Category Archives: Connecting

We Are All In This Together – Right? Right!

We’re In This Together

This has been a rallying cry for me since we stepped into Shelter-In-Place here in Montana and agreed to support the flattening of the curve. 

During this time period, though distant, I have felt close with various parts of the country, geographically scattered members of my family, friends and community as well as other countries around the globe facing this Pandemic.

At times it has been scary and for sure filled with uncertainty and questions.  It seems like each step of the journey has introduced new information, new elements that have tossed me into a cycle of change and transition.

However, the rallying cry, ‘we are in this together’ – kept me aligned strong and committed.

Now there is a new crack that has challenged my belief about being in this together.

Re-opening has started. 

This process of re-opening seems incredibly chaotic and disjointed.  I don’t see or feel the we are all in this together anymore!

Each state has is doing it’s own thing and there seems to be all sorts expert opinions that offer very differing perspectives on what is best or safest.

I believe here the biggest driver may economics and I get that this is a very serious concern.  Our economy is based on businesses small and large operating. People being able to spend and sell. 

There are also some mentions of why this may even be a healthy choice – though much like alternative medicine when it comes to health issues – these ideas are not the standard nor considered evidence-based.

The problem – we don’t have a great deal of evidence around a Pandemic and may be not enough data collected to know this virus.

So it’s all a bit of guess work.

Blown Away: AKA My oh Sh%T Moment!

Seriously this so reminds me of the day I discovered the treatment for my cancer wasn’t working. My doctor and medical team, informed me they didn’t have other options. I probably had 3 to 6 months to live. 

I was blown AWAY.  I was certain that as experts and leaders they were going to get me through this health crisis. In that moment, I got that was not the case. I discovered that really my medical team at that point was in it with me if I understood and traveled the road where I believed I was most certainly dying.

Oddly I as I moved out beyond the medical model I discovered many other ‘experts’ with differing strategies to offer me.  Some of which were possibly going to prolong my current life expectations. 

This is when the conflict really surfaced! 

These experts were not very friendly and did not agree. I did not experience being in this together! The next few years of my journey around my health were riddled with uncertainty and conflict. 

I did call my various ‘experts’, my team.  However, I would not say we were cohesive. I discovered some of these experts were very helpful in encouraging me to pull the diverse expertise and wisdom into my decision-making.  These ‘experts’ also provided me a language and a way to tap into my own resources and make simple decisions out of complex data and differing perspectives that supported me day-to-day in living my full life – not just a cancer storyline.

I am very grateful for those people.

I am so grateful that I rode the wave of conflict and uncertainty. That I stayed curious and as a result I think creative.

Back To Today

I am looking back now, thinking this is again a time to rally around diverse perspectives, conflict and find ways to make simple decisions that support my life, my family, my business and my community moving forward.

A want the rally cry to be we are in this together – however, I can only find that ground when I am willing to embrace the conflict.  Not make those different wrong but try to find the threads that can weave the fabric together.

I do believe it is possible.  I have seen, felt and lived through this type of crisis.  I want to be a lighthouse that shines a beacon for that possibility.  I am here and I am still with you – even if our navigational feedback is presenting a different path. Even in the uncharted and and potentially dangerous terrain each person, business, state and country is taking, I do still believe we are in this together!

Last Chance – Don’t Wait

There is so much good happening in my world. Our book launch experience has been quite exciting and fulfilling as our book is finding it’s words spreading out into the world.

Between the pages sold and the various podcast traveling out on the airwaves, I do think we are doing what we wanted – spreading a message that supports people have more honest, real and intimate (in-to-me-see) conversations.

All of our focus has been on the launch. I had a belief that as we launched the book, we’d also be able to get people intrigued and signing up to work in-person with us. Thus the decision to schedule and launch Couples Mojo at Apache Springs in AZ – October 25-28, 2019.

Today I am faced with the reality that even with all the good things happening – what isn’t happening is rush of couples signing up for our program.

It’s down to the wire and it is looking like we will have to cancel. Who wants to throw those words out on Facebook and into the world of social media.

I am wondering if this level of transparency and honesty is good for our marketing effort.

However, I don’t want to cancel until I have done all that I can. I think Couples Mojo is an amazing opportunity. One because I know what we bring to a Couples program.
I also know that adding and including the horses is going to be awesome.

Apache Springs Ranch is a gorgeous, luxurious retreat center that will nurture the soul, provide a safe and beautiful space for doing this most important work.

I don’t want to cancel. Not without one this last honest effort.

Maybe you have been thinking about it and just haven’t hit register.
Maybe you figure this will just happen another time so not rushing to commit.
Maybe you aren’t sure if have the time – or the money and are waiting for a sign it’s worth it.

Let me just say – don’t wait.

Big Sign here:

    YOU are Worth it and so is YOUR Relationship!

There have been times when I have thought:
• I don’t have time.
• I don’t have the money.
• This will come again and maybe it will be easier or a better time.

However, I know when it comes to ME and our WE – meaning my aliveness and health and our relationship passion, aliveness and connection – I don’t wait – I jump in and that investment has ALWAYS been worth – both for me and for us.

So let me know if you are close to committing. I am happy to talk to you about it – to you and your partner! But don’t wait.

Do it today.
This is the last chance.

Learning From Wild Mustangs

Going to the Wild Mustangs

I am heading off to work with the Mustangs. I find myself excited and curious.
The stories I have heard from earlier classes create some uncertainty. Yet as I reflect on my intention I find I settle.

I am NOT heading into this to tame a mustang.
I am NOT seeking to become a horse whisperer.

I AM seeking to discover how I can settle inside myself.
Let go of my attachment to outcomes without letting go of imagining and dreaming.

I am far less concerned about taming a wild mustang,
Than discovering how to quiet my mind.

I imagine I will judge myself.
I imagine I will frighten myself.
I imagine I will challenge myself.

I want to discover how to read the cues and signals
Without getting loud.
I want to connect without reservations,
Knowing my safety comes from within,
Knowing I can listen and hear the music.
I can step back and observe.
I can be held.

Yes, these are some of my desires.
I want to connect,
But more so invite.
I want to feel the vibration,
Mine and that of others.

I want to learn lessons from the masters.

Returning from Learning from the Wild Mustangs

So I wrote the intentions above on my way to the workshop. Now coming home I look back and smile. I have a felt sense of having reached for and lived my intentions fully!

I was willing to step into vulnerability and notice when a wave of reaction or separation rose to the surface. I didn’t flinch or run, but dropped in and felt. I worked to share, as best I could, through the awkwardness of my words, my message.

I noticed the moments when that message was received or responded too with something different in return. I didn’t lose myself in the feedback. I listened. I received. I remained sane and open to what did fit and what didn’t.

This lesson came through so clearly from Petey, the most wild one. He was the mustang that presented with what seemed to be deeply held patterns of fear and uncertainty. He was the one that presented with the greatest resistance to touch or connection. He’d nip or bite at his dearest companion, the one who knew him best, Max. He’d tuck down and move rapidly to avoid our hands. When touched he’d come out bucking and kicking. Yet with a break and time to release the fear and anxiety, he’d turn and follow Max back in for more.

Finally, he discovered the comfort of touch and relaxed. Until the next morning and the waves of his uncertainty came again. Only this time not quite as strongly or for as long.

In so many ways his willingness and curiosity was inspiring. I found myself more willing to trust and open. Knowing that there was nothing to be fixed or that I had to do right but that I could keep working at my pace. Some would not understand why some lessons didn’t stick – but some would and more importantly I would, showing compassion and kindness for myself, staying vulnerable.

Petey taught me to be okay in just showing up. Far from perfect. Not right. Real.

Max, on the other hand, was one of those beings who stepped into the moment and with each new door opening, stepped in. I imagine he will find his person and forever home first. That relationship is likely to come more rapidly and easily. Yet, his journey was not less filled with trauma. He simply let go with more grace and ease.

I have often longed to be like Max. Yet I found my mirror in Petey. Trust still does not come easy. However, trust does come. I believe Petey will also find a home, though it is not a given. That is part of the work, getting these wild mustangs to a place where they can find a home and continue this work of building relationships. This does require someone who is able to keep the training going. I hope it will someone with the heart and patience of trainers like Koelle and Kasia. I do believe he will be okay. He has a willingness to show up and someone will see that potential even through the waves of resistance, fear and uncertainty.

One night, I had a dream I was riding Petey. The dream was so vivd and real. I could feel the quiver, the power and the wild heart and spirit. I also felt my own heart beating in return.

We all have our journey. Some are more turbulent than others. My greater goal is to live with an open-heart – that may indeed be a cracked open heart – I’ll take the scars and I’ll relish when the light shines through. Just like Petey.

Writing My Way into 2018!!!

I can hardly believe it is now 2018!

I had great plans for reviewing, reflecting and sharing some of my highs and lows from 2017.  But snow fall (lots of snow fall), fun and the holiday spirit pulled me away from my computer and out into Whitefish with family, friends and complete strangers enjoying powder and chair lift lines on the mountain!!

My plan was to either skin up the mountain to ring in 2018, or cross country ski, to put in my first 2018 workout.

I went to the Glacier Nordic Ski Hut to rent my cross-country skis.  I stepped into the small hut with at least 10 others waiting to get geared up.  I heard, “Well, we’re out of most of the women’s boots.” Frustrated, I stepped back out of the hut.  It wasn’t going to be X-Country skiing for me this New Year’s Day!

I didn’t bring my downhill ski pass, nor had I put my skins (traction material you put on the bottom of your skis to climb UP the mountain) in the car.  My big first 2018 workout wasn’t happening! So I headed home.

I opened my computer and decided I was going to write my way into 2018.

In many ways it was perfect.

I always imagine myself as being the great outdoor Montana woman: fit, toned, and ready to ski through the trees, skin up the mountain, or go horseback riding through the snow.  But really, I’m not that Montana woman.

Yes. I ski, mostly the groomed trails and in the powder, when we get snow storms like we have this past week.

Yes. I can skin up the mountain, but I am much more of a ride the chairlift up gal these days.

Yes. I love my riding lessons but galloping through the snow isn’t happening anytime soon. I’m working on trotting in the arena right now.

So it was perfect that I wasn’t able to ski the trails or skin the mountain to kick-off the new year.

Instead, I sat down to write.  Though I dream of being that uberfit, physical Montana woman, at my core, I’m closer to myself and my heartbeats when I am writing than when I am working out.

Don’t get me wrong. I plan to ski, skin, and go horse back riding on Bella (or Floyd) out in the snow at some point.  But writing is truly the path where I get to know myself.

It’s not that easy to admit, but maybe this is the year when I don’t have to prove myself physically. Maybe this year I simply get to enjoy who I have become.

I like that I’ll go ski or skin the mountain to meet people and not be concerned about struggling to keep up.  I get to just enjoy the workout and not be afraid to be the last one up.

And about that horseback riding…

The truth is I have more fun with the horses when I’m in round pen on the ground working with someone on their relationship issues than I do riding horses.  I’ll continue to work on my riding because that too is relationship building.  But my real heartbeats come from introducing more people to the amazing mirrors and heart-openers horses can be when we aren’t so focused on them but letting them mirror us!

So yes, it’s perfect I am writing my way into 2018. I think my writing is what will be most vital for me this year.

I’m already published author, which has been on my bucket list for many, many years!  I’m so proud of our book, The Beauty of Conflict out into the world Oct 31st!

Now, that means it’s time to deliver my more personal story, Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep.  Not necessarily to be published (Oh, my that feels like too much pressure!) but simply to be completed. It’s all there just waiting for me to pull the pieces together.

It is time to stop running away from myself and settle into the wonderful woman I am; to let my inner light shine.

Indeed, there are no accidents that I couldn’t ski, skin, or ride into 2018. No. This year is about writing!

I believe it has been my writing that has helped me become self-responsible, relational and build connections and community over the years.  Not my athletics or my exercise.

I may have wished athletics was my way, but in truth it’s not my legs or my muscles that make be great. It’s my heart and vulnerability that provide and reveal the best of me and that usually comes through when I am writing or working with horses!

Take care,

Susan

P.S. My 2018 word for the year is COMMUNITY.  It does seem perfect that writing is the way to ring in the year!

 

Things Are A Little Bit Crazy

Just a couple weeks ago,  I woke to a haze of smoke that blanketed my town of Whitefish.  For weeks we have been hearing about fires – to the south of us – to the north of us.  Yes, we have had days of smokey skies and very poor air quality. Then, suddenly everything started moving closer.  Parts of Glacier National Park and Lake MacDonald Lodge were be evacuated! That’s close!

Next our little town and Flathead Valley faced a school closure due to the threat of an attack on people’s children.  Apparently due to a cyberattack of some sort that resulted and parents and children getting very graphic and threatening messages.  After three days of school closures, games and events being canceled there still isn’t certainty as to where the threat was coming from.

This is just what has been happening in Whitefish – I haven’t even mentioned reading the national news headlines!

Damn – I say – this is crazy!!  Floods, hurricanes – fires and mother earth’s fury – plus crazy stuff like cyberattacks, white supremest and a President who regularly sends out insane tweets, talks smack and threats at the UN, really?!

What is happening?  Chaos and what can seem like a definite message to stop, pause and ….. wait for it…

PLAY!

Yes, I bet you didn’t think that was coming.

But really – I wonder if a little more play, joy and pleasure wouldn’t be the best remedy for us all.

I get it.  Life as we know it is spooking us!

We could wrestle with the reality or not – of climate change.  We could fight about healthcare, building walls or disarming North Korea.  But really wrestling with any one of these big issues s with the intent to determine right and wrong – seems like it just ain’t working.

Don’t get me wrong – I believe in climate change.  I think we owe Mother Earth a major shift in our attitude and actions, but I’m not into proving that point.  I will recycle.  Ride my bike when I can. I participate and vote for measures that support recycling, science and alternative energy!

I also don’t intend to stop speaking up when I think someone is being a bully – making statements that seem cruel, mean or frankly racist, sexist or just ignorant!  But I am not interested in fighting about it.

Instead, I think our best path is to play.

Over and over in nature, there are signs that when under attack – especially a vicious attack – the best answer is to engage in play.

Stuart Brown did a Ted Talk on this very message.  One piece was a video clip of a hungry polar bear coming for lunch where there were sled dog huskies chained up.  Those huskies knew they were going to be the polar bear’s lunch, but what happened instead was amazing. One female husky did a classic play bow and the polar bear’s whole being shifted.  Instead of a meal the two had a play date!  Now the polar bear makes an annual trip to play with the pups!

I know, when you are feeling under attack or you are facing threat and fear – the last thing that comes naturally is to rollover and play.

But maybe we need to get back in touch with our joy, our innocence and remember play can be just as important and life changing as any work, spiritual seeking or political activism.

What can you do to add a little play and joy to your day?  How can you invite and encourage others to join in!

Don’t leave you work behind just add more play into your day and notice the results.  Let me know how it goes!

P.S. Need some help playing, give me a call. I’m happy to help.

 

 

 

Finding My Joy Through Horse Play!

Horses really are a joy to work with and amazing teachers!

I know I say that a lot.  I also share stories, pictures and videos of the fun we are having here in Montana with the horses.

However, I am not sure I have done the best job sharing with you just why I think this work is so rich, valuable and worthy of your time, money and energy.

There are lots of ways you can learn, grow and transform.

I, myself have tried many paths:

  • Create an crisis and have to change – be it health, money or relationship related.
  • Decide to get a honest 360 round of feedback (or have to get one) – from working colleagues, friends and family
  • Attend a personal or professional training programs like those offered at The Haven – Living Alive Phase, Come Alive, Couples Alive or a program like Passionate Ease.  (just to name a few favorites of all time) 

Of these paths I have taken, all bought about significant, deep, valuable transformational growth in my life.  Some of them I have done or would do over and over again.  Other paths (like the crisis route), I’d prefer to say one and done. (Although I think I have done that 4 or more times – at least). 

Even the ones I do over – like Couples Alive, Come Alive  or Passionate Ease – are in some ways a conscious effort and some hard work on my part to stay and and really show up.  I don’t regret the effort or the work and the reward is worth it – but it’s hard!

Here’s the thing for me about a workshop or an intensive experience around horses – it’s not hard!

Even when I was terrified of being around them – which was the case when I started in my training.  I definitely drop my armor faster, open my heart and feel joy more than pain in every experience I have.  Even when the lessons were HARD ones.

So what have been some of the lessons I have learned or witnessed others learning from the horses:

  • Boundaries and boundarying – how important it is to be able to show up and be clear in self-defining.  Dealing with push back and staying in.  (Of course a 1500 pound horse is great in teaching that! )
  • What it means to be embodied and not just a walking, talking head.  Yes – there lots of programs about embodiment – but horses live it every moment and they love to provide you feedback when you are thinking too much!!!  ( a little nudge or they simply aren’t inclined to play!) 
  • The joy that can come from another living, breathing being holding a space for you – wanting you to be present and being okay with whatever you show up with as long as you are congruent!
  • The importance of play and sometimes just moving, dancing and finding your jig. (May be I should have said this one first!)

These are just some of the lessons I see that are a regular part of Equus coaching sessions.

All this feedback and interaction occurs and it’s offered in an amazingly warm and nonjudgmental way.

Horses are not story makers.  They come into the moment with each session waiting to see who and what shows up and working to create a relationship that ensures they stay safe and have some fun.

Horses enjoy the sessions and like moving and participating.  Some maybe more so than others and when that isn’t their thing they are usually quite clear in letting you know.

I know I will keep going to programs like Passionate Ease and Haven’s offerings – indeed I’ll enjoy my time in the circle and connecting people.

However, I do want to spend more time with the horses.  I encourage you to try it as well.

Besides discovering the joy in playing with the horses, if you come to Montana you will get an amazing experience – beautiful place, great people and CrisMarie and I bring all the other aspects of what we’ve learned to help you get the most of your lessons from the horses.

Intrigued?

Curious?

Want to experience more joy in your own transformational journey!

Come play with the horses!

Are you local? – Well join us for one of our Come PLay With The Horses Events – here’s the latest link – Come Play With The Horses August 12

Our Un-United States

Enjoying a bit of downtime after two very full weeks up at Haven.  In just a couples days we’ll be celebrating the 4th of July here in the USA.  I have noticed a number of postings related to how hard this 4th of July will be as we here in the United States seem riddled with uncertainty and divide.

I have to say, I totally get how there is a bit of a challenge in how to best celebrate our country’s freedom with so much devision constantly making the headlines.

I find myself wrestling with my frustration with our current President and what seems like daily headlines demonstrating the irreconcilable differences between decision-making parties and elected officials.

Indeed at times it is heartbreaking to read stories of people’s lives impacted by decisions being made often based on a desire to just overturn policies made by the previous administration. Or creating new policies out of fear or threat.  It seems as though our politicians have lost the connection to the people and the impact of these sweeping changes.

It’s also hard to read almost daily about another shooting involving someone opening gunfire in a public place.

Yes, our country currently seems very wobbly and quite divided.  Not much to celebrate in terms of a United States.

Yet somehow I find myself wanting to connect.  To share why I do love this country inspite of the politics and the current direction.

Deep down I do believe in the people.  Even the people who think very differently than me!

I have sat in circles at The Haven where people from very different lives have found pathways for bridging differences and creating relationships that last through pain, sorrow, anger and joy.

I have worked with leaders and teams where the anger and the frustration was creating division and with support, these teams dive into the mess and new possibilities emerge.

It’s the work I love.  Not avoiding the messy but owning it and working through to new possibilities.  However, those new possibilities won’t come without embracing  both our shadow and our light!

What I’d like to do for this 4th of July is identify and share what I do love about this country and what I find difficult.

I love that I live in Montana – it’s beautiful and somehow even with our differences, people come together here to support each other when there’s a call for help.

I love that even with some horrible political stuff happening – communities across the country are gathering and standing forward together.

What I find difficult.  The current political fighting between the right and the left.  The rising levels of violence and the fact that it is hard to sit and talk about our differences.

I imagine I’ll have more to reflect on in terms of my answers over the next couple days.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear from any of you celebrating this 4th of July – what do you love about this country and what are you finding difficult!  (to my Canadian friends feel free to join in since you just had your big 150 – what do you love about Canada and what’s do you find difficult)

That I can even put this out as a question and almost guarantee I will get some very different types of responses is another reason I do love this country.

I think the 4th isn’t just a time to celebrate what’s beautiful but to also celebrate and reflect on the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.

I do think that is the only path to re-uniting us!

My Fear of Fat

Just recently I stepped onto the scale and discovered that I had gained five pounds. Now I knew it had been a while and that I had been allowing myself some space to enjoy the Flathead Valley’s craft beers and various Whitefish food fare.

I was also skiing regularly, walking or running with my dog Rosie and was diligent with my home yoga routine. As I digested the new number on the scale, I reminded myself that muscle weighs more than fat. Therefore, I didn’t need to panic.

But within a short period of time, panic was in full pursuit, screaming a need to fast immediately. I was ready to apply whatever sum of cash was required to get into a 10-day cleanse, juicing experience, or something that would deal with my surfacing FEAR of FAT!

To distract myself, I turned to social media. As if in answer to my needs, what should appear on my newsfeed but an Ad with an incredibly buff woman in a fitness bra, tights, and doing a move that required great strength and flexibility. What was loudest for me was her rock-solid abs and perfect dimensions. Right there on the Ad was the statement: The 10-day yoga program that will make you look like this!!

You may be thinking I signed up. But no – I blew up! I went into a full-on rage. Bullshit! Her body was not the result of any damn 10-day program!

I really, really hate that type of Ad campaign. It’s possible that with her genes and diet, at some point, she did ten days of intense yoga that shaped her into something even better than she already was. She may even believe her yoga routine maintains her excellent balance between muscle mass and flexibility. Well, let’s not forget her perfect bone structure, great hair and flawless young skin. But I can tell you one thing for sure: no 10-day program – be it yoga, fat camp, fitness boot camp – is going to transform my genes, scars, wrinkles and body into that!

The idea that Facebook decided this advertisement was best for me pissed me off! However, this Facebook Ad did knock some sense into me. I didn’t make any radical decisions based on my Facebook feed or my visit to the scale. Nor did I rant and fire off hate mail to that perfect looking yogini.

Instead, I decided it’s time to face my FEAR of FAT! Not run. Not stop eating. Not do a new intense exercise program. But stop and face my fear.

What you need to know is I was a fat kid. Since the age of 11, I started putting on weight, and can honestly say, with a touch of flush as I write these words, that I weighed more between the ages of 12 to 14 than I ever weighed as an adult.

Not only did I have weight issues, I did nothing to improve my looks. In fact, related to clothing, hair or make-up, I went the other way. I dressed more like a boy than a girl. My shoulder-length hair was either scrappy and full of tangles or cut short like I was wearing a soup bowl on my head. You could’ve read the invisible sign on my forehead that shouted: “Stay the f*ck away from me!”

I know now that kid had a whole bunch of reasons for getting fat, keeping everyone away and doing her damnedest to project “Don’t mess with me!” But I also know that young girl cared very deeply and had simply given up on humans.

Food was something that was comforting and relatively safe. Being called fat was simply a cost factor for a very reliable line of defense: fat, ugly and untouchable.

Then I discovered sports. I was a pretty good athlete – a fat one but a good one. I could play a mean game of tennis, and when I decided to make sports my new refuge – hockey and basketball became favorites. I wasn’t great, but I was determined, and underneath all that fat was some rock-solid coordination and tenacity.

Sports became my lifeline to human contact.

I soon discovered I could, with enough running and working out, stop the rising scales. I found a way to protect and guard myself that did not involve being fat! Exercise replaced food as a way to get far, far away from my fears, my terror and my demons, which made it critical to not get to close to people!

However, back to our perfect yogini. Even at the pinnacle of my athletic career, which involved playing three sports and practicing four to five hours a day, I never ever looked anything close to her – NEVER!

With all my exercise, I ran myself smack into the hospital in my early 20’s. I hadn’t noticed I had lost almost 60 pounds, which tells you about my relationship with my body. At 5’6” I was just under 100 pounds.

You might be thinking, eating disorder, and there’s some truth to that. But the real factor of my weight loss was cancer. Yes, the fight to not feel my fear, my terror and my demons had run its course. There’s a lot more to the cancer story but that’s a book, not an article on my FEAR of FAT.

Let me just say, in losing all that weight and even being very, very ill, I started to get lots of attention. Men suddenly found me attractive. I was boney and skinny and wearing a size 6. I was a piece of nothing, but there’s something about any woman that slender that attracts a certain response from men. I had never had that type of attention!

Sure, the dying of cancer wasn’t so great – but skinny – well, there was something about that I liked.

Seven years later, after a clean bill of health from cancer, I realized I had a new problem.

I was terrified of going back to FAT! This new problem has now been going on for the better part of twenty-five years. I don’t talk much about it. It’s not like cancer. It’s not the thing friends want to support you in facing. It’s a bit like mental illness, which I could write about too, but I’ll stick to fat.

When I saw the perfect yogini Facebook Ad, my rage exploded. I let myself feel fully. The rage turned into a deep grief and I wailed.

Then I realized my fear of fat would never be resolved by being thin.

Being fat was not the problem. I’m not ugly, and I am not even fat. I do, though, have trouble feeling fully. I don’t particularly like crying or feeling deep grief. Yet, life, and being in relationship with people and this world, does offer a lot to feel deeply about, and it is not all happy and positive!

I won’t be going on any radical diets or fasting for now, nor will I go on a Facebook fast. I just need to be kinder to myself and maybe stop running and exercising so much to the point of not noticing when my body, heart, or spirit needs some attention.

I simply need to feel deeply.

My fear of fat is not over. But I am much more committed to turning towards the fear and facing it rather than running to get further and further away from myself and my feelings.

FINDING THE FIELD BY RIDING THE WAVES

IMG_0621I wish I could say I was busy fighting for what’s right, taking a stand or working towards something that would somehow make a difference in what seems to be our country’s current trajectory.

I read the news and I am upset by what seems like a surreal demonstration of either a dictator in the making or a immature boy trying to puff-up and run the government. What is even odder to me than watching this wild display of immaturity and bullying is seeing others go right along with it – support it – and ignore the very people who our government is designed to represent.

Oddly though I am not compelled to protest, march or actively rage against the unfolding political path.

Why?

I am not sure but something in me just doesn’t think that is a solution that will work. I notice I find much more possibility and encouragement through engaging in diverse groups of people working towards creating a path forward in their community, organization or family.

I find myself listening more and discovering that there is a very deep level of discontent that has now surfaced through this election process and is even louder now that the administration has changed hands.

I have believed for a long time that there isn’t such a thing as righting a wrong done. It’s just not that simple. The very nature of the statement suggest that there is a right or a wrong – a black or a white. This, I think, is the biggest pain point of being human – polarization.

We keep trying to figure it out. To right wrongs or fix the problem. Oddly though that effort just doesn’t make the gap between you and me smaller or any less of a gap. I can not fix what I may have done to you. You can not fix what you may have ever done to me.

I can find peace but oddly that does not come from the outside. It comes from within – when I get beyond my own right/wrong thinking.

I don’t want to sound too Rumi-like here though I love that poem – beyond right and wrong – there is a field – I will meet you there.

I know that field is out there. I also know I live in this very human experience that is you, me and other.

Both things are true – we are one – there is not an other – and yet there is.

The paradox, the pain and yes, the pleasure of that very human dilemma is always present.

So though I don’t know that there are really victims and perpetrators – I do need to own that I am both if indeed there are and not simply try to rise above that agony – but tolerate the pain of being one or the other and both!

That’s really the only path through this current trajectory for me.

I can’t make Trump wrong. Because his very transparent display of child-like narcissism is simply a huge projection of my own narcissistic qualities.

I don’t like what I see and I really would like to rage against what seems like a mad man – but all that I keep hearing is that mad man is me.
Find my own intolerance and work with it.
Be in my world and listen, engage with my neighbor.

When I hear what I judge to be prejudice or bullying – speak up.
Not necessarily to say – “you are wrong”.
But to say – I don’t like that and stand along side with as much compassion and curiosity as I have to offer myself or another – instead of right or wrong.
That journey for me is much harder than fighting a monster on the front page or in a White House.

I know that isn’t the journey for everyone. Some are called to speak out and play on much larger stages.

It will take all kinds to somehow ride this wave.

But I am convinced building a platform of any type of righteousness isn’t going to work. Being ‘right’ isn’t going to get rid of ‘wrong’.
Frankly in my righteousness I believe I may just be making the wave bigger!

It’s time to ride the wave (s) – on a surf board, in boats, maybe a yacht or bigger vessel should you be so inclined or able. But don’t put down an anchor – not yet – stay open – listen and see those riding around you – see the water – not the difference between your boat or mine.

May be we’ll get through this. May be we won’t.

I want to believe we can make and we can do this together – let’s work to get to that field out there beyond right/wrong.

Hold Your Fire, Please

My chest aches. I’m not finding much comfort in my furious friends who are ready to fight back. Which is odd because generally I’m the first person to fight for the underdog.

But as I listen to the anger, projected on the people who didn’t vote, the people who did but voted for Trump, I don’t feel good. I feel icky.

When I watch the American flag being burned by people in one of our ally countries – I feel sad.

I want to write my international friends be they in Canada, UK or Mexico and ask that they hold their fire, please.

Yes, we are a country in deep conflict right now. The full extend of the division of our united people is easily seen through the election where Trump won as a self-proclaimed racist, xenophobic, sexist white male by getting the electoral vote. However, Hillary won the majority vote of the people. One a neo-nationalist, Trump and one a neo-liberalist, Hillary.

I like Hillary. Where I may have failed my neighbor is not going below the vicious hate I saw being directed at her. I didn’t like the delivery and so just dismissed it without speaking up.

With Trump, I haven’t been able to get beyond the vile presentation – the bullying, child-like behavior whenever there’s negative feedback and a general lack of respect for the job is being asked to take on, the Presidency of the United States.

As a result, I did not hear the real pain of half of my country.
That’s on me.

I am getting an understanding of it now. There are people who sit in the middle of our country who don’t believe their opinions and views are being heard. They believe government is focused on programs for people other than themselves, and they are being asked to pay for those programs when frankly, they are not making enough money to do it.

There are people who carry guns and use them well and don’t want gun controls that will infringe upon their rights to responsibly bare arms.

There are people who live on the border of Mexico that have had to face and deal with challenges due to illegal immigrants, and worry that if they say anything they’ll be called a racist.

I think white men and yes, some white women, feel threatened by being told they’re privileged. These people are told to shut up, it’s no longer your turn and they just don’t understand the impact of their so-called privilege.

These are just some of the issues I think Trump spoke to and as a result this LARGE group of people felt heard.

Do I agree? Well, that is not the important point.
The real question for me to be asking is, “Did I even listen?” and “Will I listen now?”

We all want to be heard. Often we can live without getting our way if we believe someone has truly heard us and considered our point of view with real interest and regard.

I am not sure I have done that to those people, which is why my heart aches.

Because now I will be living with a President that did listen. I’m not really sure I believe he has good intent for those that he stirred up, but he did listen and did it better than most of us.

So for all my desire for equality and freedom for all – I failed.

I don’t want to keep failing. I also don’t want to see us lose the ground we have gained because we have made progress. I will still speak up to racism. I will speak up to sexism.

But I want you to know, if you don’t realize already, that racism, sexism is within each of us. It’s not relegated to privileged, the rednecks, or Trump.

In my opinion, we’ve got to start really listening to each other and not just fighting back and continuing the cycle of winning and fighting again.

Yes, be angry and find ways to express that anger responsibly and then get back up and relate to each other! Because “We The People” are ALL people – not just the ones who agree with me and even those people who hate me because of who I am. I know that is painful.

I’m not great at listening without defending myself especially when someone is attacking. It is hard to stay open and be curious. However, I can’t just keep saying my own point over and over again. Or run the people I hate out of town.

Frankly, I think the only way to break out of this hell we are now in is to actually try to listen. Not to the press, not to the media but to my neighbor, your neighbor who very well might have voted for Trump.