Posts in Adulting
I'm Giving Up My Enemies

What would happen if we gave up having enemies? Is "enemy" too strong a word? How about rivals? People that did us wrong. People who we don't like to work with, who aren't our tribe, who make us crazy, who bother us, who lied to us, tricked us, manipulated us, who just aren't our people - what if we gave up all of that?

Last weekend I texted a friend that I was giving up an enemy. The text was out of the blue, but mine is always like that to her, and I needed her to see it (more on that in a second).

"I’ve decided that the work she is doing is fine. I’ve decided that by supporting her work I can be free to do mine. I’ve decided not to be intimidated by her. I’ve decided her work has no bearing on my work. I’ve decided that we are all doing what we think is best. PHEW. Why? Because fighting her and trying to figure her out is a waste of time. And we don’t need an enemy. True leadership is found when we allow people to be leaders in their own right. Her power does not diminish mine (or yours)."

That was the text.

Why send it? Because I believe it is time to let things go. I’m learning, slowly, that those around me can’t diminish the work I’m doing every day unless I let them. I also can’t continue to hold grudges about past wrongdoings because they only hurt me - they don't even care that I'm holding the grudge. People don’t have to do the work that I’m doing, I don’t have to like the way they do their own work and I don’t have to take everyone out for tea to get along. I can lighten up and let go.

  • Do you have a list of people who you hold grudges about?
  • Are other people rallying around your list of enemies on your behalf?
  • How much time are you spending thinking about them or trying to figure them out?
  • Aren't you ready to give all that up for the ultimate freedom of not giving a shit? Seriously, you can get your energy, mind and time back if you stop thinking about them. 
  • Burn the list.

Why? Because holding onto my hate was causing me to suffer. Not them. They probably don’t give a damn about what I think because they are too busy doing their own thing. I don’t have to spend my time worrying about how they are doing things. That’s just a procrastination of doing my own great stuff.

More importantly, I was making other people suffer, too. Here’s the thing, if I said that person was mean to me or that person didn’t do this right they would take up my cause. That person would become their enemy, too. That’s what people do. Think about the people you don’t like and see if it is because of something they did to you directly or if you are picking up the banner of someone else’s hurt. Are you carrying other people's burdens or giving yours to someone else? It's time to drop all of that.

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.
— Abraham Lincoln

It’s not my job to figure them out. That was the thing my friend pointed out as a biggie. The time we spend trying to understand why they do what they do. Who cares? We don’t need to spend our precious time analyzing why they do their thing their way. It just isn’t productive and it doesn’t matter. It isn’t our thing and our thing is the only thing we should be spending time on.

Holding onto a grudge is killing my vibe and making me sour.

They keep saying that our country is divided and I’m beginning to see how we can hate whole swaths of people who never did anything to us just by picking sides. I’m tired of picking sides. I’m also tired of holding onto the list of people who hacked me off at one time or another. I can let that list go and just do my own work.

Am I perfect? Nope. Will I immediately be able to let go past hurts and slights? Probably not, but if that is my intention it might happen easier. I don’t have a lot of regrets in my life, but I do regret not mending my relationships with my sister and my mom before they died. I could have learned this letting shit go lesson a whole lot earlier, but I’m stubborn and it takes me a while to get things. Now I’m practicing it with people I work with, folks in my community, people who are peripheral friends, people who are rude at the grocery store… because life really is short and we need to learn to let stuff go. I need to. Do you?

I really do want to be a pineapple. I want to stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet inside. That is enough to let go of having enemies.

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

Happiness Hack: Grok Your Own Thing
Photo Credit:  @brigittetohm

Photo Credit: @brigittetohm

What is happiness? I believe it is liking where you are right now in this moment. I also think it’s something that you cultivate, how you interact in the world, and figuring out what makes it all click for yourself. I am a big lover of the fact that the Founding Fathers of our great nation decided that the Pursuit of Happiness is one of our rights. They were a bunch of pretty happy guys doing exactly what they wanted to do. They knew that they could have that here, in this new place, and that everyone should be so lucky to go find it. Granted, it took them a while to think that women, children, African Americans and Native Americans were worth of it… but I give them kudos for trying.

How Do I Pursue My Own Happiness?

Meditation: I do 15 – 20 minutes of some kind of meditation. It helps to start my day with the idea that I have the capacity to be happy, healthy, live without fear and be at ease in the world and that you do too. It’s a small thing, but it helps.

Simplicity: Our house, mostly because my husband would prefer to live in a Zen Monastery, is getting more and more free of clutter. I recently removed our couch and replaced it with two funky armchairs that are cozy enough that Franklin the Wonder Dog has abandoned the bed I made for him. I am quick to donate just about anything that I don’t use regularly and am keeping clutter to a minimum. It helps my peace of mind to have less stuff around and stuff doesn’t make me happy – it never has. I like quality things, things with personal meaning and empty spaces – that makes me happy.

Focusing: Really pairing down my life and business to what matters makes me happy. I am starting to really drive myself and my message around the idea that our own personal and professional development – what we value and how we act – is the trademark of our brand. Getting to that solid focus helps me feel calmer, more relaxed an ultimately happy. I’ve started, again, sending out a monthly email letter to my subscribers to drive that home. We are what we focus on and that helps drive my happy.

Saying Yes Even When I Don’t Know What the Hell I’m Doing: This last year I have said yes to doing Facebook Live videos every week without knowing anything about doing them. I put myself out there as an artist twice – once donating a piece to an auction that got purchased (squee!) and another in a collaboration youth/art project. I said yes to an overnight hike even when I didn’t have the right shoes, gear or any experience walking over a mile. I started a book club because a friend wanted one and the group has turned out to be amazing. It makes me happy to take risks – even small incremental ones.

Having Goals: Looking at my goals everyday helped me feel accomplished. And just like everyone else that does something I like getting to the finish line and giving myself a serious high five. I’ll do my whole goal planning the first week in January because, frankly, it works.

Being Mindfully Kind: I practice kindfulness. It’s mindfulness in action. I am not always a happy camper. In fact, I grind pretty judgmental, but I know that when I gather myself into a kinder mode I am happier. I practice this in every post I write, every email, every phone call, every interaction, every damned thing. It isn’t easy and I miss the mark more than I like, but when I hit that spot of true engagement where I listened to the person, was compassionate and had composure and clarity I feel like I won a million bucks. Happy happy camper.

The Key to Your Happiness

The key for all of us is finding out, for ourselves, what actually makes us happy. Not what your mom thinks, your boss, your best friend.. but you. You have to grok your own special sauce of happy to be actually happy. And in my world, it’s whatever works. I’m not here to judge you (and I promise I’m working on that). You do you and find your happy place.

Book Clubs Are Magic
If you haven't read Sarah Murphy's book  The Possessions get thee to Amazon now  .

If you haven't read Sarah Murphy's book The Possessions get thee to Amazon now.

I'm in the best book club in the world. (I know you probably are, too, but mine is super awesome.) They are smart, sassy (I kind of hate that word), vibrant (hate that word more) women who give zero fucks about anything when we are together. Life is for today and they are going to dive into a book and love and hate it simultaneously and then defend their position loudly and with no worries that they have said too much.

Back Story: My friend Diane’s husband had passed away suddenly six months earlier. I was the sucky friend that never came by to say anything because what do you say (don’t be me). At the six month point, I went to her and asked what she wanted and she told me a book club. I said I could do that. I gathered awesome women who she didn’t really know, they didn’t really know each other, but I knew were magical. We met at her office that first night (over a year ago now) and discussed our love/hate of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic (sorry Liz). I knew right then that they would be something special.

Why am I telling you this? Because you need a book club too. These can be your people and goodness knows we need to find our people. Here are a few tips on how to get started and how to keep it going.

  • Don't obsess about who comes. Those that fit will stick around and those that don't won't. It's ok.
  • Don't make it overly large. Ours is 13 people (a perfect witches coven) and we can fit in most people's living rooms.
  • Meet once a month.
  • Pick 2 - 3 books at a time. We just let the first people to blurt out their idea for a book be the book. We read the Amazon descriptions out loud and go for it. We don't over analyze the choices. It isn't really about the book, people. We pick for the next couple of months because of travel and schedules. People like to read ahead.
  • Read the books. It really does help if people have read the book.
  • Have a Facebook group for your club. Let people chat. Make an event for your meeting so it shows up on their phones. 
  • Use the group for MORE than just book club. Ask if anyone wants to meet up to see an art show, go kayaking, go for a walk, see a play, walk your dogs - whatever. These are your people and you will learn more about them in all the different configurations that show up at these other unofficial meet ups. Say yes to more of these than you would say no to.

Making friends as an adult is really hard. Don't let anyone tell you it isn't. You have to create opportunities to make magic happen. Questions? Comment below and let's get to the nitty gritty of what book clubs are, aren't can do, can't or how yours is better than mine (I'm totally up for that challenge).

Affirmations & Sweet Life Hacks

I’m doing something super crazy. I’m jumping feet first into the world of You are a Bad Ass by Jen Sincero and all the wild woo it encourages. Why? Because I’m bombarded on the daily with negativity in the news, in the grocery line, online and I need to keep my life jamming on the happiness track for my sanity and my success. Yes, there are real problems and I am lending my voice, my hand and my dollars to make a difference, but I need to also raise my vibration. Dude. I just said raise my vibration. Welcome to my wild ride of tapping into the life force.

The Sweet Life Hack

My house is old. Really old. It was built before electricity. Because of that we don’t have enough outlets and they aren’t in the right places. A few weeks ago I was listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier and she was talking about Missing Puzzle Pieces in life. These are simple things that could make your life easier with a simple change. I realized I had a HUGE one I needed a longer iPhone charger cord and I needed more than one in the house. I was running to plug my iPhone in our bedroom and couldn’t hear the phone ring in my office (small old house that weirdly has very thick walls).

I read several reviews recently of Amazon’s Basics line and they were really favorable. So.. I bought two cords and my life is sweet. I can have my phone next to the bed at night and I have a cord in the living room and in my office to charge it during the day. What is your missing puzzle piece? What could make your life better?

Badass Affirmations

I’ve known about affirmations since the 80’s when I read Louise Hay’s Heal Your Life. I chalked it up to some serious hippy hooey then, but now I’m adding them back. I tend to obsess about the crazy things I see online about cutting PBS, NPR and kids lunches and I can’t think straight anymore. So, I am going to combat all of that crazy coming out of DC with some serious affirmation training.

I’m going to fill my head with the good because the bad isn’t going to win over here!

What the heck is an affirmation you are asking? You know. Positive things you tell yourself that counteract the negative self talk or venom coming out of your racist uncle’s Facebook feed. You just repeat them, post them around your house and learn to suck them in as the ninja to negativity.

Go. Go get the book.