Archive for August, 2008

Fighting Reality

I’m about halfway through the book, “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” by David Wroblewski, and I ran across a beautiful explanation by the protagonist’s mother, Trudy, to her son Edgar, of why fighting reality (change) is ultimately futile and painful.

“Things always change… That’s just life. You can fight it or you can accept it. The only difference is, if you accept it, you get to do other things. If you fight it, you’re stuck in the same spot forever. Does that make sense?”

But aren’t some changes worth fighting?

“You know that’s true.”

So how do you know which is which?

“I don’t know a way to tell for sure,” she said. “You ask, ‘Why am I really fighting this?’ If the answer is ‘Because I’m scared of what things will be like,’ then, most times, you’re fighting for the wrong reason.”

And if that’s not the answer?

“Then you dig in your heels and you fight and fight and fight. But you have to be absolutely sure you can handle a different kind of change, because in the end, things will change anyway, just not that way. If fact, if you get into a fight like that, it pretty much guarantees things are going to change.”

He nodded. He knew she was right but he hated what she said. A person could stop a specific thing, but they couldn’t stop change in general. Rivers can’t run backward. Yet, he felt there must be an alternative, neither willfulness or resignation…

Edgar’s right, there is a way to meet this change—the new reality—without resistance or resignation. You can meet it with peace. Peace does not mean becoming a doormat. Peace means facing and understanding what’s driving your fear so you can view the situation with clarity. Stating your case without needing to defend yourself. Creatively finding another solution rather than being locked in the black and white. Taking care of yourself without worrying what others might think. Choosing to be at peace no matter what others around you are doing. Peace is the strongest position you can take—there is no need to prove or win, only to flow downstream with the river.


August 31, 2008 at 2:44 pm 2 comments

Gut Check

Ever find yourself spinning round and round over a decision? You know that if you don’t make the exact right decision, you’ll be some level of screwed from minor inconvenience to total life meltdown. You frantically think it through trying to analyze the decision from every angle. Yet the spinning continues.

My suggestion–do a gut check. Everyone has “gut feelings,” but many people ignore them in favor of trying to think through a problem. This sounds very smart, rational, and adult except for one problem: in the words of Martha Beck, “our minds lie to us like two-bit ladies of the night.” (Er, paraphrased) The reason we spin out when trying to think through a thorny issue is that our mind starts in with the chorus of our greatest fears which go something like this:

“If you go back to school/change careers/take up skateboarding you’ll end up totally broke everyone will think you’re crazy you’ll never be smart enough people will point and laugh no one will love you…blah, blah, blah.”

It’s very hard to make a decision with this kind of mental noise. Our minds try to steer us toward the “safe” decision, which rarely leads to happiness and often isn’t even that safe. That’s where the gut check comes in. The mind tends to be governed by fear and becomes clouded by it. Your essential self, that part of you that isn’t worried about the fear chorus, talks to you through your body. And your body never lies. If this sounds a little woo-woo, it’s actually very practical. Think about a time you had a gut feeling about something, perhaps you felt an immediate connection (aversion) to someone you met , or a sense of rightness (wrongness) about a situation, or walked into an office to interview and knew you’d be working there (or knew you should turn and walk right out the door). That’s your gut talking to you. Was that feeling ever wrong? Was there a time you ignored a gut feeling and were sorry you did? Exactly.

Now, back to that question you’re wrangling with. Submit it to a gut check. When you think about Possible Action A, what’s your gut feeling? How about Possible Action B? If you’re still getting a cloudy reading, try again but preface your gut check by asking yourself the question, “What feels the best if I knew everything would work out perfectly?” You’ll know which action is on the right track because it will give you the sensation of peace, freedom, excitement, generally of rightness. Pick that one.

Pay more attention to the gut check and see where your essential self guides you. Try it on everything from what to have for dinner, to whether you should go on that second date, to your next job. I promise you it will be a fun ride.

August 11, 2008 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

“Life in Motion” O Magazine Event!

Join me at the Eileen Fisher “Life in Motion” event sponsored by O, The Oprah Magazine.

Grab your girlfriends and head downtown for an evening of all your favorite things: champagne, inspiration and great clothes! I’ll teach you to follow your intuition, listen to your inner voice and dress with confidence.

Plus receive $25 off your purchase!*

Thursday, August 21
6:30 p.m.

There is no charge for this event.

Eileen Fisher Store
525 Pine Street, Seattle WA

*Offer valid only for in-store, merchandise purchases at the Pine Street retail store on event day only. Minimum purchase of $25. Limit one per person and cannot be combined with any other offer.

August 6, 2008 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

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