opportunity

If you hear yourself saying "I Don't Need This S$%^", chances are you do.

  Is this sentence familiar to you, too?

No? Just me?

OK. Maybe you have your own version of it. Take a look.

What do you say when you're completely fed up, done, overwhelmed, frustrated, annoyed and hopeless?

This is what I say: "I don't need this s%^*". It's my back door. My exit strategy. It gets me off the hook and I'm no longer responsible.

mj

I don't have to be compassionate when someone calls me female pronouns, despite that fact that I've corrected the person five times in a year. We even had a sit-down about it. And he's in a leadership role. Yeah, I know.

I don't have to accept that I didn't manage my time well and rushed my grad school paper and that's why I got a less than awesome grade.

I don't have to wake up early (like 5:30am, early) to write blog posts and put my newsletter together because my schedule is packed tighter than a tin of sardines lately.

Basically, I don't have to be who I need to be to do what I want to do in this life.

Guess what? You don't have to, either. You can actually make the decision to be, do and have anything you want. You can be as angry and nasty or as kind and compassionate as you choose. You can blame, judge and criticize people as much as you want or you can treat them with love, respect and patience. You can avoid timelines, deadlines, move commitments around, cancel appointments you make for yourself and with others. You can forget to call your mom. 

You can do all of these things. Or none of them. The only thing that gets in your way is you. But the opposite is also true. The only thing that can make anything possible, is you.

My life changed when I heard myself say, "I don't need this s%&^" and realized it was true, but it was also an access to realizing that in fact, I DID need it, in some way. I saw that each time I felt stopped, stuck or limited in some way---either in my words or behavior--it was a lesson. It was like someone pressed PAUSE so I could actually see myself stuck. I could decide, in that moment, what I wanted to do with the opportunity being presented. Why was I feeling challenged, annoyed, frustrated or hopeless? 

Often we get stopped when we're up against our own growth. It means we either see something about ourselves that isn't so awesome or we might feel vulnerable in some way, open to being wounded or hurt by someone.

Sometimes we see how awesome our lives might be if we keep being our awesome selves, even if it takes a lot of work. That's intense. It can be tempting to quit.

Next time you hear yourself say 'your thing' ask yourself if perhaps you really do need it in some way. Try to rise above and see yourself in a 360 degree view. What is this moment or experience teaching you? What are you seeing that you couldn't before? What can you do differently to change your life for the better?

Get frustrated. Life is hard sometimes. But it's all about how and what you choose to do with it. When you see yourself as responsible for your life, you'll hear yourself and 'your thing' in a different way. But don't miss a lesson for growth when it hits you smack in the face. At least use that s%^& for something useful.

 

Transitions Don't Last Forever

Finals week. First trimester. Starting a new job. Recent breakup.

These all have one thing in common: they are periods of transition. And they can be some of the most difficult times in our lives. But, as I once read, also the most growth-filled.

A few years ago, I had this realization. Early childhood and adolescence is easy, relative to adulthood, because it's so organized. We are moved along through classrooms and rites of passage and everything has a time and place. There are sometimes even appropriate outfits to wear. We know what to expect, we know what's expected of us, and we know what we need to do to move along to the next "classroom".

I've noticed, with clients, that once adults graduate college (if we choose that path after high school), we sort of get stuck. We don't have anyone telling us what to do, where to go, and how to do it. We don't have clear directions on what jobs to get, how to manage our time effectively, how to cook/feed ourselves and negotiate relationships with other adults struggling with the same challenges. So, we make choices based on what makes sense for who we are and the best skills we have at the time. We choose partners, jobs, clothes, haircuts, cars, etc. We do our best with people who are also doing their best. And sometimes it's a damn mess.

Before I grounded myself in a spiritual practice, I always saw my life as a never-ending, gut-wrenching, marathon of agonizing leaps from one lily pad to the next. I never saw them as connected. I never saw them as essential to my growth--to my path of awakening and maturity.

I always asked aloud what I was being punished for. I kept friends on the phone for hours, begging for answers to help me through yet another major life transition. I always experienced the same feelings and emotions: panic, powerless, hopeless, scared, depressed, abandoned, dejected.

When I saw my life as one big question mark, I was often really uneasy and anxious. I saw each change as an omen that I was doing something wrong. I clung to situations and relationships with people even when they didn't serve me, just so I had a sense of having "ground" or being stable, even when I wasn't.

I don't live my life that way anymore.

I realized that our classrooms and learning opportunities never really stop when we graduate with a diploma from high school or a degree from a university. Our lives are one continual education. And if we see life that way, and welcome it, we understand that transitions are going to keep coming into and out of our lives--just as they did when we moved from 3rd grade to 4th, anticipating our favorite teachers for homeroom.

While transitions may be extremely uncomfortable, here's the good news: they don't last, that's why they are called transitions.

If you see your life as one continual practice session, one opportunity after another to try, fail, learn and try again, as opposed to the penultimate measure of your character and self-worth, you may find transitions to be less taxing emotionally and mentally. You will welcome them, knowing they serve a wonderful purpose to move you from what wasn't working or ideal toward a place of growth and evolution. They are essential so you can learn whatever is necessary before you reach the next stage of your process. The adjustment is normal. Things will shift. You are changing and growing. This isn't always a pleasure to experience--but it is necessary for your path.

Greet your life, each day and month and year--each minor and major transition--as another classroom, another "grade" passed successfully. When you make a change, anticipate that things will be a little rocky, receive that change as you would catch a raw egg---gracefully, delicately. You don't want that thing exploding all over you, right? How can you take what you learned from the past and apply it to this new situation or experience? How can you embrace all that you aren't yet to become who you want to be? How can you make the transition work for you?

You have made changes before, and you are just fine. Really, you are. Anticipate the change, anticipate the unfamiliar, and watch how easy the transition becomes.

When making a change, be it a job, a relationship, exploring a new identity or a new exercise routine or even trying new foods, always factor in that you will have an adjustment period and remember it will not last. Recently I made a few changes in my life and there was about a week where I felt REALLY out of control. My sleep quality was extremely poor. I doubted my choices and I anticipated the worst. I complained a lot. I was scared.

Then I remembered, "this is a transition period."

When I recentered myself and remembered that the changes I was making meant things would improve in every aspect of my life, I allowed myself time to grieve the old and embrace the new. As soon as I had that clarity and created the time and space for this emotional shift---all the undesirable symptoms dissipated.

Every single one.

And they were replaced with feelings like grace, gratitude, joy, balance, optimism and abundance.

I sleep through each night, content and relieved.

Remember, if you're being fearless and seeking growth and change in your life, transitions will happen--and they will happen regularly. Prepare for this! Embrace it!

And remember, the transition won't last forever. That's why they are called transitions.