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Intimacy

Gratitude Made Easy

Our family has a 9-10 year old female corgi/golden retriever mix. We got her from the shelter 2 years ago and she has turned out to be a great dog for us. This afternoon when I returned home she met me half way up the stairs as I was coming down. When we reached the bottom she gave me a quick bark. Roughly translated, I need to go out and I want you to take me.

And then this is when it gets good. Once she gets the signal that I am going to take her out (I get the leash) she gets all excited and starts jumping around with all kinds of enthusiasm. You would think she was getting the biggest juiciest piece of steak in the world (though she could not chew it if she did), but no, she is getting to go outside to relieve herself. In her excitement she is letting me now how much she appreciates me taking her out.

What a great expression of gratitude. And a great side effect, regardless of my mood prior to that moment, I get a smile on my face.

Gratitude. It does not have to be hard. It can actually be FUN.

Self Sabotage & Passive Aggression

Not Just Your Typical Post!

When I think of “passive aggressive behavior” I think of behaviors between two or more people. It can be a spoken or unspoken attempt to control another individual, with the purpose of affecting the outcome that is wanted or unwanted.

But what if it is possible to be passive aggressive towards ourselves? To try and manipulate ourselves in that same hostile and controlling way.

Consider those situations you want to do something and yet you do not do it. I am talking about things you really want. What I have found is that some or many of the things we want to do but do not do are the outcome of  unconscious resistance to ourselves. On the surface we say we want something and yet deeper down, in our unconscious we do not want to risk experiencing the thing or situation.

I can say I want a better paying job, a better relationship, to move to a new area, more clients, etc., but if I am afraid of the outcome, say rejection, I may not move forward to get those things in my life.

So on one hand we are telling ourselves we really want something and at the same time we are resisting and possibly passive aggressively flogging ourselves for not doing it. We have passive aggression interactions with others because we want or don’t want something. We can do the same thing to ourselves. The outcome: we create hurt and pain within ourselves (even if we are not aware of it)!

So what do we do about this passive aggressive behavior toward ourselves? Own it. And I don’t mean the own it in your head, I am talking about owning that we don’t want to do it at the head, heard and soul levels. This level of ownership opens the door to real change (and healing). Sit with your resistance as long as you need in order to fully feel it – not just think it. Own that you want this thing or situation but at the same time and perhaps even stronger you don’t want it (because of the possible outcome that may not be what we want it to be).

Once we fully own, at a heart level, that we are holding ourselves back – then we have taken the power back from our unconscious tendency toward passive aggressive resistance. Now we have a chance of stepping beyond our own passive aggressive resistance toward creating more of what you want in your life. Now we can consciously choose to do or not do something. Try it.

  1. Look at what “want” you have had for some time.
  2. Have you been putting it off, if so, look deeper for avoidance which is also a “don’t want”
  3. Stop & fully own that resistance and speak it out loud.
  4. Step forward and honor your want
  5. Now decide consciously if you still want this thing or situation and own that decision
  6. Now either let it go or decide what step you could take today, tomorrow or next week to get this want in your life.

Real Giving

Real giving of yourself takes heart and I would argue soul. It may look different for you than me, but it is there. For me,
writing. I really like to write once I get started. But what I have noticed is that when I write something that really means something to me takes energy and heart. And the more you can tap into those when you are giving – the better the giving. If I am going to “ship” as Seth Godin” says, and I want to ship something that has really value – it will probably be something that I wrote from my hear and soul.

Don’t just go through the motions in your job, marriage, relationship with your kids – put some heart into it. That is real giving.

Allowing Visualization to Work

Visualizing what we want in our life is a great step toward creating what we want. There is value in visualizing what we want.

The trick with visualization is to visualize and then get on with doing what it is that will bring that visualization into reality. Can visualization alone attract what you want into your life? Possibly. But I see a great deal more evidence of success by individuals adding other key ingredients to their visualization, like passion and action.

I have found that passion and action go a long way toward bringing about the future we want to experience. Visualizing a lot of money in the bank or the love of their life standing next to them, but then never taking the risk to get out there is naive to me.

Visualize and then get out there and passionately pursue your vision and allow your intuition to guide you along they way rather than your fear or want of control.

Joy & Satisfaction

Where are you putting your energy? Or are you? Is it flowing, impacting the world around you or blocked up and withdrawn. Which is more likely to create a life of joy and satisfaction?

What if you could choose when to stop and when to expand out? Of course the answer is you can – but do you?

Is there someone you want to call but continue to put off calling? An activity that is about expanding versus withdrawing, going unconscious?

Stop – Make the call. Spend 15 minutes really talking and connecting to your son, daughter, mother, father or friend. Stop and connect with you – feel your own heart. Connect with you and then connect with someone else.

Happy New Year to you.

Why Be Alone When You Can Be Together

It’s a festive time of year. Lots of energy and excitement. Gatherings. Celebrations. Travel. For many this time of year is packed full of activities, events and parties. For others it can be a quieter time, more alone or even feeling secluded.

My point to this post – I find being in relationship and spending time with people I want to be around can be very enjoyable and nourishing. Can you imagine relationships as being nourishing?

If you can, set an intention and make a commitment to connecting with others over the holidays.

If you can’t, why not take a chance and give it a try this month. Set an intention to spend time making a phone call, getting together for coffee, for dinner or for a hockey game.

The point is, go for connection this holiday with individuals you want to connect with. You will be giving to yourself and others at the same time.

‘Tis The Season…I Need a Drink!

Five Tips for Maintaining Your Sanity

Last year I introduced our then 8 and 10 year old daughters to Christmas Vacation. It was fun to see the look on their faces during all of those crazy antics. I still love that movie. So much drama which no one in the movie seems to escape unscathed.

One of my favorite parts is when the brother-in-law is standing out in front of the Griswold’s house in his robe, a beer in his hand, draining his sewage into the rain runoff drain with a huge smile on his face – the look of bliss! The look on the neighbor’s face was priceless!

Ok, most of us won’t experience this level of chaos during the holidays. And yet, with all the energy that can surround this time of year many of us will find ourselves considering some type of escape from reality (like grabbing a beer). So I want to share some tips I included in an article I wrote for the Boulder Center for Conscious Community (BC3) newsletter.

Speculating I am not alone in my experience of big feelings during the holidays…I have five tips to share with you in support of your self care during the holidays. Reminders to…

  1. Take time to envision with intention the experiences you want to create over the holiday season.
  2. Take time for self care; time out for yourself in the midst of busy schedules and celebration.
  3. Allow yourself to have and accept whatever feelings you are experiencing, to acknowledge them with tenderness and care.
  4. Create a space, a pause in the midst of high emotions (when we are triggered?) to feel and be present with your feelings before you respond or react.
  5. Hold all of your feelings as an experience, not good or bad, but feelings that are like passing clouds, letting them pass along with any stories that may be triggered.

Here is wishing you the best this season, whoever you are and wherever you are!

Relationships and a Rich Life

A mentor of mine once told me that I needed community. I had no clue what he was talking about. I might have even went as far as to say I don't need anyone. I once prided myself on my "I can go it alone", "I'll do it myself", "I don't need any help", etc. Somewhere along the line I developed the story that it was better to go it alone.

Not too long after my mentor suggested I needed community I learned what he meant. In the course of 6 months I started a new career and moved away from a community of friends that I had developed deep bonds. With so much change in my life and so little in the way of supportive relationships, I went from feeling like I could conquer anything to feeling practically helpless. I went from having rich connection and support in my life to feeling like I was swimming in the ocean alone.

There is power in connection, in relationships, in community. They ground us. Our relationships can support us powerfully when we are climbing to that next peak or falling down a slope.

Do you want to make something happen in the world, in your life – connect, develop and cultivate relationships and communities that support you, that enrich your life.

The relationships that made the most profound impact on my life where not always the most comfortable. I sought out individuals that I could respect and trust to see me clearly. I want people in my life that want the best for me and who care enough about me to hold the bar up when I am unable or unwilling to do so myself. Love comes in many forms, tender and strong.

Hiding in the Past

I grew up in a family of nine kids.With so many of us around it was easy to get lost in the shuffle. It was also easy to play it safe, taking on a less visible role and contracting more than I was expanding on what I was creating in my life. Knowing what I know now, looking back I see times when I was hungry for more: more attention, support, love, recognition, etc. As an unaware child I can see how this all makes sense, both the wanting more and getting what I got. I may have wanted more but did not have the wherewithal to create more.

For several years after high school I lived in this similar mindset. I did set goals and go for more in my life but still played it safe, hid out in the shadow of others so as not to take up too much space or appear overzealous or needy. Taking this approach I did move ahead toward my goals but I did it while starving for attention, love, recognition and so on. I was moving my life ahead in the direction I wanted to go and hurting inside as I did so.

Over time I came to see that life does not require us to live in the shadows, starving for more. No, that way of life is optional and whether we are conscious of it or not, it is a choice. I came to see that I could expand my life creating more of what I wanted, more love, support, recognition and attention for myself. As a kid I might have been under the misconception that there is a limited amount of those things available to me or that it was bad to want them. Now I see that life can expand to allow everyone to experience more and it is I that chooses to see them as good/bad or a natural and healthy part of life.

As kids we may not have been aware of what was possible. As adults we can choose our awareness of what is possible. Books, videos, individuals, professionals and websites abound which provide all the opportunity we need to expand our consciousness of what is possible. As adults, we can choose to continue living how we lived as kids or we can change both the way we experience life and the course of our lives as well.

Expressing Anger Assertively

Anger does not need to be aggressive or hostile. In fact, aggressive anger is more likely to create separation, division and pain. The assertive expression of anger on the other hand, holds the prospect of bringing people together, creating positive change and drawing healthy boundaries.

Not everyone will respond positively to either hostile or assertive anger. And we should not try to control others reactions. In fact, in expressing anger in any form we cannot hold onto a given outcome. When we need someone to respond in a specific way we are trying to manipulate or control them.

When we let others react without expectation we are more likely to stay clear as to what we want or don’t want. Staying clear allows us to dynamically work through the situation or make decisions that change the situation to create what we want or don’t want.

One approach to expressing assertive anger can look like this:

1. When this happened (action/inaction/behavior/)

2. I felt ….. (mad, sad, angry, excited, happy, tender)

3. Because… (the impact or effect of the action/inaction/behavior)

4. My judgment (or story) about the situation is…

5. What I want (or don’t want) is….

Notice in this approach the focus of attention is placed on behavior, impact and me (using I statements). People are more likely to get defensive when we make the situation about them personally.

As you take this type of approach to expressing anger you increase the odds you will create a healthy outcome for you and those involved.

I am designing a online 12 week training program that will support individuals in expressing and responding to anger in a constructive way. If you interested contact me at ted (at) pivotalgrowth.com.