April 10th – And the beat goes on

Dear me, 

Listening and focusing. Listening and focusing. Listening and focusing.

It has a nice beat doesn’t it?

Something I noticed while listening to another summit conversation and some random hayhouse shows – my inner skeptic (the voice that was second loudest in my head per the Mean Girl test – book arrived, will start reading this weekend)…is gaining strength.

A couple of times this week I’ve had this “gah!” reaction when listening to yet another spiritual coach say essentially the same thing which then leads into “but, for more, buy my book/course/kit!” or better yet “click here for the ONE COMPLETE GUIDE to YOUR inner secrets to unleashing ABUNDANCE/YOUR SOUL’S DESIRES…” 

Yes, all these things are marketed the same way. The landing pages all look the same. The pricing levels are all similarly patterened. I know the drill. I took those online marketing courses myself when I worked with Eve on the PergolaDIY site. 

Where do you draw the line at truly beneficial guidance vs snake oil salesperson? 

This is a VERY familiar pattern with me though. I get fascinated, exlplore a shit ton of stuff, buy a few books (though this is more than before) and THINK about other stuff before rejecting all of it. 

I don’t want to reject all of it though. I’ve found every book to provide me some insight or tip/trick towards retraining my mindset that has been worth it’s purchase price. 

And I haven’t bought anything from the JULIUS folks, but their whole technique to retrain the subconsious using the imagination (happy place) feels very spot on. 

I’m still pretty enamored of my house spirit fluffing it’s feathers. Thought more about that today. I think it’s an Osprey. I know it lives near the water (like I need to be), but when I pictured a Peregrine Falcon or even my lovely little Kestrel, it didn’t quite click. So then I thought maybe an eagle, but that seemed TOO big. Then the Osprey came to me and it clicked. Soaring, diving into the water, fish eater, brown and white – yup, that is what I had in mind. 

So I wont stop exploring – I’ll maybe see if the Mean Girl book provides more insight into taming this inner skeptic. OTOH, maybe I kinda like her since my primary goal is honoring my income and listening to my inner voice to do that. She’s probably keeping me from pissing away my abundance on something less than honorable 🙂

Be kind, be loving, just be.

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April 9th – Listening

Dear me,

Listening – either to others or to my own voice inside my head – is a very very finely crafted skill isn’t it? And I am not being hard on myself or too critical when I say that I have not done the best job at practicing this skillset consistently.

I recognize that in conversations I am much too quick to jump in and interrupt or not properly wait for the other person’s thought process to be completed.

My mom called me today to tell me she isn’t feeling well. Thought it was the flu, but now suspects it is something with her bladder. She went to urgent care yesterday and was given some antibiotics which she will take, but she wants the doctor she will see tomorrow on a follow up to check up on that.

Anyway, she called to tell me that she was feeling ill, she wasn’t able to manage my dad’s day and he was feeling discombobulated. She sent him on a quick errand to give him something constructive to do, but she had to expend a lot of energy to do that because he just wanted to sleep on the sofa (if she doesn’t pretty much tell him what he can do with his day, he would just nap or watch tv apparently). She thought if I called to engage him in conversation it would lift his spirits and get him a little more focused. So about an hour later I did just that. I figured I could ask him how the trip was and get him talking which would engage his mind. And that meant that I had to ask questions and then just LISTEN.

Luckily he is fairly talkative once you get him going. And I realized as I sat on the other end of the phone that I really don’t do that as often as I should. Not just with him, but honestly with anyone.

And here I was so deeply impressed with Dr Kellee and how she clearly listened when she was interviewing all her experts! That is a trait that I admire in someone else that I actually don’t attribute back to myself 😉

Funny because when I sat down to write this was not what was on my mind – at least not my conscious one eh? I had a pretty good day of listening to myself today. Right down to leaving work a bit early because I was feeling really tired. Nothing specific, just sleepy for reasons I couldn’t identify. And since I’d finished the critical items for the day (and had been in early this morning) I didn’t feel guilty at all about leaving. I took a nap, skipped my run, sorted out my necessary weekend appointments, updated my debt snowball budget and just allowed myself to take it easy watching some baseball and TV shows.

I was going to say “hey universe, I am handling the waiting portion of this latest refinance attempt pretty well don’t ya think? So, hey, how about hustling it along now? It’s been a week since my last update!”

But no – I need to LISTEN and just trust.

Be kind, be loving, just be.

April 8th – Feelin Groovy

Dear me,

After my little hiccup last week one song lyric that has been revolving through my head is “Slow down, you move to fast. Got to make the moment last.”  (I know, it’s morning…but I sing it as moment…more relevant)

I usually stop there, but then just as I sat down to write tonight, and was pondering the day, I just kept thinking that I have quite a bit of gratitude for a day when I have been feeling pretty chill. Or, groovy as it were 😉

I’m trying to not only practice a non-judgmental, loving mindset, but also to practice what I would call a calm focus.

The goal is to not have my inner voice having it’s own dialogue that is disconnected from whatever it is that I am doing. In other words – it’s being truly MINDFULLY present. It’s one thing to do that now. I am, at this moment, literally typing out the words in my head. The bigger thing is to do that when I am feeding the cats or scooping litter or washing dishes or analyzing time sheets, or posting journal entries…or or or. That’s not easy so I am treating as I would any new skillset – practice in small chunks. Tonight I did choose to try it while feeding the cats. There is a routine to it. Get the bowls, get a spoon and a cup of water. Crush Chip’s heart meds. Mix the seafood treats with his kidney friendly wet food. Mix tuna with more of the wet food for Amber’s bowl…etc etc. The whole process is maybe five minutes. It was not easy – but I did it.

The thing is, when I develop this skill more thoroughly, it was will really help my mindset all day.

Yes, it is 2015 and multi tasking seems to be the most highly valued skill ever. I think we’ve defined it incorrectly though. When I am mindfully focused, I get more things done. I feel much MORE flexible so that if an urgent email or a phone call or something comes up that needs to interrupt my current task, I don’t feel my chest constrict and my jaw clench. I used to be SO EASILY aggravated and thrown off center by an interruption! Today though? Eh! No worries. Shift to the new thing, give it full attention, make sure the question is answered completely, then move right back to where I stopped before.

It took me a while to realize how smoothly I handled some of those things today. And, today was ripe for aggravation. The system was back up so everyone had to finish up the entries that should have been done yesterday and then the pressure was on me to run reports and do a first pass review on the statements. I had to fix some things, including something that impacted Carmen’s area so I had to interact with her several times. It wasn’t until I was on my run after leaving work that I reflected on the day and figured out how calm I had been.

Just kicking down the cobblestones. Looking for fun and feeling groovy.

Be kind, be loving, just be.

April 7th – No Gossip!

Dear me,

It’s kind of cool to watch the day unfold, see something come up, realize that just a few months ago I would have reacted a certain way that had a 50/50 chance of stirring up a tense situation or at least some self doubt over said reaction, and then choose an entirely different path after careful contemplation. Or, perhaps choose the same path but do so with confidence.

Today I was presented with two conversations that could easily have devolved into a salacious gossipy overtone.Yet neither one did. In one case I did carefully choose my words to avoid pulling it down and I noticed the person I was talking to match me in that manner (she isn’t the type to gossip anyway, but there was some low hanging fruit out there if you know what I mean). In the other conversation, I just didn’t participate other than to nod and say “I know” or “yup” now and then – just let the other person talk and without me feeding into it, the subject changed really quickly. Phew!

(The main computer system was down all day so there were more than the normal opportunities to stand around and chat)

I’ve pondered this topic and while I would not name gossip as something I’ve done a ton, I also haven’t avoided it, right? In fact I *can* think of a couple of times in the last few years (with one person in particular) when I actively contributed to talking about someone in a very unkind manner passing judgment left, right. up and down her life. Just thinking about it now leaves a bad taste in my mouth!

No more of that.

Of course, I always did it merely in an attempt to get the other person in the conversation to like me.

Ah, so sad!

No more of that either!

I am grateful that the Headspace app has a series on Relationships that focuses on expanding empathy and compassion to replace tendencies towards judgment. I know it’s helped to cement these improved thought patterns.

Be kind, be loving, just be.

April 6th – Having fun!

Dear me,

So I woke up this morning and while doing my meditation I said “Today, I will slow down and really LISTEN to my inner voice.” Since I was at work, that meant tuning into what I should listen to (if anything) and whether or not I should take a lunch break to check on the piano info in person vs.calling and a few other small decisions about how the day *around* the work tasks would be.

Keeping in mind that my #1 goal is to drastically reduce judgement and my inner critic – I found it deeply amusing or…rather…totally trippy that the one hayhouse radio program I decided to tune into had on guests who just published a book called “Reform Your Inner Mean Girl” WHAT?!! (Yes, I might have purchased it!). It came with a really quick quiz to identify which type of Inner Mean Girl voice or voices are my loudest.

Here’s my top two:

Overly Optimistic, Partying Cheerleader  with a score of:  19

The Overly Optimistic, Partying Cheerleader is the one who tells you that everything will work out for you, even if you are about to dive headfirst into a self-sabotaging choice. Her job is to make you feel good and happy in the moment, consequences be damned—it’s all about instant gratification. She cajoles you into making choices you later regret.

Overly Optimistic Partying Cheerleader Instant De-Activator: Feel. Instead of trying to escape your feelings or hard truth, stop, sit down, and ask yourself, “What feeling am I trying to avoid?” Let yourself have the feeling and watch possibilities open up.

AND

Head Tripper with a score of: 18

The Head Tripper is the rational, practical skeptic, whose job it is to discount your intuition and anything that feels too “touchy-feely” or “woo-woo.” She prides herself on your ability to not cry, to be unshakable, and to keep your emotions under wraps. She makes you feel weak for having emotions, and she makes you give up on your dreams because they aren’t “realistic.”

Head Tripper Instant De-Activator: Get out of your head and tune into your body. Put your hand on your heart, close your eyes, take three deep breaths and notice how your body feels. Say out loud, “My body feels… My body is telling me …”

Well, consider that quiz nailed!! Can’t wait for the book – THAT is going to be an eye opening read!!

Then I decided that I would go visit the piano shop – it had both new and consignment sales there. I brought a copy of the original sales slip from 1978 with me (had the serial # on it) and I had taken a couple of photos on my phone. I hoped that by going in there and just naively asking what they thought it might be worth that I could bypass the whole appraisal process. It worked! The gentleman was very nice and told me what price he would set if they were to take it on consignment – $300. Oddly, that’s around the value I had been guessing at. Then he gave me the numbers for some movers.

Since I *didn’t* want to be the Overly Optimistic Partying Cheerleader, I did NOT immediately email the gal who has already expressed interest in the piano. Yes, in the past I would feel like some overly excited goober firing off a crazy sounding email making me seem psycho desperate to foist this piano on this poor woman who has shown serious interest, but also could still take it or leave it.

Instead,I put that info in my purse and decided to wait until I got home so that I could sit with it a bit.

Then since I had to tackle the mind numbing time sheet audit project, I decided to have some fun and tune into the Padres opening day baseball game on the radio. That was a blast even though they lost. I took little breaks to drop in on my favorite fan blog site and caught up with all those crazy people – some of whom I have now known online for 10 years!

Connectivity – the online version 🙂

Came home and composed a thorough, rational email about the piano, did an hour of bookkeeping and then listened to a fun podcast and watched some comedy shows on the DVR and laughed loud enough to scare the cats. Oh, and I didn’t multi task through any of that. I just sat, worked, listened, and watched, Don’t even know where my phone was all that time!

And it FELT good!

I also remembered to check in with a friend who I was worried about, pinged another I haven’t heard from in a few weeks, chatted with Alex, made sure Nick was OK (he had a big probation meeting this morning – went fine).

In other words – slowing down, listening, trusting and following my instincts went kinda well today.

I do realize that I get so seriously wrapped up in this self improvement, soul connectivity focus that I might forget to just chillax and have some fun 😉

I am grateful that today presented some opportunities to be playful and have fun with people and that I listened to my need to do that.

I am grateful as always that whatever information or guidance I need shows up all around me – that description of the Head Tripper is so glaringly, obviously ME!  Yes, I own the other one too, but I am not quite sure how that ended up one point ahead. OTOH since the solution to both is to FEEL, well…..again..nailed it!

Be kind, be loving, just be.

April 5th – What is this day to me?

Dear me,

Came upon an area where judgment will be a little harder to wipe away. Religion. Actually, that is too broad. I’ll just focus on today and what had my hair standing on end now and then.

I find it very interesting how people say “Happy Easter!” with no qualifications on the whole. Making an *assumption* that the person they are saying it to is Christian. Now, I find this holiday to be much more strongly identified with Christianity since it really IS their high holy day. It’s what makes Jesus…well…Jesus, right? The whole belief that he was dead and then reborn (and here is where my inner eye rolling begins). Now, I don’t get this same angst from Christmas – that holiday is almost less and less about the religious story and more about the celebration of family and taking a break in the dark of winter to have some lovely lights and good food and share good will (and presents!)

Easter feels much more religious. Yet there is no non religious greeting for it, is there? And honestly, if someone is Jewish, and you know it, you would NEVER wish them a Happy Easter. Or Muslim. But what about those of us who are non of THOSE, but also NOT Christian?

And why is that Easter is the one holiday when people post tons of “He is risen!” and/or bible verses on Facebook or Twitter? All I can think is “OK, that’s nice, keep it to yourself OK?”

I know – I need to get back to reminding myself that folks are not throwing their religion AT me, but for some reason on Easter it feels WAY more in your face.

But really – the one who irritated me the most was Marcus! He knows how NOT Christian I am. We’ve talked about my belief in spirit, but not God and certainly not Jesus! He knows I only ever went to my moms for Easter to make HER happy. I stopped doing easter basket stuff ages ago. It felt much too hypocritical to me. And he knows this – yet today while I was running he sends me a “Happy Easter!” text. UGH UGH UGH. I ignored it (mostly because I was running up the hill at Torrey Pines!) and took many deep breaths before reminding myself that he’s just being polite – not trying to piss me off – he doesn’t think ahead much of the time. A couple of years ago – heck even last year – I probably would have snapped at him in reply – but..I didn’t. I didn’t wish it back though…I just let him know I was running and would check in when I was done. I know he never had a clue I was miffed – which is a win!

The awesome thing is that I will be able to bring this up face to face with when I see him next and it will be totally cool – and he’ll probably forget all about it again next year because that’s just the way he rolls 🙂 (no short term memory and lots of ADD issues) It will be an interesting discussion no matter what and that’s what will be fun.

I am grateful for my parents having a lovely trip with their friends to Laughlin – and for the $300 they won in the casinos – the month of April is covered 🙂

I am grateful for the ability to buy some new running shoes in time for training for the big three events happening between now and June. I figure that was an excellent use of my extra bookkeeping income from March 🙂

Please let the appraisal be done this week. I know that is the next step after the disclosures I signed on Thursday.

I am grateful for quiet time today and a generally peaceful day (minor irritation at Easter greetings aside).

Be kind, be loving, just be.

April 4th – Coach’s birthday!

Dear me,

I paid the price last night for not writing! Watched an episode of House of Cards after a late evening run and totally forgot about it and ended up dreaming about Claire Underwood until my alarm went off at  4:30am so I could watch the lunar eclipse in my backyard. Then I came back inside at 5am to nap and one of the cats decided to whine and moan the whole time so even though I did fall asleep, I kept hearing him in the background of my dreams. Sheesh.

Ever since really wrapping my brain around the notion of truly loving myself unconditionally – NO judgment – I feel…lighter? It’s been a challenge. I catch the inner critic not just aimed at me but also at things/people around me, but then I take a breath and go to my Happy Place – just for a few seconds even to get the full impact of visualizing it and letting the joy infused energy wash over me – but it really does work to stop the Bad Thought Train.

And I had opportunity galore to be self critical the last 48 hours. But, I wasn’t! We kind of spur of the moment arranged a birthday celebration for Renee. I felt relaxed and just stayed calm, listened to conversations and didn’t have the usual dialogue going on in my brain encouraging me to feel awkward or worry about the things I said.

Thank you, inner voice, for responding to the new habits and letting me see how good that can feel.

Thank you too, for making the connection about the group call topic and my relationship with money from the past. I know I’ve used that as a crutch – heck, I’ve worn it as my identity! “The single mom who cannot afford anything!” Man, was that a running line in our lives.That’s one mindset that I can trace back to my parents. No blame, it just is what it is for them too. I know both boys are so mindful of our state of “lacking”. Hate that I raised them like that, BUT, it is what it is and we are beginning a new dialogue around it now.

Be kind, be loving, just be.

(boy did that work out well for me today!)