“We the People”

we-the-people

As did many of you, I stayed up way past my bedtime Tuesday night to watch history unfold and expectations have an epic fail. Emotions ruled the night and the logic of polling data was no match. I feel deep disappointment, disturbed, sad, but not really surprised by one half of the country pulling the rug out from the other half. ‘Not unlike a marriage in trouble, it can take the shock of an affair or your partner announcing they want a divorce to wake up to something’s really wrong. “We the People” are in trouble, not unlike a marriage where one or both people insists the other person is the problem and the other must change. Sound familiar?

“We the People” is a dream worth fighting for, worth getting uncomfortable for, and worth owning your part of what’s wrong, for. Dismissing those we disagree with is “two wrongs don’t make it right” in action and nothing good comes from doing so. “We the People” means when you don’t agree with or understand a position or a concern of “them”, you seek to understand their concerns and experiences. Not doing so got us the once unthinkable as our next President. Ouch.

It is said that a rising tide lifts all boats, yet a clear message this Tuesday is how too many people’s boats are not rising, but sinking. Yes, misogyny showed up, yes 50’s retro showed up, and yes, racism showed up. But to explain the results of this election on bad behavior and simpletons is to continue to ignore the large numbers of people feeling helplessness and hopelessness about the promise of “We the People”. If the results of Tuesday’s election kicked your butt, show up more, speak up more, and stand up more for who and what you hold most dear. This poem by Anne Dillard says it well:

“There is no one but us,
and we ourselves unfit, not yet ready,
and our children busy and troubled,
-as if innocence had ever been-
that our innocent fathers are all dead,
with the notion that we have come at an awkward time,
a generation comforting ourselves
but only us,
on the face of the Earth,
nor a clean hand nor a pure heart
There is no one to send,
having each of us chosen wrongly,
made a false start, failed,
yielded to impulse and the tangled comfort of pleasures,
and grown exhausted, unable to seek the thread, weak, and
involved.
But, there is no one but us.
There never has been.”

“We the People” is a big dream given to Americans for tending and nurturing and there is no one but us to do so. We were born for a time demanding we seek to understand each other through compassion, not committed to our divisions. Tuesday’s results reflected the state of “We the People” and it was painful. Yet, I take inspiration from how Rumi invites us to engage the pain life brings us in his poem below:

“Overcome any bitterness that may have come
because you were not up to the magnitude of pain
that was entrusted to you.
Like the Mother of the world
who carries the pain of the world in her heart,
each one of us is a part of her heart
and is endowed with a certain measure of her pain.
You are sharing in the totality of that pain
and you are called to meet it in joy
instead of self-pity”

Meeting pain with joy, with compassion for the others and yourself, will be critical for leading us out of seemingly impossible challenges of our times. We were born with no map for these times, yet within each of our heart and souls is all the guidance and courage we need. Few are our true leaders, perhaps so we learn to lead our life in common unity with each other.

In closing, I leave you with this poem from Lao-Tzu which helps me adjust my altitude when I am feeling hopeless or helpless about the world I was born to love and care for, with the light of my soul guiding my way through times of darkness:

“What is a good man but a 
bad manʼs teacher?

What is a bad man but a good manʼs job?
If you donʼt understand this,
 you will get lost,

however intelligent you are.


May your Light guide your way,

xo, JaiKaur

“Why Playing the Cards Life Deals You Serves You

Cards

I’ve spent the last year hobbling around on crutches due to a foot surgery done badly. I’ve received many a suggestion for distracting myself from being disabled and awaiting bones mending enough for a second surgery. One of the suggestions I received from more than one person was to check out the BBC series “Poldark”. After my second/remedial foot surgery in June, I found “Poldark” available on Amazon Prime Video and decided to check the series out.

Well! Several viewings later and the purchase of the next series of Winston Graham books for reading, I’ve come to realize why “Poldark” has captivated me so. Yes there is eye-candy a-plenty of both the natural as well as the 2-legged variety. And while I love a good historical drama, this did not explain my need to watch “Poldark” over and over again. The discomfort I was feeling at being so consumed by the series I knew signaled a jewel of sorts awaiting my discovery. 

What I’ve come to realize about my borderline obsession with “Poldark” was not an infatuation with Aiden Turner (altho’ an interesting person and talented actor) as my friend Peter had teased me. Themes of hope, of redemption, of the mystery and challenges of love beautifully played by actors and actresses with those accents we Americans love to listen to. “Poldark” beautifully unfolds how playing the cards life deals you serves you and the people life has you playing with. And the preciousness and beauty of your life when you choose to live your life using the GPS of your honor and your compassion.

While social marketing (and one’s childhood) can lead to you feeling as though you or your life somehow lack, what if you picked up the cards life dealt you and played them? Instead of apologizing for being “too sensitive”, embrace being so and honor your sensitivity “card” in how you live your life. Living your sensitivity-not defending it nor hiding it away-shares the quality of sensitivity with those life has you playing with and learning with. Campaigning for the changes you seek in the world rarely is as effective as simply living them in your life and your relationships.

We are all diamonds in the rough who become more clear and beautiful through how we challenge and are challenged by those we love and are in relationship with. Trying to be different from the cards life dealt you for playing only keeps you from being happy and successful as you are. For not all which inspires us to become better as human beings is comfortable nor easy as many a new mother will attest to.

A powerful way to change the world for the better is by bringing more of who you are to light and for living. While we may believe we know how things should be, the truth is there are many many more factors at play in your life than your mind alone can realize. Life evolves, refines itself through you and me taking up not only what we call good, but the imperfect of life as well. Your happiness has a better chance of unfolding in ways magical and beautiful when you play the cards dealt you for serving you and your life.

“Love Being the Smartest Person in the Room”

A few years back while working with a marketing coach for revisions to my website, I expressed frustration at the conflicting advice I had received about website copy over the years. He laughed and said something which struck that “wisdom bell” we all have within us. “Never forget you are the smartest person in the room JaiKaur”. I laughed but then went back to pondering which expert I should listen to about how to make my website copy better.

I’ve never met a women who doesn’t feel she is somehow lacking. Whether not skinny enough, sexy enough, productive enough, the bottom line is she is “not enough”. Instead of challenging the truth of the insidious voice of where we are lacking, we purchase products marketed for this lack, or feel shame about that lack, or simply give up on feeling content and at ease with being as we are. 

Woman

Your life contains a finite number of breaths and an infinite number of choices to celebrate your being and life. Yet all too often a woman’s experience of her life is a confusion of messages from people past and present about her purpose and worth. ‘Confusion clears and clarity reigns when you learn to receive the softer voice within you whose sole purpose is to illuminate your life’s true purpose and your worth as most precious. 

At the end of the day, the choices you make in your life and your relationships are yours alone to live and breathe. No matter how good someone makes something sound, no matter how much authority you give someone, you alone answer for the choices you make at the end of the day. Chances are good you already know what’s true for you, making you the smartest person in the room-about you! Now the only thing that’s keeping you from enjoying what you know is trusting and committing 1000% to what you know and taking consistent action towards your goals and dreams, inspired by your knowing.

So practice trusting yourself more, trusting what you like more, and taking action inspired by the wisdom within you, more. The more you practice the better you’ll get at loving yourself and the life you are creating. Learn to dial into the wisdom within yourself and to receive the softer voice as the voice you trust – not the voice which tells you how you are not enuf! Really own your choices, embrace your courage, and empower a love affair with yourself and with your life. For you truly are the smartest person in the room about what makes you happy and how to live your life on purpose.

 

“May You Live in Interesting Times”

What interesting times we live in. Being a student of woman’s history and potential, I find the dynamics of the president campaign fascinating. Some of the earlier missed takes of women’s empowerment are repeating themselves, but progress not perfection is how creation works. What is it to exercise power as a woman? What is it to be supportive as a woman yet still be true to myself? How can I live my precious life with integrity to my values and purpose and honor the roles I engage in my life as a woman? 

We live in times most interesting, a time when so much of what we’ve been taught is true, is changing before our eyes. Truths such as what is power? what is family? what do we give authority to? are breath-taking in their change. And terrifying can feel the degree of change in what we once believed kept us secure and safe in life. 

Even planned revolutions bring unplanned challenges to staying true and on purpose to the heart of the revolution. Women are being asked to heal the wounds of the historical rage within them while also birthing new forms of power and relationship with those who wounded them in the past. Yet, while all revolutions have their traps as well as their treasures, navigating the choices and changes showing up in your life simply needs you to live the grace and grit your birth as a woman bestowed upon you.

“Are You Going to War for Peace?”

peace

Don’t worry, this is not a story of the often sad and scary news in our world today. This IS a story about how choosing not to go to war for peace will grace your life with the integrity and the peace you are seeking in life and the world.

10 years ago, my marriage of 25 years ended and I found myself alone with 3 children, the mortgage, and marital assets made unavailable through creative accounting by people considered friends-ouch! Person after person challenged me to go to war (court) for getting back what was mine, misconstruing my reluctance to do so as fear.

So what was my hesitation if not from fear?

I knew what my former husband was capable of (I’m a fast learner), but fear was not what was holding me back from going to court with my former husband. It was my clarity about the price my children would pay if I were to focus my time, energy, and resources on battling in court with someone who wanted a war. My children needed their mother to focus her time, energy, and resources on their needs as children, including peace in their home and in their family. My children needed me to choose war or peace.

I was faced with the choice to go to war for making peace with my finances- knowing my children would pay dearly for this choice- or making peace with life having a different plan for me. My wounded pride and sense of betrayal were romancing me onto war and yet silent on the true cost of doing so. Sound familiar? How many times have you found yourself at war for soothing pride injured or feelings hurt by someone you love? And only later, realized the cost to you or the relationship?

This was my hardest challenge so far in life and many were the days I did not know if I was capable of making a victory from what felt overwhelming and devastating. Yet embracing my faith and demanding grace be made tangible in my life had previously transformed my chronic illnesses into good health, my infertility into 3 children, and being without a home into a lovely abode.So was having 3 children to support, a mortgage, and no job the challenge given by life to break me or simply sacred faith in my integrity and faith?

There is a price for every choice you make; the choices which cost you are the choices out of alignment with your values. Your mind may convince you “it’s ok, it’s just this time, it’s not a big deal”, but your soul knows your integrity just got dinged and your self-respect pays a price. It’s how we find ourselves in a world which considers going to war an acceptable means for creating peace, with civilians and children-the regrettable, but acceptable-cost of peace.

Where in your life or relationships are you living at odds with what you truly want, compromising what is true in your heart and soul?

Where are you going to war and telling yourself it’s for peace? Do you offer yourself reasons practical or personal for doing so, selling yourself or life short? Take it from me, it’s the little choices you make each day which build the muscles and courage of your integrity…..the integrity which gives you the strength and faith for when life challenges you to choose war or peace.

Being Authentic is Your Authority

Happy Springtime!

A few years ago, a client reeling from choices made by her husband, was not happy with me after I suggested she spend some time learning about herself for healing her marriage. Her outraged “It’s 2012 not the 1950’s!! ” made me wince, for she was confusing today’s opportunities FOR women with understanding herself AS a woman. Misunderstanding this difference was making it hard for her to care for herself, have a happy marriage, and messing with her peace of mind 

Now before you accuse me of going retro about women or being an advocate for Saran Wrap greetings, let me explain where I am coming from. When I was 1 of 5 women in a class of 80 architectural students, a few design professors were proud about grading my designs lower for using curves instead of right angles. And as an architect for Boston hospitals, my decision to include the “not as important” janitors and nurses on the design team landed me in very hot water with my boss and the hospital. (The usual design team was only the head surgeon, architect, and hospital administrator).

Claiming my authority as an architect required my being authentic in what I thought best as a designer and a woman. As I woman, I understood “not as important” from my experiences in a world where women still lack import and impact. Yet these experiences did not diminish my authority as an architect; quite the contrary. My own “not as important” experiences inspired me to exercise my authority as the architect for an even better design. My authority as an architect benefited from being authentic as a woman.

False authority labels your experiences and life as good or bad, right or wrong, and limits you in claiming your own authority and being authentic. Your experiences in life are intimate opportunities to learn what is true for you vs simply claiming yourself as a victor or a victim. Thankfully, my client took up learning to be authentic, claimed her authority for making the needed changes in their marriage, letting go of considering herself a victim. Her choices also inspired her husband to work on being authentic as well and their marriage has never been better.

So how do you become authentic in your authority?

1. Begin to trust what you know within you, what you feel, what inspires you, what repels you as important for you to honor in your choices and life. Even if what you know, feel, desire is different from those you give authority to, say is true, important, a priority, etc. You are the authority of what is true for you and many of the facts you were taught as truth, are being debunked by science, by time, and by people voicing what is true for them instead.

2. Put aside judgement of yourself being either a victor or a victim when things don’t go the way you want, expect, or are “supposed to”. Instead, ask yourself what you are feeling, telling yourself, and gently ask yourself if it really is true or simply your defense against being wrong. Be suspicious of voices within you which are not kind as being true in what they are saying about you. (And check out my blog on the perils of “woulda, coulda, shoulda”).

3. When you feel or hear the “meanies” within your head, take the time to tell them to stop and offer yourself support and compassion in their place. Inner bullying is hurtful and “taking it” as what grownups do is simply cruel. Standing up for yourself-your feelings, your preferences, your experiences-is being authentic and creates authority with yourself and with others. Who doesn’t need to offer themselves more kindness?

4. “There is no small thing” disputes the myth of how only what is big has power in life. The truth is, your life is created by the little choices you make over time, to be true (authentic) to yourself, to honor your authority in life…..or justifying why you abandon yourself. Honoring your small choices of integrity with what you are feeling, for what you desire, standing to what is true for you, builds trust and faith in yourself for handling life’s curve balls and creating a life full of love, joy, and delight.

Oh, and redemption for my choice to include the “not so important” janitors and nurses on the design teams came in the form of awards for both the design of the intensive care units as well as significantly lower rates of infection in the units. (Funny thing about including the janitors and nurses). Being authentic and living your authority, offers inspiration to others known and unknown and isn’t that a comforting thought? You truly are essential to the world just as you are – warts and all.

Want some support for being authentic and living with integrity?
I invite you to contact me for setting up a free consultation with me.

“Are You Being True to Yourself–or Justifying Why Not?”

Integrity_1_Thought_Shapers_Creating_My_Best_Life1f8136(image courtesy of Creating my Best Life)

In this second article, I’ll be talking about 3 little words which reflect where you are not being true to yourself. The presence of these 3 words in how you talk to yourself, about yourself, or about your life, are important clues to why you are not enjoying the power and privileges of being a grown up. The words? ”Coulda, woulda, shoulda”- 3 little words used when you are vacating your power, used when you are out of integrity with yourself, and used when you have forgotten you are a god/dess walking the earth.

Women especially suffer from the culturally-reinforced vacating of power while men suffer from cultural norms which box them into false power. (Check out my earlier article on women’s contemporary power) The presence of “woulda, coulda, shoulda”-in your beliefs, in how you talk to yourself and with others, in how you make your choices-offer useful information of where you are not being true to yourself. “Woulda, coulda, shoulda” undermine you, disempower you, and diss your nobility, your dignity, and your sovereignty. Not cool!

 Try Out This

1. Begin to notice where you are saying “I woulda…., I coulda…, I shoulda…” and notice the silent “but” when using these 3 words. “I woulda spoken up, but……”, “I wish I coulda gone on vacation this year, but….”, “I know I shoulda been honest with her, but….”. Notice how you feel as you hear yourself say “woulda, coulda, shoulda…but…” Are you feeling behind what you are saying? Or do you feel yourself offering an excuse, blaming, or distancing yourself from what you saying, what you want…maybe even scared? Ouch.

2. Now take these 3 words and choose to replace them consciously with words of chosen action. For example: “I am speaking up about this being wrong”, “I am excited and saving for my vacation this summer!”, “I am going to be honest with sharing how I feel when we talk”. Notice how “I am” replaces “but” and how differently it feels to proclaim “I am”?

3. Notice the difference in how you feel as you voice “I am” vs a “woulda, coulda, shoulda… but…”? Can you feel how taking responsibility-“I am” feels more empowered than “I woulda, coulda, shoulda…… but……?

When you use “coulda woulda shoulda” in talking about your choices in life, you are using words to justify not taking action for being true to yourself, for what you truly want in life. This does not mean you are a scoundrel (love this word), without hope, or a bad person. It does mean your history includes being shamed, wronged, or unsafe with telling the truth. You are not alone in this-and-being a grown up requires picking up your courage for claiming what is true for you in life. As I remind the brave people I work with, along with the power to create the life of your dreams (being a grown up) comes the responsibility to do so.

Look for my 3rd article in the series on being a grown up. Our world is in a historical transition and living your presence, power, and purpose in the world has never been more important. And your being a grown up will be in a manner different than how you were taught and how modeled before.

Finding Your Silver Linings in Life

Silver Linings 

Challenges, changes, and conflicts are the words often used for the course corrections and soul connections life calls upon you to make. A life well-lived is not one without any problems, but a life in which you embrace your problems for learning, refining your choices, and en-joying yourself more. Learning to discern between the quieter voice of your soul vs the louder demands and judgments of your personality is essential for deciphering the course corrections and soul connections your life brings you. Aka your silver linings.

Silver linings offer you deeper connection to your heart and soul for deeper trust in your wisdom and inner guidance in life. You may have been taught to believe your soul has no place in crafting your choices in life. One of the perks of being a grownup is you alone get to choose what you say “yes” and “no thank you” to for creating your life. Being a grownup is cool!

Years ago when betrayed by those I loved and trusted, a wise friend told me to receive all that was happening as a blessing. I was not convinced but I was desperate, and so I greeted whatever showed up in my life with “thank you god for this blessing”. My mind told me I was nuts and yet I could feel myself relax. Intrigued, I committed to blessing what came my way for 6 months and while my mind was not always happy with me, the results transformed my life. Don’t believe everything you think.

So what exactly does a silver lining look like?

  •  Your friends can’t wait to tell you about their latest vacation, great restaurant, or the latest play they saw and you realize you are letting their phone calls go to voice mail even when you’re home…..or you invite the silver lining of your unhappiness let you know what’s truly going on with you.
  • Your beloved is not happy and blames you, goes silent, or has you wondering if you need to be looking for lipstick on the collar. You become insecure, defensive, or hire yourself a lawyer…..or you invite the silver lining of your strained relationship bring forth your love, compassion, and attention.
  • You wonder if something is up with your body so you become best friends with denial and overeat, self-medicate, or wake up at 3 am in a panic convinced you have a terminal disease…..or you invite the silver lining of your body wisdom bring forth caring for and tending to yourself.
  • Your parent’s golden years are far from that, you get called into your child’s school over a possible eating disorder, and you fantasize being somewhere where no one knows your name….or you invite the silver lining of your faith and trust in yourself remind you again of the difference between what you can control and how you can care.

Learning how to find the silver linings in your life can turn the changes, challenges, and conflicts every life contains into choices resulting in more ease, happiness, and waaay more fun. And, choosing the silver linings in your life reminds you of just how awesome your capacity and caliber truly are. Sound too good to be true? It’s becomes easy to do once you learn how to embrace your problems as your life offering you course corrections and your soul offering you more connection for guidance and support. Life truly is on your side.

“The Peril of Lacking Integrity with What is Sacred to You”

Healing Your Legacy

Almost 40 years ago, I sat down in a yoga class, closed my eyes, and opened up to the world within. I was a reluctant participant to the new age of ancient spirituality, wisdom, and healing, not always inspired by the way “being spiritual” was being used to bypass the sometimes hard work of relationships and life. Yet my own experience of transformations and healing through engaging ancient technologies taught me to not throw the new age baby out with my judgement of others…..funny how life teaches us at times!

Matthew Fox, a renowned theologian, wrote “ I seriously question the spirituality and ethics of anyone whose integrity in life has never gotten him or her into trouble”. In my work with couples and families, I find a lack of one’s integrity often lies at the root of pain and conflict in their life and relationships. Taught as children love equals not hurting the other, what is to be done with feelings, thoughts, and desires you fear will hurt or cause rejection from those you love? Too often the answer is to become silent and not risk sharing with those you love, judging them as what is holding you back from living what is sacred to you.

What is sacred to you is intimate, tangible, and known by the priorities of your life. What is sacred seeks sharing with those you love, forming the foundation of the intimacy and security of relationship you long for and all too often, confuse with control. What is sacred invites those you love to share what is sacred for them with you as well, offering safe harbor for the power of our vulnerability to be shared. Scary? Can be. Yet without the courage to risk sharing what is sacred to you with those you hold sacred in life, the pain and rejection you fear you will create. Ironic. (Irony I have come to understand is the sacred’s way of reminding us of the limitations of human’s linear logic ).

What is sacred in your life will test you, will challenge you, will demand change you fear and are afraid to make. These trials and tribulations are not proof something is wrong with what you hold sacred in life-quite the contrary. What tests you in life is simply reminding you to engage with faith and courage, what is sacred to you, an intimate reminder of the faith and trust the sacred has in you….trust and faith when extended to ourself and those we love, creates the integrity of intimate relationship that is sacred as well.

“Why Your Presence Matters”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In last month’s article “In a World Often Scary, Why Being Vulnerable is Essential”  I wrote about how critical courage, compassion, and choosing to be vulnerable is for realizing happiness and success in your relationships and contemporary life. In this fourth and last article on the art and science of contemporary life, I share how learning to discern, decipher, and delight in wisdom, guidance, and support from more than our 5 senses is essential as well.

Multi-sensory intelligence is the information we receive, transmit, and process through means other than our 5 physical senses. Here in the West, we consider our 5 physical senses the means for gathering and distributing information, whereas in cultures older, sensory intelligence includes information from the heart, the soul, and what is encountered in the physical environment. Shamans, medicine women and men, and healers of many traditions know we are more than our minds, and use their knowledge and skills with multi-sensory intelligence to create results not thought possible.

Every person I have worked with had multi-sensory experiences, yet has been reluctant to trust them although sheepishly admitting to them. So what is difficult about trusting information from other than your thoughts? Habit, belief, and conformity…..the habit of not trusting yourself, the belief in only thoughts being real, and the conformity to what has always been as what is possible. As my clients will attest, only when they trusted themselves and the information they were receiving from within themselves did they realize they had Lymes disease vs imaging symptoms, did they realize a happier marriage than ever before, did they realize their happiness through clarity in their choices.

Learning to expand what has power in your world, what informs, guides, and supports you, is essential for living in a world awash in information yet lacking essentials for all people. Your mind is fabulous yet it is but a fraction of the intelligence you have at your disposable as a human being, an alchemy of physical matter and infinite spirit. Accessing the greater range of your intelligence and creativity requires your willingness to trust your experiences, to discern your body’s wisdom, and to decipher important wisdom within your emotions.

Honoring the power of your multi-sensory presence (from Latin meaning “being at hand”) is essential in a world where technology is often confused for solutions. Your power of presence is not only your physical presence; power of presence is becoming conscious your presence is an essential (from Latin meaning “in the highest degree”) part of wherever, with whatever, and with whoever you find yourself in life. For life is not what happens to us as much as realizing life is a dynamic we are co-creating…an essential update for contemporary life.