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Inspiration Null

adult1

I simply have not had any inspiration to blog.

Hmm.  Just reading that sentence back: I know that’s not even slightly true. I think perhaps I’ve had way too much inspiration… and maybe simply not the energy to use it. Ever feel that way?

I felt that way A LOT when I was “awakening”- my term (and others’) for disengaging the auto-pilot switch powering perceptions of what life was suppose to be. Until my 30’s, school, jobs, money, relationships were programmed as “what life is”, not as I see them now: optional tools for me to explore the expansive and textured facets and depths of life – a wholly more fulfilling existence!! As I awoke to a consciousness that how I was living my life did not match my instinctual feelings both about the intent of life and the gifts I was here to offer, well… it was simultaneously excruciating and intriguing; confusing… and CRYSTAL clear.

My “revival” was infectiously stimulating; I found books, I found teachers, I found my intuition: inspiration, inspiration, inspiration! And then I found: overwhelming exhaustion. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. Physically. Tons of inspiration… and no energy to use it.

be-you-role6It’s a lifelong process, growing your YOU-ness. A zillion things contribute to each of our journeys… no right, no wrong: just real life requiring a series of “course-corrections” (as life-coach Nancy Levin so validatingly puts it). Gratefully, as I began to connect with my “self” during those highly transformative third-life years, I naturally gravitated towards people, perspectives and activities that literally fueled my spirit. And though it took some blind faith as I navigated a whole lot of new folks, the more time I spent in “like-mindedness”, the more the scales of endurance and joie-de-vivre balanced. I found the key to perpetual energy: my ME-ness.

So today, as I take a hard look at my I’d-rather-have-dental-surgery feelings re: “inspiration” and the many failed attempts at writing this blog, I finally hear the proverbial bell clang way, WAY loud, and the bell tolls for thee… er, me… oh whatever:

Could I be further awakening??

Ahhh…(ding ding ding) me thinks so!!!For Whom The Bell Tolls

Tired: check  
 Profound yet equal frustration with life and intrigue for life: check 
Feelings of confusion… but a sense of absolute clarity: check and check.

Yup. More awakening.

As mentioned in past posts, it’s now well over a year since my Mom passed. I had no idea how that experience would play out in my life.  You can read more here, but in brief: emotionally and spiritually, the passing of one of the people I love most dearly in this life was… light– if not actually: fulfilling! WHEW, eh?!  As time goes on, it’s been more clear that instead of the classic “pain” of loss (a pain which I absolutely have experienced in the past and so have good reference for), with Mom’s passing, I felt more of an energy drain. Listless… flat: limited highs and lows… and NO time at all for drama and bullshit.

Which… actually makes perfect sense, when you think about it: Mom’s love, hugs and love-yourself-core-3chats were a consistent, reliable fuel for my spirit since inception- and unconditional love fills you up.  Now, in the transition period since her loss, the needle drops below full: just enough to choke my energy lines and threaten a stall. Re-sourcing said fuel, after decades of simply satiating in the ever-present Mom-flow, requires a new and deeper awakening. Core deep. And though “deep” is a word often conjuring weighty feelings of seriousness or complication, here: it feels far-and-away more simple… and more peaceful. Because now, what I know from my life journey so far is that, as my AUXILIARY (and much valued) love-fuel lines fluctuate, my INHERENT ones are primed to do the job they could… should… and actually were doing all along – had I stilled more often and truly took awareness and ownership of my own power:
Drive life from the depth of my soul- beyond the clutter of reactionary, inauthentic “expectation”.
Own it.
Show it.
Live it.
And to no surprise, this totally fits my life’s overall experiential pattern:
the more depth i.e. ME-ness I concede, the simpler life is.

Ahhhh…. and the SIMPLICITY of life is INSPIRING beyond words! I suppose to really make that point, I should stop writing here. 

 

choice-consequenceBut I need to connect a few dots. There are life experiences whose only job is to get us to stop and check in with our values, priorities and actions. What are you here for… what do you want – how do you want to do it?? Death is a pretty overt pivotal experience for folks, but really, the impetus could present much more covertly: yelling at baristas, clutter, Candy-Crush marathons, keeping money you just found in the mall, resenting friends’ holiday pics or new homes, dreading Monday mornings – not to mention health flags like chronic backache, IBS… some think even cancers. […Or pain, anger, disillusionment in humanity from an election??*]

You are responsible for you.
READ ON:
 Could being pissed at a botched Starbucks order really be a CRITICAL life “pivot-point?
 And what’s TRULY the culprit for my lethargic ” lack of inspiration”…

Soul Searching

soul move cropI use the word “soul” a lot when I’m working with clients. It dawned on me, that while I have a very clear understanding in my mind of what I’m referring to and why I’m choosing this particular word, I’ve never stopped to give myself an actual working definition. That I could actually write down. Or quote to a client: if they actually paused to ask me “just what do you mean, when you say soul?”.

My bad.

Easy fix: jot down my definition so I have crystal clear vocabulary at the ready.
Okay. No probs: GO!

Uhhh….

mmmmm…??

Okay, not so easy.

As I search for my “soul”, my first stumbling block is that I believe I have two distinctly different uses for the word: one I use with clients and one I use personally. Hypocritical?? Well, let’s see as this post progresses… I think you’ll understand that, given I work with a very diverse clientelle, I want to refrain from any upfront connection of the word soul to anything sounding remotely affiliated with “organized religion”. Simply put, it’s a respectful way to start out and make YOU feel safe as we get to know each other.  Next, I’m cautious not to use the word soul in any soulsearching 101way close to sounding “woo-woo”. While I vehemently oppose the mostly derogatory, arrogant, fear-mongering (but let’s get real: fear-FULL!) use of the term woo-woo, on what are for the most part, unexplored theories fully worthy of exploration, I do understand that soul-speak has been thrown around with some very alternative beliefs. I could make my job very difficult (and ineffective, really) if I don’t tippy-toe a little with my vocabulary: it’s my job to listen to you, my client, to hear your frame of reference for any terminology or phrasing that comes up; and then gear my words to how you will hear them best, regardless if your definition is miles from mine. If I’m unclear about your use of a word or concept, I ask for clarity – which invariably proves quite revealing, as clients pause to question if they actually know (and/or believe!) their own definitions! (“Clarity” is self-help magic: shhhh!) Clarification for the word soul, though, has never come up, funnily enough. I’ll take that to mean I’m doing my job well!! Little wins!

Now as a little aside: I do actually use the word woo-woo quite frequently – as do many doing this kind of work. The word to me (us) connotes “forward thinking”, and it’s been reclaimed in the self-development, psychology and wellness industries, among others, as light-hearted (perhaps a little “told-ya-so”) sarcasm: ribbing the skepticism of “crazy” ideas which are often dismissed out of ignorance and fear; and that have ultimately produced many positive game-changing and world-impacting results. I love world-renowned neuroscience-quantum physics geek, Dr. Joe Dispenza‘s viewpoint on this: “Science is the language to explain possibility”. Brilliant!!! Just when did we begin discriminating where this concept can be applied – or more pertinently: WHY??  All “credible” scientific developments started as blind woo-woo exploration; and guess what – some of that “credible” research has now been proven – wait for it: WRONG!! “Proof” of something is actually current working theory, not fact. With the rapid increase in tools available to measure and challenge past and present woo-woo theories more consistently (e.g. fMRI’s, 3D ultra-sound, hubble telescope)*, woo-woo and science are, rightfully, becoming one very quickly. Can’t wait to see what the future holds! Some of my fave woo-wooisms and woo-wooites:
Nietzsche dance2-Copernicus, earth/sun rotation
-John Dalton, atomic theory, pffft
-Marconi, radio waves… leading to cell phones, Apple, you’re welcome… and while we’re here, computers were pure fantasy when I was a kid (but adorable in tennies!)
-a deranged William Harvey said blood circulates… say WAHHH!
-that insane Josiah Nott claimed bugs – BUGS! can carry disease to humans!!
-PMS is, hello, clearly mental “hysteria”!
-Dr. Damien Finnissplacebo research leading to more discriminatory use of pharma… because hey, guess what, maybe the human body came pre-loaded with self-healing mechanisms that we just haven’t given it credit for…yet!
-and please, burn ’em at the stake for even imagining test-tube babies or a man on the moon!!!
A lot of woo-woo has made YOUR life pretty fabulous – just what if those far-out thinkers succumbed to narrow-minded fear?! I’m holding the faith that people are finally coming around to blood circulation.

“Perhaps understanding how and why are the booby prize.”
                                       -Rachel Naomi Remen (full quote/story)

Back to the soul search: maybe it would help me formulate my definition if I gathered some vocabulary from a few others. Good ‘ol Oprah to the aid….

READ ON: Oprah’s friends offer some perspectives on the term “soul”: will they meet my needs? Yours??

You’ll See It When You Believe It

Change the way you look at things, the things you look at change

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”

One of my all-time fave philosophies. Change. It’s powerful beyond measure, and also crippling as hell. Sigh. There’s been another death in my life.

I shared in a recent post that my Mom changed residences from her comfy loving home here on earth to somewhere, hopefully, even more wonderful. For you straight-shooters: she died. I wrote of how for me, Mom’s passing was a positive, enlightening experience and I have felt very little of the grief that I had been forewarned of and feared most of my life – and I LOVED my Mom! I valued my relationship with her greatly; she was a beautiful spirit that brought only good things to my life – the most obvious being my heart, lungs and brain! Read more about my ‘positive’ experience here, but to reinforce the sentiments of that post: today, fifteen weeks later and the day after her birthday, I’m still just revering Mom’s death with a smile! My world has felt a bit off its axis for sure, and her absence has me a wee bit out of sorts: but contrary to my fears, her loss has brought little pain. And let me say again clearly: I loved that woman dearly.

Best teachers help you find your own pathSo why then, has the death of someone I have never even met left me heartbroken?!? Psychologist, philosopher, author, speaker, “father of motivation” and master of the above “Change” quote, Dr. Wayne Dyer, passed unexpectedly on August 30th, 2015. Wayne’s work influenced every field related to mental and physical health, motivation, personal development, professional development, spirituality, education. Any of those things relevant to your life? Then so was Wayne.

I wrote a post on Wayne a while back so I won’t regurgitate his bio and deets, rather, I’m just so curious as to why I, alongside millions of others, felt such shock, sadness and utter loss upon hearing of Wayne’s passing. Clearly, he was a teacher for me. I’ve often been asked: “what teacher impacted you the most growing up”; questioners expectantly awaiting a gushy, grateful idolizing of one of my public-school teachers. I could indeed provide a high-school teacher’s name: Mr. Toews. Pronounced “Taves”. My Grade 9 Social Studies teacher. Why? Because he had a mini-guillotine on his desk and would behead a pencil if I walked in late for class. Still echoing in my soul, Mr. Toew’s sinister voice: “Loughlinnn!!!” CHOP! This anchored to my young psyche forevermore, that being late wasn’t necessarily a bad thing: the flying pencil-head was pretty cool. Otherwise, not a damn thing resonated under Mr. Toew’s tutelage; and it has really bothered me not to be able to name a single school teacher who even slightly inspired me. I’m sure I came out of public school with a decent memorization Off with your head!of some useful (and a lot more totally useless) information and some handy skills, however, no galvanizing direction, having never been approached by anyone in the education system – EVER, offering me personal context, incentive, or even a bolstering of curiosity as to how this ‘education’ could be harnessed “to be anything I wanted to be“. Ditto for college: strong contributing factors as to why it took me so long to identify my calling, me thinks. Wayne Dyer impacted my life greater than any “formal” teacher I’ve ever had: encouraging me to shift my definition and means of education; to shamelessly pursue my tribe, fulfillment, joy; and, most importantly, inspiring a desire to inspire others. And I’ve never met the man.

You got some 'splainin!

CONT’D: So why tears for a stranger, when I barely shed them for Mom? And…see how Wayne made me a believer in the ‘afterlife’!
PLUS: Are You A Self-Help Whore?? (page 2)

Fifty Shades of HSP

Too sensitive?

Are you feeling just a wee bit of empathy for that sad, lonely little pin? If so, chances are you’re HSP… and/or a marketer’s dream!!! Come on folks: it’s a PIN!  But if you’re like me: I had an immediate physical ‘sensory’ reaction.

[……. spawning an emotional backstory involving other pin-people that are greatly affecting Pokey’s life… and not for the better: he definitely needs a mentor!!]

And I’ll call my shrink: HE??!
Well, I can’t help it – and neither can you if this pic triggers your emotions in any way.

So many of you resonated with the posts on HSPs (highly sensitive person) and how it is biologically driven moreso than conditioning. Without a mainstream understanding of this, many of you – us – have felt “different”: flawed, lacking; confused by our heightened sensories; painfully suppressing emotions; labelled introverted, shy, weak, wimpy or the incredibly condescending: OH, YOU’RE JUST TOO SENSITIVE!!! You just might be über sensitive, but that’s your calling-card: part of your identity to develop and use to your greatest life.

What’s really interesting, both from blog comments and conversations I have in general, is the number of folks that need their self-image and life to fit into a perfectly defined BOX with the duly assigned bow. Case in point, this comment in an email “Kelly2.0” wrote me:

“I thought I was right-brain, based on the criteria,  
but I’m definitely a list-maker and a planner– so I guess I’m not.”

And my client, let’s call him “Jack”, a very social, life-of-the-party type of guy, was puzzled – almost offended, when I suggested he may want to read a bit about ‘introvert’ tendencies, snickering disdainfully…

Me. Introvert. I don’t think so”.

Rather, Jack was convinced he had depression: because he regularly locked himself in his room for dark, quiet solace- often for days. Both of these folks had clearly misinformed ideas, and were looking at “definitions” far too linearly.

I'm with stupidI want to make it perfectly clear: all of these human “labels” such as introvert, extrovert, HSP, left-brain, right-brain ARE ALL JUST GUIDANCE – clues if you will, to help us understand ourselves a little better; to know that most of our tendencies are normal, and that there are other folks out there (like: MILLIONS!) with idiosyncrasies just as “crazy” as yours and mine! Naming characteristics and behaviours and “grouping” them simply makes it easier to communicate; and greatly benefits professionals to make some relative sense as they’re doing their jobs.  Just like rules: these “categorizations” too, are meant to be broken.

HUMAN BEINGS are on a gray-scale pretty much in every single thing about us: you might have more of something, less of something else; fit clearly into one group description, or fall flatly in the middle of two. I might be a “woman”, but I do not have the same DNA as any other woman on the planet Unique blends(if my parents can be trusted!). You haven’t the foggiest if I was born with a uterus; and my nether parts may biologically include a penis: am I still a woman? My assertiveness is chronically attributed to being a ‘fiery redhead’: there must be something pretty potent in Feria #74 – I’m a brunette! I have categorically green eyes, but their custom tones reflect colours from hazel to blue, depending on my shirt. (Sigh, my bio-family has called me blue-eyed my whole life!). I’m right-handed: but waterski and snowboard “goofy”*. I have 7,499,488,203 freckles. It’s summer: that could change.  My chromosomes put me in the general category of “female”, but as any other “female”: my own customized version. “Sensory” and sensitivity falls equally in the ingredients list of “being human”: how it functions and manifests for each of us will be on a gray-scale too.

As with everything in life, the golden ticket (as stated in the last HSP blog) is simply: AWARENESS. The more you know yourself, identify and respect your different shades, the better you can choose and navigate your path. Knowing you’ll never exceed 5’1″ will most likely save time when considering an NBA career (…and heartache… and your knees).  Knowing you feel pain and empathy for a pin, will most likely save time when considering a nursing** career (…and anxiety… and pharmaceuticals).  Having an understanding of what might be biological, what might be learned, and how to manage and monopolize on both gives tremendous personal power.

50+ Shades of You

READ ON: Kelly2.0 and “Jack’s” – AND MY
misunderstandings about “sensitivities”

 

Speaking of monopolizing on sensitivity…
Check out Ariana Page Russell and her “Skin Art”:
Use your sensitivities!!“My skin is very sensitive and I blush easily. I have dermatographia, a condition in which one’s immune system releases excessive amounts of histamine, causing capillaries to dilate and welts to appear (lasting about thirty minutes) when the hypersensitive skin’s surface is lightly scratched. This allows me to painlessly draw on my skin with just enough time to photograph the results. Even though I can direct this ephemeral response by drawing on it, the reaction is involuntary, much like the uncontrollable nature of a blush.”
Sensitivity at its most literal… but uniquely Ariana’s to use!

KISS of Life

Survival instincts.
Seriously, how did we get so off track?
Even the birds and the bees know to KISS: keep it simple, stupid!

Origins Movie

I’m loving a webinar called Origins: Deep Dive, a follow-up interview series to the newly premiered movie Origins which essentially asks the central question, in the producer Pedram Shojai’s own words:

“What kind of stupid animal forgets how to survive
in the very environment it evolved in?”

The movie and interviews have just been offered free to the public until Nov. 27/14. The movie and interview links are below. I will have the interviews in mp3 available here in the next few days.
[HERE THEY ARE! MP3s]

Pedram ShojaiShojai, who has a Master’s in Oriental Medicine and is founder of Well.org (and quite fond of telling us to “wake up!”) promotes the movie with this trailer tag:

“Who’s Hijacking Your Health?

We humans were once pretty bad-ass organisms.
Then something significant changed.

Today we don’t move enough, we don’t know how to take care of ourselves, and we’ve become disconnected from what makes us thrive as the super-animals we once were.

We’re getting sicker, weaker and more infertile. We’re spending billions on health care to stay healthy, and it’s not working.

Find out why. And what you can do.

 Cont’d… and MOVIE/INTERVIEW links. Click page 2

Sister Act II

life plotIn my reinterpretation of Sister Act (last post), I began a tale of how nature and nurture are so intricately co-dependent that without a secure understanding that you are free to both style your own destiny and to create a supporting tribe, a life-story can transition from fairytale to horror flick with or without the assistance of scary monsters.  A life can go off the reel simply by being uninspired: no need for tragedies or down-and-out tales.

I have to admit, it was difficult writing the Sister Act post – not because of vulnerability, but because I could have written a BOOK with all that I have to say about cultural conditioning, the squelching of authenticity societally, and the impact both of these had on my own life. I’ve pared things down in these Sister Act posts and they’re really just overviews of my experiences, and because of that, they don’t go quite to the level of vulnerability that I believe is crucial to shift the fear of folks just being their unmasked selves. Really, there shouldn’t even be a need to attach a concept such as “vulnerability” when sharing life experiences: being me as me, being you as you is NORMAL. Unfortunately though, we are still buying into the crap that we should conform to a predictable sameness: a boring, colourless, inspirationless, stifling, robotic sameness rather than innate, primal, compelling, exhilarating, gratified uniqueness. Being “vulnerable” i.e. the real me with you, is one way I can personally contribute to the fabulous ripple-effect that my encouragement of you to be you will naturally bring. I commit to share as intimately as need be in future posts as I break my personal movie out into smaller soundbites.

Sister Act 2I don’t know exactly what genre Sister Act II falls into: in the 20 year span from the point where I thought I had an absolutely sure vision of where my life was going, to the point of WTF and surrendering to my spirit rather than trying to direct it, my bio-pic runs the gamut of themes: family film, chick-flick, mystery, horror… yikes, crime too; I’ve lived more than one medical drama, a war (with myself) story, definitely some comedy, and lots of educational content. While more than a few of those twenty years felt completely fictitious- often even animated (like a representation of me but not me), I think I’ll summarize this particular story arc as “action-adventure”: though oftentimes in the moment, I really didn’t appreciate the adventure. (I sure hope it is a period-piece.)

What those 20 years basically brought to light is…  that when you are not consciously living-  living with that kid-in-your-heart, live-it-out-loud authenticity, with a truly supporting tribal-cast, the universe defaults to become your primary tribesman, offering up whatever scheme it needs to get you to check in with yourself. Act One of my universal butt-kicks was during that period referred to in the last post at age 16, when, ultra-bored, I began lobbying my parents to change schools: sensing inherently that I needed a new tribe. Having elicited no concern from my parents, I abandoned any further action. SMASH!!! The universe brought me action…. in the form of a semi-serious car accident, which in complete sarcasm, could have wiped out half of my ill-fitting tribe: my then girl-posse was in the car with me… I was driving. It was a strange night: the girlfriends and I were unusually quiet, not much traffic, I turned left, we were broadsided at 50km/hr., spinning into a merciless pole.  Whew that my broken nose was the only visible casualty (besides my temporary insanity: “maybe Mom won’t notice the dent” I told my first-on-the-scene big bro!) My posse got trips to Hawaii via the insurance money; I got a decades-long limiting belief. My parents never spoke of the accident to me past that night: apparently my 4th-child, sibling-induced pattern of being so competent and not needing much direction led each of my parents to interpret my quiet calm as “handling things well”: no need to rock the boat. You okay?In reality I was in a state of shock, feeling 3-yr-old-little-girl-fear, desperately needing someone to come hold me and give me words to understand the startling randomness of life and the perceived personal failure that the accident provoked; and, just to have someplace safe to cry. Reminiscent of my actual age three when my Mom “disappeared”, and, with no conversation around it everyone just got on with things (per last post, she was in hospital for an extended period due to a car crash), this incident simply reinforced my belief that when life is confusing: you just figure things out by yourself… and get on with it.

Act Two… I continued on my conveyor-belt life: college… first job… up the ladder to second job… next rung third job. I had new players in my life but they were typecast per the uninspiring others, so trusty old universe stepped in again:

Read More: Stalkers, FBI… say whaat???  And  “Why Your Life Sucks!” (page 2)

Trusting Life: Just Could Be Your Big Break!

We hear repeatedly from people that they would not change their past for anything – even in the case of tragedies. The reason most given: the lessons learned brought their life to a beautiful place that they never could have even imagined. Do we really need to go through some of these experiences – over and over, to learn some of our lessons?? (I can think of a few I wouldn’t have minded skipping!) I believe the answer is in fact: NO- if we had been living more consciously to begin with… and had identified the first warning signs. But alas, paraphrasing Oprah: first you hear the whisper, then the nudge, then you get a brick upside yo’ head – then the whole damn brick wall falls down all around yo’self!!! Our intuition and our subconscious sees and feels things that aren’t right for us before our conscious mind does, and either creates or tunes into the warnings. If we are living mindlessly, we miss the signs again and again; with practice at being still, listening to our souls, checking in with our bodies, we become more adept at sensing these signs, and believing them the first time!

I came across this fun story of Mark Schulman, a philanthropist and renowned drummer for folks like Foreigner, Billy Idol, Pink, and a situation that he found himself in that could have sent a brick wall tumbling on his career. His story of grace is a reminder of the power of intuition and our choices, and how attitude really can break us – or bring the big break to us.

Mark Schulman

Aaay Oh…Attitude of Opportunity

by Mark Schulman

Be independent of the
good opinion of others!

-Dr. Wayne Dyer

I was rehearsing at the infamous and now defunct, Leed’s Rehearsal Studios in 1992, hired by a local artist with money to do a showcase. While rehearsing, I befriended the manager of Leeds who suggested I audition for Foreigner. I had been a big fan of the band years earlier. At the time I was also touring on and off with an R& B artist named Bobby Caldwell who was known for writing, producing and playing every instrument on his big hit, What You Won’t Do For Love. I loved playing with Bobby. I am a hard hitting drummer and Bobby actually asked me to play harder at one point; I have loved him ever since.

I auditioned for Foreigner in this big airplane hanger. At the time, it was just Mick Jones (the guitar player and founder of the band) and Johnny, the new lead singer/bass player. I was happy with my current situation, so I felt no sense of the desperation or urgency musicians sometimes feel when they are between gigs. This gave me an advantage because I decided to have fun instead of feeling pressure to get the job. This lack of attachment to an outcome was empowering. Because of this Attitude, I just had fun. We jammed on all new song ideas. Mick was not interested in hearing me play any old Foreigner tunes, he just wanted to see what we could create now, and how much fun we could have. I had no idea at the time that the session was being recorded.

Yes you!I also had the Attitude that I was auditioning them. This may sound strange, but by then, as I was in a fortunate place at the time, I decided to be only interested in situations that suited me.

I decided to be more selective about what I allowed into my life.

I believe they sensed this. I also believe that it made me more appealing to the band.

When we listened back to the recordings, we were rockin’. We hung out a bit more, I thanked them for the experience and I left. Within a few days, I got a call from Foreigner’s management telling me that they had narrowed it down to me and another drummer. They wanted to bring us both into the studio for a full day of recording to see how our talents translated on tape. The following week, I went into a studio in Silverlake, California and recorded for about 12 hours. I had fun, they had fun and apparently they were quite happy with my Attitude, Behavior and the recorded tracks. A few days later, I got a call from management to let me know that I was the new drummer for Foreigner.

Strangely, a month passed with no word from Foreigner’s management. Glad I had kept all of my current irons in the fire. I kept working with Bobby Caldwell and playing gigs and sessions in L.A. Finally Kevin Jones, Mick’s brother (and road manager) called with the news that the original singer, the infamous, Lou Gramm was returning to the band. The silence was because they were negotiating the details of his return.

At this point, I was genuinely excited! Lou was the voice of Feels Like the First Time, Hot Blooded, Urgent and I Want to Know What Love Is…This situation now became quite an opportunity for me. The band renegotiated their deal with Atlantic records and hired new management. They had grand plans to record and release a new record and put together a world tour. Additionally, they wanted to make me and the other sidemen, Bruce, Jeff and Thom, actual band members! Up to this point in my career with signed acts; I had always been a hired gun, an employee. This was actualizing one of my childhood dreams of being in a famous band. Then things got strange.

ForeignerAgain, I didn’t hear from the Foreigner camp for many weeks. I was the new drummer of Foreigner, but I heard on the street that Foreigner was recording some new tracks. When I heard this, I immediately called Kevin Jones to find out what was happening. Kevin sheepishly confessed that they hired a producer named Keith Forsey to co-write and produce some new tracks. Keith was the original drummer for Donna Summer in the Disco era and became the protégé for famed producer, Giorgio Moroder. His first major production project was a new solo artist named Billy Idol. Keith facilitated Billy’s success and co-wrote and produced some of Billy’s biggest hits. He also played the drums on Dancin with Myself.

Keith had not heard of me and as a drummer himself, he was quite discriminating about the drum tracks. He chose to bring in his preferred recording drummer, Tal Bergman (a fantastic drummer/producer who has since become another friend of mine) to record with Foreigner. As you can imagine, I was floored to hear this. I felt like my girlfriend had just cheated on me and everyone know but me!

This turned out to be a defining moment for me,
a moment of reaction versus opportunity.

In as much as I felt like screaming, kicking and punching someone, I chose to ask Kevin for Keith’s number. He was a bit caught off guard, but he gave it to me anyway.

I got off the phone and called Keith before my mind could come up with reasons not to! I figured that by now, he must at least know my name. I was on a mission. I believed that this gig was mine and I was going to do whatever I could to own it. There were many things out of my control, but there were definitely things within the realm of what I could do…

Next: Aghh! What Happened to Mark?? (page 2)

Ever Asked Yourself Why You Want a Relationship?

awareness jung
Last week’s featured article was a another hint about being conscious in your life. “Is It Love… or Comfort” prompted us to view relationships as containers for growth.  We begin relationships at whatever growth level we happen to be in when we meet, and then — we change.  Change is the way of the world, so inevitably in our relationships, we have a choice: we can grow together or we can grow apart. A significant number of couples do not consciously make this choice.

Our social and familial conditioning often contains an autopilot that dictates partners, marriage, children as an endgame. Advocates of conscious living, myself included, view these as lovely, fulfilling choices – IF you so choose, but certainly not an endgame. Particularly, the old message of relationships often includes an element of another person being the completion of one’s life and love, as opposed to a complement to your own self-love and fulfilling “be-ing” – – which is in essence, the generator of your ability to share love in the first place.  Awareness of one’s self is pretty key to a lot of outcomes, and the following article and video by renowned relationship expert Margaret Paul explores a very fundamental view of this:

If you are a person who
wants to be in a relationship,relationship water flame

have you thought about why?

Actually, in my research and years of relationship counselling there are two very different reasons for wanting a relationship. The first is about what you want to get, and the second is about what you want to learn and share.

Wanting a Relationship in Order to: Get

If you ask people why they want a relationship, many will say things like:

  • I want someone to love me and make me feel special and worthy.
  • I don’t want to be alone and lonely anymore.
  • I want to have children.
  • I want to feel safe and secure.

What they might not say outright is that they want a relationship to:

  • Fill the empty place within them.
  • Complete them. They hope that their partner will give them what they are not giving to themselves and what they might not have received as children.
  • Make them feel taken care of emotionally, financially and/or sexually.

You might be thinking, “Right! Aren’t these the reasons everyone wants a relationship? Why be in a relationship if not to be loved, cherished, made to feel special, safe and secure? What’s the point of a relationship if not to fill me, take away my loneliness and make me feel okay about myself?”

There really is another reason for wanting to be in a relationship.

Wanting a Relationship in Order to: Heal, Learn and Share Love

The other reason for being in a relationship stems from the fact that relationships are the most fertile ground for learning about what is unhealed in us, and for having an arena to heal. Most of us have baggage from childhood that we carry into our primary relationship — such as fears of rejection and fears of engulfment. These fears generally get played out with a partner, which offers us an incredible opportunity to learn about and heal them. Relationship can be the Ph.D. of personal growth!

being the real you takes courageLearning about your fears of intimacy, as well as about control issues that may surface with a primary partner, can lead to much personal growth — enhancing your ability to love. The more you learn to take responsibility for your own feelings — learning to love yourself, cherish yourself, make yourself feel special and valued — the more you may want a relationship in order to share your love rather than to get love. Contrary to what many believe, it’s not the getting of love that takes away loneliness, but the sharing of love.

The most profound and beautiful experience in life is the sharing of love. But we can’t share our love unless we are filled with love. When we learn to fill ourselves with love from our “Source” — whatever that is for each person, such as nature, spirit, God, the energy of the universe — then we come to our partner with inner fullness rather than with inner emptiness. Rather than needing a partner to complete us, we desire to share our completeness with our partner.

When two people come together to get love rather than to learn, heal and share love, there is a strong possibility that their relationship won’t last. With both partners trying to get loved and filled by the other, and neither one having learned to love and fill themselves, each will ultimately be disappointed. Very often, one or both might believe they’ve picked the wrong partner.

When two people come together because they want to learn together, grow together, heal together, share their time and companionship, and share their love and passion, they have a good chance of creating a lasting, loving relationship.

When these people are asked why they want a relationship, they say:

  • I have a lot of love to give and I want to share it with a partner, who also has a lot of love to give. Possibly, we might want to have children with whom to also share our love.
  • I want to learn and grow with someone who also wants to learn and grow.
  • I want to share time, companionship, lovemaking, laughter and play with someone with whom I feel deeply connected.

If you tune inside and honestly ask yourself why you want a relationship, and you find yourself on the first list rather than on the second, do not despair. You can learn how to love yourself and fill yourself with love so that you have plenty of love to share with a partner.

It’s important to realize that we attract people:we are one when we are two

at our common level of health — which is the level of taking personal responsibility for our happiness and wellbeing — OR

at our common level of self-abandonment — which includes making someone else responsible for our feelings.

Given this reality, you have a far better chance of creating a healthy and loving relationship with a partner when you have a healthy and loving relationship with yourself.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a relationship expert, best-selling author, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette, and featured on Oprah. There are many more wonderful videos on youtube.

Oh – You Want To Be Happy TOO??

Ever Gotten What You Wanted…
But It Didn’t Make You Happy?

Humans just SO messed up somewhere along the way.  Society…parenting…education system – no point in sourcing blame, just follow Maya Angelou’s “when you know better, do better” philosophy, I reckon.  I’m referring to our belief that we have to compare materialismourselves to anyone or anything. There’s a predominant conditioning in these parts that our lives (thus happiness) are measured in stages of development and accomplishments – and man, doesn’t that make the years fly?!!  Baby should be walking by X, talking by X… and all of a sudden you have this little person – when did that happen?  You master the alphabet by Y and algebra by Z – then suddenly you should be grown up… and you need to have a career, a partner, money in the bank and a retirement plan… and when you beat yourself up for another 20 years for not having all of that by 30 – because that’s OLD and you SHOULD, your negative thoughts and their impact on your body set you up perfectly for illness; and if you don’t die then, you try so hard to mash all of your bucket list into the next 10 years and enjoy yourself – dammit, that you’re too exhausted to revel in the golden years that you worked your a** off for – then you die. Sure, there are some happy moments in there – but are they really?  With so many adults struggling at 40-50-60 to still figure out “who” they are – something is fundamentally wrong.  “YOU” is innate; happiness is innate: we’re born that way because we’re suppose to live that way.  We humans mess it up with our mindless thinking and pointless, soul-raping comparisons.

Howz about we re-write the plan a little.  Parents are all full of the “you are perfect just the way you are, honey – you can be whatever you want to be” mantra – – but here it comes… in your head without skipping a beat… the conditioned ending to that thought: “but only if you demonstrate that you reach XYZ by XYZ timeframe just like Olivia in your class”. Silent, but  loud.  You’d never say that to the kids, I know, but face it, there is no “modelling” if YOU don’t know who YOU are, folks: you have to live it to sell it to the kids. Let’s work on a subtle shift of awareness – pay attention; SUPPORT your kid to really BE who they are. Let’s permit and assist them – and each other, to take this inborn identity and play with it, explore it, and do with it whatever is so chosen.  Milestones are great – but pick out a few flat ones to skip in the river: it just might amaze you.  A good start is to abandon the need for comparison to any other person, norm, median measurement in our life philosophies; and while making this transition within our measurement-crazy society, let’s reinforce any type of “assessment” to be perceived as a personal goal to attain higher knowledge or skill – – and to make it commonplace that we personally buy into any goal in the first place as something desired to enhance our own life or spirit.

Dr. Judith Wright has a relatable view on the subject, including a perspective within the workplace:

And I want it delivered

I had gotten what I wanted by my late 20s. I had set–and met–my goals; I had gotten all A’s, achieved career success, lost weight, had a handsome boyfriend, volunteered, and was doing good work in the world developing model programs for people with disabilities.

I had what I wanted–but I was unfulfilled. Dissatisfied. I expected that I’d be thrilled, but I was far from it. Even though my friends said I had it all and how lucky I was, I didn’t feel lucky. Then I felt guilty that this wasn’t enough and I thought I needed to do better, do more, be better.

So, I worked harder and partied more and achieved more goals and lost more weight and bought more cool stuff and did more cool stuff and I still wasn’t satisfied. I still felt that nagging emptiness.

It turns out I was miswanting–what positive psychologists say is wanting something that you mistakenly think will make you happy, with an emphasis on MISTAKEN.

We all do it. We are what scientists call poor “affective forecasters”—which means we pretty much suck at predicting what will make us happy.

I was getting what I wanted, but that wasn’t making me happy, satisfied, or fulfilled. And I found out I wasn’t alone in this. So many people were coming to our company for coaching Having everything you desire is not normalor personal and professional development trainings who seemed to have it all—great accomplishments, busy lives filled with great activities—but just like me they felt empty and unfulfilled, like something was missing. We thought the secret to happiness is to set and meet new goals, get another promotion, buy a new place, do yoga and meditate, do a seminar and our vision boards, tone our bodies and volunteer, scout for cool places to go to and cool people to go with…

Yet, none of these things will make us happy unless we unlock the real secret of happiness– which is not about getting what we want, but about fulfilling our yearnings.

The act of wanting gives a dopamine high, that anticipation of reward, that quick buzz, the rush of excitement, that burst of energy… but it doesn’t make us happy or provide long-term fuel of fulfillment. It doesn’t keep us warm at night, make us love our lives, help us respect and be proud of who we are when we look in the mirror, or make us satisfied about our contribution to the world or the legacy we’ll leave at the end of our lives.

Yearning is the true desire under all of our activity, all our goals, all those stabs at self improvement—the yearnings we all have to love and be loved, to be seen and heard, to touch and be touched, to matter, to connect, to belong, to excel, to make a difference. We want to get that promotion, but chances are we yearn to be seen, affirmed, or respected. We want to check our Facebook page, but at a deeper level we yearn to connect.

Believe - you already have it all

And when we are in touch with that deeper yearning, and know what we truly desire, everything shifts. Then we aren’t doing things so that when we get it, achieve it, or buy it we’ll be happy. We start to do things that meet our yearnings directly, and then we find that we actually accomplish more and we are more nourished and fulfilled in the process. When we are with a client or on a sales call, we focus on our yearning to connect, and we serve that client more deeply and tend to make more sales as a result. Whether we are making dinner or making love or making widgets, we are aware of our yearning to nourish and be nourished, to love and be loved, or to excel. The process is fulfilling and we’re not just waiting for the result or…uh…the climax, to be satisfied.

I discovered that I really yearned to love and be loved, to matter, to belong, to make a difference. And, that I was trying to “earn” love by my achievements and trying to prove I mattered through my accomplishments. I saw that what would really satisfy me wasn’t just doing more, or being better, or partying more; it was deeper. It was being present to what I yearned for inside my heart, being more conscious, feeling more fully.

Guess he missed the point.

By focusing on the goal,
I was missing the point.

By following my yearning, I’m more satisfied and fulfilled and meeting more “goals” than I could have imagined. I’m discovering things I wouldn’t have even been able to state as a goal before. It’s like I’m emerging and transforming as I stretch and engage in life to meet my yearnings. Rather than waiting for some future outcome, I’m more spontaneous and in the moment. It’s a messier way to live, I’m not so “perfect,” and I make a lot of mistakes by experimenting on the journey, but it’s a juicier, more exciting, more fulfilling way to live.

My yearnings while writing this? To share, to connect, to make a difference, and hopefully, to ignite some yearnings in you. Forget what we want, let’s go for what we yearn for instead.

Yearn, baby, yearn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

adapted from The Daily Love Blog, June 20, 2013

Judith WrightJUDITH is hailed as a peerless educator, world-class coach, lifestyles expert, inspirational speaker, best-selling author, and corporate consultant. She is called one of America’s Ultimate Experts”, featured on 20/20, Oprah, the Today show, and in Marie Claire, Fitness, and Health as well as The Chicago Tribune, The New York Daily News, and The Detroit Free Press. Judith is the author of The One Decision and The Soft Addiction Solution. Judith’s latest venture is as president of The Wright Graduate Institute for the Realization of Human Potential.

If There Was a Door to an Extraordinary Life…

Reach for what you want.Would You Open It?

Duh!  It seems the obvious answer doesn’t it?

Now, what if there was some manageable pain involved – would that be a fair compromise, or would that be a dealbreaker? Hmmmm. The answer still seems pretty obvious, but obvious does not mean simple.

Coach and author Barrie Davenport has a great blog Live Bold and Bloom, where she shares both her philosophy and those of guest authors on taking action to create your best life. She shares a love of the quote by Anais Nin that I have chosen as one of my personal mantras, (on sidebar at right), and states her personal mission as follows:

I’ve learned that the only way to grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually, is by stretching yourself. Not by practicing Yoga (although that’s a great stretch too!), but by doing something that might not feel natural at first. In fact, it might feel a bit uncomfortable. It’s easy to live inside our closed up buds. But wouldn’t you rather open up and bloom gloriously? Wouldn’t you rather live the life of your dreams instead of just dreaming about it? Part of my life dream is helping others discover their own. That is my calling.”

This is an article by Barrie, encouraging us to take action in our lives; pick even one area and stretch your awareness, your potential, your self… and thus your enjoyment of life.  (I especially like the find a mentor part!!)

20 Ways to Stretch Yourself

by Barrie Davenport

“Sound when stretched is music. Movement when stretched is dance. Mind when stretched is meditation. Life when stretched is celebration.” ~Shri Shri Ravishankar Jee

How much do you want from life? Right now, stop for a moment and think about one word you would use to describe your life today. Got it? If you knew you could open a door that would lead you to an even more fulfilling and extraordinary life, would you open it? What if there was some manageable pain involved? Well, here’s the good news and the bad news: that door does exist, but almost always, the pain does to.

All growth involves some level of discomfort. But the discomfort is short-lived. The growth is forever.

Where the magic happens.If you view life as a circle, most of us live  inside that circle where everything is comfortable and familiar. Occasionally, we might be forced outside by unexpected circumstances, and the brave among us might take a moment to look around at this new and scary landscape. But mostly, we scurry back to the safety of our circle.

Here’s a truth you already know: really bold leaps in our personal growth and quality of life happen only when step outside of that circle and keep walking.

The world has so much to offer — great adventures, interesting people, beauty, learning, emotional development, profound experiences. And we have such a short time on this planet — somewhere around 30,000 days if we live to our mid-eighties.

Why do we resist stretching ourselves beyond our circles when real living is on the other side?

Here are some of the reasons:

  • We fear the unknown. It might be worse than what we have now.
  • We fear failure and looking bad in the eyes of others.
  • We fear success. It will require more of us.
  • We have limiting beliefs about what we “should” do and can do.
  • We don’t believe we are deserving.
  • We don’t want to offend other people.
  • We can’t or won’t imagine how truly amazing life could be.
  • We think it will require resources we don’t have.
  • We don’t like discomfort.

On that 30,000th day, don’t look back on your life and say, “If only. . . .” Life is a string of “right nows.” Whatever it is that you hope might happen in the future won’t happen unless you are doing something about it right in this very moment. Living outside of your circle doesn’t mean you have to go climb Mt. Everest or make a million dollars (unless that’s what you want to do). It does mean shifting up to the next level. Some stretches might move you forward a little, and some might propel you into an entirely new world. Both are good. All forward movement is good.

The key is to take action. Don’t sit around waiting for something to happen in your life. Make it happen.

Here are some practical ideas for doing just that:

1.  Start with awareness. By reading this article, you are probably thinking about your life and how it could be better, more exceptional. Recognize right now that more is possible for you, and it can be achieved.

2.  Access what you want. What do you want to achieve, learn, accomplish, enjoy and understand? Create a list with categories for career, family, travel, self-development, education or any others that apply to your life. Under each category, write down your heart’s desire — without limitations.

Leap List

3.  Pick your top five. Don’t overwhelm yourself with everything on your list. You will not be able to do everything. But you can do many things and still make your life profoundly better. For now, pick your top five, but hold on to your list.

4.  Pick something easy. Create momentum and excitement by starting with an easy goal. Something that won’t involve too much of a stretch. Maybe it’s a trip you’ve wanted to take or a class you have been thinking about. Choose one item from your stretch list. When it’s completed, start with the next goal.

5.  For now, don’t think. Just start taking small actions. Write down everything to accomplish your goal — from making calls, saving money, setting appointments, doing research. Don’t over-think it or question yourself.  Make your action list and then just do it. One action at a time.

6.  Challenge assumptions. Fear and self-doubt will creep in. You must challenge assumptions and negative thinking. If you keep thinking you can’t do something, or you aren’t smart enough, then you are creating a self-fulfilling cycle of inertia. Even if you don’t feel confident, pretend that you do. Mentally resist when you start negative self-talk, and switch gears to thinking, “I can, I will.”

Well I Try!7.  Befriend failure. Begin to view failure as a friend, not an enemy. We are not handed a road map to explore new territory. We set out on our adventure with a hazy view of the way forward. We may take wrong turns, but we have to take them to find the correct path. Love every failure, because it is part of growth. If you avoid failure, you are restricting your life.

8.  Make it public. This is a real stretch, but a very successful one. When you begin a new goal or challenge, tell someone — anyone, everyone. Make it public. Now, you are accountable. It is human nature, when others are watching you, you will work harder. If you are serious about doing something, tell people. And tell them your deadline.

9.  Find a mentor!!!! Find someone who will inspire you to move forward; someone you can feel safe with, connect with, ask questions and advice. Maybe find someone whose life you want to emulate; study that person; learn how they accomplished and achieved.

10.  Look stupid. Be willing to reveal what you don’t know. Everyone has areas of ignorance. Truly smart people are eager to learn and willing to expose their lack of knowledge. Once you get past that embarrassment, the learning is the easy part!

Ignore judgemental people.11.  Ignore other people. Strive to detach from what other people think about you. People spend more time thinking about themselves anyway. The first and main person you have to please is yourself. Then your family and maybe a few close friends who are authentic. After that, you are chasing your tail. What other people think doesn’t matter.

12. Stop resisting. Remember the old pinball machines? You’d pull a lever and the ball would bounce off walls as it sought it’s way forward. Approach life that way. You are going to hit obstacles — whether it’s negative people or circumstances. Instead of resisting, move in a different direction. Bad things happen along the path, but don’t get stuck in them. Move away from them.

13. Think creatively. You don’t have to be an artist to be creative. As you approach a goal or action step, challenge yourself to find a bigger, better, or different way. The internet is an amazing resource for this. Look at what others are doing. Steal ideas and make them your own. Think big. Now think bigger.

14. Remove distractions. Whatever you are working on, work on that one thing. Don’t get distracted by emails, phone calls, other pending projects, or intruding extraneous thoughts. Focus on the task at hand, every single time.

15. Simplify everything. In order to achieve what will take you to the next level, you have to let go of what’s tethering you to the mundane. Begin some mental, emotional, and mental housekeeping. Where are you spending time that is draining your energy and resources? Are you spending time caring for material things that don’t contribute to a better quality of life? Do you have too many mindless tasks? Start eliminating these things, and free up tons of valuable time.

Whatcha got to lose??16. Try new things. Whenever you have the opportunity, try something new. A new hobby, new friends, a new type of book, a new idea. Expose yourself to different ways of doing things and thinking about things. Find new environments for learning. This will open new pathways to growth that you never knew existed.

17. Set a big challenge. Chris Guillebeau, the founder of the blog The Art of Non-Conformity, has set the astounding goal of visiting every country in the world (except those in turmoil) by the time he’s 35. He is 32 now. He chronicles his adventures for his blog followers. Create a big challenge for yourself, just for the fun of it. If you don’t make it, big deal. But if you do . . . .

18. Join a community. There’s lots of support out there for whatever you are doing. Get involved in a group of like-minded people who can cheer you on, inspire you, offer input and provide support.

19. Acknowledge yourself. Every step forward should be celebrated. We get so mired in the doing that we forget the being. Take time to ponder the growth you have made and the goals you have achieved. Share these achievements with family and friends. Write them down. You are becoming a different person.

20. Enjoy the process. As you take steps to stretch yourself and create a better life, don’t forget to savor the “right now.” The process of growth is forever, so you will always be in process. All you really have is this very moment — this is your life, so see the beauty in it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
posted June 10, 2010 Barrie Davenport is a personal and career coach and founder of Live Bold and Bloom, a blog about fearless living. She is the author of the free e-book, How to Have a Meaningful Life.

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