Sunday, March 31, 2013

Down With Martyrs, Up With Leaders

Down With Martyrs, Up With Leaders

What on earth are we trying to prove? That we are right? Or worthy of love? Or simply that we are good enough?

So many of us do and do and do until we are weeping with exhaustion, depleted in our spirits, and hearts, and feeling like we still haven’t done enough.

Enough for what? Who are we trying to satisfy, or please, or prove something to? The parent who lives in our head? A third grade teacher who said something stupid and mean to us years ago? A cruel friend from the before times?

Are we trying  to prove that we deserve to be here? Deserve our breath? Our life?

Oh, dear. We will never be able to prove that, not if we are coming from a place where we have to prove it.

In every life, one can find more to do than an army could get done. In every life are seeds waiting to sprout into a life that is full of joy, and occupation, and peace. The seeds are within us.

When we buy into mislearnings such as we are not good enough, or are wrong, or unworthy, we create strife and misery for ourselves. We strive so hard to prove that the mislearning is false, we don’t realize all we have

Unless you like being a victim of your own mind and misery.  Okay, I know that was harsh, but we have to find a way to snap out of it.  Being a martyr, a victim, is a choice, and we need to unchoose it if we are to have any peace.

Why am I good enough? How do I know I am good enough? How do I know I am inherently good enough? How do I know I am naturally good enough?

When I am unhappy, or depressed, when I feel overwhelmed or victimy, I am running old, bad habits. Since I am responsible for my well being, I need to stop running those old habits, and make new, positive ones. I have a whole arsenal of tools for doing that, and so do you, if you’ve been reading these contemplations for a while.

I need to decide that I will give up feeling like a martyr. That means giving up the secondary gains I get from it; feeling special, feeling important, feeling like I deserve special treatment, and feeling like you are to blame for my misery. I also have to give up the habit of feeling put upon, feeling indispensable, feeling overwhelmed. feeling exhausted.

That’s a lot to give up. I will need to grieve the death of my martyr. Several times, in all likelihood. Changing old habits like this can take some effort.

So, I need to commit to choosing to live my happy, natural life. And I need to practice choosing it over and over. I need to practice saying, “no,” and sticking to it. I need to practice choosing peace, I need to practice choosing to do the things I am doing, and unchoosing to consider them have-tos. I need to step out of the way, and let others step up, and screw up like I did when I was learning.

I need to quit my job as martyr and take on the job of leader.

How have I changed from feeling like it’s all on me, to choosing to be a strong leader?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2013 all rights reserved 03312013

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lawrence Welk and Orson Welles

Lawrence Welk and Orson Welles

Today I drew the team-player card. I love it when I draw cards that fit what I’m noticing.

Last week, the theme at my  Clark Kent job was Team-Playing. The upshot was that, because one co-worker refuses to play by the rules, nine of us spent more than fifteen hours trying to fix something that should have been taken care of in about one hour. Yikes.

As I have worked with this person, one of my “best-teachers,” you know, a person who makes things difficult for you until you figure out your lessons to be learned, I have recognized my cowboy tendencies, and seen over and over that in a group environment, they more often than not make trouble, not just for me, but for the group.

I love my cowboy ways; freedom of thought, creativity, my enjoyment of my own company. But I have also learned that I need you. And if I want to keep you around, I need to make sure that we are working together, so to speak, for common goals.

On the one hand, that strikes me as so “Lawrence Welk”; being a cowboy is so much cooler, especially the boots.

On the other hand, my goals have to do with living a happy life, and if my being a cowboy makes strife for you, that’s kind of antithetical to what I want.

That means that if I want to be happy, I need to be aware of you and your needs. My happiness is contingent upon your happiness, in some weird way.

On the one hand, I am the only road to my own happiness, and I can choose it whenever I wish.

On the other hand, because I live in communities; family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, and so on; I need to be aware of your needs, the group rules, the group structure, and then to help change it if it isn’t serving most of us, and to leave if the common good doesn’t include me.

Uh oh. Looks like part of my being happy will come about from being a good citizen. That sounds so “Orson Welles. “

On the third hand, I can’t make you happy, I can only help create a space that you could be happy in. Sigh. This all seems rather complicated.

I am responsible for my happiness, but I am responsible to you, to help create a space where our happiness can thrive. Well, if Tibetan monks can do it in nasty prisons, I should be able to do it here, in my cushy life.

So it looks like I have a big responsibility. I need to choose my teams carefully. I need to choose teams that support me in my journey of being a happy grown up. I need to choose teams with players who get that we, each of us, is responsible for our own joy, and health, and wealth and so on. If this team doesn’t support my well being, I need to take the risk of leaving it, of having to be a cowboy (not so much fun when I have to do it. That’s happened before. I lived through it) and look for the new team. And when I find that new team, I need to commit.

I can still wear the cool boots at home.

How have I changed from demanding you do it my way, to doing what’s best for my teams?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2013 all rights reserved 03302013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Toilet Thanks

Toilet Thanks

When I was a kid, my adults would often admonish me to “count my blessings”. When we were traveling it was, “Think of the poor pioneers.” Stupid pioneers. Stupid adults. Didn’t they know how hard my life was? Didn’t they understand? What blessings? They would tell me I was an ungrateful child. They were right.

Expressing gratitude was a heinous chore, only to be undertaken with days of cajoling, shaming, and sometimes bribery. Stupid gratitude.

Took me a long time to get grateful. Poor me. Took me a long time to get peaceful and happy, too.

If you feel like you are not a grateful person, listen up: It is doable. It is worth the effort.

Start by finding one thing to feel grateful or appreciative about. One thing. Then feel it. FEEL it. “How do I feel when I feel grateful?” “How do I know I am appreciative?” “What makes me thankful?”

I really appreciate indoor plumbing, for one thing. All the inventive minds who figured out how to get hot water to go upstairs -- my compliments.

I am feeling accomplished today because I fixed my toilet. Took me a couple days, and some research. Who ever figured out how to make a toilet flush, thank you. And to all the plumbers online who wrote such clear instructions, thank you.

Sometimes I think about how most people have lived for most of the history of the world, but sometimes I feel ashamed at all that I totally take for granted.

Sometimes I think about how people in the third world live, and I appreciate my life, but sometimes I just feel guilty for the amazing material life I have.

Sometimes I think about the poor pioneers, and I appreciate the ease of my life, but sometimes I feel a little envy at their adventures.

So, for me, it takes a little fiddling to get the gratitude right, and not feel like I should be punished for all this largess.

And it takes some practice not to feel deprived or envious sometimes, when I see others as having stuff or circumstances I want.

And each minute of effort I put into feeling grateful is worth it. It is an attitude. Attitudes come from our brains. They are mostly habitual, so if I feel bad, I’m usually running a bad thought-habit, and that means I can change it. The faster I catch it, the easier it goes. And the more I feel grateful, the more I have to be grateful for.

Today, I would like you to send me one thing you are grateful for, or appreciate or thankful for. Do it now.

How have I changed from whining to appreciating my wonderful life?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2013 all rights reserved 03292013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Preaching on Appreciation

Preaching on Appreciation

Back in the last century when I was getting my Neuro-Linguistic Psychology training, we were talking about modeling. Not the runway kind, but putting ourselves in certain postures that have meaning for us, or for our loved ones.

Our initial task was to model our partner into the body position, and then add facial expression, words and tone, that made us feel appreciated.

The instructors told the story of a man who had taken the training, and felt very unappreciated in his life. It turned out that the “appreciator” had to stand rigidly straight, with arms stiff down the sides of his body, and tip their head all the way to the left shoulder, then say in a very sing-song voice, “I really appreciate you, Gary.” No wonder he never felt appreciated.

Once the instructors saw what was going on for Gary, they helped him learn to feel appreciated way more easily.

So many of us have weird little ticks like Gary did, things we’ve developed over the years that get in our way of enjoying things. We ignore them, and get crabby when others don’t model themselves into the positions we want.

Or we spend so much time thinking about what we don’t have, don’t get, or haven’t become that the Universe just shakes her head at us.

So now is a good time to talk a bit about the Law of Attraction. On the one hand, calling it that is New Age Woowoo mumbo jumbo. On the other hand, we humans have known this phenomenon for millennia. What you think about is what you get, or at least it’s what you filter for.

If I am going on and on about how exhausting my life is, I will be exhausted.

If I am going on and on about how broke I am, I will be broke.

If I am going on and on about how awful I feel, I will feel awful.

If I say over and over, “I wish I had a nice relationship/car/job.” I will never get it because wishing reinforces what I already have.

This is why I keep asking you, and reminding me, to think about what you want, and not about what you don’t want. We are so good at what we don’t want.

Why doesn’t anyone appreciate me? Why doesn’t anyone acknowledge me? Why does everyone disapprove of me? Why am I so burdened? Do you see what happens here? Those are really bad Creative Questions working away in our subconscious minds. But when we flip ‘em, and rehearse the new ones, stuff starts changing deep inside. Why do I feel appreciated? Why am I acknowledged? How am I approved of? Why is it so easy? If you feel like crap, you get more crap. It’s a choice. Choose to feel good, “How do I feel when I feel good?” and you will get more good. Look for solutions, don’t rehearse the problems.

The sermon is over. Thank you for your kind attention.

How have I changed from feeling taken advantage of to feeling acknowledged, supported, and free to choose?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2013 all rights reserved 03282013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Faux Me

Faux Me

There was a saying I loved as I was finding my way, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” At the same time, I had to be very clear about what I was doing with myself because I also had a tendency to pretend everything was fine when it wasn’t, and that stopped me from making the changes I needed to make.

I  had a brilliant and loving teacher who would tell me that I “played a good game.” She had a difficult time telling what was going on with me because I was so defended, and acted like I was great, my life was great,  when it was falling to pieces.

I remember going to a job interview, so scared that I decided to pretend I was Katharine Hepburn. To me that meant acting like I was calm and relaxed even though my palms were wet and my heart was pounding. I’m not sure how affected I looked, but I do know that I didn’t get the job.

I started to pay attention to what I was doing, I would ask myself stuff like, “How would a happy person act? How would a serene person respond? How would someone who is engaged with this group behave?” I had to watch and learn, because I didn’t know, but I watched and I did  learn.

I had to trust my teacher, who liked me, that I was likeable. I did what she told me to do, one of the most important things I have ever learned: Do what my teacher/healer/advisor tells me to do.

I started to trust that I was likeable. I started to trust that I could relax my guard a bit. I started to trust that I could change the things I wanted so desperately to change.

As I let myself show more of me to you, I felt more confident. As I felt more confident, I felt more competent. As I felt more competent, my performance improved. I had started a cycle of positive reinforcement. Wow. What a difference that made in my life.

I liked me better when I got praise for doing well instead of mostly criticism. I found myself practicing liking me. Isn’t that goofy? I had to practice something that we would love to think comes naturally to us. But I did.

I practiced by smiling at myself in the mirror. I actually made bad faces at myself before, ugly faces, and then believed that they showed the real me.

I practiced saying nice things to myself instead of horrible, hurtful things. I could always say the meanest stuff to myself, because I knew what it was.

I practiced noticing how I felt about things. I started to be aware of my opinions, and even to express them.

I decided that, even though I had gained a lot of weight, I could dress nicely, and be fit and flexible, I could love the real me, and show you the real me. And if you didn’t like me, I could live with that.

How easy.

How have I changed from pretending to be someone I wasn’t to enjoying being me?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2013 all rights reserved 03272013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Trust Fun, Baby

Trust Fun, Baby

Today’s Creative Question is, “Why do I trust?” This is a fundamental thing for us humans, a huge part of our potential happiness. Curiously, as I followed a definition train through the dictionary, the sense of the word seemed to get vaguer and vaguer.

What it kind of boiled down to is this. Trust is putting our well being in the hands of another.


We learn a lot about trust at the very beginning of our lives. If we have good teachers, trustworthy teachers, we learn lessons that will support us our whole lives. If we have untrustworthy people whom we are reliant upon, we will learn lessons that will leave us feeling betrayed over and over. Dang.

My line has been, “Trust is giving you a pointy stick, showing you where you can hurt me the most, and hoping you won’t poke me.”

The good news is that we can learn to trust, we can learn to recognize untrustworthies, and avoid them, at least not letting them be in charge of our care. And the better we get at it, the more trustworthy people we have around us. How cool is that.

More good news is that the more we trust, the more we can relax. The more we relax, the more we can let our lives unfold, releasing our feeble attempts to control stuff, outcomes, and others.

The more we relax, the calmer our bodies get. That means that we can soothe a lot of inflammation, which causes a lot what we tend to think of as aging problems. It has more to do with inflammation than age, and the more we settle into peace, the less we have to be fired up about.

Isn’t that interesting? Inflammation is one way our bodies tell us that we are taking stuff waaay too seriously. And while that’s not to say we should laugh everything off, we probably all could laugh a whole lot more.

I used to experience a lot of inflammation in my body, spirit, emotions, and mind. I didn’t want to live like that, feeling hot under the collar, being in pain, both physical and emotional all the time, my mind in turmoil with the monkey mind chattering negative crap at me all the time. Yuck!

The more I trust, the more I let go, the more I rely on you to be good to me, the easier my life gets. I am assuming that there are as many ways to let go as there are people. Here’s what I do:

Identify what I’m stressing out about. It’s not always what I think it is. I use questions, of course. What am I stressed out about? That’s the first one I answer. Why am I stressed out about that?  That’s the second. I will ask that one over again, drilling down until I get to the crux. Often, finding the crux will be a huge relief, as though the stress was just keeping me away from it. Often, it’s something I can do something about right now. If not, I am at least aware, and can come up with a Creative Question to change the energy of the crux.

Why do I choose to trust?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2013 all rights reserved 03262013

Monday, March 25, 2013

2Err = Human

2Err = Human

Isn’t it amazing how differently we each choose to live our lives? Some of us like to do a variety of activities, some of us want to stay home and watch TV. Some of us like to be in the middle of things, some of us want to be on the periphery.  

I’ve always liked to do stuff, but in days of yore, I tended to do it while in hiding. I hid a lot back then. I didn’t want you to see who I was. I knew you would despise me if you got to know me. Turned out I was wrong. I was wrong about a lot of stuff. Thank goodness.

I felt like a bad person a lot of the time. I felt like I wasn’t generous enough, or kind enough, or patient enough. I felt like I lacked tolerance. I felt judgmental as heck. I lied a lot, even when I didn’t feel like I needed to, and I felt like I needed to because I felt sick and scared most of the time. So I hid.

Then I went to treatment for chemical abuse and figured out some stuff.

I wasn’t bad, I just felt bad. A lot of us make that mistake.

I was generous, just to the wrong people, unappreciative people who were happy to take everything you had.

I was kind, just to the wrong people, people who sucked up kindness like a sponge with no acknowledgement, and better than half the time with no awareness.

I was patient, just with the wrong people, people who were, for whatever tragic reasons in their past, abusive, and patience with their bad behavior would never result in better behavior.

I lived a scary life. I picked dangerous, unkind people. I made dangerous choices.

Boy, was I lucky.

Then I found teachers; good, kind, patient, brilliant teachers who loved me, and wanted me to be happy, and to live a life where I felt safe, and adventuresome.

And Lo, here I am.

I still like alone time, I just don’t hide out any more. I’m still generous and kind and patient, but now I don’t have abusive people close to me. I’m still an introvert, but now I’m a very gregarious introvert.

My life is so not scary. Exciting, interesting, adventurous, but not scary. And a lot of what I do, I do with you.

Being engaged with you in my activities makes them way more fun. I learn so much from spending time with you. Plus, you are fun and interesting.

How have I changed from being afraid to being engaged?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2013 all rights reserved 03252013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Radical Responsibility

Radical Responsibility

“I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.”  These are the four sentences used in the H’oponopono tradition. the H’oponopono tradition says that we each need to take complete responsibility for our whole lives. That boils down to taking responsibility for everything we touch, come in contact with, become aware of. Can you imagine?

So many of us spend our time saying, “it’s not my fault. I didn’t do anything. Don’t blame me.” pushing away our responsibility, and suffering painful consequences.

What’s that you say? I didn’t do anything to anybody. I’m not responsible for someone else’s well being.

And so many of us spend our time saying, “it’s all my fault. I am guilty. All the blame is mine.” feeling guilty for our existence, but never really taking responsibility for anything. And suffering painful consequences.

What’s that you say? Isn’t feeling guilty taking responsibility?

Or we do some premium, bespoke blend of the two.

Here’s what I have learned about that. The more responsibility, not guilt,  I take for how my life is, for what comes into my awareness, for my daily interaction, the better stuff gets.

I am totally responsible for my life. I am the center of my universe, and as such, everything I become aware of is part of my life, and therefore, part of my responsibility. If you are driving me crazy or abusing me, it’s my responsibility to figure out what I need to learn, learn it, and do it.  I do not need someone to rescue me. If I am in pain, it is my responsibility to address it. It is not your fault that I hurt. If something has happened and now my life sucks, it is my responsibility to de-suckify it.

Now, that’s a big concept. But there are some important pieces to bear in mind.

I am only responsible for my self, my well being, health, and happiness.

I am responsible to you I am responsible to treat you with respect and kindness, to give you room to live your life, make and recognize and correct your mistakes.  If you are in dire straights in another part of the world, I can give money, or things. I can listen, I can do tasks, I can help improve your circumstances, but I can’t make you feel better no matter how much I want to, no matter who you are. No guilt.

Because you alone are responsible for your self, your well being, health, and happiness.

When we swap out our blaming and guilt for responsibility, when we own our piece of the pie and take care of our lives, if we help where we can, in the best ways we can, our lives get bigger. They get happier. They become way more fun, and we feel so much better; blame-free, guilt-free; that we find it pretty easy to let go of our resentments, our shame, our rage. Especially if we have good help from trustworthy people.

How do I feel when I accept my responsibility?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2013 all rights reserved 03242013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The OverDo List

The OverDo List

So, what can I do for you? How may I help? Do you know?

I love to help. I want to feel like I’m a part of my communities, that I contribute something worthwhile to them. We all do. We like to feel useful, that we provide something of value.

Interacting with each other is always interesting. It can be really rewarding, and it can be really painful. Because we survive together, learning to both give and receive respectfully is a crucial skill, and one that we are well advised to cultivate.

We all have some responsibilities when it comes to giving, and receiving, support, in order that we feel good about both sides of the equation. It boils down, like so much else, to self-knowledge and communication.

When I am the receiver, I have the responsibility to know what I want. There is an old gag, “Bring me a rock. What kind of a rock? I’ll know it when I see it.” Being vague about what you want, and then snarking at the person trying to satisfy that vague want is just rude.

If you just want me to listen, tell me.

When I am the receiver, I have the responsibility to be clear in how I want things done. If there are certain steps that have to be taken, I make sure I have included them in my instructions. Telling someone they have done something wrong when what they’ve done is simply different is just rude.

If you want me to help you, ask me.

When I am the receiver, I have the responsibility to know how much I’m asking. Over-asking is disrespectful of the person who is supporting me. Sometimes it is a set-up to try to make our helpers feel inadequate. That’s just rude.

If you want me to back off, tell me.

I have the responsibility of knowing what is a reasonable level of request, and then sticking to that. If I need more help at that point, I need more helpers.

One of the most important skills we can learn, both as a giver and as a receiver, is the saying of “No.”

In order to say “no” I need to know what my personal boundaries are. I need to know where my edges are before I get to too-much. I need to respect my boundaries, and say “no.” When I push myself past them, when I overextend myself, my tendency is to blame you, but it’s my responsibility to say, “when” and not punish you if I go too far.

When I am the giver, I need to agree to do what is needed. When I agree, I choose to do whatever, and must really step into that choice. I want to avoid agreeing when I suspect I will go to resentful. Then I need to say “No.” Sometimes that may mean stuff doesn’t get done. Let it go.

You can’t do it all. Learning how much I can get done, and then learning to let the rest go, at least for now, is a skill that will also serve me well.

How have I changed from overdoing and resenting to respecting my limits and myself?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2013 all rights reserved 03232013

Friday, March 22, 2013

O U Q-T! U R A B-U-T!

O U Q-T! U R A B-U-T!

I feel so sad when I hear people hating the way they look, the pain their voice when they list the features they don’t like.

We think because we don’t match some standard we have in our heads that we are ugly. Sometimes, we’ve learned to think that because one of our adults tells us that we don’t meet their standard. Sometimes, we learn to think that because a person makes an offhand comment, or criticism that we take to heart.

Sometimes, we do fit the standard, and have come up with the idea that we don’t. We do strange things with our food, we cut and carve into our bodies. We hate our hair; too much, not enough. Our eye color is wrong; we coat them with plastic. We dye our skin, or bleach it. We squeeze into compression garments, we totter on elevated shoes, we smear our bodies and faces with chemicals about which we know nothing. We collectively spend billions of dollars trying to satisfy a mis-learning.

It can’t be done.

You are an expression of Divine Love. You are Divine Beauty. Exactly as you are. Why do I choose to love myself unconditionally?

Take a moment to be still, and think of someone whom you love with all your heart, someone you love without reservation. Step deeply into that feeling of love until you feel it all the way through.

Got it?

Now, holding that feeling of complete love, see yourself in your mind’s eye, and let that tender, sweet love flow from you to you. No reservations, no conditions, no hold-backs.

How do I feel when I love myself completely?

It doesn’t matter if I am too short or too skinny or too fat, or my nose is weird, or my skin is wrong, or I can’t bench press my body weight, I can love my sweet self.

What amazing things happen when I make that choice.

I find that I start to let go of habits that don’t support me. I move away from people who don’t support me. I find it easier to take care of my loved ones. I want to give to others from my heart, instead of as a penance, or to prove I’m good, or because I’m supposed to.

When I can smile with love at myself, in the mirror, in my mind’s eye, I feel refreshed, as I do when another loved one smiles at me with love.

When I love me, I don’t need as much stuff, and I start to simplify. I see my worth, I recognize and value my gifts, and feel wonderful about giving them.

Not to say we don’t get emotionally overdrawn from time to time, or mad at ourselves. We aren’t going to be perfect, and striving for that will only make us nuts. Remembering to love ourselves, to smile that smile, to give ourselves a little encouragement, or praise, will go a long way to keeping us energized and happy.

How have I changed from saying hateful, judgmental things to myself to treating myself with loving respect?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2013 all rights reserved 03222013

(To understand the title, read each letter out loud.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hooray For You Day!

Hooray For You Day!

So, how are you these days? No, I mean really. Because I know that some of you are so sick, and some of you are in so much pain; physical pain, emotional pain. Some of you have had desparate losses. Some have serious financial worries, or scary relationships. I do know that.

And I know how diligently you are working to make a nicer life, not just for you, but for your loved ones. Your strength and devotion fills my heart to overflowing. (Those are happy tears flowing from my li’l heart.)

You make such a difference to so many people. How do I know I make a difference?

We see your situation, and our heart goes out to you. You help us feel compassion. What makes me seek the gift?

We see your dedication to doing what your trustworthy advisors tell you, and we feel motivated. What makes me do my best?

We hear your words affirming life, and finding joy, rather than cataloging your complaints, and we are delighted. Why am I so positive?

We see you counting your blessings, we see your gratitude and appreciation, and we feel inspired. Why am I grateful?

We see how much easier each day is for us than your day is for you, and we feel blessed, and generous. (Okay, some of us feel guilty, but we are working on that.) Why do I appreciate my wonderful life?

I know the flip side of this attitude really well. The my - life - sucks - so - bad - that - I - can’t - think - of - anything -else - to - talk - about syndrome. I was so used to complaining that I would launch into my whines without thought.  # 47 My Head Hurts.  # 73 My Job Sucks. # 92 Nobody Loves Me. I could run them from beginning to end with almost the same words over and over.

The Poor Me recordings sat in my brain on the shelf next to the Argument recordings and the Parent-Who-Lives-In-My-Head recordings. All of them play on a regular basis bringing me down, man. We are mostly unaware of the fact that we are running the same selections over and over. It’s just habit.

When I decided that I wanted to be happy, I had to start erasing those recordings, and replacing them with selections that supported me to choose my best life over and over. It was really challenging until I found Creative Questions.

Because Creative Questions work deep in our unconscious mind, all we have to do is remember to use them. Why is it so easy? I need to notice when I’m using bad creative questions, “Why do I suck, why am I always broke, what makes me always hurt so much?” And then change the questions as soon as I notice. Why am I a gift? Why do I have a surplus of money? Why do I enjoy vibrant health?

I also need to remember to reward my efforts to improve my life. That means celebrating my tiny achievements, my small achievements, my medium ones, and my big ones. I like celebrating, so I want to celebrate your achievements, too.

How have I changed from discounting my accomplishments to celebrating all the time?

Now take a moment, and send me a note with one of your recent accomplishments, and we will celebrate!

(c) Pam Guthrie 2013 all rights reserved 03212013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gas, Taxes, and Empowerment

Gas, Taxes, and Empowerment

In the olden days, I wanted out. I wanted off the grid, even though I wanted to live in the city. I had no bank accounts. I paid cash for everything so there wouldn’t be a record. I stopped paying taxes. I thought it would make me feel free, but it just made me anxious and paranoid.

And one fateful day, I was pulling into a gas station that had a tanker delivering the gas, and everything changed for me. I was never going to be truly independent. Lots of someone elses would always be doing things for me, even if they never knew I existed, even if I never knew they existed. I am not going to pump oil out of the ground and refine it and make it into gas for my car. Or bio fuel. Or run the hydroelectric plant that makes my electricity. Or grow all my food (can I even grown quinoa up here?)

I’m not going to grow the organic cotton, or flax, or viscose. And spin it and weave it into cloth that I make into clothes.  I’m not going to throw my tableware on a potter’s wheel and fire in my kiln that burns the trees that I grow.

I need you.

Every aspect of my lovely urban life is possible because of all the people who are doing work that makes my life nice. I have more support than I can imagine.

Not only that, but I have kind friends who help me, dear neighbors who take care of things, co-workers who do stuff for me.

It makes things clear to me that if I’m feeling unsupported, I’m not paying attention. The curious thing I find is that the more supported I feel, the more support I get.

Sometimes, I have to ask for it.

Sometimes, I may not like the way I get it.

Sometimes, I pretend that it’s not available and I feel sorry for myself. Pitee Partay!!

Each of us has made it this far. We’ve made it this far because of other people doing things to help us out.

When we are feeling unsupported, or that we need more support, our first step is to think about what support we actually want.

I find it fascinating that, when I start to think about the support I think I need, I often find that I need something else, usually the support I should give myself; food, sleep, down time. Once I get that taken care of, the other often falls right into place.

Recognizing and appreciating all the support I get everyday in so many ways allows me to feel empowered to do what I need to do, and what I like to do. It allows me to delegate. It allows me to say, “No.” It allows me to support you, my family, my friends, my neighborhood, and communities in a bunch of different ways. And that’s nice.

Oh, and my back taxes are all filed.

How have I changed from feeling neglected to feeling awash in support?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2013 all rights reserved 03202013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sowing Seeds of Contentment

Sowing Seeds of Contentment

When was the last time you had a wonderful surprise? You might call them miracles, or unexpected delights. The label doesn’t matter, it’s the noticing.

I have had a knack for finding coins, and occasionally bills, on the street. Over the years, I’ve picked up hundreds of dollars in pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. I had a friend who would say that I could spot a black penny at midnight on asphalt, which is quite true, I’ve done that many times.

Each one of those coins was an exercise in allowing wonderful surprises, delights, or miracles into my life.

I’ve also learned some interesting stuff, picking up those coins, and talking about picking them up.

I knew a fellow who cleaned offices. He discovered that a woman in one of the offices he tended threw her pennies in the trash every day. He’d fetch ‘em out, and saved them up. It took a few years, but he ended up using them to get a new music player for his truck. To her they were garbage. Hmm.

Similarly, the man I knew who, if he dropped some coins, would only bother to pick them up if they were silver. Pennies were litter.

I knew a woman who spotted coins all the time, but wouldn’t pick them up because they belonged to someone else.

I also know a man who would get a roll of quarters, and sprinkle them from his pocket as he walked around town, just so people could have the joy of finding a quarter. I so love that. I’ve copied it, and think of those coins as happiness seeds. On the one hand, what can you buy for a quarter, on the other hand, how fun is it to find a quarter! On the third hand, how fun to sow happiness seeds!

When we tune in to life’s little sweetnesses, we find sweetness. When we look for the delights in our day, we find the delights. When we are open to miracles, we notice our miracles. Each day has something in it. The more we pay attention, the nicer our days seem.

At my desk at my Clark Kent job I have a misting fountain. Water drops from an inverted bowl in little musical drips, which most of the time I don’t notice. But lately, I’ve been slowing down enough to hear them. Soothing, and delightful, right there, whenever I want to stop and listen.

Likewise, the little snails at my desk are a constant source of delight.

The more we practice, the more we find, like sitting on my porch in the dead of winter, noticing that most of me is warm as toast, and attending to that, rather than the one part of me that might be chilly.

Choosing to look for the good, seeking it, noticing it, marking it out, and appreciating it, makes us much more adept at recognizing the wonder, the joy, and the miracles we are presented every day.

How have I changed from discounting the amazing to appreciating my miracles every day?

(c) Pam Guthrie all rights reserved 03192013