inspiration

wile e coyote and the stupid dust

I had dinner with a newish friend tonight, with the intention to also give her a tarot reading as she navigates some really big changes (end of major relationship, beginning of master’s program and a new job). I showed up in my comfortable, well-worn role as the “helper,” but my friend in her wisdom wasn’t going to let me off the hook that easily. She has attorney training and she’s a very skilled coach, a delightfully lethal combination, it turns out.

She said a couple of things to me during dinner that left me feeling like I’d been sprinkled with stupid dust. You know the feeling? Like Wile E. Coyote just over the lip of the canyon holding completely still before the fall.

Not a common feeling for an extroverted know-it-all, but one I’ve come to recognize as pay dirt for major leaps in my personal and professional life:

1. If you want something you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do things you’ve never done

After the stupid dust settled, it struck me as obvious. Well of course! You actually have to learn how to do it by trying to do it. If I wanted to be a professional bowler, would I read all the bowling books, join bowling groups, read bowling blogs, talk about bowling all the time, but not ever actually roll the ball down the aisle? Risk that I might actually suck at bowling? Why would I want to do that?!? I LOVE bowling!

Loving the idea of something is not the same as actually doing it. I realized this about 20 years ago when I heard a successful novelist say that being a writer meant spending 8-12 hours a day in a room by yourself focused on one thing. Yeah, I’m never going to do that. I like the idea of it, but it stops there.

What do I have to be willing to do to have what I really want? What about you?

2. “How much longer do you have?”

I’ve been having essentially the same conversation with my friends, colleagues and coach for the last 3 years. With more or less swearing, some iteration of “I want to completely focus my business on coaching people to discover and fulfill their calling but I’m scared to put myself out there.”

My friend asked me how much longer I was willing to play small. 3 years? A year? Six months? How did I feel when I thought about doing exactly what I’m doing now for another 3 years?

What’s that? You say it makes you feel sick?

Well, yes. Sick. The way many of my clients feel when they finally decide to call for help. Heavy, overwhelmed, exhausted.

So at my friend’s urging I gave myself the rest of this year to really focus on my own calling, to be curious about it, embrace it, embody it in the spirit it was given to me. Be willing to do things for it that I’ve never done before. Being married is good practice for this.

Stay tuned. Maybe Wile e Coyote might fly this time. And let me know what cliffs you’re hovering off the edge of.



Special audio blog – faith in life during dark times

I wanted to send you a special audio message during this dark time of year, whether you are filled with joy and surrounded by healthy loved ones or grieving a major change or loss…or both.

2010 has been a big year for many of you. Our world is changing rapidly, and sometimes change is painful, even as it brings new vision and possibilities to light.

My wish for you as we close out this year and prepare ourselves for a new one is faith. Not the kind of faith many religious institutions demand, where you are asked to believe in what you can’t see or know first-hand.

But faith in life itself – that you as a blessed recipient of life can rest in the knowledge that you are loved and needed. NOW. Not later after you become more successful, a better partner, thinner, healthier, kinder. NOW.

Life has been unfolding for millenia without you worrying about a thing. Life doesn’t need you to worry, it needs you to have faith.

It needs you to notice that bright blue stellar jay foraging around in the un-raked leaves in your yard, the extra-yuminess of that third cookie, the sheer bliss of a kid anticipating.

I was out in my yard yesterday in an unexpected spot of sunshine. I noticed that there are already buds on some flowering trees. They have faith in spring. Trust them.

In 2011 may you find many occasions to remember, embrace and embody your true calling. Because life needs you NOW, as you are, in your full glory, uniqueness and fragility.

And thank you for the amazing and life-giving opportunity to ride shotgun with you on the Open Road!



Where are you keeping your chestnuts?

That may sound like a personal question, intrusive even, and perhaps slightly dirty. 🙂

One cool morning last week as I walked out my front door to pick Japanese anemones for my altar, a very loud squirrel (unintentionally) offered a life lesson. Alarming and alarmed-sounding squeaks from the transformer across the street kinda’ killed my flower-buzz, but I didn’t think much of it; there’s a chestnut tree on the corner that they assault with military determination every fall.

However, as I walked back up my front steps, I saw the reason for the little guy’s freakout: he had “hidden” some of these treasured chestnuts right on top of my mailbox, which is right at the top of my front steps, which is right next to my front door. 

I laughed for a minute and felt bad for him and impressed at the same time – his brain is smaller than even one of these nuts, but his determination is much bigger. He had carried two golf-ball sized, attached prizes all the way down the tree and across the street, braving traffic and dog, scrambled up my glider, and carefully deposited his harvest…in a very un-strategic location.

Note to self, I thought: you shouldn’t tell just anyone about your chestnuts – especially the really big ones. If you you dream of a totally different career, plan to take up sky-diving or spend a year in Tanzania, play it close to the vest for a while. Humans have an unfortunate tendency to project all of our fears and worries onto the brave souls who stick their necks out.

The fastest way to kill your new idea is to have your Aunt Hazel remind you of what a dreamer you’ve always been.

What are your biggest chestnuts right now? And have you squirreled them away somewhere safe until you’re ready to eat ’em?