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Monthly Archives: July 2013

That voice

It showed up at the most unexpected time.

Tennis shoes on, a Shaun T fitness program blaring in my living room while I begrudgingly bounce around to his commands and work my ass off (literally). There I heard it.

“You got this.”

Excuse me? Did my psyche just encourage me??

What the hell is happening here?!

I’m miserable. I’m sweaty. I feel zapped of every ounce of energy. From the heat outside, the horses that I ride. Everything. I’m over it. This is the last thing I want to be doing.

“You can do it, just finish it.”

It’s not the internal talk-track that I’m used to. It’s certainly not the one that I carried around with me for the last twenty some-odd years. It catches me so off guard that I can barely focus back on what I’m supposed to be doing (which, by the way, was some ridiculous spider-lunge-push-up-all-in-one move that felt more complicated than throwing together one of the double-tall, two-pump sugar-free vanilla extra-foamy soy lattes that I served for so many years).

Just where exactly did that encouraging voice come from?

And then it hits me. It came from over a year and a half of hard work. Not always perfect work. Not always perfectly regular work. But a dedicated, intentional practice. A 1.5 year practice of meditation.

Now for those of you reading who don’t know a lot about the topic, I’d first like to say calm down. It’s not nearly as hippy-dippy woo-woo as you think.

The easiest way I have to describe the practice and why you should care about it, is to consider the idea that your mind is much like a completely untrained, 8-week old puppy. How do I know that? By the fact that, for many of you reading this, you’ve probably never (or at least rarely) heard that inner voice of yours give you kind words of encouragement. Or at least you hear that kind of thing a lot less often than you would like. True story? Ok, then keep reading. And back to the puppy metaphor (sorry, kitten lovers).

This puppy brain of yours…it runs amok. It pisses and shits everywhere. At times it can be adorable. At times it can even be useful (ever try to pick up a member of the opposite sex? Grab a puppy. Congratulations, you’re a magnet!). But by and large, it’s completely out of control.

Meditation is about becoming aware of that, and changing that. Intentionally.

It’s about becoming increasingly more aware of this out of control puppy, and building your awareness and ability to recognize said puppy-monster.

And, just as importantly, it’s about training puppy-monster to behave like you want it to. To be more useful. To fetch the paper for you. To pick up your slippers for you. To clean up after itself (ok, maybe that last one was asking too much, but you get my point).

I may have had no idea what the hell I was doing for the last 1.5 years, but I did it as consistently as I could manage. I meditated, close to every day. At times I felt like a failure, and like I was doing it wrong. At times I felt like I wasn’t doing it nearly enough. But I felt like I was supposed to be doing it. Something about it still felt intrinsically right. So I kept going. I had no idea where this road was leading me, I just knew that my gut told me it was leading me somewhere good.

That somewhere was an idle Thursday evening, when I realized in a sweat-laden instant that all my training hours had paid off. They made a difference. They counted for something.

I may not have the next Lassie yet, or the next Canine Companions guide-dog, but I do have progress.

What has that voice been saying to you lately? Do you like what you hear?

If you don’t, then change it. I double-dog dare you.

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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Feeling inadequate about things that are not important

It’s the same as not being invited to the party that you don’t want to go to.

Why do we WASTE such precious ENERGY over these things??

This concept has come up for me a lot lately. A LOT.

Maybe it’s a product of my 20s. Maybe it’s just a product of life. But I have a feeling I’m not the only one who gets struck by these sentiments, or who wastes energy on these feelings.

It’s that feeling when you find yourself chasing something down, changing something about yourself, questioning something about yourself, or coveting something because somehow, intentionally or unintentionally, other people’s priorities and stack-ranked importances have rubbed off on you.

Suddenly, your wardrobe isn’t good enough and doesn’t have enough summer dresses, just because your best friend always looks like she walked straight off of the Jackie Kennedy catwalk. Forget the fact that summer dresses tend to look ridiculous on you, that you’re way more comfortable in shorts, and that all you happen to own are things in the less-than-runway-ready category. Suddenly her priorities, and subtle judgments of your style, have you wasting your energy on wishing you could update your wardrobe. Or, worse yet, have you spending your money on clothes you can’t afford that you’ll hardly wear because at the end of the day, they’re just not you.

It happens at work, too. Especially when you work on a team of seven other highly talented people who do exactly what you do. Only the job that you each do is not carved in stone, has no right answers, and a no one right way of doing anything. It’s a breeding ground for feeling inadequate. You hear about how someone did this or that, made this impact or that, and you think to yourself “Wow, why haven’t I done that?” which quickly turns into “What is wrong with me? I must suck!” Forget the fact that you’ve been rocking the job in your own unique ways, making headway and having a positive effect on the things that you deemed important to you – the things that play to your strengths, or the needs of your specific clients, or that you just plain have fun doing. Suddenly, someone else’s priorities and areas of success have you wasting your energy wishing you could be better at things you have no reason to focus on. Or, worse yet, have you feeling paralyzed and doubting yourself, your abilities, and what you ARE good at, even though at the end of the day, their strengths are just not yours.

It’s ridiculous.

It’s a wastee.

It’s a reality.

And the only thing I have working in my favor is awareness.

It doesn’t make it any easier to overcome these little thoughts and feelings that creep into my head. But it does give me a fighting chance.

And if you catch yourself thinking these things, you have a fighting chance, too.

So talk about it when it happens. Share it. Because it takes courage to overcome it. And when you share your story, you’ll not only help yourself overcome what is challenging you, but you’ll be helping someone else along the way.

Like when you tell me you own tales of how you’ve struggled with this concept, and you tell me the kinds of things that have helped you overcome feeling inadequate about things that are not important to you.

What’s worked for you? What’s helped you? What’s hurt you?

I’m listening.

 

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