Soul Voyager Blog

  • Deflection

    What does it feel like when someone offers you a compliment?  I mean an authentic, out of the blue kind of compliment?

    Do you immediately question their motives or do you respond with a gracious thank you?

    Me?  Well, I have had a long history of deflecting compliments with the thought that the giver is just being nice.

    Why?

    Why would someone do that?

    I did recently read an article that said retailers often train their sales people to compliment shoppers as it encourages them to buy out of reciprocation or guilt.

    Aside from that bubble busting piece of information, for the most part people don’t make kind remarks because they are told to.

    They do it because they mean it.

    They do it because they are being honest.

    Because they want you to know.

    I am likely to comment on a person’s beauty, kindness, energy or helpfulness.  I want them to know.

    There were a number of times I embarrassed my daughters when they were teenagers by complimenting a stranger (or just talking to them).

    Here’s the thing.  It makes people feel better.  Doesn’t it feel good when a compliment comes out of nowhere?  We have no idea how sharing a positive thought can affect one’s day. 

    So often we take ourselves for granted as we do others.  We’re unaware of our own gifts, beauty or

    affect on others.  I think you should know. 

    I want you to know if I think you have gorgeous eyes.  I think you should be aware of the sweet or calming energy I feel in your presence.  You should know if your actions affected my experience.

    If I keep this information to myself I am keeping it from its rightful owner. 

    My deflection of compliments has decreased since someone close to me once said that when I do it I’m in effect insulting the giver.  I am challenging her taste or opinion.

    That actually sounds a bit rude.

    So I am learning to accept what I dish.  It’s only fair.

    Oh and by the way, you have marvelous taste.

  • Passion

    Not long ago I ran into an acquaintance who has reached celebrity status by following his passion.

    He couldn’t care less about the notoriety.  In fact I would be willing to bet that he would be content not to have it.

    This guy has had his share of stumbling blocks.

    He’s had health issues taking him out of his very element, challenged business deals and sacrificed relationships only to remain focused on the thing that fills him with joy.

    These are the things that would stop many people in their tracks where they would use the ‘F’ word:

     

    FAILURE

     

    That’s never been a consideration for Chris.  All the speed bumps have done for him is drive him forward with fury.

     

    Some really amazing people in my life asked me numerous times what my passion was.  What did I love?  When am I the happiest?

    I thought it had to be specific.

    Like science.

    It had to be tangible.

    And if I couldn’t make a ton of money doing it, then it wasn’t worth mentioning.

     

    Here’s the thing.  When we have lost sight of our joy we’ve really ceased to live.  The Oxford Dictionary defines the word ‘live’ as “have life, feed on, enjoy life to the full”. 

    So lacking passion (Oxford: strong enthusiasm) reduces us to subpar existence.

    How to discover your passion?

    Listen. Feel. Allow.

    If money was not an issue and you could do anything you wanted with your time, what would it be?

    I mean anything.

    Exercise?

    Draw?

    Sew?

    Bake?

    Eat?

    All of the above are excellent avenues for income.

    When you lose the weight of what you think you’re supposed to do, or should do, the lightness opens your mind to all kinds of possibility.

    No, it doesn’t happen in a New York minute.  Creativity requires thought and time.

    It’s a lifestyle.

    Chris has been at this cooking thing for well over twenty years.

    He’s had to think about it a lot.

    He’s had to alter his path several times. 

    It hasn’t been easy.

    When you love what you do, you love yourself.

    What’s better than that?

     

     

     

     

  • The other day I had the rare opportunity to snorkel in the ocean with manta rays off

    the shore of the big island of Hawaii.

    But I didn't take it.

    I was a little nauseous from the rough water.

    My head hurt a bit from the pulling of my swimsuit on my neck.

    I was afraid I woud be cold.

    Really?

    I zip lined over waterfalls and canyons just the day before.

    I jumped from a 35ft waterfall into the Colorado River where the water was 

    a brisk 40 degrees.

    I climbed trees in the african bush.

    Physical challenges thrill me.

    So what gives?

    I was lying to myself.

    My old "near drowning in the waves at midnight story when I was fourteen" story

    silently haunted me into creating a bunch of hogwash about not feeling well.

    I didn't swim with those amazing creatures because of something that is ancient history.

    There were a dozen skilled divers on that boat and plenty of other strong swimmers that 

    certainly would have helped me had I found myself in trouble.

    I just forgot.

    I forgot to ask mysef basic questions.

    Was I in danger of drowning?

    What is the real issue?

    Is what I'm thinking true?  Real?

    What do I want most and and are these thoughts going to get me there?

    Here's what happened.  I was busy lying to myself about a headache and an

    upset stomach, which of course can easily be produced with enough effort, when the

    reality was that a really old, useless thought prevented me from an experience that would

    have enriched my life.

    Most of the time doing the thing that is the scariest is the one most worthwhile .

    You know it's right because you can feel it.

    The gift of fear described by Gavin De Becker in his book by the same name is that

    deep, visceral "I knew that was going to happen" kind that tells you to get the hell outta there.

    Listen, close your eyes and feel.  

    You'll know.

    I got to see the mantas from the edge of the boat where they came to the light to feed.  They 

    were at the surface where I could have reached out and touched them.

    Do you think they were afraid?

    Nuh uh.

  • Resolution

    It’s December.  The new year. 

    It is a time for many things like holidays, semester conclusions

    and resolutions.  Do you make them?  Do you think about them

    come February?  March?

    Resolutions are about becoming better.  Losing weight is a popular intention, as is quitting a smoking habit.  It could be saving money or increased exercise.

    If any one of these is accomplished, life is improved.

    My resolution is simple.  It’s a lifetime resolution.  Just like the way I

    eat.   It’s a way of life that doesn’t expire.

    I will continue to do what makes me happy.

    I’ll be authentic.

    I’ll be honest.

    I’ll be nonjudgmental.

    I’ll be empathetic and compassionate.

    I’ll make my best attempt to be all of these things because I don’t know

    how to be anyone else.

    Be your best self in 2012.  Be your best self for life.

     

     

  • A New Normal

    A new normal.  What does that mean?
    It means old ways of thinking will be put to the test.
    I know.  Haven’t I done that already?  
    Similar to the adage, if I can’t make changes, I can’t move forward.  You know the one about if you’re not changing, you’re dying?  Like that.
    That’s what this is about.  Loss. And living. And love.
    Too recently someone very dear to me stopped living. Well, his physical body shifted from this one to the next form.  
    His soul survived.  It resides deep inside of me and all who loved him.  
    His passing was not without struggle and pain. Had he been given the choice, I can say with certainty his death would have been very different.
    This was a man wealthy in love, generosity and intelligence.  He made everyone in his presence feel like the only one alive.
    An astounding 500 plus people came to say their respectful good byes.  I could feel the overwhelming love in that building.
    I felt it the days prior to his death as I sat with family trying to hold onto a piece of this precious life.  
    I felt it as torment and denial ravaged those who have to make sense of life without him.
    Because love hurts.  It just does.  It wouldn’t be valuable if it didn’t sometimes.
    Someone said it’s not fair. No. It’s not.  What is fair?
    That he should live and someone else should go in his stead?
    That he should continue to live more years like those past in a painfully frustrating search for a cure?
    I learned that by the time we consider what is on our bucket list, we aren’t healthy enough to do them.
    So do them.
    Now.
    The gaping hole he left has created space for deep thought.
    Everything looks different.  Everything feels different.
    I walk through my day trying to see people through Bob’s eyes.  
    So as I stumble glassy eyed through my days, I’m noticing more.  I’m judging less.
    People whom I know and those I don’t.
    I do the same things only I think about it differently.
    In order to make my days matter more, it feels imperative to really see and feel the love that exists in everyone.  
    I want people to feel the way I felt in Bob’s presence.

    Like I mattered.
    Like I was beautiful.
    Like I was loved.

    Normal.  
    Looking at what’s real.  Take a different perspective as you move through tomorrow.  Try your hand at asking some questions like:

    “What is so bad about that?”
    “How will this change my life?”
    “Are my thoughts really my truths?”
    “Does it really matter?”

    Look through different eyes.  Someone you love and/or respect. Maybe even your dog.
    How do they see you?
    What do you see through their eyes?
    Now ask for what you need to create a new normal.
    I can help you with that.


  • What do you absorb?

    What is my truth?   

    Have you ever asked yourself this question?

    I have been living with some pretty crazy ideology most of my life.

    Stuff I just made up.  

    Like: 

    People won’t like me if I’m me.

    I don’t fit in.

    I’m not funny.

    I’m not good enough.

    I’m not pretty enough.

    I’m not thin enough.

    I’m not smart enough.

    Ouch!   If someone told me these things out loud it would

    hurt like hell.  So why have I said them to myself?  

    We come into the world as little baby shaped sponges.  As our world around us

    comes into focus we soak up what’s there.  Some of it good, and some not 

    depending on who and what influenced our thoughts about ourselves.

    By the time young adulthood arrives we’ve absorbed what we know to be our normal.

    And life starts showing us how ugly our non truths are.  We get to choose to continue 

    believing them or not.  

    But what if I don’t want to and they still show up?

    Practice.

    It took years to absorb the lies.  It will take time to squeeze them out.

    It can be done.  

    A little out, a little in.  A little out, a little in...

    Pretty soon you find out that it’s enough to be enough.

  • Animals Don't Take More than They Need...

    Animals rock. 
    They don’t take more than they need.  When hungry, the hunt is on.  A satisfying dinner.  Done.  There is no need to stock up,
    When hungry again they go out for more food.
    Think about how much we concern ourselves with “enough”.  What if I don’t get enough? 


     What is enough? 


    Restaurants are often judged on how big the portions are.  One serving
    can amount to what a family of four could be satisfied with. 
    Why is that a good thing?


    We are as a society fearful that we may not measure up if we lack quantity.

    Animals are free of that mindset.  It is a metaphor for the freedom you can feel when your brain lets go of excess clutter.  Clearing your mind of the stuff that keeps you stagnant allows for more forward thinking. 

    When the animal is hungry he has purpose.  His thinking is clear.  His body is telling him what he needs and he listens and acts.


    When we are in need, our purpose is clear.  We act upon our needs.  Our desires are based upon our needs. 


    If we’re beyond satiated, need becomes a lie we tell ourselves. 
    “I need to clean my plate because it’s wasteful if I throw food away.”
    “I need to eat all of this food because I’m paying good money for it at this
    restaurant”
    Food keeps in refrigerators.


    I paid money to get full, not to overeat.  I got my money’s worth when I put down my fork.
    Because things are in front of us doesn’t mean we have to possess them.  Or consume them.

    So when you're ready to shift the way you think about consumption,
    let me know.