To Worry or Not to Worry

iStock_000011977738XSmallFrom the Woman’s Side of Things… I recently heard a story about a woman who was feeling tremendous worry. She questioned how it served her and what might happen if she let it go. She realized she held the worry thinking if she let it go she might not deal with the problem.

I went through the exercise myself with a concern I had regarding finances. I realized to I held on to the worry thinking if I did not I wouldn’t take care of my concern. But in actuality, if I let go, I know I would still resolve the situation. I just wouldn’t be worried in the meantime. Either way it’s where I am, either way it will be dealt with so why put my mind and body through the worry? In the end it doesn’t serve me.

Of course sometimes this is easier said than done. I still on occasion open my accounts log and initiate worry. I have to remind myself it doesn’t serve me. Somehow I’ll resolve it. I always have before. I will this time too. I think there is a lesson in here somewhere, what am I supposed to learn?

I’ve always been a worrier. I remember when I was 10 being so worried about a book report I was arguing with my dad about needing to stay up and get it completed right there and then. He finally asked when it was due to which I responded, “in two weeks.” I must have run out of other things to worry about! The worry didn’t serve me at all — nor did the frustration of arguing with my dad. And although I did go to bed that night, the book report was done in plenty of time.

If you believe in the law of attraction, you know the more you worry about something the more likely it will come to fruition. Unfortunately, I’ve learned this lesson many times, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in really big, painful ways. It’s a matter of putting a lot of energy — useless energy as it may be — into something so the universe thinks you want it. I’ve read once or twice before about how negative energy such as worry and it’s counterpart fear put more energy out to the universe than positive so it makes it even more likely to come about.

What does this tell us? Worry is not only a waste of our time and energy. It can also limit what we see as our choices. Our fear can close off our minds to possible solutions. It does not help us get what we want, worry may even lead to us receiving exactly what we didn’t want, what we feared coming true.

So what are some ways you can let go of the worry once you decide it really doesn’t serve you? Well there’s always prayer. Offer your concerns to God, ask him to help you see a way. There’s meditation, just letting go of everything for a time in quiet nothingness. You could take a step however small toward the resolution of what ever you are worried about. One small step after one small step and you’ll begin to build on the momentum. Before you know it, the problem is gone. Often when taking action you can be so wrapped up in the actions that you temporarily forget the worry so it’s also a form of letting go.

Acceptance of what is neutralizes the worry and fear. Sometimes it’s a belief that all things are as they are supposed to be. Change the language and it changes the meaning. Good things are great, bad things are lessons.

Blessings of worry free days.

The Woman’s Side of Things posts are written by the coach’s wife, Amie Durocher

Change Process or Decision?

change-architect-sign1From the Woman’s Side of Things… Some people fear change. They try to avoid it at all cost. Me, well, I’m used to change. I moved to a new house, school, and sometimes state almost every year of my childhood. I kept up the trend into my adulthood. I’ll change the furniture around just to have something be different.

But if there is one constant in life, it’s that it’s always changing, always moving.

Before any change which we actually choose, we first start with the acknowledgement something isn’t right. This could be anything from knowing exactly — “I need to stop smoking” — to knowing vaguely — “I just don’t feel right.” In any case we start by seeking change. A move away from pain; a move toward pleasure (or ease).

Some may seek help for the transition. Some could seek help from friends or a counselor. Oftentimes these people will tell you change is a process. But is it? Or does that just give you an excuse to drag it out and not actually make the change?

Perhaps change is really just a decision so change happens the moment the decision is made.

When I decided to stop smoking — I mean really stop — it was an immediate and no going back decision. I had had enough and that was that. Funny that around the same time the same thing happened with a tumultuous romantic relationship I was in. Enough was enough and that was that, over, “caput,” no looking back.

Change doesn’t take years to happen. Change happens in an instant. It’s the results of the change that is a process. The results can be far reaching, going into what one may think a totally unrelated part of your life. That I think can be a fun part of change.

Take for instance becoming a mom. The change was in an instant — the instant of conception. The results were a process — being pregnant, giving birth, taking care of an infant, raising a child and so on. The results were also far reaching — the demands on my time were no longer purely my choice, meeting a girlfriend now takes planning (can I bring baby? do I need a sitter? who is available? can I afford the sitter and dinner? when do I have to be back? etc.). But the fun part was what great entertainment it is to watch the baby or listen to the stories of a 4-year-old. Who needs a TV with that hilarious entertainment in your living room?

Does it take courage to make a change? Ya, most times it does. These days when I have an action to take toward change that will take courage I say to myself, “Ok I’m taking that step onto the fire and I’m walking.” Easier to say when you’ve experienced a fire walk I’m sure. If you haven’t, think of something you did that you thought you never could, realign yourself with the courage you had at that time and take the step/make the decision you need to make.

Sometimes change will happen whether your want it to or not so you might as well embrace it. Let go and see what strange far reaching unrelated places it takes you. You never know it could be the most fantastic ride of your life.

Want to make a change? Make a decision and you make the change in a second. Do I make it sound easy? It doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it. It’s often our fears and belief systems that make it hard (and those can be easy to change too). And… well…. just remember this comes from a girl who lost count of how many homes she lived in after it hit 30.

The Woman’s Side of Things posts are written by the coach’s wife, Amie Durocher.

Marriage

1385335_645064512193765_657176480_nFrom the Woman’s Side of Things… Have you heard of marriage being described as an institution? Or men calling their wives their ball and chain? It seems in our society there is an inner conflict regarding marriage. Obviously there is some positive about it or people wouldn’t get married. But I so frequently hear negative statements about marriage in general and spouses in specific.

I used to work for a newspaper where I was in a newsroom with a small group, usually just men, late at night putting the paper together for print. During this time all the men would make derogatory statements about their spouses and being married. I usually ignored it. One night I did ask them why they ever got married and whether they loved their spouses. I can’t remember exactly what the response was. I always wondered if this was how they really felt or if they were just piping in to bond with the guys.

I understand in all relationships there are times when one annoys or frustrates the other. And I understand sharing with our friends helps us work through our feelings. But why do I so frequently hear the derogatory and so rarely hear the positive? Why do I hear about the ball and chain but not the love you feel when you come home to a hug? This is why I thank a person when ever I actually do hear a compliment regarding a spouse especially if that spouse isn’t there.

It seems the focus is on the negative aspects, the complaints. Realizing that, I guess, it’s no wonder the divorce rate is so high. Perhaps our relationships would change, even improve if we started focusing on the positive. What would happen if for every complaint we also shared a gratitude for something about our spouses?

Think about what Paulo Coelho wrote on his blog about marriage:

I know the artist, Christina Oiticica. At this very moment she is physically at a distance of 8,000 kilometers, and at the same time she is in everything around me. That makes me happy: even after 29 years of marriage, the love is more intense than ever before. Never did I imagine that this would happen: I had been in three relationships that did not work out right and was convinced that eternal love did not exist until she came along – on a Christmas afternoon, like a present sent by a angel. We went to the movies. We made love that same day. I thought to myself: “this won’t last long”. For the first two years I was always expecting one of us to give up the relationship. For the following five years I went on thinking that it was just an arrangement, that in a short while each of us would go our own way. I had convinced myself that any commitment of a more serious nature would deprive me of my “freedom” and stop me experiencing all that I wanted.

Twenty-nine years on, I am still free – because I discovered that love never enslaves us. I am free to turn my head and watch her sleeping at my side – that is the photo I have on my mobile phone. I am free for us to go out, enjoy a stroll, go on talking, discussing – and occasionally arguing, as always. I am free to love as I have never loved before, and that makes a great difference in my life.

He had a rather negative frame of reference regarding relationships but realized how powerful love is and how he has so much freedom within the love. He realizes his good fortune and share that with the world on his blog. I would bet having that gratitude strengthens his relationship even more, and sharing it with others strengthens that gratitude.

It’s been seven years that I’ve had the blessing to be free to love like that. My love has been tested to extremes from which I’ve even surprised myself at being able to get through and coming out loving even deeper on the other side.

Relationships are freeing. There are many positive aspects. Primarily relationships are meant to enhance your experience of life. My marriage makes me feel even more alive. Being with my husband magnifies everything in my life. I consider myself lucky. Extremely lucky. And I want the world to know how thankful I am to have my husband, my rock. I delight in his love and care.

Happy anniversary my Rock.

The Woman’s Side of Things posts are written by the coach’s wife, Amie Durocher.

Forgiveness is Power

iStock_000015232757XSmallFrom the Woman’s Side of Things… What is forgiveness to you? To me, forgiveness is powerful. It can change perspective. It can change relationships. But mostly I think it can change your heart.

There was once a video going around Facebook about forgiveness. It depicted a father and son in a jail visitors room; the father behind the glass. The son shows the father a series of cards listing his fathers wrongs toward him. Then he writes on another card, “Father I forgive you.”

Joe Vitale, a contributor to the Secret, says if you forgive you’ll open yourself up to receiving from the universe. This is an important part of the law of attraction, he says, it’s hard to attract the things you want if you are blocked from it.

It seems like a lot of people think forgiveness is for the wrongdoer. After all isn’t it that person who apologizes and asks for forgiveness? But really forgiveness is for the “victim.” Forgiveness is for you.

Forgiveness brings power. It’s not power over someone. It’s a power given to your own self. Continue reading “Forgiveness is Power”

Gracious Receipt

iStock_000012286026XSmallFrom the Woman’s Side of Things… I wrote this a couple, three years ago. I have just recently been reminded about how most of us are so poor at receiving. I kept the promise I made at the end of this until about the time I became a mom for the third time upon which mommy brain or something happened and I forgot how to receive again. I am remaking that promise and ask you to join me in increasing your practice of receiving with grace.

Thank you. Gracias. Danke. Merci. Mahalo. Vinaka. Whatever language you use, it is the only phrase you need to use when receiving a gift.

Why is it so hard for so many people to receive a gift? Whether it is a gift or a compliment or help, our society in general and women in particular seem to be unable or unwilling to receive.

Receiving gifts graciously is a gift to the giver. Continue reading “Gracious Receipt”

Changing the Rules of the Game

game_of_life2From the Woman’s Side of Things… Have you ever played a game with a young child? Did they change the rules constantly to make sure they were always winning? If you could, would you change the rules for your life so that you win all the time? Guess what, you can.

If you every spend time in Fiji you’ll see that it is true what people say about them being the happiest people. They have so little and yet they are so happy.

I’ve heard a story contrasting a wealthy business man who made four million dollars a year, had two homes and a happy family but who was unhappy because he didn’t consider himself successful as he wanted to make five million a year and have three homes. Yet another man who had nothing was happy and when asked why he said simply, “I woke up this morning and found myself above ground.”

I think that’s how the Fijian people live their lives. They are the happiest, friendliest people I’ve ever seen, yet they have so few material goods and work for next to nothing. Many still live in villages where they share everything. Any income made is brought to the village and distributed by the chief as he sees fit; to support the kindergarten (preschool) or to build a new home for the newlyweds. (Mind you new home is a tin shack with a thatch roof in some cases.) They greet visitors with the biggest smiles and a big BULA! (Hello!).

Perhaps it’s because they live in such a beautiful place that they can’t help but to be happy. But I think it’s more likely they are like the man who woke up above ground. They are happy because being happy is a good way to be. It’s a matter of perspective. It’s a matter of expectations. It’s a matter of beliefs or rules about what it takes to make you happy.

In one Tony Robbins event I attended, he has you do an exercise where you assess your values. You write down values you like to move toward, ie. love, happiness, success. Then you write down values you would like to move away from, ie. fear, anger, sadness. You put them all in order of how important they are to you. So for instance my top five toward values are: love, joy/fun, gratitude, faith, growth. (Hmmm, I may have to re-evaluate and do an update.)

It doesn’t sound all that revealing. But when you go through the assessment process to determine what are really your top values it can be some what surprising. For instance, a really work driven person may discover success is not as high on their list as they thought that they really say health is higher.

What I thought was really the life changing part of the exercise was to then sit down and look at your rules for how you fulfill those values. Then you change those rules to make them so super easy to fulfill it’s nearly impossible not to. You want an example right?

Well without my notes let’s see if I can remember some of my crazy ways to fulfill the value of love: my husband had to make me feel significant and make me his top priority and my husband had to spend lots of quality time with me. Well, it’s hard for me to control what my husband does so that could be hard to fulfill.

Then I changed the way I fulfill my value of love to: Anytime I am loving or remember love in my heart or notice love in others. Wow, now that’s easy, I can fulfill that and feel my value of love any second of any minute of any hour of any day.

Let me give you my example of my new rules for fulfilling my value of joy. Anytime I smile or laugh or remember love in my heart or for no particular reason. Now that is super easy. Seriously how hard is it to decide to smile? Or to just feel joy for no particular reason? Ya, I can do that. I can feel joy ALL the time!

So what does that mean? With easier rules comes more fulfilled values. That means every day above ground is a fantastic day.
What kind of rules would you choose if you had the choice, hard to fulfill or easy as pie? (By the way, it IS your choice.)

The Woman’s Side of Things posts are written by Amie Durocher.

Levels of Friends

iStock_000004369185XSmall-150x150From the Woman’s Side of Things… New friends, old friends, what makes a friend? (I just wanted to feel like Dr. Seuss for a second, “big A, little a, what begins with A?”)

Have you seen the movie “I Love You Man”? It’s a story about the difficulty of finding friends as an adult. I can certainly relate.

While I have a lot of friends all over the country and abroad whom — when I am with them — I can share my soul with — mostly because of the enriched environment in which we met or meet up to serve together. But close friends whom I can see at a phone-call’s notice, with whom I can talk, giggle and do my most dreaded chore of shopping,  I lack. I used to have them. What happened to them? I miss them.

Friendships come and go. People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I get that. But as you get older they are more difficult to come by. (I wonder if it will reverse again in old age.) New friends are difficult to find. Old ones seem to disappear. Is it growing older, getting married and/or having children? Not to mention moving away from each other? Is it just a matter of lives growing in different directions?

For me, it is possible that people get turned off how, as one old friend recently put it to me,  I “would always march to the beat of your own drum.” I certainly never expected others to follow me as I’m not a follower myself. I accept my friends for who they are. But I have been known to state my opinion, (usually having come from a search of knowledge) sometimes rather bluntly.

I always wanted a close group of friends, kind of like on “Sex and the City.” Friends that stuck by you through thick and thin, who were honest — sometimes brutally so — and who helped you grow into a better person. I believe that is a true friend.
Through our excursion into personal growth, Greg and I came to the hypothesis that in recent times people are needing therapists and coaches more because true friends are hard to come by. People don’t have friends who hold them accountable, hold them to a higher standard and help them become a better version of themselves.

I’m lucky my marriage is that kind of friendship. We support and challenge each other to be the best version of our selves. And my faraway friends are like that too, when we see each other.

What can we do to foster true friendships again? Is there a way to get back to a community feel and less of a competition? Would that give us more time to connect? Is it possible to reconnect with old friends and start anew?
What would give us the strength to set a new standard for friendships? I’ve always said I’d rather have a few good friends than many relationships with the facade of friends.

Master Trainer of NLP Steve Linder categorizes friendships differently than I’ve heard before, and it makes sense to me. His categories consist of: cabinet-people you would give your life for; peers-people who help you grow; friends-people you see often and on purpose; acquaintances-people you expect to know your name when you see them; and strangers-everybody else. It’s up to you to decide what qualifications people must meet to be in each category. When you look at it like this and make up your qualifications, it’s sometimes surprising to see into which category the people in your life fall. Are your family members friends or really more acquaintances who you feel obligated to see? Is your spouse someone who holds you to a higher standard?

What qualities do you expect in a peer or in a friend? How do you play as a friend? What gifts do you bring to your relationships? When you can relate to your self, you can relate better to others. When you hold your self to a higher standard, you can be a better friend and you can have better friends. Play big. Play true.

What Is

qFrom the Woman’s Side of Things… If you can’t retell a story (the story you told yourself about an event) to make it more empowering, can you let go of the story all together?

Would it be even better to learn not to attach meaning at all? Is it possible to just accept what is because it is what is?

What would life be like if we forgot all of our stories? That sounds like I’m saying forget our past but our past is our past, right? It brought us to where we are, who we are. But what if we forgot all the stories we made up about what happened, forgot all the meaning we gave our events? Would we still be who we are?

I suspect if we chose to give events different, more empowering stories (meanings) our lives would be completely different. The way we looked at our past would change. The way we looked toward our future would change. The way we are in the present moment would change.

If we could accept what happens without placing meaning to it, would our suffering end? I believe it would. I believe it’s the story we make up about tragedy that makes us suffer. If the story is this thing hurt us even if we choose not to feel it, the pain is still there until we change the story about it. Say for instance the pain and guilt I put on the event of losing my first three babies in miscarriage. The pain and guilt was my story. I didn’t live in the pain. I chose to move on, be happy, try again. But the pain was still there when I thought about my lost angels. But I changed my story from pain and guilt to the events preparing me to become the mom I am now. Changing my story took away the story of pain. It took away the feeling of pain.

We can certainly do this for events in our past. Change the story, change the meaning. How about the present?

If we can live life in the moment — no story, no meaning, just what is IS — how would that be?

So for instance I don’t get mad at the guy who cut me off while driving on the highway, honking his horn at me. Instead I just know that’s how it is. It’s what happened. He was there, I was there, he drove in front of me while I almost ran off the road to stay out of the way. That’s just what is. There’s no need to go further than that. It doesn’t really help us at all to get all wound up about something. That just turns our energy sour. But to just accept it as what is, we live in the moment — no pain, rather just contentment.

In “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie she describes what she calls “the work.” The work is asking four questions about your story to help you accept what is. The four questions are:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

Things happen because they happen. People say things for whatever reason they say things. It’s what is. It’s not who or what I am.

My life has changed after reading this and practicing “loving what is” — because it does take practice to let go of the story. Sometimes I have to remind myself; sometimes it comes easy. But realizing I can’t change it and so why associate pain to it has released so much angst that I could otherwise carry around with me. It’s enabled my heart to remain open to possibilities and love.

It is fantastic.

How will these four questions change your life?

Polarity

magnetsfrom the woman’s side of things… It seems to be the topic of discussion lately. So I thought maybe I’d join the discussion since it’s on the universe’s mind or the universe keeps bringing it to my attention for some reason.

Now I’ve been learning about polarity, masculine and feminine, and the difference between men and women for a couple of years now. I suppose if you think about it, the education started early on and has continued throughout my life. Unfortunately I’m starting to believe some of the education and most of the instruction I was given seems to have been based on misinformation. At least that’s the case for what I’ll call my “primary” male/female education.

To sum up my primary education they would include statements like: “it’s a man’s world,” “women are as strong as men,” “don’t depend on a man to provide for you,” “men don’t listen (or talk),” “men only want one thing from women” (which may be true but not what you think, read on).

And what are boys told as they are growing into men? They are told things like: “you need to be sensitive,” “women are crazy and hormonal,” “women will just try to catch you and control you,” “women are manipulative.”

One of the primary lessons was kind of right; women are hormonal and yes that sometimes makes us crazy. but as it is how we are made, how about we all just embrace it instead of fighting it?

What I call my “secondary” education really began a couple of years ago. In addition to my own observations, it includes information (also known as informed opinions) from people like Anthony Robbins, Alison Armstrong and maybe some John Gray among others.

There are definitely feminine and masculine energies. And while we all have both in us our current society seems to be driving us to our opposite pole which really just seems to confuse us. Now it’s a good thing to have both parts and to be able to switch as needed. At our core, the place where we feel most at home, is one or the other energy. When we strive to be other than that, it’s like there’s a battle of the sexes going on within our own self.

Where this really comes into play is in our intimate relationships. If there is a battle of the sexes in you and a battle of the sexes in your significant other, it is difficult for the cores within to shine out and attract each other.

Do you ever wonder where the passion went in your relationship? It wasn’t life conditions; it wasn’t the kids; it wasn’t work. It was that you (and probably your partner) lost touch with your core energy. The feminine and masculine are like magnets that attract each other. You need to turn your core energy back on thereby turning the magnet back toward attracting each other.

Masculine needs to be their masculine, strong, centered, present, dependable selves. Feminine needs to be their feminine, open, vulnerable, feeling and a bit crazy selves. Women this does not mean be weak. Being feminine is still strong; femininity — if it is your core — is where your power comes from. So turn it on, dance naked, wear pink lace, whatever it looks like for you. Turn it on and see how it turns on the masculine in your man.

Then let your man feel you happy. That is really the “one thing” men are after in a relationship, the feminine being happy. They feel like they get to take credit for every time women are happy, and it makes them feel triumphant. As a friend of mine says, “happy wife, happy life.”

Choices

from the woman’s side of things… We all have a choice. And there is always a choice.

This is something I am teaching our children. I give them choices for almost everything. Of course the choices are within my boundaries so either one works for me and if they choose poorly they suffer the consequences.  I want my children to have a sense of themselves and learn there are natural consequences for every choice, some good and some bad. I feel it’s also important for them to learn to take responsibility for their choices.

I especially want to teach my children they have a choice in how they feel. It is even the topic of my first children’s book. They can choose how to feel about any given situation. It’s up to them (all of us) to decide if they want to feel good or bad, then act accordingly.

This having a choice message seems to be the message this week to me as well. I’ve had two references to it from different places. One is something I copied from a book while I was going through a difficult time. Since that time has come back to haunt me, as times like that can do, I was rereading some old notes:

“In any unpleasant situation, we have a choice. We are free to choose how we respond. We can choose a healthy response or an unhealthy response. We can choose to become bitter or become better. Obviously, in the beginning, we’re going to intensely feel hurt, angry, betrayed, etc. And that’s normal. But in the long run, we have to decide what to do with those feelings. We can let them sit and fester or we can decide to let go of them. If we chose to hang on to all our anger, hurt, and frustration, we’re going to get bitter, not better.” (I’d offer the title and author but I can’t remember where exactly it came from.)

Pain can come from many places whether caused by another or caused by tragedy or loss. Even in pain we have a choice. We can choose resentment and anger and ultimately suffering. Or we can choose to take it as a learning experience, grow and move forward, move on. It’s a choice.

Pain may be an inevitable part of life, but suffering is not. Suffering is optional. To suffer is a choice you make and forgiveness is the key to dislodge the suffering.

I’ve heard forgiveness described as not for the offender but for the “victim” of the offense. Forgiveness does not mean removing consequences. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself, a gift that heals your heart. Forgiveness is not always the easy choice. But I think it’s easier to choose near the beginning of the pain than after time has hardened the suffering inside your heart and it has become a part of you.

I get to choose. I always get to choose. And I choose love and forgiveness.