Transformation

The ‘color’ of money …

In late March, I was participating in a developmental course, “An Inquiry into Life, Living, and Self.” As part of our conversation, we were challenged to distinguish an area of life where we were committed to growth and development. I instantly reported that I wanted a breakthrough in the area of monetizing what I do ~ and I sounded as excited saying it as you were likely feeling while reading that. It was obviously not something that was inspiring to me. I was not lit up thinking about it. Obviously.

 

Over the course of the weekend and through a number of great interactions with my fellow participants, I discovered that I am really curious about “Wonder” and what we wonder about … which led me to investigating what money, and specifically, what billing clients meant to me. I noticed that I am regularly not charging, undercharging, giving major discounts, and just routinely avoiding collecting money … from clients or otherwise.

 

My resistance to collecting fees from clients has led to several (or more) issues for me, from juggling payments to avoiding certain situations where I think I might not be able to afford whatever it is I am being asked to do. This is a familiar pattern, one I developed growing up in a family of 10 folks with a teacher for a dad and a nurse for a mom. (In my home state, both those professions are at least 15% lower than the national average in their categories.) I would not trade my family nor my upbringing for the world. I would, however, prefer a distinct view of my own value, especially financially.

 

So today, I sat down and prepared invoices. I did not cut corners. I did not discount. I charged what I provided. I sent those invoices … and the earth is still spinning. Really.

 

And as I worked through the process over the last couple weeks, I have received a couple checks, unexpected, from odd sources. I got a referral check from a car dealership for bringing someone to buy a car. I got a check from the used bookstore for my excess books. I got cash from a thrift store for some items I provided on consignment. I even got cash and checks from clients.

 

Clearly, I have disrupted a pattern on being unable to ask for money. And the great part? Today, after those invoices were sent this morning, I had a great day. My experience of myself is of being valued and valuable, of being wanted and needed, of being worthy. I felt most of that before … just did not have the dollars to match my own sense of worth. Now, I can pay all the bills without juggling.

 

I am deeply grateful to those who have and continue to contribute to my growth and development. If becoming a stronger person allows me to make a difference, it is worth whatever pain and embarrassment it takes to get there.

Categories: Health and Wellness, Landmark Worldwide, Risk, Transformation | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

After 48 years of abject fear, I finally learned to SWIM!!!

When I was six years old, I was spilled into the deep end of the Y pool intentionally during swim lessons. They wanted me to catch up to the other kids and tread water. It did not work. I had to be pulled from the water by my younger brother. As a teenager, I was taking a tippee test at Camp Tahepia on Georgetown Lake and was pulled from the water by our lifeguard. I was going down again.

Since then, I have not been in the water any higher than my chest and never when I could not touch the bottom of the pool or lake. I have always been afraid of the water.

Until today …

 

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On Monday morning, I got into this water at the Grand Velas Resort in Puerto Vallarta and spent an hour learning to swim. I discovered that I was struggling, even when the water was able to hold me. I found that I stopped breathing which made me sink faster … which did not help me to swim. I learned how to stand without scrambling for the bottom of the pool. I floated on my back, breathing, eyes open, enjoying the sun’s rays and the last glimpses of the moon. And I swam. For the first time in my life, I swam. On Wednesday, I returned for a further lesson. I am thrilled to report that I swam! On my back! On my front! Alone! And I have played in the water a number of times since… and lived to tell of it.

What I discovered is that my six year old self’s brain patterns were very successful in helping me avoid shock and loss … when I was six. And I found that I could alter those brain patterns. By shifting my breathing and my actions, my brain followed suit.

I am so thankful formy friend Christine Arbor for her patience and compassion as I worked through all of it. It is so shocking to me that after all this time, I could overcome my fear. Thanks, my friend, for opening up 70% of the planet to me.

What fear shall I conquer next?

Categories: Health and Wellness, Landmark Worldwide, Risk, Transformation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The World is Your Stage ~ Results from a Workshop

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Mary Poppin’s London

 

This photo was taken from the bridge near my hotel in London, the setting the last week of September for The World is Your Stage Workshop. Even though I knew from others who had attended before me that it would be an amazing weekend, I was unprepared for the depth, breadth, and reach of the transformation available.

To describe the contents of the course would have little effect on your view of the workshop. What I want to share with you is the daily impact the course has had on me, the difference this has made in the lives of those around me, and the opportunities that have unfolded from my having participated.

My wardrobe is completely new. I’ve purchased new clothes that are a match for my commitments. Each day, I dress for every scene, each act, according to the character in that setting. Instead of avoiding choosing an outfit for the day, I look forward to creating. I have organized what I have so that I can make use of accessories and shoes that I had forgotten I owned, those items having been buried in the bottom of the closet. As a result, people have not recognized me at galas, been surprised by me at events, and commented that I must have lost weight. Yep. I’ve done that too.

A major accomplishment is the completion of a case that had been stagnant for nearly three years. As counsel for the past two years, I was committed to getting it done before the holidays. Through September, nothing from mediation to motions to judge’s threats resulted in any forward motion in the matter. After returning from London, I took on being awe-struck, vital and vulnerable and had conversations with my client, the other attorney, and the court about how the case could be resolved. The court finalized the matter ten days ago and today, the final papers were completed. This was not a foreseeable future. The families involved in the case are clearly more at ease, looking forward to the holidays rather than dreading them for another year.

With regard to my space (from the car to the office to the home to the closets and drawers in the home) I took on creating a stage worth playing. In the past seven weeks, I have cleared the filing piles at home and office, listed items for sale and given other items away, organized books, movies, and music. The organizing of music was a miracle in and of itself as I had given up that I would ever find some 500 CDs that I had stored in a box in 2008, separate from their jewel boxes. Just yesterday, I found the box and all the CDs. As I write, all the media is sorted, organized, and in place. I can now find what I am looking for and last night, I slept peacefully, no attention on the missing discs.

During the course, I saw how I walked through the display of my understudy. It was a true blessing to be able to see what others had seen; I have long been told that I walk like my dad did, and I did not know what that meant. What I saw was a bit disturbing, as I saw someone who came at others full force, ready to pounce. Since the weekend, I have been more aware of how I carry myself, what I intend by my approach to a room or a space, and who the others in that space are. I have become softer, more approachable, and embodied my intentions of being vulnerable and available. Today, I had a conversations with a client, court attorney, and opposing counsel in a somewhat contentious situation. Previously, the opposing counsel and I had a conflict between us which required a mediator to resolve. Today, I was greeted with a calm, patient, and open person willing to work through things to their completion. I was amazed ~ and inspired by what could happen in many domains of life.

An initiative I took on after returning from the workshop was to do something every day that scares me. I have had a fitting for bras, taken on a cleanse/detox, been in communication with others that I had been avoiding, fulfilled my commitment to each and every client, worn a two-piece swimsuit, made unreasonable requests for support, and invited criticism from my biggest critics ~ all inside a commitment to be available, awe-struck, and of service.

Clearly, the stages where I get to play, the characters I have the privilege of becoming, and the shifting and transforming my life is a process. The scripts are new. The set is novel. And this life? Incredible!

The character I am playing is now living and being awe-struck, available, vulnerable, vivid, and vital. This was, by far, one of the very best weekends of my life.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg …

 

Categories: Actor's Workshop, Landmark Worldwide, Transformation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Crying from Every Pore

The thing that is most important to me in life is that all people have the access and opportunity to live their lives out loud, fully expressing what matters to them and being the difference they are committed to being.Wide Open Spaces

It’s Saturday night, and I just climbed from an Epsom salt bath where I was sipping a hot cup of tea and reading “Clean Gut,” a book about how our bodies’ roots lie in our guts ~ the place we need to repair first if we want to achieve the ultimate health.

I had just started reading a passage in the book about the writer’s dilemma of his future and how he was confused about what he wanted to be and what he had prepared himself to be. At that moment, Bonnie Raitt and John Prine were singing “Angel from Montgomery” on American Roots, a PBS radio program. And I started to cry.

I am in the middle of a detox program designed to jump start my metabolism and give me an edge on fighting the cold and flu season which usually manages to sideline me from life every winter. One of the things my coach has warned me is that people on this program may become emotional. I scoffed at the suggestion, certain that my training, work on issues through various avenues, and my faith, humor, and resilient roots had allowed me to avoid those pesky emotional releases ~ hadn’t I released enough already?

Apparently not. When I read of the writer’s struggle, I was reminded of my passion and my commitment ~ to become a Landmark Forum Leader. I took on this commitment before I completed my own Forum in 1997. Within six weeks of that day, I had closed my law practice, packed my belongings in storage, and moved to Tulsa with only what I could carry in my car to begin the leadership training process to fulfill on my commitment.

Over the next year, I completed the initial programs, the leadership training, and became a staff member for Landmark. I spent nearly six years on staff in the Dallas Center where I led any and every program I could, worked in every position, succeeded and failed in varying degrees, and continued the path to my dream of leading the Forum.

When I got sick in 2004 (see my earlier post about this), my commitment, passion, and dream came to a crashing end. I was unable to function at all for so long that I wondered if I would ever be able to distinguish the fundamentals of transformation that I had been at work mastering.

And tonight, I cried about that loss. It was as if all the pores of my skin were crying for the lost future, the failed effort, the abandoned dream. To my surprise, that dream was still living in my cells. Looking through the past couple of years, I could see all the attempts to compensate for what I could not be ~ trying to practice law, becoming a laughter yoga teacher, writing a book, taking and selling photographs ~ all done in an effort to somehow fulfill on my commitment to be a difference maker. And even while some of those efforts have proven to be challenging, rewarding, and fun, they have not been satisfying and fulfilling for long.

I am committed that the release of the toxins from my cells tonight through the crying, the mourning for what might have been through acknowledging it, and the alignment of my spirit with my life as it now presents itself will lead to the shedding of more than just weight. (I have lost 10 pounds in 10 days on the detox!)

This one precious, crazy, inimitable life will be one that makes a difference ~ no matter where or how or what that might look like. And now, I have wide open space to create it

 

Categories: Health and Wellness, Transformation, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

A Clean Bill of Health

Three short years ago, a doctor said words I never expected to hear. “You have a clean bill of health.”

After more than seven years of dealing with doctors, labs, blood draws, medication, therapies, treatments, shots, IVs, patches, and other things that I have thankfully forgotten, I was free. I was free to live. I was free to create. I was free to thrive.

During the past 36 months. I have marveled at the resiliency of not just the human body, but of the human spirit. I made my first trip to the gym in April of 2011. At a fundraiser for a local junior high trip, I won a year’s membership and ten sessions with a trainer at Fuel Fitness. On my first visit to the gym, I met my trainer, Brian the Brave (not his true name) who quickly told me I needed to get some endurance with the machines before he could start working with me.

The gym is about 8 minutes’ drive from my home, and it was common for me to spend more time driving one way to the gym than I was able to spend exercising. I use the term “exercising” loosely, as it usually meant riding the recumbent bike for five minutes or doing a few reps on a couple of the band machines. On more than one occasion when I was pedaling the bike, the machine would read “Paused” even though I was pedaling as steadily and quickly as I was able. In retrospect, I can only imagine that it was a little entertaining to the staff to see me arrive and leave in less than fifteen minutes. And, I kept going. Every day, six days a week, I kept going. By the end of July, Brian and I agreed that I was ready to start working out with him. By then, I was spending at least twenty minutes doing some cardio (bike, treadmill, or elliptical.) With Brian, I added weight lifting. My thirty minutes training session would be paired with at least twenty minutes of cardio, each day, five days a week. It became my habit. I was reliable for getting there every day, doing the work, and taking nothing for granted.

Also in April of 2011, I started participating in the Landmark Wisdom Course. My friend Ann Peterson had arranged for me to participate in the course by Webex, as she knew I was unable to travel or to sustain the time and energy of being in the course in person. By participating from the comfort of my Lazy-Boy, I was able to be fully engaged and still get the full benefit and impact of the course.

In August, I had the privilege of attending a vacation course in Sonoma, California (See? I was traveling!) I had the opportunity to look at failures in my life and see the opportunity for transformation. During the first days of the course, I got to see that I was well, and experienced for myself that well-being is a function of participation. I considered myself well at that moment.

I learned a few important lessons.

ELIMINATE ANYTHING TOXIC IN YOUR LIFE. I started with the easy stuff ~ the toxins under the sink, the bad food, and the harmful chemicals in some of the soaps I may have been using. The tougher toxins involved relationships, choices, and incompletions I had tried to sweep under the figurative rug. By completing and resolving those toxic things with love and compassion, first for myself and then for those I have loved and cared for, I was able to ‘cleanse’ my space. I learned to eliminate anything toxic in my life.

ILLNESS BEGINS WITH I. WELLNESS BEGINS WITH WE. Only when I allowed myself to receive the contributions of others was I able to return to life. The social commons held exponential opportunities that I could never amass myself. In the words of Groucho Marx, great American philosopher. “Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” I was learning, through struggle and effort, that I could gain strength, healing, and power by sharing and receiving. This is a game changer for me. Illness begins with I. Wellness begins with we.

WHEN YOU CAN’T AND THEN YOU CAN, YOU NEVER WANT TO NOT AGAIN. Many times during those first months, I was asked why I kept going back to the gym. It did not appear that I was getting stronger, slimmer, or healthier. Some days, it probably looked like I was struggling. The truth is I did not know whether it would ultimately extend my life or improve my health. What I did know is that I was not too far removed from having to use a cane to walk, nor from being unable to walk more than three minutes without sitting down and resting for ten minutes. Up to that point, I had taken for granted walking, dancing, and functioning in any way physically. Once I was able to start moving again, I knew I could not take it for granted. I learned that every day is a gift, and to use the gift to its greatest and highest benefit, I needed to do whatever I could. I learned that when you can’t and then you can, you never want to not again.

You are the reason. You are the gift. You are the possibility of a life well lived. I thank you for sharing yours with me ~ and I look forward to what we create next. What shall it be?

Categories: Health and Wellness, Risk, Transformation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ~ For 100 days?!

 

In honor of the beauty of the fall and after returning from London where I participated in “The World is Your Stage” I knew I had to take on something great! October 2, 2014, I took on a new challenge. In keeping with this Eleanor Roosevelt quote, I am seeking something to do each day that scares me. So far, it has been fairly simple to find those things.

Making unusual requests of people covered the first couple days. On the third day, we held our Board Summit, a first in some time for our Kiwanis club, and I asked questions and invited feedback that scared me. And we all lived ~ thrived, in fact!

The next few days, I invited my mom (then my sisters, then my brothers) to attend the annual dinner for the Silver Bow Butte Kiwanis where I would be installed as president. Used to be that I would do things and then tell my family, somehow embarrassed to tell them what I was doing. Mom and my sister came, bringing my nephew Thommy, a sweetheart and hugger! My niece said yes and came to be with us. My brothers were busy ~ and I may have had something to do with them not being there. I always worry what they think and what they might say ~ we can be a tad sarcastic in the family.

Thursday, the day of the dinner, I took a leap of faith and had my hair and makeup done. Now, makeup is a big dang deal for me as I rarely do more than a cursory blush of makeup. The makeup involved something I have never done before ~ additional eyelashes. While it was awkward to sit quietly for so long, I was happy that I tool the risk.

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The weekend brought a new and highly anticipated risk. I travelled to Missoula for a volleyball tourney, not really a risk, and clearly an unplanned excursion. On Saturday, I took another leap ~ getting a proper fitting for a bra. I have been talking about doing this for a few months and have been embarrassed ~ and concerned that I would make a fool of myself. I could not have been more wrong.

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The fitting was easy ~ and even though the shop was packed with shoppers, I was so cared for by the staff, getting right into a dressing room, making comments, making changes, changing my mind, changing it back, and ending up at the counter with a collection of products. Then, as if to endorse the risk, I got discounts, bonuses, and even a voucher for my next purchase. To my pleasant surprise, I now have proper undergarments that need no adjusting after I put them on in the morning!  (This will also be a relief for those who spend time with me during the days!)

Admitting mistakes publicly, acting even when I am unsure of my steps, and being willing to ask for support seem to be the underpinnings of my scary acts so far. Since I have some 80 days to go, I suspect I will learn much more about what scares me.

Perhaps you have a suggestion for something that may scare me. Perhaps I will take it on. Leave your suggestions here. Maybe it will bring me closer to you.

Who knows? Wanna play!?

Categories: Kiwanis, Risk, Transformation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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