Put Me In, Coach

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Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

“Centerfield” is a classic rock song by John Fogerty, released in 1985 about someone telling the coach that they were ready to play, and in center field. It’s that fighting spirit that all coaches want to see.

I know it is about baseball, which I’m not that interested in, but I often use sports analogies when I’m writing to demonstrate my meaning.

We know that a good coach can bring out the best in their athletes and lead them to a winning season. A good coach has passion, can read their players, can encourage them and most of all, know the game. They need to be able to teach the players the mechanics and techniques that work the best, but at the same time encourage them to go beyond. At times, they also must be tough, and not afraid to crawl all up in someone’s sh*t if they aren’t pulling their weight.

Coaches aren’t limited to sports. They can be those rah-rah people around you, cheering you on during life victories. There are also professional life coaches, with formulas for success, who lead seminars and write books for self-help people.

I am beginning to think of myself as a life coach. It wasn’t something I aspired to, as my passion was always about design. Coaching was more of a calling born out of dealing with my own life issues and learning. I can say I am passionate about spirituality and metaphysics, having studied them for over 40 years. I have taken classes for developing psychic abilities and healing. As I got older and realized that my early years were having an impact on my choices and behavior patterns, I knew I needed to do something about them. I went to talk therapists, psychics and energy healers. They made a difference, but ultimately, I knew that the changes had to come from within me. Since I learn best through reading and research, I delved into the world of self-help. I practiced the behavior modification techniques often recommended, and the best one for me was to call out my inner child and mother her in the way that she didn’t get. That shifted a whole lot of the baggage I carried.

I was so impacted by my changes that I wanted to share with others. Whenever I have (and still do) encounter someone having difficulties, I reach out with personal experiences and suggestions for making changes. (Not being a medical professional, I don’t diagnose or attempt to treat those with severe issues.) I often feel guilty afterwards; who am I to tell someone how to run their life? But I have learned, and done this myself, people will hear what they want to hear and ignore the rest. Thus, no offense given, and none taken.

I’m not ready to take the step into professional coach. I still carry doubts about “lecturing” people on how to manage their life. I’m also concerned about being overwhelmed by the demands, so I keep reminding myself to take baby steps. Writing this blog is a baby step. I can tackle an issue, make suggestions and put them out there for people to accept or not. If I’m using this as a training ground, then I realize that I’m not really telling anyone what to do, just making recommendations and how-tos for making life better. Sort of like showing someone with basic cable what they could get if they sign up for the 250+ package. Woo-hoo!, because the biggest win in life is living a good life.

If there is a topic you would like me to address, for the good of one and all, then please comment back.

Or just say “put me in, Coach, I’m ready to change!”.

Mediation Meditation

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Yes, you read that correctly. So let’s take a look at the meaning.

Mediation uses a third party to resolve a dispute. Meditation helps you access your subconscious for insight, relaxation and ideas. For this purpose, consider that your conscious mind and body are in dispute about something you would like to accomplish. Your subconscious is the neutral party, because it holds all the skills, brilliant ideas, memories, knowledge and most of all, the neurological wiring to make sh*t happen. This part of your brain can tell your conscious mind and body that they can do this thing, whatever it is.

Let’s say you want to want to improve your golf score. Now, I know nothing about golf so if I don’t explain this correctly, forgive me and make your own mental correction. Every time you tee off, the ball sails off to the right. You’ve changed your stance, your grip and even your – ahem – balls and the damn thing continues to make a perfect arc. (There IS perfection in something.) So why not try meditation to improve your skills?

Find some time and a space where you can sit quietly for a few minutes. No phone, no music, just you and your thoughts. Close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly in and out. Feel the tension of your day slowly draining down from your head all the way through your body and out your feet. You will know that you have begun to relax when random thoughts start scrolling through your head. Don’t worry about them; most people think your mind should be clear. Not necessarily true, just don’t fixate on any particular one of them. Keep breathing until you don’t notice any of your surroundings, and your focus is somewhere in your forehead. This is when you can begin to access your subconscious.

Now visualize yourself setting up to tee off. Ask your subconscious how to make the ball go straight. See yourself making the swing and the ball going straight down the fairway. Now say to yourself “my mind and body hit the ball where I want it to go”. Repeat this several times so you train your brain to instruct your body what to do. Make this a practice and watch how your golf game changes. Who knows, you might even make Tiger a little worried.

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

Breaking It

keyboard-393838_1920I’ve taken a short break from blogging. It wasn’t intentional, just too many things going on that kept me out of creative thinking. I don’t lament the time lost, because sometimes circumstances work in our favor to give us a break.

Taking a break from anything can be healthy. If it is physical exercise, you give your body a chance to rest and recover. If it is mental activity, such as studying or work logic, you give your brain a chance to reset and balance. Taking a creative break does the same thing from the opposite side.

A break is a temporary, short-time-frame rest. A long-term break may be a sign of something bigger like burnout. Lacking desire or interest in something could be that it truly is no longer relevant in your life, however, if the lack of desire or interest is widespread it can be a sign of depression.

Depression is a treatable disease. There are many resources and methods that are readily available. Don’t allow this to overcome your life when there is help.

A break can be as simple as a short nap. Taking a walk is a nice break when you have been sitting awhile. Reading a book, listening to music, playing with a pet or child, fixing a cup of tea or coffee, having a healthy snack and especially meditation are various forms of relaxation. The important thing is to do the opposite of what you have been doing.

Just don’t break anything.

The Importance of Doing Nothing

window-view-1081788_1920Do this, do that, go here, pick up that, cook, clean, eat, wash and keeping running. Don’t you just wish you could have five damn minutes to yourself?

Why not?

We always think we need a day off, or a vacation, to take time to relax and recharge. And end up packing in so many activities we end up more tired than we started. So why not just give yourself a little treat every day.

Five minutes, is all.

Five minutes where you just sit and do absolutely nothing. No thinking, no checking your phone, no making lists or any other damn thing. Just sitting and breathing.

Oh sure, you say, my mind fills up with all the stuff I need to do. So. It will all still be there five minutes from now. Just try it. Put down your phone and sit. Well, set the timer on your phone if you need to, but then set it down. Now close your eyes and breathe. Let all those busy thoughts just scroll through your head like movie credits. Don’t focus on any one of them. Maybe focus on your breathing, in-out, in-out. You may even notice your heart rate slowing down. Ah, peace.

Try doing this at least once a day. Then do it when you are feeling the most stressed. You’ll find that your rapid thoughts will slow down and formulate into action steps. Whatever problem you were struggling with might get resolved.

All because instead of doing something, you did nothing. Feel better now?

A Happy Space

I’m taking a week off from work. I have a lot of vacation time built up and I want to use some of it up before I retire in January. Plus, it’s great to get away from the stressful hustle. I chose to be home-bound for the rest and relaxation, and it is a sigh of relief. We’re hosting a neighborhood gathering tomorrow evening, and having a party Saturday afternoon with some friends. There is always a lot of prep for events, but I have plenty of time for it.

IMG_20190614_181516011 (2)I have several of these weeks throughout the summer. I am using them as practice for retirement. I knew that I needed some time away and I anticipated that it would be enjoyable, but certainly not at the level I am experiencing.

I am discovering an absolute true feeling of contentment.

IMG_20190614_181523173 (1)There are books, and articles, and videos, and podcasts, and so on, that speak of being happy. Do this, don’t do that, the list is goes on. Much of it is true, but it all comes back to how you feel inside. It is different for everyone. Sometimes the happiness is fleeting or short-lived. Such as that which comes from a thing, place or person. We all want the kind that stays with us for ever and ever. But what does it really mean?

It is how you feel at any moment, where you experience peace, contentment and relaxation. Your blood pressure drops, respiration becomes slower and deeper, worrisome thoughts seem to drift away, your gaze softens, and your senses relax. When I sit outside and look at my flower garden this happens. The colors, the shapes, the sheer beauty of the flowers overwhelm me. I become less aware of street noise and more aware of the tiny bees that roam from flower to flower. The chirp of birds. Perhaps one lands to take drink from the bird bath. Butterflies floating about. Time passes by without a thought.

I can begin to appreciate that the stress and striving brought me to this. That work and effort is important, because it brings safety and security, and purpose in serving. But yet, we must never lose sight of the need to fulfill our own passions and the necessity of self-care. Whether you are working or not, good health or bad, have many responsibilities or not, taking a few moments to find your happy space are as necessary as breathing.

Your soul will hug you if you do.

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere

IMG_20190505_132400079 (1)Alcoholism is a serious and debilitating disease that engulfs the mind, body and spirit. It can contribute to any number of health issues and can result in death. From my research, alcoholism can be a coping mechanism for deep, personal issues. It is a sad waste of a beautiful human life.

There is no doubt that drinking alcohol can be fun. A summer afternoon, an evening cocktail party, wine pairings, all are fun gatherings with friends. A cold beer after yard work. A “topping off” after the completion of a project. All reasons to offer a toast. But anything in excess is unhealthy for your well-being.

When you are super stressed, it is easy to reach for a cocktail to numb your nervous system. It may be helpful for the moment, but you’ll wake up in the middle of the night just as restless and edgy as you started. Instead take a walk, or engage in some other mild form of exercise. Meditate. Read a book. Work a puzzle. The idea behind stress relief is to focus your thoughts on something that relaxes you, which will help you do actions that relax your body.

Treat alcohol as a treat, and just because it’s five o-clock somewhere doesn’t mean it needs to be five o’clock every night.

Feng Swayed

paper-3149117_1920I am re-reading the book “Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life” by Karen Rauch Carter (Fireside books, 2000).  The book is an easy-to-follow guide using Feng Shui to enhance your home in order to improve your life.  It is an awesome book and the techniques work.

Feng Shui originated in China with information dating as far back as 4000 BC.  The concept is to use the energy forces, or qi (chee), in a person’s surroundings to harmonize and enhance the space.  An eight-sided diagram, called the bagua, is placed over the floorplan of the home and reviewed.  Although the bagua is an octagon, it is made up of nine sectors that represent areas in your life.  The layout is as follows:

Front Center: Career
Front Right: Helpful People and Travel
Right Middle: Creativity and Children
Right Back: Relationships and Love
Back Middle: Fame and Reputation
Left Back: Prosperity
Left Middle: Family
Front Left: Skills and Knowledge

Each sector can be enhanced with “cures”, using elements, colors, mirrors, crystals and many other items.  The enhancements will build up the energy in that sector for whatever you are trying to accomplish.  For example: you are unable to sustain a romantic relationship.  First, take a look at your bedroom.  Does it look like a space for couples?  Or do you have one nightstand, with one lamp and a picture of a single person above the bed?  Switch it up and put two of everything in there, make some room in the closet and hang a picture of a couple, preferably embracing, above the bed.  Secondly, what room is in the Relationships and Love corner of your home?  The bathroom?  You can’t remove that, so use the cures to amp up the love energy.  Keep the toilet lid closed.  Tie a red ribbon around the drain line of the sink to keep the energy from flowing out.  The color cures for this are red, pink, and white.  Buy a pack of kids valentines cards and make a collage on the wall.  Not your style?  Put them in the cabinet drawers or tape them inside.  The cures don’t have to be seen to work.  Do all of this with the intention of attracting the best partner for you.  And then watch the magic happen.

The book has a chapter for each of the nine sectors and explains what is bad in that area and how to enhance it.  You really can make a difference in your life with quick, simple cures.

I am still in the clean-it-up mode.  I have been doing some “up” decorating in my home.  I say up, rather than redecorating, because I am mostly just adding some artistic enhancements.  A little paint, some pillows, a piece of accent furniture and some artsy stuff.  Taking it from average-nice to “Bam!” as Emeril would say.  I’m following up with a read of this book to see if I need to pep up any of the bagua areas.  I have a pack of multi-colored construction paper (yes, that works!) and a scissors to cut specific shapes out of the paper.  These can be stuck on the back or underside of furniture to ramp up that area.

I may be easily swayed by my desire for a good life, but why not?  We all deserve to be prosperous, loved and happy.  Use the energy forces inherent in your space and allow them to help you.  Oh, that’s the Helpful People and Travel, right front, area of your home.

In The Hunt

cat-3750778_1920We are deep into football season and many teams are in the hunt to make the playoffs.  Most teams have players out of action due to injuries and trading continues throughout the season.  Everyone wants a piece of the trophy.

Throughout our lives, we strive for some trophy.  I could be a real trophy to designate the winner of a physical contest.  It could be metaphorical: the killer job, forever home, beautiful car, great kids or fabulous spouse.  Striving is motivation and carries through the journey of life.

Too often, striving for material things alone leaves us feeling empty or desirous of more.  When we don’t put purpose and soul satisfaction at the top of the list, the result is fleeting.  It is then we must reach deep into the soul and seek the meaning that sustains us.

How do you know what that is?

If there is something you simply must do on a consistent basis, then that is your calling and meaning.  I must create.  Art and beauty soothe my soul.  It can be any medium for me.  I don’t have to pick up a paintbrush or crayon to fulfill that need.  My work life consists of managing money, but even in that lies creativity.  It can be figuring out how to use the money in the best way possible or it can be designing my spreadsheets in a way that pleases my eye.  Creativity comes out in my home or in how I dress each day.  When I am unable to create, my soul weeps.  Depression sets in and life loses its meaning.

As I have previously written, I am in a bit of a funk.  I have limited my article postings and am presently taking a few days away from work to rest and rejuvenate.  I will take some time to just look within and listen to my heart.  To ask myself what I am missing and what I need to bring a happy state back to my soul.  I will work on the manuscript for my book about spirituality.  Exercise.  Right now I am listening to music.  I have been less than my happy self for a good portion of this year and I need to gain that back.

We should always be in the hunt for happiness.  Life is messy and sometimes it is hard to sustain, but our natural state is happiness.  The level can be different for each of us, but it is always there.

Unlike the Super Bowl, it is a trophy that can be had by all.

You’re Stuck in the Pit of Misery, and You Hate Bud Light

il_340x270.1363166986_24kw[1]With all the chaos and negativity running rampant in the world, it is difficult to keep a positive state of mind.  Dilly-dilly, seems pretty silly when you try to focus on the Light.  Or is it Lite.  (poorly written puns, I know, but thus is the state of my mind)

All silliness aside, I’ve had my share of dark times this past year.  I have a stressful, highly responsible job managing a government department’s funds.  I don’t mind the work, just the demands that go with it and the difficult people with rigid ideas.  I have had a skirmish with someone who decided he knew more about my work than I do, even though he has never done it, much less asked any questions.  It is an ongoing issue, with his passive-aggressive attempts to make me look bad.  He has enlisted a couple others in his quest, who love to make demeaning remarks in group meetings.  Lest you think I am delusional about my skills, I have grade A reviews accompanied by high compensation.

Alongside these passive-aggressive attempts to demean me, these people also want to suck all the knowledge out of my brain and automate everything I do.  It is crazy-making and I am beyond ready for retirement.  My manager does the best she can to defend me, but she is also taking hits from these people.  I have no idea why this is occurring.

It is bad enough, that my sweetie thinks I need anti-depressants.  I won’t even self-medicate with alcohol.  It doesn’t help though, when we get into these repetitive conversations about family members, ex-spouses and our past history.  I have literally felt as though I have been sucked down into the oubliette, otherwise known as the Pit of Misery.  (horrible place, really, look it up)  Enough so, I am considering prescribed meds. 

This morning, however, I woke into a different frame of mind.  I told him that we need to have a cease-fire on such depressing topics, unless it is necessary or relevant.  Such as, I can discuss my work if only to explain why I come home mad.  All of the other is behind us and, instead, we need to talk about how we want our life to look.  None of the rest of it serves any purpose.  He was totally with me on this.

I have a bit of a theory on this, personally anyway, because of my age.  The 2nd Saturn Return occurs during your late 50s.  The first one occurs around age 27 and, well, you’ve all heard of the 27 Club.  Serious sh*t.  The 2nd one ain’t no picnic either.  It’s Life Review time, people, and you might be staring down the hole of the P.o.M.  If you haven’t healed and released your sh*t yet, it’s going to come crawling out of that dark place you’ve stored it and poke you right between the eyes.  What are you gonna do about it and how are you gonna live the rest of your life?  Do you want to stay in the sh*tpile or do you want to shovel it out of your way?  (just remember, sh*t makes flowers grow)

You don’t have to know every single detail of how you want your life to flow from here on out.  Start with today and set the intention that you are improving your life.  Stop talking about the sh*t and focus on the good stuff.  Can’t get past that?  Call upon the Universe for help.  Ask for help with more positive thoughts.  Ask for a peaceful day.  Ask to be protected from a$$holes.  Ask for a good parking spot at the grocery store.

Ask for a pretty mug to pour your Bud Light into so you can toast your peaceful day.

Just Roll Over

directory-466935_1920Have you ever heard the term “dark night of the soul”?  It’s really the same as hitting the bottom of your life; a desperate, depressing time when you just want to sink down in the sh*tpile and call it good.  Ick.  What a horrible thought, but I bet many of you have been there.  I know I have.  A time, or three.

You just lay there, face down in your sh*t, and wonder why and how you got that way.  Maybe you want to stay there.  Maybe you want to get out of it.

Did you know that all you have to do is roll over?  Yes, really.  If you roll over, you look up towards the light and the way out.

Most people who hit the bottom are just ready to give up.  Death is certainly a way out, but why would you want to do that when there are other possibilities?  Instead think: Surrender.  When you surrender, you give up control.  So if you roll over, look up at the light and surrender to the Universe, you flip on the light to something brighter and better.  The Universe will get you out of the sh*tpile if you give up control.  If you pay attention, the Universe will put ideas in your tired little brain that you can use to improve your life.  The Universe will send people and resources to help you move forward.  But you have to be open to it.

The biggest miracles occur when you have a dark night of the soul.  Things you never, ever dreamed would happen show up at the right time making you wonder why you ever thought things were so bad.  But you know something?  You don’t have to wait until you are at the bottom of the well to get miracles.  You can get them anytime you want.  Yes, really.  The Universe is on-call 24/7.  To you.  To anyone.  No limits.  No running out of data.

All you have to do is roll over and surrender.