How Belonging Fosters Meaning-Filled Relationships (Part 2 of 2)

In the previous sensory balance post we began a two-part exploration of how the fourth of our four inner senses—belonging—helps us imbue our experiences with meaning. Here are my additional thoughts on the sense of belonging.

Relationships have been the greatest teachers in my life. While often they didn’t feel helpful at the time, in hindsight I can see that they provided the sacred space in which I received my most difficult lessons about the true meaning of healthy boundaries. They were the classroom in which I learned how to establish constructive limits for myself and how to recognize when my “desire to help” was not fueled by core energy of love but by fear in the form of anxiety, self-doubt, avoidance, or arrogance.

I embrace authenticity and honor healthy boundaries

Across a variety of roles and venues—daughter, sister, parent, wife, mother, boss, subordinate, coach, friend—I had to be taught these lessons about respecting my own and others’ boundaries again and again before I began to see the light. These same advanced classes are the ones to which the Universe continues to invite me each day.

Don’t set your intention to develop more patience or better boundaries unless you are prepared to embrace the inevitable upheaval. We only become better at anything with practice. Practicing patience and boundaries requires doing so in difficult situations. It is the only way to get good at it.

I’ll share a few personal examples to illustrate. In the introduction to the Discovery Framework, I mentioned a couple of belonging-related hiccups I encountered on my way to writing this section of the book. These situations provided the latest in a series of ongoing moment-by-moment opportunities to deepen my own ability to live the framework, clarify my boundaries, and strengthen my commitment to my calling. They included two of my beloved cats being diagnosed with illnesses; my husband undergoing two surgeries in one month, with two more to come; and a rift in a long-term friendship.

So how did I fair? I remained on an even keel in handling the two cat-astrophes, demonstrating real progress in my ability to be fully present when I perceive my loved ones are in pain or danger. I didn’t even consider my past practice of spinning death horror stories in my head that would only serve to freak me out and block me from accessing my deepest wisdom. I embraced my responsibility for my cats’ diagnoses and care and continued chipping away at sculpting the framework chapters of this book. I remembered that all relationships are sent to us for a season and a reason. I practiced being here now, appreciating every moment life gives me with the furry family members I adore.

I appreciate every moment with my loved ones

I also did fairly well with my husband’s surgeries, trying to be supportive (love) without being intrusive (fear). I freely admit to a few times when I stuck my nose in and pushed my approach over his (disrespect). The good news is that I noticed my slips quickly (curiosity), didn’t beat myself up (love, respect, and compassion), apologized voluntarily (love and respect), and shifted my focus back to writing the framework chapters, trusting Wilson to manage his own healthcare.

The rift in the friendship proved the greatest challenge of the three for me. I did a bit of obsessing, which distracted and blocked me from writing and other happy endeavors. But I also handled it, especially the fear, much more constructively than I have such situations in the past. I applied curiosity instead of judgment in assessing what my friend and I each contributed to the rift. Over a period of months, I made multiple attempts to repair it. When it became clear to me that reconciliation was not in the cards, I released all of it with love and light and firmly but lovingly closed the door. For me to have pushed the situation any further at the time would not have been loving, respectful, or compassionate to either of us.

With deep disappointments, this release process is often iterative. When the pain of such experiences resurfaces periodically, I try to resist distracting myself with eating to excess, shopping until I drop, or working harder and longer. I set my intention to embrace my feelings with curiosity and identify the opportunity for even deeper healing within me. Sometimes there’s an aspect for which I bear responsibility that I’ve not fully accepted. Other times there’s an element of my friend’s responsibility that I’m still trying to carry. I focus my energy on embracing my own lessons and completely detaching from my friend’s lessons because, frankly, they are none of my business. I have enough on my own plate at all times to keep me constructively occupied. I remind myself that we each did the best we could with the wisdom we gave ourselves access to at the time. I foster genuine gratitude for the growth our relationship has offered me and release both of us into the loving arms of the Universe to move forward on our individual paths.

I am genuinely grateful for the advanced class in boundary setting and the opportunity to share it here (yet another silver lining). In the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1 (The Message version) tells us, “… there is a right time to everything on earth.” The Tao rules of engagement for right relationships express this principle as, “When you come, we welcome you. When you stay, we do not hold on to you. When you leave, we do not pursue you.”

To everything there is a time and season

If the Universe feels my friend and I still have unfinished business, It will reopen the door when the time is right. If not, the time may have come for us to move on permanently because we are meant to learn our remaining life lessons through other situations and relationships. One way or another, we’re going to keep being offered the lessons until we learn them. The longer it takes, the tougher the lessons get. As we say in the practice of Reiki, “May I learn my lessons quickly and gently and help others do so as well.”

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2019 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

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How Belonging Fosters Meaning-Filled Relationships (Part 1 of 2)

In the previous sensory balance post we completed a two-part exploration of how the third of our four inner senses—spirituality—helps us imbue our experiences with meaning. We now turn our attention to the fourth and final inner sense with the first of two posts on our sense of belonging.

Belonging: I connect and communicate. I enjoy meaning-filled relationships with myself and others. I know and am known.

Healthy boundaries are not about separation; they are about creating an environment that fosters constructive core energy. One of the greatest gifts we give others is not choosing to love them; it is having the generosity and courage to allow them to love us.

Relationships: The Doctoral Program of Life Lessons

If at this point in our exploration you’re hoping for a big dose of holding hands and singing “We Are the World,” you’re in for a disappointment. Relationships are not for the naïve or faint of heart. There’s a reason I cover this inner sense last. Relationships are the doctoral program of life lessons. Just when we think we’re starting to get the hang of living from unconditional self-love, the Universe raises the bar and sends us relationships. As challenging as you may have found this path so far, self-love is by comparison relatively easy to accomplish in isolation. It is much trickier in community with others.

Relationships offer the opportunity to recognize and transform any and all vestiges of unexamined fear within ourselves, thereby becoming even clearer channels for love and light at all times and in all situations. They are, in the words of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, “the refiner’s fire.”

Intimate relationships are loving mirrors. The adage of opposites attracting is based in part on the idea that we seek in our companions a way to complete the underdeveloped or unappreciated parts of ourselves. Now there is a formula for friction! You can choose to walk around feeling annoyed and put upon most of the time or, like the oyster, choose to embrace the irritant and set your intention to create a pearl. It’s up to you. You are the decider; what will you do with your precious gift of life? How might you find greater joy in your relationships if you weren’t so attached to tolerating them with resentment?

Relationships: Embrace the friction to create a pearl

Kick all thoughts of “fixing” others to the curb. Even if they let you do it, it is not kind. It robs them of their personal power and opportunity for personal growth. By forcing a situation on them that they may not be ready for, you expose them to a sense of failure and cheat them of the opportunity for authentic, organic growth that could have empowered them by unfolding in its perfect time. As with the man who thought he was making it easier for the struggling butterfly by cutting it out of the cocoon, it does not matter what you think your motivations are; the butterfly is still dead, and you’re the one holding the scissors. It is neither respectful nor realistic. You can’t make anyone change. Substantive, lasting change comes from within.

Share ideas and possibilities freely. Then completely detach from the outcome. When you find it hard to do so, your real opportunity is not to “fix” the other person’s life. It is to figure out what feeling you believe you’ll have, the one you won’t let yourself have now, once they get in alignment with your plan. Next, get curious about what fear is blocking you from allowing yourself to feel that feeling, just as things are. Finally, determine what truth and love-based reality you could substitute for your chosen fear-based lie and illusion to produce the desired feeling for yourself right now, without anyone else having to change anything else. If you are really interested in changing someone’s life for the better, focus on the only life for which you have been given both the responsibility and ability—your own. In the process, you will find that moods can be contagious. Your greater joy and fulfillment will improve the experience and opportunities of everyone and everything you encounter.

What kind of companion are you, and what type of people do you spend most of your time with? Honest, optimistic, encouraging people committed to mutual growth? Companions who share deep, meaning-filled relationships? People who lift one another up and help raise one another’s energetic frequencies when they are low? Or wet blankets, devil’s advocates, and downers?

Share hope, possibilities and empowerment!

Take great care in choosing your closest relationships. While we may have great love, respect, and compassion for others who are choosing to fuel themselves with fear, it is not necessarily optimal to expose ourselves to a constant diet of such companions. Yes, mindfulness can help you keep yourself clear, but a constant need to be on alert for attitude and mood contagion is exhausting. While challenging relationships present great learning opportunities, they are debilitating on a regular basis. Even the strongest among us needs a break now and then. Pay attention to what you are feeding your sense of belonging.

One of the reasons we become stuck in codependent, mutually destructive relationships is that we are resisting appropriate allocation of responsibility. When we choose to remain attached to the energy of regret and resentment, we entrap ourselves in a shame and blame web of our own making, unable to break free into self-responsibility and healthy detachment. Learning to bring to bear unconditional love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude produces the shift from a disempowering core energy of fear, reeking of “I don’t matter” and “I am powerless,” to an empowering core energy of love, emanating “I matter” and “I am powerful.”

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2019 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

Click here to explore Deborah’s book.

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How Spirituality Makes Life a Purpose-Filled Journey (Part 2 of 2)

In the previous sensory balance post we began a two-part exploration of how the third of our four inner senses—spirituality—helps us imbue our experiences with meaning. Here are my additional thoughts on the sense of spirituality.

Reiki is a form of mindfulness-based energy work focused on enhancing life experience in all areas.

Reiki is a form of mindfulness-based energy work focused on enhancing life experience in all areas. It reduces stress, increases relaxation, fuels creativity, and fosters healing. I liken Reiki to a form of energetic mindfulness meditation or prayer with the Reiki practitioner serving as a consecrated channel for the flow of spiritually guided Universal Source energy to support insight, healing, and empowerment.

Though as a master teacher, I offer Reiki meditation programs, treatment sessions, and classes that train and attune others in the practice of Reiki, my primary focus is “walking the Reiki path.” That journey is eclectic, intuitive, and trans-denominational. As such, my responsibility is to keep myself free of fear as a clear channel for Divine love and light. In that sacred space, I always, and in all ways, facilitate the revelation and advancement of the highest good for all, in all, through all.

While I hold great respect and gratitude for the Reiki tradition and symbols, for me, the “magic” doesn’t reside in either. The ability to facilitate physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing lies dormant in each one of us from birth, waiting for the moment when we are ready to “remember,” reclaim our power, and step into our greatness. Invoking the Reiki symbols reminds us to employ the full range of abilities that always dwells within each of us. Every time we do so, we return home to our innermost truth of wholeness characterized by love, respect, curiosity, compassion, gratitude, faith, hope, prosperity, peace, and joy.

When we are free of all fear and aligned with love as our Source, our very presence raises the constructive energy of every being and situation we encounter. To that end, I begin each day with an affirmations-based daily practice. You will find the complete script of my practice in the appendix. I share it to inspire you to develop your own personalized daily practice through which you clear yourself of all fear, realign your energy and intentions, and dedicate yourself as a clear channel for love and light, with the commitment to learn your lessons quickly and gently and help others do so as well. You will also find more information about the art of Reiki in the appendix.

My life is a purpose-filled journey, not a destination.In December 2011, after much study, reflection, and meditation, I chose to become an ordained minister. As a spiritual celebrant, I am licensed to officiate at civil and transdenominational spiritual services of all types. It is my particular honor to preside over celebrations of major life milestones and transitions such as birth, coming of age, graduation, relationship commitment, home blessing, healing, and end of life. Serving in this way is a natural complement to the partner, teacher, and guide roles I already embody as a life coach, author, and Reiki master teacher.

I was sent to be the unique and precious Deborah Jane Wells cocreative expression of The Divine. I am not here to be an imitation of someone else. I am not here to fix you or turn you into an imitation of me. In the inimitable words of Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

This way of living is the antithesis of the kind of selfishness many of us were warned against in our youth. This way of living involves taking responsibility. When each person focuses on aligning herself with love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude, the world will exist in a state of generous, effortless, gracious flow filled with faith, hope, prosperity, peace, and joy for all. While that may be my personal vision and mission, I also know it is very possible. I know it because as a life coach, author, and Reiki master teacher, I get to experience firsthand every day the dramatic transformation that unconditional love manifests in the lives of individuals who are becoming their own unique and precious cocreative expressions of the Divine. When love transforms your relationship with yourself, it can’t help but transform your personal life, your work, and the world. I know it. I see it. I live it.

When I remember who I am and Whose I am and focus my attention and intention on who I am being, what I think, feel, say, and do naturally aligns with the highest good. When I do not, it doesn’t. Before birth in human form, when we existed as pure Spirit, we knew this. Part of deciding to take human form involved agreeing to forget this truth for a time so that we could experience remembering it again as we made our journeys back to the wholeness from whence we came. All of the wisdom and courage we seek is embedded deep within our Divine Essence. Every time we choose fear rather than love, we strengthen the barrier between what we know at our core and how we are choosing to show up. Years of fear-based living can produce a seemingly insurmountable impediment to accessing our truth.

I am so much more than ENOUGH!

You may be skeptical, “If she believes all of this, how did she end up obese with a decade of severe clinical depression?” The short answer is that, when I forgot what I knew, it took me a while to remember. Otherwise smart people are sometimes slow to embrace emotional and spiritual truths. I’m living proof that academic excellence combined with considerable drive, intellect, and creative gifts does not automatically produce wisdom. In my case, I believe all that ability and accomplishment may have proven one of my greatest barriers. While I always believed that my gifts were Divinely Sourced and I had a robust spiritual practice for many years of my life, I still thought I was making it all happen and, most destructive of all, that my worthiness was based on the quality of my productivity and performance. When I finally encountered an external standard I could not figure out and could not meet no matter how hard I tried, it nearly destroyed me.

Being an overachiever, I tried overdoing a variety of things in a vain attempt to numb myself from the pain of failure and distract myself a while longer from finding the truth, which is that each of us is Divinely Sourced in love and therefore utterly and completely worthy in every moment no matter what we believe or how we’re performing. Many of the world’s great spiritual traditions share this same essential truth in a variety of ways: the Kingdom of Heaven is within.

I overworked—no vacations for years at a time. I overdid shopping, eating, drinking, and talking. I proved especially adept at overcollecting all manner of objects, my most impressive being a collection of more than two thousand Barbie dolls, complete with twenty different fully outfitted doll dwellings. That particular example was a failed attempt to recapture joy by re-engaging in a joy-filled aspect of my childhood. Because I needed to find some joy, I needed it desperately. By the time I donated my beloved Barbies and all my other collections to charities for auctions, I was hanging on to life by the skin of my teeth. My major challenge each day was to find a reason to go on living.

Sometimes, when we get stuck in habit, ego, or despair, we need to be worn down and broken open to get it. Fortunately, the Universe is more wise, creative, persistent, and loyal than I am, even on my best day. When I didn’t rediscover my truth via the first one million transmissions, the Universe didn’t give up on me. It just upped Its game and kept right on transmitting until I was finally ready to listen, remember, and respond with clarity concerning why I am here and how I choose to live.

The Universe sends endless reminders concerning who I am and Whose I am.

To help me gain greater clarity concerning what it means when I affirm that I know who I am and Whose I am, I developed a highly personal statement of intentions comprising selected affirmations that succinctly express my core values and purpose. I share it in the appendix to inspire you to develop your own intentions based on your values and purpose. Just as the affirmations themselves remain dynamic and open to expansion and refinement, so too does the selection of which affirmations are included in the statement of intentions.

My statement is posted over my desk, in my kitchen, and next to the bathroom mirror—places where I tend to linger over tasks and benefit from the opportunity to remind myself of my core beliefs and motivations. In particularly stressful situations, I recite a relevant item from the list. Other times I read the entire list aloud as an overall reminder. I encourage you to experiment with developing your own deeply meaningful intentions and ways of using them to support you on your journey to wholeness.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2019 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

Click here to explore Deborah’s book.

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How Spirituality Makes Life a Purpose-Filled Journey (Part 1 of 2)

In the previous sensory balance post we completed a four-part exploration of how the second of our four inner senses—vitality—helps us imbue our experiences with meaning. We now turn our attention to the third inner sense with the first of two posts on our sense of spirituality.

Spirituality: I believe and trust. My life is a purpose-filled journey, not a destination. I am more than I appear to be.

I repeat here a point I have made throughout this book: I provide specifics from my own life and experience. They serve as illustrations to inspire you to find your personal path to wholeness. My specifics are not prescriptions. Nowhere is that more true than when I share my thoughts on spirituality. To keep the writing simple and smooth, I will not preface every statement with the qualifier, “I believe.” I respect all spiritual paths based in love, whether they use the word God or not. I benefit from all of them. Because you have chosen to read my book, I assume you are interested in knowing my particular perspective. Here goes!

My life is a purpose-filled journey, not a destination.

Spirituality is about believing there is more to life than what we experience through our five outer senses. That there is more to everyone and everything than we are seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, and tasting in any given moment.

Spirituality and religion are not necessarily the same thing. For some people, participation in a form of organized religion is part of how they demonstrate their spirituality. For others, it’s not. If you are one of those who carry painful memories of abuse you received in the name of religion, I invite you to free yourself from those painful memories now. Recognize that any damage inflicted was fueled by the perpetrator’s fear. Spirituality is about love and endless possibilities; it is not about fear or lack. Choose love, embrace the possibilities of spirituality, and release with love and light any past pain you received in the name of religion. Please do not keep reinjuring yourself and limiting your world by continuing to rehash past injustices. Many who have let go of that painful past relationship with religion and have embraced a broader sense of loving spirituality have found their way home to a spiritual practice that better aligns with their definition of spirituality based in love.

God is not a four-letter word. Though some advisors warned me that using that word or its synonyms in this book might limit the marketability of my message, I have opted for authenticity. Please do not get hung up on a specific label. There are many names for this Force, because It is beyond words. I use a variety of labels: God, Source, the Divine, Higher Power, Universe, Life Force, Creative Power, and Spirit, to name a few. The reality of God is so large, It transcends the limitations of any name or description I could conceive of. Substitute whatever label resonates most powerfully for you.

God is not a four-letter word.

God is everywhere, within and without, always paying attention, always fully engaged with everyone and everything, and smart enough to know when whatever we’re thinking or saying concerns Him/Her/It/Them. Thankfully, God is not dependent on us getting the words just right. God already knows it all. We are the ones who are figuring it out. Because God transcends time and space, nothing can limit Its power, including human constructs such as perceived barriers of language, belief, denomination, or spiritual institution. Though we sometimes elect to limit and separate ourselves through fear-based thinking, we are always one with everyone and everything, even when we choose not to remember or experience that good gift.

The great spiritual teachers did not come to earth as exceptions; they came as examples. They didn’t come to say, “I’m It, and you’re not.” They came to say, “I’m It, and so are you!” They came to show us a larger way of being, what’s possible when we free ourselves from fear and claim our birthright of love, creativity, wisdom, and power. Because God is love, there is no fear or scarcity when I remember that I am sourced in God. My Source is excellent, limitless, and reliable. I know who I am and Whose I am: a unique and precious cocreative expression of the Divine. To honor them and because you may also find their teachings supportive on your journey, in the appendix of this book, I have included a selected list of the spiritual elders who have touched my life profoundly in recent years.

Prayer is not about begging God to care enough about me to help me or do it my way. God’s full power and complete presence are available to each of us 24-7. A lack of interest on God’s part is not the problem. Our fear-based limiting beliefs are the only blocks to living all of God’s power and presence in each moment. Prayer and meditation are about being aware of when I have drifted off center, remembering who I am and Whose I am, realigning myself with the highest good, and recognizing where my chosen fear-based limiting beliefs are keeping me frightened, trapped, and small. It’s about transforming that fear back into its Source Energy of limitless love and then expanding my presence to encompass all that is possible when I’m centered in that love.

A great spiritual teacher once said, “I have so much to do today, if I hope to accomplish everything on my list, I must meditate twice as long.” In contrast, most of us are more inclined to say, “I have so much to do today, there’s no way I have time for meditation or anything else!” I used to say that myself until I figured out that I have all the time I need for the things that matter. My only responsibility in each moment is to discern what matters most right now, to focus, and to follow through. People from spiritual traditions throughout the world have long reported that regular meditation results in greater efficiency, productivity, and prosperity. It amplifies the benefits of living in a state of generous, effortless, gracious flow grounded in who you are being not what you are doing.

My life is a purpose-filled journey, not a destination.

Mindfulness and meditation are important elements in keeping myself centered and aligned with Source Energy. Paying attention and breathing. Any activity or lack of activity is meditative and restorative when I set an intention that it be so. Singing, walking, washing dishes, scooping cat litter, or doing absolutely nothing. While I sometimes engage in structured formal forms, meditation does not have to last for hours and involve uncomfortable postures to have a constructive effect. It just needs to happen, early and often. You will find a lengthier discussion of my thoughts on meditation in the appendix, including one of my favorite formal practices: written meditation, more commonly referred to as journaling. It also contains an overview of the free Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience™ programs and a piece entitled, “Tonglen,” which outlines a simplified form of Tonglen meditation.

The next post will share more thoughts on the sense of spirituality.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2019 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

Click here to explore Deborah’s book.

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How Vitality Helps You Thrive and Inspire (Part 4 of 4)

This post is the final in a four-part exploration of how the second of our four inner senses—vitality—helps us imbue our experiences with meaning. Here’s a second example of the power of vitality in action specially tailored to perfectionists and overachievers.

For Perfectionists and Overachievers (continued)

Example 2

Given that I had spent so many years confusing productivity with purpose, it’s not surprising that five months later I needed another reminder concerning who I am and Whose I am and the fear-based nature of perfectionism.

Perfectionism is not a lofty goal or enviable trait.

Things had been humming along for me. Coaching six to ten clients a week. Publishing some, although not as much as I would have liked. Meditating, although more would have been beneficial. I had two assistants to help me catch up on office work and new technology to support greater efficiency. I was eating healthy, working out six days a week, and listening to good books on my PDA. I had an amazing online library system (www.librarything.com) to organize all of my favorite inspirational resources for clients. There was less clutter in the office. Making art was becoming a staple of my diet again. Sounds lovely, yes? How could all of that abundance ever result in me weeping with my hands pressed over my heart?

Here’s my handle on the chain of events. I was cranking along, getting more organized and productive. Not realizing I was at risk for becoming seduced again by the gremlin of “productivity equals purpose” thanks to my guardian, Ella, falling out of love and into the grip of fear yet again. So at home was I in the land of overwork that I didn’t even notice anything amiss when she started whispering and hissing in my ear, “See. Now you’re remembering how this works. Work, work, work, and more work. Look at how much more you accomplish when you take yourself more seriously. Using those organizing tools again. Schedules, lists, software, how-to books. You used to raise multitasking to an art form. For heaven’s sake, you taught others how to be more productive. I knew you couldn’t have forgotten everything I taught you. All you needed was a little prodding from me. You know how much better it feels to be you when you’re doing and accomplishing more.”

I had no idea she had been playing that sinister tape in my head again. I knew my work could benefit from a little more intention and organization—setting priorities, making some lists, filing more regularly, scheduling more tightly. There is nothing wrong with being organized or productive. The problem arises when we conclude our value is in any way related to our performance. That is when things get wacky. It is when the other two members of my personal board of directors, my sage (Claire) and my muse (Bee), can be pulled out of alignment too, thanks to Cruel-Ella ruling with her iron fist of fear.Perfectionism is not a lofty goal or enviable trait.

There I sat, sobbing and a bit clueless as to why. I had been up for hours and had consumed nothing but a cup of decaf cappuccino. I knew I needed to back away from the laptop, put some distance between my office and myself, go upstairs, and eat so my head and heart actually had some healthy fuel to function properly. Maybe add some sitting meditation to center myself and attain clarity. Upstairs to break the fast I went, beginning on-the-spot meditation by chanting my personal version of the Shambhala Four Limitless Ones affirmations, which are a way of life for me. At least I thought they were a way of life until I couldn’t for the life of me remember one of the four.

I remembered the “peace” one because peace was so clearly eluding me at that moment. I had the “compassion” one, steeped in a misery of my own making as I was. I remembered the “joy” one, probably because I was experiencing none. What the heck was the fourth? I taxed my brain. I tried writing them down to trigger muscle memory. No dice. They had become the three, not four, limited affirmations. I had lost my way.

I knew in my heart it had to be significant that I couldn’t remember the fourth. Maybe the root of my misery was that I quite literally couldn’t remember and wasn’t living the fourth. Unable to stand it any longer, I aborted breakfast prep and returned to my office to look up the fourth affirmation on my laptop. Here are the four affirmations I found:

  • Love: I enjoy loving-kindness and fostering loving-kindness.
  • Compassion: I am free from misery and fostering misery.
  • Joy: I choose joy.
  • Peace: I dwell in equanimity, free from craving, aversion, and indifference.

Imagine my astonishment; the missing ingredient was love. Love. It’s not the fourth; it’s the first. How could I have forgotten about love? I am the love and curiosity chick. How had I forgotten about love, and how had it led to me weeping at the laptop? Simple. Deceived once again by the fear-based lie that productivity is the same as purpose, in the process of becoming more organized and productive I started to forget that the only reason to do so was to further my ability to always delight in my purpose to enjoy and foster loving-kindness. Not fussing and making myself crazy about having to be perfect at it right now. Not going nuts trying to figure out how I can read eight thousand self-improvement books this week to embody my purpose perfectly because I’m not enough as I am.

Perfectionism is not a lofty goal or enviable trait.

My sage, Claire, intervened: “Oh, Deborah, listen to yourself! Look at Little Bee. You’re scaring her to death by pushing her way too hard again. Look at her. You’ve made her cry and hold her hands over her heart to protect herself from what you’re doing to her. She’s afraid she has no worth to you again because she’s not perfect and can’t do it all, doesn’t want to do it all. She’s worked hard for you all week. She had her heart set on playing some today. For love’s sake, stop this insanity!”

Just like that, when I recalled that love is my purpose, I found the compassion, joy, and peace I had misplaced. I remembered that when I approach myself and every being, encounter, and experience with love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude, I always have deep peace, lasting joy, and meaningful relationships.

Dear ones, you are worthy just as you are, with your delightful blend of gifts and annoying little quirks. In all of time, you are the only you in the entire Universe. You are enough—perfect just as you are in this moment.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2019 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

August 6, 2019 Update from Deborah

After 44 years of providing individual and organizational empowerment coaching- and consulting-related services, I have retired from professional practice. While, upon request and subject to availability, I still conduct “tune-up” coaching sessions with former individual clients, I no longer accept new individual or organizational clients. Nor do I offer Reiki or EFT/tapping training or treatment sessions.

Here are my recommendations for identifying other qualified providers through the esteemed professional associations of which I was a member:

  • To identify credentialed professional coaches, CLICK HERE to browse the online directory hosted by the International Coach Federation.
  • To find EFT/tapping practitioners, CLICK HERE to browse the directory hosted by The Tapping Solution.
  • For Reiki training and treatment, CLICK HERE to browse the directory hosted by the Reiki Membership Association of the International Center for Reiki Training.

I’ll continue to publish new empowerment blog posts multiple times each month through December 2019 with occasional new posts thereafter as the spirit moves me. My djwlifecoach website will be shut down in January 2020. You may continue to subscribe to my blog and  follow me on a variety of social media channels via the links at the top right of the sidebar.

 

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How Vitality Helps You Thrive and Inspire (Part 3 of 4)

This post is the third in a four-part exploration of how the second of our four inner senses—vitality—helps us imbue our experiences with meaning. At the close of the previous sensory balance post we were knee-deep into the first of two vitality examples tailored to perfectionists and overachievers. Here’s the insight-filled conclusion of that example.

Spontaneity is key to a life of vitality

For Perfectionists and Overachievers (continued)

So how does all of this fit in with the opening of this story? Given that Monday was a day when life and spontaneity conspired to laugh at my plan behind my back, I did not manage to publish the blog that day. Tuesday morning dawned cold and dreary. It was raining and forty degrees here in Colorado—a state that boasts three hundred sunny days a year and no humidity. I started the day by smacking myself around and insisting that today I would be much more disciplined—a synonym for control. (It’s interesting that I know so many synonyms for control but so few for spontaneous). Clearly, I still didn’t get it. So life and spontaneity had to team up yet again, filling my morning with things that needed to be done other than writing blog posts. I did have a few moments of enjoyment finalizing the materials order for a new art medium I was getting ready to teach, but otherwise I had no fun, I swear (like admitting to having fun would be a capital crime). Life and spontaneity tag-teamed me all morning. Six hours whizzed by. I had a minimal breakfast again, and I headed for lunch more than a little shaky, realizing I hadn’t eaten much or written anything for the blog. I did some meditative breathing, which got rid of the symptoms but didn’t address the root cause. So I said, “Fine. I’ll just be a slacker again today, not write anything for the blog, and focus on my next life coaching paper for the rest of the day. Maybe I can finish the twenty-three-page paper in one day and then …” You get the picture.

Spontaneity is key to vitality

Unfortunately, I still wasn’t getting the picture. There I was, driving to lunch, having given up my old plan, and working hard on my new plan, when in a moment of grace, it hit me: What if my plan was the problem? What if this was how I had given myself ulcers and anorexia by age nineteen? What if this was how I had become obese, burned out, and depressed at age fifty? What if my friend was right and it wouldn’t matter where we worked? If we were stocking shelves in Target, we’d have to be the best darn shelf stockers Target had ever seen. What if, my dear friends, wherever we go, there we are?

Finally, the light dawned. I remembered what I knew in my soul: the world and I will be best served if I publish when I have something meaningful to say, not when I’m supposed to have something to say. That if my goal is to touch your hearts and save you some agony by sharing with you the often painful lessons I’m learning about how to have deeper peace, longer-lasting joy, and more meaningful relationships in my life, maybe the best way to do that is to stick to my end of the bargain. Pay attention to what is happening to me, figure out what it means, and pass on the message. I finally understood the difference between perfectionism and excellence. Perfectionism is not a lofty goal or enviable trait. Perfectionism is a fear-based illusion riddled with lies and characterized by force. Excellence is a love-based reality characterized by flow and grounded in the truth of who I am and Whose I am: a unique and precious cocreative expression of the Divine. The highest good—faith, hope, prosperity, peace, and joy—is not served by using force. The highest good is revealed and advanced through love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude.

Spontaneity is key to vitality

Just like that, I was ready to write my next blog post. There I sat in a restaurant, without a plan, scratching notes on napkins and scraps of paper so I could hold onto all the insights until I could get back to my laptop to publish them.

My fellow travelers, I propose a much-needed holiday from all our planning. A day when we honor the gift of life by breathing with intention and feeling the blood coursing through our veins. A day when we just go with the flow, drink a leisurely cup of tea, read the paper, take a nap, play with the kids, pet the cat, and explore the possibilities. Because anything is possible. If I can baby step my way to deeper peace, lasting joy, and more meaningful relationships, if I can finally get a life and not just make a living, then anyone can.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2019 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

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How Vitality Helps You Thrive and Inspire (Part 2 of 4)

In the previous sensory balance post we began a four-part exploration of how the second of our four inner senses—vitality—helps us imbue our experiences with meaning. In this installment, we provide vitality insights tailored to perfectionists and overachievers.

Spontaneity is key to a life of vitality

For Perfectionists and Overachievers

In chapter 11 on finding a guide, I talk about the role I play in supporting clients with accountability. Here is an overview for your convenience.

I collaborate with clients to develop and implement a plan of action to move them closer to their hearts’ desires. I support clients in achieving rapid, extraordinary, sustainable results by partnering and holding them accountable for what they commit to doing. In my experience, this takes one of two forms:

  1. Helping those who have difficulty holding themselves accountable to learn to do so with love and respect by creating a reasonable plan based on a series of achievable baby steps that will allow them to flow into completion.
  2. Helping those who’ve been accountable for everyone and everything since birth learn to eliminate much of what is on their list and, with love and respect, replace it with a reasonable plan based on a series of achievable baby steps that includes rest, reflection, and play at the top of the list. We can give nothing of lasting value from an empty well.

If you are in the latter group, then—having encouraged you to come up with a SMART plan for reaching your goals—I remind you that spontaneity is essential to a life of vitality. To illustrate the point, I will share two relevant examples from my own experience.

Spontaneity is key to a life of vitality

Example 1

The life cycle of my blog site is a great illustration of how overplanning and ridiculously high standards can drain the vitality out of an otherwise joyful experience. Still high on the thrill of having launched my first blog site on the spur of the moment with no exhaustive plan (not my norm), on Saturday morning three days later, I decided my plan going forward would be to write a new installment every day. Now that was more like the overachieving, pain-in-the-tukus Deborah my friends and family know and wish to strangle.

Let’s take a wonderful, spontaneous event and turn it into an obligation. Let’s suck every ounce of fun out of that puppy and make it a burden. Because heaven knows Deborah doesn’t deserve to have fun. I mean, what would happen to the Universe if Deborah didn’t have both hands on the steering wheel of life, keeping everything orderly and everyone safe? I kid you not when I admit that I had to use a thesaurus to find a word that means “unplanned” or “unrehearsed” (duh, spontaneous) for the first sentence of this paragraph. I knew there must be a word like that, and it kept flitting hither and yon in my head, but for the life of me, I couldn’t grab onto it.

Why is it that spontaneity and I are such distant cousins? Because everyone knows that perfection is the only worthy goal in life and that perfection comes from planning, copious planning, nauseatingly exhaustive planning. Because planning controls destiny and keeps everyone safe, right? Not! Control is an illusion at best, and no amount of planning really controls anything. It organizes things and sometimes reduces the number of surprises, or the “surprisiness” of the surprises, but I firmly believe we do not make anything happen. If something is meant to be and you try to block it, it may take longer to manifest, but manifest it will. If it’s not meant to be, no amount of planning or remaking yourself into what you think the situation requires will make it happen. It will just tie you up in knots and make you and everyone you know cuh-ray-zee! Witness the final eight years of my consulting career.

Lest you accuse me of advocating irresponsibility and sloth, I do think it’s useful to plan. It’s just important for us to realize that the Universe may not be in alignment with our plans. If that turns out to be the case, the sooner we recognize it and get ourselves in alignment with life’s quirky, capricious, unpredictable plan, the happier we’ll all be. If the events of the past five plus decades have taught me anything it’s that despite my intelligence, intuition, and demonstrated anal retentive control freak planning skills, I sometimes don’t have any idea what’s best for me or anyone else. Thanks be to the Universe, which intervenes despite my best efforts to the contrary and forces Its plan on me whether I like it or not.

Spontaneity is key to vitality

So back to my plan for my blog. Saturday I published two installments. Sunday I got busy with other things and missed a day. No problem. With two on Saturday, I was still on plan, I told myself, “averaging” one a day. Then Monday dawned bright and cheery. My plan for my day went like this: I’ll have breakfast, do my written meditation, write blog posts for the rest of the morning, have lunch, go to the gym, study in the afternoon, have dinner, and create art in the evening. Tired yet?

In reality, it went nothing like that. I got up and made the mistake of looking at my email, and then I answered emails, paid bills, filed papers, ate a miniscule breakfast on the run, went to the gym, was exhausted when I finished because I had consumed insufficient calories to fuel my workout, went home, made a huge healthy raw veggie salad for lunch with two ounces of protein and an apple, and then proceeded not to eat most of it, opting instead to catch up on my sewing work because I’m a tester for an independent machine embroidery designer and I’d fallen behind in my sewing the week before while working on that thirty-three-page life review for my life coaching certification. Yes, I realize that was a long sentence. It was a long day.

Two new sewing clients showed up at 1:00 p.m. (I had neglected to account for their planned visit in my plan for the day) and stayed for an hour looking at designs, chatting, and playing with my youngest cat, Maisy Jane, putting me even further behind (how dare they have fun on my watch). I then sewed until 9:30 p.m., managing to multitask by planning a seven-part series for the blog on how I lost all the weight and refining my notes for my next twenty-three-page life coaching certification paper. At this time I realized I had consumed a total of 480 calories to fuel me during the first fifteen and a half hours of my day (not how I lost the eighty pounds last year and not my recommended diet). Then, because I had promised myself and everyone who cares about me that I wouldn’t become anorexic as I did at age nineteen, I had to try to consume 1,500 more calories before bed. It’s not an ideal way to balance daily caloric intake, but if some days I have to pack most of them into the final waking hour of the day, then by Jove, I do it. Anorexia is no joke.

Whenever people imply I have issues with control, I object. I have no issues with control. I love it! Unfortunately, it doesn’t love me back. It’s not even my friend. Most of the time it laughs behind my back, and sometimes it has the audacity to laugh right in my face.

To be continued...

The next post will conclude this first vitality example tailored to perfectionists and overachievers.

Excerpt from “Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!” © Copyright 2013-2019 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

Click here to explore Deborah’s book.

EXPANDED EDITION
in print, ebook and
audiobook

Explore Deborah's Book

Posted in All My Blog Posts, Joy & Vitality | Tagged , , | Leave a comment