Friday, February 26, 2010

Go more fully into everything

Indy Car Spring Testing
"Go" was an interesting Upword to be considering this week because much of the past month has been about resisting my natural urge to go, go, go. Being in a job transition I have been dialing down on my old job before the new job is ready. This resulted in a very slimmed down email and voicemail inboxes and a very anxious me.

My life coach, Tonya Leigh Williams, has been encouraging me to chill out, stop racing, enjoy the slow period, notice how it feels to have time to just be and focus on being more fully present to the things that I am doing, notice how I feel – how my body feels – as each unfolds. She says that there’s no better way to make a difference in the world than to be more true to your essential self and just be that instead of worrying about what’s next on my plate.

So instead of using this Upword to get back into go, go, going I’ve used it to go more fully into each thing I am doing one at a time instead no matter how small.

I used to think that if I wasn’t busy something was wrong. Being a self starter, if it was slow I’d get out there and get things going. The quintessential “multitasker” … I’d get as many things going as I could …. usually unable to do anything very well.

But lately I’ve been focusing on being more present in everything I do. With the help of my life coach and Christine Kane’s UYL program I’ve been noticing not just “go, go, going.” I realized that this slow period at work gives me a chance to better connect with me and is all happening for a reason.

Early this week, I hosted a client at a great two day session on “Be Ready For the Future.” I focused on being fully present, taking in all the great content, listening to what my client thought of the sessions.

I left my PC back in the hotel room, kept bringing myself back to the present moment instead of letting my mind wander to a million different things. At breaks and mealtimes I spent it conversing with the speakers and my client about the topics that were just presented instead of stepping out to email or twitter or FB.

I learned a lot about the challenges my client was facing, what topics resonated and didn’t, and built a deeper relationship with her than I might have otherwise resulting in some meaningful follow ups to dive deeper into a few topics.

After the session was over, I had planned to drive into the city and stir some stuff up with my other clients, colleagues, anybody. Get those to dos flowing again, push along the new job. But as luck would have it the forecast was for big snows. We had already lost power at home and David was running the house on the generator we bought after last year’s ice storm. Something told me that I should drive back home and focus on us!

Good thing I did because the snows cancelled trains, messed up roads, kept people home. Instead of being stuck down there all by myself, I was able to go home and be with my husband, dog, neighbors and actually enjoyed “roughing it” together. The generator allowed us to work during the day but at night we turned it off and kept each other warm with body heat.

So here’s my call to action for you. Do it – stop racing, go more fully into each thing you are doing. Stop thinking about the next twelve to-dos on your list. Be comfortable if there are none on that list! Notice how you feel, what your body is saying as you experience each one. As you are being true to your essential self and showing up more fully to each moment you will learn more about that wonderful person you are too.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Giving Thanks

It was hard to know where to begin on this Upword. There are so many things for which I give thanks. I am finally keeping that gratitude journal that Christine Kane and other coaches recommend and it truly is phenomenal to reflect on and write down five things I am grateful for each day ending every day on such a positive note. Reading back through them gives me so much joy.

Lori Koop
was asking for something a bit different though last week.She wanted us to reflect on what we thanked OURSELVES for. At first this didn't feel quite right to me. However it rang some bells and reminded me of posts I had recently read.

With the level of interest this topic is getting, it seems like this is something too few of us do but would benefit from doing more. The more I thought about it, I realized that if we aren't loving ourselves first, we block our ability to fully love others.

Emily Long, another UYB colleague and amazing poet in her blog Healing Pages had perhaps one of my favorite posts on the topic called "Gratitude for the One Person Often Overlooked." Like me, Emily reflects in her piece that "When the thought of putting myself on my list first popped into my head, I hesitated. It seemed a little self-centered or narcissistic to say I was grateful for myself."

I was right there with her. I thank everybody all the time and was actually excited to start a gratitude journal as part of Uplevel Your Life program homework. We all get so many blessings from the universe every single day that pulling out the top five is sometimes difficult for me, a 7 or “the enthusiast” on the enneagram. But putting me on the list? That wasn't even something I've even contemplated...until now.

Coincidentally, Tonya Leigh Williams, my fabulous life coach, has also asked us to reflect on this in her blog this month and has even come up with a fabulous free “A Girl After Her Own Heart” tool. Two of her morals on this self love lesson really resonated with me:

* You cannot expect someone else to recognize what you don’t see in yourself

* Self-love is the best gift you can give yourself and the world

Another one of our UpLevel Your Business colleagues and friend Stacey Curnow also recently had a great post called "Write a Love Letter to Yourself in 3 Easy Steps." Stacey remarks that when we don't focus on loving ourselves first, we aren't likely to be serving others from a place of joy and grace but instead from one of sacrifice and suffering.

Ok! Ok! I'm a believer now! It's important to be grateful to me too and appreciate the gifts I give myself and others.

So here goes – I thank myself for

* living, eating and drinking consciously
* always showing up with a positive attitude
* being there for my husband, sisters, neighbors, and knowing when to say no so I can still be there for me
* giving myself the space to let my creativity flow
* investing in myself with Uplevel Your Life and Luscious Lean Living programs as well as hiring Tonya Williams as my life coach this year
* caring enough about myself to get healthy, start an exercise program, go for regular checkups
* being open to the possibilities
* breathing
* creating this warm, beautiful environment we call home
* adopting my wonderful dog, Islay Bear, from Westie Rescue
* giving myself the gift of yoga
* establishing and focusing on keeping worthwhile connections strong in life and business
* following through with self-publishing White Dog Haikus and launching my writing career
* filling my home and body with healthy foods
* the courage to eliminate things I have saved that no longer serve the me I want to be

What do you give yourself thanks for today? This week? This year?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What compels you?

The Upword of this week is COMPELLING.

The definition of compelling that I like most is “requiring urgent attention.” It makes me think of one of my coach's favorite phrases “What you resist will persist.” Passions are that way – they are like a magnet - you can’t stop yourself thinking about them, obsessing about them, running after them.

Lori Koop, creator of Upword asks “So what compels you?” “Where do your passions lie?” “What excites your inner spirit to think about?” Well …. lots of things as a "7" or "The Enthusiast" on the Enneagram scale! They include -

  • Cuddling with my husband and my dog
  • Enjoying local gourmet food and wine and giving back to the community
  • Fabulous music like the King’s Singers close harmonies that reach in and touch my soul
  • Singing and harmonizing, using my God given gifts
  • Entertaining and making people laugh
  • Being fully present for my husband, my dog, my family and friends
  • Being the best me I can be and true to my essential self
  • Connecting at work, in life, on social media
  • The thought that we are all connected in the universe
  • Helping other people achieve their true potential
  • Building deep roots, relationships and communities
  • Making a difference in the world
  • Travelling - experiencing and understanding other cultures
  • Writing: particularly white dog haiku and children’s stories
  • Sharing our blessed abundance with people we love
  • Learning more about wine, especially NY wine
  • Supporting causes like Quality of Life for Long Term Cancer Survivors, Animal Rescue, Wine For Water, Heifer International, ALS

“By feeding our own passions,” says Lori, “we now become compelling – attracting others with our energy… Our light, now sparkling, allows others to see.” I so feel that! I think that’s why I like going to live concerts, broadway shows, live performances, why I prefer live sporting events to watching them on TV, why I choose live education sessions to online or recorded ones. When I am there in person, I can feel the performer’s or the educator’s energy, it’s infectious and yes, compelling. I can only hope that I do the same for others when I am connecting with them.

So the question I’ve been wrestling with this week is not so much what compels me but more how can I be more compelling for others? One thing I know for sure: to be compelling, you have to show up. You have to focus on being fully present, not thinking about the next thing on the list. And it's not about doing a million things - it's about focusing in on the ones that move you, saying no to those that don't.

I do a lot of formal and informal mentoring. I love giving back by helping people succeed in life, in love, in career and infusing them with a positive perspective. I am part of IBM’s coaching community now and have been chair of our IBM TriState Women’s Networking group for several years. I mentor on MentorNet, at IBM, and for the College of the Holy Cross, my alma mater. I get so much from these interactions that it truly has become a passion for me and much more than a hobby. It fuels me as much as I sense it fuels those I work with.

In addition to writing more on this blog and evolving my Children's Book writing passion, on my list to do this year is to take advantage of all the in person mentoring and coaching training, tools and systems I can get so that I can better compel others achieve their true potential.

Through all my Upleveling work with Christine Kane, and my work with my coach Tonya Leigh Williams, I know that I can be even more compelling, more inspiring to others by learning even more, sharing what I’ve learned, being fully present as I do this this instead of trying to do too many things at once. Not trying hard to "make a difference in the world" but being your true authentic self which will effortlessly accomplish that.

I’d love to hear what are you doing that compels you or others, where your passions lie. I compel you to leave a comment and share it!!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Discovering me

Young woman looking through a binocular
The Upword of last week, designated as such by Lori Koop, was DISCOVER. One of the most important things I discovered was that keeping up with my weekly Upword posts every Saturday is sometimes not going to be possible! And I'm letting myself off the hook for it. My ongoing promise to my readers is to TRY to share my reflections on the word of the week each week but if I don't get to it I'm ok with that.

Discover turned out to be a very poignant word for me this past week. As I am in the middle of job change, there is a lot of self discovery going on, a lot of discussions about jobs, a lot of thinking about what I do and don't want out this next position, a lot of going deep inside to feel my feelings about it all. And being halfway through Christine Kane's Uplevel Your Life program, I was also reconsidering my intention and where I'm putting my attention.

As a 7 on the Enneagram, I am driven to do, to fill my time/brain with lots of things to focus on so that I don't have time to feel the feelings from the last thing because I'm on to the next one. With the help of my coach Tonya Leigh Williams, I decided my discovery question for myself last week was "what happens if I completely focus my attention on whatever I am doing?"

For instance, would I discover that I have time to feel my own feelings? Would I realize that I'm full and be more mindful of what I'm putting in my mouth when I'm not opening mail at the same time or looking at a magazine? Would I discover that I get more writing done if I don't just try to fit it in between all the other things I am doing but really schedule time for it and focus on it? Would I be able to be more present to my sisters and my husband and whoever I am on the phone with if I am not constantly checking twitter and facebook?

The answer is a resounding YES! It's amazing what putting my attention to the present moment can do. I did eat less, I did write more, I did more fully connect with the people I was interacting with in person or on the phone. It did leave time to feel the feelings when I wasn't distracted about what was coming next.

I wasn't able to tweet or blog or facebook as much but I was able to catch up on all of that when I wasn't otherwise occupied. And I discovered that it was ok. In fact, it was great! To put the attention where I am right then and feel those feelings - not just go through the motions of the activity or the interaction thinking about other things.

So thanks again Lori for Upword. Now that this post is up, I'm already starting to muse about this week's word....COMPELLING.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Free to Smile

I'm late in posting my thoughts about Lori Koop's Upword for last week "Free" but a post by Stacey Curnow today on "100 Things That Delight" inspired me to finally sit down and do it.

In her Upword post on the Word "Free", Lori asked us to write down the thoughts we were celebrating this week. "Write it down. Small or large, it doesn’t matter, " she said.

When I started musing on the word free - I thought about how great it is that in this country we are free .... free to practice whatever religion we want, free to dress how we like, free to speak out against things in public, free to go follow our dreams. The only thing that holds us back from being completely free is ourselves, our own thoughts, our egos trying to keep us on some path to perfect or follow society "norms" that causes us to be cautious, stay safe, not get out of that comfort zone of the familiar or what is "expected."

One of the things I'm learning going through Christine Kane's Uplevel Your Life program is that we are free to think positive thoughts. Our brain may try to focus us on what can go wrong and create negative thinking patterns but we are free to change this - to turn this around, think about whatever it is in a new way, create a positive vision of what it could be like and let the universe deliver.

My aha moment of the week happened today. It is that I've been doing this on some level all my life. Stacey's post on the "100 Things that Delight" reminded me of something I wrote years ago that I called "1000 Things for Troidles to Smile About."

Similar to Stacey, I wrote my piece when things weren't going so well for our family back in 2000-2001. My mom was struggling with the final stages of Chronic Lymphocitic Leukemia and my sister Cindy was suffering from long term side effects of the treatments she had to cure her Hodgkins Disease. No one in my family was smiling much about anything. I felt it my duty to bring some positive thinking into the game and distract everyone from the not so good things with some of the great things, funny things, blessings that have been bestowed on us that might lighten the mood.

I remember starting this on a tablet of lined paper - writing down a firehose of things that came out of my head and passing it around to my sisters for them to add their own when we were all in a car going to visit my mom one day. We laughed, we cried, we reminisced and we shared it with my mom. At some point I typed it into the computer and there is has sat until today.

Many of the things on my list are personal to us and won't mean much to many of you but I am hoping that Stacey's and my lists will encourage you to write down your own list. Be sure to save it in a safe place in a file or a notebook or on the computer so at some time in the future when you need it most you can pull it out and share it with your loved ones.

So my musing on the Upword of last week - FREE - reminds me that we are free to smile even when things look bleak by reflecting on the many many blessings we are given.

Here are just a few of my 1000 things for Troidles to Smile About.
  1. Sisters
  2. Finding the only thing in the discount store worth buying
  3. Banning smoking on all flights
  4. Ice cubes
  5. Making popsicles from juice
  6. Finding a pumpkin with good hair
  7. Running into old friends in unexpected places
  8. Chinese checkers
  9. Having a cleaning lady
  10. Ivy
  11. Eidelweiss
  12. Staying overnight in a castle
  13. Playdates
  14. "Evely Fliday, I have a gud tyme!"
  15. Cutting one of GG's homemade afghans to make a doll blanket
  16. Mulch
  17. Squeegies
  18. Thomson's Water Seal
  19. The Home Show
  20. Mousse
  21. Primping and preening
  22. Curling irons
  23. Duct tape
  24. Rich aunts who live overseas
  25. Yoko Ono in the morning
  26. "Hafta"
  27. "'Pose ta"
  28. Knowing why Eskimos wash their clothes in Tide
  29. Inchworms
  30. Petunia
  31. Hannah, Hildegard and Gertrude
  32. "What's the matter, Hannah?" "I don't know."
  33. "Beats neither!"
  34. Making the school play
  35. The French Impressionists
  36. Driving kids to music and dance lessons
  37. Recitals
  38. Telling people that Debby likes to lift heavy things
  39. Family bonding sessions
  40. Debby jokes
  41. The big pine tree at 190 Walzford Road under which we held secret meetings
  42. You gotta wanna
  43. Telling people in other cars how they could drive better when you know they can't hear you
  44. Ye Olde Tavern
  45. Olivia
  46. Being able to pronounce Lake Chargoggagogmanchoggagogchabunagungamogg
  47. Paying off the balance on all your credit cards
  48. Cappy Turtle
  49. Deadbee Turtle
  50. Sunny Turtle
  51. Carrying a turtle
  52. Cooking without a clue sessions
  53. What a small world it is
  54. Coincidences that aren't really coincidences
  55. Deja vu
  56. A Ruby Turtle
  57. The Fonzies and the Potsies
  58. Mo-mos Surprise
  59. Belly flops
  60. Spelling bees
  61. "Chlamydia is not a flower"
  62. Erma Bombeck
  63. "Babies and other Hazards of Sex"
  64. Pygmie hammocks
  65. "Today I saw a bud"
  66. Park and ride
  67. Byes
  68. Homemade potholders
  69. Gummy worms
  70. Sleeping under the tree on a carrot bed
  71. Uncle Sam and Santa
  72. Snow people
  73. Painting Cindy's bald head for Easter
  74. Slumber parties
  75. Ralphie and Alfie
  76. Cricket infestations
  77. Spiral staircases
  78. Coming home to a clean house
  79. A clean car
  80. Ed the Bibdog Dobbster
  81. Beagley the Dalemeister Beagley
  82. Recycling
  83. Susan's haircuts
  84. Dad, the Nurturer
  85. Debby sleeping all night at the hospital
  86. Knowing how to flush out catheters
  87. In-laws
  88. Sending email over the information super highway
  89. Correspondence kits made by dad
  90. The Troidle family extended calendar
  91. Watching old movies on cable
  92. Mom's bird collection
  93. The Subaru
  94. Tom Bombadil and Wurzel
  95. Nimnum
  96. Car phones
  97. Meeting cousins you never knew you had
  98. Midnight mass
  99. Michael Burgo
  100. Being president of the Holy Cross General Alumni Association
  101. Depositions
  102. Mediation
  103. Being president of Ocean Beach Club I
  104. Presidential inauguration
  105. Desert fever
  106. Swollen legs for 8 weeks from an allergy to dust on Mt Saint Helen's
  107. New York bagels
  108. Debby moving to Chicago
  109. Kathy making Christmas dinner
  110. Chutney
  111. Mom's poached eggs
  112. Prozak
  113. Prednisone
  114. Betty and Barney Bunny with Buster and Babies
  115. "Ain't no bug, ain't no monkey, give me a hug, I'm a Funky!"
  116. Organizing photos into albums
  117. Angels
  118. Cards that make you cry
  119. Octagon decks
  120. Still getting stuffed animals from your mom when you're 32
  121. Roger
  122. Frequent flier miles
  123. Lillian Vernon goodies from Aunt Cindy
  124. Taking off the pool cover
  125. Donner and Desiree
  126. Nutcrackers
  127. Nuns
  128. Bishop Clark
  129. Jesuits
  130. Spider theatres
  131. Nerbus people
  132. "Good job catapillar!"
  133. "I am so proud of you!"
  134. "Fibonacci!"
  135. "But CeeCee, there are TWO boyfriends here, and your friends Debby and Kathy"
  136. "No wifes (in the PlayMobile castle)"
  137. Facial expressions that tell all
  138. Husbands/Boyfriends who get all this