Boundaries

The Age of Attraction

What is happening? I was recently discussing sexuality, which I think isn't discussed enough, with some friends.  We were talking about vaginas and the power of owning your sexuality.  The discussion led to the fact that shame is prevalent whether we admit it or not, in relation to sex and sexual expression.  There are so many rules, roles, assumptions that it is difficult to know what we actually want.  Admitting what we like, where we are in our sexuality and what we think about it is something that is shunned aggressively.  We are, after all, a society that will fine someone for flashing a nipple (at the same time we cover our children's eyes from seeing the .00005 seconds that it was shown) but watch news footage about 26 people, many of them children, being gunned down.

Like the universe works, I perused Facebook where a friend posted an article about a 6-year-old being in love with a character from Glee.  Sexuality seemed to be in the air tonight.  The 6-year-old is a boy and the character on Glee is a boy.  The article goes on to discuss how the mother and father love their son and have no problem if he is gay or isn't.  I think that it is great that parents will love their son even if he is gay, I just look forward to the day we don't have to announce that parents will love their kids even if they are gay.

So, after reading this I then scrolled down to the comments and stopped at one that touched on several things in regards to the article.  First they were not pleased with a 6-year-old watching Glee, then with the idea that a 6-year-old was obsessed about anything especially liking someone.  Third that, even at 11, that would be too young to have attraction.  Ok, I had to breathe after reading this, and after having had the conversation about shame that had happened earlier in the evening.  I know that attraction is as natural as breathing.  If you are a part of a family you (hopefully) see love, coupledom, partnership.  Children mimic adults.  It is how they learn to talk, walk, think, behave, love.  How in the world are they too young to be attracted?  I liked boys and girls for as long as I can remember and I certainly had attractions to all manner of things before the age of 6.  I liked certain colors, foods, music, and people.  The idea that attraction has an age is a funny, funny thing.  Babies are attracted to certain colors and sounds.  We are attracted to love and repelled by hate.  When we see something that resonates with us we are drawn to it.  This is being human.  The idea that we would want to discourage this natural way in others due to them being younger than we think they should be to have the feelings that they actually are having is ridiculous (yes, I am totally judging).

As a parent you may be nervous, because of your own hangups and judgments, around the truth of your child being inherently sexual.  I mean, the damn person was made while you were having sex.  How in the hell can we not be SEXUAL.  What is the problem people???  Let's take our heads out of our asses and start discussing sex, sexuality, love, desire, attraction in a way that doesn't make it shameful, scary, wrong, or inappropriate.

Here is a story that I love to share:  My sister is a massage therapist.  Her son, Miles, used to love to be massaged and loved to give massages, and he was very good at it as well.  There is nothing better than little hands on your shoulders massaging away your worries.  So sweet.  Anyway, during a massage she was giving him he asked if she could massage his penis.  Instead of getting all weird (which I think many of us would) she told him that she wouldn't because that was his to massage.  She let him know that he could massage it in private and that no one else was allowed to until he really wanted them to.  Or some such lovely message like that (I am sure my sister would correct the verbiage).  Either way, the message was clear:  She didn't make him feel that what he asked for was wrong, bad, inappropriate.  She used that moment to let him know the boundaries of his body.

Let's stop being craycray and start empowering one another in love.  Can we do this please???

xo

a

Our Responsibility

Hello, We are responsible for each other in a way that may not seem obvious.  I don't mean as mother and child, husband and wife, brother and sister.  I don't mean in the way of volunteering by handing out food and clothing to the disenfranchised.  I don't mean by taking care of an elderly neighbor's lawn in the summertime or helping someone across the street.  All of these things are wonderful and natural ways we show love to one another but there is a responsibility that I feel we have failed miserably in meeting.  We don't allow others to be who they are.  We don't give people the space to become who they are and support needed to blossom into their ideal selves.

What we do is quickly give humans the rules to what is right and what is wrong.  Humans get bullied from very early on.  Before we ever find out what someone wants we tell them what is and isn't ok to want.  We set up a system (in every culture) that is  based on things we were told, that were based on things that the ones who told us were told, etc. without giving that much thought to whether or not most people are ok with the system or whether the system actually works.  When someone doesn't fit into the structure that was set up before they existed they are either crazy, evil, an abomination, wrong or a misfit.  There isn't a lot of room to be accepted when you don't fit the norm in most societies.  When we create right we create wrong.  You cannot say something is good without deciding that there are things that are bad.  When you create an extreme you create it's opposite; is this what being responsible for one another means?  To determine who is bad and who is good.  What do we base it on?  What the majority are doing or not doing (that they will admit to)?  What some religious document says?  What happens to those who are wrong in our society?  What happens to the misfits?

I truly believe that we are responsible for those who feel left out, bullied by a society that never gave them a chance;  told that they were wrong for feeling, thinking, saying something that went against what society has determined as ok to say, think or feel.  When we set up a system that automatically rules out certain types of people as worthy in a systematic way (the way that we do in this country) we have neglected our responsibility to love each other as ourselves because we are connected.  We have forgotten that we cannot exist separate from one another.  We are all necessary and important and responsible for each other in a deep way that never touches on aiding with groceries to someone's car… though that is important and it does matter.  However, we are responsible to each other in the way to not cause harm, to not destroy, to not judge.  When we decide that someone is less than we tear a part of them away.  We build up rage that at some point will have to come out.  We create dangerous situations and hazardous environments when we push others down for being who they are.

I believe we need to allow what is.  We need to allow everyone to communicate who they feel they are, what their desires are and how they see the world.  We need to learn boundaries at a young age so we can become aware of where I begin and you end.  We need to help others love who they are and find their own voice.  We need to discuss what it means to be aware.  We need to be very careful with each other's hearts. We need to take ownership of our feelings and not blame others for the things that don't belong to them (like our feelings).  We need to understand when we judge others we are judging ourselves.  We need to understand that we cannot always be comfortable and things aren't always going to be the way we would prefer them to be, nor are people.  We need to understand that it isn't our responsibility to put one another down or to marginalize each other, but to uplift and propel each other forward.  I believe we need to first do this for ourselves, once we are no longer in the direct care of others.  Once we have given ourselves permission to feel what we feel and be who we are without the judgement, we can decide if it is what we want to keep or not.  Acceptance is power; the power to change, the power to heal; the power to move on.  Our responsibility, in my opinion, is to accept each other.  Embrace each other.  To love.

xo

a

Look at ME!

Howdy! I have said that the only difference between me and someone else when it comes to wanting attention is that I demand it and am not ashamed that I want the floor and your undivided attention.  Other people act like they don't want attention and instead they manipulate and usurp the spotlight on a regular basis.  When you admit that you want attention you are better able to give it to others.  You don't feel cheated out of it, you don't feel resentment towards those you give to and get nothing or close to nothing in return.  When you own your needs, they are more likely to get met.

When you let someone know that you are upset with them and they immediately get upset what do you do?  It seems like a normal response to a conflict, right?  Well, on better examination the person that was originally upset is now faced with be upset and alone (because their partner/friend was not able to hold space and comfort them, even just listen) or they can comfort the partner that they were upset with originally.  Crying, getting hurt, being angry and openly displeased when someone you love tells you that they aren't happy with something that involves you puts the focus on you and your feelings instead of the partner that was upset originally.  Most people aren't doing this on purpose.  Most people who don't hold space don't realize that they don't hold space…and they believe that they have the right to be upset whenever they are upset.  I agree, but there is a time and a place for everything and, depending on what they are going for, manipulating a situation isn't they kind of attention that serves either person.

When you admit that you want attention you are able to ask for it in a way that allows you to receive it.  You can ask your friend/partner to listen and to hold space.  You can ask to be focused on directly instead of indirectly diverting attention to yourself. You can give attention and shut off your need because it is being acknowledged as existing and is now out of the shadows.  Acknowledging what you need, who you are, what is happening for you is the only way to begin to keep, change, or let go of what you want to.  Once you have come to understand that you too need to be focused on, you can relate to others in that way.  We all need to be the center of attention sometimes.  When we allow ourselves to get the attention we need without stealing the spotlight from someone else we are better able to allow others to do the same.  If you have trouble holding space or are someone who claims to not need attention, check to see where you are getting it without asking for it… and possibly what relationship is suffering because of that denial.

Thank you for your attention.

xo

a

Personal Space

Great Day All!!! Not everyone understands boundaries at the same time everyone understands boundaries.  There are a lot of different kind of boundaries, energetic, physical, political, emotional… and our boundaries grow and change and sometimes disappear.  Boundaries are supposed to be put in place to keep us safe.  When we no longer have use for them it is important to let them go, individual boundaries that have no purpose can create walls and isolation.  I am someone who has learned how to have clear boundaries after years of feeling violated in one way or another.  I have found that even though I state what I need for myself there are those who have no desire to respect or adhere to my boundaries.  I have also encountered many people who have more than a difficult time setting boundaries and walk the earth feeling victimized and put-upon by friends, family and anyone else they encounter.  Usually the ones without boundaries feel like they know about you, will tell you things you didn't ask them to and expect to have access to you and your life in ways you don't feel comfortable.  There is a feeling of entitlement to others that goes beyond day-to-day, person to person interaction for the boundary violators.

I have been followed, chased, touched, harassed, raped, obsessed over, told that I have no right to push someone out of my life (by that someone I was pushing out), verbally assaulted for setting boundaries and more in my 38 years on this planet as Aina.  I have learned that boundaries are helpful for me to move about my world with a sense of control.  Obviously, we can violate one another whenever we choose, if we choose.  Boundaries, however, can serve as a deterrent for those who would choose to cross the line.  Boundaries are not a sure thing but they certainly have a high success rate of keeping one safe.  The first thing we must understand is that we are born with the right to set boundaries where we see fit in regards to ourselves and as fellow humans we are somewhat obligated to respect the boundaries that others set.

In order to respect others right to boundaries we must remind ourselves that all of us that walk this earth are equals.  We all have the same rights.  I was just setting a boundary with someone recently when they replied with a stipulation in regards to respecting my boundary.  They wanted me to understand why they did something (that triggered me needing to set a boundary) in order for my boundary to be accepted by them.  Boundaries aren't up for discussion.  They aren't there to be haggled with and they most certainly are not about the person that is being told what the boundary is for someone.  Boundaries are specifically about the person setting them.  There is never a need to ask for understanding when someone is asking for safety.  Safety is personal.  We each have individual needs in order to feel protected and safe.  As humans on this planet together we can all relate, and we would all want that.  It is important to not allow our own fear of not having something override our ability to relate and be empathetic.

When you are faced with either setting a boundary or being asked to respect it see what happens for you.  Are you uncomfortable?  Do you have fear around the idea of setting or respecting?  Why?  What goes on for you when you ask someone to follow a rule you have set for your life.  There is much to be learned in the setting of boundaries and the ability to honor the boundaries of others.

Enjoy the exploration.

xo

a

Leave Them Alone

Howdy peeps!!! Do you ever feel like you need to fix someone?  Like you see someone and you know all the crap that they should do to feel better.  You know that they just need a, b and c.  Then they would be just fine!  You may have even let them know that you know what they need.  You know and if they listen they would know too.  Have you given that advice, told them what to do, only for them to ignore it?  Did you get pissed off?  Did you feel insulted?  Did you, at some point, judge them for not taking great advice and decide that they just wanted to be where they are.  Did you judge the fact that they stayed where they were as a problem or that they just wanted drama?

Maybe they did want the drama.  If the above relates to you then you too want drama.  Most of the time when you or anyone gives advice that isn't asked for then you are doing something without permission.  When was the last time someone did something for you/to you without your permission?  Did you like it?  Did it make you feel uncomfortable?  Depending on what it was you will have different answers.  Most folks aren't going to be upset if someone bought them a car, no strings attached, without permission.  Most of us aren't going to be upset if someone we knew and loved gives us flowers.  Most of us, however, have no desire to be told that we suck and that we wouldn't if we only did a, b, and c without first asking someone to help us or give us advice.  When you give advice without permission, when you tell someone what to do directly and then support it by judging their life, do you expect a showering of love?  Even if the advice is sound, well thought out and pertains to the person's life, they may not be ready for the change that you are pushing them towards.

Now, I always say you only get what you can handle and that everything happens for a reason.  I believe that when you get advice that is unsolicited there is a reason… maybe it is to hear it and then to ignore so that you sit in the place you are in longer to get out of it whatever it is trying to show you.  The bottom line is, we are where we are supposed to be, doing what we are supposed to be doing, even if family and friends want you to do it differently.  We can only go where we are ready to go.  Once we accept that we are the ones keeping ourselves where we are we will better be able to leave at will.  When you are done with a relationship there is nothing that can keep you in it.  When you are no longer receiving you cut off ties.  If you are holding onto a relationship/situation there is a reason.  Remember, it isn't for everyone else to know why, that is personal… and you may not even know why yet, you just know that you aren't ready to let go.

Often those who give unsolicited advice may need to look at themselves and their lives a bit harder.  There are things we are trying to avoid when we begin bossing others around and deciding that we know best for them.  When you feel the urge to get someone to change who hasn't initiated it themselves, you are projecting.  I am sure you can remember a time where you were in a situation/relationship that wasn't working for all intents and purposes but for some reason you chose to stay in it.  When you did decide to get out of it you were ready.  No one can decide when the right time to change your life is.  No one can make you see something that you aren't ready to see.  Just trust in the process of growth.  You cannot always see the plant growing, but it is steadily, persistently, continually growing… constantly changing.  What if we told the tree to hurry up?  Does that make sense?  Do we feel like we know how to tell a rose to bloom or when?

Leave us alone.  Leave them alone.  Go bother yourself :)

xo

a

True North

"You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.  You're on your own and you know what you know.  And you are the guy who'll decide where to go."  ~Dr. Seuss Howdy!

So many of us have no idea who we are or what we want.  I have always had direction, even when it seemed like I was going in a million different directions.  Faith that I was exactly where I needed to be made it easy to accept my moments when I was in them.  Not everyone is ok with where they are and often haven't a clue about how to move on from it.

Being nosy, meddling, violating other folks' boundaries, overeating, under-eating, drugs, other addictions are signs that there is a lack of direction (as well as self-love) for some.  Being directionless can lead to relationships (with people/substances/things) being about finding that purpose, that true north in someone/something else.  It is easy to use relationships to numb out.  They take so much time and energy, they take focus and attention. Many times, due to a lack of direction, relationships become the point or focus of their world and they may begin to feel like they have the right to others' in ways that are inappropriate and lacking boundaries.  This ownership of those outside of their own person is evidence of the lack of ownership they feel internally.  Many people use relationships to avoid self growth or to dodge delving into their own wants needs.  The judgement can be so paralyzing, in fact, that they stop asking what it is they want or need… if they ever did in the first place.

Often we are judged for wanting something, for having a direct goal.  Many times we are told that what we want is wrong, bad, not a good idea, etc.  For those who believe that the judgements are true they can be devastating.  Many people without a true north find some way to numb out, either by using work, drugs, sex, food, or some other form of abuse that takes lots of time and focus off of what is actually happening for them.  They are desperately seeking their own connection to themselves by connecting to everything but. I have seen religion undermining personal growth many times.  Some religions can push people off of knowing their center, being connected to their internal knowing, and force them to look to something outside of themselves for direction, for purpose.  When you lose your true north you spend much of the time trying to find it in any way you can.  This can be a very dangerous search.

If you are finding that you haven't a clue who or where you are, call 911, amnesia may be the culprit.  If it isn't that extreme you may need to spend some time answering the questions:

What do I want right now???

How do I want to life my life?

Do I deserve to have direction?

What makes me smile, giddy, happy?

You have all the answers you need.  Enjoy yourself!

xo

a

"Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction."  ~John F. Kennedy

Of Moms & Children

Hi there, I was talking to my oldest brother today when he asked me if I thought about having kids.  We hadn't talked about this before so it was a welcome discussion.  He has 5 lovely children that are seriously the smartest and cutest and most awesome kids!  I let him know that I have no desire to actually be pregnant but could see myself adopting in the future.  The only way I would really want to adopt is if I am in a relationship where that makes sense and I am not the primary parent, in all honesty.  The conversation reminded me of the number of times I had been asked if I wanted kids.  I have looked forward to getting older so that the questions would go from excitement to (after I gave my age) sadness and pity and then just silence.  I have been asked by strangers about my childless life.  Once in a grocery store a woman talked about her children and I listened.  We laughed about something having to do with parenting when she asked me if I had children.  When I told her no she looked shocked and asked why not.  I told her, "Why ruin happiness."  I believe I offended her, which was not my goal.  My goal was to let her know that I was happy with where I was, which happened to be without children.

Children are amazing.  Parenting is amazing.  It is also hard, thankless in so many ways, and not for everyone.  I truly believe we would do more good than not talking people out of having kids instead of talking them into it.  It is a lifelong career that can cause your hair to gray and give you ulcers.  Yes, children are blessings from the lord jesus christ our savior… but they are also not for everyone.  Seriously.  I have often been told, because I am great with kids, that I would make a terrific mom.  Being a great-aunt does not a great mom make.  Let's be honest.  I work out multiple times a day.  I am gone for long hours at a time.  I don't have a set schedule for food (though I need to) and I travel at the drop of a hat.  Oh, I like living like this.  So people say about my life as it is now that it would have to change.  And I say, no thank you.  I am glad to be able to move about when I want to move about.  I love taking naps when I need to and not having to be at the behest of anyone else, no matter how much I adore them.  What I would gain, from my perspective, is not tempting enough to give up what I have.

Knowing what you want is important.  Owning what you want is more so.  I know that I LOVE kids and they LOVE me.  I also love to see them head home to their parents.  I remember that my biological clock ticked once or twice in my life.  Both times I observed the tick tock and let the feeling run its course.  It passed pretty quick and I went on about my life.  It is amazing how strong our biology is.  I support parents and love that there are people willing to give up so much to raise the little buggers and, in turn, get so much back.  I believe that parents need support.  I believe that the children are our future, etc., etc.  I also believe that I am here to do something else; parenting a child is not my calling at the moment.  I believe I am doing what I am supposed to and, as I support those who are called to raise children, I welcome support around my decision not to.

Enjoy where we all are, respect each other's decision to be there and live your life (if you want to) :)

xo

a

Looking Back

A little story for you… During my senior year in college I was just getting over a pretty devastating break up.  A few months after being dumped on my rear end I began dating someone else.  A lovely European man whom I will call Vlad.  I went to a small school so there was no 'dodging' my ex, besides we both worked at the movie theater on campus (one of my 10 jobs) ;).  It was really annoying for me to see my ex with our friends.  I was still hurt.  I was still angry.  Vlad was amazingly perceptive and direct.  We had a discussion where Vlad asked me if I still had feelings for my ex.  I immediately denied any feelings whatsoever.  I was so frustrated.  I had been loyal and loving to Vlad and was genuinely happy in our relationship (except for the fact that women on campus routinely threw themselves at him, in front of me, sometimes pushing me out-of-the-way, seriously) and was upset that he was implying I felt for my ex.  After I protested and told him that I couldn't stand my ex that my ex made me angry, Vlad said, "yes, anger is a feeling."  I remember at that moment stopping (at least in my head, knowing me then I probably argued a bit more in reality) and becoming clear on what he was saying to me, what he was asking me.  He asked if I had feelings.  Not if I liked him still or if I wanted to be with him, but was I over it?  Could I look at my ex and feel nothing, no charge, no surge of emotion.  I then conceded (yes, I was sure I was at war at that moment) that I indeed did have feelings regardless of their nature.

You know you have moved on from something when you can look at it, and, as a friend says, feel the way you would feel if it were a sock in a box.  Was my ex a sock in a box.  Hell no.  It was more like a firecracker in my hand.  It was unpredictable and burned and could possibly take my hand off if it exploded.  I was hurt and felt like nothing would be the same because my trust had been absolutely destroyed.  I felt bent, cracked, broken.  I had feelings and they were on the surface and Vlad wanted to discuss what they were.  He was lovely (is lovely) and I was lucky to have someone address what was happening for me and be absolutely secure around it.  So much so that he and my ex became friendly.  They really enjoyed each other in a genuine way and that pissed me off even more.  Though I was supportive because that made more sense than being a brat.

Recently I discussed my marriage that ended in 2002.  It was even more devastating than my ex in college. This was supposed to be forever, we promised.  I was destroyed by the ending of it and took note, as years passed, if I could look at that situation and feel anything.  For some years I felt like I would go back if asked.  That changed to feeling like I wanted to know how they were doing because they'd been a part of my world in a huge way and I had that right, no?  Then came the day that I recalled the story of my marriage and felt like I was discussing a book I'd read some time ago.  It had become the sock in a box.  It felt so good.  It was so very nice to feel that I was done with the immediate work around that relationship.  I was free and clear.

I am not one to dwell in the past.  I enjoy my present moment way too much to concern myself with something I cannot affect.  I am so busy in my 'now' creating my 'next' that the past is an interruption that is not welcome usually.  However, I do, every now and then, take a look at some past events that, at that time, were big to me.  I take a look to see how I feel and if I feel anything surrounding it.

Do you have experiences in your life that you still have strong feelings around?  What would your life look like if you could see those things like socks in a box (or maybe just one sock in a box)?

xo

a

Is This The End?

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us."  ~Joseph Campbell Howdy!

Today I had a number of conversations around ending relationships.  Specifically friendships.  Many of the discussions were around having difficulty staying grounded while being around someone who was very negative or 'bitchy' as it were. Other conversations were around people who had a wee bit too much cray cray going on.  Either way the conversations were all interesting and ones that I could totally relate to.  I have broken up with quite a few friends in my day.  The reasons range from friends wanting to be more than friends, friends becoming obsessed, friends flipping out and being co-dependent to friends being über negative.  In all cases I have communicated my issues with the friendship as best I could and moved on.  I am a believer of healthy beginnings and healthy endings.

I know that my ability to choose to end a relationship because of compatibility would be understood if the relationship was of an intimate nature.  However, the fact that I do the same for friendships has come as a shock for some.  I have been accused of not valuing relationships because I am ok with them ending.  I feel that everyone has a right to his or her opinion and I have the right to ignore those opinions and go on living my life as I see fit.  I see people often holding onto relationships because there is a history and they feel obligated.  I am not sure how this is serving anyone to be with someone because you feel like you have to.  I truly believe that when you let go of things you don't use, what you need in your world has the space to come to you.  I believe that everyone has the right to choose who they let in their life and for how long.  Not all relationships get better with time.  As you grow so do others.  Not everyone grows in the same direction or in a way that enhances or supports the growth of another.

What would be the point to stay in a relationship, friendship or otherwise, that isn't serving your ideal self?  When is it time to draw the line and end a friendship that takes more than it gives?  I know that I have never doubted an ending even if I missed a part of the history that I shared with that ex-friend.  Good relationships don't end.  I have also become friends with people who I once cut out or who had cut me out.  Sometimes distance, endings, can bring you towards one another in a smarter, healthier way.  Much more so than hanging on for dear life when the last breath was taken long ago.

"Every exit is an entry somewhere."  ~Tom Stoppard

xo

a

On Your Mark

"I am too positive to be doubtful.  Too optimistic to be fearful.  And too determined to be defeated."  ~vandon Yeehaw!

I LOVE winning.  It's true.  The other truth is that everybody does!  Ok, not everyone but most.  As an instructor and coach I am not competing in the same way I do as a rower, runner, Words With Friends player.  Instead I compete to get my athletes as fit as I can get them.  To bring them to health and wellbeing in the best way for them.  I become their biggest fan, their resolve when they have none, and their answers when they are questioning.  I find fulfillment in the work that I do and for that I am grateful.

I haven't competed in a race or event that wasn't connected to supporting a client in quite some time.  So I haven't actually tapped into my own personal desire to compete for Aina in a while.  Basically I haven't had to be in that place that I put my riders, clients, athletes in and then coach them through.  I hadn't had the opportunity to compete with me for me.  Until recently when I joined The LAB - A Crossfit Gym on Eastlake.  I am not doing anything that is amazing, just small workouts of the day (WODs) when I show up… but compete I am.  Because my schedule is packed with teaching and training I don't get to the gym as much as I would like.  The two times that I have had the opportunity to compete I have had the fastest time overall completing the workout that was assigned.  Can I tell you how fantastic that feels??  It is GREAT!  Seriously.  I love competing and I love seeing the hard work that I do pay off in a way that I enjoy.  One of the many benefits of being fit is being able to swing a kettlebell until the cows come home. :)  Yep.

Now, just because I compete doesn't mean I have to win or that I get upset when I don't.  I am a coach, and a very good one, and I understand perspective.  Prior to that I was an athlete that was new to competing.   In my freshman year of college I lost a huge race as a part of a team that had, up to that point,  won everything.  I was devastated.  I sobbed for hours on the floor in my dorm room while my then boyfriend grew ever exhausted with me not getting ready for a date we had.  I felt overcome with sorrow for the work I put in only to lose by less than a second in the Championship.  It was so hard because I had never experienced that kind of loss before.  The loss of a race.  The loss as an athlete.  It was a very important experience, one that I grew tired of quickly and realized shortly after the final tears fell that I was taking things way too seriously.  It was a game.  It was FUN, right?  I needed to see how seriously I took it, how important it was/is for me.  I figured out that I didn't need to be devastated by a supposed loss.  I learned that it was during those time when most of my information was gathered to lead me to amazing future successes.  I learned that the how in dealing with anything matters more than what the anything is.  I also learned that the toughest competition is within… moving to a stronger place within yourself.  Doing more than the day before.  Pushing through no matter what.

I know people who get afraid of competing, who think it is negative because they feel that it puts others down, or leaves others out.  There is nothing wrong with loving being first in something.  It feels good.

I believe that we often don't compete because we don't want to lose not because we don't want to win.  Are you not competing because you are afraid of the work it takes to be great or because you don't think you ever could be?

xo

a

 

"I'm not in competition with anybody but myself.  My goal is to beat my last performance." ~Celine Dion

Keep Your Compassionate Projection To Yourself :)

"I would like to explain the meaning of compassion, which is often misunderstood.  Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the rights of the other:  irrespective of whether another person is a close friend."  ~Dalai Lama Most of us believe that in order to be compassionate we have to know how the other person feels and relate to it.  In order to feel for someone we need to get into their space and feel what they feel.  Many times this leads us to forgetting that we aren't them and will never be…  Listening and asking questions is the best way to show compassion, as well as respecting that person's right to do what they decide.  Too often we have no idea that we aren't feeling for someone, we are merely projecting how we might feel in the same situation.  We believe we are 'helping' when we tell someone why something is or is not good for them.  We would do well to heed our own advice since we are actually giving it to ourselves, using the other as a screen to project what is happening for us.

"Projection: The unconscious transfer of one's own desires or emotions to another person: we protect the self by a number of defense mechanisms, including repression and projection."

Just recently a family member asked for positive support around a possible move for her and her immediate family.  What she received in return was a good number of supportive replies and a couple of comments that basically told her she was too old to change.  That change would be detrimental, not only to her, but to her family as well.  It is funny to me that even after asking directly for support she received comments that told her she was making a mistake.  What I learned about the person who replied with warnings was that they, themselves, felt they were too old, too saddled, and too stuck to do anything other that what they are doing at this moment.  The idea of change is scary for them and they would prefer it if others behaved with similar fears so as to not stir their own issues up.  It is always best to never take someone's judgement around how you live your life too seriously.  Listen to them, if you choose.  Understand that they are telling you about themselves and love them for sharing.

When someone is doing something that isn't what is expected, how do you feel?  Are you supportive or are you threatened?  Do you feel like they should be following the 'rules' or do you have a twinge of excitement and inspiration with them forging their own way, doing what dare not be done?

xo

a

You Are Your Responsibility

Hello There,

How often do you feel offended?  How many times a day do you say that something made you feel one way or another?  Do you feel responsible for yourself or do you feel like other people should or should not do something in order for you to feel good or bad (or anything else)?

Today notice how often you ask, indirectly or directly, someone to take care of you, to be responsible for how you feel.  Do you feel like you can actually create happiness for someone else?  Are you responsible for creating the world of those around you or your own world?  How do you hold other's accountable for taking care of themselves?  Do you hold yourself accountable?

I don't mean intellectually.  I am sure many people understand the idea, but how many people live it?  I mean, when you are in the middle of being upset that you didn't get something you wanted, do you chill the hell out and realized that no one owes you anything?  Everyone has the right to choose to do or not do something whether you want them to or not.  I remember when this point was made über clear to me.  I was in counseling with my then girlfriend.  We were having issues communicating and I was very upset that she would sometimes refuse to speak to me.  I remember wanting to go to a counselor so that they could tell her that she had to talk.  Ha!  The counselor sat there and said, "She doesn't have to do anything."  I realized at that moment that I was going about so many things all wonky.  We are gifts to one another not mandates.  We can choose our behaviors and responses.  We are in charge of how we see and react to the world.  How someone reacts or treats us has nothing to do with us!  It is about where they are.  We help by being something to react to, answer to, bounce off of, but ultimately we are working out our inner stuff by dealing with the external world.

Think about this the next time you take someone's treatment of you personally:  Imagine, just before your interaction, that you won the lotto jackpot of 345,000,000 tax-free, discovered the cure for all disease, healed all your emotional wounds, and had the body of your dreams, how do you think you would feel?  Would you feel as hurt, wounded, slighted?  Would you have an easier time brushing it off?  What about when you are having a rough moment?  Do you think it is the fault of everyone else that your feelings about your day aren't yummy?

Please think about taking charge of your life and letting others do the same.  It just might be what we all need.

xo

a

Drained

Do you have someone in your world that exhausts you simply by existing?  We all know one or more energy suckers.  Heck, you could be one of those people for all I know.  This isn't about judging people as bad or good, it is about being aware of how you are reacting to someone and dealing with it in the way that makes the most sense for you and helps you feel energized and not drained. One of the things that makes a vampire a vampire is that they have very poor listening skills.  When you speak to them they tend to take the conversation and make it about them.  They often have drama that never ends and seem to never make any attempt to end it.  They don't pick up on "subtle" cues to stop talking, leave, or make space for you during an interaction.  They talk about themselves most of the time.  They tend to see most things in a negative light and feel that the only way to be heard is to complain.  They tend to 'rain on parades' without much effort.

Most of the time we want to blame the person for 'making' us feel exhausted or for 'draining' us.  It is true, the energy that they send out isn't uplifting and energizing… however they haven't forced anything on us that we didn't allow in.  After all you know the people in your world that you feel drained after being around… and you still end up hanging out with them.  Now, don't begin making excuses.  There is something to this.  Why would you continually put yourself in a situation that you weren't getting anything out of, actually, you were having your soul sucked out of every pore.  So, what is in it for you?  It is important to ask yourself this question.  Does it make you feel helpful to listen to the same issues over and over.  How is that helping if the person complaining literally just wants to complain.  Do you value your own time?  Is this how you show love to yourself and others?

If you are someone who feels responsible for others (co-dependent) you may be using this person or people to make yourself feel worthy or worthwhile.  You are in a little relationship that is mutually beneficial, both parties are needed in this dance.  If you own that you are a wiling participant in the dance you can decide to change the steps or leave the dance altogether.

I have certainly had my share of these type of relationships.  I have been the 'savior' for so many folks, let me tell you.  I had to give myself away, over and over and live the same cycle of being exhausted, sometimes to the point of depression, after 'helping' someone in order to finally realize that it wasn't helping me.  Over the years I had been told that I needed to stop giving my energy away in the way that I was giving it.  Once I changed how I saw people, their concerns, and my urge to be of help in a different way I was able to shift my viewpoint.  I set up boundaries within myself and haven't felt that same drain since.

What are proper boundaries?  Well, those are up to you.  But you have the right to set boundaries with people in your world, specifically with yourself.  You are not responsible for how someone views, reacts or interacts with the world.  However, you can change how you approach the world and in that way change the world you live in.  You can limit your interactions with those who exhaust you.  You can ground yourself so that you don't take on the other person's energy (I recommend doing this anyway).  You can change the energy by lifting your own energy when you are around people who drain you.  You can begin to see how someone else is allowing you to work on yourself by bringing up the things that need work in you.

"Compassion automatically invites you to relate with people because you no longer regard people as a drain on your energy."  ~Chogyam Trungpa

xo

a