Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ran out of gas

Ah, a luxurious bubble bath, scented candles flicker,
relaxing music in the back ground,
and you float on a cloud of lavender scented warmth.
You sink deeper into the water and let the heat caress your flesh like a lover.
You sigh. Tired muscles unwind, your spirit rejoices as peace seeps into your bones.

Bang. Bang. Bang.

You bolt upright, tranquility shattered along with your nerves.

Pound. Pound.
"Hey mom, are you done yet? I need to pee."

Sound familiar?

We all need time off, our own space, and we need to treat it as sacred.

Because it is.

What does that mean?
Sacred is anything set apart from the usual or ordinary in life.
Sacred time doesn't allow the mundane to insert itself and overtake it.
Your emotional, mental and physical health depend on your achieving sacred time for yourself.
It's not negotiable.

What qualifies as sacred time?
Anything that centers on you, feeds your soul, rejuvenates your mind and body.

It can take many forms:

A walk around the block.
Reading a good book.
Writing in your journal.
A massage.
Playing with the dog.
Lunch with friends.
Attending your writer meetings.

It's time set aside to honor the unique gift you are to the world.
Don't roll your eyes.
You are a gift.
Stop ignoring the box, unwrap the darn thing and enjoy it.

Look at it this way, you put gas in your car, change the oil, get a tune up.
Doing those things doesn't make you hang your head in shame and feel guilty.
Filling the gas tank so you can pick up the kids from school doesn't cause remorse.

Of course not.

Sacred time for yourself is the same thing.
You're like a car and require regular maintenance to keep running.
Most of us ignore this until we break down.
Didn't your mother tell you to take care of your things?

If you never put oil in the engine you'll burn up the motor.
Sitting on the side of the road with an empty gas tank doesn't help anyone.
Yet, we expect our selves to push forward,
never filling our tank or oil or changing the spark plugs.

Does this make any sense?
A well oiled machine runs smoothly and years longer than one that's neglected.
You can't help anyone if your battery is dead.

This week, write five things in your journal that fill your tank.
Do them.
Schedule time at least once a week to take part in these activities.
Do not allow other things to intrude.
Sacred time is not to be flouted.

Write down how doing these things makes you feel.
If you come up with more than five things, great, go for ten.
It's terrific if you schedule three times a week seeing to your maintenance.
And it is maintenance.

As always, let me know how you do.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Do You Hear Voices?

This week we're tackling one of the most insidious reasons we put things off,
having the wrong goal.
Also known as, I don't want to do this, but I know I should.
Yes, the dreaded should.
You say you don't have anything like that lurking in your life.

Here is a list of typical should goals we procrastinate,
because we don't really want to do them:

Losing weight
Finding a new job
Finishing a manuscript
Sending queries
Pitching your work
Accepting a blind date
Confronting someone that hurt you.

The list could go on, but you get the idea.
These things are good for us.
So why don't we want to do them?
Here it comes, wait for it.


Yep. We weenie out because we're afraid.
We've told ourselves that our lives will change,
we'll find love, friends, success if we lose weight.
Fear lifts it's head and whispers, what if after all that struggle and sacrifice nothing changes?

Ah! Anxiety, heart palpitations, our breath choked off.

Calm down. We don't fear the action.
We're terrified we'll find out we're not enough.
Procrastination is a tool that keeps us from ever having to stand up to the panic tightening our chest and risk finding the truth.

No! Not that you're lacking, but that you're more than you ever realized.

That your parents, ex-lover, third grade teacher,
boss or that agent were wrong.
We're all learning and grow along the way. No one is perfect.
Perfect doesn't exist, not in this world, so get over it.
Tell those destructive voices in your head to shut up.

They lie.
They tell you awful things that rip you to shreds and leave you bleeding,
and then they walk away.
How is this good for you?
It's not.

 I knew a man who as a child was told by his mother,
and siblings that he was stupid.
They tortured him verbally, teased him relentlessly,
and other things that make me ill.
After years of this, the boy's aptitude was tested in third grade.
The teacher called in his mother
and asked what they'd been doing to this boy.
He'd tested at the top ten percent,
but performed in class at the bottom ten.

As a boy, he believed the lies,
the abuse of his family that told him he was worthless.
It took him years to overcome the sick voices in his head.
He had to stop listening and replace them with the truth.

What is your truth?
It's not the negative thoughts you torture yourself with.
The truth of who you are is uplifting, positive, and supportive.
The truth propels you forward.
The truth doesn't demand you change,
but holds you up to your highest self.
And it doesn't say you're not enough.

The truth knows you're perfect as you are for now.
The truth knows you're learning, moving forward,
and loves you through it.

This week, make a list of three should goals you've procrastinated or struggled with.
Pick one, and write in your journal what the fear is attached to this goal.
Be specific. Writing that you're not enough isn't the root. Go deeper.
Not enough how?

That's the lie you've accepted.
Time to replace it with the truth.

Write something, maybe the opposite to replace it.
For the man, he replaced I'm stupid,
with I am intelligent and capable.
I am statements have power.
Words have power.

When you've written the truth,
do the same with the other shoulds on your list.
Catch yourself in a destructive thought,
say no, and replace it with the truth.
Yes, actually say, no.
Voice it. That adds strength.

As a man thinketh so is he.

Stand up for yourself.
The man learned to re-parent his little boy and you can too.
Think or say the truth five times when a lie shows up.
The more you do this, the less the lies will form.
The truth will sprout, grow in your life, and bare sweet fruit.
You'll find procrastination dissolving,
and doing the things that are good for you second nature.

Accept the truth of all the good that is you.
You're a gift, a glorious, amazing gift.

And the truth shall set you free.

Love to hear from you.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

No Peas For Me, Thankyou.

The most obvious reason we put things off is we hate doing them.
Imagine that, and all this time I thought it was a poor work ethic that kept me from scrubbing the shower.

There are tasks we all must do, but not many fall under that category.
Most dirty jobs can be delegated, simplified or hired out.

The shower needs cleaning, but am I the only one who can do it?
Could I pay someone?
I deserve a clean shower.
And I deserve to delegate or pay someone to do the jobs I hate.

 Questions to ask:
Does this really need to be done?
Does it have to be done by me?

Often the answer to both is no.
We've gotten into the habit of handling things ourselves.
We think it's our duty.
That we should load the dishwasher, scrub the floor, make those calls, etc....
Women are like that. We have trouble delegating.
Sorry, but it's true.
Men are better at this.

Do you suffer from a parental voice in your head telling you to eat your peas like a good girl,
but you hate peas?
Do you then stuff a few of the offensive green orbs into your mouth and gag before you swallow?

Okay, I happen to like peas.
But where in your life are you choking on things you hate?

Is it scrubbing the shower, the manuscript you need to edit, or confronting a relative?


Not another figurative pea passes your sultry lips.
Own up to what you dislike doing and stop swallowing it down.

Mom is no longer standing at your side prodding you to eat your veggies or there will be no dessert.
You're a grown up.
You can have chocolate cake for breakfast if you want.
I like mine with ice cream.

Stop procrastinating. Don't glare at the peas as if they're bad.
They're just peas.
Feed them to the dog, toss them in the trash or give them to your sister who loves peas.
You have choices.

Continuing to do what you hate, when you have the power to delegate, pay someone, or just decide the task isn't worth doing at all, is self abuse.
Most people don't enjoy pain.
If you hate peas, stop eating them.

Stop making your life miserable by doing the things you despise.

This week, take your journal and jot down three things you procrastinate,
because you find the task unpleasant.
Okay, no procrastinating the list.

Have the list?
Now come up with three ways to handle the job without you doing it.

Put at least one of these into action this week.
Write how you feel.
More powerful?
In control?
I hope not guilty.
You are not bad for disliking peas.

Let me know how you do.
Comments always welcome.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Good Enough For Who It's For.

I knew a woman who said this often.
How rude, you say.
Yes, it was rude. She'd only say this in reference to herself.

What makes it sadder, the woman was a talented perfectionist.
Anything she did for others had to be her best effort.
She won awards for dolls she made. People stood in line to view her Christmas decorations.
And food, Oh my gosh!
She had her own TV cooking show for a while.
Did I mention she led her ladies church group, sewed beautiful clothes, raised five kids, and acted on stage and screen?

But when it came to herself, particularly her relationships, she made do.
Good enough was good enough for her.
If a friend forgot her birthday, she shrugged and went on.
When her husband gave her a plastic garbage can for their 35th wedding anniversary,
she didn't yell or have a fit, but she did cry.
Friends took advantage of her, and her husband, well, the garbage can says it all.
Most of her children never appreciated the sacrifices she made trying to hold the family together.

Is good enough really good enough?

Where in your life are your efforts only good enough?
It's great for take action and do something,
but we need to be sure we're doing the right things.
In respect to your goals, dreams, relationships, and your writing,
good enough is never good enough.

If this woman could have decided that her marriage wasn't good enough,
she might have gotten a divorce,
and freed up space for a loving, supportive man to come into her life.

This week, grab your journal,
and jot down three things you do or are involved in that aren't cutting it for you.
Next, write what you can do differently.
Be honest. If your child were subjected to this, would you stand for it?
If not, get a clue.
It's not good enough for you either.

Tackle one of these and journal your experience.

Doing your best feels good.
Deciding you deserve your best effort is healing.
No longer settling for good enough can change your life.

Comment, because you are good enough.