Friday, May 27, 2011

Once in a lifetime.

I'm sure most of you have heard or read about the tornado that destroyed most of Joplin, MO, this past weekend. That's only about 45 minutes away from where we live, though we were lucky enough only to get some wind and rain. And some beautiful skies.

After the rain had passed us by and the sky was absolutely beautiful, I was doing laundry while my husband was in the living room, keeping an eye on the news to see what was happening in Joplin, and yelling in my direction occasionally about how I needed to come look at the sky; it was changing every second, and I was missing it, he said. "This is a once in a lifetime sky!"

It occurred to me that every sky is a once in a lifetime sky. Never again will we see that exact color scheme with those exact cloud patterns laying on top of it. And I wondered, why don't we stop to appreciate every once in a lifetime sky?

As tends to happen, my thoughts broadened. Not only is every sky a once in a lifetime sky, but every moment is a once in a lifetime moment. Never again will we be at this exact place in this exact moment being exactly who we are right now; we are ever-changing, the world is ever-changing.

How many beautiful moments do we pass by in our lives because there's something to distract us from it? Or because something boring or aggravating or terrible is still on our mind from a moment previous? Or because we're in a hurry to get to the next moment?

What would it take to pause and find the beauty in every moment, the way we can pause and find the beauty in an orange and blue sky with a double-rainbow after a devastating storm?

I challenge you to stop, once, in the middle of your day -- especially if it's a busy day -- and find something once-in-a-lifetime around you, or within you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Given my current job situation (the situation being that soon, I will no longer have my job), I've noticed that as a result, I've started shifting my identity into something different. For years (eleven of them) I've been The Webmaster, and I've never really liked it. I always felt the need to say that I was The Webmaster but don't blame me, it was like that when I got here and I intend to fix it, or The Webmaster but no I will not do your fluffy puppy website in my spare time, or The Webmaster but I'm not a computer geek, I'm an "artist" and the Internet is my canvas. Anytime I would identify myself as The Webmaster, I would sort of cringe on the inside. That's not who I am. I'm not that stereotype. It's my job, but it's not me.

In five weeks, I will no longer be The Webmaster. How amazing is that??

For several weeks while this knowledge was settling into my mind, I became The Webmaster but not for much longer. The past couple of weeks now I have caught myself casually shifting into The Life Coach. EEEEE!

I'll admit it, there's some fear and hesitation around that. What if people don't know what that is? What if I have to answer questions? What if they think it's nuts or think I'm crazy or pat me on the head like oh, of course you are dear, that's so cute, like it's a fake job and not something real or understandable my mainstream societal standards? But you know what? That's good practice for me to get better at explaining what coaching is, what I do. And you know what else? I don't cringe when I say it; I smile.

It's funny how in today's society one of our favorite questions is "So, what do you do?" Our jobs somehow define us, and there are all these beliefs floating around about What You Do being Who You Are.

I've seen this cross over into way more than just the job arena, too; I frequently call my clients on listing "doings" when I ask them "being" questions.

The cool thing about coaching is, it's both. It's a way of being, and it's what I do.

So if you could be whoever you choose to be, what would you be doing? How would you identify yourself in a way that would make you smile?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Disciplining your inner four year old.

Part of being a mom is figuring out what method of discipline works best for your kids. Every kid is different (and I know I will learn this even more clearly if/when there is a #2). Things that work for some kids don't work for other kids. Things that work for your kid might not work for your kid next week. Things that work for your kid may not work for you. It's a constant act of trial and error, assessment, reassessment, giving up for a while and just hoping they'll be good no matter what, realizing no matter how well you're handling things they might still just be a holy terror for a while, wondering if their recent diet of grilled cheese and popsicles may be a factor, and trial and error again.

The same can be said for ourselves. I know I'm grumpy when I have too many pastries.

While I was rearranging the 4 year old's star chart recently, the thought occurred to me: if I were parenting my own inner 4 year old, what would I put on my star chart?

This of course led to tangent thoughts: What reward would I want to earn with my stars? What if it weren't just about a star chart and I were constantly parenting my inner child?

When our kids ask us for, say, an extra cookie, or another new toy even though he just got a new toy (because Daddy really wanted the new toy, too), when is the answer yes, and when is the answer no? How do you explain to your kid why this time it's okay, but next time it may not be? And, what occurred to me this morning, when your kid yells at you and demands that extra cookie or new toy, do you give into his demands or do you dig your heels in and demand right back that he ask nicely for things or he Does Not Get Them?

I'm a dig-my-heels-in, I'm-just-as-stubborn-as-you-are mom, personally.

So why, then, when my inner child demands I WANT THAT PASTRY RIGHT NOW BECAUSE, UM, BECAUSE IT'S THERE AND I WANT IT, do I say, "Oh, okay Inner Child! Here's your pastry!"? How could I handle that, instead?

If I were talking to my kid (and having a Good Mommy day, and this wasn't the 50millionth time I had to answer this question), I would explain that eating sweets without eating something healthy is bad for your body, and I know it tastes good, but later with lunch we can have some strawberries instead. So, what would it be like if I were to catch my inner child's demands, realize them for what they are, and explain things in the same way? "Okay, Self, I know you'll like that cherry tart, but you're gluten intolerant, remember? And remember that you're trying not to eat processed sugar? Is that pastry worth getting a headache and being grumpy? You have gluten free cookies made with organic sugar at home! Let's wait until we get home, okay?"

Honestly? My inner child would throw a temper tantrum and say BUT I WANT IT NOW, THOSE COOKIES AREN'T THE SAAAMMMMEE AS A CHERRY TART.

And then I would tell my inner child that it's being rude and now it absolutely can't have it because of how it's acting.

So just as parenting your own actual child requires a lot of trial and error, bargaining, and explanation of consequences, what would it be like if you were to put that kind of effort into "parenting" yourself?