Monday, June 29, 2009

The Empty Elevator

There is a saying that goes something like this, "When everyone you run into is an asshole, you need to look in the mirror!" Well lately everyone hasn't been an asshole, but they have sure been frustrating me!

This is actually unusual for me. For the last ten years or so I have worked hard at living a serene and even sometimes a zen like life. I felt a lot of gratitude for what I had, I gave others room to make mistakes, and grow, and be who they were. I even felt pretty cool with myself, and that old Inner Lizard of mine, was napping most of the time.

That is until recently. As you can tell by some of my previous posts, I have been going through a transition in thought, in who I am, in where I want to go. I have been learning a lot about what that means, and I am finding that I am becoming more fearful of the future. Why, because the other people around me aren't necessarily coming along with me! I am taking my new self into the realms I have always traveled, and the people there are simply being who they have always been. Why is this bugging me? Let me paint a picture of one of these episodes:

I have a group of women who I travel to Southern Oregon with each June. We go to a luncheon, river raft, jet boat, hang out and usually have a good time. There is always a certain amount of drama during the trip! Whenever you get 10-12 women of various ages and backgrounds together, it is hard to make decisions, and keep your own priorities straight without offending others. For several years, I have been struggling with this trip, because this group tends toward co-dependency, and occasionally one or two people hijack the trip. This is important, I knew this before the trip. However, I somehow thought that this year would be different. The definition of insanity, Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

I do have some enjoyment in the river and the things we do, but the rest is torture. I don't want to live in the drama anymore. So what do I do, I get upset, take things personally, and blame others! It feels easier to do that, than to acknowledge the truth. The truth is, I have changed and this trip doesn't work for me anymore.

This is the empty elevator that Martha Beck talks about in Steering by Starlight. When we change and grow and become more of who we are, we sometimes find ourselves alone, without our usual companions. Along with the truth that I am moving on a different path than some of those close to me, comes the pain of that loss. I am grieving some of these changes, and the anger and frustration is part of that grief. When we fight change, it is harder. Acknowledging who I am, and being willing to walk into that pain and grief will get me a lot farther than frustration, anger and blaming others. So I am turning the rudder of my life to move into the fire, and with that I will end up going downstream, and getting back to that peaceful life I cherish.

Care to come along? If not, I wish you well on your path to where you need to go.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Why Don't They Just Behave the Way I Want Them To?

You may think that because I am a Life Coach, and since one of my specialties is relationship coaching, that I don't go through periods of discontent or wishing my partner would change! I am fessing up right now that this is not true and that I am very capable of falling back into old ideas, and wanting things to be different than they are.

For instance a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling like I was carrying the weight of our relationship on my shoulders. I decided that what I really needed to do was sit my husband down, let him know what I needed, and set him straight. Now being a life coach, I do know that how I am feeling is not about the other person, it is about my thinking. Before moving forward with my plan to get him on board with my ideas for how things should be done, I realized I might want to look at my own thoughts.

My brain was saying things like, "if he would just do more of this," and "if he would just behave more like that........I would be happier." Next I looked at how I was behaving when I believed these thoughts. What I saw was that I was not doing any of the things I wanted my husband to do! And when I was thinking he should be doing more, I was behaving resentfully towards him! I began to wonder what would happen if I behaved the way I wanted him to. So, I did just that. I stopped expecting him to be more loving and helpful, and I began being more loving and helpful towards him. Before I knew it, I was feeling better, and happier in my relationship!

So here's the moral of the story: Before you start telling others how they should behave, consider what it is you want. See if you can give that to yourself, and the other person. Notice how much better you feel!

If my husband only knew how often I didn't have to tell him what to do!

Until next time,