Thursday, June 12, 2014

6/13/14—Letting Go With Sparky & Goddess

Today's post is a guest blog from Sparky & Goddess. I'll be back with Monday's post on Sunday evening. Speaking of Letting Go and Monday, please join me and the other two muses as the 3 Muses discuss letting go on Blog Talk Radio. The program airs at 11:30am eastern, but if you can't make it live, you can listen later via Blog Talk or podcast. Now on to today's guest post...

The Sparky & Goddess Chronicles
Part 1

Goddess and I have what most would call unconventional, independent careers.  We both formed our own practices and each of us works directly with clients in matters of personal and professional development.  And while our specific areas of expertise differ, we’ve discovered a lot of commonality.  For two fiercely independent, self-employed practitioners, we’re often delighted to find new similarities with our practices, approaches and day-to-day work experiences. 

For example, both of our practices are rooted in acknowledging what’s happening now, as in whatever is arising for our clients in the moment.  We both adapt and attend to whatever shows up, which allows each meeting to be spontaneous, unique, and never strictly scripted.  We both use intuition and honor clear boundaries which permits our clients to use curiosity and exploration in a safe, courageous space.  Our clients seem to be attracted to us for who we are, as much as for what we know.  And our clients tend to show up with topics that often take us to the ‘hot issues’ within our own lives.  Goddess expresses this predicate neatly with the saying, “We teach what we most need to learn.”    

Recently, the two of us began talking about merging our work interests by conducting a Tele-summit: an online-conference event featuring an array of experts with talks and interviews over a 30 day time period.  By sponsoring such an event, we intend to expand our online outreach, offer a valuable public service and deepen our own expertise around a specific topic.  When our planning turned to what that topic might be, Goddess first invited my input.  I think I must have revealed surprise and she read that ‘deer in the headlights’ sensation that kicked in with the invitation.  She graciously rescued me by offering to go first and I quickly accepted.  Letting go,” she announced. Then she turned, fixed eye contact and repeated, “Letting go!  Letting go is the issue that other people; friends, family, and clients – nearly everyone I know seems to be wrestling with!”, she declared. 

“Letting go,” I repeated, still a deer in her headlight eyes.  Then it came out again, this time as, “Letting go?”  It was a question, only it wasn’t to anyone in particular.  What was it about this clear, simple, even profound statement that I couldn’t wrap my head around?  Had I heard the term too many times?  As in too much Letting go?   Or maybe I wasn’t sure if there was enough information in just, letting go?  Letting go of what?  “Hmmm... I need a little time with this,” I said.  She said fine and seemed unattached and happy to oblige.

After a few days with it, I eventually came around to, “Well, why not?  Why not, Letting go?” I mouthed the last two words aloud.  I certainly trusted and respected Goddess’ instincts around such matters.  And I guess most of us, when we’re feeling stuck, begin to recognize that we’re hanging on and need to let go of something, right?  Then it hit me... Yes, I’m letting go, now!  Why, thank you, Captain Obvious!  There it was - I’d just let go of something to be free to embrace, Letting go
That was my first of many such aha moments in this recent dance with letting go.  And of course, I’m not the only one.  Goddess had seen this coming long ago and invited it, head-on, by suggesting it as our Tele-summit topic.  Letting go.  “We teach what we most need to learn.”

Recently, we’ve been talking about some of the specific things that require letting go of and I’ve noticed this is where it gets a bit tricky.  It bears mentioning here that our plans, even now, are blending into a confluence of currents that Goddess and I had already been forming well before we’d met.  In fact, we both have charted courses for going solo and we’ve been amazed at how including each other adds to or complements our original planning.  So far the only monkey-wrenches we’ve thrown at one another have been more like tools than obstructions, and that’s just added more ease to our relationship.

That said, we’ve all got unique circumstances, situations and roles, all of which may require attention when significant changes are coming.  Letting go often comes in bunches and that’s what Goddess is facing now.  We’re talking the biggies like home, family, career and social life.  Even when you’re as self-aware and unattached as Goddess, it’s easy to get lost in details about the future impact of changes and consequences and it can become just plain overwhelming at times. 

That’s where we were the other night as we lay in bed and Goddess was recounting her revised list of letting go’s.  It was becoming clear to us that letting go’s can start to pile up just like any other to-do list, except these are more like to-don’ts!  And how do you wrap your brain around that?  The process began to raise even more questions and we thought we’d like to share these with you, as inquiries.  For example:

Why let go at all?  
What’s it like to hang on?
What’s it really like to let go?
What’s just one thing that you’d like to let go of now?

We realized that this has become such a big topic for us, we want to explore it over several parts and ask you to join us, as we dive into these inquiries together in On Letting Go Part 2.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

6/11/14—Googling Before You Post

OK. You are all going to have to look the other way today while I RANT about a pet peeve that DRIVES ME CRAZY!!!

Charles Manson is NOT being set free. There is NO killer spider waiting to bite your ass under public toilet seats. Mr. Rogers was NOT a cold-blooded Navy SEAL sniper. Barack Obama is NOT running for a third term. And there is NO 80-lb monster cat named Snowball living in Canada. 

Holy crap, people! Why do you believe this stuff and then repost it for other people to believe?

I have seen the same picture of the same mega storm over trailer parks in Kansas, mountains in Colorado, valleys in Ohio and placid lakes in Georgia. It's photoshop! It's not a proliferation of deadly identical storms turning up in a new place on your Facebook feed every two weeks. Really. It's not. 

And I hate to say it, but my New Age friends can sometimes be the worst with the alien DNA findings, the proof of the existence of fairies and the conspiracy theories. I have one that is constantly posting "legitimate news stories" about how oppressed and brainwashed Americans are, whether it's Obama implanting us all with microchips or some bill Congress has passed that says we can't smoke in our own homes. For all the non-Americans out there, thank you for your concern, but we've got a pretty groovy gig going here. We may complain, but that's only because we're spoiled. 

If it doesn't come from a legitimate news source, it's probably not true. If your proof is a post on some dude's blog, it's probably not true—no matter how many followers he has. If someone swears it must be true because they know someone who knows the guy it happened to, it's probably not true. If you've never heard of the publication the story is printed in, it's probably not true. If it's presented in the form of a meme, it's probably not true. If it comes with commentary that says something like "major news outlets refuse to report this. Help me spread the truth!", it's probably not true. And if it's so shocking and unbelievable that you simply MUST share it now to be among the first to break the news, IT'S PROBABLY NOT TRUE!!!

And, for crying out loud, people, The Onion is a SATIRICAL news site. There are a lot of those out there. Sometimes you have to go to a site's "About Us" to find out that's what they're up to because the stories are so believable, but satire is not truth. They want to make you laugh. 

Listen, we've all unknowingly posted a hoax once or twice. I posted the idiotic fairy picture referred to above because a friend I trusted said she knew the person who took the pic. After looking like an ignorant ass for doing so, though, I LEARNED MY LESSON! 

If you go "wow, I can't believe that!" when you see or read one of these stories, go with your first impression—IT'S NOT TRUE! And yet time after time after time I see the same people posting hoax after hoax, not because they like to post hoaxes, but because they have somehow been lulled into believing that their Facebook "News Feed" is their own personal CNN news ticker. 

Part of my mission on this blog is to help people live more consciously and intuitively. When you blindly push "share" on something sensationalistic or beyond belief, you're not just acting unconsciously, your "intuitive muscle" atrophies a little. Because you KNEW there was something suspect, but trusted the person who shared it with you. You didn't trust yourself. And if you knew it was fake, but posted it because you thought it was funny, say "I know this is fake, but I think it's funny." so you're not proliferating ignorance throughout the interwebs. 

How do you check a story out? Simple. Google it. If a legitimate news source hasn't caught wind of the story, it's probably not true. Sure, bloggers and unknown sources have been known to break a story or two. But it's EXTREMELY rare. And when it comes to Charles Manson being released from jail, trust me. It would be all over CNN or FOX or even People Magazine if it were true. Stuff like that doesn't get passed over, nor do people fail to report it because of a vast conspiracy led by Monsanto and/or the gun lobby. 

Outside of that, there's a site called Snopes that is usually up to date. If they don't know the truth, they say they don't know. It's that simple. Here's a list of Snopes' Top 25 Hoaxes. Here's another list from another site. It's easier to just post a hoax than to research it, yes. But then you end up embarrassed and looking like a fool when you're trying to impress someone with your knowledge of current affairs and tell them all about how parking lot carjackers are putting flyers on the backs of cars after you get in, so that you'll exit the car with the engine running. Yes, that's untrue, too. 

There's plenty of interesting and true stuff that happens every day in our world. There's magic and tragedy and odd animals and injustice all over the place. Why are we looking for more sensationalism, more fantasy, more controversy? Why isn't what we have enough? And what does it mean for the human race when reality isn't enough and we'll believe anything some college dude made up to see how many shares he could get?

For me, I see it making me more skeptical. The bald guy who is looking for his birth parents? I don't believe him or the dozens like him, though he may be totally on the up and up. So people who need help aren't getting it and giant cats who wants to run for a third presidential term are getting all the attention. When you push "share" or retweet or forward emails without thinking, you end up looking ignorant. You do. These stories add more fear and disinformation to the world. And if you're reading my blog, I know you don't want to do that. So stop and think. Especially on Facebook, because it's not like you don't have the time to google it first. 

The mindless acceptance of everything you see also blurs the line between truth and fiction in our own minds. When you watch Sci-Fi films where people walk around like mindless automatons, this is how they got that way! In our darkest corners, we fear terrorism, global warming and meteors being the death of humanity. Yet the biggest threat we face may end up being our own gullibility. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

6/9/14—Decluttering to Make Room for Happiness

Last week's mission statement post was expanded from a post I made last year. And in that same post from last year, I came across some interesting questions to ask yourself. So today I'm going to revive those questions, albeit a bit differently. 

In a way, the questions can be used as a method for decluttering our lives and focusing only those things that fuel passionate, joyful living. When you consider that everything in your life is there because you put it there or choose to keep it there, then you're responsible for anything in your life that drains your energy. Additionally, anything missing that you wish you had is missing because of you, too. So if there's a need for a shake up in your life, put the things you focus on and the things you're considering introducing into your life to these four questions: 

• Does it support my comfortable survival? At the most basic, you need water, shelter, food, general health and wellbeing to survive comfortably. If you're short on any one of those things, your focus on the pursuit of passion in your life will be challenged. And by comfortable, I don't mean material comfort in the sense of living plush. I mean the mental and physical ease that takes the focus off survival and allows you to focus on adding a layer of joy on top of that survival. Whatever those things are, be grateful for them because they make you more fortunate than many in this world.

• Does it support something I'm passionate about? Lots of people have less than fabulous jobs. But if that job is bankrolling top-of-the-line scrapbooking supplies so you can spend time every day or every week scrapbooking your heart out, then it supports something you're passionate about. If you work too many hours to ever enjoy a minute of scrapbooking, however, then you need to question why you continue do it. A lesser paying job may give you the time you need to pursue your passion. 

This isn't just about your job, though. When you consider your relationships, thoughts, commitments and other obligations in life, hold them to this test. People and obligations—and especially thoughts—that drain you take you away from your happiness. And if your thoughts include how much you hate the job that is bankrolling your scrapbooking habit, then you need to change those thoughts, too. Gratitude for what you have is the fastest way to get what you want.

 Do I do it out of love? Sometimes we do things we're not passionate about and don't support our survival, but we do it out of love. Speaking to your daughter's class on career day is one of them. Going to Open Mike Night to watch your husband play the same song you've been hearing all week is another. Picketing a local chicken farmer to promote animal rights is another. And, frankly, doing things like working out and eating tofu is another. There are things you do out of love—for someone dear to you, for a cause close to your heart or for yourself. Those things also fuel your passion for life. If you're doing something just because you have to—or if you act obligated even though it's serving a passion—you're not doing anyone any favors. 

 Is it something that makes me happy? This is probably the best and easiest reason to do something. And it includes things that might look silly or that others might think strange or out of character for you. One thing I do that makes me happy is to howl at full voice with my dogs from time to time. The neighbors think it's weird, but who cares? I also watch a lot of TV and never read books, which many find unusual for a writer and deep thinker. Those opinions mean nothing to me. I only get one opportunity to be me and I'm not going to spend it conforming to make others happy.

So those are the questions. If you can answer yes to any one of them, then it's worth keeping. But if you can't honestly answer yes to any questions—or if something you think you're doing out of love, for example, is really being done out of obligation—kick it to the curb. Someone else will pick up where you left off. Life is too short to clutter it with anything that doesn't support happiness and inspire your soul.