, or day, that turns your life around is of your choosing. Rohn did not have to attach the significance he did to not being able to buy the $2 box of cookies. He chose to. He could’ve instead added it to the long list of grievances he had about his life at the time and carried on with the status quo.

Before I went to Boca, I reflected on this story, and how I could recreate it in my own life. My post below is a product of that reflection, even as I do not mention Rohn’s story in the post.

Shortly after the post, I made a choice to become partner, and it’s an unnerving choice—it’s making the choice that’s unnerving. In so doing, I am acknowledging that the only person who will decide if I make partner or not is me. It’s easier to say, well, it’s the firm’s decision—there’s only so much I can do. The other partners will decide if I fit or not, I can’t actually just decide, on my own, to become partner.

But that’s not where I’m choosing to stand. I’m saying, instead: I’m choosing to make partner, with no qualifications.

I don’t see any other option; I am done with the old reality. I cannot continue to live a life below what I am capable of. It has become unacceptable. And while I will struggle, and waiver— because I’m human — this is the decision I have made. I am tired of, and completely disgusted with, the power I have given to my own self-doubt.

Rohn tells the story of a guy driving a piece of shit car because he can’t afford anything better. One day, the guy pulls out a shot gun and riddles the car with bullets until it is unrecognizable. He says to himself: “Not only am I not ever driving this piece of crap again — no one else is, either.”

Spray paint “giving into self-doubt” on the side of that car, and it is representative of the decision I have made. Of course I can’t rid myself of self-doubt; but I can choose to not give into it, to not give it power, in recognition of the fact that making any other choice will prevent me from staying true to the result I have declared: becoming partner.

So here’s the old post I never shared, when I was on the cusp of making this decision but hadn’t quite committed yet, stuck in my head about it. By the time the plane landed in Boca, I had decided. That decision has caused me stress over the last few days—fears about what it will change in my life. But when I re-read the post below, I’m left thinking the only real fear I have is of truly believing in myself—as if it is defiant, or wrong, or even offensive. I get to leave that behind, too.

—————

My therapist asked me if I equate my identity with my job. I told her no. I said I think men do that, because that’s how they’re socialized. Who you are is what you do. But I believe what I do is only one aspect of who I am, and it isn’t even the most critical aspect.

I saw on LinkedIn that Jenna, who used to have an office next to mine at the first corporate firm I worked at, made partner at that firm. It was not at all surprising. When I was at that firm, everyone thought Jenna would make partner one day. She was a quintessential brown-noser, she got in early and left late, she ordered custom furniture for her office (which looked like it was professionally decorated), and she did her job well. She was also insufferable. A “gunner,” in every sense of the word. That’s the word we used in law school (and later in law firms) for overly ambitious lawyers who constantly broadcast how smart they think they are (and how smart everyone else should think they are).

When I was at that firm, Jenna was perpetually perplexed by me. She knew I was well-respected and well-liked, a top performer in my “class” (of the lawyers there who graduated from law school my year), but she couldn’t get her head around it. My office was a complete wreck. I had no custom furniture, just the standard issue furniture, with no decorative items whatsoever except a cactus that had died months ago. I was not a brown-noser, often aggressively challenging partners on legal theories I disagreed with, not caring how they took it. Jenna could not understand how I was doing well, and her lack of understanding caused her to feel threatened.

How do I know this? Believe it or not, I’m not making it up. She got drunk at a firm event and fucking told me, directly, everything I just said. She ended it with this:

“I feel like you and I should be friends. Why aren’t we friends?”

What she meant was: even though I don’t at all get it, it looks like you’re going to be successful here, so I want to have you on my side.

I rejected her drunken outreach, of course. I was an asshole back then (well, more of one). And the truth is we shouldn’t have been friends—we actually had nothing in common aside from doing well (the part Jenna couldn’t comprehend).

I also knew I wouldn’t be staying at that firm, and I wouldn’t be running against Jenna for partner. I’d never make partner there, or anywhere. Why?

Well, Jenna was right to question my success — she just questioned it for the wrong reason. Since she is very organized and methodical, she had it in her head that that was what someone had to be in order to be a great lawyer. She was wrong about that. Yes I had a woefully disorganized office, but a highly organized mind, and that’s the part that counts.

But, that said, Jenna wasn’t wrong to scrutinize the state of my office. While it had no bearing on my intellect or my abilities as a lawyer, it had great bearing on something else that mattered a lot with regard to achieving partnership: it revealed my utter lack of commitment.

I had zero commitment to making partner, and no investment in that firm. It is among the best in the world, but I didn’t see it as prestigious, I didn’t broadcast that I worked there to anyone, I didn’t identify with it at all. I told myself then, as I told my therapist, that I was simply playing a role at a corporate machine that was itself a fraud. I’m not a lawyer, I just play one on TV.

Without commitment, you cannot make partner; you’ll never even truly be in the running. That’s just what it is, and how it should be. My ability put me in the running early on, but my lack of commitment, which I could not cover up forever, soon took me out of the race.

When I saw Jenna had made partner, I had two thoughts: (1) of course she did; and (2) I don’t know if I ever can. The second one was troubling, because: that’s my plan.

I thought of this again after my therapy session. My therapist was intrigued by me saying I don’t identify with my job. I had just finished telling her how relentless my drive was at this new job, how I was determined to be successful in a way I’d never been before. But, I explained to her that my drive had nothing to do with making partner itself. I wasn’t yearning to see the title of “partner” next to my name. I wasn’t yearning to be able to hold that status or broadcast it or wield it over anyone. I didn’t even care about it from a feminist angle (the number of women partners in litigation is abysmally and shockingly low).

No, there was only one reason, one motivating factor, leading me there: my family. That’s it. The title itself? Eh. I could give or take it.

After my therapy session, I told Jimmy: “I’ve got a problem. I don’t think I can ever make partner unless I’m fully committed to, and genuinely want, the role and the title itself.” I explained to him I had no personal, separate ambition to be partner—and that without him and the boys, I had no motivation to pursue it at all. “Untangle this,” I told him.

Miraculously, he did.

He asked me who I thought I had to be to make partner. I said I’d have to be Jenna. I’d have to work long hours for show, I’d have to humor my bosses, I’d have to do things diametrically opposed to my nature. Because I have very hard time with that, I was certain I’d burn out on the effort before I even began.

Through a series of questions and answers I won’t rehash, he got me to consider whether that was a limiting belief.

Then he asked: “Is there another way to make partner than what you describe?” No was my first thought. You must be committed to the role itself. Invested in the business.

He asked: “But what do you think it means, to be committed or invested?”

I said I think it means being Jenna.

He asked, what if it doesn’t? He told me to be honest with myself about what was missing before.

I mean, I never worked crazy hours after my first year as a lawyer — yet neither of the big corporate firms I worked at ever said a word about my hours. I performed well, and that was worth a lot to them, so in large part they didn’t care the way they might have with someone else. What they did focus on was my attitude—I refused to work on certain cases, I was sullen a lot of the time, they were uneasy that they couldn’t read me or tell if I enjoyed the job at all. In short, what was missing from me was being open, authentic, appreciative, and connected.

Jimmy said what if that’s the only thing you’ve got to change? What if that’s what “invested” really means, in your case? Not more hours, not extensive brown-nosing, but simply creating authentic connection, as you have been doing? Is that something you can do to get the result you want?

The answer of course is yes.

Today I went into the city, for the settlement hearing before the judge for the first settlement I worked on at the firm (which was $28 million). At the hearing, the judge awarded us 30% of the settlement amount as our fee. I meaningfully contributed to that result. The firm’s partners directly told me as much.

I tried to experience myself as a partner while sitting at the counsel’s table at Court. There were only men in the room — and me, and the court reporter, and the judge. I reminded myself that I had every right to be there; I was part of the team that made this happen, which is our most sizable fee of the year. Still, I had moments of feeling like an impostor. I couldn’t find my business cards. I felt like I desperately needed a hair cut. My boss and a partner from Boca who came to town for the hearing talked with defense counsel in the hallway, all men, while I stood on the side not knowing what to do.

I haven’t chosen “partner” yet. I need to. I go to Boca next week, and that’s my declaration. It’s time to choose this stretch, to be Jenna, at least in terms of her level of commitment. Doubting myself is exhausting, and at this with regard to this, I’m ready to leave it behind.

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Thank You – Final Blog

Participating in PSPLife Cycle 11 was a really supportive experience for me. I can look back and see a number of commitments that I made, actions that I took, and challenges that I faced, all with your support and guidance, and feel excited about the progress that I’ve made in different areas of my life. Creating such a deep and caring connection with my buddy alone would have been worth it.

I’m grateful to have gotten to know many of you better, and to have been able to offer support and guidance to you with different situations that you encountered. You have all taught me about self love, about being compassionate and loving with others, the gifts that come from giving, the endless benefits of pushing through fear, the power of communication, and the importance of being my word.

Some days it’s hard for me to notice anything besides what still needs to be done… but today I feel really good about how far I’ve come. When I have goals like the ones we all do (vision and purpose driven goals) there will always be more to do, but the feeling that  comes with letting myself feel pride in what I’ve accomplished is incredible. And I’ve accomplished a lot lately.

 

This was a really great experience. I’m thankful for you all.

Love you guys 🙂

 

Is it that time..

I was looking at the WordPress Stats and this is my 42nd Post.  I was fortunate to  join PSPLife  when 2016 was young and have continued on since then.   I believe that I have become much more comfortable with writing blog posts.

On a Sunday evening in August the Planning Committee had a conference call to plan  Cycle 11.  It was a beautiful evening and I recall being outside on the call speaking with

I made progress with my Time Management Goal.  I got into the habit of Listing everything out and planning in advance.  I have become more conscious of this and continue to improve on a system that works for me.  I am also doing better at noting how long it takes me to do certain things so that I can plan better.  I am also documenting my steps as well so that I can better delegate tasks to others.  I have some risk aversion for things that require me to reach out for support.  I am doing better at  getting past my pride of being afraid to fail particularly in reaching out for support and/or relying on others.  I am improving in this area and realizing that doing / risking is much more beneficial than not doing anything.  What I didn’t do enough of this cycle is take advantage of the accountability components that are available in this group.  For example, my buddy had offered me support and I really didn’t take advantage of her accountability till the end of the cycle.  For example she encouraged me to email, text my planned day the night before.  BRANDYMARIE1 would check in with me and ask questions including: If I had planned in advance?  What I am trying to achieve on a particular day or week?  This is where I get to improve.  I believe that accountability is available in this group for anyone who asks for it.  I get to embrace accountability on all levels even when it sometimes feel uncomfortable.

My biggest obstacle is myself.   I sometimes don’t  get out of my own way  and spend too much time on things that take away from me focusing on my strengths.  This is all the reason that I get to continue to create systems and delegate things so I can focus on what I do the best.

In my PSP for this Cycle I included the following:

My vision for the world: Connect and bring people together from different places, cultures, and values to foster better understanding with the goal of instilling love and peace.  I truly enjoy communicating and connecting with people. 

During this cycle I had at least three reminders that its essential for me to do what this vision says.

In late October, I had a surprise meeting with an old colleague/mentor who I used to work with, we will call him Mr. Kata.  He is one of the product managers for a product that I helped develop in North America.  We used to travel a lot together and would speak almost every day.   I really respect him a lot but unfortunately I had not connected with him for some time.  He was  traveling in the United States and came to New York.  I got a sudden call from one of my old colleagues in New York  and she asked if I would  be up for meeting everyone for a drink as Mr. Kata has not stopped talking about me for the entire trip.  I was lucky to be free and was able to meet them.  It was so nice to see Mr. Kata and was super flattered that he made time for me.

In November I spent a week at a tradeshow and traveling the area with a Japan based vendor in which we have a strong working relationship developed through years of building trust, rapport, and connection. This has kept us together despite me not having as much technical understanding of his products compared to other distributors in North America.   I know that he and his company like me but I know that he is expecting more.  Another incentive to manage my time more effectively though delegating so I can do more to grow his business.

Recently, a friend who runs a company that caters to the battery and electronic materials industries  reached out to me for support.  Like myself he works with a bunch of overseas companies.  He is working with a new Japan based vendor and did not feel comfortable as the vendor did not speak a lot of English and my friend does not speak Japanese.  My presence was helpful as this initial meeting helped my friend establish better credibility with this new vendor.  I am flattered that my friend is comfortable with me to reach out like this.

Some of you may recall that I was a best man in a wedding for an old colleague / friend who is originally from China. The wedding was held in Wuxi China.  As a result I ended up giving a speech to 500+ people.  I had prepared to do so with little guidance.  I don’t think that my friend knew what was planned.  I ended up changing my speech at the last minute to match the setting and context.  Anyway in October my friend sent me a link and said that I was the greatest “Best Man” one can have. I am in the video in a few places but my speech is at around 1:50.  The sad part is I almost didn’t attend because I had stories that I did not have enough time to go.   I definitely shifted and thought abundantly and it turned out to be a very memorable trip.

 

I get to remember that there are 1440 minutes in a day and I get to use them wisely.

My second goal is to become more flexible as in stretching more.  I committed to even going to Yoga once per week.  Although I continued to follow my exercise regimen via attending gym classes, I did not attend any yoga classes.  I usually stretched more after every class I took and became aware of what I need to work on.  My range of motion has improved and I feel that I have been loosening up more quickly than before.  I believe Yoga will be helpful and aim to take advantage of classes. For example some of the gyms I attend offer Yoga as an option.  I avoided accountability on this a too  as  RIANNA BUTTERFLY  who is in my small group offered me options to go with her.  even invited me to attend a class with her if I visited.

Thank you everyone for a great cycle!  Looking forward to tomorrow’s meeting to celebrate everyone.

 

 

 

So muchmore

Near the end but I have so much more…

As for my second goal financial education I complete both books and 90% of the workbooks I declared. I interviewed 3 financial planners and am set to pick one to get on track to create my financial vision so I am happy with this goal. As for my consultations I had one and another scheduled first week of Jan but more importantly I am not alone.

Being open and vulenarble I have stretched  and taken on for sure. I have been uncomfortable but I know that there is so much more.  I shared my life map as declared and finsihed my tantra course. I have improved communication although far from perfection.

From my life map, I acknowledge what I have accomplished in life thus far especially given some life trajectory shifts and acknowledge what the challenges and what the sources of learning for me were and ways of being that served me but no longer do. I don’t feel the need for people to understand my life map now or get me. As the cliche goes the past does not define me but the major accomplishment is me not being ashamed of it.

After looking at patterns from my life map I see that I have accomplished many things. I created my own life free from abuse and unsafe living turned that around to being Daddy’s little girl spoiled and raised like princess.

I created my own way of life to support myself and pay for college and pay for car payment after my Dad lost his job while I was in highschool and we had a forclosure on our house.

I created a new life in New York for myself as a trial attorney. Moving to the city with only no friends in new york and only a friend in Baltimore. I created a new profession for myself and started my own business.

I created a new way of being and growth to see what was working and does not serve me now and have started on this quest for personal growth and development.

Do I see any patterns? I can create from shit. I just make it happen. I make a choice and there is no turning back.

Does anything surprise me?  Yes, how I recreated over and over again. Also, how I was able to share and come out on the otherside still feeling loved.  Also, is it possible I have avoided certain things such as getting married for fear of repeating what happened to my Mom? Tough questions I get to look at.

Next I get to discover more of me and how I  want to feel and be. Knowing that I can create from shit imagine what I can create from good. I love you all. The discoveries I have made this cycle go beyond the doing and checking things off. I have mades some self discoveries, I have been vulenrable and I have made some mistakes.

The title of my life map “Surrender, chase, love”

I am grateful for all of you in this journey.

 

 

 

 

lifetimes

Towards the end of the cycle (the last two weeks or so) my level of activity dropped, as I left the country for a few days, then proceeded to return only to be handed the start of two new assignments for which we were given a week to complete. From here on it is crunch time as I have to work on completing those two and study for finals. Regardless I still feel I took a lot away from this cycle. My buddy told me once to focus on what I have accomplished, so I don’t fall into the traps of beat-down mode, and that has helped me considerably. For example, I don’t know how close I got to pescatarian (I still eat chicken at least 2-3x a week but no red meat) but I did start eating a lot healthier, and my husband has helped with that immensely by trying out new recipes that have lots of veggies.

At one point I was exercising a good amount during the week and feeling as if I were standing straighter when I walked around (due to exercising the core of my body), and although this feeling has diminished due to lack of exercise, the recent memory of it drives me to pick up this goal and continue it.  Two doctor visits were made, I did go to the allergist which in turn improved my quality of life as he was able to figure out what I was allergic to, and the other day I finally went to the endodontist and had a root canal done, which is never fun, but I knew I needed this months ago and kept pushing it aside. Also with the exception of one drawer, I managed to clean out two drawers and an entire closet to my heart’s content and I marvel at the ability to open them and just grab what I need easily. It is always about these little things.

Although I was not able to participate in the get-togethers organized by members of this cycle due to priorities with school,  I was able to meet my small team briefly for lunch a few weeks ago and had a lovely time with all three of them (we forgot to take a picture to share!). I also treasured my calls with my buddy as she is someone I admire very much for her kindness and intelligence. I got to know her a lot better and learned a lot from her and I hoped I was also able to support her as well.

One thing I did do which I had not done in a few years was randomly sketch a dress I had pictured in a dream. Sketching is something I did well as a child, and something I stopped doing in high school almost completely. The part of me that enjoys the arts and wants to DO an art, is the only part right now that remains partially unfulfilled, and I get to look into that, and the stories behind that (“you won’t be good”, “you don’t have the time and its not important right now”, “you are not an artist or a writer” etc) because they are all bullshit. If you really want to do anything, you will be patient, and you will find a way to do it. If your soul is calling for something, you must provide a meaningful answer, otherwise you will be faced with this calling in another lifetime.

I feel sometimes that I have lived many lifetimes, and I need a few more to reach the enlightenment I am seeking or maybe because so much has happened already during the last 32 years, all those years feel like mini-lifetimes. Who knows? All these beliefs are faith-based. What I do know is this: when you are very present to the moment, you feel as if forever IS occurring in a matter of seconds. My meditation goal throughout this cycle has allowed me to help me revisit this feeling, as I write in my keyboard, as I stretch prior to exercising, as I do the dishes, as I go to sleep next to the man I love, I flood every second with feelings of importance.  I really don’t know how to end this post except by saying thank you to everyone who participated as I do love being a part of this community.

Off to bed early because exhaustion is kicking in. Yet I cherish this moment of exhaustion 😉

HV

Cycle wrap up

When I was nineteen, I was working at Hooters in Hawaii, located in Honolulu Harbor. I wore a name tag that said “Kyla.” A young marine was at one of my tables with two of his friends. He had striking blue eyes and far too many tattoos. When I went to take their drink order, he pointed to my name tag.

“Is that your real name?” He asked, “Because I hate that name.”

“And why’s that?” I asked.

“Because I’ve got it tattooed on my arm, in big old English letters. I was engaged to a girl named Kyla back home, and she dumped me while I was in boot camp.”

“I don’t believe you,” I told him.

“I’ll show you,” he said. “I tried to cover it up with another tattoo, but it didn’t work; you can still see it.”

He rolled up his sleeve and showed me the tattoo. It indeed said “KYLA,” in big old English letters. He had covered it up with a tattoo of a large Maltese cross, but the letters were still clearly discernible underneath.

“You see what I mean?” He said with a smile. “I absolutely hate that name.”

That was the first conversation my ex-husband and I ever had.

The last one, seven years later, was quite different. But it was also in a restaurant. Chef Ho’s, on 82nd and Second Avenue. He sat across from me, his eyes bloodshot because he hadn’t slept in days. I was leaving him. He had pleaded for us to have dinner together, to talk. We were seated at a table conspicuously located in the middle of the dining room. He asked me if there was any chance we could reconcile. Without missing a beat, I said no. Because he looked so broken, I tried to summon some compassion, some feeling I had left for him, but there was none. My blood had gone cold. He looked as if he was going to break down, then and there in front of everyone, in the middle of that well-lit room. He didn’t, though. His eyes welled up but he held it in.

Later we walked out into the street and he offered to walk me home.

“I’m sorry Rob,” I said. “I don’t want you to know where I live.”

I’ve never seen someone get shot in the gut before, but I imagine his face that night, as I said those words, is what they’d look like.

Maybe this moment should’ve felt like a victory to me. I finally had caused him to feel the same immense pain he had inflicted on me for years, or at least something like it. It didn’t, though; it felt how transitions feel. Bleak, unsafe, unnerving. I just wanted to fast forward, to some time years in the future, but of course I couldn’t.

Now, though, I can. Fast forward, to a totally different life. This one, in which I am a wife again, and a mother too, to Jayden and Brodie.

I told that story to my boss and Jed Wednesday evening. I don’t remember how it came up; I think we were telling stories about where we’d lived before. I can’t talk about Hawaii without talking about Rob. I told the story with feeling, but not attachment. It’s a part of me, but it doesn’t define me anymore. What a wonderful place to get to.

You’d think I wouldn’t volunteer something like that to my boss (and yes I left the Hooters detail out), but working with my therapist, I’ve come to understand that I’m far more forthcoming and trusting than I give myself credit for. And my risk paid off; both my boss and Jed kept referencing the conversation. Not the content, or because it was out of place, but because of how good it had made them feel: like we were connecting, authentically.

I created that. That’s how powerful I am.

When I posed the question yesterday about observer/participant/source, I reflected on it for myself. In this group, I have perceived myself as all three at different times, and this cycle more than most I’ve been very aware of when I was the source of connection — or disconnection.

In some ways, it’s the wrong question. It makes you think you have an option. “I can choose to show up as just an observer.” “I can choose to just participate.”

No. That’s false. The truth is, we are always source. It’s just a matter of whether we acknowledge it to ourselves and act accordingly. The real question is: what are you sourcing?

I wasn’t feeling good all week. I was worried about my upcoming performance review at work, worried again about money, worried that Brodie is sick, and feeling disconnected from Jimmy. Jimmy and I used to do so many things together. We ran a Meet-up group together, we’d go to the gym together, we’d go grocery shopping together, we’d do workshops together. Now with the boys, that’s not possible. We do most things and events separately, and only a few together. I realized I missed the way things used to be.

But I only realized that after sloughing through the mountain of worry and stress piled on top of it, that had caused me to be distant from him all week, in the little time we did have with each other. I felt myself begin to blame him. This is his doing; he’s getting too preoccupied with the new center, too wrapped up with the boys, and he’s neglecting our relationship.

Once I dug down and saw how I was truly feeling, through, I did something I maybe have never done when I’ve begun to feel strain in our relationship. I talked to him about it and got vulnerable.

It didn’t go well—at first. It turned out he was in a state of overwhelm too. The boys had been having regular meltdowns, as they’re going through a lot of changes right now, and every single one was causing him to question himself as a parent. He said he was having trouble being present to what I was feeling, as he had struggles of his own.

Typically, a comment like that would’ve caused me to shut down and shift out of vulnerability. He’s not receptive, he doesn’t care about me, he’s only worried about himself. But, I didn’t. I asked him to tell me about what he was going through. He did, stubbornly and grudgingly at first, but as he kept talking he began to let go and open up.

I listened and offered support. I then told him what felt most vulnerable to me: that I missed how our relationship used to be, back when we could do more together.

It was vulnerable for me because “that’s not who I am.” I’m not some clingy wife. I’m independent, self-assured, etc.

This is one of the ways in which I invalidate myself. I was also worried about his response, that he would be annoyed, or view me that way.

Of course he wasn’t, and didn’t. He said he missed that too. After that, the nature of the conversation changed. The tension was gone. We kept talking, now about other things—the center, things that happened that week, we made each other laugh.

The interesting thing for me is that the issue I raised doesn’t have a solution. We really can’t go back to how things were. It’s a new world order, and we simply can’t do as many things together. But, expressing those feelings to him in an open and vulnerable way shifted my experience of them. It also created what was missing: connection.

One thing Jimmy pointed out was the ways in which I was the one creating disconnection. I’d come home from work and my head was somewhere else. I’d neglect to kiss him hello or goodbye. As I reviewed my behavior over the prior week, I saw that he was right.

That’s the rub; we are always source, and we are always sourcing something.

That was what was so aggravating about ALP4’s legacy project. Those of us who pulled the project together were irritated at team members who jumped in at the last second, coming along for the ride, and literally “free-riding” on the efforts of others. Talking to them, they were almost insistent they had caused no harm to the effort, confused by our frustration. They were merely observers, then last-minute participants.

No.

They were source, because we are always source, and what they sourced was a drain on the project (it is what it is).

As some I confided in commented after I vented my frustrations: “Maybe the project would’ve been better if those people hadn’t been involved at all.”

Part of me does feel that way.

I also know, though, that truly adopting source means 100% responsibility. What was missing me from me that caused them to show up that way?

What’s maddening about that question is that while it is the right question to create an inner shift to being source, it may not yield the right result. You may have stepped into source fully but you still can’t pull in the people on the fringes—because of how powerful they are (and if only they’d use that power for something other than disconnecting, observing, criticizing, free-riding, etc.).

So it’s the end of the cycle, and what does any of this have to do with anything? I think these are the main areas I ultimately focused on this cycle, while my goals buzzed in the background. Sometimes the cycle doesn’t end up being about your goals. I made significant progress in therapy and connecting to my feelings. I have made progress with connection to others too, though only to a state of heightened awareness—in other words, I am much more aware of when I create connection and when I create the opposite. Action and change are what’s next.

As to being source, I’m focused on that too. I am eager for the Mastery course. Tammy’s death still weighs on me. I try to stay away from “why,” it’s a useless question, but I do remind myself of the need for urgency. I don’t know how long I have left, but I know it’s less than yesterday, and I didn’t come here to just “get through” the days, or be in stagnation, or be content. And I’m not going to wait or put it off or say I’ll start with the new year. I am grateful to have taken the trainings, to be a part of this group, and to have opportunities to continue my self-development. I thank all of you for committing yourselves to the journey and for all that each of you have contributed this cycle. Getting to continue this work in a community of people fighting the same fight is a real privilege, and I am so appreciative of it.

What Day is It?

I’m late writing my blog.

All I really have to say this week is a list of things that happened. So here it is…

  1. It turns out that I CAN cook after all. And it’s edible food. I invited some friends over for Thanksgiving and only one person could come. I realized while we were eating that if he hadn’t been coming over I wouldn’t have made myself food, or cooked at all. I would have spend the day alone and worked all evening through Thanksgiving. Just noticing how I don’t do things for me.
  2. I got the apartment! I was very present all week to my feelings, my thoughts, the fears that came up, my tendency to obsess about things, and my expectation of things to not work out or for something to go wrong (even after I was told that I got the apartment). I’m really grateful. I know that I deserve this apartment. I worked really hard to make it happen and I’m very proud.
  3. I got serious about my music on Friday when I shared a song at an artist’s group and got great feedback. I called a bunch of people and asked them what to do next, and I finally worked up the courage to let people know that I’m a musician by creating social media accounts and buying a website domain! These are huge for me! I realized on Monday that I was never willing to do these things because I had a belief that I’m not a “real” musician. Didn’t see that one coming. So now I get to take steps to create evidence that I am 🙂
  4. I met with my financial advisors to get clear about how much money I have to get basic things for my new place, and it turns out that I have a budget of $0 because my new rent is a significant jump from what I have been paying. At first, I was bummed because I’ve been working really hard and I was looking forward to having my own things. But then I got excited about the idea of asking for what I need, and being open to receiving. Which is kind of cool because plenty of people have things around the house that they don’t need, that they would be happy to give to someone who could make use of it. So… I’m going to have a really eclectic home and it’s going to be awesome, and it’s going to be MINE.

 

I’m picking up the keys to my apartment tomorrow! Woohoo!