Archive | April, 2012

The DownLow on the D-Lo: Her Life as a Magic Bullet

28 Apr

D-Lo recently underwent a renovation- a spiritual revival of sorts. Imagine your good friend, the navigation lady, in her helpful tone saying, “Recalculating..” D-Lo has been recalculating, though not consciously, for quite a while.

Last month she was hit by a renovation revelation. She could see more clearly that what she had been working toward for so long was no longer necessarily what she was interested in. The direction she was driving was leading to a destination of disinterest. It was time to make a change, she thought, but what do you do when  you’ve done the same thing for so long? What if there is no road except the same one you’ve been on to take you in another direction?

Even though she knew that her current direction didn’t feel right, she had no idea what direction actually would. Now that’s some angst. How often have we asked ourselves the same questions? “Now what?” or “How do I know what to do?” Maybe we’re trying too hard to have the answer. Maybe not knowing the answer is exactly where we’re supposed to be because in that space of uncertainly is where it will be revealed.  The discomfort has to be there in order for us to become more observant and open to discovery and exploration.

In fact, research demonstrates greater well-being among individuals who can effectively restructure their goals. In a recent study conducted at Concordia University, breast cancer survivors showed significantly greater life adjustment, increased physical activity, and fewer physical symptoms as a result of goal redirection.

“By engaging in new goals a person can reduce the distress that arises from the desire to attain the unattainable, while continuing to derive a sense of purpose in life by finding other pursuits of value,” says Wrosch, one of the study authors.

“Abandoning old goals allows someone to invest sufficient time and energy in effectively addressing their new realities.”

D-Lo has been experiencing her new reality, the space, as boredom. “I’ve been bored…” She told me. “I feel listless.” She described how she has been searching for things to throw her energy into and she ends up landing on situations that she realizes aren’t at all what she knows she wants to change. Not bored– uncertain. She’s reaching, grasping, clawing for assurance. And she realizes it.

D-Lo is one of the most empowering women I know. Her life’s mission is to show young girls how capable they are and help them to find their inner drive and spirit to be the best they can be. She’s unbelievably inspiring. Ironic that she is now having to dig in and restructure, recalculate, and redefine who she is in the same manner as she asks many of her mentees.  Her tweet to me this morning said, “It’s time to shake up my life and be mmmeeeeeeeee!” (If you’re counting, there should be 9  “E”s).

D-Lo has made a decision to get lost. She’ll be recalculating quite a bit now, but she’s embracing it. She’ll set new goals, stick with some, give up others, and through each experience practice being true to herself. She’s creating her life as a Magic Bullet!  She’s popping the lid off; throwing in a variety of colors, tastes, and textures; and she’s ready to push the button to blend it all together. No doubt she’ll concoct some combos that are hard to swallow. Others will be smooth, creamy, and leave her yearning for more. But each one will be a stepping stone to an amazing D-Lo Supreme.

D-Lo, thank you for allowing me the pleasure of  knowing you, a woman of substance. I’m in the blender of life with you.

Self-Sabotage?

26 Apr

Sometimes words are misleading. Why would I want to sabotage myself? Consciously.

“Don’t do that, Kori.You’ve thrown everything you have…all your energy…so much effort…time…into accomplishing this goal. You should probably step on your own feet now, get in your own way, and make the journey a lot more difficult.”

Yeah, I hear myself saying this all the time.

Are you kidding me? What the heck?

Yet we fall, we crumble, and we do things sometimes that aren’t congruent with what we’ve said we want. But can we really call it self-sabotage?

We get comfortable and used to behaving and thinking in certain ways and in specific patterns. Think of your drive into work today– do you remember it? Unless you had to brake hard because you almost hit a deer,  you were probably on auto pilot. You’ve driven the same route so many times, the drive doesn’t resonate for you.

Ever notice the order in which you take a shower? I didn’t notice until I felt like I had missed something and realized that I forgot to condition my hair. Usually I do it immediately after I wash it, then I soap up and allow the conditioner to soak in, then I rinse my hair. When I went to rinse it this time though, there was no conditioner. What a weird feeling!

On the flip side of automaticity and how it can impact our behavior, there is also fear.  It too may  not be conscious, but it influences our actions and what we decide to do or not do.  I received an email recently that touches on fear:

” …I am scared to go farther, take it to the next level, what if I DO do this, and what if I AM good at this, and what if I DO achieve?  Why would I be afraid of that? Because it’s uncharted ground?  Because I’ve settled in the past and that is what is easy?”

First, those are all great questions to ponder. What is the next level, and what would change as a result of reaching it? If the changes are perceived as scary, yep, you might be afraid.

And yep, as human beings many of us are not too comfortable with the unknown, uncharted territory. We don’t like feeling lost, meandering without a map (see previous blog!).

But settling? Then we’re just stuck. We can meander and explore and find. Or we can settle and sit and die. Dramatic? I don’t think so.

Achievement beyond what has already been accomplished now means that the bar is raised. Now you’ve set your expectations higher, and you might feel like and perceive that if you do well people will expect from you new and superior things. Pressure! Sounds like a good mentality to live by: I might as well fail early so I don’t have to fail harder later. Huh?

I have one more thought to share on self-sabotage. It seems to come up when people are working toward a change. This same client of mine told me that she needs to move out of her comfort zone, but she’s obviously not comfortable where she is!  So I see it two ways: she stays uncomfortable in her normal discomfort OR she gets uncomfortable in some new discomfort.…a new discomfort that could amount to her becoming more capable, confident, risk-taking, aggressive (in a good way of course), spontaneous, brave, and courageous.

So is it self-sabotage? Or is it an opportunity to learn about your patterns of behavior, how you perceive the world, and to assess and become more present with your situation?


I once was lost…but now I’m found…

25 Apr

How many times in the last week have you heard yourself sigh with a feeling of being overwhelmed, stressed out, or overworked?

Feeling lost amidst a sea of responsibilities and tasks that you don’t want to do but feel compelled and obligated to complete, you walk around heavily, likely with a less than pleasant look on your face, sometimes willing yourself not to laugh even when something is funny. Heck, you have to commit to something. Might as well commit to  being miserable.

It’s astounding to me how many people I talk to daily who express confusion about not knowing what to do or feeling like they don’t know which way to turn. “I feel lost– I don’t  know what direction to take.”  It’s like we’re just a bunch of zombies meandering around the world aimlessly, going wherever, doing whatever, but having so much to do we don’t know where to start. If I just keep doing what I’m doing at some point I’ll collide with something or someone and there will be the answer. Um, not quite. Not in my world anyway.

That lostness is often due to indecision. An unwillingness to take a stand, make a choice, and then live with the consequences. Choices can feel difficult, yes. The moment we decide something, we’ve given up on something else. But if we decide to live in limbo and not decide, we can miss out on a great opportunity to move forward with something that is obviously important or we’d not be considering it in the first place!

Lost means that we can be found. And lost means that we’ve got some decisions to ponder. Lost means that yes, we have to think and weigh the consequences of our actions, positive or negative. And lost means that we might have to bear some discomfort. But lost is temporary. And once we’re found we’ll feel lost again.

It’s often when we’re not focused on the right now, the present, THIS moment and we’re looking ten miles ahead or two years back that we can start to feel lost and overwhelmed. Find yourself here, because that’s the only place you are. Right here is an easier place to make decisions. Grounded, centered, and sound.  In the now everything appears much clearer.

“I once was lost….but  now I’m found…was blind, but now, I see…..”

Interviewing Myself

24 Apr

I was told this morning “Kori, you’ve been on fire!” That comment was followed up with, “What’s going on for you?! Something’s happening!”

In fact, something is.

In fact, I can’t name it.

In fact, all I can recognize at this point is that I’m pulsing. Buzzing.

When I unplug the wire that inserts into my computer to power my speakers and it touches the file cabinet, it emits this grating but powerful hum.

In fact, I’m humming.

The potential energy with which I’m filled often leaves me feeling either immobile or creatively manic. When I can harness it, pay attention to it, breathe through it, and assess it, however, it becomes a smooth but rapidly flowing river of ideas, insights, and movement. My potential energy becomes potentially potent.

Accessing the river can be tricky though. Do I just jump in? No life vest? Do I get a boat? Do I scout the river to find calm, non-choppy waters?Do I ask someone to join me? Would that be safer? Do I need safe? Do I find out what the weather is going to be like before I traverse the river wild? Sometimes I wonder if I’m being too cautious. Perhaps sometimes it makes sense to not plan at all and “go with the flow” of the river….see where it leads me.

So I’ve decided to interview myself …dive into the deep and see what swims beneath.  The questions will be my guides- my boat. But I will have the choice to explore the various tributaries and channels that appear before me.

My first question will be this:

In 5 years, what will you look upon as your greatest achievements?

I’m picking this question because I feel a drive, a sense of urgency, and perhaps it will lead me to understanding the values I am about to put this energy toward.

My second question will be this:

What are my emotional dependencies?

Those are some deep waters.

Care to join me? I’m going to take the week to journal on these topics. No censoring. Everything that surfaces, I will jot down.

Single and Satisfied

21 Apr

“Are you dating anyone yet?” my married, mid-40’s client inquired as he sauntered into my office to shoot the breeze before the class he had arrived early for was slated to begin.

I’ve had a few thoughts occur to me since this moment. I’ll share, because I’m positive I’m not the only early 30’s, single female — or male for that matter– who has experienced this before and wonders what the heck is happening.

1. A month ago I would have either been offended by this question (not outwardly so)  or thought, “Hmm….actually no. Perhaps I should start looking.”

2. I smiled at him when he asked me this and said, “No, and it’s not even on my radar, to tell you the truth.” He looked taken aback. His surprise could have been due to any number of reasons. Perhaps he thought I’d answer with something like, “No, there just aren’t any good guys left…” or “You know, I don’t even know where or how I’d meet anyone…” or “My goodness, am I wearing that ‘I’m lonely, date me’ stamp on my forehead?”

3. Is it possible, and I know this could be a reaching a bit, that I could be super satisfied, content, and in fact overjoyed in my singleness?

4.The “yet” at the end of his sentence almost implies an assumption that dating someone is what I want….there’s that foreshadowing….the lingering anticipation that I just might….after much pining and wishing and longing…come back with, “You’re never going to believe who I met!!!!!” Because who wouldn’t, if they are single, be looking and be fulfilled focusing on her career, writing books, devouring education, taking introspection to new heights, and helping others become who they want to be? Preposterous!

5.  I take such joy in analyzing the behaviors of other people and peeling away the layers of history and meaning and gunk that becomes attached to their words. I enjoy doing the same with myself. Believe me, I do and say things that stop me in my tracks and cause me to pause and think  “Did that just come out my mouth? No, seriously….moi? I can own that? Wow.”  I could make my entire life about this stuff. Oh wait, I have.

6. I’ve done Match.com and I’ve done Eharmony, and I’ve done a total of two dates from them in the span of two years. STOP! When you read this, what was your first thought? Click on the comment button NOW and tell me! Intriguing.

7. When I was a young girl I cut out pictures of dresses that I could wear when I’d have my dream wedding. The folder I kept them in, and I remember this so clearly, also had a picture of Demi Moore in her gray, sweaty tank top, camouflage fatigues, and glorious shaved head from her role in GI Jane. I wanted to be GI Jane. What a bad ass.

8. The dichotomy of those images is comical to me now. I got married and hated my gown. Now I’m divorced. And when I did get divorced, guess what my next big goal was? Think muscle. Think hard core, bad-ass, one arm pushup, train until you can’t move, bodybuilding.

9. I own my own home. I just got a cat. STOP! (Click on the comment button NOW and tell me what you just thought!). I’ve got a great career that will continue to move forward. I work a lot and it’s my choice. I’m in school again trudging gratefully toward my PhD. I rarely go out and have just a few very close friends. And I am not lonely in the slightest.

10. Am I opposed to a relationship? No. Am I going to search one out? No. Do I like men? Yes. Am I a single, spinster, cat lady? Well, you might think so. I would like to believe I’m a single, attractive, intelligent, independent, happy, well-educated, responsible, determined, funny, well-adjusted, growth-minded, fit…..okay, you get my point.

11. I’m curious whether any of you who are out there and are single and not actively looking yet aren’t opposed to a relationship have experienced what I have? Marriage isn’t necessarily the norm anymore folks. Single people are treated quite interestingly based on the far-reaching effects of the marriage institution. Stereotypes abound!

I loved the first page of Bella DePaulo’s book, Singled Out.  In it she beautifully, and sarcastically, crafts her argument that single people are, in fact, singled out.

“I think married people should be treated fairly. They should not be stereotyped, stigmatized, discriminated against, or ignored. They deserve every bit as much respect as single people do. I can imagine a world in which married people were not treated appropriately and if that world ever materialized, I would protest.”

She goes on to list a few things that she would find offensive. Here’s a taste:

1. “When you tell people you are married they tilt their heads and say ‘Aaawww’ or ‘Don’t worry, honey, your turn to divorce will come.'”

2. “Every time you get married you feel obligated to give expensive presents to single people.”

3. “Single employees can add another adult to their health care plan– you can’t.”

Does it surprise you that one of my least favorite songs is Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies”? Read the lyrics.

I want to hear from you! What has your experience been?

If I don’t, does that mean I won’t?

19 Apr

I struggle through moments of terror at times. Well, maybe that’s a bit extreme of a word to describe it.

Trepidation. There, that’s better. It’s a bit less volatile than terror.

What it isn’t, is comforting. And yet it’s familiar.

It’s a state in which I place high personal demands on myself. I tell myself- don’t stop, push harder, go further. Don’t back down. Here’s a simple example: On the treadmill I glance from the time to the distance to the calories burned. I cant tell you what each of them says, but I can tell you that my goal may be to finish that minute. But then if the distance is uneven, I’ll push toward the next quarter mile instead. But then if the calories burned is not even, I’ll push for the next ten. If it says 292, well, of course I’m going for 300. But I don’t know that it’s 300– I just know that it’s even!

I’m not looking at the #, I’m looking at the goal. Past the goal. I’m looking to strive.All the time.

Because I can. Because I know I’m capable of more. And perhaps a bit OCD.

Good? I think so.

And there’s a point sometimes…maybe…that this approach can get in the way. When I begin to think, “I need to rest” and  yet I keep……on……pushing.

If I don’t, does that mean I won’t? Later on? When I need to? When it’s necessary to persevere? It’s a silly question for me to ask myself…maybe…because I rarely let myself down like that.

Could that be why I haven’t let myself down? Because I’m willing to go the distance….or further most times? To push past where most would quit?

What do you think?

The Sit on Your Butt and Eat Doritos All Day Diet

18 Apr

Sweet! If you told me I could lose weight by doing absolutely nothing different…eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and sit on my soon-to-be-slim butt as in-ambulatory as I wanted to be, I’d shout, “SIGN. ME.UP!!”

Nothing makes me happier than not having to put any effort into accomplishing something; getting things for free; gratifying my immediate impulses; going through the motions; never sweating (oh my gosh, how I abhor sweating!); meeting goals without even having to set them (I’m awesome); and not having to think (I hate using my brain).

Sigh– I love my lazy life.

Answer this: How many people do you know who have lost weight? Give me a ballpark number. I’m sure it’s a ton.

Second question: How many people do you know who have lost weight and kept it off for a number of years? Again, a ballpark number.This answer a bit less?

Third question: How many people do you know who have lost weight and kept it off for a number of years and did it with the Sit on your Butt and Eat Doritos All Day diet?

In other words, name the individuals you know who changed absolutely NOTHING about the way they behaved and the way they thought in order to lose weight permanently.

I’m waiting….

Tell me when you’ve got an answer….

Ready yet?

You don’t even need to tell me. I already know. Ouch- I made you think, didn’t I?

It’s a sad state of affairs we’re in. We put a lot of effort into searching for that quick-fix, the magic pill, the “I really don’t want to have to work to get what I want” solution.

What if we put all that effort into actually becoming our best selves- the active, mentally resilient, self-controlled, happy, determined, physically strong, observers of our behaviors and minds?

What if we approached our circumstances as opportunities for growth and evolution of mind, body, and spirit?

What if we didn’t expect something out of nothing?

What if we didn’t subscribe to an injection and a 500 calorie a day diet that will, yes, net us weight loss, but result in us weighing even more than where we started in a year or two?  Or the “just follow this plan- eat this at this time in this amount and don’t deviate” diet? Or the “mail order meal” diet?

What if….oh my gosh, I can’t believe I am asking you to even fathom this…you had to grit your teeth a bit, dig in and be a little uncomfortable, learn, explore, grow, develop some commitment to something bigger than the little, insulated world you live in right now, and evolve into a person of integrity and autonomy, with a sense of mastery?

Re-read that sentence please. I know, it’s a long one. Pause if you need to. Take a few minutes to absorb it and process it.

Overwhelming?

The Sit on Your Butt & Eat Doritos All Day Diet is just a microcosm of what our society has become in so many areas of life. The fact that over 70% of the population is overweight or obese is no surprise, is it?

We don’t want to do the work.

When you introduce yourself to someone, do you honestly want to say, “Hi, I’m a lazy, want-everything-without-having-to-work-for-it, impulsive, self-centered, stagnant, blob” ?

Share your thoughts with me.  Sometimes….a lot of times….we have to reach, folks.

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