See Your Thoughts, Don’t Just Be Your Thoughts

engineerIf you want to reduce stress in your life, if you want to make your choices from a more powerful place, if you want to become more intentional, then developing this skill can be incredibly helpful.

We can live knee-jerk lives, where our response is completely based on the stimuli around us. Thoughts are borne from our reactions to stimuli and off we go, following those thoughts. Having a fear-based existence and stretches of our lives comes directly from this pattern. Many people we tend to judge are living inside this pattern, too.

When we can get to the point of just seeing our thoughts, knowing that we are not our thoughts, knowing that they are often creations of our discomfort, our histories and traumas, our conditions, we begin to develop a powerful ability to choose how we want to be. We start to see our thoughts roll by like trains and we get to decide which ones to board.

Better yet, we get to make our own trains and ride in the engineer’s seat.

Choo-choo!

Resolve

ResolveRESOLVE is so valuable. Resolve means that when you know, you just know. Resolve means you do, because not doing is impossible.

Partnering with anyone who is not resolved is a crapshoot. Settling for less than your own resolve and saying yes to things you think or hope will be good is a recipe for patterns of breakdown and preoccupation with distraction, indecision, fear…

Resolve is formidable. Resolve creates the love of the journey. Resolve quiets the mind. Resolve is beyond the judgment of others. Resolve turns down the fear. Resolve makes you bring your best game. Resolve brings admiration, but is never for admiration.

It’s not that you should have resolve, it’s that if you don’t, you can find where it is, what it really wants. I’m talking about the noun, resolve as a thing, not something you do, which can be spiritually unreliable. Resolve is already within you. Helping each other find our resolve can be the most rewarding way to be with each other. Finding our resolve is finding ourselves. Keeping it, remembering it and honoring its voice is a remarkable way to live.

I’m practicing cultivating my resolve, feeding it, connecting ever more deeply with it, surrendering to it. Want to join me?

Not Letting Your Role Roll All Over You

rollAs a coach, I’ve heard so many stories about people not really being fulfilled by what they are doing. Feeling like they have to do what they’re doing, because they can’t lose the salary, because they don’t know if they’d be good at anything else, because they’d be ashamed of letting it all go. Sometimes it seems like most people I know fall into this group.

Then there’s the “do whatever you want to do with your life!” crowd, who can seem disconnected and it can even be painful to listen to when you know you’re not in love with what you’re doing.

This post isn’t meant to be anything profound. It just seems like we have a great opportunity to understand and empathize with each other more. To humanize ourselves and our relationships and not need a beer or seven to do it. To remind each other that we are not what we do (or what we haven’t done or we think we should have done), even if what we do takes up so much of our lives, whether that’s your profession or your role at home as wife, father or child.

Make friendships where you let each other drop the burden of what you do, consciously. I’m not talking about a night of complaining, I’m just talking about getting it. It’s not easy to carry around these roles and it’s OK that we do and sometimes just acknowledging each other for doing it goes a long way.

What is your relationship a partnership for?

Is it explicit? Is it agreed upon? Do you talk about its progress?

Wanting to be accepted and loved is great, but most relationships wind up becoming a partnership for certain things, both empowering and disempowering.

All relationships wind up being a partnership for working out our stuff in life, the problem with that is that it’s usually not agreed upon specifically.

Getting clear on this can make a huge difference, including giving us a chance to work on our stuff OUTSIDE the relationship, FOR the relationship.

Then you can partner for the lives you truly want.

My 5 Year Old Has it Right

After my son Marcus told me I hated him when I told him he needed to stop playing video games this morning, I asked him if I loved him, what would I be doing differently.

He said I would be racing him and playing soccer and games with him.

I get it.

Love lives in a world of full agreement, or a lack of dwelling on the disconnect of disagreement.

When we’re young, before the disappointment of human beings disagreeing with our idea of Eden, our hearts don’t even fathom the possibility of disagreement with our own consciousness. It comes as a shock and HURTS. It feels like love is gone when we encounter disagreement. I still remember feeling like that when I was his age.

The thing is that this is a grave and understandable error and the correction of this error, that disagreement threatens love, is our life’s opportunity. Not just to get it intellectually, but to transcend through it. To really get it. This is our cross to bear, to do the work to return to love, as Marianne Williamson puts it.

Marcus is at the beginning. The unfortunate period where the disagreement rocks us, where it informs our personalities and unconscious beliefs about life. I empathize with him deeply.

And he’s getting the return, too. When he asked me to pick him up in my arms at drop off and gave me 17 kisses and told me he knows I love him, he took courageous action. He inspired me.

The idea that disagreement threatens love (threatens us, really, as we are made of love) – from loved ones dying too soon to not getting the job to not feeling heard to being rejected romantically or even abused – is false, but it hurts.

Love is always here, waiting for you. Getting back to it is the work of our lives. Be courageous.

Obedience Can Be Dangerous

reprimand

I was at a potluck dinner for the parents of kids in Marcus’ class this Friday night. I met the father of this very intelligent girl who is a bit of a chatterbox and doesn’t sit still well, but who is so lovely, so curious, so wonderful, so clearly well-equipped to succeed as well. Her father mainly wanted to talk about how disobedient she was, how her teachers in language school kept telling him how disobedient she was. He seemed shameful and wasn’t too interested in how great I thought she was. I was sure to give her a big smile Monday morning, happy to see her and now seeing the growing impact on her of being told she was wrong more clearly, the confusion building in her. She’s in kindergarten.

When the desire for obedience crosses with another person’e true expression of themselves, you’ve got trouble. This is where darkness occurs.

A facebook friend of mine and fellow coach, Mike Hrostoski recently shared a letter he wrote when he was a teenager that was truly saddening. A young man writing about suicide. The conflict between who he was and who his community wanted him to be was so clear. He then detailed his drug use, his confusion and his pain that lasted for years. He posted it here – http://hrostoski.com/2014/11/everybody-hates-you-and-you-want-to-die/ (his site is currently down, maybe find it on his FB page)

No one could want Mike to go through this, to even have a memory of this and what’s even more gut wrenching is how many people we know are right where he was when he wrote that letter, who have gone through that, who are still wrestling with it and unfortunately, who may never truly try to free themselves, who get eaten alive by the ways they try to cope – power games, passive aggressiveness, controlling behavior, numbing out, withdrawal, acting like everything is ok.

Living in a society, a family, a culture is hard. These entities condition you. They ultimately mean well, but that doesn’t mean they are well-suited for the human condition. We need to teach each other how to cross the street without getting hit by cars. We don’t need to teach each other how to forsake our own self-expression, our lives. The results are heartbreaking and they lead us to transformation or unfortunate ends or both. As a father, this really hits home for me.

Mike is transforming his life with a fervor. Sometimes I can resonate with where he’s at, what he’s wrestling with today, sometimes not, but what I can always relate to is how vital his freedom is to him, how painful it is to be at the moments where it feels like life is in total disagreement with you. How desperate we are to get out.

Go on, Mike. Get OUT.

Me, too. You, too. We all have some of this in us.

Love,
Gregg

There is no 3D printer for Relationships

3dprinter

As a life coach, very often people come to me looking for solutions, step by step instructions so they can handle difficult situations. They want to stay the same and just do something specific that’s different or better to enhance their lives.

Understandable, right?

The thing is, relationships aren’t like plastic for instance, where we know it’s properties, what it can do and can’t do, what the strenghts and limitations of the material are, so we can’t be given a set of instructions that will reliably work to shape them into the desired form. Doesn’t exist.

Some people don’t want to forgive you, sometimes it’s not what you do but who you’re being that is sabotaging perfectly good instructions, sometimes we are “ungettable” and will put everything in the way of being heard or understood. The list of complications, which are constantly shape-changing and adapting to the present situation, make the material unworkable for a simple set of instructions.

The best tip I can give you is twofold.  First, that IT’S ABOUT YOU. What happens always has something to do with you. If you put your energy into understanding yourself, undoing patterns that get in your way, perceptions you make from fear and the past, counterproductive actions you seem to consistently take, you’ll become a relationship dynamo and STILL not connect every time, still have work to do, still need to learn to understand the shape-changing going on in this incredibly dynamic arena.

Second, if you want it any other way, you’ll have to exclude yourself from being in relationships, period. This is what it’s like to make things work with other human beings and it’s never simple outside of being in very specific, finite and limited relationships (getting coffee from your barista, paying the toll on the highway, riding in an elevator and you know how fraught with variance even those interactions are!).

Can you hang with that? Are you willing to drop your need for iron-clad solutions and start the journey of realizing what the raw material called YOU is all about that has things go they way they do? You’ll never be done, it’ll never be over, but not taking it on brings consequences we’re all very familiar with and rarely satisfied having to endure. We can be straight about this. Just being in love, just having the same mission in mind, just asking him how his day was or buying her chocolates ain’t gonna cut it.

Looking deeply, with humility, being willing to question yourself and see that some behaviors and persistent thoughts do not serve you and owning your stuff gives you the best chance to grow into someone who can make their relationships work. The best part, it’s also the path to your own freedom.

I’m happy to be your partner in that journey as your private coach. Just be in touch.

I’d also love if you’d like to continue this conversation. Leave your comments below.

Love,
Gregg