What do you really want?


My mentor, Martha Beck, wanted to stab herself in the head with a fork because of me. She even wrote a blog post about it.  Sure, the post wasn’t just about me, but she’d said almost the exact same words when she was coaching me with the horse in the round pen during the Master Coach retreat, just weeks before.

When I was standing there with the horse, she’d asked me, “What do you want?”  And I hemmed and hawed a little.  I said, “Yes, that’s what I need to figure out.” and she jumped all over my case, telling me not to answer with a vague statement, but to figure it out right now.  What do I want right now?

It’s always nice to get chastised by your mentor.   But she was making a solid point.

Martha’s point was that if I’m clear with my desires, and I ask and take inspired action toward them, they are bound to happen.  But if I’m wishy-washy and unclear, then nothing happens. Or wishy-washy unclear things happen.

This seems so simple, doesn’t it?  Don’t we all do what we want to do?  Isn’t that how we chart the course of our lives?

Not necessarily.  Many of us don’t know that truly living our deepest desires is possible.  We believe that we have to just kind of plug along through life – work, home, family, and maybe take a nice vacation here and there.  We have duties, responsibilities.  I mean really – what if everyone did what they wanted – wouldn’t the whole place descend into some sort of Lord of the Flies chaos? That’s the response I get from people.

So there's the fear of chaos, that our deepest inner desire is to just run around naked in the woods with no responsibilities.  And then there's simply confusion.  How do we separate our deepest wants from what's projected onto us by society or culture?

I am still figuring out how to separate what my deepest inner self wants from what my ego wants.  My ego is distracted by praise, accolades-- some kind of external measure of achievement.  Years of schooling and a lifetime spent in Western culture have trained me to believe that I need to work hard, achieve, do well, accomplish something, leave a legacy – all that good stuff.

When I listen closely though, my deepest inner self is not so swayed.  My deepest inner self wants permission to move more slowly through life.  To drink in the experience. To watch the seasons change. To marvel at flowers, butterflies, birds, blades of grass. (Ok, ok, it's true! To run around free in the woods.  Maybe these Lord of the Flies people have a point...)

At the time in that round pen with Martha and Koelle and the other coaches watching, I just wanted to stand there with that horse.  To gaze into his beautiful brown eyes.  To nuzzle his velvety nose.  I didn’t need him to run around.  I didn’t even need him to follow me, although it was wonderful that he did.  It was my first time in a round pen with a horse.  I hadn’t gotten to the part of wanting anything more than to be there in that moment.

The other thing I wanted was to rest.   Oh goodness, I wanted to rest.  I’d been getting so many messages to rest.  From my deceased cat, Buster.  From the horse.  From everyone who’d been watching me for the past 8 months. Here's what I'm finding while I continue to resist rest and watch my clients do it too:  From an unrested place we can't even tell what we want.  We refuse to listen to our bodies.  We push some more.  Or distract ourselves some more with whatever keeps us from feeling and noticing - food, shopping, Netflix, Facebook, Pinterest, activities for the kids, books, work...

So I’m curious.  What do you really want?  Do you really want to add in that thing, whatever it is, to all the other stuff you’re doing?  What if you took some things off your plate first?  What if you began with rest?  My hunch is that you might be tired.  (It’s a good hunch because apparently 30 percent of Americans are chronically sleep deprived.)

January's goal was to rest more.  I'm revising that.  It's now 2014's goal.  While I'm resting, then I can listen.  Listen closely to what else I really, really, really, most deeply want.  Interested in joining me?  Stay tuned for some intentional resting and listening opportunities.  And I'm curious - are you craving rest too? And feeling guilty or unaccomplished enough because of it?  Leave a comment and let's continue the discussion!

30 Day Challenge - Day 23 - avoiding burnout

It's funny, right now everything I chose for my 30 Day Challenge is going swimmingly.   I adore my morning grass time. Today the angel's trumpet is full of blooms. There's nary a stray paper in sight because I spend ten minutes a day corralling the papers so they're not allowed to reproduce.

I'm still so happy to sit with my sketchbook and my super-smooth oil pastels and play on paper. Today I started a portrait of the sweet turtle who lives in the yard. Here's the progress:

But aside from that, I'm bushed.  I could press on and keep working, continuing to ignore my body, leading eventually to a lot more resistance and maybe even illness, and definitely some stress breakouts, or I can go rest.  I'm opting for rest.  I didn't make all these great changes to my life to keep playing the burnout game.

Do you still play the burnout game?  Do you kind of give yourself a break but not really, so that all the pushing and pushing eventually adds up complete body breakdown?  Or are you beginning to listen - to realize that your life is made up of minutes and hours, and how you spend those minutes and hours is how you spend your life?  And that spending minutes and hours pushing and being stressed and harried means living a stressed, harried life?

I'm going to go rest.  And all is well.

30 Day Challenge: Day 14 - Just time for quiet

I'm still cruising along with my challenge.  This is the quiet time in the middle - I'm almost to the half-way point!  All is well. I'm in a contemplative state today - a quiet Sunday. I don't have wisdom to offer today, just quiet.  And a photo from the swamp to match  my calm yet subdued mood.  Time to rest.


30 Day Challenge Day 10 - tired

This is when I need to be careful.  I did my grass time, my paper time (tossing more photos) and my art time - I would post the cardinals again but I didn't change it much and maybe made it a little muddier - alas! I'm actually excited about the new art piece I'm working on - it's another colorful whimsical project - a sort of rebus.  I don't want to give it away yet, so here's a far away photo:

And here are beautiful plumbago flowers from the yard during grass time:

What I need to be careful about is what happens when I'm tired.  Right now I'm kind of overriding my body (we do this SOO much in our culture!)  I don't want to miss a day or miss a post so I'm showing up here, and that feels good, but I'm also tired.  And my brain is listing all the things that I didn't do today instead of remembering the ones I did, because it's tired.  It's feeding me a story about how since I'm tired this plan is not sustainable, especially since we didn't do everything we'd like to have done today.  My brain has somehow forgotten the six assorted meetings and calls I had today, the amazing coaching with a fabulous client, the brunch with a dear old friend - the happy way the day went!  It's just cranky and silly.  So I'm going to fix my body some comfort food then put my tired mind to bed.  All is well.  The answer to tired, I'm finally learning, is rest.  Not caffeine, not more tasks, not feeling bad, just plain old rest.