October, 04 2006
It's not an exaggeration to say that we are the sum of our parts. We have a history, which unites with our genetic disposition, which is molded by prevailing views and beliefs. And more. We are fascinating, complex humans, who spend quite a bit of time trying to understand ourselves and others. It ain't easy to figure it all out. While we are deciphering the why's and wherefore's, we do a good bit of judging too. We like this about our mother and we don't like this about her. We do the same with our friends, co-workers and colleagues -- we know what we find acceptable and what we don't. And here's the problem with all of that judging -- we do the same thing internally -- we like parts of ourselves and we don't like other parts. We spend time addressing those issues that we judge unworthy of us. And while we are doing that, we are judging ourselves unworthy because as I stated at the beginning -- we are the sum of all of our parts: the good, the bad, the ugly. When we reject part of ourselves, we are also deeming our whole as not good enough. Interesting, isn't it? So then the question becomes, how can I improve myself and still accept myself. You can. First, it may sound trite to say but it begins with forgiveness...say it...I forgive me. We may forgive someone else, who has hurt us, before we can tell ourselves that we accept ourselves for who we are. And next, it is knowing that the fundamental truth about ourselves is that we must be as integrated as possible. It doesn't mean that we won't continue to strive for better. It just means at this very moment, we are fine. In analyzing peak performance, one can see how all of the parts come together. To give at 100 per cent, one must be at 100 per cent -- in that moment -- in that space of time. WHOLE!
September, 22 2006
Happy New Year
For Jews all over the world, tonight at sundown marks the New Year. I grew up in a very traditional Jewish family and this day is etched in my memory with the delicious smells of the traditional holiday meal. My mother always wore white on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, and my father was home -- no matter what day Rosh Hashanah fell on, he took that first and second day and Yom Kippur off. He was a doctor, who usually worked around the clock, so this was a big deal. We spent the day at the synagogue where we greeted friends, listened to the sounds of Hebrew being chanted just as that has always been done. These customs created a strong foundation for me and my brother and they were studiously adhered to my parents. I'm grateful that I had them. I chose new traditions for my family as we all grew up but with television and life changes, the rituals too were modified. That's the way it is and I accept that. But I will admit that sometimes I long for a simpler way of life, when the same bowls were put in the precisely same place on the table and the chicken was baked in exactly the same way as generations of women in my mother's family had made it. As much as I embrace today and all its technology and busyness, it has changed the simplicity of these holidays I remember from 60 years ago. I can sit in services and feel the connection and that is comforting but it's changed somewhat too. I LOVE where I am today and yet I know that I am who I am in large part because my family preserved the heritage so carefully. I have not chosen to do that in the exact way that they did, but I have managed over the years to make certain foods that my kids and grandkids love and provide some links that hold us all together. What I know now for sure....is that I wish that I had done even more. Think of ways you can have those times and places that are so special and unique to your family etched into a memory bank that none of you will ever forget. And by the way, Happy New Year.
September, 10 2006
Maybe Just Maybe You Need an Adventure
I have recently noticed with some of my clients that even when we find the root of their feelings of being overworked and overwhelmed that we haven't found what may be causing their fatigue. And that when we probe deeper what is really happening is that they actually want to do MORE not LESS. It is truly ironic but very true that we have times that we expend so much energy holding ourselves back or keeping a secret from ourselves or not admitting some truth, that the effect of that is a bone-tiredness that just won't let up until we discover something new to do. First of all, it is important to make sure that you get the rest that you need. And then, if you are still finding excuses for why you may be so tired, ask yourself some questions: "What would really please me right now?" "What excitement could I bring into my life?" Notice if you feel resistance when you are doing a task or even going to work or doing something that once was pleasurable but now seems like a chore. Sometimes just becoming aware that there may be something that you are hiding from yourself helps you to discover a next step or helps you make a plan for a future activity or helps you uncover that next adventure. Awareness is the first key -- awareness that the tiredness isn't going away with ordinary measures and awareness that times may be changing or that you are. I know for years that people used to tell me that I needed to let go but I never understood "what" I was supposed to be letting go of. Discovery came to me when I realized it wasn't "letting go" so much but moving forward that was called for. The future holds promise, excitement, adventure. As it is embraced, we find energy. Maybe, just maybe, you need an adventure.
August, 21 2006
At the beginning
Lots of things are hard at the beginning. I remember when I had my first child and I thought that I would never EVER have enough time for a real shower or planned time for myself again. Of course, it was probably just days later that I had settled into a routine and life was calm again. (Never was there a reason for me to become upset.) I have started new tasks and felt nothing but angst at the way I was progressing but, in short order, I was well on my way and soon what was really difficult was just a piece of cake! However, knowing all of that doesn't necessarily keep the stress away as I face a new endeavor. And I am ashamed to admit it but there are times that I might not try something new because the learning curve seems so steep or the expected effort may not seem worthwhile. I encounter this with friends and colleagues too. They don't know about a certain subject and they are oftentimes defiant in insisting that they don't need to know. Oh, please! We all have the ability to learn -- maybe we have different strengths and weaknesses and maybe it will take me a longer time to master a project than it would you but so WHAT? Giving up is the wrong signal because each time we stop learning we reinforce the notion to ourselves that we are not good enough to.......(whatever that may be!) It is so important to remember whether you are starting something like a new exercise program or taking on a major technology -- It will become easier. It may become fun. It will make you happy with yourself.