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.



Ownership Has It's Privileges

Howdy, I was speaking to a relative about communication the other day.  She had never communicated what she wanted or needed but harbored much anger toward those who weren't meeting her needs.  I tried to give her insight into the idea that no one can be held responsible for anyone else's lack of action.  We are all responsible for ourselves and communicating our own needs.  Yet, through our culture of blame it is much easier to see fault in someone not just "knowing" what you need instead of owning the fact that you have to do the work to communicate (as many times as you have to in order to be heard) what it is you need… even if that means risking not getting your needs met.  See, speaking your truth doesn't mean it will be accepted by others… but you cannot get anywhere without trying, without risking, without speaking.  You most certainly have less of a chance of getting what you need if you never actually admit to having needs.

The fear, however, is so great that we hide behind the idea that people should know this or should have know that.  We actually believe that other people should be mind readers even though we don't do a good job of understanding what someone else wants.  We get angry with each other and literally resent people for not knowing what they were never told.  We argue over things being common sense or not, when the reality is, did they know?  Were they told?  Nothing is really obvious when it comes down to it.  If it isn't explicitly communicated you cannot expect it to be understood (even then you may need to do some work around it).  We spend so little time communicating our needs that we don't truly know how to.  Our fear of not being heard or our fear or judgement that we aren't deserving, mixed with our resentment for not getting our needs met create a scary combination.  It is a wonder how any relationship survives (in my opinion).  How many times have you expected someone to treat you one way or another only to have them do something else?  How did you respond?

We are a culture that blames.  We blame the government, the weather, God (if you have one or more), fast food, alcohol, other people, TV, guns, etc.  I don't believe I have ever turned on the TV or listened to the radio to hear our media discuss how each person contributes to their own personal issues, let alone the world's joys and pains.  I don't believe I have ever overheard a conversation where someone was saying, "I must take a long hard look at myself and what I am bringing to this situation that is perpetuating it."  I have heard that they did this, or they did that or they need to stop doing these things and everything would be ok.  It is no wonder why we oftentimes feel powerless over our lives.  It is no wonder why we go to war or have road rage.  It is no wonder why our world is in such turmoil.  We are all pointing the finger at someone/something else, rarely seeing where we can start to make a shift in the world.

How can you take ownership for yourself today?



Got To Be Real

Howdy party people! I had a groovy Friday and completely failed to write, which is fine, but interesting because I kept thinking, "I am forgetting something important."  Ha!  So, you get TWO today!  :)  That is the way it goes sometimes.  Ya know.

I am basically a nightmare for anyone who doesn't want to be present, shown themselves, called out, held accountable, loved in a non-attached way and independent.  I absolutely reject co-dependence in favor of a healthy interdependence and friendship in all of my relationships.  You can't 'sleep' when you are my partner and for most that has proven difficult.  The same holds true, on a less intense level, for being my friend.  You are challenged to take care of yourself, show up and overall be honest, as honest as you can be.  I enjoy growth and challenge those around me to keep on sprouting.

Honesty is something I work hard at moment to moment, knowing what I feel, owning what I want, making my life what I desire it to be.  Most of us, however, lie to ourselves on just about every level.  Honesty about our feelings, desires, fears, dislikes, beliefs and abilities.  So many of us are doing what we think our ideal self would do at the cost of denying our present self.  It is awesome to see where you want to go, but you cannot get there if you don't admit to where you are in this very moment.  Now, we aren't all doing this dishonesty dance on purpose.  Many of us are clueless to the lies we tell ourselves and others.  Many times we lie to get what we think we want.

Take, for example, when you meet someone you like.  How do you lie to them?  How do you show only the parts that you believe would be appealing?  I know that it isn't conscious, always, and it most certainly is not malicious… but that doesn't mean that it is honest.  We tend to be shiny and bright to attract, which is normal, and only show the sides that need polishing when we are pretty sure of an attachment on both sides.  Our insecurity about being lovable comes out when we meet someone new.  When we put ourselves on a pedestal by showing only the glittery bits, we don't allow others to actually enjoy the parts that make you you.  The parts that are totally true too.  It ends up being difficult later on when you have to actually be all of who you are.  The truth is you are lovable, I am lovable, all the parts private and public are absolutely worth loving.

Do you feel lovable?  Do you feel that you are worth someone fitting you into their world and possibly teaming up to create one with you?  Have you asked yourself these questions?

When you look at your motivations for doing what you do, your excuses for not doing what you know how to do, and the questions about yourself and your life that have remained unanswered, you begin to get an honest view of yourself.  Facing the parts of you that you hide from others is a great place to start letting go of the dishonesty.  Looking at what you would never want anyone to see is a jumping off point for amazing growth and a deeper love for yourself.  When you embrace all of your bits everyone else can too.  That sounds like a plan to me, what about you?



Brace Your Coffee-Loving Selves

Hello there!!! As a personal trainer I am hired to help others reach various fitness goals and as a life coach I am hired to help people sort out all the rest and sometimes including fitness.  More often than not I am asked to assist with weight loss, energy levels and overall well-being.  Most people who I work with have one thing in common, and it is often what I suggest they approach first (and it is often what they say they cannot give up), they are addicted to caffeine.

I have a lot of energy, true story.  I have always been known to be active and full of life.  I attribute my energy to being generally happy and content, doing what I love, eating well and staying away from drugs.  Caffeine is the world's most popular stimulant.  4 out of 5 people in this country take caffeine daily.

Ok, you may not enjoy this part but I believe it is very key to understanding what the hell you put in your body on a regular basis.  Honestly, we wonder why we don't feel good, why we gain weight, why we are exhausted.  Let's see shall we…

Caffeine is a powerful substance.  There are a million studies that will show you all of the wonderful things that come with being addicted to coffee.  Does it make sense to be addicted to anything that is a drug?  Does it make sense to not expect people to defend its use who use it?  Don't addicts make up any reason to continue to use?  Wouldn't you try to get it at all costs.  If you were a scientist and the drug you took helped reaction time, wouldn't that be what you discussed and not the fact that it decreases iron absorption, causes gastrointestinal problems (think about the increase of coffee consumption and the amount of gastritis, colitis or stomach ulcers), causes anxiety and irritability, raises cholesterol levels, can cause insomnia and or narcolepsy, and is linked to coronary artery disease.  I haven't mentioned fertility issues and birth defects, or headaches, nausea and diarrhea. If you are interested in more info on the effects of caffeine on your health please let me know, I will give you the total low down.  Not a pretty picture people.

The other part that isn't discussed is the fact that it sucks all of the energy out of you and replaces it with fake energy only to have you crash later on.  Caffeine causes an increase, temporarily, in blood sugar, followed by a decrease.  It stimulates the release of adrenaline and causes the body tissues to turn into sugar and fat.  Too much insulin is released and the blood sugar falls.  Then you reach for that next cup…

Withdrawal sucks.  The fact that you have withdrawal, actual physical symptoms tells you just how powerful caffeine is.  It is seriously difficult to quit.  However, if you decide to, I guarantee a new world awaits!  I know, it sounds crazy, but we actually don't need outside stimulation.  Our bodies are equipped to wake up, move about and do it with feeling!  During the process and after you are off of coffee you will need to journal a bit to see how you see the world differently, how you feel, what you think.  The changes may be that you are more even keel emotionally.  You wake up easier.  You don't have tummy aches and you realize that you actually lived with having them.  You have more energy and you are suddenly RICH.  No more $5 lattes.

Look, I want you to be all that you can be… I think it may start with getting off of the junk (as a friend put it).

Good luck in your quest for wellbeing



Lie To Me

Howdy! Most of us have two lives.  Our public and our private life.  We show the world one thing and we keep to ourselves, and sometimes from ourselves, what is really happening.  We spend a lot of our lives, if not all, denying truths, ignoring feelings, and creating stories to maintain the status quo.  If you are unhappy in any way about your life you must remember that you are the only one responsible for where you are right now (and always).  The same goes for anyone who is happy for where they are right now.

Think.  Take a quiet moment to sit with yourself.  Let everything come in.  Try it.  Brace yourself, what you may feel and find could be difficult.  The thing is, the truth has been close to the surface for most of us.  We do a lot of things to take our minds off of it.  We overeat, we get into relationships that take all of our energy, we do drugs, we create drama, we blame others, we sabotage ourselves.  Mainly we refuse to take a long look at how we do things and why.  We don't question our motivations, our choices, our beliefs.  We go along trying to live as pain-free as possible.  If the truth hurts then what lies are keeping you comfy?

It isn't about judging yourself or putting yourself down.  It is about knowing what is actually going on for you so that you can make some other things happen, things you want to go on for yourself.  When you keep yourself in the dark about who you actually are you cannot get out from under your own shadow.  It is hard to be directed toward something when you don't actually know where you are starting from.

When you admit what you feel, when you get in touch with all that you think, and when you embrace all of who you are your life changes dramatically.  We must let go of what we want to be to become who we are first.  We must stop running away from ourselves; it is hurtful, it is denial, it is stunting.  By letting go of all of the ways in which we numb ourselves we allow life in.  We allow the possibility for our public life and private life to be in harmony.  We are able to walk the walk instead of talking the talk.

Much love on your journey.



The Truth Lies

Howdy, I sit here reading all of the news about Lance Armstrong and feel like sharing.  I was, years ago, charged with a crime I didn't commit.  I remember feeling so alone, so afraid.  I remember feeling like giving up.  Years later, after I had been fighting the charges (it is amazing how long some things take) I pleaded no contest.  I did so because the chance was that it would continue to go on and on and on.  I was ready to move on, to forget about it all and get on with my life.  The charges were brought on by a stalker who threatened my world in so many ways.  She threatened to ruin my career, she followed me home, she scared my friends and co-workers.  She worried the judge who questioned her fighting the restraining order I'd brought against her.  The deal was if I was going to fight any harder I would have to come to the realization that I am a big black chick and a little white chick looks more innocent to most people, regardless.  I just don't seem like a 'victim.'  I didn't want to take any chances and I didn't want to continue to be judged any more than I was when the false charges were uttered from her mouth.  So I let it go and am so very happy that I did.

I remember when, from a jail cell, I sat horrified.  I had never (and still haven't) done any drugs.  I had never done anything to anyone that was criminal.  I went to college, paid (and am still paying) my way.  I was and am a pretty upstanding citizen who, for the most part, played by the rules.  I don't have a problem facing what I have done, it is really hard when you haven't actually done anything.  It is like you are yelling at an imaginary person.  You are fighting a fight that can morph and change because it doesn't actually exist.  It is pointless in so many ways that are hard to describe.  You basically feel like you are digging a hole the harder you push against it because you are acknowledging a lie.  You are defending something that isn't actually there.  Then, you face other people's feelings about what you 'should' have done.  One of my brothers tried to use this event against me, saying awful things about me.  I knew a few people in my life momentarily believe that I was guilty.  It was hard and scary and I got through it.  It is amazing to me how many people have opinions about things they know nothing about.  Ha!  It is very hard to understand what you don't understand.  The most you can do is acknowledge that you don't know.  It is also the kindest thing to do.

Since that event I have learned so many things, one of which is that I really, truly, don't know whether someone did or did not do something unless I was there… and that people are not to be trusted sometimes.  You simply rarely know the truth and, in my opinion, compassion is what is needed in place of judgement.  It is so easy to say that someone did something and for it to be a lie.  It happens people, it really does.  People lie, the cheat, they steal, they tear others down just to see them fall.  It is amazing how resistant we are to seeing that truth when it is all around us.

I believe it is also important to let people decide what is best for them and when.  Lance letting go isn't him giving up, it is him moving on.



Assumptions & Invalidations

"Begin challenging your own assumptions.  Your assumptions are your windows on the world.  Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in."  ~Alan Alda Howdy!

After teaching my last class today I was telling a couple of co-workers about the fact that I have Bieber Fever.  I mean, it was bound to happen.  The kid isn't going anywhere and his music is getting better.  So, I gave the new album a listen and was happy to hear a little dub step and just a more mature sound.  It was nice.  I reported this to my co-workers who were skeptical to say the least.  The song 'As Long As You Love Me warrants a listen, in my opinion.  I am not overly keen on the message per se (I tend to sniff out co-dependency like a drug dog looking for contraband) but I do get the idea behind it.  He basically is saying that he cares about his girlfriend above all material things.  He has found a partner he wants to spend his days with, through thick and thin.  It is always a beautiful thing when someone can say that they want to stick it out with someone else.  As the song played on of my colleagues said, "What does he know about tough times?"  I immediately began thinking.  I realized I was feeling frustrated because I felt that a human being's feelings were being invalidated due to assumptions being made.

Assumptions happen.  I know that this is an area in my life that I must work on accepting completely because I get charged around it.  When assumptions are made about me I feel like I didn't get a chance to explain myself or be myself.  I sometimes feel marginalized.  I also observe how rare it is for people to really ask each other questions and have genuine curiosity for one another. Often we assume we know someone based on a limited experience with them.  Yes, generalizations can be made and be close to truth, however being genuinely curious is one of the best ways to get information.  Believing you know who someone is because you see them doing something once certainly leads to more errors than a little.

So when the comment was made I thought… How can this person assume that Bieber (or anyone) wouldn't  know hardship?  Is it because he has fortune and fame?  I mean everyone who has fortune and fame is happy and secure and has never had anything difficult to deal with, right?

Additionally, I began thinking about how many of us discount the feelings of people all of the time because of the assumptions made about someone because of their age, socio-economic status, intelligence (academic), etc.  Adults decide kids don't know how something feels because we believe that having a few years more on this planet (in this lifetime) means we know more.  Teens assume that older folks don't know because they are older and not where they are.  We all assume that our knowing, experience, reality is the only one that is valid most of the time.  It is no wonder we can feel defensive and bruised on a regular basis.  We are all trying to assert our point of view as the right one, often times by invalidating everyone else's.

How often do you assume?  How have you invalidated someone recently because of assumptions?  How does it make you feel when you do it?  Do you know if you have done it?  Have you felt invalidated recently?  Often when we invalidate others it is because we have been treated similarly or we do it to ourselves.  We are more likely to decide someone else doesn't matter if we have been told (and we believe) that we don't matter as well.

You matter.  I matter.  We all matter.  Our feelings are valid.  Our ideas are valuable.  We are loved and supported by the abundance that surrounds us.  Share your stories.  Own your value.  Live your truth.  Love yourself.

"Assumptions are the termites of relationships." ~Henry Winkler



What's Good???

Good morning! It is Tuesday!!  :) This only  takes a few moments to do but gives to you for much, much longer.  So put down whatever you are doing and take a couple of minutes for yourself.  Every Tuesday morning I am going to ask you to write down 5 things that you are grateful for and email them to me (keep for yourself as well).  What are you feeling gratitude around?  Here are mine for this week:

Healthy Boundaries!

Owning my choices.

David Zarza. (check out his website!)

Keli Keach Photography.  (website in progress!)

My Furry Animals! 

There are no right or wrong answers.  It is about what you are grateful for.   It is proven that doing this once a week for three months (actually just 9 weeks) makes you happier, healthier, exercise more and less sensitive to perceived slights.  You will sweat the small stuff less and focus on what really matters.

So… what are you waiting for???

"Hiding how you really feel and trying to make everyone happy doesn't make you nice, it just makes you a liar." ~Jenny O'Connel, The Book of Luke

Are you helping people stay where they are or motivating them to their highest potential?  We sometimes feel that being honest, if it hurts someone's feelings, is mean.  It may be exactly why you are in their life… to tell them the truth, finally.  They can decide what to do with it, but at least they are getting the information.

Food for thought!

Nothing in the world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.  ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"Honesty is more than not lying.  It is truth-telling, truth-speaking, truth living, and truth-loving." ~James E. Faust