Monday, March 26, 2012


I’ve been inspired thousands of times in my life.  It seems like with that many moments of inspiration, I should be walking around forever inspired.  I’m not.  In order for that to happen I would need a constant stream of new influences and arousals.  It’s what I began seeking in addiction.  Even now, seeking sobriety and sanity, that sounds awesome.  Knowing that in every moment change is happening and newness is intrinsic, all could be different all the time.  The ability to experience every moment for what it is, a brand new one, would theoretically provide me constant inspiration.  Hmmm, I’m not even close.  I mean not even a little bit.  Haha!  It does make sense though, and the book Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse makes even more sense with that line of thought.  I can even see the similarities between seeking release in addictions and seeking enlightenment.  Sounds nuts but read the book and you may find you agree.  Since I’ve got a long way to go before I’ve awakened to the present with 100% of me 100% of the time, I thought I’d describe some things that inspire me… every so often at least.

People inspire me.  People who try new things.  People who fail because they tried new things.  People who celebrate and share their successes with joy.  People who cry.  People who dance.  People who hug.  People who work hard and keep working hard.  People who refuse to make excuses.  People who sing.  People who pray for other people.  People who scream at God and glorify God in the same sentence.  People who find themselves paralyzed by fear and then somehow begin to move again.  People who don’t know and ask how or why or what or when.  In a nutshell, children inspire me and people who continue to show their own imperfect, childlike humanity inspire me.  They inspire me because in them I am assured that I am not alone.  I am never alone.

Water inspires me.  I am calmed and refreshed in water.  I have never been able to describe the feeling completely because it’s not just a morning shower eye opener.  It creates a complete change inside me.  It doesn’t matter what my mood, water will lift it.  I’m sure there are exceptions but so far I haven’t really found any.  I can be extremely depressed, feel completely worthless and out of hope and within a minute of jumping in a pool I have some new energy and life in me.  My thinking becomes extremely clear when I swim or dive  I goal set and sort out things that have weighed heavy on my heart.  I pray and I am grateful in water.  Water is forever in motion and surrounds me completely when I’m immersed.  I’m comforted by water’s power and presence and feel safe in being myself. 

Dance inspires me.  Not only is dancing entertaining and beautiful to watch, it breaks down barriers between and within people that would otherwise remain solid.  There doesn’t need to be any other connection than that of human movement for two people to share in laughter, competition, tension, love, and companionship.  Dance gives us that gift.   It also gives me the ability to open my heart and let out whatever I have to give.  Thankfully my heart is usually joy filled, but even in tough times dancing helps me release what’s inside.  It’s exhilarating and completely freeing.  I can be me and show myself to other people with only the slight risk that they might think I’m a bit spastic.  I’ll take it.

I hope you have a few things that inspire you.  If not, make some time to find some.  I promise you a human experience.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I don’t shy away from PMS talk.  Everyone gets it or knows someone who gets it.  If I didn’t know what was driving the week long crazy train I ride once a month, I would have to seriously consider some extreme treatment options for my ‘problems’.  Believe it or not, I used to get locked up in a psychiatric hospital about once a month when I was in my early 20s.  It was close to six months before anyone realized it was hormone related.  Seems like I should have noticed the pattern, but I was PMSing so give me a break!!!!  Thankfully when they discovered what was up and started treating me for the hormonal symptoms, my trips to the psych ward decreased exponentially.  They didn’t stop altogether, but those are stories for another day.  Fast forward 12 years and I still struggle to stay in good emotional fitness the few days before my period. 

This past week was a doosey.  My husband was traveling for work and I was busy with my own work, coaching and family.  Food called to me from inside the refrigerator; the mirror would scream insults directly into my brain whenever I even glanced at it; I was exhausted and drained but didn’t want to get in bed at night; I ranted on the phone at my husband about his leaving me all alone and then cried when he returned; and I cried once at my desk and once in the middle of a meeting at work.  A total wreck.  Thankfully, after the first day, I knew what I was going through which allowed me to roll with the punches a bit better.  I mean, who cries in the middle of a meeting because the whiteboard hasn’t arrived?!??  A hormonal me, that’s who.  Thankfully I’ve mastered the silent cry and I pulled myself together after a couple minutes… but seriously!!

So here’s how I survive week’s like this past one:
  1. Alert my female family members.  This is a serious family trait passed down woman to woman to woman.  I mean we ALL go nuts with our swinging hormones.  We all understand it, and I take great comfort in knowing I come by it all honestly.  Remember that I have a BIG family and as far as I’m aware, no woman in it has a mild cycle.  We all lose our stuff when we PMS.  We all feel closer to mean and ugly, lose our tempers more easily, feel a little lonely and act a little nutty. 
  2. Alert my husband.  This is crucial to the continued success of our marriage. J  Seriously though, he has standing permission to remind me that my mood swings and oversensitivity could be due to my period being near.  He treads lightly here and thankfully he’s found a way to insert it at the right moments.  It usually makes me laugh.  He also will listen to me fly off the handle, and I mean all the way off the handle, then say sorry and give me a hug. 
  3. Tell my internal morning critic to take a break.  Nothing is gonna look any good on me, according to me, for a few days.  It’s just the way it is, so no need to intentionally start my day with fat and ugly’s.
  4. Make certain I keep a sense of humor.  This is huge.  I tell my stories of melt downs and temper tantrums to friends, male and female, because they are funny once I’m through them!  Three of my friends got the whole run down of my twisted, crazy thinking while my husband was away earlier this week.  It was only two nights and I had worked it up into a future lifetime of loneliness!!!  I laughed and laughed as I recounted one of our phone conversations and my subsequent thinking about the whole thing.  What a great release.
So that’s the long and short of it.  Now, if you’re a man and you happened to read all the way to the end of this, I’d like to make a suggestion: Do not pop this up in front of your wife, girlfriend, or sister and tell them they should read it because insert reason here, unless you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THEY ARE NOT PMSing AND ARE IN A GOOD MOOD!!!!  Also note that I asked my husband to help me in reminding me about my cycle… tread lightly! J  As for all the ladies out there, I hope you related and find some humor in our shared experiences.  I am so grateful l don’t have to live enslaved by my emotions anymore, and I have learned to take myself far less seriously today than ever before.  A favorite quote of mine growing up was, “Angels can fly, because they take themselves lightly”.  When I let go of my pride and perfectionism, I find such unbelievable freedom, humor, and joy in being a woman..

Monday, March 19, 2012

Keep it simple stupid

Yes, this title sounds harsh.  No, it’s not meant to put anyone down nor is it meant to label anything or anyone stupid.  This is a slogan around recovery communities that isn’t used so much anymore.  It’s usually just said as ‘Keep it simple’, which I admit is a great message by itself.  For me though, the stupid works.  I didn’t always agree that it was a useful saying.  The reason it works for me now and didn’t a few years ago is that my perception, the way I view myself in relation to everything and everyone, has drastically changed.  I used to feel like a little piece of terd.  If someone was trying to help me, but used a slogan with a derogatory term at the end, I took it as a personal offense.  I couldn’t hear the message through the delivery.  I don’t feel smaller or less than anyone today nor do I feel at all unintelligent.  Yet now, more than ever, “keep it simple stupid” really does make good, logical sense.  

The ‘stupid’ reminds me that I must remain teachable.  I heard it said best like this, “You can’t teach someone something they already know.”  I spent years telling people I couldn’t stay sober or stop purging.  I would tell them exactly why that was.  I would tell them what I needed to do if I was ever going to ‘get it’ and then all the reasons and emotions that prevented me from doing any of those things.  Clearly, I was not going to change because I had it all figured out.  I knew all the answers to all my problems and no one could convince me otherwise.  So, neck deep in despair and desperation, I held onto just enough intellectual egoism to stay stuck and miserable.  

Finally, finally, finally, I just didn’t know.  I had no ideas or solutions of my own and couldn’t find any persuasive arguments to excuse myself from trying something different.  It took what it took for me.  I could tell stories upon stories that lead me to the day I ran out of ideas, but I could not begin to guess why it was that day that it happened.  It simply did.  Without answers I began listen to folks who appeared to have them.  Stupid me was the beginning of the me I have become today.  It gave me enough willingness and openmindedness to seek a simple solution.  Thank God I did.  It really is simple! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Finding my fit

I go around trying to dot my I’s and cross my T’s by doing everything I say I’m going to do and showing up for my friends and family when and where I am needed.  A lot of times it feels like I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to fit myself to everyone else’s schedule.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed.  When I do, I’m at a high risk of quitting everything.  What happens is I get to thinking people are disappointed or angry with me, because I can’t meet all their expectations.  Before long, I get swallowed up by guilt and shame.  Guilt and shame have been the two most paralyzing and dangerous emotions I have experienced in my life.  Enough of either one, and I fall into such self pity, resentment and fear that relief only comes at a great price not only for me but for others as well.  I wallow.  I hide.  I lie.  I lash out.  I self-destruct and take you down with me.  I have endured this enormous, destructive cycle countless times in my life.  Coming out the other side is neither easy nor guaranteed.  I DON'T HAVE TO LIVE THIS WAY ANYMORE.

The truth is that most often I am only guessing that people are disappointed or angry with me.  Even before I get to that, I admit that I am usually the one trying find time to spend with all the people I love in my life because they bring me strength and peace and joy.  So long before I find myself in a world of hurt, I have told myself lies like I am not in control of my own actions or that people have put me on a pedestal of sorts and expect me to be everywhere for everyone.  I have thrown out my own truths and put other people’s opinions of me over my own.  I have forgotten humility and have placed myself at enormous risk.  What people think of me and how much time I give to them decides whether I am a good or bad person.  I've given others all my God given grace that allows me to have my own human experience.  When I embrace my perfectly imperfect humanity, I get to love freely and give generously.  When I don't, I am bitter and alone.  Today when my thoughts get noisy with self-deprecating and berating messages, I can pause and ask for some help and some courage to get off my crazy making cargo train to crappy town and find my right place in this world.  Feet on the ground and eyes wide open, I can go from there and do the best I can, expecting no more than just what that turns out to be.

A long time ago, an elderly man told me this, “We don’t have to fit into shoes that are too big, just our own.”  Now that makes sense and takes the shame and guilt off my heart.  I can only do as much as I can do, and I’m the only one that knows my limits and my intentions.  I answer to the truths I hold within and I can be accountable to others without shame if I fall short of my commitments at any point.  I'm only human after all and I have discovered nobody has mistaken me as anything more... EVER. :) 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What I am

Lately I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions about what I want to be when I grow up.  With that comes a lot of reflection on what I am today.  Thankfully, I’m not asking myself who I want to be or who I am.  That’s probably one of the most convoluted, crazy-making mind games someone can play on themselves.  Who I am will constantly change as I try to grow and as I gain more life experience.  So I guess I know who I am – ever changing.  What I am?  Well, that can be crazy-making too I guess because I am made up of a lot of different pieces and if I’m asking the question, I’m the one deciding which pieces to count!!!  For the purpose of not ranting onto a philosophical tangent, I will keep the ‘what am I’ question confined to my professional world.

As a little girl, I wanted to be the next Olympic superstar, mostly for the fame and notoriety.  As a young teen, I wanted to be a nun, mostly because I had decided that I was a better person than everyone else and should be marked as good and special forever.  In young adulthood, I gave up wanting to be much of anything except cared for and protected and even that felt horrible.  By my mid twenties, I wanted to save all addicts and alcoholics everywhere, because I had gained so much experience with both and believed I could relate to anyone.  This would have seemed a bit more logical if I had been sober myself, but even then it would have been grandiose. J  A couple years later I realized that I had gone kicking and screaming through my whole life to avoid the ordinary.  My efforts had left me jobless, broke and hopeless.  I told myself that what I did would define who I was.  So, I had become completely worthless. 

Thankfully my brother, sister and brother-in-law didn’t just stand aside and let me wallow in my bog of self-pity and depression.  I moved in with my sister and bro-in-law and my brother quickly hooked me up with a friend of his who got me a job as a human resources coordinator.  I hated going to work.  I hated how ‘average’ the work was.  Albeit reluctantly, I showed up day after day (well most days) and before I knew it a year had passed.  My siblings even threw me a one year on the job party because they knew what a big deal it was for me. (Yeah I have the coolest siblings in the world!)  I worked there for over two years and by the end of my time there I had some employable skills.  I did quit my job so I was jobless and close to broke but I was no longer hopeless. 

I don’t think it is a coincidence that I got sober shortly after I left that job and moved back home to California.  Just by holding a job down, I had gained a little hope in myself and some esteem – two things I had not experienced in adulthood.  I had also learned a little humility.  I needed to show up for life no matter how mundane I decided the day would be.  I knew I had to get sober to give myself a chance at showing up consistently again and when I did I learned how to do a whole lot more than that. 

I had a ton of direction my first year of working as a sober woman: “Put your head down and do eight hours work for eight hours pay.”  “Be a worker among workers.”  “Self esteem comes from doing esteemable acts… just do the next right thing.”  “Act better than you feel.”  The daily practice of all these pearls of simplistic wisdom brought me to what I am today.  I’m a good worker.  In the office I am a very able professional.  People like me and easily trust me at work.  I am given more responsibility than my job description dictates, and I welcome it.  I am articulate and capable under pressure.  Flipping to my coaching self, I am an awesome coach.  I think I say awesome because I love doing it so much.  Really, I am responsible.  I am deserving of the trust I am given by both the kids and parents.  I am talented and get to see my kids improve at a rapid pace.

Now, after all that, what do I want to be when I grown up?  Ha!  I still don’t know.  I want to give this public speaking thing a shot and see what journey it will take me on.  I want to be a mother and provide for my family.  I don’t know how those things will mix or work if both are in my future.  What I do know is I will be present.  I will work hard.  I will be one in the mix of so many in this enormous world that try to do good things for it.  I will take comfort in my past experiences and know that no matter what, no matter what, things will change.  In the end, what I am matters very little.  Who I am will be born of the things I do as I continue to put one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.  It’s in the doing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Dream

I’ve learned that when I tell someone that I’m going to do something, I’m about ninety times more likely to do it than if I keep my intentions to myself.  I’ve had a dream for a long time to become a public speaker.  This dream has never taken shape because I have not made any concrete goals or made consistent efforts towards transforming this dream to reality.  I did enough research to know that blogging and writing is a great first step, but that’s about all I’ve done.  I believe I can be an excellent motivational speaker.  I believe I have the ability to stand up in front of a group, capture an audience, and ultimately inspire hope.  I believe there’s a path for me to follow to get to that end, but I don’t know where to start or how I will find my way.  That said, if I don’t start, well, I’ll never start.  If I never start, I’ll never find a way. 

I’ve fallen off my blog a bit because I couldn’t see a simple way to improve it and to expand its reach.  I have a nasty tendency to believe my perpetually lazy ego that tells me people should want to listen to me and value what I say without my having to show them I’m worth listening to.  Of course, I come to my senses after a bit and realize all I’ve gained is fear and what I’ve lost is time.  Good news is I trust that if I put one foot in front of the other and work steady and true, the time will come for me to realize my dream.  And if I don’t reach the stage or get the audience, I hope it will be because it was not God’s will for me, not because I did not put the work in.  “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” –Theodore Roosevelt.  This is worth it.  I still don’t know how to lengthen my reach, but I do know that working hard is the only way I’ll find out. 

Soooo, I’d like to increase my ‘do’ likelihood by 90 times and commit to a few consistent tasks and three goals over the next 1 month.  Here they are:
  1.  I will blog 4 times per week no matter the typos or the length of blog.  I will post 4 separate entries a week.
  2.  I will spend 1 hour, 4 times per week, researching how to bring more visibility and ‘hits’ to my blog and adjust my blog accordingly.
  3. I will respond individually to comments on my blog posts
  4. By month’s end, I will be following and participating on 15 other blog sites
  5. By month’s end, I will have my blog site reformatted to be more interactive, inviting and intuitive  

Thanks for reading!