Monday, December 5, 2011

Life According to Plan?

So, last nights movie was The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon. I had no idea what it was about, but I figured I couldn't go wrong with Matt Damon right? Turns out it's about an affair between a politician and a ballerina affected by mysterious forces keeping them apart. A romantic tale of "you and me against the world," and in this case the world is the hands of fate; Destiny. Two lovers apparently not meant to be together, it doesn't fit the plan. The "hands of fate" in this case is a team of fedora wearing men; the Adjustment Bureau, whose attempts to keep them in line and make sure they stay on their chosen path proves challenging at best.  Coincidences? I think not, there are no coincidences, that is the Adjustment Bureau hard at work. They will make you late for meetings, miss important calls, delay you at the airport, whatever they have to do. Hell, they will even erase your brain if they have to! They allow us to believe we have free will, and they have even given us a chance to make our own way; but they assure us that we managed to screw that up big time!  
Ok, so, it was a fun romantic story blah blah blah. But, it made me think about my life; just how much has been free will and how much has been "Divine Intervention"  Hmmm....  A trip down memory lane....Age 12 I KNEW I was supposed to marry John Travolta.  As any typical star obsessed tween, I prayed and cried and cried and prayed.  Vinny Barbarino the only boy for me; there could be no other!  My best friend and I planned our bus trip to Englewood, NJ to introduce ourselves to his mother!  Crazy girls! But as destiny would have it, not the bus trip, nor the wedding were in the cards. That man's heart belonged to Ms. Kelly Preston.  Ok, seriously, what about my dreams of being a rock star hair stylist? Surely, that's not too much to ask for. I worked hard, put myself through Cosmo school, but again, a coincidence that I could not cut hair to save my life? Another failure, another dream shattered. So it seemed. Animals, that's it! I am determined to work for a shelter or vet or something! That is my path. Again, been there, done that, didn't last for "some reason." I seem to have always gotten what I set my sights on, but curiously none of them ever lasted.  Quit making me waste so much time with free will would you please? Do a better job at keeping me on my path! Why did I have to waste six years in a painful relationship? Why did I have to have a public speaking phobia and panic disorder for years that prevented me from pursuing my real dream since I was 18 of being a counselor?  It's not fair! Oh, all the missed signs that are all so clear to me now. But, guess what, it has all worked out. I am, right now,  in the right place at the right time.  Looking back, the most important, most impactful events for me have been the ones I did not expect. Coincidence that I saw my husband to be while stopped at the same traffic light at 4 am? Our eyes meeting briefly as I asked, who is that? Later he unexpectedly shows up in my home town pub on what happened to be my birthday. Really?  Or, I "just happen" to be channel surfing and land on Tony Robbins infomercial and without hesitation, acting only on inspired thought, order my first product.  Since then, and because of that moment, my world opened up and in it I have found amazing new friends, teachers, mentors and opportunities. My path is different because of one seemingly simple coincidence. Different or on track?  Even writing this blog post is only happening because I finally decided to take the time to order the free for three month HBO offer!    Little things, big things, and all those seemingly "bad" things had to happen. Those experiences have shaped me and given me the ability to help people in ways I may not have been able to today.  I have a special appreciation for my husband that I never would have known otherwise.  I've been tested, challenged and stretched. But, I have found strengths I did not know existed!  Seems so suddenly apparent lately. Why?  Because I think I am finally learning to just BE, let go, finally accept. It's been a long time coming!   If you really know me, you probably know I am still considering that notion. Giving up Certainty is never easy when you've held onto it as long as I have!  But, with great teachers and friends (that just happen to show up?) I'm starting to imagine and question what could, what would happen, if I continue just a little bit more and a little bit more....
So, we are nearing the end of 2011. I hope you are creating your goals and dreams for 2012. Do I have a plan?  Me without a plan? Not happening.  Of course I have a plan! A well defined, goal directed, manageable, well controlled course; a plan in the grand scheme of things, a direction for my life. I got it all figured out, 2012 here I come!  But, I wonder what the boys of the black fedoras of fate will have to say about it. I will be sure to pay attention. I am now more aware, looking for opportunities, roads not taken that are sometimes screaming at me like a billboard on a truck or sometimes a mere whisper in a dream.  I will stick to my plan, but I will also welcome a date with destiny. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Value of Happiness

I am a happy person. Even when I'm not happy, I'm happy. Huh? What's that mean? No, I don't mean I'm happy all the time. For God's sakes that would annoy even me!  It's not that I never feel frustrated, angry, hurt, scared, insecure...... Of course not, but what I do mean is that in my core, where I live emotionally IS happiness.  How did I drive that emotion in my core? How did it become my core despite the dramas and traumas that I have experienced and that life inevitably brings to us all?  I believe one reason is because I hold happiness as one of my highest values. Happiness as a value? I know, it sounds weird, because most of us don't define it as a value. We may identify family, friends, God, a strong work ethic, time for ourselves or contribution as our values just to name a few. But, how these other values show up in our lives, I believe, is directly related to the emotional states we value. So, if we don't highly value a great quality state of emotion, how can all our other values be experienced to their highest potential? I don't believe they can.  
"There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion." Carl Jung
So, what about you? How much do you value happiness? How do you know if you do or not? Does this sound like you:  "If I allow myself to be happy something bad will happen then I'll be devastated, it's better to be prepared."  You know, the "waiting for the other shoe to drop" idea.  Or, how about: "If I allow myself to feel and show happiness others might take advantage of me, or I might not be respected." This one I like to call "Elle Woods Syndrome". Remember Elle Woods in Legally Blonde? The epitome of happiness, yet so judged by others. Some of us don't don't believe we have anything to be happy about. We all know at least one soul like that don't we? The downers, the complainers, the negative Nellies. Oh sure, we've all visited there right? But, where are you spending most of your time emotionally?  We feel what we focus on, our experience of life is determined by the meaning we give things and the emotional states we choose to value. (Yes, I said choose!)
There is much we cannot choose in this life; things we have have no control over. We cannot control what others do or say, what they think of us or not think of us. But, we can control 100% what we feel, the meanings we give things, the values we hold. If we choose to value happiness, or gratitude, or joy, or peace as our primary values just think how that could impact all the other aspects of our lives, you know, the other values we hold dear? It also serves as a foundation when pain inevitably does arrive in our lives.   
It's holiday time again. I am always amazed how fast time flies. Life is short my friends; please don't waste it! Look around, look in, look up, look down. What do you have to be happy about right now? What might you be taking for granted? What do you need to remember to be happy and grateful for? Right now, in this moment, see it, hear it, it's Thanksgiving, so smell it and taste it too!  Now feel it!  Got it? Feeling it? Guess what, I knew it; nothing bad happened! Now just do that over and over and over.......Happy Holidays Everyone! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hopelessly Optimistic

345.jpg image by PegHaustI think I'm going to live forever.  It rarely occurs to me that someday I will actually be old let alone dead! I hear women my age say they're old; facebook posts commenting on how it's not fun on the other side of 40 and posting funny Maxine comics to make the point.  On occasion, I will catch myself thinking: "Oh God, its coming for me too!" Sometimes I ask myself: "Wow, am I delusionally optimistic? Is it just me who thinks that life is just beginning? That there are no limitations for what we can accomplish no matter what age?  But then suddenly, the Universe will have a message for me; Alas, the story of the 100 year old man that just ran a marathon! One Hundred Years Old People; One Hundred Years!  Which reminds me, have you seen the X Factor this year? Watch some fabulous talent this season, 49 and 60 year "olds" and others well beyond the "typical age" for success. It is then that I feel instant relief. I am NOT the only one! Delusionally optimistic? HELL NO! Hopelessly Optimistic? Absolutely! Someone once told me that there was no hope for my optimism. He was right!
YES, There are those out there with the will and the courage to shine no matter what age. They have the will and the courage despite seemingly impossible obstacles, fears, failures, mistakes, pains, traumas, broken hearts, broken promises, being told can't, being told won't, being told shouldn't, buying into some crazy notion of not being enough or it's too late.  Oooh, but wait, It can be scary to shine, yes? People think: "Who do you think you are?" As Marianne Williamson, so eloquently wrote:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our lightness not our darkness that most frightens us."    
Are you allowing fear or your age to imprison all that is within you?  I do sometimes, but I remember the words of a very wise coach simply yet powerfully advising me: "Just say F it! really loud when the fear creeps in," or "shhh, soften it" when doubt sneaks in. (Seriously, that works)
So, PLEASE, don't be afraid to shine because being afraid to shine is being afraid to live and being afraid to live is death to your spirit. It's the beginning and the end of your aging process.  Give to others your warmth, your humor, your strength that is unique to you. Watch, you might even breath some fire into them and that's the real gift!  Stand up for a cause, if you don't have one get one! Speak for what you believe in with respect and kindness. Share your uniqeness! Don't mistake confidence for arrogance within yourself or others. Remember, your energy is either contagious and age defying or contagious and age magnifying.  Choose wisely.
Lv P
PS:  Because of this post, I decided to walk the talk. I did post a new pic that I was reluctant to post on my blogger profile. After all, what would people think of me in that crazy green dress! "F it" I did it anyway! :)
PSS:  The irony! Just after writing this we watched The Green Lantern. Green represented our will. The message: Don't let fear out will you. I think green is my new favorite color!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shopping for a Therapist?

I love shopping! I don't care what it is, I'll offer to help my friends shop. Need a car? Oh, let me go online and research for you! Need to find the perfect dress? Please, let me go with you! Yes, I love to shop!
Shopping for a therapist? Well, maybe not so much.  But, I look at this this way....
When it comes to choosing a therapist or a life coach, finding the right one for you is like finding the right running shoes. Sometimes, off and running, you find a pair that fit just right.  But, sometimes you have to try on a couple pair and compare. Still other times, you have to run around the block a couple times.
Sometimes people finally cultivate the courage to make that call and try it out, but find it wasn't helpful and give up.  If that has happened to you, or if it ever does, don't give up! You made that call for a reason! Very likely, the person that wasn't a good fit for you is just right for another!

So, how do you begin?

I suggest, that before calling the prospective therapist/coach, ask yourself:
  • What do I really want from sessions; what do I hope to gain?
  • Why do I want that? How would my life look if I did accomplish it?
  • What are my expectations for sessions and for the therapist/coach?
  • What am I hoping to gain; support? direction? tools? skills?  
  • What am I willing to contribute to the process?
The more specific you are about what you want the easier it will be to find the right fit for you.

Next, make a list of prospects and start calling! Don't be afraid to ask questions pertaining to how they can help you; afterall, they will have many questions for you!  You might ask:
  • This is what I want to accomplish, have you had success helping others with this?
  • Do you have a specialty?
  • How often will we meet?
Don't forget to ask about payment and insurance too. And check out their website if they have one.
If you are comfortable, you can ask your family, friends, or doctor who they might suggest in your area.
Once you've made your initial phone/in person contact assess; did they welcome your questions and answer confidently? How did you feel after talking with them the first time?

REMEMBER, finding the right therapist/coach, like finding the right running shoe, is vital for comfort, performance, and results! So, if the shoe fits.......

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's Just Me

So, I have this friend, and every time she calls me to leave a message she says: "Hey Peg, It's just me...." in her kind, carefree, slow moving tone.  I love you girlfriend, but I must say that every time I hear you say that I want to scream:

"AAHH!! What do you mean it's JUST me!?

It's JUST me: REALLY?? Why must you minimize your importance!  Why do you constantly diminish your inherent power and beauty? How can you not realize your magnificence? Even the fact that you walk this earth is nothing short of a spiritual and scientific miracle! Oh, but it's just me.  YOU are unique! There is no other creature on this earth like you! Even identical twins are slightly different, but never mind that, it's just me.  If your parents never met, YOU, as you are, would not exist! YOU are a biological masterpiece!  YOU cannot be replicated! OMG, YOU are crazy! I am going to Kick Your Ass! Stop it! There is no JUST about YOU!! You ARE love! You ARE special! You ARE Devine! You are One with the whole Universe!

However, if I coach you, you know very well that NOTHING has meaning until meaning is given.  That being said, hmmm, what else could this mean?  Maybe it just means: "Hi Peg, call me."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Curb of Perfectionism

Have you ever noticed that people aren't afraid to admit that they're perfectionists? Oh sure, they will sound guilty, "It's terrible, I am such a perfectionist" but they aren't really.  People don't feel bad telling others that "Sally is a perfectionist." In fact, it's meant as a compliment! It's like telling someone their too skinny. Would you be ok if you heard someone called you a skinny bitch behind your back? (love that book btw)  Or, if someone said: "OMG, Jane has the perfect marriage, perfect children blah blah blah... That's ok, just please, don't say I'm flawed, fat and messy right?  But, wait. Is implying that someone is a Stepford wife with a Stepford life really a great compliment? If you think YES please go watch the movie.
Seriously? I have never considered myself a perfectionist, because, believe me I know some pretty serious ones and that ain't me! But, what if I took a closer more honest look....Why do I put off writing blogs? Why haven't I started creating my workbook? I think: "Oh, I have to know this or do that first." Here's my best one: "I need to wait for warmer weather, because I'll be much more creative when I can sit outside and write!" Really? Procrastination is a hallmark sign of perfectionism! It whispers loudly: "If you can't do it perfectly, Peg, don't do it." What if they don't get it? What if they don't like it?"
Oh, and what about your quest for the perfect anti-wrinkle concoction or ultimate diet? Wait, sorry, that's me, not you. (I believe I now have the answer btw!) OK, OK, I'm not saying I'm not going to fight the good fight when it comes to the anti aging thing. I do have a good time with all that girl stuff! Those familiar with my coaching will point out that it does meet my six human needs on a very high level! But, truth be told, (read the next line slowly and mindfully) perfectionism is THE LOWEST standard to have because it's not humanly possible. It's an old cliche' "nobody's perfect." Isn't that annoying? Why? Because we know it's true, but we don't want to accept it. It reaches the depths of our two universal human fears that we all share: the fear of not being loved and the fear of not being enough.
So please, exuse me while I get ready to go to yoga where I will find peace within. Within, where I do not hide my beautiful lines of wisdom, nor my little tummy pooch that my husband, lucky for me, finds sexy. (my yoga teacher fondly calls hers a food baby; lv that!) Within, where I commune with God and find gratitude for all in my life. Within, where I understand that I am enough. Within, where real perfection exists in us all. Namaste, beautiful perfect souls......
for tomorrow......
I will enjoy a day with mother to celebrate Mother's Day with a glass of wine and a pampering pedicure. Saturday, a day at Kim's Creations where I will receive a glorious red mane of curls that seem to magically vanish the years away (Thanks Kim!) Later, I will laborously clean my office preparing for a fun champagne on ice jewelry party. OK, you know what? I don't call my biz live perfectly, but I do call it Live More! So, I encourage you, no I dare you, to move from the dark world of perfectionism and strive UP! Upward reaching toward the edge of excellence instead of falling down, down to the lowly curb of perfectionism. Feel the difference!  We live, We learn, We grow. I am too.
"Come to the edge, he said. They said; we are afraid. Come to the edge he said. He pushed them...and they flew."

I would love to hear from you! How would your life be different if you got off the curb?