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Pair #63, Just Get Me Out of Here
Talking to Freeman Michaels today about how we relate to our bodies - and how one of the keys to looking at this is developing a new relationship with discomfort.

That seems very true.

I can see all the distractions and covers up and excuses I've created to paper over being uncomfortable with discomfort.  When someone in is going through a hard time, I  definitely want the situation to end. A dear friend is going through what most would call a 'grueling' divorce.  I notice, looking at it, that my position, even as I try to be supportive, is really saying "This is hard for me to watch." I can tell because rather than listening, I am in problem-solving mode.  I can see how unhelpful that is.

What I want to say, when I consider how I would really like to be, is how much I trust that they will get through it, that things will be fine, that I love them just the same, that there is good in everything.  I want to give true support and love.

When we reach the point of discomfort - be it in a yoga pose stretched to capacity, standing in front of the pastry counter with sugar cravings reaching a peak, or listening to someone giving us honest feedback - and we feel the panic and discomfort rising, all we want to do is make it stop.  Rarely do we consider that we might very well survive this moment. Period.  Even by doing nothing but standing in it (much less by actually deciding to move toward it!).

In many self-growth practices this idea of moving toward the pain is called learning to 'be with'.  Hospice workers learn it thoroughly, but for the rest of us, it can be a shock to step toward and not away.

Learning to 'be with' is one of things I can really suck at sometimes.  

So... how do I want to be with the part of me that wants to be rid of that part of me that really sucks at this?

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
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Thank you.
 
 
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Pair #62 To err is human, to forgive is human too
I can give up the idea that one day, if I work hard enough, nothing will bother me, I'll never get upset or angry and I'll never again have a unkind word for myself or others.

*Sigh*

No matter how much personal work I do, I can still come up short, get lost in a petty idea, and not follow my own best advice.

Just today I was upset and frustrated.

And actually the thing that really hit home was that I was angry because I thought I shouldn't be frustrated.  I thought I should be able to 'do better than that'.

To come nose to nose with my lack of humility was a jolt.  Did I really think I was so self-aware that I should never have a problem or find anything difficult ever again? The truth is, I got upset that I didn't have my shit together.  And it got me thinking...

What does it mean to do personal work?  Do I really believe that it means I'll grow out of myself?

Where in the fine print does it say "after a certain time has passed, you will no longer react at all and never make another mistake"?   There's nothing wrong with not being able to cope, getting frustrated or just plain losing it. 

Which reminds me of this wonderful quote:

Every human heart is human.
       -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

How unhelpful to think that one day we'll become so wonderfully self-aware that we will crawl out of our humanity.

There is nothing wrong with being human. 

In fact, it's rather divine.

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
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Thank you.
 
 
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Pair #61 Dear Diary, A good day today.  Woke up.
Over lunch today my Mom and I reminisced how in our household growing up we decided not to celebrate birthdays.  Instead my brother and I were accorded a "special day" we could chose to be anytime of the year on any particular day.

I was particularly in favor of this idea because my birthday falling on the 27th of July meant I never got cards or a cake at school like other kids with birthdays during the school year.   While I was picturing school parties and lots of presents, the real reason for our family choice was that my mother and father raised us in  Christian Science.  When your fundamental operating principle is that our true identity is spirit and the physical world is not real, but an illusion - it follows that it might not make much sense to celebrate the passage of time.

Most of my life I spent questioning the ideas I was raised with, but I have to admit, we had something when it came to the birthday thing.

Cakes, presents and all the rest are fun, but perhaps the point of today is really to be happy to be here. Period.  When you consider that the past is gone and the future does not exist, then each moment is a kind of lucky break.  It's a new now in the grace of simply being alive.

That is something to remember everyday.  Glad to be here.  Glad to be alive. 

Breathe.

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
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Thank you.
 
 
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Pair #60  What's love got to do with it?
I know now that there are some things I did not understand about love, mainly because I never thought I needed to ask or find out. I never asked, for example, what is love really was made of? What does it look like for me?  I assumed I would ‘know it when I saw it.’  Or worse, perhaps, I just accepted without thinking, that it looked like the images in romantic movies or wedding photographs.

Without much inquiry it's easy to take love to consist entirely of a feeling: elation, excitement, heat.  It is out there to get or find it ... or lose.  Someone we like the look of arrives and gives us attention or someone approves of us - and it's here! We feel great. We feel 'love'.  And so we keep an eye open,  looking for it to pop up like a happy accident in our lives.  When we get fed up waiting, we try to induce it.  A lot of celebrity behavior screams "please love me!"  Much of self-improvement is an attempt ot love ourselves without ever asking the question "what does that mean?"

As I've opened up more questions like those above, I have come to recognize love as an experience of good will and connectedness with myself and others.  It has a lot of flavors, ranging from deep gratitude, to acceptance and compassion for someone's pain, to the warmest feeling of wanting the best for someone. 

I may not experience all of the flavors all the time, there is one thing about love that is a new experience, totally unlike romantic gushy love,  and that is that love is instantly available to me all the time.

It may well seem like love is something that comes and goes based on what someone is doing (being nice or mean, for example), but when I've been open to challenging this and tried to love others on a deeper level, no matter what is happening, I find that love is there.  It's available if I chose it.

If that is really true, it means it is possible to love everyone and myself all the time, if I want to.  It makes love a choice, not a reaction.

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
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Thank you.
 
 
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#59  Here comes Mr. Brightside
Don’t you just hate it when you are in the middle of something painful and someone says “Well you have to look on the bright side!”

Not that I’m against positive thinking, but I don’t think it really cheers anyone up to pretend they feel fine when they don’t.  (You know how it feels to have someone being all smiles and telling you they are not mad while they are clenching their teeth and fists - it’s dissonant and it’s downright scary).

The only way it works for me to “look on the Bright Side” is if the Bright Side is true.

I’ve never been able to fake myself into happiness.  I have found, however, that happiness is not ever far away, even in the worst of times.

Here’s my theory.  Think of anything ‘bad’ that’s happened to you, maybe losing a job or  breaking up with someone you thought would always be in your life.  In my experience, as the years passed, I managed to appreciate the opportunities that these moments of loss created: I have found love and a job I love, for example.  

What that means is that, with time, I’ve always been able to enjoy some benefit.  So why not just compress time?  I’ll either get the lesson now, or I can have it later. I might as well just shake hands and get aquainted and spare myself the wait.

Maybe that is really the only choice we are ever making.

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.
 
 
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Pair #58 Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!
I realize that our internal voice is not always very nice to us, but I think the internal voice is usually trying to keep us safe. 

That doesn't mean we need to believe everything it says.

I've learned a lot recently about the brain and how it works many of my different radio show guests, but two in particular who came to talk to me were Rick Hanson, and also Don Goewey.  Both have done separate research (and their books are well worth reading) showing essentially that the reptilian brain, which is part of our now bigger and more complex brain, is still on the lookout for physical dangers like saber-tooth tigers and such.   One of the most fascinating by products of this is that we have brains that tend to collect evidence of danger and ignore what is non-threatening. 

I think this connects to our negative internal dialogue and becomes an integral part of the narration that goes on as we attempt to avoid danger and stay safe.   This part of us will tend to bank negative experiences and simply neglect to register positive ones.  This brain which used to be all we had to keep us safe from all kinds of physical dangers, continues to look out for us today in our every day surroundings using its primitive impulses.   

One of the ways we are often told to deal with our internal voices are to shut them up. In fact one common tool used is to turn down the volume in your mind.   Now, you wouldn't want to turn down your danger voice so much that you walked right into the worst of situations.  However, you really also don't need the alarm bells ringing 24/7 either.  So volume control is an important skill when your internal dialogue is filled with negative chatter and danger warnings that lead to feelings of chronic stress.

What I've found is for me it also works to say "Look, there are no lions here, so just calm down."

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
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Thank you.
 
 
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Pair #57 Anyone round here seen my answers?
As I look around for guests for the radio show, I’m often thinking about what problems you, my friends and listeners are dealing with.  I like to think the shows might actually point to ways to solve the big problems any of us are facing right now.

Maybe that seems to suggest that someone will come along who has THE answer just for you...

and that would make me so happy!

I certainly do want you to find what you are looking for; and yet the bare truth seems to be that no one else has your answer. 

There really is no direct link between someone else’s wisdom or teachings and your problem.  Or let me put it this way, the real link between your problem and the answer is not someone else’s answer.  It’s you.  It's the way you rethink the issue yourself, based on whatever information comes your way.

That's how I think it works. 

I mean have you ever noticed that we often reject even very good ideas simply because haven’t come up with ourselves?  Even if we specifically asked for them?

How many times have you suggested something to a friend and then they happily ignored your great advice, only to have them chirp later that they had this ‘great idea’ (which sounded a lot like the one you gave them and they didn’t want!).

We really only want to hear our own answers and yet we are constantly looking for other people to answer our questions.  (Did we learn this in school or what?)

But let's face it, between the good ideas of others, and our day to day issues, all we can get is a good push in the right direction.  And most of the time we resent that too.  Maybe we were just made this way.  Maybe that's why we need to confront some of our problems over and over again, until we are ready to listen to our own advice.  Until we are ready to take what we've gathered, make it our own and just trust what we are hearing inside.

That means the best advice you'll ever get might be someone who says nothing, but offers space for you to hear yourself. 

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' on http://elesecoit.com"
 
 
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Pair #56  Hey, Leggo of my Ego!
There are not many things we would all agree upon, but most of us seem to agree that it is a good thing to "be yourself.”

Well, this got me thinking.  What does it actually mean to 'be myself'? What does authentic look like?

I spent last week hanging out with the delightful Robert Holden on his Coaching Happiness Course in London, and one of the things we explored in depth was the distinction between the self that we construct (our persona, or what Robert calls our ‘learned self’) and the self that simply is (some might call that the unconditioned self, the true self, or the real you).

Just about every self development course I know has something to say about these two sides of a human being - the real and the constructed.  In fact, the appeal of self-development is often the promise that we will discover our authentic selves.  But what does that mean?  

Too often it means nothing more than trying to improve on ourselves by ridding ourselves of an ego.  This is based on the idea that the authentic self is the ego-less self.  Now that may be true on some level, but I am not at all sure I need to get rid of the ego before I can experience who I am.  

In order to know the real me, I think I just need to relax and stop thinking I need to be different.  After all, most of us have had a lot of self-improvement done, but would we know our authentic self if it turned up in the mirror one morning?  As long as we keep thinking that the authentic self is perfect (and we may get there one day) and the ego-self is bad and needs to be got rid of  - we are in a terrible, terrible bind that prevents us from recognizing who we are at all.   

What if the real you doesn’t need any more self improvement in order to turn up?  What if rather we just need to relax and be more accepting of all the sides of ourselves in order to experience who we are, really, right here and right now.

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' each day on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.
 
 
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Pair #55 Go On, Fawggeddaboudit
You know when you do absolutely everything to make sure that things go your way; and then they just won't?  It's as if all cooperative forces have left the planet and you are left trying to restart the earth's orbit all on your own.

Let me be specific. The last few, wonderful, adventure-and-delight-filled weeks, I've been followed around the globe from New York to London by an internet curse that will not allow me to consistently access the internet anywhere I go. (Until today, basically.)

See, when I made this commitment to write and publish a blog post each day of the week I don't think the memo got round that I would really be needing internet access like, yunno, every day, on demand, all over the globe, thank you very much.

After a week of issues in NY and another few work days in London trashed by dropped connections...I was left all alone with that little voice insisting that the nationwide authentication fault on BTOpenzone could be resolved with my own two hands if only I was willing to make enough irate phone calls.

Thankfully there's the Other Voice.

It was asking "What are you making this mean about you...?" As I took a moment to uncover what I was telling myself I saw the headlines: 
  • I am not keeping my commitments (I'm bad)
  • I'll disappoint people (no one will like me anymore)
  • I could do more (I should be perfect)
I could see that without those judgements, it was OK to just do what I could and then stop being concerned about it.

I think very often we tell ourselves "there's nothing you can do, so don't sweat it" and that can be all it takes.  We just walk away.    But for those times when it's hard to just let go and be happy regardless,  it's useful to see the little horror movies we’ve got playing our heads.  If nothing else than just to see how very silly we can be sometimes.

It's nice to be back.

© 2010 Elese Coit
If you wish to reprint, feel free, please link back here and if it's of use, include:
"Elese Coit is a leader in transformative personal change and Hosts the Radio Show A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything. To see the world differently, reach for one of her '101 New Pairs of Glasses' each day on http://elesecoit.com"

Thank you.