Thursday, February 24, 2011

Making a Difference

"Do not follow where the path may lead - go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
This saying is one I have returned to often during some trying times... so much so that I have it painted on a wall in my Angel Room. I have always been that type of person that just sees things differently than other people, and following a well-traveled road has never come easy for me.  All my life I have thought and dreamed about fitting in, being like everyone else, hangin' with the popular kids, but there was always this voice inside me that said, "It's okay to be different," to which I would say back to myself, "Seriously? Are you kidding?  No, it's not! I have to blend in. I don't want to be different!"  By the way, yes, I do talk to myself; and no, I don't suffer from any serious psychological condition... at least not yet!

Flash to 2007, my daughter starts cheerleading at the Mighty Mite level (6 to 8 year olds), and we come back later in the day one Saturday to watch the older teams play/cheer. I observed a group of the older cheerleaders having one of those girl-type arguments that starts over nothing, escalates into something huge, and everyone is best friends again within an hour. The whole scene brought back memories of that very difficult time in a girl's life that you couldn't pay me to relive - middle school. (Absolutely, hands down, the WORST years of my life.) While watching this situation unfold, I remember wishing that something could be done, a different way to behave could be taught to make these difficult years easier to navigate.

This is where the Divine intervention comes in that I spoke of in my first post. It was one of those moments when you have such a great idea that you know it couldn't have come from your own mind.  I had recently finished a workshop in The Virtues Project and learned some of what I consider my best parenting tools. Why couldn't I apply those same tools to coaching? At that moment, it was like every synapses in my body was firing at the same time. Would it work?  Could it work?  Am I nuts?  Every answer came back a resounding Yes, including the one about being nuts.  But despite my questions and hesitation, I knew I was on to something. And best of all, I would finally be able to do something that would make a difference in the world (or at least in my community.)

Some of what I've tried has worked better than others, but when you're blazing a new trail, there is no manual to follow, it's all done by trial and error... and errors I do make.  But the best part of coaching, teaching, and learning in this way is that it is a passion that brings me so much joy. The thought that I might make a difference in one of my girls' lives, that someday she might stand before an audience of her peers and say, "I once had this cheer coach who taught me..." makes the challenges that continue to be put in front of me worth every frustrating moment of being me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Keep on keepin' on

So what do you do when you can't take another blow?  How do you get back up when you've been hit so many times that you've stopped counting? As a parent, we teach our kids about perseverance, determination, and courage, but how many of us practice what we preach?

I am a single mom with a beautiful daughter in sixth grade. I run my own small court reporting business, I mentor court reporting students, I provide Reiki services to clients (when they can afford it... and sometimes even when they can't), I am a facilitator for The Virtues Project, and I coach a middle-school-aged cheer squad all while trying to keep a roof over my head in these difficult economic times.  Guess which one of those endeavors causes me the most stress and the least amount of sleep?  It's the coaching - by far the most stressful job I have.

So when I struggle, I turn inward for some serious self-reflection, I turn outward to my best friends, and I turn upward for Divine intervention.  After all, if it wasn't for Divine intervention, I wouldn't be coaching in the first place.I will explain more of this part later.

I thought my journey to this point should be something I document, partly because someday I will not be able to remember all these details, and also because if I wasn't actually living my life, I wouldn't believe any of this was real.This is not where I "planned" to be at age 46, and it certainly wasn't something I was intentionally manifesting, but here I sit completely in awe of what's going on around me and humbled by what I have created...the good, the not so good, and the "I wish this hadn't happend" stuff.

In order to keep myself moving forward and finding the courage to face my own fears, I have accumulated quite a collection of items I find inspirational. I thought I would share them in case anyone else finds themselves on this same path.  Nothing I have found is new... seriously, these thoughts and ideas have been around since the beginning of time, but maybe the way I pull these different philosophies together will help someone else thereby making all these different experiences have a purpose.

While documenting and preserving this journey, I will also give examples of daily life situations, how I handled them, what worked, what didn't, and maybe together we can all find a little more love, support, and a feeling of not being on this journey alone.

So to all my old friends, I wouldn't still be standing without you; to all the friends I hope to make on this path, Hi! and welcome to my adventure...I look forward to getting to know all of you.

Dancing in the Rain

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to's about learning how to dance in the rain."

This quote is on the wall in my office, and I stare at it every day as I juggle all the various aspects of my life. I have noticed over the last couple of months that this rainstorm is not letting fact, I think it's getting stronger.

I started my day in my Angel Room, the place I find the most inspiration and peace. What's interesting is that while I feel so good when I am in that room, and miracles happened in there all the time, there are days I avoid it altogether. It should be something that is automatic, I should want to go there and become very zen, just like going to the gym and eating healthy; however, that is not the reality. In truth, sometimes I just don't feel worthy of that room and all that it embodies. I've messed up, made mistakes, lost my temper, you name it, and the place I should go to heal, I avoid.  Why do I do that? I ask myself that exact question every time I pass by knowing I should go in and work on myself. And the answer is I avoid because that would require me to go to a place of forgiveness... of myself... and that, for me, is a struggle.

I can forgive other people, and have done so many times, much easier than I can forgive myself. Why is that?  Because I tell myself that I should know better, I shouldn't have made those mistakes in the first place. I should have practiced more patience, more compassion, more detachment, whatever, but I didn't.  So I punish myself and feel unworthy and don't forgive myself because I feel I don't deserve it...yet.  I'll get there and I'll get over whatever I considered a mistake, but not right away. I will put myself in a corner on a timeout for a little while, and then when I feel "punished enough," I will let myself go out and dance in the rain.

If this sounds at all like something you do or have done, then today we can make a choice to not do this ever again. Today we can choose to learn from our "mistakes," -- after all, those are our greatest moments of learning -- and we can choose to find the inspiration and wisdom from the experience. Today I have decided that I will forgive myself first...every time... and stop wasting energy on something that as fast as it happened, immediately became something in my past. Experience, learn, grow, and move on. That's my lesson for today. 

Zig Ziglar said, "It's not where you start - it's where you end that counts." On that note, I'm off to my special room... I think I hear my angels calling.