March 1 – GGID Journal

Dear me,

A new month – let’s keep talking shall we?

Here’s what we have so far:

My heart and mind are open.

I am honest and direct.

To that I will now add: I am a loyal and supportive friend.

I Know I’ve explored some of my insecurities when it comes to making and keeping friends and my history of what *I* think were the barriers I put up to it. But this I do know for sure:

Once I have embedded you into my heart AS a true friend, you will find NO ONE who is more supportive or loyal. I jokingly called my first Fantasy Football team “Cheerleaders – NOT!” Hey, it was the 90’s and adding NOT! to things was, well.. a thing! It was our way of saying “look, we are a team of girls, so we must be cheerleaders, right? NOT!” because we were actually quite good at managing a fantasy team since I did know a thing or two about football.

But, I digress.

That irony aside, I really am a most excellent cheerleader. And since we’ve already established my honesty it can be also be ascertained that my cheerleading is 100% sincere.

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE to see my friends and family reach their goals. My goodness how I loved cheering loudly for my boys in whatever they did. That first moment of pure elation that I had, when I knew I could do this supportive thing and thrive on it was when I first let go of the two wheel bike as my oldest son rode away during a practice session. Seeing him take off…it felt like *I* had grown wings and was flying alongside him. Similarly when he scored his first goal in soccer, or when I saw him sing during a church performance. Man….CHILLS! And sure, that’s my kid (my goodness how I had even more of those moments with my mini-me athlete youngest son!)….but I honestly feel that same thrill and warming of my heart when my friends soar too.

Sure, I race, but I swear I have more fun watching them race than I do running in them. Yeah, it was awesome to run my first half and do it in a time way faster than I thought I could, but it was MORE fun for me to run it again with someone else and keep HER moving to the finish line no matter how fast or slow we went. Being supportive is WAY MORE fun to me than doing my own thing.

That’s not to say that I don’t have my own goals and wont try to reach them…but  if there is any way I can contribute to someone else getting to theirs? Well, I am there! I’ll buy your book, go to your spa party, promote your website, tell my friends about your yogurt shop – whatever you need.

I was in tears watching my friend cross the finish line last year at the Boston Marathon – and I was watching at work through a live internet feed! Geebus I’m getting chills now reliving that memory!

My wish for everyone is to find their path, their purpose and live it to its fullest. Find joy, love and connection with others.  If you need help, advice, or just someone to listen as you work out how to get there – I am here. And no matter what kind of day I might be having, if you tell me something amazing happened to YOU that day…then I will count that day as an amazing one for me too.

So I might have to work through a few of my own awkward insecurities to get to the point of counting someone as a friend (though those are less and less moving forward)…but once we have that connection? Well, I am confident that you’ve hit the jackpot!

It’s one of those rare compliments that I can look in the mirror and give to myself without resistance.

“Thank you for being my friend.”

GGID Day 28

Dear me,

SO randomly the Oprah line “What I know for sure” just popped into my head. I guess because this is the end of another month of GGID and it feels like I should be reflecting on what I learned – on What I know for sure after experiencing this month.

As I stated in the group, I certainly know for sure that I need to drink from the faucet, not the fire hose! A combination of burning the wick at both ends (being crazy intense Girl on Fire) in the months of December and January and THEN the beginning of Month of Discovery as I plowed through 4 “self help” style books in 5 weeks AND also this whole daily journal writing diving deeper into clearing out the dust bunnies in my head and heart caused me to crash HARD. The 10 days on the sofa between the flu & the colonoscopy were a real wake up call. I am quite sure it was my inner voice that I was attempting to contact telling me to “SLOW THE FUCK DOWN ALREADY LADY!”

And so, I did.

Shifting to a month of FOCUS + ABUNDANCE with a smaller slice of DISCOVERY thrown in towards the end.

I’m not done with that for sure. I will continue listening to the voices in my head and identifying the parts that describe the Authentic ME.

What I learned and now know for sure, is that I really do enjoy this journal writing process right now. It absolutely helps me to capture and flesh out the thoughts that go through my head.

Heh – like the song that has always lived in me from the moment I heard Alanis first sing it “These are the thoughts, that go through my head, in my backyard on a Sunday afternoon.”

I am nothing if not an Only Child who utterly adores pondering her own existence and narrating her own story in her head! Self aware to the bone. Self centered and selfish too? Oh sure, though softened over time since I’ve spent my entire adult life with a child or two and a husband (or two!) living with me.

Heh – yeah, I did at one point in my life have BOTH husbands in the same house with me for a short period. Oh yeah, and then AFTER my second marriage dissolved, but also after I had started dating Marcus, ex #1 lived in my house again for a few weeks! Aack! Fun times! Not quite Leave it to Beaver-esque ;)

Anyhoo…..I made the video. Nick filmed it for me. I posted the first take even though it wasn’t it perfect focus. I didn’t care, I liked the spirit of it. I was happy with how my personality came across (and happy that you couldn’t see the pit stains forming due to extreme nervousness!) Honestly, it was fun to be vulnerable like that not just for the GGID gals, but also in front of my son. We need moments like that. Next to my own mom and possibly Marcus, he is my biggest cheerleader and I need to let him do that and accept his help and support.

Tomorrow I need to ponder on pillars for March. They will not be big this time – I learned! But they will keep me moving forward towards the bright possibilities I see out there, they will keep me writing and they will keep me filled with abundance in all it’s forms. They will keep me focused on being gentle with myself as I continue to make new discoveries and dig up issues that might require forgiveness. Because as I continue to be gentle, kind and loving with myself, I am increasingly gentle, kind, and loving with everyone I meet.

My heart and mind are open, I speak with loving words. I am honest and direct in all that I do. I am surrounded by love and abundance – I am safe.

GGID Day 27

Dear me,

When I sat down to meditate this morning, my intention was to delve into a new aspect of the authentic me, but it seems my inner voice had different plans. Apparently, there is a need to clarify “honest to a fault” and “acting with integrity in all that I do”. Those are true, but there is another piece to that puzzle which I think explains further the reasons why my honesty is often not taken well, even when it is a positive observation.

I am direct. Unfailingly direct. In all forms of communication, I will always take the shortest line from A to B. I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. ALWAYS. And *that* is often hard for some folks to understand.

I get this, as I said last night, from my parents. We are a no BS family. Here’s an example of how we communicate and how it baffles many others (which I do understand!)

When my mom approached me with their financial needs, she tried to be cagey and approach the topic in a roundabout way, but after a bit she grew tired and basically said “So, if I told you we need financial help, what would you say?” After initially saying no, but that I would assemble the family team to think about a solution, I sent her an email the next day asking her straight out “How much do you need each month? Don’t soften it, just name the number you truly need.” I said that not that I thought she WOULD soften it – like I said, I get my directness from her, but more because I knew the follow up questions I would get from Marcus :) She responded straight out “$500/mo”.

Sure enough, when I told Marcus his reaction was “but what did she mean? Is that everything? Do you think she cushioned it? Do you think that’s enough? Is that after they have cut all expenses they can?”

I swear there were more, but I’ve already forgotten, but I do know my response each times was “$500/mo. She needs $500/mo. The answer is $500/mo.” It was actually kind of funny, but I get it. His family is NOT direct. I know it sounds bad to say this, but they are game players. They keep things close to the vest, dance around topics, have ulterior motives a lot of the time, and just generally RARELY say exactly what they mean. And? I have found that THEY are more in the majority than my family is. So I’ve had to learn. As I did n how I framed the question to my mom so that I could finally convince Marcus that the answer was right in front of him in black and white.

So I do recognize that my *delivery* of information may be hard to absorb at first and I have worked towards softening it in certain situations. Know your audience as they say. It comes in handy though. My simple, linear way of thinking means that I am often the one who puts meetings back on track when someone whose brain works in a circular motion goes off on a tangent. I am also the person who will repeat back my understanding of what was said to make sure I *did* get it right, and to simplify it so everyone else can grasp it too. I cut through the bull shit :) Even among my similarly minded accounting staff I am still the most direct. When I write up a procedure manual, I do screen shots for every single step. My staff almost always skips small steps and when I ask they say “Oh, well I figured that’s implied.” Nope, gotta write those things up as if you are teaching someone just starting out!

Is that annoying? I am sure it is, but it is not something I am going to stop doing because it has served me so well in all aspects of life. It’s truly the way to reduce drama!

Anyhow, for whatever reason my inner voice wanted that specific clarification today.

My heart and mind are open. I am honest and direct in all that I do.

Oh yes, and abundance flows freely through me – received an email from a prospective bookkeeping client today! Hopefully I will talk with him this weekend. That would sure bring us closer to that $500/mo :)

GGID Day 26

Dear me,

GREAT day at work – awesome communication successes, particularly with a previously difficult employee who is no longer difficult at all – which is as much about me as it as about her :)

And…tonight I swallowed my internal fear and put on my tap shoes and did my routine for Marcus :)

So in my meditation this morning I did a little deep dive into asking the universe what ELSE is part of the authentic me besides being open minded. The first thing that popped into my mind was “honest to a fault”.

I know I phrased it that way because I was thinking about the dual sides to that. So, I’m not just honest to a fault, but I also am not at ALL afraid to say what is on my mind, either good or bad. This has resulted in many awkward/uncomfortable moments throughout my life. People are not quite sure what to do with my very open nature. I often warn folks “don’t ask me a difficult question, because I will answer you.” or “Don’t ask if you don’t really WANT an answer.” I’ve just never properly learned the social graces that most people learn that direct one towards either “little white lies”, deft avoidance, or just the act of being silent.

As such, I know I have told people what I think, good & bad, quite often and that both examples cause cringe inducing moments. Of course, I *get* why me telling you negative things about you or your family (yes…embarrassingly, I’ve done that!) is offensive or unwanted. In fact, on that topic, I have been working quite hard on that SILENCE skill. I’m pretty sure the last time I said something that I view as kind of awful to someone was about 18 months ago so I think the new habit is forming nicely.What gets me though, is when folks seem a bit flustered or taken aback when I compliment them. A genuine thank you or a moment to tell someone how much I admire a skill set they have seems to be SO ODD to them!

I think that is sad! And no, I am not stopping myself from speaking my mind when it is GOOD. Now, I promise that I am not gushing at someone. I’m not acting like a goofy fan girl.

Here’s an example from yesterday: “Hey, listened to that webinar you did on the new budget tool – GREAT piece of info on how to handle dependent scholarships – I’ve always wondered what you guys did and it’s great to be able to understand what we can do to help! Thanks for sharing that!”

Is that so weird?

Another time I told a friend how much I admire how well she juggled the many personalities and perspectives of multiple parents at a planning meeting.

Those are the kinds of things I say. Now, in both those instances the recipients were quite gracious. But sometimes I can tell people are not quite sure what to do with someone so genuinely telling them why they LIKE them! It’s so funny.

At a deeper level I do know that I cannot/will not play games. I say what I mean and mean what I say. There are no hidden meanings. I don’t play coy. I don’t subtweet :) I don’t vaguebook :) So I know that I cannot adopt the Little White Lie skill which is why I aimed for just keeping my mouth shut in situations when I am not exactly thrilled with people and there is no good reason for them to be made aware of it.

My oldest son’s dad used to try to get me to lie, or to cover for his lies and I just could NOT do it. It caused me so much anguish because he would pressure me so much and I would truly TRY, but I just couldn’t keep track of who was supposed to know what and which lie was I covering for and…GAH! My brain cannot do it. My parents are direct and honest and I know no other way to be. It’s actually quite easy and frankly, as I told Marcus one day as we talked about this “Hey, I’m LAZY! It’s just EASIER to tell the truth, then I don’t need to keep track of more than I need to!”

SO, the fact that the affirmation on my birthday was “I act with honor and integrity in all that I do” was absolutely spot on.

It’s a part of my authentic self for sure: I have an open heart and mind and I act with honor and integrity in all that I do.

GGID Day 25

Dear me,

Wahoo!!! The tap shoes are here!!!! So much fun. Also – so LOUD! Oh boy it will take some more adjusting and practicing to master the sounds in the steps.

OK, on to deeper topics….

I think I am going to have to spend some time meditating or just quietly writing perhaps this weekend on the topic of authenticity. We touched on this a little at the start of the book Writing Your Soul. The author suggested writing down some basic statements that are just TRUE for me. She listed 5 for herself, but admitted that it took her many sessions of sitting and writing & digging and questioning to settle on the list she had. I got into it a bit when I wrote about the insecurities I have in fitting in or making/keeping friends. I know that I have, in the past, let my own authentic self slide to the background just to be liked/accepted. It is a tendency that I do NOT like at all.

When I think back, I know that one of things that always makes me the angriest is when I am accused of being a) wishy washy b) a plagiarist c) being too easily influenced by others (not having independent thoughts/opinions of my own).

c) is what I was hit with yesterday and oh how it hurt & insulted me! Ugh!

The common thread in all of those is that people are telling metI am not consistently being my authentic self. And since it does bug me so much, then I have to be honest about assessing why it means so much to me to have that questioned. Is it because it is true, or is it because I cannot truly tell you who my authentic self is?

I will say that on the topic of being influenced, I think there is such a fine line there. I see absolutely nothing wrong with being inspired/influenced by other people – especially when it serves to open my mind to a completely different way of viewing life that I hadn’t considered. It doesn’t mean my own OPINION will change every time – it just means I have a deeper understanding of the topic. I may keep my existing beliefs, or I may indeed change my mind on something.

I will say that I have much more respect for people who DO change their stance on topics when exposed to new ideas vs the person who is resolute and refuses to change no matter how circumstances may shift.

Yesterday I was butting up against people in the latter group who pretty much chastised me to stay silent on a topic that THEY believed was not important and because they thought my opinion wasn’t authentic.  It was the classic “shut up if you aren’t agreeing with us” method of debating ;)

Anyhow – a weeknight isn’t the time to dig too deeply into who I am. But I will definitely state that I have always, and will always, LOVE to be exposed to new ideas and opinions. I find people who are identical to me to be boring. Sure, it’s nice to be with folks who largely share your world view. But even with THOSE groups, there are nuances. After all, we each have a unique set of life experiences that shaped our opinions so while we might both have come to the same conclusion, we took different paths and I LOVE learning about the different processes.

So the very first part of one my most used affirmations is actually a statement of my authentic self:

“My mind and heart are open – I speak with loving words.”

(I know, I know, that second part is something I have to focus on to maintain – wasn’t so great at it over the years…getting much better!)

GGID Day 24

Dear me – wowie what a day huh?

Super focused on some very cool stuff at work. Actually FOCUSED – didn’t let anything distract me which was hard because social media was going off and I was in the thick of some of it. It’s not often that I engage on things on Twitter, but some folks I truly respect & admire (and have met in real life many times) were hip deep and it was pretty fascinating and I have OPINIONS :)

But – I stayed the course, listened 100% to a very valuable webinar, took tons of notes and waited until lunch to wade in, and even then I thought I waded in very gently. But, I felt I needed to at least write out my thoughts in longer format than 140 characters so I dusted off politics and culture blog and spit out the opinions I have. And, they are MINE. All MINE. Was I *influenced* by twitter? Well yes, but that was ages ago when I was exposed to different people and different mindsets. Once I saw things from their perspective, I couldn’t UN-see it. Several other time when the topic has come up, I’ve drafted posts about it, but never finished. This time, I pulled in some of those old write ups and threw something up on my site referencing the current example.

And what did I get for that? Frankly I expected nothing. I only have a few hundred real twitter followers. That blog, as I said, had to be dusted off so has like, NO regular following. I didn’t title it, or tag it in a way that would make it link bait of any kind. A handful of close friends would read it and move on. It was simply a brain dump so that *I* could move on from the topic. Turned out, a couple of twitter friends took issue with what I wrote and proceeded to let me know. Now, debate I can handle – I think it is fun and I always learn from it. That outside perspective right? But this wasn’t debate – this turned personal and fast. They used lots of “you” statements and inferred so much into my words! They put words in my mouth, and then the flat out insulted my intelligence accusing me of ONLY writing that post BECAUSE of what others were saying on twitter. As if I don’t have a mind and opinions of my own. Nice. Respectful debate? Pshaw! I never resorted to that. Just responded with some shock and told them flat out they were insulting me and they just basically said “Well, if you feel that way, that’s your issue”. Nice victim blaming there :) When I saw how callously they reacted to me telling them flat out that they were hurting me, I was done.

Luckily, while I had been “friends” with them for a few years, I don’t know them, hell they don’t even use their real names and pictures on the site. So I just moved them off my timeline and will be done with it after this last brain dump of the little bit of shock & hurt I felt from their accusations.

What was pretty awesome about it all though is that I managed to juggle that AND respond to folks at work with continued thoughtfulness and good humor. I didn’t let the little tussle I was having impact my interactions with the real life folks around me. When Marcus came over for our run, we still had a great time and talked about EVERYTHING under the sun EXCEPT that because I didn’t want to waste energy on that issue with him.

That’s all kind of a break through for me because in the past I would have been much more impacted by the argument. I would have absorbed the barbs thrown my way and internalized them and analyzed the conversation with other people to get validation for my feelings and even question whether they were right about me or not. Meanwhile anyone else who tried to talk to me would have been greeted with a truly cranky & impatient person!

PROGRESS!

My heart and mind are open and I speak with loving words. Even when under the microscope of judgment :)

GGID Day 23

Dear me,

I’ll just start of expressing gratitude for another step in the abundance progress – loan disclosure docs are signed AND someone contacted me about a bookkeeping referral.

Abundance flows freely through me.

Now, on to the next question from the group: “Am I accommodating, pushy, or stubborn?”

This one is interesting isn’t it? On it’s face, it didn’t particularly strike me one way or the other. I think because, in my mind, the opposite of accommodating isn’t ‘pushy’ or ‘stubborn’. I was more thinking “resistant”. I suppose that can be interpreted as stubborn – a tendency to stand your ground. I think I am looking at in a scenario such as: Person A asking me to do something for them either as a favor or perhaps even at work but something out of my normal realm of duties. Do I happily figure out a way to help or do I push back because it is asking me to go too far out of my way?

I will say that this is another one that I recognized as an area of improvement some years ago. At work I would definitely not regularly display the best customer service type attitude to co-workers :(  Let’s just blame it on my general overall cranky & impatient demeanor. I just didn’t much like people all the time! But…that was also something I’ve successfully changed. In fact, now I take great pride in providing either exact answers for people, or at least pointing them in the direction for them to find their answer. Outside of work, I think I was always more relaxed – I certainly volunteered a ton! And in my never-ending quest to make & keep friends, I probably was MORE accommodating than I should have been. I’ve just been a big old ball of confusion on this question!

Now, if *I* need something? Oh yes, I can be pushy! But I am also very mindful of WHO I ask and WHAT I ask for. But if I need something, and I know I do need help, I will find it!

I have never been a doormat and I think just about everyone who has known me over the decades would state that consistently.

So, I think the answer to that question either viewing it from an outsider or how I deal with my own needs is – yes to all three! But, I think I have developed a healthy balance now between when to be accommodating, when to be pushy and when to be stubborn because I honestly think there are proper applications of all three of those examples.

I am grateful for my voice and my confidence in how I use it.

My heart and mind are open, I speak with loving words.