Tag Archives: life

The colors are there– you just aren’t seeing them…

29 Jun

Living in Full ColorI’ve heard a lot over the last week, “I’ll try, Kori.”

On the other end of the continuum I’ve heard, “I won’t _____________ (fill in the blank)” or “Every day I will _________________.”

On one extreme are half-hearted attempts at changing a behavior (perhaps unconscious), and on the other are absolutes that just might fall through the cracks and result in feelings of failure and discouragement (also often unconscious).

The middle ground? The space between the event and the response.

The space where breathing takes place, slowing down, critical assessment of what needs attention in the present moment, and an honest noticing of what is right here, right now.

It’s a space where we recognize what holes we’re dragging ourselves into through our distorted and unrealistic, completely off-base thoughts and perceptions.

A space that welcomes creativity and a turning over of our well-worn beliefs and stories that so often were not written by us but that we’re living out.

A space that reveals the fresh earth beneath the hardened and biased outer shell that we barely take notice of.

It’s a space of vulnerability that often unveils the shame driving our behaviors. It’s a gap filled with ‘aha’ moments we’ll never have unless we give ourselves permission to step into it.

It’s a time where we realize we’ve adopted someone else’s goal.

A moment when the fog lifts and even if painful we decide to let someone or something go that we’ve been clinging to.

A glimpse of our power and our courage.

A reach toward compassion for what we’ve left behind and forgotten, or actively thwarted and stuffed away because we erroneously believed it needed to be hidden from others.

This middle ground– the space– is always there. We rarely, however, give ourselves permission to experience it. It’s inside of us. Ever taken the time to finally clean off your computer monitor and you’re struck by the clarity of the screen? The vibrant colors that pop out at you? The colors have always been there- you just weren’t seeing them.

Behavior change is hard. Just thinking about being different or doing something different is exciting. Totally different ballgame when you’re in the throes of the intentionality and practice that comes along with it.

If you’re not used to looking for the colors, you have to start looking for them. And you have to look for them constantly. You have to stop running from yourself and what you give to yourself, be it a thought, a feeling, or a behavior. Each of these may be inappropriate, ugly, or incongruent from what or how you believe you should be thinking, feeling, or behaving, but none of that matters.

They are colors. And when you see them, you can paint with them. You as the artist. Your life as the canvas.

The middle ground is a place of opportunity. A place where we can ask “What if?” and see what comes up rather than an obstacle in our path. It may be fear. It may be doubt. It may be excitement. Or it may be anticipation. But with each of these also comes a choice. Will you give yourself permission to see the full spectrum of the fear? Can you walk from the deep, pulsating reds that screaming “Stop! Don’t take another step!” to the calming “Come this way, it will be okay” life-giving greens?

I think you can.

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I am SOMEBODY! And yet I’m nobody….

14 Jun

Before you email, rush in to save me, and assume I must be experiencing a mid-30’s existential crisis (my birthday is in August and thankfully, I’ll only be 34), think first about your automatic need to reassure me, relieve me of the doubt it appears I’m feeling, and to halt the Kori Crazy-Talk.

What’s that about?!

At some point it seems most of us decided that we’re not supposed to feel helpless, lost, confused, even unimportant, miniscule, tiny. Meaningless….

“Okay, okay already!!”

Yet we do. We feel this stuff. We feel it a lot.

So many of us are walking around like zombies asking “Why?”

“Where is God if I feel so empty, so miserable?”

“What is there in this life for me?”

But what do you do when you notice this questioning, this longing?

You probably push, you scream, and then you hide.

You cover your face, you put on a mask, you go grab the alcohol, you go stuff your face with food you don’t taste, or you pop the pills “you saved for a rainy day…”

Fraud.

Before you get mad at me for being negative and pessimistic, consider how true my statements are and then realize that you just don’t want to hear the truth.

Pedaling this morning on the recumbent bike I noticed halfway through my workout a frenzied surge of energy. Punching the “mode” button a few times to navigate to the “speed”  indicator, sure enough it was registering almost 15 mph faster and at a higher resistance! I had just taken a look again at the photos I’d taken earlier. (As you know I’m preparing for a contest and as it gets closer I am in touch daily with my coach to ensure I’m on the right track). I saw the muscle striations. I saw the full, hard, roundness of my quads and shoulders. I looked crisp. And I got a surge of adrenaline as I imagined standing on the stage in my new suit next to the other competitors, out-posing them, flexing with precision, and hearing nothing but “WIN, WIN, WIN” in my head. I texted my coach- Let’s DO THIS!!

In the next instant I went through a wave of  sinister laughing bouncing from the edges of my skull to  hearing, “you do realize that you’re one in millions of people on the planet…a speck…a nobody…”

I was struck by the profundity of dichotomous emotion. From elated to vacuous, I came full circle and was abrasively reminded of life’s ebb and flow. How tumultuous the depth of emotion we can experience may feel, and yet how fleeting those emotions can be. And what gets an individual to the point which he can face his vulnerability, his raw, wounded,  incomprehensible, and unacceptable self?

“The sun will shine again, huh?” a client said definitively but with the quick upturned tone familiar when a question is asked. Over the phone I could see the tiny lines in the corners of her mouth as she smiled softly.We were discussing my experience this morning and how the circumstances of her life over the last month had registered similar notes.

And another who is wrestling with the grief he is traversing after his father died, said to me, “I’m not sure how long this process is supposed to last, but I know I need to be moving on with my life.” His statement demonstrating his misinformed belief that he could only do one or the other and that the grief needed to have a finite stopping point. I pointed out that he had been laughing a minute earlier and inquired of whether his choice to work with me wasn’t a good enough indicator of his effort toward “moving on.” His father’s death was obviously bringing up uncomfortable emotions, a sense of something missing, a “void” he called it, and as many deaths do, a sense of his own impermanence.

We’re like rivers really. Always flowing. We feel. We feel deeply. And we can acknowledge the importance of those feelings, or we can live like prisoners behind them, giving them the power to cage us and be the guides through the narrow channels of life that offer far less excruciatingly beautiful glimpses of transformative confidence and  daunting frigidity. But we must also realize that they are not all we are.

As somebody I make a difference, I have meaning, I am important, I am connected to the greater good.

As nobody I can recognize my insignificance and the futility which exists in trying so hard to be what I’m not, and in turn expect to reach the depths of both and honor their presence.

Even as I prepare to click “publish” to share this with the world I question 1. ) how my goal of winning a competition is worth getting excited over and more importantly, how superficial an example to  use to demonstrate the power of emotion; and 2.) how self-doubt could lead me to second-guess whether this blog is even worth sharing. Who am I to believe I can touch someone’s life merely by exposing my ineptitudes and the insights I’ve come about as a pilgrim of my personal journey? But then I recall the people I am drawn to most auspiciously– those who relish in life’s fragility, who are wise because they recognize and embrace their flaws, and who sprinkle their wisdom gained from truly living, in the most humble and yet personally rewarding of ways.

As I send this into cyberspace I breathe and hope that it will touch others.

And if it doesn’t, I remind myself that I’m still okay.

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.

Alone or Lonely?

27 Nov

Thanksgiving gave me a reason to stop and take stock. I was with my best friends. We played games, we laughed, we ate, we got silly. I was fully present. I wasn’t two hours ahead or 2 years past. I was right there, in the moment. Thankful does not even touch the expanse of gratitude I felt being in the company of my “family.”

When I got home late in the evening I experienced such a profound sense of isolation. Walking into a dark, cold house, I was utterly alone. No one was there to greet me upon arrival, wrap their arms around me, ask me how my day was, and tell me they missed me. Do I long for this? Sometimes. Do I enjoy having the freedom to come and go as I please? Absolutely.
At times I sink into feeling lonely. It’s only lonely when I put a spin on being alone. Am I by myself? Yep. So what’s the difference?
Lonely permeates the air around me when I start feeling sorry for myself, when I have thoughts of being unloved, uncared for, or forgotten about. Is this true? Of course not. And this is the reason that lonely doesn’t last long in my presence. I get to choose how and what to feel. I get to choose to wallow in what I can make up in my mind under the current circumstances. I get to choose to assess the real facts of the situation.
We aren’t our feelings. We aren’t our thoughts. We HAVE them, and then we get to choose what to do with them.
I’ve decided that being alone is teaching me how to be more independent, to make decisions without having to rely on others, to appreciate my freedom, to cherish the gift of assessing for myself who I am and what I need.
Obviously I love being with others. My life would not be full without my friends and family. We all need to walk alone sometimes to prove that we can!

I'm alone, but I'm not lonely.

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