2016- The Year of Connection

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Missing Hawaii

It is midway through December. The Christmas tree is up, and that combined with the smell of pine and fallen leaves outside the house has me in a nostalgic mood.  It has me thinking about the past year.  God, so much has changed.  This time last year, I lived in Kailua, the most gorgeous place on the planet.  I dare you to tell me different.  I lived a mile away from a beautiful beach.  My best friends lived in walking distance from me.  On a Saturday morning I had a dozen people I could call at the drop of a hat to invite to a last minute hike or walk on the beach.  I knew my neighbors, and I had healthy, active people surrounding me.  I could walk to Crossfit and my work was a mere 15 minutes away.

Why then does it feel so right that I’ve moved to this out of the way place, where we are surrounded by squirrels, deer, bugs and birds?  Where Walmart is the best option for produce?  Where the beach (which in no way compares to Kailua) is a half hour drive away?  Where we are afraid to let our dogs run loose because they might get eaten by alligators or snatched up by large predatory birds?

One major answer is family.  I am missing my best friends like hell, and I am going to have to figure out how to visit soon, but now I feel like I live on the same planet as my family.  When I call them in the morning, it is also morning for them.  I don’t get the news 6 hours later than they do.  I saw my family and Nathan’s family in July.  Then I drove to New York for Thanksgiving.  Twice.  I am going to see

them again over the Christmas break.  I think Nathan said it most eloquently when we spoke of it in the car the other night.  He said, “This last time we drove away from the house, I was sad, because I would miss them, but I wasn’t thinking Is this the last time I am going to see them?”

How shitty is that question?  This is why I moved from Hawaii.  If someone in my family gets sick, or a family member gets married, or a family member has a baby, those things matter to me.  And living in Hawaii, you start to question whether you can afford to go see them.  That’s screwed up.  My mother-in-law had a liver transplant.  My sister-in-law gave her half of her own liver.  That’s freaking amazing.  And when we got married, they couldn’t come to Hawaii, because traveling when you’ve gotten a liver transplant is pretty freaking difficult, especially at first.  That sucked.  Big time.

Living so close feels amazing.  I feel like I am getting to know them again.  And it’s not like I didn’t talk to my siblings or my parents.  We kept and still do keep up a pretty good conversation via facebook

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Seeing Family is Priceless

and email and I was able to have Skype conversations with them on most of the holidays over the years.

Seeing Family Is Priceless
Seeing Family Is Priceless

But, let’s be honest.  It’s not the same.  It’s not the same as trying to sleep on the top bunk at your parents’ house when your oldest sister is sleeping on the bottom bunk and you’ve got years of catching up to do.  It’s not the same as being able to clear your crap out of your parents’ house for them.  It’s not the same as having a cup of coffee with them across the island in the kitchen or building a bonfire or playing Pandemic or talking about the Dragonriders of Pern books or simply being in their presence.  It’s not the same as spending time with your nieces and nephews and the dogs.  And it’s definitely not the same as being able to give them a hug.

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Seeing Family is Priceless

I feel like I missed a lot over the years, but at the same time, I grew up in Hawaii.  I became a big girl there.  I learned how to be a kind, loving, healthy, individual.  I learned how to love myself and I found friends there that became my family.
So how, in 2016 do I find what I had in Hawaii (not the beaches, but the friends and the lifestyle) and stay close to my family?  How do I find that connection somewhere close enough to New York?

I haven’t found the answer yet.  My husband and I are looking for employment possibly near Asheville, NC or in Colorado.  I need to find a group of people who are interested in health and wellness like I am.  We need to find a place that doesn’t have an undercurrent of discrimination.  And I need a place to be able to hike and work out, but this place can’t cost as much as Hawaii did.  I refuse to be a slave to the price of a plane ticket home.
Any ideas?  Comment below!  Where do you think the best place to live is?

 

Missing my Hawaii Family
Missing my Hawaii Family

Today is the Only Day

What if today was the last day?  What if today was the only day?

Recently I was asked the question:

“What do you want your legacy to be?”

Wow.  What a question, right?  But, it’s an important question.  When you ask yourself this question, it makes you dig deep about what you want to leave behind.  What would you want family and friends to remember about you?  What would you want your children to know if you could only pass on a short message in a letter or a video?  It makes you clear away the clutter and get to the heart of what your message in this world is.

I had a few ideas.  I’m sure this is a list that will grow, expand, and change as I continue to live my life.  Today, here is what I want you to know:

I want  you to know how incredibly essential and significant you are.  Yes, you.  Right there, reading this.  You.  This world needs you.  Your actions and words and thoughts and energy are an integral part of this universe.  And knowing that, I want you to believe in yourself and the potential that is in you.  That thing you want?  That you tell yourself is too big or expensive or grand or improbable.  You can have that.  The barriers are an illusion.  They are not real.  There are obstacles, but they are conquerable.  Every single one of them.  

That’s what I want you to know.

What I want you to do is test this.  Stop believing what you read or see on tv.  Try with something small that you’ve been putting off.  Figure out what the obstacles are and figure out how to get through and over and under and around.  Have fun, be creative, ask for help, get messy and laugh.  And then all of a sudden you’ll see you have or have done the thing.  Congratulations!  Now do something bigger.

 

That’s what I want you to know.  Believe in yourself.  Do cool shit.  In the great words of L’Oreal “You’re worth it.”So now it’s your turn.  What’s the legacy you want to leave?

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Oasis at Night

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What and who do I stand for?

I stand for:

The helpers and healers in the world.

I stand for teachers who are raising our next generation.

I stand for mental health workers – our psychotherapists, our social workers, our probation and parole officers.

I stand for our police officers who have the almost impossible job of protecting us despite our fear and sometimes outright hatred for them.

I stand for our military service members who are on the ground fighting to keep us safe from harm and to defend our freedom. (Despite not always believing in or understanding the war they are fighting).

I stand for our non-profit workers, creating massive change in their organizations.

I stand for our nurses, our medical doctors, our dietitians, our physical therapists, all of those in the medical fields.

I stand for you, who are undervalued, underpaid, who work to help others often working harder than your clients or those you are trying to help to the point of mental and physical exhaustion. I stand for you.

I believe that we need to take care of ourselves. We need to stop believing that everyone else is more important than we are.

I believe that we need a strong team of individuals who are going to stand up and say that the systems we are working in are broken. But we are not just going to complain. We are going to make significant changes that will begin to heal our society as a whole.

I believe that we CAN do this. That we do not need to keep running the rat race. That we don’t need to continue to work in jobs that keep people sick. We do not need to be a part of the systems that generate and proliferate fear.

I believe that we can change the school systems, the health care systems, the prison systems.

And I believe that when we stop living as if there is not enough, when we recognize the abundance this universe has to offer we will see that we already have the tools and resources to do it, we already have the people, we already know how. We just need to work together and stop accepting the status quo.

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Stalling Out and Waking Up

Not too long ago, my husband and I were driving down the road.  Just a routine trip to the grocery store and halfway there the car just stops.  Pfft.  Done.  We were going 55 miles per hour and then we weren’t.  We were pulled onto the side of the road at the driveway to a Walmart.  We made a few phone calls to local tow companies, found one and then sat back to wait.  And it was kind of FUN.  All of a sudden I noticed things about this road I had been up and down many times before.  I had a chance to look at all of the trash cluttering the roadside.  I saw the trees in the Croatan National Forest.  I noticed that this Walmart wasn’t a full Walmart, just what’s called a “Neighborhood Market” whatever that means.  We sat there long enough to really take it all in and think, how did we get here?

broken-down-car Our stalled car is a great metaphor for life.  So often we get caught up in the routine and the mundane.  The wake up, go to work, come home, dinner and bed routine.  And over and over again.  About 10 years ago I remember having a feeling not too different from sitting in our stalled car on the side of the road.  One day I woke up and thought, how the hell did I get here?  From the outside everything probably looked great.  I lived in Hawaii, I was with my fiance, I had a great job doing what I had gone to school for.  I had just bought a new apartment in beautiful Kailua, we had our new puppy, Titus.  I was meeting new people.  But inside I was falling apart.  The routine had brought me to a place of being extremely overweight, I was drinking several beer every evening while I watched TV and made a crappy dinner.  Nathan and I weren’t leaving the house much.  And my job in a non-profit company was slowly sucking away my soul.  Too much work for too little appreciation, monetarily or otherwise.

I looked around me and it was like I had finally taken a minute to really look around.  I started to notice things that I hadn’t before.  Things that had become so routine that I had missed them.  Little things, like the fact that the crumb catcher under the toaster needed to be cleaned, or that I didn’t have to keep putting my coffee maker in that same corner.  I started to hone in on the present moment and notice a lot of things that I had essentially been ignoring.  I had to admit to myself that I was unhappy.

I look back at the person I was then, and I give her a lot of love and a lot of credit.  There was so much unseen stress that she was dealing with.  I wish I could reach back and give her a huge hug.  A lot has changed since then.  If I hadn’t taken the time to start looking at my life, at the reality of the world, I might not be where I am today.  I might still be at that non-profit job, because they always said they needed me.  I might never have started to get supervision for my license.  I might have let myself stay very, very small.

When was the last time you took a look around?  Took the time to see the things you love and notice the things that you would change if you had the energy for it?  I encourage you to take the time right now.  Take a deep breath or two.  Look away from your screen.  Look around you.  Do you like what you see?  If not, don’t wait, now is the time for change.  Pick one thing that you can do right now, get off the computer or phone and do it.

If you’d like a little help, there’s a group of motivated individuals in the same spot you are right now.  Let’s make some changes together.

Jumpstart Your Life

Do what you love for money.

valentine heart shape made by dollars isolatedThis evening I am running my very first Meditation for the Easily Distracted class.  This is super exciting for me, because like most of us, I have had always had this vision in my head that work has to somehow be work.  It has to be difficult and unpleasant and you have to be able to complain about Mondays and be excited about Hump Day and celebrate Aloha Fridays as a huge relief that you can escape work for 48 hours.  For the last couple of years I have been practicing what I preach, getting closer and closer to a job that I actually love.  And I’m close.  I love Life Coaching.  That, to me, is heaven.  Why then do I have a 40 hour a week side job working for the government?  It’s a counseling job, I love working with the children, I love working with the staff, and I enjoy the freedom of the job.  But I work for the man.  Truthfully, the only problem I have with this job at all is that they tell me when I’m supposed to be there and give me guidelines on what I am supposed to be doing.  Ew.  I don’t like people telling me what to do.

What does this have to do with my Meditation Course you might ask?  Well, I freaking love meditating and reading about meditation and mindfulness.  It’s something I love to do in my free time.  So the question is, why did it take so long for me to put a course together about something I love?  The answer, as it is to most questions about hesitation, is fear.

Ask yourself, how would you feel about getting paid to do something you love?  How would you feel about asking people to give you money to do or teach the thing you do for fun in your free time?  It feels weird, right?  There’s this thought that if this is something I am doing for fun, I should have to pay money for it.  And if someone wants to do it with me, that it should be free.  But why?  What if the thing you love is running?  And you know people who want to get into running shape.  What if you started a weekly gathering of people who run together that you are in charge of?  I can hear the thousands of protests that your brain is coming up with right now.  I’m not trained, I’m not a teacher, I only do it for fun.  This is just an example, but as a culture we have, for some reason, divided our lives into “work” and “fun.”  There are the horrible, nasty things we do for work and the freeing, lovely, energizing things we do for fun.

Ask yourself, what if you started to blur those lines?  What if you started to look for work that is fun?  What if you took a minute to dream about getting paid to do the thing you do in your free time?  Do you hike, do you garden, do you drink, do you create excel spreadsheets?  There is somebody else in this world that could use what you know.  In fact, there are people in this world who need you.

Today, take a few minutes to picture yourself doing the thing you look forward to doing when your job is done for the day.  The thing you daydream about during your breaks.  And then picture yourself doing that as a full-time job.  Your brain will protest.  For just today, ignore everything it says about it.  Today, it is okay to imagine that you could make a living lying on the beach in paradise reading steamy novels.

 

What comes up for you, what are the arguments that your brain makes when you think about getting paid to do what you love?  Share below!

 

It’s Deceptively Simple, Just Do What You Love

A little over 7 months ago I left a job working for the state as a Behavioral Health Specialist.  From the outside it looks like a pretty great job.  And truth be told, in the beginning, I really loved it.  I got to do therapy with kids who loved being in my office, I worked with teachers and school staff who appreciated the work that I did.  I got tons of vacation and sick days.  I worked with a group of people that really cracked me up when we were able to get together.  There were the usual downsides that come with a state job including the massive amounts of redundant paperwork, watching the clock because god forbid you leave 10 minutes early even if you have absolutely no work to complete, and dealing with the people who have hit cruise mode (do very little work so other people end up doing it for them and never seem to get in trouble).

The downsides of the job were things I easily dealt with.  They weren’t really that bad.  Why then, were there some days that I wanted to tear my hair out with frustration?  Or silently slip out of the job and not tell anyone?  Why did I spend so much free time searching for other jobs?  It is hard to explain to someone why a job that has such good benefits and good enough pay why you hate it so much.

The truth is, I have felt that before.  In pretty much every other job I’ve had.  I start a new job thinking that I have “moved up,” after taking a job with better pay or something more related to doing therapy.  I would always start the job with a feeling of excitement, thinking of all the good I was going to be doing and how great this new job was going to be.  And then, like clockwork, about a year into it, the job wouldn’t just be boring or not great, it would be almost painful.  I would have dreams about it.  About what I should or shouldn’t have done today.  About what I need to do tomorrow.  About how I can improve my productivity or my practice.  I wouldn’t sleep well, I wouldn’t eat well, and it sucked all of my energy so I didn’t even feel like doing activities outside of work.  So even if I had the extra time, all I wanted to do was sleep or watch tv when I had time off.

In my last job, the one I spoke about above, the feeling got really bad.  I really started to hate being there.  I started to go in late and leave early.  I stopped doing the quality work that I was capable of.  I always took care of the kids, families and teachers that I worked with, but I knew that I could do better and that hurt, too.  I hate presenting mediocre work.  Luckily, there was a big difference in this last job that ended up being a huge blessing.

There was a convergence of circumstances that cultivated my ability to figure out what was wrong.  First, I really hated my job.  A lot.  This would seem like a bad thing, but truthfully it kept me from getting comfortable in a job that isn’t that bad like a lot of people do.  I hated it enough that I was determined to leave.  Next, I did my work really fast, so during the day I had a lot of free time.  And last, I had a computer with access to the google.  All of this together gave me impetus to do some deep soul searching and figure out what the hell I wanted to do with my life.  I got to read a lot written by others in similar circumstances.  And I found out some crucial information about why I was so frustrated in a pretty okay job.

It’s right there in Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs,” it’s there in Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” and gosh darn it, Oprah seemed to be spot on in most of her interviews with her guests over the years.  I wasn’t meeting my true potential.  I wasn’t doing what I loved.  I wasn’t being creative.  I didn’t feel like I was providing value.  And because my day to day job was so misaligned with what I really wanted to be doing, I spent all of my time worrying about the future and being sad or pissed off about the past that I couldn’t focus on the present moment.

It seems so simple, but it was a huge awakening for me.  I had always wanted to be a therapist and I had a job that allowed me to do just that.  What I had yet to discover was what it was about being a therapist that was drawing me to that profession.  It was the time with the kids, the clients that I wanted.  It was the feeling that I was truly helping and seeing that manifest in the classroom.  It was helping people see that life really can be okay.  But then there were other things that I really wanted from a job.  I wanted to be active.  I love sports and exercise.  I wanted to be able to talk about nutrition.  I wanted to be able to sleep in when I want to.  I wanted to be able to have fun and laugh and socialize.  I wanted to work somewhere that only does the necessary paperwork.

Once I figured this out, suddenly I started to see the signs.  And when I finally got my license in Marriage and Family Therapy I was able to apply to a few different jobs that I thought met some of that criteria.  And I was able to confidently turn down the higher paying job offer with better benefits to accept a job that met all of the criteria above.  Now that I know the secret, all I want to do is share it.  It’s so freaking simple that I want to shout it from the rooftops.

I took the time to figure out what I really want.  That’s it.  I spent some time on me.  I wrote in my journal about what I like to do, about what I’m good at, at what I used to love to do.  I researched some of those topics online.  I got honest about the fact that it’s possible that being a Marriage and Family Therapist might not be my true purpose.  It might actually be owning a retreat center, doing life coaching, running groups and hosting conferences with people like Martha Beck, Lissa Rankin and hell, maybe even Oprah giving talks and sleeping at the center.  It might involve coaching others in healthy living, stressing the benefits of a paleo lifestyle with playful exercise built in.  It might be talking to people about eliminating processed foods from their diet and getting the carcinogens out of their bathroom cabinets.  These are all topics that get me fired up and excited.  And all it took was taking the time to think about me.  My biggest obstacle was that any time I took journaling about me or researching what I loved, I felt like it was somehow taking away from something else I could be doing.  But what could possibly be more important?

Tell me, do you have the courage to find out what you want in life?  Do you have the motivation?

This is totally something you can do on your own.  It takes time and dedication, but it’s simple  If you need help, if you need an accountability partner, that’s what I’m here for, it’s my jam, it’s what I do best.  Give me a call at (808)343-4279 or click this link to set up your free 30 minute consultation.

Life Coach Client Goals

Wondering what a life coach can do for you?  Here are just a few examples of what you can achieve working with the right person.

Life Coach Client Goals

  • Be able to listen to your intuition
  • Be able to value your time
  • Be able to list your strengths, talents, and achievements
  • Be able to accept money without guilt
  • Change your attitude from that will never happen to how can I make it happen
  • Be able to question your thoughts
  • Have a clear vision of your desired future
  • Be able to list your Core Desired Feelings- Danielle Laporte
  • Be able to tell people what you do, not what you do for employment
  • Be able to see your 9-5 as your side job, your investor, your bridge job (unless you love it)
  • Be able to give without looking for anything in return
  • Be able to love yourself and all of your quirks
  • Be able to show up as your complete authentic self with others
  • Be able to physically touch others with love and caring
  • Be able to create and give away value knowing that you will get more back in return
  • To never use money as an excuse
  • Be able to look at money as an energy and commodity, a tool for your use, not an end goal
  • Be your own best friend
  • Be able to love your body fully in any shape or form it’s in
  • Be able to look yourself in the mirror and feel love and pride
  • Be able to create
  • Be able to have a healthy relationship with food
  • Be able to have a healthy relationship with exercise
  • Be able to have a healthy relationship with drugs and alcohol
  • Be able to identify your fears and challenges
  • Be able to act with courage when afraid
  • Be able to find tools to help you stay organized
  • Be able to forgive yourself for being too (insert put down of choice)
  • Be able to love yourself for being too (insert put down of choice)
  • Be able to list at least 5 people who are true supporters in your life
  • Be able to set boundaries with people in your life that drain your energy in some way

Are you working on any of these goals?  What resources do you use?  Share with us in the comments section, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

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