dreading the dread

hourglassThis is a post written back in 2007 and posted to The Transformational Times.  I am sharing it with you today because it is relative to the moment.  May your holiday season be free of this feeling.

The dreaded dread. It seems that it has insidiously made its way into my daughter’s life today. While she was driving me into work this morning, she verbalized her feelings of dread about returning to school tomorrow. She described it as feeling like the scene in the Aladdin movie where Jasmine was trapped in an hourglass and the sand was pouring down on her, limiting her time to live. I know of what she speaks. I’ve been there.

The dreaded dread (“dd”) is when you are on your last day of vacation and have to return to work the next day. It doesn’t have to be a long vacation, it could just be the weekend. The “dd” always occurs immediately upon waking on your last day of freedom. As your eyes open to greet your last day of liberation, you feel the “dd” moving in the pit of your stomach. It starts out very small but quickly builds and usurps your entire body. You can feel it from your head to your toes. You can’t think of anything else but having to return to your place of work, or in this case, school. This is no escape from the “dd”. No matter how much you try to make the best of your remaining time, your return to captivity is there, lurking throughout your mind, putting a damper on your spirits and effectively ruining the last minutes you have before the sand covers your head and you are no longer in control of your life.

I frequently suffer from “dd” when I have to go to work the next day. I wonder if I would do better if I had no time off at all, because then I would have no time to see the other side of things, to experience the wondrous feeling of freedom and absolute autonomy. “dd” is not something I have managed to eliminate over the years. I’ve tried living in the moment and not thinking about the sands of time running out, but no matter how hard I try, the “dd” continues to lurk somewhere within me, keeping me in silent chains throughout the day. Instead of overcoming the “dd”, I have learned to accept it for what it is and come to terms with it.

However dismal this may all sound, there is hope for sufferers of this malady, and it is that hope to which I cling when the “dd” hits me hard and fast. The hope lies in the knowledge that the minute I arrive at my dreaded destination, the “dd” will be gone. The cure lies in facing the dread. Staying away from it only perpetuates its strength. Facing up to the “dd” weakens it almost immediately and before you know it, you are back in your routine and feeling quite well. Was it all just a bad dream? Sometimes, I think it was.

So, while my daughter is in the throes of the “dd” at this moment, I can rest assured knowing that tomorrow all will be well with her again. It is nice to know that the “dd” is only temporary because mine will be starting tomorrow morning. Here we go again.

Yours in transformation,

Wordlywoman

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a Martha Stewart story

Last night, I hosted a thank-you party for my co-workers who are part of a fundraising team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.  I work with a great bunch of people who put in a great deal of time and energy to raise money for this important cause.  Though I am considered the team leader, I never feel like I’m doing anything alone.  People will come up and congratulate me on doing well at our many events, but the thanks really goes to everyone, some who prefer to remain behind the scenes.  They are the people who provide ideas, supplies, baked goods, and raffle items that make the fundraiser a success.  I am only the face on the front.  Tonight will be a night for them to relax, have something to eat, and meet the former Martha Stewart.

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who’s driving your bus?

We use a lot of bus metaphors where I work.  Who’s riding the bus?  Who’s under the bus?  Who had to take the bus because they wore the wrong shoes to the walk?  (That was the funniest one, but a long story.)  The one I want to talk about today is who’s driving the bus?  I pose that question as a metaphor for asking yourself about who makes the choices that drive your actions.

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trouble with macaroni

The following is a conversation I had at work today:

Them:  “Mrs. Z is doing well eating on her own, but she did have some trouble with her macaroni last night.”

Me:  “Well, we all have trouble with our macaroni once in a while.”

 After that conversation, I started thinking about “trouble with macaroni” as a metaphor for how we occasionally struggle with the simple things in life.  You know those days when you can’t seem to get out of your own way?  You wake up in the morning and every action feels like a chore.  You can’t decide whether or not to eat, what to eat, what to wear, to make coffee at home or to stop and get it on the way to work.  You feel like you’re going in circles and getting nothing accomplished fast, so by the time you step out the door, you’re ready for a nap.  What causes these complications in simplicity?  What is it that gets in our way?  Please indulge me as I share a few of my theories on that.

One thing that can cause this trouble is an interruption in our regular routine.  Now, I’ve always thought of myself as a flexible, go-with-the-flow kind of person and I don’t get too stressed by things changing around me, but after moving several times in the past 5 years, I’ve come to see how important a routine is to my daily success.  Each time I moved I had to come up with a new routine that worked with my new floor plan.  Without a solid routine in place, I had a great deal of difficulty getting out of the house on time each morning.  I found some places were easier to navigate than others;  it depended on where the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen were in relation to each other.  Once I grew accustomed to the new environment, I was able to get back into a routine that enabled me to feel at home and, therefore, get things done more easily and feel in sync with life.

Another thing that may cause “troubles with macaroni” is a lack of good, deep, restful sleep.  When you are over-tired, everything seems like a problem; even the simplest of things can seem insurmountable and lead you to a place of frustration.  Other things such as being burnt out, being sick, or neglecting your self-care can feel similar to having a lack of sleep.  It is when we tend to make mountains out of molehills and a catastrophe is always looming nearby.  This is not a pleasant place to be, for us or anyone around us.  When we are there, we make life more complicated, and thus struggle even more.  Good self-care is paramount to warding off any “troubles with macaroni”.

The last thing I want to mention is the tendency we have to listen to our mind and become involved in the endless chatter that takes place in that realm.  Most days, we are not aware of the ramblings of our mind.  We don’t notice that we are lost in an illusion that has become our reality.  When we are able to step away and listen to our natural voice, our intuition, we see that the answers are usually quite simple and, consequently, easy to find.  There are no “troubles with macaroni” in that place.  It’s impossible.  Meditation is one way for you to get to know that reality and the effect it has on your life.  Over time, with practice, meditation can help quiet the chatter and alleviate any troubles it may be causing.  It’s much easier to deal with “macaroni” when you are fully present and able to give all your attention to the issue at hand.

I hope this lesson in “macaroni trouble” has been helpful to you and given you a new perspective on struggling with the simple things in life.  Sometimes a little humor can help you through those moments too.  I know it certainly can’t hurt.

As always…yours in transformation,

Wordlywoman

layers

Shrek: For your information, there’s a lot more to ogres than people think.
Donkey: Example?
Shrek: Example… uh… ogres are like onions!
[holds up an onion, which Donkey sniffs]
Donkey: They stink?
Shrek: Yes… No!
Donkey: Oh, they make you cry?
Shrek: No!
Donkey: Oh, you leave ’em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin’ little white hairs…
Shrek: [peels an onion] NO! Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.

from Shrek (2001) Memorable Quotes

You may wonder why I am quoting lines from Shrek in this post.  Today, my sister and I had an email conversation about layers.  I was telling her that I am, once again, in a state of transformation, working through another layer of muck.  I haven’t done this type of inner work for many years now and it is just as intense as always.  I guess it is time to peel off another layer of muck.  It’s exciting and yucky at the same time.  I wonder about the potential that lies beneath the muck.  That’s the exciting part.  The tiredness I feel while discovering what’s underneath is the yuck.  (Don’t you like all the technical jargon, muck and yuck?)

For many years now, I have been working on increasing my level of self-awareness.  I have read many books; self help books, coaching books, spiritual books, daily affirmations, etc…, and just when I think I’ve got things figured out, something comes along to show me there’s more to be learned.  That is what is happening to me now.  The more I go towards what I want to be doing, the more I hear from my ego about why I can’t or shouldn’t be doing it.  I hear comparisons in which I can never measure up.  I feel fear in place of where I felt courage a few short weeks ago. This type of work is never easy.

Layers from an onion can make you cry and they stink.  That’s very similar to working through the layers of personal transformation and growth.  Sometimes you will cry and sometimes it just stinks to go through the pain of growth.  The trick for me is to breathe my way through the process while realizing that those words I hear from my ego are not real.  So let the peeling begin.  Going through these layers will bring me closer to my center, my true self, and that is worth some tears.

Yours in transformation,

Wordlywoman

scary stuff

I think it would be fitting to share the scariest part of my journey towards living a creative life on Halloween evening.  You see, change can be scary for some people, but this is not about fear of change.  In my quest to find my purpose in life, I’ve made many career changes.  I can handle that.  The big scare for me happened this morning as I faced my fears from the past.

The scary tale begins with my decision to move forward with a coaching career.  I learned about something called Life Coaching about ten years ago and fell in love with the concept. I signed up for the courses and was amazed at how much I loved them and how natural coaching felt to me.  After finishing the classes, I started working on my new career by coaching a friend who was interested in making some changes in her life.  Then, the doubts began to creep in.  One self-limiting thought after another crept into my mind like a scary fog taking over the town in a horror movie.  Why would people want to pay me to help them achieve their life goals?  Why me, when there are so many other coaches out there who are so much better at it than I am?  I did the opposite of what most people do in scary movies, (Why do they always go toward the scary thing?) I ran for safety, put my dream away, and moved on to the next safe job.

As with most things that are meant to be, my dream of coaching has resurfaced.  That which we resist, persists.  So, more determined than ever to move forward, I consulted with a coach to help me with my process.  I had an introductory call with her last evening and I am excited to have support on board.  I went to bed all charged up about doing the work and then … I woke up this morning completely weighted down with fear.

It’s back!  As I lay in bed under the covers feeling completely overwhelmed, I heard a voice inside me say, “I don’t think I’m really interested in doing this anymore.”  I immediately recognized it as the same protective pattern that has stopped me over and over again in the past.  It was familiar and safe feeling.  It told me that all this was just another crazy idea from a manic moment in time and now the feeling has passed.  I can relax now, it’s over.  Sadly, part of me really believed those words to be true, after all, haven’t I proven them true over and over again in my life?

Now it’s time for me to prove to myself that those words are false and I am ready for the challenge.  As always, I welcome your thoughts and look forward to sharing my journey with you.

Yours in transformation,

Wordlywoman

cast of characters

As I go through my life, I often watch myself from the third person perspective as if I were watching a movie and I am the main character. You know the movies I mean, those Lifetime Movies, where the woman is going through her life and everything is fine and dandy and then WHAM!, something happens that throws her world out of whack.  She then courageously pulls herself back together despite the odds and creates a wonderful new life.

Sometimes these movies have horrible things happen to the woman, but my Lifetime Movie is more one of ironies, sarcasm, humor, and frequent bouts of bad language. The third person perspective is interesting because it allows me to see how funny things look when I see them from outside myself. Is life really this humorous or am I just easily amused?

Over the next few postings, I will introduce my cast of characters and set the scene for my movie.  Each character plays an integral part in my life and has contributed to the person that I have become today.  I am grateful for each and every one of them and I am delighted to share them with the rest of the world.

My blog will include stories, videos, and information about things that each of these people contribute to my life and to the lives of others.  These are the people that inspire me and make me laugh.  I would also like to include some special interest pieces on the lifestyles of those from the beautiful area in which I live.

As always, I welcome feedback from you..

Wordlywoman

(The above picture is from the wonderful vladstudio.com site.  Please visit all their wonderful cast of characters.)